Thursday, March 11, 2010


My plan to get more reading in by using audiobooks is working splendidly. I listen during my morning walk/run, on my way to and from work, and any other time I can steal. The first novel I listened to was Kathryn Stockett's The Help (which is wonderful--I highly recommend it), and now I'm a little over half-way through Elizabeth Kostova's The Historian. This novel is simply amazing, rich and textured, with multiple storylines and widely varied settings, both geographically--New England, Oxford, Amsterdam, Istanbul, Budapest, Transylvania, Bulgaria--and through time. There are personal narratives (from academics to peasants), letters, and excerpts from ancient texts. It's a literary feast.

What's been funny to me, though, is that as I listen to this novel (and, I must admit, see it like a movie in my head), I keep wondering how the text looks on the page. What font is used? Are the epistles offset? Is this narrative italicized? Is the dragon woodcut reproduced or just described? How does that foreign name look in print? Is it spelled like this? or like that? How are the sections in each chapter separated? And on and on. I think that when I finish this audiobook, I'll have to stop by Hastings and take a look at the real thing.

The "real thing." Hmmmm. I guess that shows my prejudice. I love audiobooks; I really do. But there's just something about holding a book in my hands, feeling the weight of it, examining the texture of the paper, seeing the words in print.

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