How I Learned: Free Amateur Audiobook

By Shamus Posted Wednesday Feb 29, 2012

Filed under: Personal 19 comments

Since we’re talking about my books this week, it seems like a good time to mention that Paul Spooner recorded himself reading How I Learned to his children. (Which is just a slightly expanded, proofed version of my autoblography series.) With my blessing, he’s put these recordings up so that others can download or listen to them. You can find these recordings here.

I suppose it’s only fair to warn that these were done in one take, and not for posterity. There’s room noise, and sometimes you’ll hear the baby chatter (which might be considered a bonus) or Paul might stumble over his words. So if you’re looking for a professional-grade studio recording as read by trained celebrity voice, then this is probably not your thing. If you’re willing to overlook these minor things, then I think this is a great way to enjoy the book while driving, jogging, or playing with your Nintendo Virtual Boy.

I like Paul’s performance, and his reading of my words often gives them a bit more weight and depth than I was able to impart with my keyboard. Thanks to Paul for putting this together. Enjoy.


From The Archives:

19 thoughts on “How I Learned: Free Amateur Audiobook

  1. sab says:

    “or playing with your Nintendo Virtual Boy”
    You are a bad, bad person Shamus. Sham- on you!

    1. noahpocalypse says:

      “Virtual boy”

      I don’t get it. ???

      1. Shamus says:

        The virtual boy was a Nintendo device that you wore on your face and let you play games in “3d”. Games with wireframe graphics. RED wireframe. It was notorious for making people sick. It’s arguably the greatest flop in Nintendo’s history.

        1. Deoxy says:

          It does have some decent competition, though…

        2. lupus_amens says:

          A Nintendo device that uses 3D and makes the user nauseous,
          they rarely learn from their mistakes do they?

          1. James says:

            Nintendo, Learn, Do something new? dont be crazy now, when Super Mario 987585475 Comes out you’ll change your tune

            1. Blake says:

              Do something new? Like the d pad, analog joystick, touch screen handheld, dual screen hand held, motion controls, fitness board, weird tablet controller or rumbling controllers?
              Doesn’t sound like Nintendo at all…

        3. Ross Bearman says:

          A friend of mine created a Virtual Boy game as his final project on a Comp Sci degree. He had one handy to demo to the markers on, but I don’t think any took him up on the offer.

  2. Dasick says:

    Awesome! Thanks.

  3. TheAngryMongoose says:

    Can we get a Transcription for the Hard of Hearing?

    1. Deoxy says:

      Gurgle. Snurk.

      Trying not to guffaw loudly at work… trying…

    2. KremlinLaptop says:

      There was a moment during which the voice in my head went, “That’s a reasonable request. Plus, reading is far faster.”

      And then my brain came running in — bathroom break for him — going, “You fool!”

  4. Deoxy says:

    Nifty – I may need to pass this on to somebody.

    On another topic – from your Twitter feed:

    FYI: “Bodice Ripper” is just slang for tawdry romance novels. Don’t laugh. If we go by shelf space, romance outsells sci-fi by A WHOLE LOT.

    That’s because it is essentially pr0n for women. Yes, I’m being entirely serious with that – in many, many ways, it scratches the itch in women that pr0n scratches for men. It also creates similar distortions in views of the opposite sex.

    That society (and religion, generally) is so permissive (even supportive, in some ways) of one while nearly unanimously condemning of the other is a topic worthy of much discussion… that is never gets.

    Edit: heh. Apparently, “pr0n” gets the comment marked for moderation… might as well just use “pornography” and be done with it.

    1. Shamus says:

      Spammers (spambots, really) are always selling “pr0n”. They never, ever call their goods “pornography”. Kind of funny.

      The most common is a generic word salad comment, with the name given being something like “[noun] pr0n”.

  5. Mike says:

    I apologize for a bit of an off-topic, Shamus, but “About Me” link on the main page doesn’t seem to work.

    Feel free to moderate the comment away, since it’s really just for you to read ;)

  6. Paul Spooner says:

    Thanks for the plug, and the kind words Shamus! I really appreciate it.

    Although it may sound like it was all one unedited take, I actually did several re-do takes and some editing of the really distracting stuff. You know, the kids asking if they can go outside instead of listen to my soporific droning, dropping the book while turning the page, me choking on my own saliva, stuff like that. So yeah, totally not professional quality. I haven’t quit my day job.

    Why make the recording at all? Two reasons:
    1. I was reading it out loud anyway, so it wasn’t really out of my way.
    2. I really stand behind the message of the book (yes, I know it’s not a “Book with a Message” but you know what I mean), so I’d like people to hear it any way they can, even if the presentation is a bit rough.

    Any time you do something in public you make yourself vulnerable. Shamus did that with his life by writing about it (and many of us (myself included) critiqued his life choices at some point or another). I did it by making a candid recording. Shamus didn’t grow up in a sound studio, he grew up in a house with kids running around. Neither one is airbrushed, and I think it fits well.

    But that said, I’d really like to hear “Morgan Freeman reads Shamus Young’s ‘Witch Watch’, accompanied by Yo-Yo Ma”. The professional version really is better, even if the amateur has a certain appeal.

    1. Tryssnik says:


      I adore the little pauses you take to interact with your kid. Please read more books! I like listening to it at work. I wish I could give you a good list to start on, but I think it’d be better if it captured your interest first, and be something your’e willing to read to your kids.


    2. Marauder says:

      But that said, I'd really like to hear “Morgan Freeman reads Shamus Young's “˜Witch Watch', accompanied by Yo-Yo Ma”.


Thanks for joining the discussion. Be nice, don't post angry, and enjoy yourself. This is supposed to be fun. Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*

You can enclose spoilers in <strike> tags like so:
<strike>Darth Vader is Luke's father!</strike>

You can make things italics like this:
Can you imagine having Darth Vader as your <i>father</i>?

You can make things bold like this:
I'm <b>very</b> glad Darth Vader isn't my father.

You can make links like this:
I'm reading about <a href="">Darth Vader</a> on Wikipedia!

You can quote someone like this:
Darth Vader said <blockquote>Luke, I am your father.</blockquote>

Leave a Reply to lupus_amens Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *