Reading vs Listening

I’m a HUGE fan of audio literature. I define that term rather broadly to include both audiobooks and short story podcasts, as well as newer platforms like Serial Box, which is supporting longer-form storytelling by multiple authors.

The advantage for me, as a New York City commuter, is multifold. Audio content helps me take advantage of my commute. It’s rare for me to get a seat, and sometimes I’m on a train so crowded that even reading a physical book is impossible. In addition, as an author, listening to the podcasts magazines produce allows me to keep up with multiple magazines and a broad spectrum of stories without spending a fortune on subscriptions. Plus, it helps me get a feel for each publication’s style and the type of stories they’re looking for.

It’s all part of an overall strategy I have for keeping up with the wild, wide world of fiction. I have several physical books I’m reading, both research and fiction, I have ebooks I read almost exclusively on my phone, and I have audio fiction for the in-between times.

Recently, this fantastic article came to my attention:

As Far As Your Brain Is Concerned, Audiobooks Are Not ‘Cheating’

Not that my strategy needed any affirmation, since it works just fine for me. But I had no idea that anyone considered listening to books as “cheating.” As far as I’m concerned, a book listened to is a book “read.” That’s like saying if you weren’t staring at the television for the entire duration of a show, you didn’t “watch” it. I mean, isn’t television a visual medium?

So there you have it, not just on my authority, but the New York Times, for crying out loud. Paper, digital, audio–it doesn’t matter how you absorb your fiction. For the love of words, just read!

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