Wednesday, March 05, 2008


I love the Green Apple Bookstore in San Francisco. My wife and I sometimes go out on a date sans kiddos and one of our favorite things to do is eat at a nice little restaurant in the Inner Richmond then go browse the Green Apple. The problem is I keep buying books but not reading them.

The solution, I have found, is to not read them at all. But listen to them.

Years ago I tried out Audible ( and downloaded two free books ("On Writing" by Stephen King and "The Kite Runner" by Khaled Hosseini) then dropped my subscription. But I recently re-subscribed and have promptly listened to 3 books ("The Alchemist" by Paulo Coelho; "The Road" by Cormac McCarthy; and "The Golden Compass" by Phillip Pullman) and working on my fourth. The subscription allows me to download 2 books a month.

The aural experience vs. the visual in consuming a book - Listening to an audiobook is great in that you get a performance from the narrator, an actor or the author, and, like radio, you can do other things while you listen. When reading a book, you can't do anything else but read the book.

Reading a book is visual and you miss out on the 'design' of the sentence. Sometimes an author will deliberately use short sentences like Hemingway or McCarthy. Does that come across in the audiobook? Is it important?