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Old 03-24-2013, 11:07 AM   #391
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Originally Posted by Freeshadow View Post
A comic (as some mangas prove) can reach the story depth and length of a novel. Audiobook is just a (IMO inferior) different method of transmission for written text.
I vehemently disagree with the statement that audiobooks are an inferior method of transmitting text. When I went through a particularly nasty strain of the H1N1 flu couple of years back and couldn't read, I was able to listen to audiobooks. And what about the blind and people with impaired vision? Are you saying that their experience of a book is inferior because it was wchieved thriugh an audio recording (or Braille for that matter)?

If you had just said it was a different method, I would have agreed 100%.
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Old 03-24-2013, 11:20 AM   #392
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Old 03-24-2013, 11:22 AM   #393
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Are you saying that their experience of a book is inferior because it was wchieved thriugh an audio recording (or Braille for that matter)?

If you had just said it was a different method, I would have agreed 100%.
Thumbs up on this!!!
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Old 03-24-2013, 12:07 PM   #394
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I vehemently disagree with the statement that audiobooks are an inferior method of transmitting text. When I went through a particularly nasty strain of the H1N1 flu couple of years back and couldn't read, I was able to listen to audiobooks. And what about the blind and people with impaired vision? Are you saying that their experience of a book is inferior because it was wchieved thriugh an audio recording (or Braille for that matter)?

If you had just said it was a different method, I would have agreed 100%.
What is your argument here? I do not see anything that argues for that listening cannot be an inferior method. You are just saying that you personally did not notice any difference.

I do not have any strong opinion about this but I think that it is possible that one method is inferior compared to the other method. Personally the experience listening to a book does not work do me and if I manage to listen the experience is totally inferior to reading the text. Different parts of the brains seems to be used when listening compared to when reading and for me it gives a totally difeerent experience.
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Old 03-24-2013, 12:08 PM   #395
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I vehemently disagree with the statement that audiobooks are an inferior method of transmitting text. When I went through a particularly nasty strain of the H1N1 flu couple of years back and couldn't read, I was able to listen to audiobooks. And what about the blind and people with impaired vision? Are you saying that their experience of a book is inferior because it was wchieved thriugh an audio recording (or Braille for that matter)?

If you had just said it was a different method, I would have agreed 100%.
It's inferior in the same way an acoustic modem is inferior compared to optic fibre transfer. It is SLOW like hell.
The 1st time I consumed "The Hobbit" I did it as audio book (paper wasn't available in the hospital library) so I can compare. It was exhausting to wait for the text being read.

I also beg to differ and NOT to mingle Braille into it.
It's a haptic perceivable transcription, and as such it is being read.
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Old 03-24-2013, 12:53 PM   #396
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Originally Posted by Freeshadow View Post
It's inferior in the same way an acoustic modem is inferior compared to optic fibre transfer. It is SLOW like hell.
Not to the dyslexic.
For them it is way faster.
(Not everybody is a page-a-minute reader.)
And for the multitasker it is more *efficient* to listen to TTS or an audiobook while doing something else than to do both serially.
They are different forms of consuming books but neither is inherently superior, just better suited for different people and different situations.
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Old 03-24-2013, 12:56 PM   #397
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I'm a fan of audiobooks and listen to them on my commute or as I do tedious chores or when I go for a walk. I don't see *much* difference between reading a book and having the same book read to me, although there is a slight difference...enough so that occasionally I will stop listening to an audiobook and read it instead. But I think this may be more related to the fact that I am typically listening to audiobooks in distracting environments where I can't devote my full attention to the book they way I would when reading.

Re: snobbery - as stated upthread, snobbery that involves someone negatively commenting on something that they see you reading is likely based on a certain amount of insecurity...there's really no other reason for someone to go out of their way to denigrate what you are reading.

