I try to restrict my posts to book recommendations, but sometimes, I have a thought or two about reading in general that I just must share....
While having breakfast with good friends this morning, the subject of listening to books rather than reading them came up. They were asking me how I was keeping up with all of my reading, now that I have 15 book clubs. I told them I do my best to persuade the kids to read one or two books I have already read. I also find a few books that I can listen to as I walk in the mornings. They asked, "Isn't that expensive?" I replied, "Not really, because our library has a growing collection of downloadable books and I start my search there." Anyway, this got us talking about listening as a way to access a book.
One of my friends has a son in my book club, and he almost always listens to our monthly reading. By allowing for a different way to access the book, Peter has been willing to try new genres. To his great surprise, he has discovered he does like books that are not fantasy. If we hadn't "upped" the thrill factor, by letting him listen rather than read, we might just start losing him to the other forms of entertainment in his life.
Our other friend's kids go to a school that uses Accelerated Reader to promote independent reading. I will keep my opinions of this program to myself for now, but she asked me if I thought listening would qualify her kids to take the AR test. They are about to take a road trip to New Orleans, and she thought listening to books might be a better way to pass time than watching a movie or playing video games. (Amen, Sister!) This stumped me and I told her, "I just wouldn't mention how the child accessed the novel."
I must say that I consider having someone read aloud to me to be one of the great luxuries in life. We do our best to set time aside every evening for reading in my house. This usually means that my house full of introverts heads to their favorite quiet corner. Sometimes, my husband will read a book to me and my son as a treat. (If we can all agree on a book!) Though an audio book is not quite the same, it is a nice change of pace. I love words. I especially love words in the hands of a great writer. Whether I hear them or read them, they are fantastic. Listening may change the impact of the story, but it does not diminish the experience. It may just improve it.
I think we need to open ourselves up to the multitude of ways we can access stories. As a matter of fact, I think we should embrace them. And, I think we should get used to hearing our children, or friends, say "Let me tell you about this book I just heard."