Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl has been on my currently reading shelf on GoodReads for three weeks now. (Villette is still there, too, but that’s a different story.) It’s not taking me that long to get through the book because I’m not enjoying it. It’s taking me so long because I’m listening to the audiobook for an hour or two every other night or so.
I’m not a fan of summer. One of the many reasons is that it takes so long for it to get dark I’ve been having a hard time getting to sleep. I’m tired, but not exactly sleepy a lot of nights. I was listening to podcasts, but quickly ran out of new (and old) content to listen to. The act of reading would wind me up and then I wouldn’t get to sleep until the wee hours. So I went back to an old tried and true trick for getting to sleep. I resurrected the bedtime story.
Because my parents stopped reading my bedtime stories some decades ago, I resorted to audiobooks. And it was just what I needed.
As I listened to the two performers of Gone Girl, I found my interpretation of the characters being molded by their interpretations of the characters. When you read plain text, it’s up to you as the reader to put nuance and tone into the dialog and streams of consciousness. When you have someone reading it for you—someone who’s read all the way to the end—I suspect that knowledge of the whole story shapes how they read the words to their audience. It’s a subtle thing, but for me, it adds a frame to the narrative. There’s what the characters themselves are trying to tell you as the reader and the performers are in between, their voices shaping how you feel about the characters and their reliability as narrators.
The more I follow this line of thinking, the more I wonder if I’m reading too much into things. Any other audiobook fans have this suspicion, too?