I hear that!

A reader’s perspective on dialogue. Or maybe Audiobooks. Not really sure…

It always makes me laugh when people say that Kim and I sound alike. Maybe we have progressed so far in our relationship that not only do we look alike (not in my opinion) but we now share the same voice. I don’t really see how this is possible since she has the soft hints of Kentucky and I have the groovy sounds of California. But not only sound, I think the way we speak as in express ourselves is pretty drastic as well. When I get pissed I start swearing like a sailor. Kim is a sailor but does not swear- even if she is pissed. In my ears, we sound extremely different and that is important to me. I love it when she visits her family and calls me on the phone because her accent becomes more pronounced. Just hearing her say, “sweat tea” has me swooning just a little bit more. The way we express ourselves is part of that combination on how we create an impression for others. The words we choose, the accent, the emphasis, or even if we speak all create part of our individuality.

It’s kind of how I know I’m reading an excellent lesfic novel. I can hear the characters when they speak. The author writes it in such a way that I can hear the accent, the cultural influence, possibly even the education level or profession of the individual characters. And sure descriptors like deep voice, or high pitched, or other sorts of things can help me hear it but really it is just the words in the conversation that allow me to hear those individualities come through. Dialogue can play a really big part in my enjoyment of a book. And if it is well done- it just bonds me to those characters even more.

So having this appreciation I ran into a bit of a conundrum recently. I haven’t wanted to speak to anyone. I mean to the point that if it looks like someone might start a conversation with me I want to turn and walk quickly away. So what better way to discourage people from talking to you than to shove earbuds into your ears! The ultimate don’t bother me vibe. AND it’s possible to make this better- have those earbuds be piping in a LesFic novel! Oh yeah! Much better. No talking and someone reading a LesFic story to me.

I have to give credit to an amazing podcast, for this realization though. If you haven’t tuned into the The Lesbian Talk Show and discovered all the fun podcasts, you are truly missing out and you should sign up immediately by following this link here. In addition to getting a hysterical podcast review of the weekly blogs done on the Women and Words site hosted by Andi and Jove, you can listen to a whole range of topics and thoughts about the lesbian world. This is where I found a podcast on “The 10 Best Audiobooks To Get You Started.” Check it out here. A pretty thorough list if I can chime in with an opinion. Sheena and Tara (the hosts) offered up a selection of stories that I’ve read and some that I hadn’t read. So why not listen to them in my attempt to not talk to anyone? I started my selection with one from the already read pile and one from the haven’t-read-yet-but-it’s-on-my-wishlist pile. That seemed like a good plan. And one of the things that Sheena and Tara spoke about was how important the narrator was for selections. These two stories apparently had excellent narrators PLUS it was going to be a combined 28 hours of entertainment. That is a lot of avoiding conversations with other people time!

Selection number one was a story I had previously read, Robin Alexander’s Just Jorie. How can anyone go wrong with a comedy by Alexander? But I have to admit that it was somewhat strange to have an actual voice to the characters. It was sort of like flipping back to the cover art and trying to decide if the model the author used actually looks like one of the characters in the story. The narration portion of the story was fine, but when the characters actually engaged in dialogue it truly took me a bit to adjust to hearing something compared to what I had imagined in my head. What was amazing though is how incredibly talented Lisa Cordileone, the narrator, actually is. She did an outstanding job of making each characters voice recognizable vocally the same way Alexander does on paper. As I was listening Cordileone was able to modulate and accent her voice that did truly create two separate characters. Without the benefit of the dialogue tags I was clearly able to distinguish when Lena was speaking, when Jorie was speaking and even which one of the crazy relatives was cracking a joke. So yes, it was an adjustment, but overall it definitely made for a fun listen.

Next up was Ann McMan’s Jericho and like my first listening experience, the adjustment to the voices was there. In a different way though. First, I feel like I am smarter just by holding a McMan story because of her vocabulary. But also that the story captures life in Southwest Virginia. Christine Williams, the narrator, contributes to the southern feel through the cadence of her voice. It almost seems slower and for lack of a better descriptor thicker than my first audiobook experience. This is when I discovered and started experimenting with the speed settings. Sort of like playing the 35 records at the 45 speed! Ultimately I reset it to the original 1.0 speed and just settled into the voice. Again, I was impressed with the inflections, accents, and pacing of the various characters all portrayed by Williams ranging from gay men, a five year old boy, teenage girls, lust crazed women, and sophisticated doctors. To be completely honest the number of characters that Williams creates with her voice is amazing and that it stays consistent through the 20 plus hours of narration is awe inspiring, but I did and still do struggle with one character and each time she speaks, I just think to myself that’s not how I hear her speaking. I am still laughing at some of the scenes that are depicted and I really did enjoy this story and would suggest it to others. I’d also be curious about their thoughts on hearing the voices.

Oh, and you know how some stories finish with a special offer of the first chapter of the sequel as a little teaser? I have to say, that the majority of the time I would be able to read such a teaser and not be too bothered by it or have any brash impulses. So I don’t know if it was just because I listened to the teaser, McMan is that amazing or maybe both, but I fell for it. I was thinking, hey! a free extra 20 minutes of listening! Yay! And next thing I know I am on the audible.com website buying Aftermath.  But now I’m curious and ready to throw out a challenge to anyone who has read- not listened to Jericho to go and read the Peak-Inside option on Amazon of Aftermath and let me know how quick it ended up in your cart.

