Books on tape and reading aloud

In the high and far off times, oh my best beloved, various persons read books to me.

My parents read the Narnia books to us kids at home, and Mr. Bruce read The Hobbit to us in class. I think that these two, more than any others, ignited my love of books, and in particular of that genre of fantasy that Mr. Lewis and Mr. Tolkien were particularly good at.

There were many, many other books that were read to me, but those are the ones that I most remember.

I read to my daughter, every night. We’ve gone through The Little Princess, The Secret Garden, and are almost done with the last of the Narnia books. And of course there have been many other books – the Junie B Jones books, the Boxcar Children, and the Magic Treehouse feature many times.

And I listen to audio books every day on the way to work. I have a membership at, and get a book from them every month. When that runs out, there are numerous free podcasts of stories that I listen to. Some of these are from the Old Time Radio Podcast Network, which is one of the websites that restores my faith in the original goals of the Internet, or at least my interpretation of them.

I was discussing all of this with a coworker, who said that he doesn’t feel that he’s actually read a book if he’s listened to it. I can agree with that at some level, with some books, depending on who did the recording/reading.

There are some books that I simply wouldn’t ever get through if I couldn’t listen to them. Some of this is due to time, and some of it is due to the difficulty of certain books. Anna Karenina just about killed me, but I got through the entire thing, reading it the old fashioned way on paper. But that was an act of sheer willpower. There are some books, however, that when read in a different voice, can hold my attention a little better, and I can get through them. I made it through a number of Anne Rice books this way, which I really don’t think I could have done otherwise.

I still do read a lot on paper, too. At the moment, I’m reading Eldaterra, The Abolition of Man, and Montessori, a modern approach, among a few other things. I’m reading the Just So Stories for the umpty billionth time, and recording it for your listening pleasure. 🙂

I love reading aloud. I love reading to kids (if they actually listen) and, for some reason, I love reading and recording, with the notion that other folks are listening and enjoying, particularly when it is stories that I love so much, like the Just So Stories, or A Christmas Carol. I’d like to also do some readings from Dandelion Wine, but there’s the trouble of copyright there.

Anyways, nothing much profound to say about this. Curious what folks feel about the validity of claiming to have “read” a book, when one has only listened. I guess that once a year or so has passed, I no longer remember whether I read or listened, unless the reader was spectacularly bad, or spectacularly good. For example, I listened to “The Man Who Was Thursday”, which was just awful, because the guy reading it either didn’t get the story, or had a head cold, or … I don’t know. Anyways, when I read it (on paper) it was brilliant, and a lot of fun.