I've been a devoted fan of audiobooks for more than three years and can not imagine going back to the days of not having a book going on the CD player while I'm driving in the car. Having said that, I have to acknowledge the problems that can sometimes occur when listening to audiobooks:
1. As the audio comes on during my first drive of each day, I can't immediately place what is happening within the context of what I had listened to the previous day, requiring me to hit rewind to take me back to a place that I recognize.
2. If I'm driving someplace unfamiliar, I can't listen to my GPS and my audiobook at the same time.
3. There are simply some days when I am preoccupied by other things and whatever it is that I am listening to is just not going to register. On these days I find myself repeatedly hitting the replay button.
While the above hold true for me regardless of the book I am listening to, I've also made the observation that some audiobooks are just harder to follow than others. This point especially hit home as I listened to The Killer is Dying, by James Sallis. The problem for me was that the story is told from the points of view of three separate characters and I sometimes had trouble keeping track of which character was doing the talking. I kept wondering if I would have had this same problem if I had been reading the book rather than listening to it. And I'm not completely sure I should be blaming the narrator either.
There was much that I liked about The Killer is Dying - it was noir with characters facing situations that were sufficiently serious to earn my sympathy, even for the bad guys. Aspects of the story were brilliantly plotted, with a twist at the end that was absolutely jaw dropping. And overall, Sallis combines words into sentences in a way that I found to be very satisfying. I will probably be coming back to him at some later date.
Since many of my Dead Guy posts offer reviews of books I've recently read or listened to, this is the perfect opportunity for me to add a few not so random thoughts regarding Lynne's March 14 post about book reviews.
1. As someone who has been an avid reader, especially during the past ten years, not only do I know what I like, but I also know enough about the kind of writing I don't like that I am pretty good at avoiding it. Unfortunately, I have also learned that I can't necessarily count on the starred reviews in Publisher's Weekly as a sign of the quality that I am looking for.
2. Because I have also done a very small amount of fiction writing during the past five or six years, when I pick up someone else's published writing, I have the expectation that it is going to be better than the stuff I have written. The ultimate compliment I can give upon finishing someone's book is "wow, I wish I had written that." My ultimate diss is to escoriate the writer for having wasted my time.
3. I think some reviewers resort to snark because they mistakenly think that it will make them sound clever.
4. When you think about it, pretty much everyone who works in a library is a reviewer, although in most cases the reviews we provide are never written down.