There are two things that I really love. Literature and nature. If only there was a way of combining the two. Well, now there is since I’ve recently invested in an iPod and some earphones and have started listening to audiobooks while I’m walking the trails. It’s totally revolutionized my walking experience. Being able to listen to my favorite tales while I revel in the splendor of nature is hard to beat and is something that I think most people would enjoy.
While some people think a book isn’t really a book unless they’re sitting down to read in their living room with a hot cup of coffee, I think that listening to a story is pretty much the same as reading it. The brain still works in the same way, and in some ways, it’s actually easier to visualize the characters and situations in which they find themselves.
Some people feel that audiobooks are, in some way, cheating. The idea of experiencing a book without putting in the effort of actually reading it. However, there are books out there which address the subject of the science of reading and in fact, there is evidence that shows that the mental process involved in both methods of consuming literature, whether listening or reading, is exactly the same.
Experts in the subject find it bizarre, in fact, that some people have issues surrounding the use of audiobooks in place of physical reading, saying that it makes no sense to think that listening is in some way cheating. The idea of getting a reward without putting in any work is what seems to bother some literature fans, however, experts believe that, in fact, listening is not in any way less work than picking up a physical book to read.
There are two processes involved in reading a book – the decoding of the letters into meaningful words, and the comprehension of the story. The process of comprehension is equal when it comes to listening or reading and tests have shown that, whether participants read a story or listening to it, they were equally able to describe the plot. Of course, decoding is something that you only need to do when reading, however as we get older and read more, the process has become so familiar that the brain finds it no extra work at all since it happens automatically.
This means that listening to books is no easier than reading them, and, of course, you can enjoy other things at the same time. I’ve found that audiobooks have opened up the world of multi-tasking to me. I can now listen to stories while driving, while walking, while gardening… it’s wonderful. I have more opportunities than ever to escape into the world of novels. Of course there will always be people who think that audiobooks are cheating, however, I believe we all need to move away from that elementary school mentality and look on literature as something to be experienced rather than endured.