Your Friday Recommendation #21

Find a story you’ve exclusively read on the page or listened to on audio book. Then, reverse it. If you’ve read a story, find the audio version and listen. If you’ve listened to an audio version only, get a print copy to read.

I’m a big fan of audio books and I have plenty of books I’ve only experienced that way. Every once in a while I find a print copy and read it, trying to see if the experience is different (it always is) or better (sometimes yes, sometimes no). For me, classics have always been more appealing on the page than as audio. For example, I can’t name a Ray Bradbury story I didn’t like better on the page. Meanwhile, I first heard Dennis Lehane’s “Mystic River” before reading it and I really prefer the audio. David Strathairn reads with compelling urgency, it’s just great.

One story I found equally amazing on the page and pumping out stereo speakers is “The Things They Carried” by Tim O’Brien. I heard the audio first but found nothing lost when I moved on to the printed page. I’m fascinated, too, noticing the correlation between page space and audio length, and “The Things They Carried” is a good example of that. The story on the page is rich and moves slowly to me (not a bad thing) and so the audio version spands several discs but I remember being surprised at how quickly I breezed through them all. It reached the point where I was sure I was going to be missing a disc or something but nope, it all corresponded correctly. I found this, too, with “The Lovely Bones.”

Give it a try. See if one way of experiencing a story ends up better than the other. Please use the comment section to let me know what happens or if you’ve done this before and what your experience has been.


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