I’ve been thinking about audiobooks for a few days. This is the third time in three years that I can remember having a string of days I spent thinking about audiobooks. Yet, I am not currently a consumer of audiobooks. It seems to me that this method of “reading” has experienced a resurgence in recent years. I understand the draw. I love to read. I LOVE stories. I enjoy the unique distinctiveness of different human voices and dialects. I rarely have time to sit down with a book or e-reader these days, and I miss it. I think I could enjoy listening to texts during my commute. I am a slow reader. I could probably trim my “books I want to read” list down pretty quickly if I did this. Perhaps I will.
This bout of thinking about audiobooks began with a conversation with a coworker who regularly listens to audiobooks during his commute or slow times at work. In that conversation, he made a small statement about his belief that hearing someone read aloud to you is “nurturing.” Genious! He’s right! I think it’s not just about the reading. It harkens back to a child’s request that I hear daily: “tell me a story….” It also draws us back to pre-Gutenberg human experience. We are a people deeply rooted in story. The stories we tell, and the stories we hear, and the stories we participate in shape our thinking and understanding of the world around us.
As adults, we rarely have opportunity to be read to (except for some liturgical experience, where it may be common). Perhaps that is part of the allure of counseling. I am often invited, drawn into my clients’ stories. I remember times during the early years of my marriage, when my husband would read to me. Those were such sweet times. Somehow those nights of reading to each other slipped away in recent years, and we were none-the-wiser. How sad, but, it’s an easy loss to recoup. “I want you to read to me,” I said to him. “Okay,” he said.
I wonder what would happen if we all had someone we could ask to read to us… someone we could read to. Nurture, and be nurtured.