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A Question to Ponder - When is Reading a Book, Not Reading a Book?

momo2x2018momo2x2018 1089 replies65 threads Senior Member
Do you consider audiobooks 'reading' or not? I am finding that more and more these days, my 'reading' is audio! From somebody who would sometimes read as few as one book a week, and as many as three books a week, I'm finding it very difficult to get back in the traditional reading groove.
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Replies to: A Question to Ponder - When is Reading a Book, Not Reading a Book?

  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 10138 replies118 threads Senior Member
    Super interesting question! It's funny but I have never gotten into audiobooks because I tend to read at night in bed. I don't have a car anymore and even when I did, I preferred music to talk.

    My feeling though for adults, where reading isn't something that needs to be done for learning a life skill, I feel like it is still "reading" because you are still getting the story and content.

    There are lots of articles about this being different mediums entirely almost like the difference between seeing a movie or reading the book it's based on.

    We have a strong family history of Alzheimer's and Dementia in my family so I tend to want to do as much mental work as possible so read read but I think that if you are listening for pleasure of the story, I don't think it's cheating.

    Looking forward to reading some of the other responses!
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  • momo2x2018momo2x2018 1089 replies65 threads Senior Member
    edited May 2019
    As I sit here thinking about this, I clearly recall the time when my S was transitioning 5th grade to 6th - one of his reading assignments was 'Call of The Wild'. At that time, my S was not a big 'read for enjoyment' reader, and so I purchased the audiobook and he and I would listen to it, a chapter at a time, before bed. I'm certain my S has no memory of that now, but that is one of my cherished memories of him as a 10/11 year old, because we'd snuggle together and listen!
    I also recall purchasing the entire Lemony Snicket series for a West to East Coast road trip; that was fun 'summer reading'!
    edited May 2019
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  • Midwest67Midwest67 4112 replies15 threads Senior Member
    If it’s not on audio, it’s not gonna happen.
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  • MarilynMarilyn 4278 replies141 threads Senior Member
    My mind would also drift with audio books; much better visual than aural learner. I’ve always been a prolific reader but once in high school, my mom suggested I read Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier. When I seemed reluctant, she read me the first chapter out loud at lunch one day. I guess that was my first audio book!
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  • JustaMomJustaMom 2891 replies102 threads Senior Member
    @momo2x2018 - your story jolted my memory...when my (now adult) D was 3 she went on a one month road trip and I spent the week before she left recording all of her favorite stories on cassette. My mom said it (figuratively) saved her life (my mom) during some of the longer stretches. Now I need to ask D if she remembers.

    I say "reading" is just that...reading.

    But I'm a fan of audio books. I'm really fond of autobiographies read by their authors - a recent favorite is Pete Townshend,Who I Am (The Who). Listening to him tell his stories was like sitting and chatting with a friend over a meal. Several times as he told a story he'd crack himself up...you just know he could see/hear the exact moment he was sharing and it was super cool.
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  • maya54maya54 2676 replies100 threads Senior Member
    They are no more reading than listening to a podcast. Being read to is not reading either. Both can assist people who like to get information auditorily or to experience a story. There’s nothing wrong with them but they are not reading and I personally can’t stand being read to or audio books.
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  • mamommamom 3704 replies24 threads Senior Member
    Most of my "reading" is audio too. I have a horrible 2.5 to 3+ hour commute to work, round trip. I would shoot myself if I did not have a good book to listen to. I also find I do not actually read books as much anymore, although I carry my Kindle with me all the time.
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  • Aug2019Aug2019 201 replies15 threads Junior Member
    edited May 2019
    I'm with @mamom - and use audio books for a long commute. My father enjoyed listening to some when he was very ill a few years ago. I don't think of listening to audio books as "reading" but they can be a great diversion. For me, a lot rests on liking the voice and style of the reader, especially if they're reading an author I'm familiar with. Have never tried an autobiography read by its author like @JustaMom - will look for Pete Townsend!
    edited May 2019
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  • jollymamajollymama 251 replies13 threads Junior Member
    edited May 2019
    I have come to consider audio books "reading," and they account for about half of my book intake. For me it's reading with the ears vs. with the eyes. For technical information, the eyes have it. For skimming/speeding thru dull material, eyes again. For stories that grip me, they are equally effective ways of reaching my mind, emotions, and memory.
    edited May 2019
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  • somemomsomemom 11025 replies334 threads Senior Member
    @bajamm, you might start out by getting some books you know really well to train yourself how to listen. I first discovered audiobook CDs from the library for road trips nearly 15 years ago. Now with an iPod I am very happy to have a book going all the time, only certain authors translate well for me, some require reading a paper book.
    I prefer paper books, and yet at night I need an ebook or large print, you know, now that I am old and cannot see as well.
    I do notice that since my eyes starting requiring readers which coincides with smart phone, I do read fewer books than I historically read. It feels like self-betrayal, I was always a library kid and had a book in the car and in every room.
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  • abasketabasket 21305 replies914 threads Senior Member
    Do you track your reading - like on an app like Goodreads or in a notebook or anything?

    If so, would you be inclined to add in an audiobook you completed? I think I would. The point to be is absorbing the story of a book - whether that is audio or visually. Once I've consumed a book, I'd consider it "read".

    I went through a short period of enjoying audio books. Now if I'm listening to something I much prefer podcasts. And to visually read books.

    How does one have time to read 3 books a week?!
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  • mompopmompop 210 replies3 threads Junior Member
    My mom was always a voracious reader, but due to vision problems she must rely on audio books. For her, it is definitely reading.
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  • kiddiekiddie 3838 replies239 threads Senior Member
    Librarians definitely consider audio books reading - so I go along with them. Several people in my book group will read their books that way and it is fine by me.
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  • Midwest67Midwest67 4112 replies15 threads Senior Member
    One side benefit for me with audiobooks is it's training a different skill.

    When out of audiobook practice, I also find it's difficult at first; the distractibility others have mentioned and the straining to follow the story and catch the details.

    IME, some books lend themselves to audio and others do not. The reader can make or break it.

    Audio is not without it's drawbacks (not easy to flip back to a section and review), but one aspect of it I appreciate is hearing words or phrases in a foreign language or a character with a foreign accent pronounced beautifully and accurately. Wow!
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  • mathmommathmom 33186 replies161 threads Senior Member
    Nothing wrong with audio books. Curious when do people listen? At the gym? Long commutes? My mother used to listen to them while ironing - which I think is half the reason she ironed everything! She also read paper books and thought she remember books she read read better. We used to listen to books on long car trips with the kids, but now mostly listen to the radio or occasionally podcasts.
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  • MansfieldMansfield 833 replies2 threads Member
    I've been listening to audio books for a long time. My mind tends to drift with a book. I spend an awful lot of time in the car and I'd never have the time to read as many books. An excellent narrator will give dimension to the story and the characters. Michelle Obama reads the audio version of Becoming. She really makes her story come alive.
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  • Nrdsb4Nrdsb4 18027 replies164 threads Senior Member
    edited May 2019
    I do both. I read my kindle every night and listen to audio books when I ride my bike or when in the car.

    I just did a road trip to San Antonio and back. It was about an 11 hour trip. I listened to Educated by Tara Westover and have almost finished it. I fail to see how someone could say I have not read that book and absorbed and understood it just as well as anyone who read the hardback. Unless you consider "reading" as only a mechanical process involving the eyes and fingers as you turn a page, then I've definitely read that book.
    edited May 2019
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