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All happy families are alike

February 23, 2008

As I’m typing this, Anna Karenina is being downloaded to my computer as 712 mp3 files. (Part 156 coming down right now.) I bought it for EUR 12 from the site emusic.com where we buy a lot of excellent music. It’s a very good music store, with a LOT of good music, cheaper by far than iTunes store and without any limitations to how many devices you can play the music on (there’s two people in our family, we have one computer each at home, J has another computer at work, and we both have an iPod. This doesn’t exceed the number of times you can play an iTunes store bought track, but I think it comes close. And I like not supporting that kind of stupidity by buying from them, anyway.) And if a track you’ve once bought is lost for some reason, you can download it again from emusic.com without any extra fee.

This wasn’t going to be a sales pitch for emusic, though I do recommend checking them out, for anybody who is interested in music or audio books. I look forward to listening to almost 34 hours of Anna Karenina. I’ve never read it, as a matter of fact, just excerpts. An audio book is a very different animal from a regular book, not only for the obvious reason that it’s mediated by a person narrating it but also because there is no skimming, and the reading pace is set by another person. The narrator is very important, of course. As I wrote a few days ago, I wouldn’t want to listen to an American voice narrating Jane Austen – though that would depend on the person’s accent. Too-flat narrations are no good either, not if I’m paying money to listen to them, and I’m a bit sensitive to overly theatrical performances as well. A while ago, somebody read his own book on Swedish radio and it was just really painful to listen to, because he was trying to do various regional accents. Which is not a good idea unless you are a genious at accents.

There are enough excellent narrators in the world to keep me happy, though. Torgny Lindgren, as I mentioned before, and also my grade 7-9 Swedish teacher who taught us the history of literature partly by reading parts of the classics to us, making them come alive to us in a way that mere reading of the works wouldn’t have done (and I say this, who has always been fond of reading silently to myself.) Unfortunately neither of those gentlemen is available through emusic, which limits itself to English-language literature. I’m looking forward to discovering the best English narrators; I know of a few I like very much, but there has to be hundreds and hundreds that I would like if I’d heard them.

The download is complete and J is setting the table for lunch, so I’ll wrap this up. Keep listening to books.

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2 comments

  1. Good site!


  2. Thank you. I’m sure you don’t mind me removing the URL you posted, because it could have been mistaken for spam.



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