Are audiobooks a substitute for physical books, or even e-books? What do you gain by hearing versus reading a book? What do you lose? And does anyone else feel as lost as I do without a physical book to devour?
I asked these questions last month (Audiobooks: The Chinese Food of Literature) because I noticed that listening to audiobooks was not as fulfilling as reading books. Audiobooks obviously have a place, and considerable merits. But even when I’m “reading” an audiobook, I still feel hunger for a book. A real book.
Despite the audiobook ads claiming that “listening is the new reading,” the experience I have with audiobooks doesn’t feel quite like “reading” to me. I wondered if anyone else felt similarly.
I’ve got that craving again, that gnawing, empty feeling I get when I am not reading a book. Over the holidays I tidily finished up Henry James’s Daisy Miller , Paul Auster’s Mr. Vertigo, and a nonfiction book. Since then I’ve been tearing through old magazines and listening to audiobooks. Just yesterday I spent four hours listening to an audiobook while on the road. And I will listen to more of it when driving into town today.
This audiobook is superb: Sebastian Haffner’s memoir, Defying Hitler. I look forward to finishing it. And yet I feel empty, and bookless.
Remember that old saying about feeling hungry again an hour after eating Chinese food? I’m beginning to wonder if audiobooks are the Chinese food of literature.
Summer is the time for road trips, and one of the best traveling companions is a phone or iPad full of audiobooks. If I’m driving alone, I get antsy if I have to go very far without one of these lively passengers. They’re also great for sharing if you have one that everybody in the car likes. I find the best books for travel are lighter fare because it’s hard to keep up with complex plots when traffic takes your attention.
One of my favorite series of books for listening in the car is the Miss Julia series by Ann B. Ross. Miss Julia is a clever, opinionated, and lovable woman of a certain age who has a knack for getting involved in thorny circumstances, sometimes by her own actions, but usually not.
6-1-2016. READING WITH YOUR EARS: ALL ABOUT AUDIOBOOKS
Have you ever wished you had more time to read? If you’re like me, each week, when the new books are released, you vow to spend more time cuddled up on the couch, lost in a good story. For most of us, however, there aren’t enough quiet moments in the day to indulge. Say hello to audiobooks, your new BFFs.
Audiobooks allow you to capture all kinds of lost minutes: imagine reading at the same time you’re driving, exercising, cooking, and gardening. There is something magical about being read to that touches us deep inside, reviving memories of childhood bedtime stories and also linking us to our long-ago ancestors, who listened to tales told around the evening fire.
5/29/2016. BOOK EDITOR AND REVIEWER CANDACE LEVY IS GUEST BLOGGER ON JUNE 1
Do you enjoy listening to audiobooks or are you a hard line advocate of the printed word? I’m a devoted fan of both and usually have one of each going all the time. As guest blogger on June 1, Candace Levy will tell us why she loves audiobooks and why, if you’ve never listened to one, you really should give them a try.
Levy is a full-time freelance book editor whose clients include both major publishing firms and prominent independent presses. She is also a freelance book reviewer and journalist, covering books in a wide range of genres. When she’s not at her desk, you’ll inevitably find her listening to an audiobook while cooking, walking, making lace, or taking photographs.
My book club is reading Don Quixote – and they’re hating it. This is an erudite group. They have plowed their way through ponderous and elusive authors like Faulkner and Jane Austen. They’ve devoted long hours to devouring All the King’s Men and The Tale of Genji. But Don Quixote is killing the best of them. And I think I know why. They’re all listening to, not reading, the book.