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Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Free Audio Stories on YouTube? You're Welcome!

This may be old hat to you, but I have to say I was honestly surprised to find completely free, legal (I think), full length stories on YouTube.

A couple of weeks ago, I was feeling really depressed. It didn't look like I was going to meet my lofty Goodreads goal of forty books this year. And then it came - my daily HARO newsletter, containing a link to an article entitled 10 Scary Stories You Can Listen to Right Now. I was super excited! I decided that I could easily read a story while listening to another one, and very quickly got back on track. I started with the first story in the above list, and then found others. Now, I am pleased to report that I'm back on track.

So, after a week of listening to audio stories on YouTube, I would like to share with you what I've listened to, and what I thought:

More Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark

Alvin Schwartz

The book is narrated by actor George S. Irving, and he is AWESOME. He really breathes life into the stories with his own inflections. My favourites were One Sunday Morning and the Brown Suit.

Some of the stories are very good, and I got into them instantly. Some I couldn't get into at all. Some of them are told in about three or four minutes, and some are over in thirty seconds.

Clearly for children (obviously), I don't think I would've enjoyed it nearly as much had I read it. Hearing it read TO me? Priceless!

The Dunwich Horror

H.P. Lovecraft

H.P. Lovecraft is someone I've been meaning to read for quite some time now, having been fascinated by Cthulu and the mythos for many years, ever since I started roleplaying.

After listening to this story, I can attest to the fact that he was insane in his genius... or perhaps genius in his insanity.

In the town of Dunwich, a child called Wilbur Whately is born. We don't know who his father is, but his mother and grandfather are strange people indeed. Wilbur begins to grow and learn far faster than any normal human, and within a few years, he is dabbling in things and raising a demon from the dead.

The descriptions of the horrors are very vivid, and I felt myself shuddering more than once. I'm not sorry I decided to finally pick up this author, and I will most definitely be reading more in the series. If you enjoy horror, you should, too - he may well be the father of modern horror!

One for the Road

Stephen King

One for the Road is somewhat of a sequel to 'Salem's Lot. I don't think you'll miss much if you read this one without having read Salem's Lot, but don't read this one if you intend to read its predecessor, or it'll be spoilt for you.

A man shows up at a bar one day, in a town a short distance from Jerusalem's Lot, saying that his car ran out of fuel in the Lot, and he left his wife and daughter there while he came to look for help. The narrator and his friend finally agree to drive him back to fetch them, but they're not happy about it, because of the legendary creatures that inhabit the Lot.

The pacing is fantastic, and the tension builds perfectly. The ending is quite satisfying. I don't know who the audio-book narrator is, but he does a fantastic job in reading! I don't know if I would've given the book five stars if I'd have just read the book myself, but I strongly recommend you go listen to the YouTube video!

Conclusion

I don't listen to a lot of audio books. I often find that I struggle to concentrate, and I certainly can't focus on what I'm supposed to be listening to if I do anything else at the same time! I guess I'm just not built that way—multi-tasking's not my thing.

Despite that, I've realised once and for all that narration does matter. I've listened to some really badly narrated audio books before, and then I've listened to these. Granted, I still can't concentrate on the story while doing anything else at the same time, but other than that, I had no problem following any of these stories.

If you think audio books are only for old people, or only for children, or you haven't listened to one since you were a child yourself, I urge you to give it a go.

In fact, you might even see me reading some of my works on YouTube, before long (spoiler alert)!

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