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Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Do you listen to the voices?

Who tells you the story when you read a book? A guy or a girl? You, the author or some random bum off the street?

I recently acquired Sam's Letters for Jennifer by James Patterson and the book is in the first person POV of the female character, Jennifer. As I was reading I heard James talking, not Jennifer, and I said to myself,

"Self, this isn't right. This is a guy in girl's clothing."

I completely don't buy the story because the "voice" is off to me. Now, could it be that I am so used to female writing that male writing jumps off the page waving its arms yelling, "Yoo-Hoo, here I am!" Or could it be the POV? Instead of listening but not really hearing the narrator I'm now listening for Jennifer and hearing my narrator, who is very much a guy!

And then I picked up another book and listened to the narrator in my head and it was the same guy. And then my next eBook I listened and sure enough...SAME GUY!

Who the hell is this man who narrates every story I read? I mean, I'm a girl and almost all of the books I read are written by girls so where does he fit in the picture? Of course, the most romantic version would be that my daddy read to me all the time as a little girl and his voice just 'stuck', but sorry ladies, no such fairy tale. Never had a male teacher either, so that's not it.

What about the preacher? I was in church three times a week for 18 years reading the bible as he droned on and on and on...could be him. Or my Uncle, who read me Ender's Game cover to cover one summer...could be him. Or it could be the guy who narrates The Narnia audiotapes I had as a little girl.

Either way, there is definitely a guy sitting in a rocking chair somewhere in the right hemisphere of my brain, reading to me. And I like him, we get along pretty good.

So, I ask...what voice do you hear in your head?


11 touched me

Blogger Fickle Fiona pondered...

I would like to make a note that yes, I do know that the seat for language is in the left hemisphere of the brain. However, since I feel a male narrator in my very feminine head is a little quirky, he must definitely reside on the right side!

Oh my, how he must have blushed over that erotica novel last night!


5/31/2006 05:06:00 PM  
Anonymous Jay pondered...

LOL! I'm not sure I have a narrator. I think it has to do with my skim style of reading. I've found that the only time I actually stop to read every word - and am aware that I'm reading every word, and hear it in my head - is when I've skimmed so much I've confused myself and need to go back for a reread. Otherwise I just kinda look at the words, as opposed to reading each one.

5/31/2006 10:29:00 PM  
Blogger Suisan pondered...


What an excellent question!

I know I have a narrating voice in my head, and I'm pretty sure it's not actually my voice (setting aside for a minute that what I think is *my* voice is different from what the other millions hear).

Once I get off the computer, I'm definitely going to figure out if the voice is male or female. Hmmm.

What a good question!

6/01/2006 12:51:00 AM  
Blogger Valeen pondered...

Even though I'm more of a skimming reader like Jay above, I still hear a voice and its my voice reading the story to my brain.

6/01/2006 07:50:00 AM  
Blogger Bookwormom pondered...

I visulaize myself as an unseen bystander observing whatever's going on. I don't necessarily 'hear' anything. I see it all. Makes me weird I know.

6/01/2006 01:11:00 PM  
Blogger ames pondered...

LOL Fiona - your blushing man in a rocking chair. hehehe

I just hear boring old me in my head.

6/01/2006 01:48:00 PM  
Blogger Fickle Fiona pondered...

Jay and Valeen--I wish I had the talent to skim. When I read, it is with full pomp and flourish and narrator glory. I don't read slow, but I can't skip words either. It really makes it work.

Suisan...does hearing your voice on the answering machine freak you out? I always think, "There is no way I really sound THAT southern! LOL

I don't think you are weird Amanda. That's cool. Do you see yourself in the setting? Sort of like an outsider looking in?

Haha Ames, he was probably using the book to shield his face!


6/01/2006 08:11:00 PM  
Blogger Bookwormom pondered...

Fiona- I see myself as an unseen observer/fly on the wall. Like a voyeur in certain scenes. LOL!

6/02/2006 12:20:00 PM  
Blogger Fickle Fiona pondered...

Like a voyeur in certain scenes

Oooo, la, la!


6/02/2006 04:57:00 PM  
Blogger CindyS pondered...

I've never listened before. So I listened and it's me only not the loud me. Damn, I hope I don't become oversensitve to this now.

As to hearing the author, they didn't do their job.

There are some awesome male authors - Stephen Leacock and another Canadian who is quite well known but whose name I can't remember. They paint wonderful pictures and their books are touching.

I find that best-selling male authors have a staccato voice, almost sharp. I don't consider them lyrical or anything. Just straight to the point so yeah, I don't read books by male authors.

Well, unless they are writing under another name ;)


6/04/2006 03:25:00 AM  
Blogger Fickle Fiona pondered...

Cindy-I find that I am oversensitive for about a week, and then the voice slowly slips back into my unconsciousness.

I know James Patterson is supposed to be good but I wonder how many other books he has written from the females POV...anyone know? Anyone? Bueller?

Anywho, I've set it aside for the moment. Maybe when I forget why I didn't read it I will pick it up and have a different experience.


6/04/2006 07:55:00 AM  

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