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Reading books vs. listening to books on tape

Discussion in 'The Book Rack' started by RWBlue, Dec 28, 2004.

  1. RWBlue


    Jan 24, 2004
    I have more information that I need to read for my job than I can actually read. So when I am finished with the information I have to read, I really don’t want to “read” anything.

    So I have started listening to books on tape.

    How many others feel this way or are listening (not reading) books?
    When people talk (or on this forum) about reading this or reading that, do I need to specify that I listened to it?
  2. DonGlock26


    Jan 18, 2001
    I commute about 1+ hour a day and I have listened to LOTR and a big library tape set on the civil war. It's a great way to pass time in a car-IMHO.

  3. G33

    G33 Frisky! Millennium Member CLM

    May 29, 1999
    With G29
    I used to read a bunch!
    Now I listen on tape/CD.
    I can do other things as I listen or not.
  4. Another19


    Nov 6, 2004
    I've tried books on tape/cd, but just couldn't get into it. I think it was because when I'm reading dialogue I "hear" a character's voice the way I think it should sound and with the inflection I think it should have. Also, the pace of the reader isn't necessarily what I find appropriate. When I'm reading an intense scene I tend to read faster and clutch the book, and when I'm reading a serene scene I slow down and relax.

    I wish I could get into it, it would make long drives more enjoyable.
  5. saspic

    saspic Howdy Y'all! CLM

    Jan 20, 2002
    San Antonio
    For classics and epic tomes, I think it's better if you can avoid it. Nonetheless, when my local video store used to rent books on tape, I did just for fun listen to some cheesy books I never would have read, like an Ann Rice mummy story.
    Then there are some people who are more like performance artists. Their books are better on tape than paper. I'm thinking specifically of Sarah Vowell and David Sedaris, who actually tours the country doing readings at theaters.
  6. MrMurphy

    MrMurphy ********* Moderator Moderator Millennium Member Lifetime Member

    Jan 16, 2001
    Buried in the X-files
    The people on tape read too slow and put me to sleep.

    I read 400 pages a day on most days, I'll stick with reading.
  7. Hummer

    Hummer Big Member

    Mar 16, 2003
    Western Colorado
    I get a lot more satisfaction from reading but listening to books on tape is a great way to occupy the mind while driving on long trips. We often drive to the Phoenix area (10 hours one way) or to a family cabin on the Front Range (5 hours one way). Listening to an exciting novel on tape that is well read can make a big difference in reducing fatigue and can dramatically cut the perceived time enroute.

    Before a trip we check out tapes from the public library --there's a huge selection and they're free! We usually get one or two more tapes than we have time to listen to in case one happens to be poorly read or otherwise is something we don't care to hear. Books that are read fast can be hard to follow when traffic gets heavier and when road conditions require more concentration we just turn the tape off for a while.

    Tapes give us an opportunity to sample authors we might not be familiar with. One of the best tapes I've listened to recently was The DaVinci Code, a fantastic story and exceptionally well read. We especially like detective stories/murder mysteries and Louis L'Amour are great too. Listening to tapes seems to make a long trip fly by in no time.

  8. For some reason, it doesn't feel like the writing sinks in fully when I'm only listening to it as opposed to actually reading it.

    My $0.02.
  9. Spyder Teeth

    Spyder Teeth Southern Gent

    Nov 13, 2003
    Seki City, Virginia
    As a premium member at I'm entitled to download any two titles per month. As it turns out, this is plenty as I still physically read books also. But the stuff comes in really handy because it fills the role of driving time killer. I'm able to get a lot of stuff "read" that I wouldn't otherwise be able to.

    One thing I've found out, the narrator can make or break an otherwise decent book. Use the "preview" feature before downloading a book. Cheers.
  10. mac66

    mac66 Huge Member Millennium Member

    Oct 28, 1999
    Blue Planet
    I commute a couple hours every day so books on tape/CD are a great way of "reading" stuff that I don't have time to. Both the library in the city I live in and the one I work in have BOT/CDs that I can borrow.

    Someone gave me the Da Vinci Code on CD. Not something I was particulary interested in reading but I did enjoy listening to it in the car.