Although the same can be said of the "reverse snobbery" of some posters in this thread: some people do, in fact, enjoy lit fic better than genre fiction. They aren't "pretending" to do so to make you feel bad. Which doesn't mean that there aren't *some* people who are doing that. See insecurity, above.

Really, though, we're mostly just talking about entertainment, and I just don't see a lot of room for actual snobbery based on how people decide to spend their free time. Reading "Perelandra" instead of a Star Wars novelization won't make you a better person; nor does it make you a pretentious twit. It just happens to be the type of entertainment you prefer. By the same token, watching House of Cards on Netflix is an equally valid choice.

On a not quite tangential note, I want to point out that a lot of books that people read in literature classes aren't being read because they are the best 20 (or whatever) books ever written, but because they are (presumably) important historically, which is how most lit classes are structured.

So if you start off by reading Alexander Pope, you will probably find him stilted and somewhat mechanical. But for the 70 years of so of the Enlightenment period, that was what people read...they didn't have the same tastes as we do and were more interested in a kind of mechanical precision and a certain type of cleverness than in, say, interesting characters. (They also had a pretty deep knowledge of Classical literature, which can make a lot of references unclear to people who don't have the same level of knowledge...trying to watch Buffy the Vampire slayer in 200 years will probably be about the same).

But after having dealt with the enlightenment, you get to the romantics, maybe with a side trip through Sturm und Drang. When you read "The Sorrows of Young Werther" or poetry by Wordsworth or maybe a novel by Scott and probably something by a Bronte, you get to a new period with a lot more emotion, because writers are explicitly rejecting enlightenment works as soulless and mechanical and are trying to write something that is basically the opposite. Again, "Werther" is in this list not because it's better than everything else (although it was a European-wide sensation and caused fashion-conscious men to dress like Werther), but because it was so important for the new literary movement of the next 80 years. But then people get tired of romanticism and replace it with realism/naturalism, which goes on for 60 years and which is why you get to read Thomas Hardy.

Then people got tired of the darwinistically based determinism of realism/naturalism and you get to read Joyce (probably an excerpt from Ulysses in a survey course). Ulysses was hugely important for modernism and influenced pretty much everyone. It's hard to overstate his importance for showing a meaningful way of writing that wasn't just more naturalism. (Although it's pretty well accepted that most of the people influenced by Ulysses didn't read the whole thing - but that's not really the point, as Ulysses was important because it introduced a new way of writing, not of making plots).

TL;DR: lit classes aren't great books classes; they are more like history classes.
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Old 03-24-2013, 02:29 PM   #398
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They are different forms of consuming books but neither is inherently superior, just better suited for different people and different situations.
Well, i do not believe that is true in the general case. Some text are written in a way that it is not suitable for reading aloud. I remember at an SF Con M. John Harrison apologizing for a reading since the story he read did not work at all being read aloud. He usually worked in a text to adapt it for reading aloud.
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Old 03-24-2013, 02:38 PM   #399
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I'm a fan of audiobooks and listen to them on my commute or as I do tedious chores or when I go for a walk. I don't see *much* difference between reading a book and having the same book read to me, although there is a slight difference...enough so that occasionally I will stop listening to an audiobook and read it instead. But I think this may be more related to the fact that I am typically listening to audiobooks in distracting environments where I can't devote my full attention to the book they way I would when reading.

Re: snobbery - as stated upthread, snobbery that involves someone negatively commenting on something that they see you reading is likely based on a certain amount of insecurity...there's really no other reason for someone to go out of their way to denigrate what you are reading.

Although the same can be said of the "reverse snobbery" of some posters in this thread: some people do, in fact, enjoy lit fic better than genre fiction. They aren't "pretending" to do so to make you feel bad. Which doesn't mean that there aren't *some* people who are doing that. See insecurity, above.

Really, though, we're mostly just talking about entertainment, and I just don't see a lot of room for actual snobbery based on how people decide to spend their free time. Reading "Perelandra" instead of a Star Wars novelization won't make you a better person; nor does it make you a pretentious twit. It just happens to be the type of entertainment you prefer. By the same token, watching House of Cards on Netflix is an equally valid choice.

