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 Audible.com 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.

Leave a Reply