Week 2 - Discussion: Do Audio books recreate the Magic of Communal Storytelling?

Moderator: Book Club Heads

User avatar
Prof. Gustavo Flores
Silver Arrow
Posts: 428
Joined: Sat Feb 23, 2008 7:47 am

Week 2 - Discussion: Do Audio books recreate the Magic of Communal Storytelling?

Postby Prof. Gustavo Flores » Mon Feb 05, 2018 7:17 pm

Although I’m not a regular user of Audio books, they surely were a big part of my daily life when I was a kid. I could play one Audio book (mostly Disney stories) over and over again just to recall my favorite stories. Audio books also helped me to improve my English and learn it in a better way.

One of my fondest memories of audio books is with my sister. She was so young that she hadn’t even learned how to read, but she enjoyed playing one particular audio book (The Lion King) many times in a day. She liked the feeling of someone telling her a story.

With that in mind, for this week we would like you to discuss audio books, but please focus on the storytelling factor. Do you think audio books recreate the magic of communal storytelling? Do audio books take the “reading” experience back to the days in which stories were passed from generation to generation through oral tradition?

You have until February 11th, 11:59 pm HOL time to discuss this topic. You can post twice and earn 5 points per post (for a total of 10 points)Just remember that your posts should be at least 50 words long and that you need to wait until others have posted (or wait two days) before posting a second time.

Since this is a discussion, you should respond to what the others are talking about. And if you have many ideas and interesting things to say, then you are very welcome to post more than two times, but consider that only the first two will count for points.
Image

User avatar
Maxim Trevelyan
Cleansweep One
Posts: 575
Joined: Mon Aug 03, 2015 7:35 pm

Re: Week 2 - Discussion: Do Audio books recreate the Magic of Communal Storytelling?

Postby Maxim Trevelyan » Mon Feb 05, 2018 7:30 pm

I think I might be in a minority here, but I do not think that they recreate the magic of communal storytelling. At least not for me. When I think back on the day when my mama or grandparents told me and my cousin stories, we always sat next or before the person, with milk or hot chocolate in hand and listened to it. They were shorter than your usual audio books and what I loved the most were the little embellishments, noises (like snorts) and comments that they storytellers added to the tale. You do not get that in audio books, I have a feel it is all very mechanical and just...there.
Image
Thank you Dario!

Aurelia West
Oakshaft 79
Posts: 140
Joined: Wed Sep 14, 2011 4:21 am

Re: Week 2 - Discussion: Do Audio books recreate the Magic of Communal Storytelling?

Postby Aurelia West » Mon Feb 05, 2018 9:38 pm

While I think that there are some very talented voices out there telling us our favorite stories, I agree with Maxim that audio books don't quite recreate the magic of communal storytelling. When I was in fifth grade, one of the fifth grade teachers was known for his love of storytelling and when we had him for a brief spell I learned a lot of stories and found the entire unit incredibly engaging and most of it was the way he engaged with the class. While audio books are certainly grand, there's a different atmosphere to communal storytelling. For one, multiple people can relay their input and there can be moments where audience members will gasp or cheer. Additionally, communal storytelling allows the exchange of stories. I could both hear a story and tell a story and maybe even get feedback on my story or gain ideas from the people listening. There's also something so amazing about the suspense that builds up between a storyteller and an audience throughout a story and how everyone's focus lands on one person. Though this isn't always the case with audio books, a lot of the time while listening to them people are also doing something else, so that intense focus and listening with bated breath isn't always there.
Image

User avatar
Hannah R Thomas
No broom
Posts: 67
Joined: Mon Feb 10, 2014 4:15 am
Location: Always in a Library :)
Contact:

Re: Week 2 - Discussion: Do Audio books recreate the Magic of Communal Storytelling?

Postby Hannah R Thomas » Mon Feb 05, 2018 10:24 pm

It is interesting how you say that Aurelia. I do believe there are voices out there that can be held for stories directed towards young audiences, younger than fifth graders. It gives them the chance for their “voices be heard.” In addition to this, I really do believe that Audio books help a lot when it comes to opening up to the community. When I think back to last week’s topic, Obstacles to Reading, regarding individuals who have trouble reading, this gives them the chance to actual “imagine” what is happening in the world than feeling left out.
Success just doesn't come and find you, you have to go get it yourself - Carmichael
Happiness can be found in the darkest of times if one remembers to turn on the light - Albus Dumbledore
Image

User avatar
Arianna Stonewater
Cleansweep One
Posts: 695
Joined: Fri Sep 25, 2015 4:56 pm

Re: Week 2 - Discussion: Do Audio books recreate the Magic of Communal Storytelling?

