Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Do Audio Books Talk to You?

One of my favorite ways of reading is to listen. I have heard those critical of audio books say that listening isn’t really reading. But that is how reading often begins. As a child, I loved being read to. Even now, stories come more alive for me when a voice adds to the images spilling out with the words. Reading through listening is both a very old and simple medium (the story-telling tradition goes back thousands of years) and a sophisticated, complex, modern phenomenon thanks to computer technology. Today a single story teller can reach untold thousands, even millions of listeners through the magic of digital media. I have a hunch that the nomadic story-tellers of old would be delighted.

My passion for listening/reading has had one unexpected result. My rate of reading has increased. I choose a wider variety of books and I read more constantly. I have also developed a list of favorite narrators alongside my lists of favorite authors, books and movies. At the moment, Jim Dale, narrator of the Harry Potter books, is at the top of my narrator list. People I know who are challenged by reading text, the visually impaired, blind or dyslexic also read constantly and voraciously, thanks to the magic of audio books.

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