Tag Archives: audiobooks

The Book Backlog (update 5)

Status: 29 books read and 1 books left to read before new Credit.

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The Backlog list

Kindle edition

  1. 1Q84, by Haruki Murakami
  2. The Windup Girl, by Paolo Bacigalupi
  3. Rashomon and Seventeen Other Stories, by
  4. Room, by Emma Donoghue
  5. Clash of Kings, by George R.R Martin
  6. Lolita, by Vladimir Nabokov


  1. Bank 2.0: How Customer Behaviour and Technology Will Change The Future of Financial Services, by Brett King
  2. Crisis Economics: A Crash Course in the Future of Finance, By Nouriel Roubini
  3. Byzantium: The Surprising Life of a Medieval Empire, by Judith Herrin
  4. River Town: Two Years on the Yangtze, by Peter Hessler
  5. Shadow of the Silk Road, by Colin Thurbon
  6. The Making of Modern Britain, by Andrew Marr
  7. The Essential Bertrand Russel Collection, by Bertrand Russel
  8. History of Western Philosophy, by Bertrand Russel
  9. Homicide: A Year On The Killing Streets, by David Simon

Paperback/Hardback edition

  1. Born To Run, by Christopher McDougall
  2. Once A Runner, by John L.Parker JR.
  3. The Fate of Africa: A History of Fifty Years of Independence, by Martin Meredith
  4. After The Prophet, by Lesley Hazleton
  5. Puskas On Puskas, by Ferenc Puskas
  6. Hitler’s Willing Executionaries, by Daniel Jonah Goldhagen
  7. We wish to inform you that tomorrow we will be killed with our families, by Philip Gourevitch
  8. The World Cup’s Strangest Moments, by Peter Sheddon
  9. Hitler’s Empire, by Mark Mazower
  10. What i talk about when i talk about running, by Haruki Murakami
  11. The Myth of Sisyphus, by Albert Camus
  12. A long way gone: Memoirs of a child soldier, by Ishmael Beah
  13. Money (Art of Living), by Eric Lonergan
  14. The Gate, by Francois Bizot
  15. Pompei: The Life of a Roman Town, by Mary Beard
  16. Fast Food Nation: What the All-American Meal is doing to the World, by Eric Schlosser
  17. Massoud: An Intimate Portrait of the Legendary Afghan Leader, by Marcela Grad


  1. Baudolino, by Umberto Eco
  2. A Quiet Belief in Angels, by R.J. Ellory
  3. Say You’Re One of Them, by Uwem Akpan
  4. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
  5. The Fall, by Albert Camus
  6. Small Island, by Andrea Levy
  7. Everything Illuminated, by Safran Foer
  8. The Bookseller of Kabul, by Asne Seierstad
  9. Uncle Petros and Goldbach’s Theorem, by Apostolos Doxiadis
  10. The Complete Stories Vol. I, by Isaac Asimov
  11. 2001: A Space Odyssey, by Arthur C. Clarke


  1. Lolita, by Vladimir Nabokov
  2. In the Garden of Beasts, by Erik Larson
  3. Bring Up the Bodies, by Hilary Mantel
  4. The Count of Monter Cristo, by Alexander Dumas
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Posted by on March 27, 2013 in Books


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Audiobooks – more than a year later

More than a year ago i first posted about my desire to explore the world of audiobooks. I assumed many things at the time and i was wrong about most of them.

1. Only listen to non-fiction books
In fact i much prefer to listen to fiction books. I’ve only read 1 non-fiction compared to 4 fiction audiobooks. The reason? Partly, it’s easier to be immersed with fiction if you click with the narrator.

2. The listening experience could not compare with the act of reading books
The narrator plays a crucial role in the experience of an audiobook. For example the narrator in Fatherland, Michael Jayston, added to my experience with his pronounciation of German names and words. It immersed me to a Nazi Germany in a way which i doubt i would have been able to do on my own, simply by reading.

What i’me trying to say is that you are experiencing books in a whole different way. It has not diminished nor reduced my reading experience. It has simply added to it.

