Tuesday, June 02, 2009

opinion

M and I decided that we need assistance in settling a little debate.

If you listen to an audio book, can you say that you've read the book? You've heard every single word of it, but how do you enter a conversation about the book? Should you say, "Oh, I listened to that last week?" or can you just claim to have read it? It's a pretty constant question around here as M has been listening to audio books during his commute for the past couple of months.

Opinions?

11 comments:

Red said...

I think you have to disclose. "I listened to it last week"

Scarlet Lily said...

Yeah, I always disclose also. Not that it's necessarily less legitimate, but you usually absorb less when you're listening in the car vs. reading on your couch. I count those books as "mostly read."

Melodie said...

You've listened to it, you haven't read it. It would be like saying that you read CDs. You don't. You listen to them. Two different things.

Hope you won this one. If not, better luck next time.

Just Another Idealist said...

I also think you have to say you listened to it, especially because many audio books are abridged versions of the whole book. There is no way in hell I was getting through "Guns, Germs & Steel" in its entirety, but I listened to it on tape to get the main points without supporting details ad nauseum.

VA said...

Is this really a question about "reading" a book or is it more about how much a person can have absorbed the book through the verbal input process. Some people work better listening to things versus reading them. Brains are wired differently.

Now it is quite plain that he didn't read the book but what's murkier is if he absorbed it.

Wonderland said...

As a complete fan of audio books, I think you have definitely "read" these books. You've absorbed the material/tone/language of the book. You can speek confidently about themes/plot/dialogue. What more consitutes "reading"? Just my two cents...

Anonymous said...

You totally didn't read the book. If someone read you a letter over the phone instead of sending you the letter and reading it yourself, would you have read the letter? No. It was read to you.

signed, your reading relations

die Frau said...

I always say I've listened to the book because that's the sense I used, not sight.

I think it depends on the book regarding how much you absorbed it. Certain books have worked great for me listening to them, and I've gotten much more out of others that I've read. However, I think you can still discuss the plot, etc. and not be a lesser person having not "read" it. I have my students do audio books (and read) all the time because they absorb the material better that way. I do agree with Idealist, though: Try to get the books that are not abridged if you want the whole experience.

feather nester said...

No judgment here, both are valid, but you didn't read the book. You can totally enter conversations with the same credibility as someone who read it, though. But yes, you must disclose, "I listened to that last week."

I'd still let him in my book club, though. :)

Angie said...

We discuss this often in my book club...we don't be-little the person who listened to the book- as stated by someone earlier...as long as they can discuss it. I have been listening to lots of books commuting back and forth from the burg. I find I will listen to a fluff book or one that I have already read and loved and wanted to have the story re-told to me. It is interesting that no one brought up the fact that the whole listening experience depends upon the reader. They can suck you in.For me,almost as if I am reading for myself.A bad reader can ruin a book for me worse than a stupid plot! I am listening to the Half-Blood Prince at the moment in anticipation.

Anonymous said...

Another vote for "listened"