Postby Arianna Stonewater » Tue Feb 06, 2018 1:22 am

I partially disagree with Maxim and Aurelia. I think (if you can get the right reader) audiobooks can have those noises and embellishments and you'll really feel like you're listening to a story from an older generation. And I actually have a couple of audiobooks that feature 2 or 3 readers which really adds to the different voices of the story. I also agree with Hannah, listening to a story can help younger kids focus on what is happening in the story rather than focusing on trying to read a word.

For my daughter's first birthday we are having a bunch of friends and relatives record themselves reading books for her to listen to as she gets older. This will not only help her when she learns to read but also help her get to know those people's voices even though she may not get to see them all the time. (I also hope that this will be treasured memories for her after they're gone.)
Image

User avatar
Will Lestrange
Cleansweep One
Posts: 546
Joined: Mon Aug 19, 2013 5:37 am

Re: Week 2 - Discussion: Do Audio books recreate the Magic of Communal Storytelling?

Postby Will Lestrange » Tue Feb 06, 2018 5:23 am

The way audio books are used - and the way they're recommended to me - suggests that if anything, they're the exact opposite of communal storytelling. When I started commuting across state lines to get to work, many people recommended audio books to keep my mind occupied during the long drive. Here, audio books weren't valued for the read themselves, but as something to keep my mind off the stress and isolation of a rush hour driving commute... more as "to take the edge off of isolation" than anything resembling communal storytelling!
Image

Bull J. Johnson
Cleansweep One
Posts: 519
Joined: Mon Aug 15, 2011 12:12 pm

Re: Week 2 - Discussion: Do Audio books recreate the Magic of Communal Storytelling?

Postby Bull J. Johnson » Tue Feb 06, 2018 5:59 am

When I was a kid I use to like being read to also. The best thing was the discussions that I had with my mom. These days I read to her when I put her to bed some nights. I wish that we could read more together, but sadly we don't.

User avatar
Will Lestrange
Cleansweep One
Posts: 546
Joined: Mon Aug 19, 2013 5:37 am

Re: Week 2 - Discussion: Do Audio books recreate the Magic of Communal Storytelling?

Postby Will Lestrange » Tue Feb 06, 2018 1:13 pm

Another defining property of communal storytelling that is missing from audiobooks (as they exist today, at least) is the potential for storytelling to be a two way street. In the communal setting, the storyteller could observe the listener’s response and change the story: explaining if the listener doesn’t understand, going faster if the listener is bored - and even changing the plot if the listener seems unhappy (e.g. if killing off a character will really break the listener’s heart). But there’s no room for that in audiobooks: while one could rewind, pause, or fast forward, what’s on the tape is fixed and unchanging!
Image

Vanessa Tilley
Oakshaft 79
Posts: 160
Joined: Sat May 06, 2017 1:06 am

Re: Week 2 - Discussion: Do Audio books recreate the Magic of Communal Storytelling?

Postby Vanessa Tilley » Tue Feb 06, 2018 7:43 pm

Professor Gus's memory actually reminded me of a childhood memory for me and an untraditional audio book. My grandfather was not able to read. It made him so upset because he was a very religious man and wanted to be able to read it so bad that my grandmother always read it to him. One day, I was practicing my reading with my mom when she got the idea of recording me reading my books so my grandfather could play the recording any time to hear me read. I never thought about it being a form of an audiobook until reading this discussion and the idea of focusing on audio books as an emphasis on storytellers and storytelling.

As many have already said, I don't believe audio books compare to the communal storytelling and oral traditions. My main reason for that is that, for me, audio books are something I use for either educational purposes, such as learning a new language, or as a way to fill up time and it becomes sort of a distraction really, such as turning one on as I wait in traffic. By using it to fill up time, it doesn't have the same intention as storytelling where one gets lost in the telling of the story and is transported on a journey.

