Stephen King, American author best known for h...

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Not long before Christmas I was surfing around Amazon as I am wont to do. I was hanging out in all the book sections. You know, Kindle books, audio books, actual books made of paper. I found this and this. Are you kidding me? Vintage Stephen King? Read by King himself and several awesome actors? I immediately added them to my Christmas wish list.

Now I have to tell you there was the slightest bit of hesitation. As much as I love King, as much as I was intrigued to hear him read by Mathew Broderick, I was leery about the whole audio book thing. As much reading as I do on a weekly basis, I had never listened to an audio book. Would you be surprised to learn I’m a purist? I had never been able to bring myself to try an audio book. There was something about that whole ‘abridged’ thing…

I might miss out on something important that author wanted to impart if the book is abridged. Who are ‘they’ to choose what to cut out of my reading experience? Yeah, I never liked Cliff Notes either.

But these were short stories. They wouldn’t need to be abridged. And I was intrigued.

Afraid she would not get exactly what I was looking for, my aunt got me a gift card in place of the actual audio books. Two weeks ago I finally stopped in at the local Border’s and picked up the two audio collections mentioned above. Over the course of the last week I have listened to three of the stories from one of the collections. From this I have a couple of observations.

First, I love them! They are vintage creepy Stephen King. The professional actors have good characterization. The only problem I’ve found is occasionally my attention wanders. I start thinking about something else and miss a section of the story. This is easily remedied by a quick rewind of the CD. And it’s not like I’ve never had to re-read a paragraph or two (every day) when I get distracted.

Second, listening to audio books is NOT READING. Seriously. They are great stories. I love hearing them told to me by talented actors. I still appreciate the flavor of the words and the feelings they invoke. But it is more like watching TV than reading a book. Someone else is TELLING me the story.

This is not reading. And now that I have experienced it, no one can convince me that it is.

You  may think this is an unimportant discovery on my part. But I can’t stop thinking about the hypocrisy of so many of the book bloggers, and other avid readers, out there. A large number of them are very disparaging about the Kindle and other e-book readers. They go on and on about how an e-book is not really a BOOK. How the e-book detracts from the experience of holding and reading an actual book.

And yet almost every one of them praise audio books up one side and down the other.

Talk about detracting from the reading experience!

So, where does this leave me? I am going to continue to enjoy the short story collections I currently have on audio book. I truly am enjoying them. And I will not hesitate to buy other unique items like this on audio. But when I want to read I will definitely be turning to my Kindle or an actual paper book.

Good thing I have plenty of both to keep me busy.

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