We Asked, You Answered: Is Listening to Audiobooks ‘Reading’?

In recent years, more and more bibliophiles are turning to audiobooks as a way to discover new stories (and re-discover old favorites). We know that books can be experienced in many different ways … But as their popularity grows, there’s still the occasional debate as to whether listening to audiobooks can be considered the same as “reading.”

Goodreads.com turned to its followers on Facebook and Twitter for their opinions and received a wide array of responses on how audiobooks have expanded their horizons. Which ones resonate with you? Let us know in the comments!

1. “I do consider it reading. Reading isn’t just about looking at the words on the page or hearing words as they’re being read. It’s about processing, imagining, and understanding. Science has shown those processes are similar whether reading with your eyes, your ears, or your fingers,” says Buddy.

2. “If you strictly base it on the technical definition of reading, they’re certainly not the same. They’re different language skills. But I think the whole point of both is the consumption of literature. That’s why it doesn’t matter if you read [a book] or listened to it,” says Calvin.

3. “1000% counts as reading. You’re still absorbing the material, just in a different format. And let’s not forget that [they are] extremely helpful, if not completely necessary, for the visually impaired!” says Michal.

4. “I don’t consider it reading, although I understand why some people need audiobooks and prefer them. I think reading an actual book is just a totally different experience then listening to one,” says Jessica.

5. “Audiobooks are great for those those looking to experience a book while walking or exercising, or those with vision problems. But that’s called listening. Reading is with your eyes. Not better. Just different,” says Jeanne.

6. “Yes, I consider it reading. I’m still dedicating time to the story and following along. I’ve ‘re-read’ a couple of books this way and actually picked up on new details I hadn’t before. It was exciting for me,” says Belinda.

7. “I like to listen to audiobooks when I’m hiking or driving long distances. I used to think it was ‘cheating,’ but listening to a story is just an alternative form of enjoying a book,” says Andrea.

8. “They don’t provide the exact same experience, but they both provide incredible stories. I think the coolest part is how audiobooks have modernized the human tradition of telling stories out loud with the spoken word,” says Nick.

9. “By one definition, audiobooks aren’t reading. But by the definition of reading as ‘interpretation,’ I think it fits,” says Raygina.

10. “In the same way that Braille is still ‘reading’ even though it technically does not involve visual processing of written information, audiobooks involve construction of visual interpretations of the information conveyed through symbolic language. Essentially, reading.” says Josh.

By Marie, August 17, 2018, first appearing on Goodreads Blog
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12 Things Readers Really Want Nonreaders to Know

Every reader has friends or family members who just don’t get it. “Why do you read so much?” they might ask, staring at your overflowing bookshelves or your Reading Challenge on Goodreads. “I haven’t read an entire book in years.”

Oh, those poor, unfortunate souls… Haven’t they heard about the very real scientific benefits of reading—like stress reduction and improved sleep? We asked our followers on Facebook and Twitter to share one thing about the comfort, joy, and importance of reading they wish nonreaders could understand. Check out some of our favorite responses below!

1. “Best therapy money can buy…or borrow for free with a library card. Reading helps me sleep, helps me forget about the day, and helps me relax in general.” –Sarah

2. “Opening a beer when you get home will reward you for an hour. Opening a book when you get home will reward you for life.” –Douglass

3. “Reading teaches you empathy, and it really gives you a chance to examine all the grey areas of life. You get to think about and see things from other perspectives—it’s awesome!” –Nyeisha

4. “I feel like I have friends all over the world, through space and time, who I can visit whenever I need a break from my own life.” –Kat 

5. “Books are better than the movie. There is so much going on in the minds of the characters that movies can’t show. To really understand the movie characters you love, read the book.” –Linda

6. “The smells of books, whether they’re new and old, are enjoyable and pair well with tea or coffee. People who are loathe to read are missing out on smell-o-vision.” –Ian

7. “It’s one of the ultimate escapes. You can forget where you are and who you are. There have been times I’ve gone to Middle-earth and Hogwarts and Narnia in my head just to survive… Everyone should have that blessed escape.” –Ruby

8. “The more I read the easier it is to express what I am thinking or feeling. Thanks to books, I have the words.” –Melanie

9. “You will always have friends. Real life doesn’t always hand you the right people. But a book is the perfect place to find your people whenever you need them.” –Gillian

10. “Don’t give up on reading just because you tried one or two books that didn’t do it for you. Keep trying, and I’m sure you will find your niche or genre. When you do, you’ll be so glad you did!” –Wes

11. “Reading to me is like unconditional love. I always feel like I’m home when I read a book.” –Susan

12. “Used correctly, a book can transport the reader on an instant mental vacation with no jet lag, TSA, or dysentery!” –Todd

 

By Hayley, August 10, 2018, first appearing on Goodreads Blog

32 Fantastical Books for the Savvy Pop Culture Fan

You know winter is coming. You don’t blink around statues. You’re a true believer.

When it comes to escapism, you’re an expert. To help you discover your next out-of-this-world read, we rounded up books based off the biggest movie and television adaptations featured at 2018 San Diego Comic-Con, the annual comics-turned-everything convention where fans collide with artists, actors, authors, and more.

From the stories to read before they hit the screen to the backstories of your favorite heroes and villains, these are the books to keep you entertained and in the know.

That’s Not How It Happened in the Book…
Impress (or irritate) your friends and family with details about what Hollywood changed from each of these beloved stories.

