BOOK & BLOG
October 9, 2007
Books of the Week: Audiobooks - Diana Gabaldon's LORD JOHN AND THE PRIVATE MATTER and LORD JOHN AND THE BROTHER HOOD OF THE BLADE
I listen to audiobooks regularly, and I find them a completely different experience from reading. For one thing, the start and stop rhythm is different; you can keep going until you turn the car off. Thats the only time I use audiobooks, when Im on a long drive. For my mom, its her only reading method, since shes not sighted.
Ive noticed that different quirks of the writers stand out more harshly when theyre listened to. Ive always been a big fan of Robert Parkers, primarily because of his dialogue. When I first read him, many years ago, I considered it outstanding. However, read aloud, I find the same passages really irritating because of Parkers repetitive use of he/she said. Every single line of dialogue is attributed, and that gets old pretty quickly. I havent listened to any of his early works as recorded books, and I wonder now if his dialogue method has actually changed for the worse, or if its the change of medium.
The use of favorite words stands out more clearly in audiobooks, too.
Recently I listened to two of Diana Gabaldons books, LORD JOHN AND THE PRIVATE MATTER and LORD JOHN AND THE BROTHER HOOD OF THE BLADE, in audio form. They were both wonderful experiences, and I thought the reader was very, very good. I did notice how often the main character (Lord John Gray) sweated, though, because for some reason that really stood out when I heard it. Gabaldon is a such a wonderful writer that any rendition of her works is worth experiencing, and these two recorded examples were among the best Ive heard.
Even my own books seem almost alien to me when I hear them, instead of reading them. Im surprised by things about my writing style I never notice when I see the words, rather than hearing them.
If youve never listened to a book, give it a try. I would think this would be a super way to pass the time, for any commuter.
I spent part of the last few days hospital-sitting with my mom. I dont know of anything more tiring; well, a long airplane trip comes close. In both situations, youre not in control, and you get interrupted when it suits the staff rather than when it suits you.
I know its been often remarked that a stay in the hospital can wear out the patient, and of course in some sense thats true. Theres the unfamiliar bed, the unfamiliar staff, the unpredictable schedule of the doctors, the unpleasant food, and the sudden arrival of guests and technicians who arrive to give you tests you didnt know you were going to be taking.
The person sitting with the patient gets worn out, too, Im here to tell you. Theres a good reason I never considered a career in the medical profession in any capacity; I suck at helping people. Florence Nightingale might as well take me out back and shoot me. Its not that I lack compassion Im just inept. Im not good at grooming the patient, Im not good at physically helping the patient do things like get into the bathroom or eat, and though I try hard to be polite to the staff whos really and truly there to help, I find myself slipping into impatient mode all too often.
Its probably the feeling of helplessness, the lack of control thats responsible for my tendency to have to sit on my temper to keep it from flaring. I have to remind myself that the nursing staff has lot to do, and a limited amount of time and manpower with which to do it. All the nurses at the hospital Ive spent so many hours in (during my dads illnesses, and now my moms) really do seem to care about their patients. But I guess its inevitable that they take a different view of the way things should happen. Theyre on their own track, with their own pacing; Im on mine. And my mothers.
This seems like an appropriate moment to give a tip of the hat to all those professional caregivers we literally couldnt live without. Thanks, nurses, technicians, cleaning staff, and even the cafeteria workers; without you all, wed be up a creek.
© 2009 Charlaine Harris