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Lend us your ears

by Evan | Jun 01, 2016
It's taken 27 years of listening to audiobooks, but I'm almost at the point where I can say without embarrassment that I have "read" a book that I actually listened to on tape, CD, or smart phone. You know, the idea is that if you hear a book you don't get moral credit for really reading it. I hope that's just my own hangup, and that when June rolls around and everyone celebrates Audiobook Month (brought to you, of course, by the Audio Publishers Association), you will be listening to books guilt free.
There are  those who say listening to a book causes you to get less out of it. There are those who say listening is just a different way of learning. There are those who used to disdain audiobooks but have seen their value. And there are those (me) who think audiobooks are just great, great, great.

My bottom line is that I have listened to hundreds of books that I would never have found time to read. Seriously, would you ever visually read Les Miserables, or The Brothers Karamazov? Granted they each took me many weeks, but still, they made their way into my head via my ears when they had no chance of ever entering through my eyes.
Jim Dale
I've had so many sublime discoveries, such as Barbara Savage's Miles from Nowhere or the voice of the late and truly great Frank Muller. Visual readers of the Harry Potter books missed out on Jim Dale's 134 amazingly distinctive voices.

Meanwhile, I've listened to so many Great Courses from the Teaching Company that I deserve a General Studies diploma.

Without books on tape and then on CD, I would have been driving around for a quarter of a century listening to the radio. I'd have been doing yard work with a grudge instead of with something just short of enthusiasm. Maybe I'd even by dead by now, because I never took long, healthful walks before I could listen to books while I strolled. 

Of course, if you are the rare American who can actually sit back, relax, and listen to a book, then all the better for you. You might even choose books that have accompanying websites so you can see photos and other graphics that are admittedly missing from a standard audiobook. 

Like e-books, audiobooks fill a niche. They don't make paper books irrelevant. If you haven't tried them, however, and you wish you could read more books, you owe it to yourself to see if you fit in that niche as well as I do.

EvanEvan - Married, three children, two grandchildren, formerly a newspaper journalist, now a public librarian, at all times a board game nut.

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