Wednesday, June 1

Is it Really Reading?

This New York Times article discusses the current fad in audiobooks, and pits those in favor of "traditional" book-reading against the technology apologists who insist that listening to audiobooks is much the same.

I've never listened to an audiobook, but it's an intriguing idea. One of this week's guest editors at Lifehacker (my favorite tech blog, by the way: it distills all of the random stuff from The Morning News, popular, Gizmodo, etc. into one pithy easy-to-digest source) just did a piece today on audiobooks, and his review is summed up in his statement that, "[q]uite honestly, some audiobooks work, and some don’t." He comes up with a few rules for audiobook listening; among them are admonitions to try out audiobooks (on Audible or the iTunes Music Store) before you buy to make sure the narrator's style is appealing to you, and to refrain from attempting to "read" weighty works like those of Tolstoy in audio form.

I've looked around a bit, and if I end up trying out audiobooks I'll likely start with John Cleese's reading of C. S. Lewis's The Screwtape Letters, which seems excellent both on the basis of user reviews and also the 15-minute sample at Audible.

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The Geek Code desperately needs updating, but in any case here's mine (as of 2010-02-28):

Version: 3.12
GIT/MU d+(-) s:+>: a C++> ULXB++++$ L+++ M++ w--() !O !V P+ E---
W+++ N o++ K? PS PE++ Y+ PGP t !5 X- R- tv+@ b++ DI++++ D--- e*++
h--- r+++ y+++ G+

If you really care about knowing what that all means, you either know the code already, or you can get it decoded for you here.