Friday, July 18, 2008

Gaskell's Cranford at LibriVox

I'm not sure whether this counts as reading, but I'm currently listening to Cranford at LibriVox.

The reader is wonderful, and I'm enjoying listening to her immensely. I read Cranford last winter, in anticipation of the new BBC mini-series, and found it okay--not riveting but good. In fact, it sort of reminded me of Chronicles of Avonlea--bits of stories loosely hung together. However, I must say that after watching the mini-series, listening to Cranford is making me appreciate it all the more.

BTW, I am diligently working on recording "The Old Nurse's Story, by Gaskell, for LibriVox. If you have a hankering to hear my dulcet tones, I've recorded a few of the weekly poems and have a poem by Wm. Blake in the 18th century poetry forum awaiting review.

Here's the link to Tennyson's "The Miller's Daughter." My reading is Ch 9.

I'm having a ball learning to record, and I'm finding that reading, and rereading, and rereading a story in order to get it right for broadcast really helps you to understand and appreciate it.

Happy listening.


  1. I do think that listening counts as reading -- in the long-term. As I listen to a book, I find I am more distractable, or look to see how much of the chapter is left and so on, which seldom happens when I read. I've also only rarely achieved full immersion with an audiobook (where I wouldn't notice someone calling my name, the phone rinnging, etc.) though that happens quite often with (good!) books. There are studies which show that the brain uses different areas to listen and to read, and therefore the two things are not the "same".

    However, when I'm thinking back on an audiobook having finished it, the 'pictures' in my mind -- the actions and emotions of the plot -- are all the same as if I'd read the words on the page. In some cases, particularly short stories heard a while ago, I can't always remember whether I read or listened to them, and have to reason the medium through. Recording books works by the same process, even though it involves so much more brain activity than merely reading the words. Six months later, I can envisage the environment of the characters, tell you what sort of thing they're wearing, the weather during particular events and so on ... the same things I'd recall / imagine when reading silently from paper.

    Would be interested in knowing if it works out this way for you too..?

  2. Thanks for stopping by, Cori. I tend to only listen to books whilst driving, but I do sometimes find my mind wandering, perhaps more than when I'm reading. But, I can't succumb to skimming when I'm listening, which is a good thing.

    I did listen to the Waste Land the other day, and found it fabulous to listen to. Better than reading it, I think.

    Recording does definitley involve more brain activity that reading, which is way I've yet to finish with The Old Nurse's Story!