Saturday, December 11, 2010

Whisper Stories in My Ear Challenge

I know, I know, I just posted a reading challenge not an hour ago... But in truth, I'd already had that one on my Reading Challenge page for almost two weeks (perhaps I should announce these things sooner?).

Anyway, as soon as I saw this reading challenge, I knew I had to jump in!

As some of you probably know from reading my reviews, I listen to audiobooks on a regular basis. Not by themselves, mind you. I listen to audiobooks while I read along.

But Vicki, how can you read so slowly? Don't you find it boring?

Well, I might, if I didn't speed up the audiobooks to match my reading speed. Windows Media Player allows for speeding up or slowing down playback (a very handy feature if you ask me) so that I can increase the speed anywhere from 1.01x to 2x the normal speed. I usually find a good pace between 1.7x and 1.95x, depending on the narrator.

But Vicki, how can you understand what they're saying? Don't they sound like chipmunks?

Actually, I usually don't have it fast enough for that. Once you get above 2x speed, the audio usually becomes too clipped and unintelligible for me. So, while the pitch of the reader does increase a bit, I find it still pretty easy to make out.

Also, having the book in front of me helps a lot. If I miss something in the audio, it's right there on the page, so I don't miss anything.

But Vicki, why use the audiobook at all if you're just going to read the book anyway?

You're just full of questions, aren't you? Well, I read along with audiobooks for a few different reasons, actually.

First, I find it helps a lot with internalizing the stories. It's been proven in teaching/learning that we understand lessons a lot better when multiple senses are involved.

Some people are very good with learning through auditory means, such as listening to a lecture; some learn best with visual representations, such as diagrams or videos; and some work best through hands-on (or kinesthetic) techniques, such as performing a lab or skit.

By combining auditory and visual senses, I find it much easier to internalize what I'm reading, and to remember what I've read.

I also find it helps me focus that much more on what I'm doing. Have you ever found yourself reading and realized it's been an hour and you have no idea what you just read? Perhaps you were thinking about what you need to get from the store, or someone just came home and you're wondering what they're doing in the kitchen. Having my eyes and ears both focused on a book helps me stay on point, and thus, finish that book much faster.

Finally, in the case of Fantasy or SciFi books, listening to someone else read them allows me to hear some of those stranger words instead of spending 5 minutes trying to sound it out myself. Names like ed'Rastekeresket t'k Gh'shestaesteh or Aurilelde have thrown me for a loop in the past, but with a narrator taking the guesswork out of it, I'm past the road-bump after a couple seconds and on I go.

But Vicki, aren't there any drawbacks to this?

Alright, but this is your last one. Yes, I will admit, there are a couple problems with my preferred reading method.

Firstly, I have to be by my computer. Because I listen to the books at a higher speed, I can't simply transfer them to my mp3-player and off I go. Likewise, it's hard to read ahead while I'm out and find my place in the audio (unless I stop at a chapter or something). Thus, I have to make time to sit at my computer and listen...which is easier said than done, sometimes. Still, finishing a book in 3-10 hours isn't too bad.

But Vicki—

Nope, that's it from you =P And now here's a short list of what I have planned:

1.   The Hunger Games ~ Suzanne Collins
2.   Catching Fire ~ Suzanne Collins
3.   Mockingjay ~ Suzanne Collins
4.   Wicked
5.   Son of a Witch
6.   A Lion Among Men
7.   The Lost Years of Merlin
8.   Eragon
9.   Eldest
10. Brisingr
11. Artemis Fowl
12. Artemis Fowl: The Arctic Incident
13. Artemis Fowl: The Eternity Code
14. Artemis Fowl: The Opal Deception
15. Artemis Fowl: The Lost Colony
16. Artemis Fowl: The Time Paradox
17. Artemis Fowl: The Atlantis Complex
18. Ender's Game
19. Ender's Shadow
20. Shadow of the Hegemon
21. Shadow Puppets
22. Shadow of the Giant
23. The Amulet of Samarkand
24. The Golem's Eye
25. Ptolemy's Gate
26. Earth (The Audiobook)

That's way over 200 hours, and I'm positive I'll read others over the year too. So that's the plan...wish me luck!

Keep track of my progress on my Reading Challenges page.