Listening to the Kindle

I’ve had a Kindle DX for a few weeks now. I’ve been using it as I read The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland to my daughter. I haven’t yet used the Kindle to buy any books, but I’ve stuffed it with out-of-copyright classics and academic PDFs.

It takes maybe 5-10 minutes to set up the text files, break them into
chapters, and set my text-to-speech program to generate the MP3s. 
Depending on how long the text is, it might take 20 minutes for the
MP3s to generate, but there’s always something to do while I’m waiting.

Over the past couple of years, I’d gotten rather accustomed to using Text Aloud’s file splitter utility to break a long e-text into separate chapter files, converting each chapter in to a separate MP3, and setting my voice recorder to require me to push “play” to start a new file.  I lie there in bed, with my finger over the “play” button, like a train engineer with his hand on the dead man switch. When I fall asleep, the recorder doesn’t go on to the next chapter, so when I wake up in the morning I can jump back to the previous chapter, and in between snooze alarms, fast-forward to the last part I remember.

The Kindle has a very useful text-to-speech option, and in the past few
weeks I’ve used it to listen to The Wizard of Oz and A Christmas Carol,
both of which I’ve read several times the conventional way.  I’m
teaching them as light after-Thanksgiving books in two different
classes, and I’ve found that listening to a familiar text forces me to
think about it in a different way.

But when I fall asleep listening to an e-Book on the Kindle, I wake up the next morning and the Kindle has advanced chapter-by-chapter all the way to the end of the book. It only takes a few minutes to find the table of contents and figure out what was the last chapter I remember before dozing off.  It’s not a big complaint, but it is something I’d like to be able to control.

4 thoughts on “Listening to the Kindle

  1. I’ve been a books-on-tape fan for years since my work commutes were so long. Sometimes my arrival in the parking lot of the middle school coincided with a steamy sex scene. THAT was a strange way to start the day…

  2. I much preferred when I could listen to the author of The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland reading the chapters herself, but she didn’t post the audio of all the chapters, so I had to fill in.
    I’ve subscribed to several classic lit podcasts. I agree a computer voice is a weak substitute for the nuances of a planned, carefully managed performance.
    A few weeks ago I listened to all 9 1/2 hours of Huckleberry Finn, as read by a talented reader who performed all the dialects.

  3. LOL…I fell asleep listening to Kindle once, too, and was dismayed to have lost my place next day. In fact, I couldn’t remember a thing of what I’d ‘read.’ But I did have funky dreams. I was listening to Harlan Ellison’s “Again Dangerous Visions” SF anthology…a huge tome…and it nearly killed my battery!
    I have had some fun making Kindle read crazy horror stories and Decadent literature and medical titles to me with its computer voice, but I stand by my belief that the human voice and a semblance of agency is important to listening to >stories

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