Sooner or later, the voice in my ears ceases to be a voice
January 11, 2018 10:18 AM Subscribe
Do audiobooks count as reading or are they more like watching a movie?
- Over the years, people have asked if I noticed a difference between books on tape and reading print, and the answer is I don’t know. Sporadic reader that I had been, it was hard to say if the words read with my ears reached my brain differently from everything I had read with my eyes. For every study that shows comparably complex brain activity during both methods of reading, there’s a respected author or critic who discredits audio books as shortcuts or cheating. In The Guttenberg Elegies, Sven Birkerts suggests listening to a book shares more with the act of watching television than reading print, and given my own seamless transition from watching TV with my ears to reading talking books, I’m in no position to refute his comparison.
- What I know for sure is this: Sooner or later, the voice in my ears ceases to be a voice. It becomes the words, the words become sentences, and the sentences become the story. At some point, the voice in my ears merges with my own voice the way the words on a page once became my own inner voice when I still read print.