I have a “like/apathetic” relationship with books on tape, short story podcasts, etc (my feelings about them aren’t quite strong enough to reach the “love/hate” stage). I’m fond of listening to short stories read by their authors, or those accompanying an interesting discussion/analysis. I’m not fond of listening to short stories read by people who mumble, or by people who so overact that you end up paying more attention to the acting and less to the actual words.
But even if the book on tape/podcast/etc is perfectly put together, and even if I can get myself to focus enough so as to keep up with the story, for me, the aural short story just can’t compete with the physical and cognitive experience of holding a book in your hands and seeing the words on paper.
The fact that I (and I’m guessing, many other people as well) tend to prefer reading text than listening to it is somewhat ironic, seeing as it’s the oral tradition that came first. Then again, the stories told thousands of years ago are pretty different from today’s stories, aren’t they? Compared to the epic tales of yesteryear told by master storytellers, many of today’s short stories are big on prose and nuance, which I don’t think translate quite as well to the oral form.
Which is not to say today’s stories are not worth listening to. Read more »