If you like reading stories, you might enjoy listening to them as well.

Today’s blog post is, strictly speaking, rather belated: a treasure trove in the form of this Guardian short stories podcast, way back from Christmas 2010. Each episode in this series of ’12 Tales for Christmas’ features a prominent contemporary author reading and discussing one of their favourite short stories. Apologies for not getting this to you sooner, but I only found out about it a couple of weeks ago, myself. Also, the stories aren’t particularly Christmasy so there’s plenty to enjoy yet.

As a recent adopter of audiobooks, I cannot be more enthusiastic in extolling to you the virtues of listening to a story, rather than (or in addition to) reading it. Listening to a story being told, I am unable to skim over nuanced pauses in dialogue, or the silences which intersperse the text. Apart from learning to respect anew the cadences and rhythm of individual sentences, I found this series by the Guardian fascinating for the insights they offered into the readers– all famous authors themselves.

There is something intensely personal about being told a story by someone, and finding out the timbre of voice, accent or turn of phrase of some of my favourite authors was something I found entirely irresistable. My favourite reading (of the 5 or so that I’ve listened to so far) was probably ‘Fat’ by Raymond Carver narrated by Anne Enright, which immediately prompted me to reread my copy of “What We Talk About When We Talk About Love“.

Funnily enough, there was one story I had to listen to three times, because Colm Toibin’s voice and lush Irish accent kept distracting me from the content of the story itself. I’d gladly listen to any of these a couple more times, and I hope you do too! (If you have a favourite, do tell me about it! I’m absolutely thrilling to discuss these with someone!)