What about Audiobooks?

For years called "recorded books," or "books on tape," the term settled to "audiobooks." Still, they are *books,* right? Are they?

The same ancient prejudices against technology, and against any "easy way out," applied, to anyone who wasn't physically limited to audio input. In 2019, Pam Sorooshian shared an article:

End of audiobook snobbery as scientists find reading and listening activates the same parts of the brain

The article was on the Telegraph site (UK) about a study from UC Berkeley My response to the discussion on Pam's page:

Sandra Dodd:
When I was in college, I had a hard time reading Shakespeare plays, and I was an English major doing early lit.

The fine arts library had unabridged recordings, on LP albums, by famous actors, with sound effects (storm, doors closing, people calling from off stage). I could read along with people who knew what they were doing, and it was easier to know who was on or off stage.

I was never embarrassed by that. I was shocked others hadn't thought of it. It was super easy for me to jump the track, when reading (and tired, and hungry, and distracted, as a teenaged college student). But sitting in that listening lab, in a carrell, with headphones and my book... I was transported.

Nowadays, students can watch videos, but that wasn't an option in the early 1970s.

Those plays were NEVER, ever, for a moment, written to be read. It would be like "reading music" without picking up an instrument—just running one's eyes over the notation and imagining what it would sound like—even the most skilled sight reader would not be using that music as it was intended.

So some books, sometimes, were intended "to just be read," but many of them, partly because there were no other options. Not even playing LP albums in a fine arts library.

I can sew and listen to a book. I can work in the yard, pull weeds, water plants, and listen to a book. I can drive, and listen to a book. It wouldn't matter to me if it didn't take the same part of the brain; I wouldn't care a bit. Considering ideas, appeciating skillful writing, connecting new facts to what I knew before... it could be from conversations, magazine artilcles, videos, movies, letters from friends, or books, or audio "books."

I can play a video game and listen to a book, if the game doesn't involve words or music. 😊

Pam Kerwin Sorooshian:
The people who have told me that listening to audiobooks is not as good as reading written books are always willing to agree that there are circumstances in which they serve a useful purpose such as some have mentioned here.

But they still strongly believe that listening to a book is an inferior experience in some brain-related way.

Sandra Dodd:
I think many people who are good readers in school are assured that it's what proves they're smart, hard-working, deserving of cash and valuable prizes in the future—and that reading is hard, and that if you can read, you can learn everything else in the world just by reading about it.

It's a promise that's not true, but that people DO "take to the bank," with their SAT scores and essays for college admission and such.

IF others can get the same information and enjoyment, IF others can also learn, then it's not fair. It must not be true.

There is likely also an element of puritanical "work hard; don't slack off; don't be lazy" noise in the background of most people's minds.

I could have qualified for everything above, if I hadn't consciously looked at the world through non-schooly eyes, after a while.

Book Worship/anti-TV, anti-video, anti-anything-but-books

Unschooling and Books: Oddments and Surprises