The Speckled Band (eBook of the Month)

And now for something completely different! From the ridiculous to the sublime, from E. L. James to someone who can really write.  Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote the best-sellers of his day, inventing one of literature’s most enduring characters, and writing with elegance and style. I have always loved his inventive Sherlock Holmes detective stories and strange gothic tales.

“The Adventure of the Speckled Band” (1892) makes it to eBook of the Month because of the recent Booktrack  production, an “enhanced eBook” that apparently provides sound effects as the user reads the text. Thunder, lightning, creaking floors and slamming doors : it’s all there as part of the “reader experience“, automatically triggered by the place your eyes reach on the page.

I have mixed feelings about this. I love listening to audiobooks and podcasts of plays, and enjoy the different tones of actors’ voices and accompanying sound effects. But when I’m reading with my eyes rather than listening with my ears, I would much rather rely on my own imagination than have effects artificially provided for me. (Apart from anything else, the whole thing sounds weird – how on earth does the eBook “know” when you’re reading a particular passage?  – for example, the dog barked and the bell rang. I can’t get my head around this!)

What do other readers think?


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