I spent most of last week recording the audiobook of How Not To Be Wrong. The guy recording this is Brian Liston, proprietor of Clutch Sound, the studio now occupying the space of Madison’s storied Smart Studios, where Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins, Garbage, and many other rock gods/demigods recorded. I am in the “Shirley Manson vocals” room, apparently. Here’s what I learned.
- I had no conception of how much work this would be. How long does it take you to read ten pages of a book? It turns out that reading ten pages aloud, and getting a clean recording, takes about an hour.
- “Statistical” is the hardest word to say in the English language. Why did I put it in the book so many times?
- Reading aloud really makes you realize your mistakes. First of all, there are typos. Not a ton. But I sort of thought, after all that editing and copyediting and re-editing and my own basically good spelling and typing, there wouldn’t be any. Then, too, you see the things that aren’t typos but which you repent of. Like, I like the word “massive” a lot. A lot a lot. Also “incontrovertible.”
- There are a lot of words I don’t know how to pronounce. How do you pronounce “artisanal”? I thought I knew, but I was wrong.
- When a schoolbus drives by a recording studio, the two-way radio makes a little spaceshippy sound on the line and you have to redo whatever sentence you’re on.
- If your mouth is wet and it sounds wet you can fix it by eating an apple.
- If you get hiccups you can cure them quickly by drinking a glass of water through a straw while plugging both your ears with your fingers.