Reading is Preferred Over Listening #Books

This week’s Indispire prompt asks reading a book vs. listening to audio recording of a book, which would be preferable.

In India, we had a culture where events were transmitted by word of mouth. Such a tradition used to be known as “shruti”.

  • It is believed that Rishi Veda Vyasa had dictated 100000 slokas from memory for Lord Ganesha to note down.
  • Historically, since time immemorial, travelling bards and poets would move from one part of country to the other and sing ballads about heroics as well as atrocities committed by rulers. That is how stories have moved on this vast land from Kashmir in the north to Kanyakumari in the south, and Gujarat in the west to Assam and beyond in the east.
  • Many of us have grown up listening to stories from our family elders. Children in the family would sit around grandfather or grandmother and listen to stories be it mythological or ghost stories.

I started reading books as I grew old. Compared to listening, I found the following benefits of reading:

  • One can stop, try to visualize the scene, go back and reread. This is not possible while listening to a story.
  • Situations and/or characteristic traits described by a writer can be appreciated only when one reads a novel. Such an appreciation cannot be gained when one listens to a story or watches a movie. A typical example that comes to mind is description of nature by Bibhuti Bhushan Bandyopadhyay. Feeling experienced by protagonist of Pather Panchali when he sees a moon rising beyond a bamboo forest, cannot be translated through any other medium. One has to read the novel.
  • Finally, the excitement of buying a new book, smelling its freshly printed pages, and joy of reading it is incomparable.

My personal choice will always remain reading over listening, unless I am incapacitated in such a way that I cannot read.

The present post is written as part of Indispire prompt at Indiblogger. More posts in response to the prompt may be found here.

6 thoughts on “Reading is Preferred Over Listening #Books

Add yours

  1. Nice article! Most of our ancient Indic knowledge was transmitted by word of mouth, as you have noted down – Shruti!
    Even Upanishad’s literal meaning is ‘Come, sit near me’ – giving a glimpse into Guru Shishya parampara – learning from Guru by listening to what he says.

    I prefer both reading and listening. Each has its own beauty and gives a different experience either as a listener or as a reader.
    When I am traveling in a car etc, or before sleeping – I prefer to listen to audiobooks. At other times I read.
    Both has its own joys.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for reading. Yes I agree one has to pay a lot of attention while listening. Compared to ears, eyes are more sensitive organs. It is easy to get distracted if one sees something while listening. Plus voice modulation is an important variable too.


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