Reading and knitting

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To the question: can one knit and read at the same time, someone with a bit of common sense will most likely answer in the negative way.

So how are we supposed to combine these two passions? Dull people might just say “Well drop your needles and pick up a book” which is actually the easiest way to go.

But then there are audiobooks. I hardly meet people who are fond of audiobooks to be honest, probably because for avid readers, the idea of being read to is at odds with the idea of reading.

Audiobooks are met with polite skepticism among intellectuals, as if  confessing your use of it equalled your saying in a literature talk on Jane Austen that you only knew of her work through BBC series.

More generally speaking, it is a common opinion to believe that only those who can’t read (children) should be read to.

But audiobooks have some good in them: it makes one hear the text, its rhythms, its implied meaning and its repeated motifs. They are in keeping with old traditions of reading aloud and above all, they are a gentler immersion in a text, especially for the days when one feels a little tired.

And it allows knitters to knit away while listening to the stories of the greatest heroes and heroines of all times.

Of course, there is some inconvenience too (beside the impossibility of dogearing your audiobook), mainly because the audiobook industry is not a very rich one and  draws mostly on volunteering (like LibriVox) so that there are good things and not-so- good things to be found. More significantly, I think it is a pity that most audiobooks simply do not make the most of this medium: there is often but one reader, very little reflection on atmospheres or extra sounds, in a word it is a traditional reading-aloud while it could be much more in some cases – it could be genuine audio adaptations, without texy editing  like in some good quality radio programmes.

Do you know of any nice audiobooks? Gothic tales and fantasy are usually good (Lovecraft, Harry Potter,…).

I have just finished to listen to Edith Wharton’s House of Mirth via Librivox free version  and I must say it was quite nice – I had already read the novel a few years ago but I really enjoyed rediscovering the 1900s Gilded New York. And it enabled me to complete a  shawl, which I will show here pretty soon!

Links

LibriVox

 

4 thoughts on “Reading and knitting

  1. I’ve met people who could knit without looking. I guess knitting and reading at the same time is just the next step for them🙂 As for me, I love audiobooks + knitting combo

  2. Salut! Je viens juste de tomber sur ton blogue…ça m’a fait très plaisir de “feuilleter” ses pages (dans les deux langues ^^) ainsi que de lire tes impressions sur mon pays d’origine!

    This post really caught my attention – I love audiobooks! I started listening to them at night when I was a little girl (with HUGE box-sets of cassettes!!) and have continued through into adulthood (from CDs to MP3 files). I LOVE reading the printed word, but there are many works of fiction that I only know through the audio version.

    When I lived in the UK it was very easy to have access to very good quality audiobooks at my local library. Depending on the library, there is generally a wide selection ranging from the good old classics but also more contemporary fiction. More often than not they are read by a well-known actor (or narrated by the author!). Sometimes there are also radio adaptations which are multi-voiced and with music/sound effects etc. Next time you have a rainy afternoon,

    I’d recommend a trip to your local library and if you don’t find what you’re looking for, just ask – usually they are happy to order things in from other libraries (and sometimes it is free!). Some UK local libraries also now propose mp3 downloads straight onto your mp3 player, so no need to have a CD player to listen to your novels!

    Failing that, BBC radio 3 and 4 have a variety of excellent drama and reading programmes (e;g. book of the week, book at bedtime, afternoon reading, classic serial…) which you can listen to online for free on iplayer. (I’m actually listening to an adaptation of Charlotte Brontë’s “Vilette” at the moment, starring a very young Keira Knightly!).

    As for recommendations of books, how long have you got?!!!

    (Ouf, désolé, je t’ai écrit un veritable roman!)

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