Mythos: My first audiobook experience

This month, a friend sent me a free audiobook for me to try out, as I have never listened to one before, unless my tape of the BFG by Roald Dahl counts! It has been an interesting experience, as I like to be completely focused when reading usually, but have found it surprisingly easy to get used to listening to the book while working and running on the treadmill at the gym.

Mythos by Stephen Fry (and narrated by Stephen Fry) is a retelling of the Greek myths, considering the lives of Zeus, Aphrodite, Hades, the rest of the Greek Gods and the creation of hubris and mankind. This book is funny, intelligent and inspired. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this audiobook, as funny as Stephen Fry’s voices for certain characters can be, because I learned a lot about Greek history, etymology and had fun hearing the stories of the Gods, which I have always been greatly interested in. While I enjoyed the references to Metamorphoses and other novels on Greek history because I have studied them before, this book gives such great descriptions that it could be a guide to the Greek myths and readers can go in with no prior knowledge of the subject and enjoy this fully.

Listening to an audiobook is a new experience for me, and one which I have enjoyed. I liked having something interesting to concentrate on while doing administrative analytical tasks at work and would definitely want more audiobooks to listen to in the future. Fry is a good narrator who is clearly interested in and passionate about the subject and he puts a lot into it to make it feel like you are being read a story, not just told a series of events. His voices are at times funny and can be a bit odd, but this works for the kinds of characters. The way he keeps his own voice as the overall narrator is pretty epic because he is such a prolific person and he wrote the book himself, meaning that I felt a lot of love and intrigue for the words he was speaking.

The one negative thing I would say is that I could not listen to audiobooks all the time. When I’m running at the gym or reporting statistics at work, I can multitask because I can prioritise listening to the book while my hands/body physically do things, but I cannot listen to it while writing, for example. It is too distracting for your brain to process two different sets of words and put them together; either you miss half the story, or you write rubbish or the wrong thing. There was nothing about the book or the story that I didn’t enjoy.

Overall, I thought that Stephen Fry’s Mythos was a brilliant book and I am so glad that he wrote it, as I think it is a much more palatable overview of the Greek myths than some of the older titles which are much more difficult to understand. I would recommend it to anyone with an interest in Greek mythology, and who enjoys fantasy and action-packed books. This is a collection of stories of the Gods, so is constantly changing the subject and the plot line; you can’t get bored reading or listening to this. Thanks Bea for sending me this incredible audiobook!

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