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Jan 30 2014

Proving History Now an Audiobook!

My 2012 book Proving History: Bayes’s Theorem and the Quest for the Historical Jesus is now available as an audio book. Much faster than we expected! As I did for all my other audiobooks, I voiced the text for Pitchstone Publishing. You can buy the audio edition of Proving History now through Audible.com or Amazon.com and (eventually if not already) iTunes.

As usual, this is a somewhat “abridged” version, in the sense that it contains none of the chapter endnotes (and thus the sources are not there, nor any of the note anchors in the text itself). This time, all significant commentary in the endnotes (and even the appendix) I actually read out as a special section of the audiobook, so you don’t miss out on that. But all sources and scholarship are excluded. So for the visually impaired I have assembled the latter as a single HTML bibliography which you can run through a text-to-speech reader if needed (although you’ll have to guess where the notes refer to in the main text; the linked page only segregates them by chapter). I’ve created comparable pages for all my other audiobooks. There are also kindle and nook editions of Proving History that you can run text-to-speech on, and they contain the note anchors and complete notes, so you can identify what goes where.

Note that putting that bibliography page together was a long and complicated project, so it may contain coding errors. I believe I’ve cleaned them all up. But if you find any, do report them here and I’ll fix them.

For those curious to know, I’ll be in studio next week recording the audio for Hitler Homer Bible Christ. So that audiobook will be out in a few months (in anticipation of which I’ve already loaded its bibliography; meanwhile, important commentary in its footnotes I will be incorporating into the spoken text of each chapter).

7 comments

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  1. 1
    Alverant

    Well now I know what my next audible purchase is going to be. I’m glad I have a subscription.

  2. 2
    Dave Mack

    Dear Richard,
    As one who is now severely vision-impaired in my later years and has followed your career and extraordinary historical insights for over a decade and more, I wish to sincerely thank you for your thoughtful consideration and extra attention and work for those of us who rely on text-to-speech these days and those who may have to rely on TTS in the future.

    A warm bear hug from this old blind geezerr. :-)

  3. 3
    Stella

    Richard ,

    Thank you so much for doing the audiobook. I’m waiting for it to download. I cannot express how happy it makes me to have access to books I want to read. It really makes a difference in my quality of life.

    Thank you too for reading the endnotes and appendices. The HTML pages are fine for the bibliography as I can enlarge the text or use the robo voice as I need to.

    I can see that all of this is a lot of extra work for you, and I want you to know that I deeply appreciate what you have done.

    One small note: The page linked above that has pictures of all your books has no text titles for the books. I have to go to the links to find out what each book is. The screen reader just reads the link titles over and over without identifying each book.

    Thank you again for giving me and others with vision or print disabilities access to your work.

    Stella

    1. 3.1
      Richard Carrier

      Hmmm. The ALT tags are supposed to take care of that problem. Is there a setting on your screen reader that commands it to read the ALT tags for images? Screen readers are supposed to read those out. All the images on that page have ALT tags that explain what the image is, starting with the book title. If they aren’t being read, then you may be missing out on all kinds of ALT tags across the internet. I know many screen readers do read them (like Orca), and it would seem a major defect if any of them didn’t. So there might be a setting of some kind in your screen reader software that you need to turn on.

      Let me know if you can solve the problem that way (by finding out how to get your screen reader to read ALT tags for images, or upgrading to a screen reader that does that). If not, then let me know and I’ll redesign the page.

  4. 4
    Dave Mack

    Message to Stella…

    First of all, I am overjoyed another vision-impaired reader has posted here. I am a bit confused on what graphics are not being read aloud to you (could you provide a link to the page and identify your screenreader)? I use the open-source NVDA mostly. I agree with Richard, however, that it sounds like one of your screenreader options may be turned off, or it might be a possible problem with your screenreader’s interface with the particular browser you are using. Anyway, I would be interested in hearing more from any blind or vision-impaired Carrier fans since most blind folks I know seem immersed in blind-faith Christianity only. :-)

  5. 5
    Stella

    I’m going to guess that the alt text not showing up is a function of my browser. I’m using Mac OS 10.8.5, Safari 6.1.1, just using the browser’s “speak text” function rather than the full VoiceOver app. I mostly read enlarged text augmented by the “speak text” function when my vision quits. I fairly new at this blind stuff and not proficient with VoiceOver yet..

    Stick around, Dave; you’re not alone. fwtbc is another FTB poster who copes with vision loss.

    My life is made significantly better by having Richard’s books in audiobook form.

    Stella

    1. 5.1
      Richard Carrier

      I just upgraded to a whole new computer, so I am looking at OS 10.9, but presumably 10.8 has a similar feature somewhere.

      In 10.9, anyway, the VoiceOver utility supposedly has what you are looking for (in Preferences, Accessibility, VoiceOver, there is a link “Open VoiceOver utility” and in that an images navigation drop-down option thingy). There is an instructional here, search that page for the phrase “Navigating images on webpages” and read that. But no guarantees that’s the solution.

      I can’t figure out how to use VoiceOver, so I can’t test anything out. I’ll have to spend a day learning how VoiceOver works. Unfortunately I’m buried under work right now so can’t get to that right away. But if anyone here with experience in this can weigh in here, please do!

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