As a child, one of my favourite things to do was to go to the library and rent an audiobook on cassette. I also collected the odd magazine from the local market with story-time cassettes as part of the package. I will always remember Morris and Doris. Getting a tape player was a big thing for me back then. I used it and used it. I like to read and don't have much trouble, only for me, concentration has always been something of an issue. I find it hard to focus for a long time on a book, many times a chapter is too much. I'm sure I'm not the only one who has this problem with reading, a wandering mind is something many people have. Sometimes it feels like focusing on a page is like holding up a heavy weight and after so long I just have to let it go. After a few minutes, I'm able to get back into it.
There are times when reading isn't the best option either. Often we're doing something else with our hands and eyes, and it's only our ears that we have to spare. Spoken word books are perfect for when we want to listen to something that is made of words rather than sounds. Music is great and I listen to it a lot but there are times when I much prefer to listen to a good book. It can be about anything, fiction or non-fiction. It's mostly in the way it's told that makes the difference.
A lot of people make use of an Audible subscription, and it is a really worthwhile service. The books are always read to the highest quality and the titles are so plentiful that no-one will be left empty handed. Subscriptions make an ideal gift to yourself at any time of year. Listening in the car or at home is as easy as a podcast. However, it's not always within a person's reach to pay the premium fees asked for by an audio-book company. We all understand that not everyone is fortunate enough to be able to justify pleasures like that. That's why a lot of people make a real effort to produce free audio-book literature for anyone to listen to.
Librivox, for example, is a digital platform which allows volunteers to read books and upload the audio files to their database. Then people from all over the world access the titles via the internet and download the books they want to hear. It's a brilliant way of opening up the world of literature to so many who may not have been able to hear the vast array of stories available there. There is one issue that I have encountered with Librivox, and that is consistency. Often the reader doesn't have an ideal voice for my ear, with accents becoming an issue at times. Other times a book can be split up into various readers, meaning that I have to re-adjust my ears to an entirely new voice telling the same story. With it being absolutely free and voluntary, I cannot really go as far to make them complaints, the service is extremely valuable.
For many years now, I have been enjoying a podcast called The Classic Tales Podcast. It is read by B.J. Harrison who for longer than I can contemplate has been steadily reading his way through book after book of high-end classic literature. The podcast is free to listen to and with a huge back-catalogue of episodes out there, there's enough to keep you going for mounts and months. The consistent quality of the readings is something to be remarked. It's obvious that B.J. Harrison has made a superb effort to make sure that anyone from anywhere can really hear the words. He does fantastic accents and impersonations of the books' characters too, something that is truly a golden touch. If you become a subscribing member, there's a reward code that lets you download premium editions of many other titles not made into podcast episodes too. I respect this podcast and can tell it's a labour of love.
To finish, I can't go without mentioning YouTube. Often it is just copies of Librivox recordings put there for the pleasure (and advertising I assume), however it makes it an easy go to place for certain titles. Copyrighted works are often removed fairly quickly, however literature of a certain age tends to not have intellectual copyright and can be reused. Here is a playlist of books made by Alternative Fruit. Enjoy!
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