User avatar
Polaris Black
Comet 140
Posts: 775
Joined: Thu Sep 26, 2013 1:52 am

Re: Week 2 - Discussion: Do Audio books recreate the Magic of Communal Storytelling?

Postby Polaris Black » Wed Feb 07, 2018 8:12 am

An audio book cannot recreate a communal storytelling experience. For starters, an audio book usually has an audience of one; by definition, communal storytelling is an experience shared by the members of a community. An audio book story is prerecorded and never changes; a communal storyteller can adapt the story to the audience and the location so it is never exactly the same. An audio book listener has no part in how the story is told; by contrast, the audience influences a communal storyteller and is part of the creative process. So I guess I agree with Will.
Image
A "Cassie Sig" is priceless - thank you so much!

User avatar
Emanuel Hines
No broom
Posts: 42
Joined: Sun Jan 07, 2018 9:28 pm
Location: Gryffindor

Re: Week 2 - Discussion: Do Audio books recreate the Magic of Communal Storytelling?

Postby Emanuel Hines » Wed Feb 07, 2018 1:26 pm

My opinion is almost the same- I prefer anything connected with written word, not with audio books. They aee alternative method, but I do use it only when I have no possibility to read the book myself.
So communal storytelling experience can not be recreated with audio books; these are two totally different terms and they can not be connected or replace each other. Listening to storyteller must be when you are somewhere near him- seeing the person reading, storytelling is also important part of this.
Image

User avatar
Kendra Givens
Oakshaft 79
Posts: 103
Joined: Sun Mar 12, 2017 9:46 pm

Re: Week 2 - Discussion: Do Audio books recreate the Magic of Communal Storytelling?

Postby Kendra Givens » Fri Feb 09, 2018 4:54 pm

I myself have never listened to an audiobook, in part because I love the experience of paper books or actually reading aloud/being read to, but in part because any bit of audiobook or pre-recorded commercial voice I've listened to sounds mechanical, as many people have said. Some people have mentioned listening to them in the car or during a run, but I think I'd personally be too disengaged from a story while driving to really appreciate and digest it. Nothing beats the memories of grandma or mom reading to me as a child and giving all of the characters different voices and adding emotional inflections in all of the right places. That kind of reading really allowed me to paint images in my head and make the story come to life for me.

That being said, after reading about people's experiences with recording personalized audiobooks recorded by loved ones, I think that's a fabulous sentimental idea. If I had a book recorded in my grandma's voice I'd listen to it over and over and probably cry every time. It would be something my mom and I could share when we wanted to think back on the memory of her on days like yesterday, her birthday. Those personalized audiobooks are, to me, a very different situation than the purchased audiobook from a commercial store. I also know that some people would have no access to literature (or not be interested in picking up a book) without the use of audiobooks, and I love the idea that modern technology has developed ways to grant everyone access to the fantastic works of literature that are out there. So I think personally audiobooks aren't for me because of my experience and abilities, but for many people they're perfect.
Image

User avatar
Shiloh Adlar
Cleansweep One
Posts: 527
Joined: Fri Aug 03, 2012 2:02 am
Location: USA

Re: Week 2 - Discussion: Do Audio books recreate the Magic of Communal Storytelling?

Postby Shiloh Adlar » Fri Feb 09, 2018 6:44 pm

I recently got into audio books, and I love them. The first series I heard on audio book was Song of the Lioness, and I can definitely say that it felt more like storytelling. I have listened to others which feels more like strict narration and they're boring. I think it is really dependent on the reader and how they read the book. They can either read it as a story with adding in the excitement and thrill, or they can simply narrate it without much inflection at all for the audience. When I find a really good narrator, it's hard to go from them to someone else who just doesn't have the same flair. I am all for audio books, and I do think they can bring back that feel of storytelling if the reader knows what they're doing.
Image
Shiloh Adlar, Sixth Year, Prefect, RQT Co-Captain
"Let us read, and let us dance; these two amusements will never do any harm to the world." -Voltaire

User avatar
Maxim Trevelyan
Cleansweep One
Posts: 575
Joined: Mon Aug 03, 2015 7:35 pm

Re: Week 2 - Discussion: Do Audio books recreate the Magic of Communal Storytelling?

