Booking Through Thursday: Audiobooks


I’m guessing most of you like reading (or why would you be here?) How do you feel about audiobooks?

For me, “reading” means using my eyes, not my ears. As much as I acknowledge their usefulness while doing chores or using your hands, I only ever use audiobooks for the rare long drive—listening, no matter how pleasant, is not reading, yet people persist in telling me they like to read and that audiobooks are their favorites. Am I the only one to feel that’s just not the same thing?

No, Deb (host of BTT), you are not alone. I hear the Bible read out loud to me every Sunday, but that doesn’t count as reading. I prefer not to read along, although that is an option, but that’s a different story.

I just don’t like audiobooks. The last time I remember liking them was when I was so little that my books on tape were reading to me. (People of a certain age still call audiobooks “books on tape.”) That was because I couldn’t read yet, though. I’m a grown-up now. I can read. I read my own books. Listening is such a different experience that I just can’t bring myself to do it. Even on long drives, I would rather sing along to music. (I occasionally talk with my fellow passengers, but that’s because I rarely have passengers.)

I do have a long commute, though. My coworkers have recommended audiobooks, but my antidote to that daily dead time has been podcasts. Those are designed to be listened to. Books are not meant to be listened to. There was a weird genre of French plays written specifically to be read and not performed, but with that exception, works are best in their original form.

For more short queries about books and the reading life, visit Booking Through Thursday.


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Seneca, a Roman playwright, also wrote plays that some scholars believe were meant to be read aloud but never performed. Also, you might find it interesting that in the Classical world, people read everything aloud. That’s how Philip heard the Ethipoian reading in Acts 8.

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