Listen or Read?


Getting older means eyesight changes, and with eyesight changes come some choices.  Do I read a book, and then wait for hours before my eyes can focus at a distance again, or do I listen to a book while I do something else so I don’t have double vision afterwards?

A bit of history:  I am myopic, and have small cataracts.  I live in earthquake country.  I love being able to see.  When one gets older, eye muscles are not as adaptable as they used to be.  I am also extremely picky about my eyes – even with my myopia, I always was able to correct my lenses to 20-15 (or however you write it).  Now I can only get corrections to 20-20.  Not fun.  I also have a macular pucker and oodles of floaters; I see my retinologist every year for stability checks.

So what’s with the “earthquake country” comment?  Well, someone is bound to point out that lasik could solve a lot of problems.  My return is eye surgery?  Are you nuts?  Cutting my eyes?  What if there were an earthquake in the middle of the procedure?????

A bit neurotic, eh?

Audiobooks are a great listen when a great reader tells the tale.  Awful voices, wrong voices, ugly voices, poor cadence when reading, etc., all make for a bad experience, and make a good read not so enjoyable.  However, the downside to audiobooks is all you do is listen.  That is, unless you pick up something to do, or go to the gym, or work out on the elliptical, or go for a walk, or knit, or make dinner and hope you don’t drop you ear buds in the soup or go to the bathroom with the ipod in your pocket and have it fall in the toilet with everything else you have deposited.

I know, I’ve done it.

All alone, audiobooks are not a physically active experience.  Reading a book is a physically active, multi-sensual experience.  Look, read, look at pictures, admire the type font, enjoy the layout, read, turn a page, enjoy the smell of a new book, turn the book around to see what something is, sit, become involved in another world, think about it later.  Can you multi-task when reading?  You bet – but why?

I am reading again, and double-vision be damned.  I miss the experience.  I just wish I didn’t walk like a drunk afterward.


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