On a not quite tangential note, I want to point out that a lot of books that people read in literature classes aren't being read because they are the best 20 (or whatever) books ever written, but because they are (presumably) important historically, which is how most lit classes are structured.

So if you start off by reading Alexander Pope, you will probably find him stilted and somewhat mechanical. But for the 70 years of so of the Enlightenment period, that was what people read...they didn't have the same tastes as we do and were more interested in a kind of mechanical precision and a certain type of cleverness than in, say, interesting characters. (They also had a pretty deep knowledge of Classical literature, which can make a lot of references unclear to people who don't have the same level of knowledge...trying to watch Buffy the Vampire slayer in 200 years will probably be about the same).

But after having dealt with the enlightenment, you get to the romantics, maybe with a side trip through Sturm und Drang. When you read "The Sorrows of Young Werther" or poetry by Wordsworth or maybe a novel by Scott and probably something by a Bronte, you get to a new period with a lot more emotion, because writers are explicitly rejecting enlightenment works as soulless and mechanical and are trying to write something that is basically the opposite. Again, "Werther" is in this list not because it's better than everything else (although it was a European-wide sensation and caused fashion-conscious men to dress like Werther), but because it was so important for the new literary movement of the next 80 years. But then people get tired of romanticism and replace it with realism/naturalism, which goes on for 60 years and which is why you get to read Thomas Hardy.

Then people got tired of the darwinistically based determinism of realism/naturalism and you get to read Joyce (probably an excerpt from Ulysses in a survey course). Ulysses was hugely important for modernism and influenced pretty much everyone. It's hard to overstate his importance for showing a meaningful way of writing that wasn't just more naturalism. (Although it's pretty well accepted that most of the people influenced by Ulysses didn't read the whole thing - but that's not really the point, as Ulysses was important because it introduced a new way of writing, not of making plots).

TL;DR: lit classes aren't great books classes; they are more like history classes.
And then you get to the current journalistic school of writing, i.e. Hemmingway and his literary descendants.
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Old 03-24-2013, 02:55 PM   #400
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Well, i do not believe that is true in the general case. Some text are written in a way that it is not suitable for reading aloud. I remember at an SF Con M. John Harrison apologizing for a reading since the story he read did not work at all being read aloud. He usually worked in a text to adapt it for reading aloud.
The cadences and structures may not be scripted with verbalization in mind, but that is precisely why good readers bring value to an audiobook. Good readers bring more than just clear diction to the performance.
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Old 03-24-2013, 03:58 PM   #401
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The cadences and structures may not be scripted with verbalization in mind, but that is precisely why good readers bring value to an audiobook. Good readers bring more than just clear diction to the performance.
But since you should not change the structure (or change words) then it is obvious that for some books one way to experience it can be better than another.
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Old 03-26-2013, 04:41 PM   #402
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It's inferior in the same way an acoustic modem is inferior compared to optic fibre transfer. It is SLOW like hell.
The 1st time I consumed "The Hobbit" I did it as audio book (paper wasn't available in the hospital library) so I can compare. It was exhausting to wait for the text being read.
Yes, it is much slower. But this can also be a good thing. I tend to read quickly and skip "unimportant" details when I want to know how the story goes on.
But if you listen to a story you can appreciate fine details, emotional subtleties etc. (IF it is well read, and this is a big if - there are many voices or ways of reading that I find irritating).