3. Re-read old books instead of reading new
I’ve only read new books so far. I would like to give my favourite books a go at some point. An unabridged version of We Need To Talk About Kevin would be interesting.

But there are some things i was right about.

1. It’s an acquired skill and taste
You can get a lot more enjoyment once you’ve let go of any reservations about the format. That took a while and i have to admit that i still have difficulties.

For example, i purchased Lolita, which is narrated by Jeremy Irons. I thought “wow, this is going to be fantastic”. But once i started listening i just could not understand a word of what he was saying. I attempted it a few times but to no avail. I eventually gave up.

2. The rate at which you can read (listen to) books dramatically increases
You can get a lot more reading done this way. That in itself is very satisfying.

I don’t love audiobooks yet but i think i’m getting there.

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Posted by on March 6, 2013 in Books


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Audiobooks – my experience

As i mentioned in January, i wanted to explore the world of audiobooks.

The first attempt was with How We Decide and it proved to be a disaster. I did most of the listening during my walks as i wanted to minimise the distractions i.e. no multitasking. In spite of this, my mind kept drifting away. It could be that the subject matter was not suitable for audiobooks as it does have some technical information and tests/experiments and so t i often found myself thinking of other things. But i never rewound the audiobook to listen to those parts again. I found it inconvenient to do so. So it was pretty much a fail.

However, that was not the end of the audiobooks experience. A friend of mine, let’s call him Loud O, recommended that i listened to the audiobook while actually reading the book. So i did.

I did it with The Sense of an Ending, by Julian Barnes. It was much, much better but not perfect as i did have some problems with the experience..

The first is that i had to consciously try to synchronise my reading with the narration. Sometimes i was ahead while less often behind. And if i wanted to highlight a passage or re-read it i had to pause the audiobook. Too fiddly and distracting, making me over think of how i was reading instead of what i was reading. I imagine it is something that might improve over time but i believe this will always be an issue to some extent.

Another drawback was the narrator. Although i thought he was very good, at a certain point in the book his tone changed. I don’t know if he did that part of the narration at a different time than the previous passages but it was noticeable. My mind kept thinking about the change constantly for the next 20-25 pages once again ruining the immersion.

The third drawback is of course, the cost. The audiobook cost me US$13.45 and the ebook US$12.40 i.e.US$27.75. This is simply too high a cost for reading and listening to books. Certainly not worth doing for more than a few times a year.

I am not done with audiobooks yet. I will do a few more audiobooks the regular way and also a couple more the Loud O way in the future.

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Posted by on March 27, 2012 in Books


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Audiobooks – testing, testing

The idea of listening to a book has never appealed to me even when a few friends suggested audiobooks as an alternative way of consuming books.

I’ve always wondered whether the people who listen to audiobooks are people who used to read books and then switched (fully or partially) or whether these are people who previously did most of their reading through audiobooks or even did not read at all before audiobooks.

Personally, the act of reading is something i treasure. I love its simplicity and its demand for concentration. It requires the attention of your eyes and hands and it’s a completely personal experience whether you are sitting at a coffeeshop, lying on a public beach or your living room couch.

But is it inefficient?

Audiobooks have some obivious advantages, the first of which is the time investment required to do it. The second (and related to the first one) is that it allows one to multitask such as exercise, drive, do some gardening or even cook while listening to the audiobook. As long as the other task is repetitive enough and requires limited thinking, concentration on the audiobook is possibly not a problem. I know that from listening to podcasts and i imagine it’s similar with audiobooks.

Frankly, in spite of these advantages, i can’t see myself reading books in this way. Even if it means reading twice or three times as many books within the same time period.

A significant part of the pleasure comes along with the inefficiencies of reading. It’s a package.

However i will give audiobooks a chance, for a specific purpose.

Re-reading books.

There are always lots of books i want to re-read but rarely manage to do so. I’ve chosen a non-fiction book for this test because i can’t see myself being immersed in a fictional world and story while listening to someone narrating other than my own inner voice. Especially a world i have already imagined and fantasized about.

Let’s see how this goes.

The audiobook is How We Decide by Jonah Lehrer which i first read a couple of years ago.


Posted by on January 13, 2012 in Books


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