One of my (many) New Year’s resolutions this year was to read more books. I daren’t tell you how few I read last year, it’s embarrassing. Given that I spend about an hour per day in a car, I decided to use audiobooks to help me achieve my new reading target for 2016. I’ve done plenty of audiobooks in the past, and really enjoyed them. In fact, I‘m not sure how I fell out of the habit (perhaps it was those few years working from home, without the daily commute?). I have one golden rule - no abridged versions - because that feels like cheating. In the past I’ve enjoyed The Iliad, The Odyssey, Don Quixote (don’t try this unless you have a very long journey every day….22 CDs…or was it 35?), the phenomenal Lovely Bones, a Len Deighton adaptation of Bomber (OK, that was abridged but it was great), and the entire ‘Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’ series which were so good that I never wanted to get out of the car when I arrived anywhere. I’m also part way through Virgil’s Aenid. I have a tendency to do the classics in the car, because I think they sound better read aloud, given that they are mostly poetry and were probably written for performance.
The one problem with Aenid is that I’m listening to it on iTunes, and for some reason my bookmarks seem to get lost after I listen to some music. Therefore I decided to try out the Audible app. I picked Slade House by David Mitchell, partly because I’ve always liked the look of his work but never quite got around to reading any - often because they look like such big tomes, and it takes me ages to get through something that size. Slade House seemed a little more approachable in size, and the reviews looked good. Before we go on though, here’s a brief note for the bods at Amazon/audible who may be tracking social networks and blogs:
Note for Audible: please don’t force everyone to take out a subscription. I know you believe you’ll make lots of money this way, and I know it works for music, but not everyone wants to consume audiobooks this way. Yes, there are various levels, blah blah, but it is incredibly hard to figure out from your site that you can still, actually, just buy a single audibook and listen to it. In fact, I didn’t figure this out from your site. I made a lucky, semi-informed guess by looking at the Amazon pricing. I hate it when sites try to force me to behave in a certain way, especially if that behaviour benefits the vendor not the user. I want to use the same model for audiobooks as I do for books (surprise!). I want to buy a few that take my fancy, read them (or leave them on a shelf) and then buy some more when I’m ready. Simple really. May be I will move to a subscription model in the future, but don’t ram it down my throat yet, please.
Here’s the thing; Slade House is fabulous. Great little story, really well read by a variety of actors (love that - most audiobooks have one actor, but this one has multiple actors and it works brilliantly). I haven’t finished it yet, so I can’t give a final verdict on Mr Mitchell’s work, but I’m enjoying it immensely. If you too want to read more this year, I’d highly recommend downloading a few audiobooks, possibly even on Audible (app does work pretty well). Wish we had the InkTears books in this format… that will have to wait for now :(