Nanci Rathbun is the author of four mystery/crime thriller novels available in print, ebook, and audiobook format. Look for the PI Angelina Bonaparte Crime Thrillers at your favorite retailer—in whatever format you prefer.
The audiobook market has grown from forty-two million in 2013 to over two billion in 2019. But there are those who dispute whether listening is ‘cheating.’ Is it equivalent to reading? Or is it somehow ‘less’?
My personal prejudices came to a full stop in 2016, after a severe reaction to meds following cataract surgery. I spent weeks in the dark, unable to solace myself with reading, and reluctantly turned to audio to escape scream-out-loud boredom and recenter my focus outside of my painful situation.
A whole new world opened up to me during that rough patch. A world of voice acting that took me back to my childhood as an Army brat living overseas and listening to Armed Forces Radio. A world that enticed me to construct characters and settings in my head in a different way from when I read. A world that somehow activated a way of experiencing the written word as visual imagery.
I think we’re wired that way. Our ancestors gathered around fires to hear stories that educated and enlightened, as well as entertained. Wisdom stories like fables taught community values. Stories like Genesis taught the philosophy of existence and humanity’s place in the cosmos, and some stories, like the epic of Gilgamesh, used fictional narrative to exalt heroes and culture.
So are listening and audiobooks a lesser form of reading? Recent brain studies have shown that both reading and listening activate the same areas of the brain, giving evidence that they are on a par neurologically. Listening predates reading by millennia and continues to attract its own unique audience. And listening opens up a world that might not exist to vision-impaired persons and persons who struggle with learning disabilities.
And last but not least, listening to audiobooks allows us to be entertained while accomplishing other tasks that we might find boring, repetitive, or difficult: exercising—I walk farther when listening to an audiobook; cleaning—put on some Motown and get it done faster; driving—long road trips through open prairies or the Utah salt flats don’t make my chin hit my chest; and even dealing with insomnia—YouTube and sleep stories for adults (yes, that’s a thing!) have saved me from many a wakeful night.
So while reading is my choice in general, listening has captured a place in my heart as well. Like a good parent, I can’t claim one sibling is better than the other. Vive la difference!
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Links to each book across all retailers: https://tinyurl.com/NanciRathbunBooks
Twitter handle: @nancirathbun
Twitter link: https://twitter.com/NanciRathbun
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Nanci-Rathbun/e/B00E9E7QCI