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Listening to Good Books – The Joy of Discovering Audio Books

I recently underwent a Vitrectomy, a surgical procedure on my eye. I was obligated to spend a lot of time resting my eye. I am now a big fan of audio books. I just finished my third book and I have a few observations:

1. Libraries offer free audio book rentals. Our local library allows audio books to be downloaded onto computers right from home. You can choose your borrowing period. A link to a free player is provided. This is a wonderful service that I did not know about until a friend told me. It is so much nicer than worrying about transporting a bunch of audio CDs. When I finish a book, I can download and start another anytime of the day or night. Free.

2. It is best to be moving or, at least, sitting up when listening to an audio book. During recovery right after my vitrectomy, when I had to keep my head down, it was very difficult to stay awake while listening. Even a great audio book can lull a person to sleep. It is really annoying to wake with a start and try to figure out where you drifted off. I would sometimes replay an entire chapter, only to discover that I had missed just one sentence.

3. There are a LOT of audio books out there. I never imagined what a great variety of books have been transferred to an audio format. There are lists and reviews all over the internet.

4. Audio books are long. It takes forever to listen through an entire book. Even a book that I am loving and enjoying seems, by the tenth or eleventh hour, to be dragging. I now always check to see how long an audio book is before I start listening. That way, I know what to expect.

5. The voice reading the book is very important. Obviously. Before I learned about audio books, I had assumed that they are all narrated by famous “stars,” whose name recognition could help sell the book. Instead, most books are narrated by skilled readers, actors whose names I do not necessarily recognize but who excel at bringing a book to life. I have found online reviews to be very accurate regarding the skill of the reader. A few authors read their own books. I was suspicious of this until I listened to David Sedaris read his book When You Are Engulfed In Flames. He has great comedic timing and really does a wonderful job. Now, I can not imagine his books being narrated by anyone else,

The three books I have listened to are:

* Roses by Leila Meacham, Narrated by Coleen Marlo – This is a good fiction audio book, although extremely long. It follows the twists and turns of a Texas family through several generations. It was interesting and kept my attention. The one thing that I did not like was the narrator’s “male voice” when a man was speaking.

* Life of Pi by Yann Martel, Narrated by Jeff Woodman – One of my favorite books ever. The book is well written. The narrator is wonderful. The story is compelling. This was highly recommended on several audio book lists online. After listening to a couple of chapters, I had to double check how long ago the book was written (2001). I could not believe that I hadn’t heard of it or read it already. I listened to chapter 16 twice, because it was so beautiful. I told my husband and children that they MUST get a copy of this book and read it.

* When You Are Engulfed In Flames by David Sedaris, Narrated by David Sedaris – If you like David Sedaris, you will love his reading of his own book. This book is a series of stories from his life. Some of the chapters are so funny that I laughed out loud. Some of the chapters were kind of sad and full of pathos. The book contains really foul language and raunchy sexual humor, so I would never recommend it to anyone that might be offended. Sedaris’ book Me Talk Pretty One Day was more highly recommended, but there was a waiting list for that, so I thought I would try this while I waited. I needed something humorous and this book really delivered.

I just downloaded Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides, Narrated by Kristoffer Tabori. Several different lists rated it as the best audio book of all time, so I have high hopes for this book.

Audio books have been a lifesaver for me since my surgery. They allow me to “do something” while resting my eyes. They have kept my mind active, and distracted me from thinking about being stuck in the house recuperating. I am grateful for the library, which makes audio books so easily available to people with low vision.

The Future of eBook Book Markers and Adsense Cometh

The explosion of e-books on the Internet and in Digital libraries around the world is increasing at a staggering rate. Soon the number of books available on the Internet in Digital libraries will exceed that of the Library of Congress. This is because the books will be available in every language, as well as books that are out of print or books that might have been written thousands of years ago. The accumulation of human knowledge in Digital libraries is a wonderful thing.

Protecting the knowledge base of the human race is an extremely noble calling. Companies like Microsoft and Google has spent millions of dollars in funding these digital library initiatives with government agencies and universities to bring these books to the public. In the future I see a time when digital book markers will be created.

This way when you read a book on the Internet, you can click a tab button on the top of the page and it will do two things. First, it will automatically open the bookmark part of your Internet browser so you can save your place; and second, it will put a virtual bookmark or over the page that you were reading, that will help the person who reads books on line to know where they are.

It will be great for students who are doing research and reading many references at the same time and it allows for multiple book marking of course as well. Indeed, the development of such a project will require software engineers and programmers and to pay for it, I imagine that someone like Google will also use the virtual bookmarker as a place for AdSense or perhaps a search bar.

Just trying to think ahead and keep up with the next generation of digital libraries. The future of digital libraries is here to stay. I certainly hope this article is of interest and that is has propelled thought. The goal is simple, to help you in your quest to be the best in 2007. I thank you for reading my many articles on diverse subjects, which interest you.