Heard any good books lately? | SummitDaily.com
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Heard any good books lately?

SPECIAL TO THE DAILY

When discussions of “literature” come up, many people have flashbacks (good or bad) to the weighty tomes of their high school or college courses – not surprising, since most definitions of the word literature encompass written works. However, many literary classics were not originally intended to be “read,” despite the syllabi in many literature classes.

Epic poems, for example, were often intended to be performed aloud rather than read. Even though scholars disagree on the origins of Homer’s epics “The Iliad” and “The Odyssey” (and even on whether the author was illiterate), most scholars agree that the work was intended for oral performance. Similarly, bards were likely to perform the Old English epic “Beowulf” for their audiences. And, it’s certainly no secret that one of the most celebrated writers in English literature, William Shakespeare, originally composed his works for public performance. Even the authors of more “traditional” written classics foresaw that their works would be read aloud: In the days before television, families and friends often spent their evenings reading aloud to one another.

Since many of these works were intended to be seen or heard instead of merely read, why not check out the downloadable audio copies available at the library? Listening to the performance of these works allows them to come alive. In addition to the classics listed above, other good candidates for downloadable audio fun include poetry, plays, classic fairy tales or fables for the kids, or even old radio thrillers such as “War of the Worlds.” They are great for long car trips or for anywhere you can’t conveniently take a book.

New titles are added on a regular basis, and most titles can be downloaded to either your personal computer or your portable audio device (most are now compatible with both iPods and other mp3 players). You never know – you could find a whole new appreciation for an old classic!


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