One of the best rewards of blogging is discovering a new or old friend in the comments section. Fun!
Since I spent 28 years interacting with undergraduates at Goshen College, I love encountering them and hearing about their lives. Several of them commented on the review of Mennonite in a Little Black Dress I wrote back in 2009.
One former student with whom I corresponded recently reflected on why he loved the book. He thought it might have something to do with the fact that he heard it read by professional readers as an audio book rather than read it as text.
In his own words: “One thing that occurs to me is that my consumption of the book as an audiotape listener (on the Indiana and Ohio turnpikes at that!) shaped my “reading” experience, making me especially receptive I think to the book’s transgressive humor and its pathos. It was only several weeks later that I actually saw for the first time in a bookstore a copy of the actual paper and ink book. I wonder how I would have experienced the book if I had read it in the traditional way, turning pages, thinking about the words in print, and all.”
Isn’t that a fascinating thought? Context is always an important part of experience, and we are affected differently by the sound of the human voice, especially a well-trained voice that resonates well with us. Some of us might also be more susceptible to sense impressions via our ears than via our eyes.
I usually read memoir as “book-books” as opposed to audio books or ebooks, although I own (and reviewed) a Kindle and use it occasionally (usually when I want to read a book immediately and save a trip to the store or a few days in the mail).
Do you enjoy all three kinds of books? What difference do you experience in any one of the following?
Tone. Tangibility. Durabilty. Searchability. Portability.
Do you have a favorite way to read? Have you ever “read” a book both as audio and text? Were the experiences different?