Reading as a better experience than listening to an audio-book

3 July 2018
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Reading is one of the oldest experiences that human beings have developed. Reading lays at the basis of all communication. You cannot communicate in a good way with people unless you are a reader. Reading enlarges one’s experience of life and broadens people’s perspective of understanding the world. It was meant to enrich human soul with values beyond practical existence. In time, from the very beginning of the world reading has expanded to millions of experiences and facts that man has decided to write about.

Through writing man was inevitably exposed to reading which enriched man’s communicating skills. Nowadays, reading has come to a descending curb. People feel overwhelmed with so much written material and do not want to read any more. This applies especially to youth who find reading experiences boring. The modern age is the age of movement, of images, people try to reduce the time they spend doing an activity, so reading has become undervalued. This is probably why audio books have appeared. Some people who are still fond of reading have decided to read books for others who don’t love the written word any more. Audio books may have advantages, for example they are prepared by professionals who have got a talent in reading: a good intonation, a good voice, sometimes even  music enriches the background of an audio book, or particular noises may be associated with the written experiences that can make it more interesting to listen to.

On the contrary, if man concentrates only the ears to this activity, he may have a tendency to do something with his hands or with his eyes. This leads, of course to a distraction from the thread of story he would listen to in a much easier way than when he reads. His thoughts start to wonder and he may discover that minutes have passed until he has come back to the story. Despite, your own perception of the sense might be reduced by another one’s reading the book. When I read I use my imagination, my feelings, my state of mind which would lead me to a certain perception. When I listen to the word, I have an experience that is narrowed to some parameters decided by others: the professional reader’s interpretation of the book he reads. I now have a voice that tells me how to read a word, some music that makes me feel in a particular way, or some noises that would make me think of a particular situation. My mind doesn’t raise to the peaks of imagination but imagines what the particular reader wants.

Thus, my experience with audio books is not a very happy one. I am a reader of books in cover. Listening to the story of Romeo and Juliet helped me explain to myself why I am thinking this way. Romeo and Juliet is a book of love. Shakespeare wanted that Romeo and  Juliet’s love to be a story that  repeats itself in an original way every time. He made it a universal theme. Thus, the concept of love is reduced to the experience of these people reading the play. While I was listening, I noticed that I couldn’t pay much attention to what Shakespeare meant by this love story but to the inflections of the voices of some people who interpreted the book they read in a different way than I did.

My opinion is that audio books should restrict to children’s books who can’t read. It is much better for my development as a spiritual and educated human being to read a book by myself and not listen to others reading it for me. There is a real difference between the written word which is read and the oral word which one may listen to. Its greatest benefit can lead to nothing better than a pronunciation improvement exercise.

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