Alright readers- how many of you are listeners? Have you had any adjustment to hearing the characters come alive after reading them visually? For me it just seems that dialogue really is a chance to shape a character and not hearing through my ears what I was hearing in my head while reading was a challenge. Ultimately though, I’ve been incredibly impressed at how talented these narrators are with creating the voices and giving the stories depth through pacing and tone. I have started listening to the samples of the books but is that the best way? I don’t want to miss out on an excellent story because the short clip didn’t grab my ear. And with that though I must digress because, well, speaking of voices that I would NOT mind listening to all day long how about Cheyenne Blue? Wow! Just to reference how influential that voice is as soon as I heard her read an excerpt from Never Tied Nora I immediately obtained a copy and started reading. Check out her reading an excerpt from her story Fenced in Felix here, another amazing podcast from The Lesbian Talk Show option. But back to the audiobooks- what are some favorites out there? Do you choose by author, narrator, or story? Have you read any LesFic stories with those perfectly created dialogue exchanges but have yet to find it as an audiobook?  I would love to know and start expanding my library!

Advertisements

18 thoughts on “I hear that!

  1. What an engaging blog – thanks Erin. I have been hesitant to check out the audio books – I so like having the paper or ebook to read – but no longer. I’ll be checking out something soon with a discerning ear.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Karen left a comment below about syncing an ebook and an audiobook with whispersync on Amazon. I hadn’t heard of this before but it sounds like a cool option in case the audiobook doesn’t work- narrator or something. I’d love to hear what your experience is like and which story you choose! Thanks for reading.

      Like

  2. I’m picky so I choose by narrator as much as author. You started with two amazing narrators. I listen to Jericho and Afternath as much for the voice as the story. Christine Williams can read anything to me. Lisa Cordileone is also awesome. I love Abby Crayden’s work, too. Every once in awhile I get a book I just can’t listen to. The voice is so wrong (e.g. too high, too low, weird accents for everyone, a distinctive accent in the wrong part of the country). There are lots of awesome audiobooks out there and I hope there will be more- especially when I’m making my cross-country drives!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Because of a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), I have some difficulty with both e-books and audio books. It takes me twice a long to understand and remember what I have read. With print books I can quickly go to a page and read what i forgot and go back to where I was reading easier than with e-books and audio . I can also catch up on characters that haven’t be around for a day or two and refresh my mind to what they were doing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sherry I was noticing that as well and if given the chose would choose a paper copy of ANY story! I did enjoy the audiobook in the car making a super long drive and when I run out of podcasts to listen too. Thanks for reading Sherry and I would love to hear some of your favorite stories!

      Like

  4. I’ve never listened to an audio book ever and I’m quite curious about them, particularly as I have a 45 minute commute. But I never get around to it, as I do so love curling up with a book and the personal connection between me and a book–something that no one else will experience exactly as I do. I fear losing that intimacy. But reading your post above, I’m tempted to give Jericho a crack on audio. 🙂

    And thank you too for the shout out for my book clip! You knocked me for six with the comment that you’d enjoyed hearing me read as I’d thought, when I made the clip, that I was probably doing it all wrong, given that I’d never heard an audio book in my life (although I did listen to other bookclips)! I’m glad it wasn’t so bad! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I have MS and tend to purchase books that are available as e-books and audio books. Some days my eyes just don’t work like they should, so the whispersync option on Amazon makes it extremely easy to switch between the e-book and the audio book when I’m having a bad sight day. I also love working in my garden and doing the yard work while listening to audio books. I have come across a few narrators that are just hard to listen to, so I’m glad I have the e-book to fall back on.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Very Interesting…I have to say that audibles remind me of when e-books first came out. I admit I was resistant. I didn’t want to give up my love affair with paper, but then I quickly realized the benefits and took to those e-books like a duck to water. I would carry a small device on a plane versus lugging several heavy books. I suppose I will eventually try audibles, but I still like reading a book and imagining what the characters sound like. Maybe I’ll get there and think it’s the best thing since sliced bread…but then again, a warm home baked loaf of bread that I slice while it’s still warm….well you get the picture!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know exactly what you mean Annette and I think if there hadn’t been extenuating circumstances I probably wouldn’t have embraced this idea as much as I have. I’m still debating if I want McMan’s stories in print version or not. That’s always been a problem for me with e-books as well. I liked to LOOK at all the stories on the shelves. Now I have another challenger to that with the audio books. LOL! Overall I think I prefer hearing my own character voices but having these stories to listen to really helped while traveling and other activities where I didn’t want music and definitely didn’t want silence. Let me know what you think when you finally try it out.

      Like

  7. I don’t listen to audiobooks because I don’t love the idea of another subscription service. At the risk of sounding really old fashioned, I wish we didn’t have to pay a subscription fee for everything from software to books and new TV series. LOL

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Adan I get that and it does seem like more and more activities are going in that direction. I have found some interesting to me audio books at the library. Most of the selection replicates what their book inventory is like, but I’ve listened to a couple of stand up comedians like Ellen and Tina Fey which were very entertaining. So in a clutch and you are having to take a long distance trip in the car and want more than music for entertainment that could be an option as well. Thanks for reading!

      Liked by 1 person

Comments are closed.