Archive for May 21, 2010

In the end, did Jane Eyre win the fight over boring housework ?

May 21, 2010 Leave a comment

 On May 13th, I said I was trying a new experiment to transform housework into something tolerable by listening to books. I chose Jane Eyre, a book I had not read. Well, the experience is over, I’ve listened to the entire book, which means 20,50 hours of mp3 files. Don’t misunderstand me, I haven’t done 20,50 hours of cleaning since May 13th, I don’t have obsessive-compulsive disorder !

 Apart from one man with a strange accent, the readers were very good, at least, as far as English is concerned. I had a lot of trouble in understanding when Adèle, Jane Eyre’s pupil, spoke French, I could not recognize my mother tongue in those pronunciations. Obviously, it wouldn’t have happened with the paper book. Though, it must have been a challenge for all these volunteers to read a whole chapter without stumbling on words, coughing or whatever else. If there were cuts, I didn’t hear them, except for one or two times. Most of them changed their voice from one character to another whenever there was a dialog, to make them sound more vivid.

Though I liked it and it really distracted my ironing sessions, it could not replace the paper copy of the book.

First, it’s difficult to save quotes, I had to find a pdf-file version to copy the passages I liked or found interesting. You need to remember that in chapter n°___ there was a nice sentence or paragraph and then look for it in the pdf-file. It lacks the fluidity of writing brackets with a pencil, note down the number of the page and going on with the reading.

Second, it’s tricky to stop in the middle of a chapter, which means, that if the chapter is one hour and a half of listening, you have to find that free time or “hand-busy but mind-free” time to go through the chapter in a single time. It’s not so easy.

Third, you have to remember where you stopped in the story, ie, the number of the chapter and what it was about. With a paper book, you just use a bookmark and when you start reading it again after some time, you quickly go through the last pages or so, to bring you back where you left the characters. With audio book, that is more complicated.

Fourth, you don’t have the pleasure to read several times in a row a beautiful passage just because it struck you. I often do that when I read. If I enjoy a sentence, because I find it beautifully written, I read it several times, to keep it in mind, to retain its beauty before I go on.

And of, course, if like me, you don’t understand all the words, then you don’t know their spelling to look for them in the dictionary.

However, despite all these little troubles due to a long habit of reading books instead of listening to them, I will probably do it again, with a shorter book. It tastes a bit like childhood, when parents read stories and you’re only listening.

If you’re interested :

Categories: About reading
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