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Why I prefer listening to a book instead of reading it

I don't know about you, but I love a good book. However, about two years ago, I realized that I had not picked up a book in a very long time. What was I thinking of? I missed the pure pleasure of experiencing its characters, setting, dialogue, drama and that wonderful anticipation of "what happens next". Well, I thought to myself something has to be done about this.

Without analyzing the reasons for this misdemeanor in my life and having mentioned this fact to a close friend of mine, she confided in me that she has been "listening" to books on cassettes (you remember those, don't you) which she borrowed from a library in a local organization. Light bulbs went off in my head and although I thought this was a brilliant solution to my problem, I no longer owned a cassette player – aye there's the rub!

Being a master "surfer" I thought I would consult "my guru" and went online. Lo and behold me hearties up popped literally (excuse the pun) thousands of sites associated with audiobooks. I have no recall of why I chose from amongst them but as of that moment it has been the source of my becoming a habitué of its website since March 2011 and the proud listener of seventeen books.

OK, you ask, but what if I am not computer orientated in any way? Some computer skills are required to be able to negotiate the website, but you don't have to be a maven of mavens. There are plenty of young relatives around who will help in this quarter and if something is that important, one will always find a way. The effort is so rewarding.

Unlike traditional reading, I was able to listen in whenever I wanted to – while walking on the treadmill, preparing meals, cooking, chores around the house, gardening, driving down South once a week to my family (only use one ear) or even shorter journeys. I can't tell you what a pleasure it is crying tears of joy with a beautiful heroine finally getting her man while I'm peeling onions or being taken to Tuscany on a wonderful adventure while I'm stuck in a traffic jam on Highway 6.

You might interject that there is nothing like the written word, the feel of the book in your hand, your own personal interpretation of the text, etc. etc. However, to prove a point, oral storytelling came long before the written word. Picture our ancestors sitting around primal campfires telling tales of ancestry and fantasy. Audiobook narration is an art form all its own. I listen to experienced stage and screen actors playing many characters. There are exquisite pleasures to be derived from hearing how a talented actor inhabits characters and interprets stories, giving a top-class performance just for me.

As the famous saying goes "Different strokes for different folks" – this for me was a stroke of luck and one which I thought might titillate the curiosity of some of you who find that traditional reading like me lasts for about 10 minutes before you find yourself in the land of nod.

Whichever way you choose – may we all enjoy a good read or listen for a very long time to come. 



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Tuesday, 07 February 2023

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