Siri not giving a f*ck

Thursday, April 12, 2018 Permalink

I know many (MANY) people will envy the fact that I haven’t had to buy a book for a few years. I receive more review books than I can read – including many I don’t request. And though there are often books I miss, because they’re not offered for review or I don’t get them, I haven’t had the time to go back and read them myself.

However… several years of including Amazon affiliate links here (the little images at the bottom of posts that some people occasionally click on to buy a book) means that I earn a little bit of money from them. Not much obviously as I recently received a payout of USD30 for about 3+ years of book sales. So… in case you’re wondering, I’m not getting rich anytime soon from the sales (though I do get $100-150/yr from Booktopia affiliate sales).

Anyhoo, I realised I needed to use this money so decided to use it to download an audio book for a recent road trip. Which of course is when I realised that: 1. Amazon gift vouchers don’t transfer to audible audiobooks; and 2. They’re only available via the US site not the Australian site.

I didn’t know this at the time and – after discovering I couldn’t download the audio version of Mark Manson’s, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, I decided to download the Kindle version. Cos I’d be getting it for free. Of course that’s when I discovered point (2) above and realised I’d accidentally bought the kindle book rather than downloading it via my free voucher.

siri not giving a f*ck

Fuck, I thought, but kinda vaguely remembered reading instructions re how to ‘listen’ to a kindle book, so figured it’d still be a good option for the road trip.

After much googling I discovered my option for listening to a book via narrator was to use the ‘voice control’ setting on my iPhone (General Settings > Accessbility) – for those vision-impaired and needing verbal instructions.

Eventually I worked out the settings and how to prep the book for continuous scrolling and set off on my (rather short) 4hr road trip.

And… it was friggin’ hilarious. Obviously the book’s not read by a person so it’s just Siri (or rather Karen ‘apparently’) reading in not-so-dulcet (ie. robotic) tones. And there’s a pause and a little sound at the end of each page.

So, not only do I get monotonal voice of Karen, but there’s often a short noise separating hyphenated words straddling two pages meaning they make no sense at all – reference to Manson’s Metallicus ( Metal- lick-us) tshirt of his youth comes to mind!

You’d think it would be a bad thing. But it actually wasn’t. Mostly. In fact, it made me need to listen more closely to the actual words (as if I was reading) than the voice. And Siri / Karen’s pronunciation was often quite off so I had to really really focus.

For me (usually) the flip side of any audiobook is that I can’t ‘mark’ phrases or words I love (which I can do in a kindle / ebook by highlighting text or turning the corner of the page of a print copy)…. like the notion of our ‘identity solidifying’…

Hilariously the constant use of the word ‘fuck’ with no inflection or intonation at all is quite bizarre. Robotic obviously. And in many ways it disinfects or sanitises it. Not that I needed it. Being a big swearer from way back.

I’m actually not going to write about the book though I’m tempted. I’m really enjoying it, though Manson very clearly makes the point that those who are happy or contented don’t actually need to prove it (even to themselves), and it occurred to me that part of my need to write about the book is about the proof that I’ve read it. When really, no one other than me needs to give a fuck as to whether I’ve read the book, absorbed any of it or (indeed) taken heed.

As an aside, trying to turn the voice control off did make me give more of a fuck than I would normally cos I couldn’t shut the friggin’ thing down. It took quite a bit of maneuvering and it was as if Karen / Siri was goading me as she verbalised my frantic attempts to push any and all buttons on the phone to shut her up.

Have you read Manson’s book? Are you a fan of audiobooks? Or perhaps you have a Siri horror story?

The Lovin’ Life team includes:

24 Comments
  • writeofthemiddle
    April 12, 2018

    LOL – haven’t read the book but loved reading this post as it conjured up some great visualisations of the robotic voice saying fuck frequently in a sterile way, strange pronunciations requiring devoted concentration, and strange little sounds when each page ended and then the vision of you trying to shut the voice off. Haha – I needed that laugh. Thank you! 🙂 #TeamLovinLife

    • Debbish
      April 12, 2018

      I’d actually called into Jo Tracey’s enroute to Brissy and tried to interrupt the book to use google maps. And then at her place tried to shut the thing off but it announces each button you press and then you need to double press the button to make it do something. So of course each button’s functionality is repeated three times.

  • Jan Wild
    April 12, 2018

    I was thinking what great technology to be able to translate a Kindle book into voice, but then I read the bit about not being able to turn it off. How frustrating!

    • Debbish
      April 14, 2018

      When you’re in voice control mode it didn’t allow me to scroll on the screen so I couldn’t scroll back to the settings to find the ‘accessibility’ option to turn it off. Eventually I realised I could ‘search’ for it and – as long as I remembered to tap everything 3 times it was okay. I briefly contemplated activating it for the drive home but decided that might be too fraught!

  • Anne Evans
    April 12, 2018

    I’ve become a listener of audio books in the last 2 years – downloaded from our library site which subscribes to an international e-book/audio book online company. (Not for keeps, only 3 weeks each title). I do this because I’m often doing “paddock work” (spraying an orchard, weeding a property, etc.) and it helps pass time and is alternative to podcasts which mean I have to down tools, gloves, etc to fire up another one… Consequently I’ve listened to audio books I’d never borrow or buy – things like chick-lit, novels by authors I’ve never heard of, subjects I’m not really interested in but it’s been fun! I love crime as my quick reading books, otherwise I’m always a “literature” snob, or follow my interests. As a retired designer I’m terribly critical and fussy about books – binding, fonts, layout, paper and won’t waste money unless I like the look and smell of the thing! In my dotage I tend to buy non-fiction books on art, architecture, plants, and borrow or attend book fairs for the rest. A lot of my working life was spent on a computer so I don’t look at Kindles, etc. So I guess you could say audio books have expanded my “reading repertoire”.
    BTW I’m glad to have stumbled across your site Debbish!

