Earbud Lit: How audio makes familiar books strange

The Stake

by Forest Lewis

One summer I listened to Moby Dick five times in a row. At only twenty-one and a half hours long, I could finish it over the course of about three working days. Concluding those five times through, however, I had reached my Moby Dick saturation point. I knew Moby Dick backwards and forwards and was tired of it. With supercilious fatigue I thought to myself: all right, Melville, I get it, you have nothing new to say to me, I will never listen to this book again. Then I happened to open the physical book to a random chapter and read it to myself. The performer’s voice still haunted certain turns of phrase, but as I read it I found that I was reading a new book—the words bloomed into an un-familiar sense and Moby Dick was once again strange. Why is this?mobydickcover

Frank Muller performs this…

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