Listening vs the printed word: Which is better?

Before I had my first Kindle, I only ever read real, actual, physical books. I’ve always loved books. As a child, I bought books like other girls my age bought Pippa dolls (although I did love my Pippa doll in her long, green dress with white flowers and pink stripes…come on, it was the late 70s). Most of my pocket money went on books. As I write this, I do remember saving up for several weeks to buy a Chic a boo monkey. I have no idea why, now. Have you seen those things?

I got into the Secret Seven and the Famous Five early on (I always wanted to be ‘George’, a proper tomboy AND she had a dog) and would often read by torch light under the blankets after my sister and I had been told to turn off the light at bedtime. Hiding in a book was a favourite past time for a severely introverted girl in the 70s and 80s. Reading (and writing) were passions, still are.

But there’s no… paper

So, after years of buying books, borrowing books, losing books, using books (as a weapon, I have a younger sister) abusing books (see previous, she’s got a mean right hook so I had to play dirty) and of being so head-over-heels in love with books, when electronic devices appeared that one could READ(?) from, I poo-poohed the idea. How could you read from a ‘book’ if there was no paper? How do you turn the pages? How could you read without the smell of a book? How could you flick to the end to see how many pages there were? It was all too stressful to think about. A book is a book.

It didn’t last long.

Like many before me, the practicalities of having a Kindle soon outweighed the principle of steering clear. Now, I’m not sure I could be without it. I mean, I’d rather be without that than never having a proper, solid book in my hand, but I love my Kindle. It’s so… convenient; so many books on one device. When going on holiday, not sure what mood I’ll be in, I take my Kindle and then it doesn’t matter what mood I’m in. The only down side? It just doesn’t smell as good.

So, then we come to listening to a book being read. There are many who can’t stand the thought of listening to someone reading to them. Whether they don’t enjoy the actual sound or they disagree with listening to something they could be reading with their own eyeballs, there are many haters. I’ve long listened to ‘talking tapes.’ My mum and I had quite a formidable collection, between us, at one point. She thought she might have eye sight problems looming, so, being an avid reader (it’s obvious where I get it from) we went “somewhat large” on the old audio books. Bearing in mind they were the old style cassette tapes, you can imagine how well they lasted. Or not.

For me, working full time as a nurse and having all the other day-to-day shenanigans to deal with, my days off aren’t always what you’d call ‘free.’ If I’m tackling a three foot pile of ironing, I want to listen to a damn good story! I’m not really a TV fan, I’d rather listen to music or have peace and quiet. However, if I’m glued to a bloody good novel, I’ll iron for hours! Same goes for pottering in the garden, cleaning the car, all types of housework and even in the shower. I love listening.

Is listening the same as reading?

For me, yes.

I get just as much enjoyment from listening as I do from reading. Actual, physical books, my Kindle or the Audible subscription on my phone – I love them all. They each give me what I want: an escape into a world of fabulous fiction. It’s bliss.

Isn’t that what it’s all about?


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