Hey im Alex, Check out the Bio on Joe, that guy has some solid nerd credentials with all the appropriate pop culture references from the 80’s/90’s. What a guy… No, seriously the dude is a nerd, but as he said thats cool now.
My journey to this point is a little different. I really struggled with english classes at school, which ended with my sitting in the bottom sets for both english language and literature. My school was very mulit-cultural, so a lot of the kids in my class were learning english as their second language (most of whom ended up getting much better results than me in exams by the end of school). While most of my class were learning that the plural of mouse wasn't mouses, and the ridiculous amount of exceptions to the rules in the english language. I sat there pretty bored.
One day I was soooo bored. I picked up a book from one of the shelves in the class, “Of mice and men” John Steinbeck… it was alright. I picked up many other titles over the next few years, Frankenstein: Mary Shelly, The Sign of Four: Conan Doyle (i read all the sherlock holmes books) The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde: Robert Louis Stevenson, Shakespeare’s comedies (by the way, hilarious as a 14 year old kid… sarcasm if you can’t tell)
The english classroom library was full of “core text” books that you would associate with a class room, but then I found The Merlin Chronicles: Mike Ashley. A collection of short stories written by different authors but all magic and adventure from the golden age of Arthurian legend. Now, this isn’t the best fantasy book i've read, it would struggle to make it into my top 50. But it showed me that there were books written that were not considered literary masterpieces but were fun to read.
I continued to read, not specifically sci-fi and fantasy, just anything that took my fancy. I started reading fiction from big book prize short lists, found some gems (wolf hall: Hilary Mantel) and some terrible books (I'm not going to name books i didn’t enjoy but harold fry, you can do one mate) More and more sci-fi and fantasy started to be my chosen genres, I still read other categories of books, but less so now.
Joe listened to audiobooks for a long time before i started, i always considered it to be “cheating” the lazy way of reading books (sorry Joe). However over time Joe convinced me to give it a go, and honestly … it's great. I still read, I love the feel of a book, I get tactile pleasure from knowing how far I am through a book by the feel of it in my hands. Audiobooks however are something different, The narrator for me can make or break a good audio book, when they get it right, the book is taken to a whole new level. The fact you can get on with other things and still listen is brilliant, not having to dedicate your precious time to reading alone is fantastic.
I will always read books… But audiobooks will always be part of my life now, and i'm thankful to Joe for introducing me to them. That’ll do pig, that’ll do.
Hi I'm Joe, and I'm a sci fi and fantasy nerd. But it's ok cos thats cool now right?! How did I get into it? Well like most kids from the 80's who have similar interest I have to put it down to irresponsible parents... OK it was my dad.
We (my sister and I) were allowed to watch pretty much anything from the age of about 6 upwards . Aliens, Robocop, Terminator, Conan, Krull, Flash Gordon, along with more kid friendly stuff obviously, The princess bride, Flight of the navigator, The last star fighter, Star trek, Starwars (and spaceballs of course) you name it we watched it. But the film that sent me down the book path never to come back was the Neverending Story, we loved that film ( my sister had a crush on Atreyu that probably accounts for repeat viewings!) and when I saw the book in a charity shop I got it, read it in a few days, and discovered something. The book was BETTER than the film! I know, real shocker right! But it really was to me at that age, like where was 50% of the book? I don't mean like Tom Bombadil not appearing in lord of the rings, I mean literally half the book. It didn't even really get going till Bastian goes to fantasia and starts making wishes, the END of the film. WTF was going on?
That started me on the path, what really nailed me onto it was Dune! I watched the film, thought it was cool and then read the book, all of them as far as they had gotten. That's not a light read and again where was all the detail in the film? I mean they tried but so much was changed and so much not there. I've not looked back since (I even read the prequels, don't pain yourself) and have read god knows how many books, but then life one day catches up be it job or kids or whatever and that free time you had, that you took for granted, suddenly isn't there. Like it just snuck off when you turned your back for a second.
Audiobooks were like a saviour for me! Traveling to and from work, listen to a book. Cooking for the kids, listen to a book. Walking the dogs, listen to a book! It's just so much easier to find the time to listen than to sit and not be disturbed every 5 minutes. When a book is well narrated (and by and large they are) it changes the experience, gives characters real character.
That sounds obvious but when I'm reading I'm not always giving people accents or a specific voice but it builds a more believable world in my head. You'll learn to love certain narrators and may listen to books you never imagined you would because you know its going to be well done. It puts new life into stories you already know. If I've read a book and liked it I'm nearly always going to give the audiobook a listen and about 90% of the time I'm glad i did. 9 out of 10 is pretty good, and if you don't like it, return it and try something new. It's hard to make you appreciate how good a GOOD audiobook is! I still read when I can, but I wouldn't be without audiobooks again.
I hope you'll join us on our journey!
Between us we have read or listened to hundreds of Sci-fi and Fantasy books. We very much enjoy discussing and recommending books to each other. Now we would like to open that discussion a bit wider and see what you guys have to say.
Looking forward to some great listens and some greater comment discussions.