Audiobooks? Yes please.
By Emily Alvarez
What is there to say about the written word read aloud? Since the 1930s, essays, poetry, stage plays, and books have been a common find in schoolrooms, libraries, and the occasional music shop. One could listen to another tell a story, deliver a speech, or act out a play via a recording. But I often wonder, are audiobooks still relevant?
Growing up in the early 90s, my mother would often slip a book on tape into my little Fisher Price cassette player to give her a night off from reading to me. There would be a narrator, background music, and occasional sound effects to make the recording sound more real. It was a special period of time for me where I could let my imagination run wild. What made it even better was when the author would recite his or her own novel. I could hear the story from the creator and visualize the story as it had played out in the author’s mind while still having the freedom to imagine the story from my own perspective.
I believe what many have forgotten amidst the exposure to the visual arts is that there is intrigue without limits in one’s mind. This is why the majority of people say “the book is way better than the movie”. It is not simply because the film versions do not include everything in the book but rather that one’s mind can make everything much more spectacular and personal.
Audiobooks are a great medium. The book is being read aloud to you, bringing back warm memories of your folks reading to you in bed but it also allows your mind to create the scene. The truth of the matter is, no matter how the author intended the book to be visualized, the reader can cater to his or her own imagination.
I leave you with this: let not the audiobook come to be an ancient relic. Download it on your kindle or nook or even drive down to your local hole-in-the-wall book shop and purchase a book on cassette or CD. Play it while you lounge on the couch, pretend to be listening in your Organic Chemistry class, or while you are on a train from London to visit your annoying third cousins-twice removed somewhere in Surrey. You won’t regret it.
Emily Alvarez is an avid writer and reader of historical fiction and comedy. She loves witty, unforgettable characters that represent the true ups and downs of human life. Emily is a southern California native and received her Bachelors Degree in English from the University of California, Fullerton. She is currently working on several writing projects and is part of the River Ram Press editorial team.