10 Dec 2015

Booking Through Thursday

This week's question from Booking Through Thursday is about audiobooks:
For me, “reading” means using my eyes, not my ears. As much as I acknowledge their usefulness while doing chores or using your hands, I only ever use audiobooks for the rare long drive–listening, no matter how pleasant, is not READING, yet people persist in telling me they like to read and that audio books are their favorites. Am I the only one to feel that’s just not the same thing?

For once I disagree vehemently with the author, but I think part of this may be semantics.

To me, "reading" means two things. There's the physical act of moving your eyes (or fingers, in the case of Braille) along the markings on a page and translating these markings into letters and words. With that definition, no, you obviously can't "read" audiobooks.

However, the more common meaning of "reading" is to take in the written word and gain a meaning from it. Whether that be from reading it yourself, or hearing it either in the form of audiobooks or having somebody present read it aloud to you, makes no difference. It's all reading.

And it sits wrong with me to deny one meaning of the word in favour of the other.


Barbara H. said...

I hadn't thought of that distinction, but I agree very much. If we say that reading is only about using the eyes, then we're saying that blind and deaf people can't read since they use Braille, or, for the blind, audiobooks. I still prefer print books but I have grown to love audiobooks as well.

Kwizgiver said...

I hadn't considered Braille. But I agree very much with your answer.