Postby Maxim Trevelyan » Fri Feb 09, 2018 9:17 pm

I agree with Shiloh. The quality and feel of the audio book largely depends on who is narrating it and therefore, just how much storytelling magic they can bring to the listener. I remember that I wanted to get into audio books for Book Club Bingo, so I could multitask, but I could not really bring myself to listen to them for hours on end. I do not know if that says something about me or the narrator. I do know that I simply loved the The Alchemist that was narrated by Jeremy Irons, but I could not get into any of the other audio books. Sadly, as far as I can find, Irons only narrated ten books, which really narrows down my pick.
Image
Thank you Dario!

Aurelia West
Oakshaft 79
Posts: 140
Joined: Wed Sep 14, 2011 4:21 am

Re: Week 2 - Discussion: Do Audio books recreate the Magic of Communal Storytelling?

Postby Aurelia West » Sat Feb 10, 2018 2:42 am

I also agree that there are certainly situations in which audiobooks are very handy and that a narrator can make or break if a person gets into an audiobook. I really like what Kendra and Vanessa said about recording your own audio books for loved ones and think that receiving something like that from a family member would be such a special gift. Like many, I've only listened to a few audio books as I'm fairly terrible at multitasking and still getting a good understanding of the story and its characters (and if I just listen to an audio book without doing anything else I'm fairly likely to fall asleep).

This may be an odd experience since so many people like to listen to audio books on road trips and the like, but I can't manage to make it work for me. When my family was driving cross-country one holiday we listened to a couple audio books and when I was driving it was so difficult to not want to shut my eyes after a while. It may have been the particular narrator of the audio books we were listening to, but either way I don't think I really received the whole story as I was too focused on one thing or the other. Maybe listening to podcasts will work better for me during such trips since they're a little shorter but I haven't been on another road trip since to find out.
Image

User avatar
Prof. Tarma Amelia Black
Firebolt Galaxy
Posts: 5276
Joined: Sun Dec 14, 2003 6:31 am

Re: Week 2 - Discussion: Do Audio books recreate the Magic of Communal Storytelling?

Postby Prof. Tarma Amelia Black » Sat Feb 10, 2018 3:57 am

I do not think that the audio books recreate the magic of communal storytelling. Communal storytelling traditionally involves people, the storyteller and the listeners, who are in close proximity to each other and often seated together in some kind of circle. (Shades of Twilight - remember the scene where the story of the Cold Man is told?) The storyteller reveals and shares him or herself through the telling and the listeners reveal and share themselves by their reception and responses to the story. It's a creative process for both the story and for the personal bond which is created by those in the group.

That is not to say that Audio books are not creating another kind of communal storytelling, but it is more of a dictative process where the storyteller is saying his or her version of the book, and that's just how it is.

For myself, I do not do well listening to audio tapes or lectures or books. I have a tendency to fall asleep, even if it is a subject matter with which I am enthralled. :mellow:

I was thinking of this topic today and by the oddest of coincidences read:
"Fiction is reality to this [person]."
"It is. And for you fiction is an occasional form of entertainment, and for you again, primarily through vids. A book's a different thing."
"Made-up stuff is made-up stuff."
Roarke shook his head. "A vid comes to you, even at you. It's visual, it's auditory, and can, of course, pull you in. Its purpose is to do just that, draw you into the world you can see and hear. But a book? You go into it. There's no visual or auditory other than what forms in your own mind. You visualize the characters, the scene, through the words. You, as reader, interpret the tone of voice,the colors, the movement as you physically turn the pages. ... "
Dark in Death by J.D. Robb

As can be in a video, so can it be for a narrated book. If the narrator of the book is capable of allowing a person to feel the book, and allow a person to flavour the story with their own interpretation of the words, OR if they have a feeling of the book, themselves, which feels good to the listener and they can be in accordance with it, then it can be a great experience. But different narrators read differently. I know some who could probably read the telephone pages and I'd just love to listen to them speak ... until I fell asleep anyway. :D
Image
*Avatar made by Amy*
"You have the inborn natural right to remain silent. Don't think about it, don't talk about it, shuush ....... STILL." ~ Xaris

Vanessa Tilley
Oakshaft 79
Posts: 160
Joined: Sat May 06, 2017 1:06 am

Re: Week 2 - Discussion: Do Audio books recreate the Magic of Communal Storytelling?

