Bookplanet: Crime and Punishment on your iPod
The barbarians who listen to books are growing outside the gates of culture:
"Jim Harris, a lifelong bookworm, cracked the covers of only four books last year. But he listened to 54, all unabridged. He listened to Harry Potter and Moby-Dick, Don DeLillo and Stephen King. He listened in the car, eating lunch, doing the dishes, sitting in doctors' offices and climbing the stairs at work. 'I haven't read this much since I was in college,' said Mr. Harris, 53, a computer programmer in Memphis.
And yes, he does consider it 'reading.' 'I dislike it when I meet people who feel listening is inferior,' he said. Fewer Americans are reading books than a decade ago, according to the National Endowment for the Arts, but almost a third more are listening to them on tapes, CD's and iPods." More here.
WHAT'S more, "digital audio that can be zapped onto an MP3 player is also luring converts. The smallest iPod, the Shuffle, holds roughly four books; the newest ones include a setting that speeds up the narration without raising the pitch."
Hmm. I've never listened to a book before, but wouldn't it be a brandnew cultural experience -- very Barthes -- to tackle Joyce's Ulysses via one's ears?