n 1: Listening to Books

The essayist Sven Birkerts claims that all good reading involves self-mediation, effort, “collaboration” between the reader and the book, whereas audio books “determine” everything—“pace, timbre, inflection”—for the “captive listener.” The blogger and critic Scott Esposito is less careful to mask his snobbery: “Don’t go pretending like you’re some kind of big-time reader because you consumed the complete works of Balzac via mp3. No, you’re some guy who listened to an iPod while cooking dinner.” And when a New York Times reporter asked Harold Bloom a couple of years ago what he thought of audio books, the great Yale humanist told her that “deep reading really demands the inner ear as well as the outer ear.” It requires, he continued, the use of “that part of you which is open to wisdom. You need the text in front of you.” This sounds to me somewhat peculiar, but a lot of people basically agree with it. They believe that whatever part of you is “open to wisdom” is a part that can be activated only through the eyes.

Unless, of course, you are blind. In which case everything is obviously completely totally different.

n 1: Listening to Books

Son Of Strelka, Son Of God (Narrated by Obama) – A Free Audio Story

Bit by bit I’ve dissected Obama’s self-read autobiography into thousands of very short phrases, usually one to ten words or so, and have used these snippets to tell a completely different story from the original. I’ve then set the story to music. The story is called Son Of Strelka, Son Of God. Broadly speaking, it tells the story of an ugly dog-faced demigod who recreates the world after it is destroyed. It’s about thirty minutes long, and lies in some weird grey area between audiobook and electronic music.

Wow. More in Slate.

Son Of Strelka, Son Of God (Narrated by Obama) – A Free Audio Story