Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Sounds for tired eyes

I recently discovered two great things if: one, you're a reader and two, you're prone to being so lazy that although you want some literary enlightenment, you can't be bothered to actually read.

The first discovery was Project Gutenberg, an online audio book resource that allows you to listen to books online. There are a range of classics here from each genre, and the Top 100 gives you a glimpse into what others are reading/listening to.

There's something about listening to a book being read aloud that is a very different experience to reading. It allows my mind to drift in a way that I do not normally associate with reading, and leaves the final experience somewhere between reading and television - except in the case of the latter my brain is supplying the picture.

It was at PG that I made my second discovery: the Ernest Brahmer Max Carrados detective stories. Some of you may have guessed that crime and detective fiction are a personal passion of mine, and one of my greatest ambitions is to write in the genre myself one day. Brahmer's blind detective Max Carrados is written in the style of Conan Doyle's Holmes, and in the story I listened to, Max's old schoolfriend Carlisle plays the part of the blundering Watson. Recommended.

As well as audiobooks, the site has a gazillion e-books that can be downloaded for free. The top 100 makes interesting reading in itself. Number 1 on the list when I visited was The Kama Sutra, at 4 was the Manual of Surgery (scary much) and I was glad to see Jane Austen's P&P at 6.
I'm not sure that ebooks are ready to go as universal as mp3 players yet, but I can recommend this site for the audio books alone. Yes, I am obviously turning into a pensioner.

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