While I don't think I'll ever succumb to listening to books instead of reading them, I am regularly inclined to revisit something I have read by having a go at the audio version. I was amused and fascinated by Bob Dylan's memoir Chronicles but thought it suffered a kind of flatness and linguistic off-centered-ness (good for songs, maybe not so much for a narrative). Sean Penn's reading is vivid and nuanced, and he even reprises the authentic pronunciation of "Don Jew-an."

Robert Birnbaum is editor-at-large at Identity Theory. All the sketchy details of his life will be (re)fabricated in his memoir-in-progress, Just Talking: How to Do Things With Words. His weblog can be found here. More by Robert Birnbaum

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