Reading, Listening

As a fan of Leo Laporte and the TWIT network (as well as a bunch of other podcasts) I’ve heard more than my fair share of commercials. Audible, now an Amazon company, is probably the premier producer and distributor of audiobooks.

On this blog I often mention the latest books I’m listening to or reading, and I often don’t specify which I’m doing. It’s mostly a matter of convenience. As I’ve mentioned before, if someone says, “Have you read the Wheel of Time?” the simple answer is, “Yes,” not, “No, but I did listen to the unbridged audiobook edition.”

But in truth there is a big difference between listening to and reading books.  First, in my case, I can recall details of books I’ve listened much easier than books I’ve read.  This will of course not be true for everyone.  Often if someone brings up a particular scene from a book I’ve listened to, even if it was many months ago, I will remember the exact intersection I was driving through when I heard that scene play out.

On the other hand, when I see, “Egwene al’Vere” in print it means nothing to me.  I have to pronounce it out loud before I recall that character from the Wheel of Time.

Now whenever I listen to fantasy or anything with a lot of fictitious words I scan the wikipedia article to familiarize myself with them.  I think this does a lot to improve the experience.

3 thoughts on “Reading, Listening”

  1. When I listen to books, I find myself wishing I could read certain passages. Sometimes, I think the reader’s inflection is wrong for the passage (not how I’d play it out in my head, or I don’t like his voice for a specific character, or whatever), and other times, I just want to see how weird names are spelled. I like the Wiki idea…I’m going to start doing that. Usually, after I listen to a book, I just want to get my hands on a copy of it so that I can read it.

  2. Audiobooks are performances, and the readers are actors. Some are better than others. When a new movie comes out one of the first things we find out is who is starring, and that’s often enough to tell you if you want to see the movie. A lot of audiobook listeners start to recognize the better readers and seek out their material. Audible lets you search by narrator.

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