Reading with your ears: do audio books help or harm literature?In other words, do audio books leave the "reader" with a better understanding of a book's contents or are audio books distracting enough to distort a book's meaning?
From the article comes varying opinions:
If you believe the literary critic Harold Bloom, it is. “Deep reading really demands the inner ear as well as the outer ear,” he told the New York Times. “You need the whole cognitive process, that part of you which is open to wisdom. You need the text in front of you.”...and this,
Neil Gaiman dismissed this on his blog as “just snobbery and foolishness”, adding: “I don’t believe there are books I’ve never ‘read’ because I have only heard them, or poems I’ve not experienced because I’ve only heard the poets read them. Actually, I believe that if the writer is someone who can communicate well aloud (some writers can’t), you often get much more insight into a story or poem by hearing it.”
As for myself, I've more than once turned to the audio version of a book that was proving to be a particularly unpleasant read or so long that I feared I would never get around to finishing it. I've even read books by alternating the audio and printed versions until I was done. And not once, have I ever considered that a book read via audio (as long, that is, as it is an unabridged version) should not count as a book "read."
OK. What do you guys think about this? Take a look at the linked column because I've only just touched on the number of possible questions concerning the relationship of audio books to literature. You might just want to answer some questions or points I did not mention here.