Monday, December 15, 2008

Crazy Life

I heard a lady on the radio talking about the benefit of books and reading and the promotion of literacy. She touched, also, on the challenges kids face growing up in a tech-heavy world; short attention spans, an attraction toward blinking lights, and a tolerance (even preference) for obnoxious sounds (think Top 40 ring tones). Of course, youth always appears silly and shortsighted when viewed from the vantage of years (and it only takes a couple).
The radio lady said that books are a good thing. And who's not on board with that? Then she said that audiobooks are good, and that's okay, too. But she went on to say that an audiobook is the same as a book-book, book-type book.
And I don't think so.
An audiobook is better than television (at least commercial television). It's better than Halo or a gambling problem or a pomegranate. It is a very good thing. A terrific thing! Heck, I've got one coming out in June. But it's not the same as reading a book.
When you read, the voice is entirely your own. The pictures are your own. The squiggles on the page are pieces to build a world inside your mind. But the reader builds it. It's a workout.
An audiobook lightens the load.
Which can be nice.
You can do homework as you listen to an audiobook. You can drive. Make spaghetti or mudpies or build a ship in a bottle. You can multi-task.
And some people have to.
Multi-task, that is.
They can't relax and lose themselves in a book. Because they can't do ONE thing. Can't. They don't enjoy it. Or understand it. They're not built for it. It's a feature found on fewer models. Going out of style.
I listen to audiobooks and I read books, too. They're both good things, but not the same thing.
And one isn't a substitute for the other.
I could go on, and want to, but the tinny strains of Livin' La Vida Loca demand I answer the phone.

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