Friday, June 26, 2009

Ask a Weird Question...

One of my favorite agent blogs featured a poll this week: Does listening to an audiobook qualify as reading? This struck me as a dumb question. Lets see, I listen to all the words in a book, in order, and the words stick in my head. Afterward, I know the story and could pass a quiz about the book. But the answers were startling. Half the people questioned said no, if you listen to an audiobook, you have not read the book.

The Big Reveal: I go through a lot of audiobooks. Unabridged, thank you very much. I take a three mile walk every morning, and I listen to audiobooks. Here is the difference between listening on my walk and reading on my couch: when I listen, I do not skim. I do not get up and go to the refrigerator every three pages. I do not check my email. I do not fall asleep.

Audiobooks also tame the wild punctuation of a writer like Faulkner, because the poor narrator has to breathe. And sometimes you get a really great narrator. The Sound and the Fury read by a southerner. Ulysses read by an Irishman. And recently, Beat the Reaper read by someone who had to have been the main character.

So to all those folks who said no, audiobooks don't count as reading? Get your pencils out and get ready for the quiz.

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