Booking Through Thursday: Loud

  1. What do you think of reading aloud/being read to? Does it bring back memories of your childhood? Your children’s childhood?
  2. Does this affect the way you feel about audio books?
  3. Do you now have times when you read aloud or are read to?
  1. As a kid, I liked it. My mother read to me a lot, but I learned to read very early—I actually don’t remember not being able to read, although, of course, I couldn’t at some point.
  2. Not really; my feelings towards audiobooks come from the way I learn. I’m a visual learner, so I can’t initially engage with a text via audiobook; I miss things, I can’t take notes, I can’t mark passages, so on and so forth. I can only listen to audiobooks that I’ve already read in print form; it’s how I reread books, really.
  3. Nope, unless audiobooks count.

And here’s a quote from Alberto Manguel’s A History of Reading that, I think, manages to express both the tyranny and the comfort of being read to:

At the same time, the act of reading out loud to an attentive listener often forces the reader to become more punctilious, to read without skipping or going back to a previous passage, fixing the text by means of a certain ritual formality. Whether in the Benedictine monasteries or the winter rooms of the late Middle Ages, in the inns and kitchens of the Renaissance or the drawing-rooms and cigar factories of the nineteenth century—even today, listening to an actor read a book on tape as we drive down the highway—the ceremony of being read to no doubt deprives the listener of some of the freedom inherent in the act of reading—choosing a tone, stressing a point, returning to a best-loved passage—but it also gives the versatile text a respectable identity, a sense of unity in time and an existence in space that it seldom has in the capricious hands of a solitary reader. (123)

  • Manguel, Alberto. A History of Reading. 1996. New York: Penguin, 1997. Print.

11 thoughts on “Booking Through Thursday: Loud

  1. I’ve never really considered whether being read to as a kid influenced my feelings toward audiobooks. My mom read to my siblings and me every night, and I fondly remember both those hours and many of the books we read together. It took years before I tried audiobooks. I listen to them frequently now, but I do tend to choose books that are less complicated for the most part. Really dense novels, heavy nonfiction, etc. are hard for me to listen to just because I miss things. Other than audiobooks, I rarely get read to, unless my husband comes across a passage he especially likes! (He’s working on The Complete Works of Shakespeare at present!)

  2. Being read to does remind me of my childhood, but now that I can read for myself I much prefer that. I can read much faster than someone can read aloud, and I’m impatient.
    I agree that I’m much more of a visual learner, I don’t generally listen to audiobooks (Goliath being the notable exception…Alan Cumming’s accents are too good to miss.) I find that I space out. That said, I did “read” Pride and Prejudice for the first time via audiobook while I was running, because unlike music audiobooks don’t influence my pace. But I must admit I did space out at times, and thus it had to be something where I already knew the plot.
    As far as reading goes, I do have a memory of not being able to read…or read cursive, specifically. My mother was talking on the phone and I remember imitating her unreadable loopy handwriting on a pad meant for messages.

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