Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly book blogging initiative hosted by The Artsy Reader Girl with new themes each week.
This weeks theme is a free theme of Audio considering audiobooks, music, podcasts etc.
You may be surprised to hear that we don’t really enjoy audiobooks as frequently as we could and after Littlefae recently requested a physical book after listening to the free audiobook, it seems worth investigating further.
Don’t get me wrong I am not a snob in the whole ‘audiobooks isn’t reading’ nonsense because audiobooks are a fully valid (and crucial for some) way to enjoy worlds of imagination and knowledge and that is awesome!
Audio and written word utilise, stimulate and develop different parts of your brain which is wonderful and audio is a great way to immerse in storytelling and enrich literacy (I’ve used it in the classroom myself in several different ways) BUT I do feel it shouldn’t completely replace parents reading aloud to children (Which we do several times every day) nor interaction with written words especially for developing readers.
It’s just I’m a bit lost of how to get the best out of them now cds are dinosaurs HELP ME!!
Here are some audiobooks we have really enjoyed:
1. Mr Men (Vintage Beeb) – Roger Hargreaves Read by Arthur Lowe (BBC)
These retelling of the Mr Men stories were originally on BBC radio, my mum remembers listening to them as a child read aloud by Arthur Lowe whom I always previously thought of as grumpy Captain Mainwaring from Dad’s Army.
They never fail to lead us into hysterics especially when Arthur Lowe gets all giggly as the animals in the zoo laugh at Mr Funny.
2. Dragons at Crumbling Castle and Other Stories – Terry Pratchett read by Julian Rhind Tutt (RHCP Audio)
This is based on the book of short stories Terry Pratchett wrote when he was a young journalist.
They aren’t as polished as his later work but they bear the hallmarks and inklings of Discworld in his satirical pastiches of fantasy writing and society in general. Our favourites include Hercules the tortoise whom Littlefae adored and the story that bears the beginnings of The Carpet People.
3. Stormbreaker – Anthony Horowitz read by Oliver Chris (Bolinder Publishing PTY LTD)
I had a copy of Stormbreaker in audiobook when I taught KS3 English- our class novel study was during the cold and flu season and my class on the whole was low literacy and super embarrassed about it so I decided to give my throat a rest and take the pressure off them so we could enjoy following the text in the book together. Great decision for that class and ‘immersive reading’ before Kindle was popularising it.
I got the cds out again when we were travelling up and down to London to see my grandfather who was very ill and to the hospital in Oxford whilst having a difficult pregnancy with Tinyfae. The immersion in the adventure helped take our minds off the problems and I’m grateful to that.
4. You’re A Bad Man Mr Gum- written and read by Andy Stanton (BBC)
Silly, naughty and rude and read delightfully by Andy Stanton. The truth is a Lemon meringue!!!
Littlefae didn’t like the dog poisoning but but found the silliness very funny! My favourite chapter was the one where Mr Gum makes a cup of tea.
5. The Nothing to See here Hotel- written and read by Steven Butler (thanks to World Book Day website)
We took advantage of the free audiobook listen in collaboration with Word Book Day.
Littlefae adored this book and it encouraged her to pick up the written book to see the illustrations by Steven Butler when previously she had been scared it was a ‘horror’ book because of goblins and monsters on the cover!!
Yet we don’t have as much interaction with audiobooks as I would like.
My problem is not audiobooks as stated, it’s more:
1. Format aka the demise of the CD player.
I have a small selection of audiobooks we really enjoyed on CD (some discussed earlier) this was brilliant when our car had a CD player as we just had a nosey through the box, popped it in and went.
Equally audiobooks can be picked up on cd in charity shops and eBay etc it’s how I got some of my Alex Rider books.
Then we were forced to upgrade the car when Tinyfae came along and the car stereo now only has a USB/Bluetooth option which is great for music on your phone. Which leads me to point 2.
2. iTunes Really doesn’t like ripping audiobooks from cds
Because iBooks takes care of digital audiobooks separately, every time I’ve ripped one of my audiobooks from a cd we have bought/been gifted, iTunes has duffed it up spectacularly.
(Especially if your husband does them in bulk then leaves the Unknown Track 1Aia mess to you to sort out 😫)
3. Value for Money & Subscriptions. I am utterly clueless about what is the best value- subscription/not. Help!!
Audiobooks have a production cost and everyone deserves to be paid fairly. No problem there, but I want to make sure the money I have is spent wisely not willy nilly.
The government has ripped the heart and soul out of library budgets and whilst my county tries with an app etc, the choices especially in children’s audiobooks is very narrow and with long waiting lists meaning the spontaneity of ‘what do you want to listen to next?’ is reduced. I understand and feel awful to say it as they are doing their best in dire circumstances.
Audible costs roughly a paperback a month which is so far so good if you would be swapping like for like but let’s be honest I read more than one book a week let alone month. Audiobooks bought without a credit system can cost like 3-4 x the paperback and without a subscription-only discount are expensive.
iBooks has some cheaper but because I’ve not signed up to audible is that roughly how much you would pay if you purchase through audible in their heavily discounted sales? I Don’t know- help me?
Then when you take into account 1 audible credit can equal a 9 or even 12+hour reading experience OR a 1-2.5 hr children’s book it seems a bargain for those who love long epics that cost £20+ to buy.
But it doesn’t seem so much if you are intending to use it with or for children’s books that may be around or less than the subscription and who are like I want to hear the another/next book NOW mummy I can see it there on the screen!
Or am I not ‘getting’ the point?
Is there a better way to do things? Please tell me.