I heard the saddest thing today.
I was talking to my students about the audiobooks that were so graciously donated to my classroom by Teri Lesesne and encouraging them for what felt like the zillionth time to give them a chance.
That’s when I heard it:
“We hate audiobooks because we had to listen to some really bad ones before.”
I have had to overcome negativity towards all sorts of stuff before: Shakespeare is boring. Reading is dumb. Writing is impossible.
We’re hard-wired to enjoy the act of story-telling. So what am I missing?
Oh wait. Much as I love audiobooks, they are right. There are some pretty hard-to-listen-to audiobooks out there. The slowly read textbook edition of Romeo and Juliet where they actually read the stage directions. The monotonous verbal stylings of some lesser productions of one book or another.
Imagine having to listen to one of these. Or two or three or ten of these. And not necessarily being exposed to any good ones. This probably isn’t any better for readers than giving them uninspiring reading material. Except it’s worse: it colors everything they remember about the literature as well.
(Sorry, audiobook narrators; no pressure or anything…)
So I pulled up Overdrive and Audible pages and played samples from audiobooks that I knew I loved. 13 Reasons Why. I Am a Genius of Unspeakable Evil and I Want to Be Your Class President. The Fault in Our Stars. ANYTHING narrated by Jim Dale (I played a bit from The Night Circus.).
They are coming around. But so far the only two to leave the box for anything more than a couple of minutes are a Curveball: The Year I Lost My Grip and The Sorceress. None of them are going home because – believe it or not – they don’t have easily accessible cd players and/or they don’t know how to rip them to put the books on their players or phones. (I gave a mini-tutorial to one class about ripping cds. Then I followed up with a quick review of how to download audio titles from the local library’s Overdrive site.)
I’m patient and persistent so I’m sure they will come around – just as they come around to reading.