We have this summer program thing going on at the library. The patrons are supposed to keep track of how many minutes they read a day. My first question was, what about audio books? If I listen to an audio book, do I get to count those minutes as the amount of time I had read.
I think I assumed that no it would not, but was surprised when my supervisor said “Of course!” Another clerk that will go nameless….ahem…Erica…., said that she feels like audio books are like cheating. You can’t say you’ve read a book until you’ve actually READ it. (I’m sure that I am misrepresenting her opinion and that a bigger discussion would clear up all the facts behind her particular feelings.)
I wander back to this question frequently. On one hand, no. It’s not reading it. You never have to look at a single word.
But on the other hand, is reading a book the actual process of sounding out the words that form the sentences and ideas? Or, can reading a book simply mean you have experienced the story, the thoughts, the characters, the message the author intended to get across.
Scenario: what if there was a person that never learned to read or write, but was able to listen and understand the audio books of classics, text books, history lectures, and scientific journals. Could this person still be considered educated?
I don’t think there is a definite answer to this question. I think that is why I’d like to open it for discussion. What do you think?
Should I be able to say I have READ a book when I, in fact, actually just listened to someone read it to me? Where does that fall on the scale of book reading cheatery in your opinion? (Watching the movie and reading Cliff’s Notes are on that scale.)