There’s an argument between readers and non-readers alike over whether listening to an audiobook qualifies as reading. My opinion is that though listening does not involve the physical act of looking at words, listening to a book involves the same mental interpretation and imagination as reading a book in your hands. So, yes, I consider audiobook listening to be real reading.
Despite this opinion, I never listened to an audiobook until now. I enjoy the visual aspect of reading, so I never considered doing otherwise. Many have told me to listen to one while driving, but I like listening to music. I did not consider audiobooks until a few weeks ago.
Ready Player One is a book I’ve wanted to read since publication, but never got around to because there was always something I wanted to read more. With the movie coming out next spring, however, I’ve been feeling the pressure to read it. Then someone mentioned to me that Wil Wheaton narrated the book. The thought of listening to a celebrity read a book has always been of interest, so the name recognition with Wheaton finally convinced me to go the audiobook route. I began listening to Ready Player One while driving.
As I began listening to the book, it finally occurred to me that reading audiobooks is so convenient. It’s amazing that I can drive my car, or do whatever else I want, while listening to an audiobook. Reading a physical book requires your undivided attention.
There are a few weird aspects of listening to a book. I initially thought certain pauses in Wheaton’s narrating were subtle indications of chapter changes, but then 30ish minutes into the narration Wheaton said “Chapter One.” Apparently I missed a “Chapter 0” when I started. It made me wonder how much faster I could read the book in real time versus listening to the reading. The time it takes Wheaton to get through each chapter feels impossibly long, though not at the fault of the narrator. It just takes a really long time to read a book out loud! Then again, maybe Ready Player One has really long chapters. I haven’t looked yet.
As far as the book itself goes, I enjoyed the crazy amount of pop culture references. That alone was enough to carry my interest, but the book has other good aspects. I went through a dystopian fiction phase during high school, and Ready Player One is a stronger book than most of the titles I read during that time. Sure, it has a bunch of stereotypical dystopia elements, but the world-building is good enough in this book that these elements don’t feel overdone. I am not finished reading it, but I like it so far. I probably won’t listen to audiobooks all the time, but I might check one out occasionally.
Do you enjoy audiobooks? Would you rather stick to traditional reading? Do you consider listening to an audiobook “reading”? Let us know in the comments below!