Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Audio Books

In one of my posts mentioned the huge amount of audio books on sale at National Book Store. In that post I revealed that I was able to buy a small bag of audio book.

What is an audio book?

Well as far as I know audio books. Are recorded narrations of literary works, fiction or non-fiction.

My first encounter with this type of audio book was a tape containing the recorded narration of Richard Lederer's Anguished English. A book about the idiosyncracies of the English language. The book was of course a hilarious read and suprisingly the audio book was as funny. The narrator was of course the author Richard Lederer. Often times the audio book is narrated by the author but there are also instances when an actor would be the reader/narrator or storyteller if the book dealt with fiction. Most of the audio books readers I encountered were British actors - Stephen Fry, Tim Currie, and Imelda Stanton.

Most of the other audio books you see in the bookstore today belong business and self-help literature. Im OK Your Fine tome or the leadership secrets of Atilla the Hun (slash and burn). These do not appeal to me, unless they are perhaps portrayed in a funny manner.

The other type of audio book is the radio play. These are the dramatisations of stories. Before Internet, cable TV and TV there was radio. There were even variety shows on radio. During the onset of Martial Law I regularly listened to Gabi ng Lagim and Simatar on local radio.

One the best hoaxes ever done was Orson Welles radio teleplay of War of the Worlds. He shifted the story from England to the US and modified the form of storytelling to make it look like a live broadcast. And people believed it a lot of people panicked. And naturally were not thrilled when Welles announced that the radioplay was a prank.

Radio plays are entertaining. The Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy first came out as a radio play. And even Tolkien's Lord of the Ring Trilogy was completey adapted to Radio predating Jackson's version of the trilogy. Ian Holm , who later played Bilbo in the movie, was Frodo and Bill Nighy, the funny and eccentric rock star in "Love Actually", played Sam.

By now you might have an inkling of what audio books I bought. Well it was shall we say an odd bunch of Radio Dramatisations. The two audio books I listen to often are Yes Minister and Old Hal's Game.

Yes Minister are the audio recordings of the BBC satire of British Politics and Government. Filled with sarcasm, repartee and wit it is unabashedly funny. It does however give one's pause about the merit of a parliamentary system

Old Hal's Game is a comedy set in Hell. Satan tortures sinners and by an odd set of luck is plagued by scientist who initially does not believe he is hell. Throughout the series Satan punishes with satiric impunity, survives a rebellion, tries to find an assistant. Its cast include the killer dolphin chuckles and Nigel the almighty.

Yes, I do like audiobooks, both readings and dramatisations.


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