February 25 2007

Was that in the book?

My dad works for me in my shipping department. While he packs boxes he listens to books on tape. Makes sense, packing boxes is mindless work. Normally I don’t pay much attention to them, but today I was pulling product and I hear what sounds like an old radio show…then a book….then back to the radio show. I asked him what it was and he said it was John Grisham’s The Bleachers. I asked that he turn it off until I was done.

Now, I’m sure you’re wondering why….even if you aren’t, too bad.

I have no problem with the concept of audio books, and I feel they are perfect for people such as my dad who used them when he was a traveling salesman, and now when he is packing boxes and it gives him something to listen to. The one caveat I have to this rule is, they must maintain the integrity of the work. As someone who writes for fun, and has written professionally, I was offended by the idea of adding effects to the story. It is the job of the writer to set the scene, describe the sounds you are hearing. To add special effects is offensive to me. When I have written, I would love to have a sound chip with my writings, saving all that pesky time of describing what’s going on.

What’s next? Adding musical scores to build the tension? Horse sound effects like an old time radio trick? Scratch-n-sniff cards?

No thank you.

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