In the past, one of the only ways you could only hear the words spilling out of your favorite author’s mouth was if you braved the masses and attended a reading. And even though you got to see said author in person, you only got the story once. No repeats. Now, because of the ever-growing world of the online literary journal, you can listen to a new or well-known author time and again, with the added bonus of being in your own home. Sure there are some earlier examples of author’s recordings such as ones of Yeats and those collected by Caedman, but none of these are so easily accessed as those on the internet. Shenandoah is featuring a couple of them in their newest edition. Both “Love, Creusa” by Amina Gautier and “Three Scenarios in Which Hana Sasaki Grows a Tail” by Kelly Luce have audio versions of the stories.
Audio recordings and readings affect me in different ways. The author can either completely ruin the story for me or make it entirely better. Either way, it always changes the way that I will read the story in the future. Sometimes, if the author has a bad reading voice, hearing one of your favorite stories being read aloud is like seeing your favorite book being made into a movie: shocking and somewhat disappointing, nothing as you had imagined it.
I usually find I am more receptive to an author’s own telling when it is one I have never read before. That way I have had no time to imagine the voices of the characters in my own particular way. I can more easily see them as the author sees them.
Typically, once I can get past the initial shock of another person’s voice grabbing hold of what I have come to think of as my characters, I can see the benefits. For example it is an extremely useful tool if you wish to have a greater understanding of the work as a whole. Good recordings allow you to get more of a glimpse into the author’s intentions. Hearing the story aloud, with the author’s own particular inflections and breath, adds an entirely new level of depth.
So what do you think of audio recordings of stories? Good or bad?