Thank God for the printed word! This world would be a very different place without it.
I am one of those old fashioned readers that loves to hold a book in my hand. I like pages. I like libraries. I enjoy taking notes in the margins and spilling coffee on the cover and having wavy pages. A stained tome with a bent up spine that smells like dust makes it all the more valuable, if you ask me.
I am also a sucker for instant gratification and multitasking which can sometimes trump my love for the nostalgic. So while I may be marching along with the librarians screaming Long live the hardback! I also may not be as committed as I sound. I’ll admit it. I am a fan of digital and audio books. If I decide I want to read a book and I know I can download it and read it right now rather than order it and wait for it to arrive in the mail. Or even worse try to figure out how I can contain my children while hunting down the desired title in a presumably quiet environment, like a library or book store.
Then come the times when I am trying to engineer some sort of concoction that can hold a book in front of me while I cook, fold, or bath. I’ve never really been successful with any of these attempts so that is where the audio book comes in. Perfect for car rides, exercise, baths, reading in the dark, and yes cleaning.
There are just a few problems that I have with the audio book though.
1. Sometimes I don’t like the voice of the narrator.
2. There are times you really want to read your book, but headphones aren’t really appropriate.
3. I like to stimulate my mind when I read and I feel like audio books interrupt that benefit.
The good news is the more I have tried audio books the more I learn ways around some of these pet peeves of mine.
1. Some voices just rub me the wrong way and when you have to listen to it for let’s say 12 hours, it’s important. The voice should be hearing the story not the voice, but it doesn’t always go this way. I am an a battle with audible.com right now over an audio book that sounds like a chipmunk is reading it. I won’t go into the details, but I was told I could exchange the book. Then I was told I couldn’t. Then I stewed for a few days. Then I sent out one last email and we’ll see how it goes. Either way I am not going to finish the audio version. It’s AWFUL. To avoid having to go through that again I think I will listen to the preview on iTunes first so I know what the narrator sounds like.
2. I posted a funny instagram about this predicament once. Because sometimes you just have to laugh at yourself.
I have heard that there are ways that you can maneuver back and forth between audio book and digital book seamlessly with a kindle and that sounds fabulous. It’s nice to know I wasn’t the only one dealing with this problem and there are smart people out there inventing solutions. Now I just need a kindle!
3. It turns out when a book is being read to you, your brain processes all of it the same. There is no dumbing down with the audio route. Obviously reading is important, but from all the research I’ve read so is listening. There are some things that are better about actual reading, for example learning the spelling would be an obvious benefit. Then there are other things that would come from listening to a book being read that you wouldn’t get other ways. Take enunciation for example. There is more to it than that, but it encouraged me to know that I wasn’t going to miss out with audio books. I still count them as books that I’ve read, and according to this article from Forbes and many others I read that is totally fine.
Hopefully you’ve heard the phrase “There is more than one way to skin a cat” if not, than my title must seem pretty grotesque. The point is whether you choose to eat your macaroni with a fork, or spoon, or your hands it’s still macaroni and the same goes for literature. There is more than one way to consume a book. I like to dabble in a variety of options depending on my need at the moment. So now I want to hear from you. How do you like to read?