    • Debbish
      April 14, 2018

      Hi Anne, I’m a bit the opposite in my reading taste and rarely read non-fiction. I now only keep very few books as my collection has grown beyond my shelving allocation!

      I tend to like crime because they’re often comfort reads for me – as you say – ‘light’ reads. I know the subject matter is sometimes dark / macabre but they’re usually gripping and fast-paced. Perfect for some escapism!

      I enjoy audio books for driving as they really help the time pass, so completely understand that they’d be great when you’re doing paddock work.

  • Sydney Shop Girl
    April 12, 2018

    Now this is an audiobook I could definitely get into. I’m more of a podcast and cheesy radio station listener but this I must try as well.

    SSG xxx

    • Debbish
      April 14, 2018

      Yes… I enjoy podcasts as well and HATE reading non-fiction so thought this would have been perfect. I should have just bought the damned audiobook!

  • Leanne
    April 12, 2018

    I’ve only listened to one audio book in my life – it was a JD Robb one and the person reading was trying to give different voices and accents to each of the characters and it was appalling!! I have a special place in my heart for them all and I still shudder when I think back to it (decades ago!) Glad your reader gave you a laugh 🙂

    • Debbish
      April 14, 2018

      Oh, I love JD Robb. It’s sad that a narrator can make or break a book but it’s certainly the case. I’ve listened to some fabulous audiobooks and some great actors narrate books as well. I ‘think’ that non-fiction books are often read by their actual author…. though am not sure.

  • Jodie
    April 12, 2018

    Too bad you didn’t have this endeavor videoed, because it could have been hilarious!!
    XOXO
    Jodie
    http://www.jtouchofstyle.com

    • Debbish
      April 14, 2018

      Oh yes I was so frustrated. The more I tried to play with my phone the more Siri (Karen) went on and on. And on. Repeating everything I was doing… highlighting my ineptitude!

  • Lise
    April 13, 2018

    I’m a visual person and I can just see you struggling with the buttons but also, fuck in a robotic voice I’m sure doesn’t have the same effect. LOL I wouldn’t listen to audio books, I mostly read in the bathroom and that would be really weird, like someone else would be in there with me! thanks for the laugh

    • Debbish
      April 14, 2018

      Ah yes, I’m a bathtub reader so much prefer ‘reading’ than listening, though I did start listening to audio books when I had a bit of driving to do in a previous job. It made 7hr drives bearable. Of course podcasts are a good option as well – if you download them first so don’t chew through mobile data while out and about! :-/

  • Amy @ HandbagMafia
    April 13, 2018

    I have this book on my pile to read!! I got the paper version though

    • Debbish
      April 14, 2018

      I read his blog and have listened to a few podcasts he’s done Amy. I’m not a fan of the self-help-ish type book and this isn’t rocket science but sometimes something can strike you. (I must finish reading it now I’m back from my travels!)

  • Lydia C. Lee
    April 13, 2018

    I ADORE audio books. I do a lot of driving around – up to 20 hours a week and so it makes me feel I’m not wasting time. Two audio books that are better than the printed book are This is How (read by Augusten Burroughs) and They are all my family by John Riordan. Stacy Keach reads Hemmingway’s short stories and it’s like Hem is talking to you. I went through a stage of getting any audio book read by Christopher Lee. Could listen to his voice saying anything. As for this book, I haven’t read it but I have a friend for whom it was life changing and she even got a tattoo from it….

    • Debbish
      April 14, 2018

      I can imagine the impact a great narrator would have Lydia. I’ve listened to some I’ve loved (David Wenham narrating Favel Parrett’s Past The Shallows, comes to mind. I adore this English actor Richard Armitage who has a very sexy voice so would love to listen to some of his narrations….

  • Jo
    April 13, 2018

    Watching you struggle with the buttons & siri repeating everything was flipping hilarious. After struggling through this week at work I am, however, going to buy this one as my airport read.

    • Debbish
      April 14, 2018

      Yes, do it Jo. I must get back to it as well. There’s nothing really astoundingly ‘new’ in it but it did resonate (and slap me around the face a little. In a good way!)

  • Kathy Marris
    April 13, 2018

    I could imagine Siri’s robotic voice articulating the word “fuck”. Hilarious!!! After just reading that small snippet I might like to read this book. Do you think it’s worth it?

    • Debbish
      April 14, 2018

      I think so Kathy. A lot of people have talked about it. I’ve listened to some podcast interviews he’s done and like his no-nonsense approach.

      I like his writing and realise it’s cos it’s the same way I write / think. He includes lots of ‘asides’ and is a fairly sarcastic!

  • Leanne @ Deep Fried Fruit
    April 17, 2018

    LOL! That’s funny. Your whole “not giving a fuck” experience from the buying to Karen. Luckily for you, you didn’t give a fuck. Which is lucky, because for anyone else it may have done their head in. I thoroughly enjoyed the irony of it all. LOL. #teamlovinlife

    • Debbish
      April 17, 2018

      Oh it kinda did my head in…. but only when I was trying to turn it off and wasn’t sure I’d be able to. EVER!

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