Listen

I am considering re-releasing My Name Is Sam … and Heaven Is Still Shining Through as an audiobook. The only problem is, I’m not a big fan of audiobooks. In fact, until last weekend, I had never listened to an audiobook.

Don’t get me wrong. It isn’t that I’m opposed to audiobooks … it’s just a medium I have resisted. Than again, I’m not a big Kindle fan either. Give me an old-fashioned ink on paper book any time. I’m comfortable with that medium. I can refer back or skip ahead without too much trouble. Books — real books — are my comfort zone.

My publisher, Higher Ground Books & Media, first proposed the idea. When I bounced the idea by my publicist, Catherine Townsend Lyon, she gave me a quick and emphatic thumbs up.

I do get it. Audiobooks are the new “thing” in publishing. I recognize the advantages, like listening while on commutes, long trips, exercising, or if you might be visually impaired. It’s sort of like story time at the library … someone else capturing the emotion and inflection of the book.

So, I downloaded Audible and decided to listen to a book on my weekend trip to Maine. I downloaded Everything You Wanted to Know About the Heroes in Blue by Charlotte Hopkins and, more important, narrated by Andrea Watkins, one of my narrator audition finalists.

Watkins passed my listening test. She had a matronly voice with a good range of inflection and emotion. She certainly wasn’t monotone, although the reading did come off like a reader reading a script.

That could have been the material she had. Heroes in Blue is a collection of stories about law enforcement personnel. They were interesting stories — although I couldn’t tell you who the stories were about {I could if I had the book in front of me} — and each vignette seemed staged, almost like a  themed project. There was a character introduction; his or her qualifications, background, and accomplishments; personal testimony by the character and/or family and friends; and always ending with the question of what they would say to someone considering law enforcement as a career. While the details of each vignette  changed, the format was stagnant. For that reason, I gave the book three stars.

Some of the stories are powerful, often highlighting the danger of law enforcement with the emotions on full display. It’s not always pretty and the tales show how crass some officers can be when staring at and working with the worst in humanity. But there was also ample examples of compassion — a side of law enforcement that often gets downplayed.

A number of the stories also involved legal issues … officers being denied benefits for both on job and off job injuries, getting lost in bureaucracy, and seeing criminals get preferential treatment because of who they know. While they were “life has done me wrong” stories, I felt they were one-sided. I  would have liked to know why the benefits were denied, what the facts were from both sides. Sorry, it’s the newspaperman in me.

The stories do show another side of law enforcement — the human side. Law enforcement officers are human with human feelings and emotions, with families of their own. They feel pain, hurt, laughter … even after seeing the ugly side of life.

It had a running time of 8 hours and 54 minutes reflecting the stories of about a half dozen officers plus dedications, prefaces and author information. Personally, for me, it was a little long to listen.

Everything You Wanted To Know About Heroes in Blue (audiobook), Charlotte Hopkins, author; Andrea Watkins, narrator; Publisher, Higher Ground Books & Media; $13.97 or 1 credit. Listening Length, 8 hours and 54 minutes, unabridged. Whispersync for Voice, Ready. Audible release date, July 18, 2019; English. ASIN, B07VFCQCKK

Paperback, 276 pages, $12.99 (Prime). Publisher: Higher Ground Books & Media (Feb. 20, 2019); English; ISBN-10: 1949798151; ISBN-13: 978-1949798159

Kindle, $2.99 after credits; File Size: 539 KB;age Numbers Source ISBN: 1949798151; Publisher: Higher Ground Books & Media (Feb. 19, 2019); Sold by: Amazon.com Services; English; ASIN: B07NXQ6C1R; Text-to-Speech: Enabled; Word Wise: Enabled; Lending: Enabled; Screen Reader: Supported; Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled

Generally speaking, I found my creativity stifled listening to the audiobook. I let my neurons free range on road trips, flitting from one random thought to another. My imagination runs wild. Some would say it runs amok. Instead, my neurons seemed caged, focused more on listening to the book than sparking thoughts. By the time I reached my destination, I was mentally tired, not mentally stimulated.

 

 

I would love your input about audiobooks. Have you “read” audiobooks? Which ones work best? Do you enjoy them?

At any rate, I may very well go ahead with my audiobook plans. The jury is out whether I  would actually listen.

THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: There are lots of people I admire and respect, but I don’t necessarily want to be like them. I’m too happy being myself. — James D’arcy

About wisdomfromafather

I'm just an ordinary guy walking along the journey of life.
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