Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Talking about Talking Books

Last weekend I did something new so that this weekend I can do something new.


Let me explain.

Last weekend I took the plunge and joined the Hamilton City Library.

It has been literally years since I belonged to a library.

I have just never been a library fan which is odd given my passion for books and my desire for people to switch off their reliance on tellys for entertainment and delve into a good story.

Libraries mean that everyone, no matter what their financial status, can have access to a vast array of not only books but information. Most libraries now contain collections of all types of media: maps, prints, or other documents and artworks on various storage media such as microform (microfilm/microfiche), audio tapes, CDs, LPs, cassettes, videotapes, and DVDs. Libraries may also provide public facilities to access CD-ROMs, subscription databases, and the Internet. Most of this is either free or at a nominal charge.

My personal aversion to libraries was that I like to read new releases hot of the press...and so unfortunately does everyone else.

Frustration at not being able to get what I wanted when I wanted + Long waits on reservation lists = Very grumpy Kelly.

It was far easier to visit the local Whitcoulls (or grab a bargain on TradeMe) than to bother with waiting in a cue that for very popular titles can be over 100 people long (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was one example of this at the Palmerston North City Library.)

Another issue I have with libraries is purely an attitude problem of my own making. My mother will be ashamed should she ever know this but, I don't actually like to share very much and especially not when it comes to books.

I want my own copies of the books I read, to enjoy at my own leisure not when the set lending period expires. I want to be able to put them on my shelf and admire them afterwards. I want to be able to be able to pluck them off the bookcase and revisit them like old friends whenever the mood takes me. I want to be able to say to friends that drop by: "Oh so-and-so's book was brilliant! I have a copy here if you would like to borrow it?"

Having recently returned to the world of tertiary study, I know no longer have the disposable income to go out and purchase brand new books whenever I please so I have been forced to swallow my frustrations and past snobbish attitudes and sign up.

So this brings me round to what I will do this weekend. The newest member of the HCC Library (me) intends to spend her long Easter weekend listening to her first audio book.

A dear friend has long extolled the virtues of "talking books" - which I have up until now politely ignored. She is housework intolerant so pops on her discman while cleaning to make it slightly more bearable. She listens while driving to and from work each day. She has even been known to luxuriate in a bubble bath while "plugged in." (I guess that way you don't have to worry about getting the pages damp which is always my big bath reading bug-bear.)

So having listened for the upteenth time to her "pleasures of audio books" sermon, I decided to take the plunge and try one for myself. Since the cost of buying an audio book brand new is extremely prohibitive even if I still had my lovely fortnightly salary (often as much as NZ$100 for a popular story) the library was the place to go.

I have selected a lovely light chick lit novel for my first foray into audio books - 31 Dream Street by Lisa Jewell.

I will let you know how all 10 hours and 50 minutes of listening time goes.


Julian said...

Haha love the title and the pic of blogger you.
Good luck with the 52 titles I've only managed to finish about 4 non study related books so far this year. Ugghhh.

Karla said...

I definitely understand your library snobbery, and like you I have had to curb by book buying habits and join the library. And although I am grateful that I have the opportunity to be able to hire books my one gripe is that the books I want never seem to be in when I acutally make the effort to go to the library.
I will be very interested to see what you have to say about the audio book...