Saturday, June 28, 2014
The Power of the Narrative
I recently drove to New York for a Caribbean Book Fest. I love driving, and I was looking forward to being in the New Jersey/New York area, but somehow I was dreading that drive. For reasons that I will not state here ... I planned to stick close to the speed limit and each time I considered the four hour drive it seemed to stretch out towards an unreachable horizon.
At the last minute I had a brilliant idea. Already en route, I swung by the library and picked up three audio books. My children were with me, so I had to pick something suitable for everyone. There were groans from my son, primarily because, although it was a fantasy it was one with dragons and princesses. He put on his headphones and settled down to sleep. There were groans from my daughter, I suspect just because it was my idea and groaning seemed to be the right thing to do.
But there is something about listening to a (well-read and well-written) story that forces you to pay attention. You can't skip over the descriptions or look ahead to see what happens. You have to absorb the novel as it unfolds. About an hour into the drive the phone rang and the story paused. Both children protested. They had been listening, and attentively. When we arrived at our destination we sat in the car for a while to hear the end of the chapter.
On the negative side, my son commented that he did not like it because the voices that the narrator used were so different from the ones he would have created in his head, but this may have been primarily because the narrator was female. But the pros of listening to an audio book are many, for both children and adults and so, a possible good medium to use to target an increasingly mobile audience.