Postby Vanessa Tilley » Sat Feb 10, 2018 2:58 pm

Like Tarma, this topic has been on my mind this week so I decided to look up some articles and thoughts on the subject. I found an interesting blog post called "The Resurgence of Oral Storytelling: the Audio Book" by Nina Munteanu on the Scribophile blog.

Nina talks about about the tradition of oral storytelling and I believe she hit on the main reason audio books, for me, can't bring the same magic as communal storytelling.

Storytellers bring their own personality and character to the story; they ultimately reveal and share themselves through their telling and the listeners reveal and share themselves through their reception of the story. The intimacy and connection is deepened by the flexibility of oral storytelling which allows the tale to mold to each audience and location or environment. Listeners experience the immediacy of a creative process taking place in their presence and, even more than that, they experience the empowerment of being part of that creative process (which is often interactive). -Nina Munteanu


Storytelling was about being interactive between the storyteller and the audience. Storytellers need the audience to know if they are engaged or if their attention was elsewhere. I think the key to a good storyteller is the ability of the storyteller to adapt to the audience which is why an Audio book can't quite measure up to the magic of communal storytelling. There are many great narrators out there but it is hard to please everyone if you can't actually see how your audience is responding to your telling of the tale.

User avatar
Gail Allen
Oakshaft 79
Posts: 168
Joined: Mon Sep 12, 2016 12:53 pm
Location: ga942

Re: Week 2 - Discussion: Do Audio books recreate the Magic of Communal Storytelling?

Postby Gail Allen » Sat Feb 10, 2018 3:41 pm

I agree with Vanessa on that one: The interaction is entirely missing, which means that it's simply not possible to recreate the magic of communal storytelling.
Also, to me, the communal storytelling tends to feel more like it's inside a group that will often hear stories together and so create a community with the same background knowledge of stories.
Much like the Harry Potter community here at HOL actually, except we only have one story in common, not our entire world of stories.

If we had lived in a time where media wasn't a thing (And here I'm thinking back when even books were rare), our collective universe of stories would likely be the same as those we lived near who would have told the same stories and whenever a new one was added by outsiders, it would quickly have been spread and become part of the story repetoire of the group.
Image
Thank you Cassie for the signature!

User avatar
Polaris Black
Comet 140
Posts: 775
Joined: Thu Sep 26, 2013 1:52 am

Re: Week 2 - Discussion: Do Audio books recreate the Magic of Communal Storytelling?

Postby Polaris Black » Sat Feb 10, 2018 7:44 pm

I agree with Shiloh. Although I don’t believe audio books can recreate the magic of communal storytelling, they are not without merit. When an audio book reader “performs” a story, there is definitely magic there. A gifted reader who can reliably ascribe distinct voices to the characters can add a new dimension to the story that just isn’t available with the printed word.
Image
A "Cassie Sig" is priceless - thank you so much!

User avatar
Shadow Gaunt
Oakshaft 79
Posts: 163
Joined: Sat Nov 12, 2016 1:42 am
Location: Hogwarts

Re: Week 2 - Discussion: Do Audio books recreate the Magic of Communal Storytelling?

Postby Shadow Gaunt » Sun Feb 11, 2018 1:40 pm

I agree with Shiloh that some audiobooks are better than others, especially when read by different people. However, I have not come across a good book yet and the only audiobook I was able to finish listening too before my mind drifted elsewhere was a comedy book. But there are great books that are not comedy and ones that I was not able to finish due to my mind going in 20 different places at once. Yes, audiobooks bore me.

Now on communal storytelling. Everyone has different definitions for it and I would like to provide my own. Communal storytelling is when someone else is reading you a book or telling you a story. Yes, some pieces get left out such as not being able to ask them a question but you can still rewind and go back and there’s usually some sort of internet or books nearby where you can look for the answer. So I do believe that audiobooks come very close to recreating communal storytelling. They are the closest thing we have for now, and for some people they’re amazing (such as for people with reading disabilities, listening to an audiobook is much easier for them than reading the actual book).
Image
Shadow Gaunt
"In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes."-Benjamin Franklin


Return to “Harry Potter Book Festival 2018”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest