Thursday, May 26, 2005

A Slightly Different Take on Audio Books

Ann Althouse, who is blogging back at her regular site, also has commented on the New York Times article on audio books. It's worth looking at.

I commented there:
I've probably listened to ten audio books through the years. I don't feel snobbish about reading books. It's just that most of the books I read aren't on CD or tape.

Besides, I have what I guess must be a rare talent, maybe a freakish one.

A few weeks ago, I was out on a brisk walk in my neighborhood, book in hand, reading as I did so. Two women approached me as they walked. I looked up to say hello, but one of them spoke first, saying to me, "Wow! How do you do that? I couldn't possibly walk that quickly and read too."

I even carry a pen with me on my walks, underlining as I read. Until that woman greeted me as she did, it never dawned on me that this was different from what others might do. But now that I think of it, I realize I've never seen anyone else walking, reading, and underlining.

So, perhaps I have less need of audio books than others.

When my family and I take long trips, I usually read to them aloud, being the only one who can read in the car without barfing. Most of the time during these cross-country jaunts, I've read biographies and histories, with an occasional work of fiction thrown in. This may help to explain why our son just graduated with degrees in History and Philosophy, while our daughter has just declared History as her major.

As usual, Ann, you beat me to the punch. I plan, later today, to write a piece on my blog about the NYT article you cite. (But it will look at it slightly differently.)

I hasten to add that I don't read while driving, which would probably be even more fatal than drinking and driving.

My wife happily admits to being a "control freak" who loves being behind the wheel. So, I'm the designated reader for long trips.

For the past twenty-one years, I haven't had a commute between home and work. For six of those years, I lived next door to my office. For most of the past fifteen, my office has been in my home. So, no commuter-time listening to books.


Anonymous said...

I agree with you that there are different ways for the brain to process information. Some people need to be told how to do things (auditorial learning); some people need to be shown and told (monkey-see-monkey-do); and some can read the instructions.

I would venture a guess that you are an auditorial learner. This "non traditional way of reading" (or learning) described by you is not a standard form of learning taught in the schools. Lots of kids are auditorial learners. But they are labeled ADD instead and are often given a pill to fix the behavior related to "not comprehending," which is distracting to the class. If they coupled the pill with a new way of learning, then it would make sense. But all they do is make them stop having ants in their pants, fixing the symptom, not the cause.

One of my daughters is mildly dyslexic and she often misunderstands instructions given the traditional way. She refused to take Ritalin. So I made a deal with her. We sent her to a tutor to teach her new learning skills and we asked for special accommodations at school related to dyslexia. She is college bound this fall. As she gets older, she will be an ADD adult without medication. Hopefully all the tricks about non traditional learning will have been imbedded in her, so that she can survive.

My favorite audio books are Harry Potter. I love Jim Dale's English accent and marvel at his ability to make all those different voices for those characters. I opted to hear Harry Potter instead of reading it. That way I could multi-task. My other daughter, who is mildly retarded enjoys listening to Harry Potter too. Fortunately for her, her receptive language skills are much stronger than her expressive skills. She gets all the humor and scarey parts. It's a miracle.

Mark Daniels said...

Thanks for your interesting insights here. It seems that your daughters have taught you a lot and each of them have attained success in their learning. That has to be so wonderful for you to observe as a parent!

As far as my own learning style, I have to say that I'm pretty mired in "linear thinking." I read constantly and usually have two to five books going at any given time. Right now, I'm finishing Peter Robinson's 'How Ronald Reagan Changed My Life' and in a re-read, Ole Hallesby's fantastic, 'Why I Am a Christian.' (I'm also stuck early in the second volume of Remini's biography of Andrew Jackson.)

Thanks for once again dropping by and for your really interesting comments!