So listening, I find, is very good for a second reading of a good text. Or if you want to have your hands free for something else. Or both.
This winter, for example, I was listening to "A Christmas Carol" while baking christmas cookies. This took about three hours, but it was the perfect addition to the concentrated, precise kitchen work - together it made for a very enjoyable experience.
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Old 03-26-2013, 06:44 PM   #403
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Well, i do not believe that is true in the general case. Some text are written in a way that it is not suitable for reading aloud. I remember at an SF Con M. John Harrison apologizing for a reading since the story he read did not work at all being read aloud. He usually worked in a text to adapt it for reading aloud.
There is good evidence that one of the processes that happens in reading is that readers create something like an auditory representation of the text that they are reading, (I'm not saying that readers "hear" the words they are reading, but there is evidence that the auditory cortex is activated in the process of reading - I can give you sources if you are interested). One of the features that makes some texts more difficult to read fluently - even when reading silently - is their lack of amenability to being read aloud. Some - literary - authors use this fact to influence the experience of reading - for example rendering an emotionally complex scene in a way that makes it difficult to read so that the reader experiences some tension or discomfort. Some other authors are just not very good.
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Old 03-26-2013, 06:48 PM   #404
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Not to the dyslexic.
For them it is way faster.
(Not everybody is a page-a-minute reader.)
And for the multitasker it is more *efficient* to listen to TTS or an audiobook while doing something else than to do both serially.
They are different forms of consuming books but neither is inherently superior, just better suited for different people and different situations.
So we basically agree:
You say " Not if someone is dyslexic".
Fine. I never stated that the objectively superior method IS the best suited for people being - due to health related reasons - limited in using it. Dyslexia is an exception to the rule.

You further say not if simultaneously doing something else. Agreed. For me to read means to read. Exclusively. If someone decides to screw their reading experience by willingly redirecting attention away from it - then of course it cannot be done efficiently.

To each his own. I once saw a video showing someone cutting his toenails while driving a car. It certainly didn't have positive influence on his driving skills.
Being a deep immersive reader I don't even try things like that. Even reading while commuting is risky for me. I have to force myself regularly to stop - and check how close to my destination I am.
I direct my whole attention at what I'm reading and trying to gaining it is similar to waking someone. If I'm not adressed louder than usual or tapped on my shoulder or something alike, I just don't notice.

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Yes, it is much slower. But this can also be a good thing. I tend to read quickly and skip "unimportant" details when I want to know how the story goes on.
But if you listen to a story you can appreciate fine details, emotional subtleties etc.
I don't use any speedreading aimed techniques - heard of such that, they provoke skipping.
In my case listening to rather breaks immersion and detail processing. I cannot change speeds or pause the milliseconds needed to do so. Getting stuff read aloud means for me: spend small amounts of time waiting for a word I already 'got' to be finished spoken combined with the need to concentrate on someone's voice needs more attention than processing the text by myself.
This "more" is then taken from resources used for own in-mind reproduction of the scene.

It's like being spoonfed by a machine. Chew and swallow by what isn't your pace.
No choice at which bits to pause and when to drink.
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Old 03-28-2013, 03:05 AM   #405
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Originally Posted by Freeshadow View Post
Feel free to declare me arsehole of the day for that, but for me all of the above doesn't count as "reading" anymore.
Inattention to a given passage or page would seem to be the fault of the person doing the reading. When a reviewer tells us they stopped paying attention in the middle of a book, I consider that useful information -- not about the book itself but rather the credibility of the review.

Saying that one has stopped caring about the book is another matter. One might have grown bored with the book in that case, but at least one's familiar with its contents.

I'm not blaming anyone for falling asleep in mid-paragraph or choosing to multitask. But whenever I find I've only advanced by allowing my eyes to scan the text mechanically, I return to the last line I remember clearly and start again. For me, reading the page I've scanned is even more important than finishing the book.

Another relevant question is how and why I'm reading.

If I'm only looking for selective bits (as in a vast reference tome), then I might well motor through the bits that have nothing to do with my interests. But in a work of fiction or collection of poetry, I'm inclined to read it all. If I don't, then I'll claim only to have read part of the book and not the whole thing -- even if I finish it in the mechanical sense.

Last edited by Prestidigitweeze; 03-28-2013 at 03:15 AM.
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