I don't listen to them when I'm home -- I like the physical feel of a book and the visual experience of reading. But I love them for road trips. Our family has listened to some great books on long trips: "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime" was a particular favorite.
Well, they are not the same thing, so why call one the other. I "read" books. I "listen" to audiobooks. Audio books are performed by another. I am a spectator, so to speak, an audience of one. I am certain different things happen in my brain when I listen to someone read to me, as opposed to reading a text myself. And there is something to be said for the text itself. Why are there so many different typefaces if they don't matter? I think Stephen King gets a bug up his ass everytime he reads something about Harold Bloom, as if Bloom is the one keeping King's books from serious literary consideration (and not his own defective prose). I tend to agree with Bloom about the "inner ear" here, but that may only be because I concentrate much much better when reading an actual book. My mind tends to drift while listening to audiobooks. I rewind constantly. The physical book helps keep me focused. I also read better while smoking, so it might be my own personal neuroses at work.
I think you're right, Ed, about King regarding Bloom - though I have to say I sympathize a bit with him. I find Bloom rather a pompous ass myself. I confess that I am very low-tech when it comes to reading. I do it myself - but then I don't drive.
When it comes to King and audio books, I'm firmly in the middle. I think King is hugely popular and very underappreciated. If people in the future want an idea of how people lived and talked during our time, they'll read King.Some of it, anyway.As for audiobooks, I can't imagine how much imagination I can bring to reading the Patrick O'Brian books, set during the Napoleonic War. I learned from the audiobooks how to pronounce sailing terms and gained an understanding of their meaning from the context; something which would have stopped me cold while reading. The rendering of the different accents (French, English, Spanish, Turkish, the whole lot) made the books more vivid.I suppose Bloom would sneer that I have a limited imagination. He may be right. But I'd rather immerse myself in the literature "the wrong way" than deny myself the pleasure, in order to be right by his.
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I love audio books. How else can one read while driving???
How can listening to an audiobook be reading? Is watching Masterpiece Theatre reading?Audiobooks are fine -- sometimes listening to one is preferable to reading the book.But it's a different animal.As for Stephen King... I think he's quite a fine writer. I enjoyed his latest a lot.