As an audiobook narrator, I have a high tolerance and deep respect for language. In fact, I love it. Especially when it is used artfully, economically, and for a good purpose.
I’ve narrated many wonderful books written by exceptional writers who knew exactly what they were doing, and could communicate effectively, persuasively and often delightfully.
It’s a pleasure to read such writing out loud. I realize that it is a form of “walking a mile in the other person’s shoes.” When I read a story by another, I am locking in to their method of thinking, talking and sensing the world they created. I am occupying, perhaps in the closest way possible, another’s point of view.
That has many benefits. When I am reading a story and find that the author feels the empathetic to something, or creates a sympathetic character that demonstrates the same fundamental attitude about life and relationships as I do, I am validated on a deep level; there’s someone out there that feels the way I do.
If they are a celebrated, best-selling writer, then it’s even more satisfying; the values they are investigating must be shared by a large audience of like-minded people. That can be a relief after a typical week of being bombarded by negative “public opinion” in which it seems that one is alone in having any kind of sensibility at all.
There is another benefit to recorded books; the preservation of language. We seldom get a chance to listen to articulate people, let alone great thinkers or storytellers. The voices that mainly echo in our memories are seldom the wittiest, the brightest or the most persuasive. Often they’re just the loudest or, as in advertisements, the most repetitive.
By presenting examples of a well-considered point of view, or a sensitively crafted argument, or even a simple, beautiful observation about life, a narrator breathes new life into language, and reminds us what language can do when used to its full potential, inspiring others to organize their expression with greater care.
You can try it for yourself sometime and get a very quick benefit from it. Simply pick up a book by an author you admire and read it aloud, just for yourself. Instantly, you will link up to their way of looking at things, and their artful style of description. It can help you reboot your own interest in observing life and telling another about it in a specific, articulate way.
It’s a fast hack to boosting your IQ and your interest in life. See if I’m right.