Audiobooks are not cheating

Cognitively, there’s no difference between reading a book and listening to a book. Why then, do some folks suggest these activities are not the same?

If one suspects that listening to a book is cheating, one is implying that the listener gets some sort of reward without investing any effort. What? How?I’m confused.

Psychologists confirm that listening is less work, but after fifth grade it actually isn’t easier than reading. Listening and reading comprehension have direct correlations and reading requires decoding which IS more challenging for emerging readers. However, around age ten it is automatic and no more effort than listening. When you read, 10% of your eye movements are to go back to recheck what you’ve just read. The same thing happens when you listen. Have you ever been in a conversation but then tuned out just long enough to realize the speaker has stopped talking and asked you a question? You think, ‘oh, shit, I totally wasn’t listening.’ So then you fumble and ask, ‘I’m sorry, could you please repeat that?’ but just as the words tumble out of your mouth your brain replays the initial question and you can provide the answer. You did, in fact, hear the speaker, you just weren’t listening.  In both scenarios you are backing up to fact check which strengthens your comprehension. Sounds like we are even here. Can we put the science aside for a moment? I think the next part is key.

Claiming audiobooks are cheating is like meeting your college roomates in Chicago for your reunion and saying, “You flew here? I drove myself, you big cheaters.” Let’s agree that the point of reading for pleasure is to enjoy the journey. The mode of transportation doesn’t matter. Each method is good for various consumption purposes, neither is superior. Use them interchangeably to figure out how they best serve you. With that, allow me to make a few recommendations for your listening pleasure!

I think memoirs are one of the best genres for audiobooks, especially self narrated titles (and most certainly if the author is in the comedy industry or motivational speaking arena.) Delivery is everything and audiobooks provide the intonation, inflection, sarcasm and emphasis in the perfect places to convey exactly what the author intended. My recs in this genre are: *Born a Crime by Trevor Noah, *Yes, Please! by Amy Poehler, *Bossypants by Tina Fey, *Becoming by Michelle Obama, *The Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes, and *Rising Strong by Brené Brown.

So go ahead and listen. I’ll never judge you, I’ll join you!

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