Another reason to adore Stephen Fry…
I have been a Fryophile for many years – since A Bit of Fry and Laurie first aired back in the day – and admire many things about him – his comedy, his intellect, his honesty, his best friend, his love of Norfolk. The list is long, and would for you dear reader, probably become tedious too quickly to calculate.
Why this post? Simply because I feel able to stop feeling guilty about doing most of my reading through my ears these days and not my eyes. I have ingrained in me – for right or wrong – the belief that the printed word is superior. I also have a four-year-old daughter, a part-time job (three days each week), a house to clean, a weekly shop to buy, clothes to launder and a husband to feed. My beloved books have taken a back seat for a very long time – and very sad it makes me too.
So, buying a 1Gb Creative Zen Stone and an Audible subscription helped me to get some of my fix – but always with the feeling that actually I should be reading books, not listening to them. It’s illogical because I have signed petitions and promote accessible reading formats (braille, audio, large print etc) in those three days at work I mentioned earlier. If I were blind I would be frustrated by the many, many titles I would want to read with my ears and that I couldn’t because 95 per cent of books never make into accessible formats.
So, it is, I guess, just literary snobbishness on my part to feel that audio books are a guilty pleasure. Or, were until last night. I come (at last, you sigh) to the point. Stephen Fry stood up for the audiobook on Top Gear last night and, pathetic as it is, I suddenly don’t feel so bad about getting my reading done while I go to Sainsbury’s or clean the house or cook the tea.
If you would like some excellent listening, then check out these particularly fine titles from Audible (much better value than CDs): Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith, Restless by William Boyd, The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger, Quite Ugly One Morning by Christopher Brookmyre. The last two I read in print first and really enjoyed in both formats, so I can recommend the audio even if you have ‘read’ them already.
As for your MI feelgood factor? Head over to RNIB and sign the Right to Read petition. Your voice will help in the battle to make more than 5 per cent of books available to blind and partially sighted people in formats they can read.