Tuesday, May 16, 2006


Still reading: books and candy bars

I have to admit I'm a bit defensive that I'm "still reading" the Hamilton biography after Jeremy's comment.

Maybe I should have said "listening to." I listen to the book on CD in my car. It's 29 CD's long! That's almost 22 hours of listening. So if I finish it, I'll be "reading" it for however many weeks it takes me to spend 22 hours in my car -- unless I bring the CDs inside and listen while making breakfast or whatever.

There is something of a debate in the record-book-listening community about whether to say that you are "reading" a book when you're listening to a reader read it aloud. The more activist members of this community insist that they're "reading." They argue that parents who read to their kids don't say "my son has been listening to me read Curious George Makes Fun of the Slow Reader." They say they're "reading to" their child or "we're reading together."

I don't feel quite so strongly, but I do find that if I say "listening to," then I have to explain that it's a book on CD, rather than, say, a radio docudrama. And it's absurd to say, "Actor Scott Brick has been reading me Ron Chernow's Alexander Hamilton biography." There's just less explaining when I say that I'm "reading" the book.

Until now, that is.

But on my reading rate, there are two points. First, I'm a slow reader. This has been the bane of my life as a nerd and academic. I don't know why I'm a slow reader, but I've come to the conclusion that since I enjoy reading, I'm just not going to worry too much about that.

Second, a book isn't a candy bar, is it? I no longer feel compelled to finish one book before starting another. I mean, who nowadays makes a thing about someone having two or more windows open on their friend's computer? There's a kind of old-fashioned multi-tasking about having a couple of books going at the same time.

I love books on CD. It's great to be read to every once in a while. And I think it absolutely "counts" as having read a book.

I am a very fast reader, to my detriment. Listening to someone else read expressively, rather than me reading to "get through" something, or finish before a kid wakes up from a nap or someone needs to be taken somewhere, is a treat.
29 CDs?!? That's like a really long, unabridged lecture. That's harder than reading.

scwyin (SKEW-in'): the act of messin' with one's head, in a not quite parallel or perpendicular fashion.
I'm a slow reader, too. I think it's because I hear myself reading it. (Does that even make sense?)

That darn Neel! I think he's trying to steal my WV title from me...

larzax: Lorax always chuckled when people incorrectly pronounced his name. He didn't mind as long as they cared about the trees.
I don't feel the need to finish one candy bar before starting another.
Me too. I think that Oscar is too rigid in his candy bar eating habits.
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