Read, talk, love

September 24th, 2009

David Brooks of the Nashua Telegraph — a fan of the Igs and an all-around good guy — has a good question on his blog: have you read a book if you’ve listened to the audio version?

When somebody asks you if you’ve read a certain book, and you’ve only listened to it in audio version, what do you say? “Yes?” “Yes with an asterisk”? “No, but I’ve heard it”? “No”?

What about you?

This reminded me of a similar question: if you have been e-mailing back and forth with someone, or having a dialogue on Facebook, or chatting online, do you say you’ve been “talking” to them? I usually will, unless there’s something specific about the technology that I wanted to make a point of, e.g., “So, I was Facebooking with Mimi, and I noticed she still hasn’t changed her relationship status!” But if I’m just reporting the substance of the conversation, I’ll say “talking.” I suppose it seems weirdly over-specific to fixate on the technology itself, as though the technology were the important thing and not the conversation.

What about you?


3 Responses to “Read, talk, love”

  1. Carolyn on September 24, 2009 8:01 am

    I think I say ‘chatted’ for IM or facebook exchanges, and assume that sounds like electronic chat; or as it might be, ‘saw a post from.’

    I try not to say it at all if my mother is giving me old-neighbor news that she gathered by old-fashioned means; it’s boring for her if I say, ‘yeah, I saw that on Facebook.’

    Do you keep the ‘seeing’ (in a cinema)/’watching’ (at home) distinction for movies? On any kind of recent release, I probably didn’t ‘see’ it, but I might have watched it. Odd that this does not imply that I pay closer attention at home.

  2. Karen on September 24, 2009 8:30 am

    I’ve worked in the library for too long to think of an audiobook as anything other than just another format for a book. If you’ve experienced the content of the book in any way at all, you’ve “read” the book.

    As for online discussions: if I’ve had a real-time chat with someone, I say we “talked,” although I may make it “talked online” if it seems pertinent. If we had a discussion over email, with its attendant delays, we “emailed.” If I had a discussion in comments on Facebook with someone, or via Facebook private messages, I “talked to them on Facebook.” (Now that I think about it this last one doesn’t make much sense, really.)

    @Carolyn: I never thought about it much but do always say I “saw” something at the movie theater, never “watched.” At home I’m more likely to say I “watched” something but might say “saw” depending on the context of my statement. (For example, “Well, on Sunday I did some laundry and then watched ‘The Princess Bride’ with Adam” versus “‘The Princess Bride!’ I saw that movie just the other day!”)

  3. Fillyjonk on September 24, 2009 10:55 am

    I’m loath to say that listening to an audiobook is not reading or somehow lesser than reading because that seems ableist. I will say, though, that my mom reads almost all her books on audiobook (voluntarily, not out of necessity), and I have occasionally insisted that she “read with her eyes” a book she dismissed because she didn’t like it in audio. That’s more about the type of book than the act of reading — some books work great or even better in audio (the audiobook version of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, employed on a road trip, nearly made us have to pull the car over), some become confusing or too slow-paced.

    As far as “seeing” vs. “watching” a movie — you also “see” a play, and I suspect that’s where the cinema locution comes from. “Seeing” is active, “watching” is passive.

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