Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Reading By Ear

For the longest time, I felt that holding a book and reading the words written on the pages was the only way to read a story. For me, there was something pure about feeling the weight of the book in my hands, physically turning pages... it feels almost like I'm contributing to the activity of reading.

Because of this, it took me over a year of debating with myself about buying a Kindle. There was no way I could enjoy reading a book off a tablet. At least, that's the argument I used to convince myself that it wouldn't be worth the price. But then I used my tax refund money to buy my Kindle last year. And I really do enjoy it. This doesn't mean I've decided to get rid of all my real books in favor of electronic copies. But I'm not opposed to buying some new books to be read on the eReader.

This brings me to the audiobook. For years I've talked myself out of listening to an audiobook. I had myself convinced that, when it comes to reading a book, listening to someone read it to you doesn't count.

Then I started working at an elementary school nearly 60 miles from my apartment. I spend 2 and a half to 3 hours in my car each day. For the first month or so, I was content to simply listen to music. I love music. I love singing along at the tops of my lungs while no one can hear me. Honestly, I'd still be content to simply listen to music. And I'm talking about CDs and iPod... radio gets obnoxious after extended periods of time.

One day at school, a teacher suggested I read to one of my kids. She said he loves to have someone read to him. I got him to pick out a book and I read out loud while he sat next to me on the floor. As I read, I thought, who doesn't like to have someone read to them?

The last time I can remember someone reading to me was back in 7th grade. Our English teacher would occasionally read passages of the Tripod Trilogy by John Christopher. By the end of the school year, we had listened to her read all three novels.

I do love to read. And there's a very good possibility that if I weren't spending 3 hours of every day behind the wheel of my car, I'd be spending that time reading. So why not spend that time having someone read to me? So I decided to stop by the local library to check out their audiobook selection. It's not a huge selection, but it's something.

It would be easy to become lazy and rely only on audiobooks. I don't want to do that. I still like using my own eyes and my own inner voice to narrate a good book. But these professional readers, usually actors, are able to put a great deal of emotion into their voices as they read. It's all very dramatic.

Please, try not to judge. Three hours a day in the car is a lot of time to fill.

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