Reading versus Listening

For most of us, our earliest contact with books was when our parents or grandparents read to us in the days before we, ourselves, could read. Certainly it was part of my bedtime routine to 'have a story' before sleep. I read to my own children and now read to my grandchildren too.

Finding time to read for myself is increasingly challenging. Sometimes it seems almost a luxury. A long journey by train or plane is a chance to catch up on our pile of unread (but much anticipated) books. Kindles are loaded or suitcases stuffed with paperbacks in anticipation of uninterrupted hours on a sunbed when on holiday.

I've been wanting to read Barbara Kingsolver's novel, 'The Posionwood Bible' for a long time. Finding it almost impossible to make the time to devote to this tome I decided to try listening to it, rather than reading it. So I've loaded my ipad with an audiobook and am about to take the plunge.

I know many people who have already succumbed to the lure of audiobooks. They listen when driving, ironing, cooking or exercising. Research by Standford University has found walking actually boosts creativity.

So, if I walk my dog and 'read' at the same time maybe I can improve my physical as well as my mental wellbeing.

Is that cheating? Does listening give you a different perspective to reading a book? I am sure the pace of an audiobook is slower than reading but will that improve my comprehension?

I'd love to hear your experiences or views on reading versus listening. Does the narrator add to the text or detract from it? Do you have favourite narrators?

You can leave your comments in the box below.

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