Reading vs. listening to books

I noticed people talking on Twitter (twalking? I hate the word “tweeting”.) about whether listening to an audio book counts as “reading”. I’ve always been somewhat hesitant to get into that discussion because I’ve never truly listened to an audio book, although I have tried on several different occasions.

The truth is, I cannot pay attention to an audio book at all! I just can’t. I don’t know if I’m the only one, but I’m much more prone to visual stimuli (take that however you’d like, naughty!) and I can’t pay attention to something if I’m only listening while trying to do something else like cooking or cleaning. Even in class I have to keep my eyes straight towards the front of the classroom or take notes or else I won’t learn anything. So I had tried listening to an audio book once while cleaning, and half an hour later I realized that I hadn’t absorbed any of what I had just listened to! Another time I tried listening to an audio book in bed and I promptly fell asleep.

I was thinking that maybe I just haven’t listened to very engaging audio books, but that can’t really be so because I’ve listened to some of Neil Gaiman’s work and I couldn’t pay attention either once I’d gotten distracted by something else – and I consider his “acting” style superb!

Therefore, I think that for me at least, audio books are not an alternative method of reading simply because I cannot listen to books and absorb any information. I have to read it to understand it. But there are plenty of people who do, and I suppose the intake of information is what matters in the long run. So yes, I suppose audio books must count as reading, because those who do are just as able to process and discuss ideas as well as I can.

And that’s all she wrote.


One response to “Reading vs. listening to books

  1. I like the word ‘twalking’
    I can only, and I mean, ONLY listen to a book on Audio if I am traveling alone in a car. Thats the time I’ll actually pay attention and enjoy it. Otherwise it’s all about having the book (soon to be kindle, we must not forget my jealousy here) a book in my hand.

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