Good question.  Is it considered reading if you are listening to someone else reading a book instead of using your own eyes and turning pages? If you had bad eyesight or no eyesight and preferred listening to reading with braille, does that mean that you never read?  

I feel that the idea behind reading is using your imagination.  What do you picture in your mind when you read something?  Have you ever read a series and got acquainted with the characters to the point that it was more about them and the personal stuff they go through than the story?  One of the most beloved characters out there is James Patterson’s Alex Cross.  If you haven’t read or listened to this series, the ones who have are huge fans and Alex and his family and friends are almost considered real.  We all have our idea of what these characters look like and how their friends look and act.  My favorite part about reading one of the first Alex Cross books was that Alex and his partner Samson are very large men.  Way over six feet, football player size, and Samson called his best friend Alex, Sugar.  Very endearing.  A twist in the relationship of two homicide detectives and best friends who grew up together.  You know these characters inside and out.

Where I am going with this you wonder. Unlike movies where everything is laid out for you with changes in the original story, directors have to put their own spin on things.  In other words, directing you to what they want you to think and feel.  It took away from what your own idea was.  Listening to a book can bring the characters alive without taking your imagination out of the equation.  But gives a little bit of a tweek to the story.

As one that is on the road a lot, listening to a book can be a God send.  Sometimes I just can’t find any music to listen to so an audiobook is a good distraction from serious boredom.  And I will be honest with you, some authors have really found the right narrator to read their books and so with some books I prefer to listen to them than to hear my own voice in my head.

One such author is Ann B. Ross’s Miss Julia series.  This series would not be for everyone.  It is about small-town living and the joys of everyone knowing your business.  I grew up in such a town so I find the series very relatable.  But the point is that the narrator has all the accents down and the character’s unique features.  Based on the accent or tone of the narrator’s voice I can see each person and find it very funny.  I don’t get the same joy reading it myself as I do listening.  To me, a narrator can just about make or break a story.  Sometimes I listen to a book because of a narrator.  If an author has someone they like they will continue to use that person throughout several books and one thing that is happening lately is that authors are using more than one person to narrate.  Men do the male parts and women do the female parts (imagine that). But I have found that some male narrators can’t do a female version of a voice without it being sultry.

Of course, reading and listening use different parts of the brain and if you don’t use it, you lose it. Maybe we have apples and oranges here.  

I guess for me the point the author is making is simply putting a story out there in multiple forms and however you enjoy that story is up to you to decide.  Some people think reading a comic book or graphic is not really reading, especially with the kiddos.  Whichever way they choose to read a story is perfectly alright.  Using the imagination is the important thing.  Reading or listening to a book is like looking at a piece of art.  Some artwork may seem unimportant or it may be the loveliest thing you have ever seen.  The artist doesn’t care about whether you like it or not as much as what your takeaway is from it.  Why did you like it or dislike it?  Stories are the same way.  We have lost the art of contemplation, of just staring into the fire and thinking.  No outside influence.  

Enjoy your stories however you want.  Reading or listening or even writing one.  Work that imagination of yours.