Some people say that listening to an audiobook doesn’t count as real reading. I disagree. In fact, we can learn so much from a performance that it seems a shame to restrict ourselves to only the voice in our head when experiencing a story. My absolute favourites that I have recently returned to include Stephen Fry reading the Harry Potter series (or Oscar Wilde’s short stories, in fact, Stephen Fry reading anything) and Tim Curry’s performance of A Series of Unfortunate Events. I remember as a boy growing up on Stig Wemyss reading Andy Griffiths’ stories on tape, and admiring his voices and reveling in the silly sound effects.
Of course audiobooks count - they are the same journeys that we find in the printed word. I wouldn’t only listen to audiobooks any more than I would only do anything. But on car drives or long, slow runs, they are second to none for helping to tip a couple of titles off the To Read pile.
This Christmas, don’t forget that there are many ways in which stories can be enjoyed, and even given as gifts. In fact, there are more than just the written word and the recorded audiobook. There are also live performances, and I can’t think of anything better than snuggling down on the couch and doing your very best old man voice for that miser Scrooge in A Christmas Carol.
Merry Christmas, and a glorious summer to all of you. I hope it is filled with a feast of both food and the imagination.