professornana (professornana) wrote,

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Stories everywhere

I love this piece from the NYT: Audiobooks and the Return fo Storytelling: It details so many of the items I think are important to keep in mind when talking about audiobooks (see posts from last week, for instance). I spent most of this past weekend reading with my ears. I listen to audio as I commute. My BH and I listen as we travel together. When the fomer residents of the back bedroom would travel with me, we would read with our ears, too. I remember Natalie tuned in to the same book we were listening to in the car, but since she had listened ahead, she had headphones on listening ahead and making all sorts of spoiler noises (her isters wanted me to put her out on the shoulder of the road at one point).

Here are the little gems from this piece from my perspective.

1. "We tend to regard reading with our eyes as more serious, more highbrow, than hearing a book read out loud."

There is still that misconception that reading the page is somehow more worthy than listening to the words fly off the page and into the air. But, as this author notes, much of our early literature was oral, was told around a campfire, in a meeting hall, at the dinner table. It was meant to be shared aloud. Look at all the variants of the folk tales to see how telling stories aloud permitted them to adjust and change and reflect the culture of the teller.

To me, if we are truly reading with our ears, we are reading just as seriously. I annnotate even in audio, always clutching a notepad and pen, jotting down things I want to remember or ask or reflect upon.

2. "What happens when you hear a text rather than read it? The obvious thing is that you can do something else with your eyes. "

This is what I have to admit I love about audio. Since I spend some time in the car, I still get to have stories, books, poems. All I have to do is turn on the audio. Right now, I have different audiobooks going at home and in the car. I do the same with books, so why not audio?

3. "sometimes when I listen a sentence will drop into my mind and shock me into attention in a way that is less common when I read."

I recall listening to Nick Lake's IN DARKNESS after it won the Printz. Near the end of the book is a chapter not entitled "Now" or "Then" as had all the previous chapters. This one was entitled "Always." I stopped the audio, found a place, to park and listened to this piece. Then, I listened to it again. I do not know if I would have noticed this as deeply if I were reading it. I think I might have missed it. Wow, what a moment to have missed. I went to the print book and found the place and took a shot of it with my phone as I wanted to record it somehow. But it still echoed in my head from the audio. Later, when I would recite this in a booktalk, I could see others, pens flying to get it down, too.

4. "I listen the way I read books as a child, as if I were there watching."

I wonder if perhaps reading aloud starts that movie a bit more readily than when we read from the page? I wonder if it will help kids in the same fashion?

Now, time to get my Odyssey Ears tuned up and dive into some audio.
Tags: audio, reading with my ears
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