Audiobooks for Shakespeare

My AP Literature class just started reading Hamlet by Shakespeare and I have come to realize how audio books can help. Like all Shakespeare plays, Hamlet’s language is difficult to read at best and sometimes people cannot understand what is going on in the story. My class read the first scene in school and my teacher played the audiobook while we read. This made it much easier to understand.

Not only are you able to grasp the tone of the situation as performed by the readers on the audio book, but voice inflection and use of the complex, old words allows for an enjoyable read. I went home and downloaded the audio book off of Amazon so that I could listen and read at the same time for homework, and it truly makes a difference.

The audio book downloads right to your phone as well so you can take it with you wherever you go. I use the Archangel audio book if anyone would like to know. I have never used an audiobook before, however I can say for sure that I understand Hamlet, and actually enjoy it as well now.

-Kyle H.

Want Shakespeare on audio? Downloadable titles are available on Overdrive and Hoopla.

Event Recap: The Digital Bookmobile Visits the Mission Viejo Library

Digital bookmobile photo by Leila S.Some rainy weather on Saturday, March 1 could not keep the 140+ eager visitors from stopping by the Digital Bookmobile in the Mission Viejo Library parking lot. The event took place from 10 am to 4 pm. The Digital Bookmobile is an 18-wheel truck, sponsored by OverDrive, which is full of interactive devices to teach others about the digital media technology.

The truck featured several computers where visitors were encouraged to explore different kinds of media. Guests could browse the available selection of digital materials and preview eBooks or listen to a song! An informational video was showing on a television screen to further elaborate on how to use the OverDrive digital library. In addition, there were knowledgeable staff members available to answer any questions and walk visitors through the process of downloading an app onto their device(s), signing onto the library, and borrowing an eBook or audio book.

Digital Bookmobile interior photo by Leila S.Depending on the device you wish to use for viewing or listening to your digital media, it is recommended that you download the OverDrive Media Console app. From there, search for an eBook and click to borrow and then finally to download it. Your item will be checked out for two weeks, after which it will automatically expire, unless you renew it. And for all you avid readers, this means no late fees!

Also, posted on the walls of the truck were interesting facts and statistics, including:

“The first electronic text ever created was a copy of the Declaration of Independence.”
“The United States has more public libraries the McDonald’s.”
“1.1 billion people go to the library every year, compared to 204 million tickets sold to sporting events.”
“The most popular eBook categories: 1. Romance 2. Business 3. Historical Fiction 4. Suspense 5. Self-improvement.”

The Bookmobile was launched in front of Central Park, New York six years ago. Ever since then, the Bookmobile has been traveling to libraries and schools all around the country. The Bookmobile can also be found at festivals and other book related events. This year, the Bookmobile’s focus has been merging educational reading with entertainment related reading. Their target audience is pretty much everyone, since there is such a wide range of books and other media that can be accessed digitally, which is appealing to all ages. Digital Media Event Specialist Katie Yap explained that “the goal is to promote getting free eBooks and audio books from your library on pretty much any device, such as smart phones, tablets, computers, laptops, and e-readers.” When asked how people use the library’s “virtual branch,” Katie responded that “for most tablet (owners), it’s reading. And then (on) smart phones, they want to do audio books, because it’s so easy to connect it to your stereo and listen to it while you are stuck in traffic or doing errands.”

Overall, this event was quite informational. I have already downloaded the app and browsed the wide selection on Mission Viejo Library’s “virtual branch,” the Southern California Digital Library. In addition to all the media they already have, Katie Yap explained that OverDrive is now looking into putting textbooks and other educational resources online so that students can work on those research papers even when the library is closed!

– Leila S., 8th grade

Audiobooks: A Different Way of Reading

audiobooksIf you are like most kids and teens, you may think that audiobooks are for adults.  Perhaps they are learning another language or getting some information on a new subject.  Or maybe they are looking for a book to distract themselves from a long road trip.  However, in my family, audio books are an everyday treat.

It is really interesting to learn how audiobook recordings  are made.  First, the reader auditions for the voice(s).  Sometimes there is one reader doing all of the voices, and in other cases, there are separate readers for different characters or voices.  Once a reader is chosen, he or she records several takes of a few chapters at a time.  If there are sound effects, then the company will sometimes hire a semi-professional sound effects person from the movie business to make the sounds.  If a door is slamming, then the sound could be made from celery slapping against leather!  The last step is to add music.  The music can come from any music group.  (Music is typically heard at the beginning and end of the audio tapes.)  It can cost anywhere from $1,000 (for a small children’s book) up to $10,000 (for a larger book) to make an audio book.

I’ve been told that I’ve been listening to books on tape since I was strapped into a car-seat.  Some of my earliest memories of audiobooks include  “Junie B. Jones”; “The Magic Tree House”; “Skippy-jon Jones”; “The Mouse and the Motorcycle”; and “Ramona.”  Later we graduated to books like “Peter Pan”; “Poppy”; “The Doll House”; and “Harry Potter.”  One of my favorite voice actors is Jim Dale, the man who has recorded all seven books in the Harry Potter series.  In fact, he created and recorded 146 different character voices for one book, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.”  His British accent is amazing as well as his other unique voices.

In my opinion, the best strategy when concentrating on an audiobook is to stare off into space without taking anything in except hearing the words from the book.  If you like the actual feel of a book, you can read along with the CD.  However, if you’re a fast reader, you may find yourself accidently reading ahead if the audiobook narrator isn’t going quickly enough.

The best part of an audiobook is you can read your book on the go!  You can just insert the disk into the car and listen.  Or at home, while you are getting ready for bed, you can put the CD into a CD player and listen to your book as you are brushing your teeth.  If that’s not convenient,  you can go on eBooks or Kindle read (on an electronic device) and download the book and listen with ear buds.  If you haven’t experienced this way of reading, try it out and comment below.  If you are also an audiobook enthusiast, tell me your favorite book on tape, voice actor, and where you enjoy listening.

-Maya S., 6th grade