    One thing I like to do is to borrow classics that I kind of skipped through in high school and college. Stuff by Melville, Dickens, Dumas, Fitzgerald, Hemmingway etc. Not all the time but once in awhile.
  11. glkdawg45


    Sep 17, 2003
    I still like to read, but audio books are very nice for the 1-2 hours of rush(slow) hour traffic. You would be surprised at the number of people I see, trying to read(books,newspapers,laptop screens)while trying to drive.
  12. Butterfly


    Jan 15, 2005
    I tried it once when I took a long road trip and had a hard time focusing on the dialog. My attention was more on the people who don’t know how to drive and what was going on around me. I just ended up buying the book and reading it.

  13. Yeah.

    I would think that trying to really focus on an audiobook while driving would be a lot like having a cell phone conversation while driving - dangerous.
  14. Tvov


    Sep 30, 2000
    How many audio books are actually the whole book? It would seem to me that most are "condensed" versions.

    We've listened to books on long drives with the kids. It is interesting and passes the time. My wife also reads books to the kids while I am driving. It is not easy reading out loud for 4+ hours!
  15. Spyder Teeth

    Spyder Teeth Southern Gent

    Nov 13, 2003
    Seki City, Virginia
    Not all are condensed (or abridged). Some authors won't allow their work to be abridged. Stephen King is one such author.
  16. Jack23

    Jack23 I. B. Glockin'

    Feb 10, 2005
    Deer Park, Texas
    I don't care much for the audio tapes. Some how the readers voice always seems to interfere with my imagination. And it really grinds my gears when a woman is reading and she lowers her voice in a feeble and irritating attempt to sound masculine as she reads lines of male dialog.

    I'd rather just read it for myself.

  17. Ok, how the heck do you read so much? Do you read really quickly, or do you have tons of time on your hands?

    How long does it take you to read 400 pages?
  18. Short Cut

    Short Cut PatrioticMember CLM

    Apr 28, 2002
    Above ground
    Ok, I'm probably behind the times, but I just finished listening to my first audio book. The book was To America by Stephen Ambrose. It was a collection of a variety of American History topics delivered in a storytelling fashion. I found it very interesting and mentally stimulating.

    Like many of you I listened most while I was driving. Something I may have done differently though is that I used an iPod to store all 9 CDs. This worked out pretty slick because I didn't have to change CDs in the car as the iPod is installed so that it plays through the car's stereo.

    The book was divided up into 171 "songs" each of which was about 2-4 minutes long for a total of 9.7 hours. This worked out well because if I became distracted I could just back up to the begining of the song. I guess it's like that if you listen on CD too.

    I think this genre of book works well on audio because there isn't multiple characters. Anyway, I really enjoyed the experience because I'm on the road a lot and it was a nice change of pace from talk radio or music. A couple of times I brought the iPod into a restaurant when I was eating alone which was also an interesting way to pass the time.

    Although this first book came from the public library they didn't have a very big selection of books on CD, they mostly had books on tape. I need the CD version to load on the computer and iPod.

    For my next book I joined as a free trial member and if it works out for me I'll join their audio book rental service for $19.95 per month. It operates pretty much like net flix.
  19. UtahIrishman

    UtahIrishman BLR Silver Member

    Nov 11, 2001
    My wife listens to books on tape all of the time, while I do not. I think it is partially a matter of taste. She has a part time job doing data entry. She will put on her head phones and tippity-tap away and listen at the same time. I can rarely do that. I simply don't find it that enjoyable, but she likes it.

    Right now she's listening to the first book of The Wheel Of Time By Robert Jordan (uncondensed) I figure it's going to take her a couple of months just to get through the first book. But she's having fun which is what counts.
  20. jason10mm

    jason10mm NRA-GOA-TSRA

    Jan 27, 2001
    Clarksville, TN
    Does this mean that you don't talk to your passengers or listen to the radio when you drive? :p

    I find audio books to be pretty non-distracting, mainly because you don't talk back to it. I usually rent a bunch for every long car trip. I'd like to get some of the old radio dramas, but the library hasn't picked them up yet. The BBC LOTR radio play is really good except for the god-aweful imp playing the hobbits.