Digging through audiobook opinions

Written by Francisca Goldsmith on Thursday, October 27, 2016

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Have you been paying attention to the increasing variations in opinions from editorial and blog writers about how to compare and contrast audiobook listening with reading?

Since summer, there has been a flood of well considered and presented pieces appearing everywhere from the Washington Post to Digital Book World. What's exciting about this stream is that the writers are going beyond repeating older research to take up aesthetic and engagement aspects of reading, writing, and hearing stories. 

A couple recent ones that seem particularly pertinent to AudiobookSYNC planners and fans appeared earlier this week. Mary Anne Scheuer, a school librarian in Berkeley, California, is one of the experts included in Linda Flanagan's article for Mind/Shift. Mary Anne, and others interviewed for this piece, clearly calls out the value of listening to literature in itself, rather than simply as a stepping stone to visual reading.

Author and playwright Gene Doucette addresses this even more explicitly in his "Audiobooks Are a Different Art Form," and makes a fascinating connection between audiobook narration and other acting venues.

Be sure to pass these around if, like so many of us, your daily life is peopled by those whose understanding of the art form continues to be limited to its association with print literacy. Listening isn't a replacement for seeing, just as seeing can't replace listening. We have five senses for good reason and collecting both information and the pleasure of imaginative engagement through two that rely heavily on language gives us more, not less, capacity to become fuller, smarter, more engaged humans.

Category : Literacy

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