If someone were to ask you if you had read a particular book and you had instead listened to it in audio book form, how would you answer that question? For all intents and purposes, you read it. You know the whole story and everything, it just happened to be read to you.
Does it really matter how you absorb a work of fiction? I suppose it does if you watch the movie instead of reading the book…but that’s a little different. Most movies take serious liberties with the plot and characters, so it’s not the same story anymore. What if it were? If movies were made following the original novel word for word, action for action, with nothing changed or omitted, it seems that it would be the same as either reading or listening.
Still, to me, it seems like anything other than reading the words straight from the page is cheating somehow. Perhaps this is an imprint left over from my school days; teachers trying to weed out lazy habits. But when it really comes down to it, stories are wonderful, precious things, and access to them should be promoted regardless of format. Isn’t it better to have listened to a novel that you otherwise would never have read, than reading nothing at all?
So, in the end, I guess I shouldn’t feel so ashamed of listening on occasion rather than reading. What do you think?
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These thoughts occurred to me largely because I was debating whether or not I should review the audio book I just finished listening to…and after this little discussion with myself (and whoever might be reading this) I think I will.