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Audiobooks & Radio Dramas: Only Substitutes for Real Books & Theatre?

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1 month ago

Are audiobooks & radio dramas only substitutes for real books & theatre, or are they separate forms of art in themselves? I would say that they can be both at the same time.

I am not overly fond of audiobooks, because I'm a very fast reader and find them too time-consuming. However, they have their uses, not only for people with reduced vision, but otherwise as well. You have your hands and eyes free and can do something else at the same time. It is also easier to listen with a hands-free than to read a book, for instance, on a bus or while driving a car (although not with a hands-free while driving) or during physical exercise. Moreover, sometimes audiobooks are easier available and cheaper to get than ordinary books. As a matter of fact, you can find thousands of audiobooks for free on YouTube. They can be downloaded as audio files and it won't cost you anything. Just search for “audiobooks”. The quality of the reading varies, but most of them are at least adequate. After all, they are free.

If you don't mind paying, there are many sites with audiobooks, easy to find with Google or some other search engine.

The quality of an audiobook is not simply the quality of the book someone reads, it is also dependent on the one reading it loud. This is a form of art in itself, a form of acting. It requires a good voice by nature, and the ability to handle it – basically the same qualities making a great narrator in television. It's not surprising that the best narrators often are professional actors. However, that is not always the case.

We have previously discussed a couple of authors of horror fiction, so, for those with a taste for that genre, I want to recommend something called HorrorBabble. That's a YouTube channel with a large number of excellently read horror stories and with new stories coming all the time. There you can find works by H.P. Lovecraft and Edgar Allan Poe, but also many other authors. Ian Gordon reads most of them, and he is doing that very well; indeed, his readings are of good professional quality.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCIvp_SM7UrKuFgR3W77fWcg/playlists

A related, but still altogether different genre is the Radio Drama. That is theatre made for radio. It is not to be seen as a crippled form of ordinary theatre, but as a genre of art in itself, separate from ordinary theatre. The preconditions are entirely different. And a radio drama is not an audiobook, but something else - even if the two genres are sometimes confused, and even overlapping at times.

It is hardly a surprise that the best Radio Dramas in the English language were and are made by BBC, which, in terms of quality, is arguably the best radio and television company in the history of broadcasting. There are lots of them on YouTube. I will not give a lot of links, because this sort of material turns up and disappears all the time. Just use the search function.

One link, however, where you right now can find some BBC Radio Dramas, is https://www.youtube.com/c/ThinkingOutLoudBBC/playlists

If you like old time radio shows (in reality being audiobooks, radio dramas or something in between), especially in the genres of horror, crime, science fiction or, to some extent, western, then I suggest you take a look at these links:

https://www.youtube.com/hashtag/oldtimeradio

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC25J6ueIa1L2NTqbbAeGN7A/playlists

Related articles:

Poe: A Personal View

Lovecraft was More than Horror

Palais Garnier, the Phantom & a Detective with a Bullet-shaped Head

Why I Don't Like Batman Movies: About the Correlation Between Characters & Their Environment

A Song of Ice and Fire - Game of Thrones: Books, TV series & Quotes

Classical British & American TV-Series

Here you can find my articles about TV & Movies, and about Literature & History of Literature.

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Copyright © 2019, 2022 Meleonymica/Mictorrani. All Rights Reserved.

(Image by xarkamx/Pixabay, CC0/Public Domain.)

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Comments

I think audiobooks are great for learners of a particular language as well, and it's a good bridge for people whose first love is not reading. My sons actually used audiobooks a lot. They don't like to read naturally, but they read along with audiobooks.

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1 month ago

Undoubtedly an advantage.

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1 month ago

Audiobooks are cool and some people don't know much about them, it has helped a lot of students that have struggled with reading.

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1 month ago

That's also an aspect, yes.

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1 month ago

I love listening to audiobooks including podcast and part of that is because I want to develop a good accent. Listening is one of the best way to develop speaking skills and that's my purpose why I also consider audiobooks during my free time.

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1 month ago

Yes, that can also be a good reason to listen to audiobooks. However, think of that the accent is not always the same. For instance: there is a significant difference between British English and American English.

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1 month ago