Why Read a Book? An eBook? Audiobook?

For the Love of Reading

I am a bibliophile. I grew up with a book in my hands and a ceiling-high bookshelf stashed in the corner of the room, full of both paperbacks and hardcovers. I read because I enjoyed being swept to new worlds and different lives other than my own modern, rural upbringing that seemed dull in comparison to a Victorian orphan in the Canadian countryside, a young wizard finding his way in a world of good and evil, or an unlikely woman who falls head over heels for a man who appears to be her sworn enemy on first contact.

So much more happened in these books than in my own life. Characters felt what I felt, but they actually did something with those feelings, allowing them to have the kinds of adventures I could only live vicariously through the pages I flipped beneath my fingers.

My love of reading was so strong that it extended to the vessels encapsulating my adored stories. How could it not?

Stacked, piled, lined – the beauty of a bookshelf
is full of potential.

Printed Books

As a bookworm, I obviously have a strong affinity for printed books. Holding the stories in my hands to admire the artistry of varying covers, the feel of embossed print, raised print, glossy covers, leather covers, the smell of a fresh book, the smell of an old book, the weight of a thick laden novel in my hands – there are just so many aesthetically pleasing ways to adore printed books.

My bookshelves have always been a sense of pride for me. They are a standing symbol of who I am and strive to be – a reader, a bookworm, an author. My shelves are filled with stories I read, reread, and plan to eventually read. They are heavy medals of honor, displaying my interests, representing who I really am.

And then came eBooks. I grew up with so many reasons to adore my piles and piles of books that the idea of switching to something digital, something my fingers couldn’t lovingly caress, felt like a betrayal.

eBooks

The intangible books were a hard concept for me to understand. No pretty covers to line my shelves? It was unthinkable, until I was given my first eReader. I was very obstinate about using it. It felt so strange holding this skimpy, cold machine in my hand that displayed words on a screen. I was disconcerted by clicking a button or swiping the screen instead of actually turning a page – an adjustment I soon accepted, however.

The power of seemingly countless books saved in one, portable device thrill me.

As I realized that the e-ink didn’t bother my eyes and that the large font read just as comfortably as printed paper, my nerves began to settle. But, true acceptance came when I realized I was carrying multiple books in my purse that weighed less than a single paperback. And, as I slowly added more and more books to my library on the eReader, I liked my eBook collection more and more. I could carry an entire bookshelf of books in my purse, and then some!

Audio Books

Listening to books has become my latest obsession with reading. I was quick to convert to this form of reading when I realized I had no time to sit quietly with a book (printed or digital). As a mother, I now spent so much of that time in the mind-numbing tasks of cleaning, pumping milk, cooking, commuting to work… This was no way for a proud bookworm to while away her time.

Read how audiobooks saved me in “AudioBookworm”

Audio books provide the comfort of reading while my hands and eyes remain free.

Audio books to the rescue! Suddenly, I don’t mind if I have an extra bathroom to clean, or if traffic is holding me up an extra fifteen minutes. That stalled toilet or car might give me time to finish the chapter I’d started.

While the perks of audio books allow me to multi-task, I’ve learned that there are also different ways to “read” a book depending on the form the story is presented.

Style

The form in which a book is written or read has a different effect on the reader. Narrators all have their own style of reading, whether they include voice alterations for changing characters or have distinct voices or manners of breathing. I was hesitant to listen to one particular narrator (who I will not mention by name or book) because her voice was so throaty at the end of each of her sentences; she sounded like each period was marked with a near growl.

This is similar to the style of a printed font, white of pages, feel of cover, or back light of an eBook. The wrong medium or effects can be distracting.

To Love Reading All the More

It is with these varying aspects in mind that I think I’ve come to appreciate stories all the more. By succumbing to the different forms of enjoying a book, I can appreciate an author’s efforts, learn from their strengths, and judge the dressed up artistry separately, making me less likely to judge the book itself by its cover, narrator, or form factor.

If you love books all your life, the infatuation may pass to the next generation.

The story is the accumulation of ideas strung into words by the author. The rest is just aesthetically pleasing. But, as an appreciator of the arts, I admit to adoring those esthetics. I still have several full bookshelves, after all.

The story is the accumulation of ideas strung into words by the author. The rest is just aesthetically pleasing. But, as an appreciator of the arts, I admit to adoring those esthetics.

I still have several full bookshelves, after all.

What’s your favorite way to read?

You’re invited to join the conversation and let me know what you think in a comment!

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5 Comments

  1. vkahleranderson says:

    I think this is one of my favorite posts of yours, I suppose it is because of my great love for books why this post tugs at my heartstrings. 🙂 I will admit that I do have an e-Reader but am not very fond of it. And though I do not yet have audio books I am dying to get started with a collection since I love to be read to. Lol! As for my huge collection of books – fantasy, romance, horror, cookbooks, etc… – I adore them! I love how they feel and smell, I love turning the pages, and I love browsing through used bookstores…nothing else can compare. I so often stand or sit to stare at my vast collection of books sitting on the shelves. Thank you for a most enjoyable post!!

    1. Thank you for such an in depth comment! I know other bibliophiles probably can relate to how we feel – lifelong love affair with books.

  2. Okga says:

    I’m not quite the bibliophile that you are, but I do love when a good book makes me oblivious to time, my surroundings, hunger lol…and I’m definitely not open minded (yet) to the ebook or audio…feels like sacrilege 🙂

    1. admin says:

      I feel the same! I become so immersed in reading that I can’t do anything else. That’s probably why I love audio books so much, though I was initially hesitant. It felt like such a waste of time, sitting in a car for hours every day, but I had no time to read when I got home. Audio books have been a saving grace in the car. Commuting is no longer boring, and I finally found my window of time to read. 🙂 Thank you so much for reading and commenting!

    2. vkahleranderson says:

      Okga, I, too, feel like you, like I am committing “sacrilege,” lol! And my children are always reminding me that I must move on with the changing times. We’ll see!

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