Good Omens Deadly Class It Nightflyers
The Expanse The Jungle Book A Discovery of Witches The Man in the High Castle

Between a Castle Rock and a Hard Place
Unleash the horrors of Castle Rock, a fictional town where Stephen King set many of his most chilling tales, before the adaptation premieres on Hulu.

The Dead Zone Cujo Needful Things Different Seasons

Over My Walking Dead Body
Too far gone? Return to better days of the apocalypse with the original comics and the prequel novels about notorious villain The Governor.

The Walking Dead Rise of the Governor The Road to Woodbury The Fall of the Governor

Just What the Doctor Who Ordered
Before the 13th Doctor steps into her T.A.R.D.I.S., travel all of space and time with these Time Lord novels, including one from iconic sci-fi legend Douglas Adams.

Shada Only Human The Stone Rose Touched by an Angel

The Nature of the Fantastic Beasts
Ready to meet young Dumbledore? Prepare yourself for The Crimes of Grindelwald by replacing your Muggle books with a magical tale or two.

Fantastic Beasts Short Stories from Hogwarts of Heroism, Hardship and Dangerous Hobbies Short Stories from Hogwarts of Power, Politics and Pesky Poltergeists Hogwarts: An Incomplete and Unreliable Guide

It’s a Bird! It’s a Plane! No, It’s…
Have no fear—all the superheroes are here. Save the world again and again with these genetically enhanced (or just really athletic) humans and aliens.

Aquaman Wonder Woman Venom Shazam
Supergirl Spider-Man Cloak and Dagger Iron Fist
By Hayley, July 18, 2018, first appearing on Goodreads Blog

13 Ways of Coping with a Book Hangover

Have you ever finished a book that was so good, you couldn’t move on to another? If so, you’ve likely experienced a book hangover. A common affliction among avid readers, book hangovers can be emotionally distressing to say the least. Symptoms can vary between spontaneous fits of sobbing to repeatedly shouting the word “why.” But don’t worry: There are ways to recover.

We asked our followers on Facebook and Twitter for their best coping strategies and listed some of the most popular comments. Which ones have you tried?

1. “When the grief is overwhelming, I just turn back to the beginning and read it all over again,” says Sanna.

2. “I try to switch genres or pick up a light read. If all else fails, I marathon a T.V. series and let the book hunger build up again,” says Rebecca.

3. “Writing a review, telling my friends about it, or journaling can help process what made it so impactful. What’s at the center of that emotional core, and how can I apply it to my life?” says Melissa.

4. “I actually take a break from reading. I won’t pick up another book for a few days,” says Jessica.

5. “Pick up a book of short stories, poetry, or essays so it’s less of a commitment before finding the next great novel,” says Jen.

6. “This might sound really bad, but in order to move on from a book I’m having a hard time letting go, I read a few bad reviews. It helps to put things in perspective,” says Leslie.

7. “Read some fan fiction,” says Charlotte.

8. “I like to reread my favorite parts and if there’s a good movie adaptation or a modern retelling, I go for it.” says Erin.

9. “I listen to bookish podcasts,” says Yanira.

10.“As I get down to the last five chapters or so, I start the next book hunt,” says Maureen.

11. “I immediately look for something else written by the author,” says Edwin.

12. “Sometimes I’m not ready to give a new book a try, so I reread a well-loved one,” says Carol.

13. “I go and get a real hangover,” says Steve.

 

By Marie, June 24, 2018, first appearing on Goodreads Blog

32 Reader-Recommended Books to Inspire Nonreaders

A book is a gift that keeps on giving, especially when it inspires a non-bookworm to read more. To help spread more literary joy this holiday season, we asked avid readers on Twitter and Facebook for titles that could whet the appetites of those who aren’t devouring books on the daily (for now).

In addition to rounding up the most highly recommended titles from A to Z, we listed some sage advice from these avid readers as well. Nonreaders have their own tastes and inclinations, and you can use the following tips to help narrow down your choices:

  • “I try to find a book that would fit the person,” says Adrienne. “What interests them the most? It’s really important to encourage reading, as there are way too many people who view it as too boring or time-consuming.”
  • “Ask them what they watch on TV,” says Kimberly. “There’s a good chance it’s based on a book series. Then buy them the first book in the series, which has characters they’re already invested in. Then buy them a book from a similar genre by a different author and keep going.”
  • “Someone that is not in the habit of reading yet might find it easier to start with an audiobook,” says Panos. “Understand what their interests are (perhaps through their favorite movie genre) and find a similar audiobook title.”
  • I think the subject just has to be something that speaks to them personally and they’ll be hooked,” says Mishka.
1st to Die Animal Farm The Art of Racing in the Rain Big Little Lies
The Book Thief Crazy Rich Asians The Da Vinci Code The Elegance of the Hedgehog
Everything I Never Told You Fahrenheit 451 The Fault in Our Stars Furiously Happy
The Hobbit Kitchen Confidential The Kite Runner The Little Prince
Lord of the Flies A Man Called Ove The Martian Me Talk Pretty One Day
The Nightingale Norwegian Wood One for the Money One of Us is Lying
Persepolis The Poisonwood Bible The Shadow of the Wind The Thirteenth Tale
Thrawn Tuesdays with Morrie The Walking Dead, Vol. 1 Wonder

 

By Marie, November 14, 2018, first appearing on Goodreads Blog

Do Good: 12 Literary Nonprofits to Support This Holiday

Asian American Writers’ Workshop

Established in 1991, the Asian American Writers’ Workshop is a national not-for-profit arts organization devoted to creating, publishing, and developing creative writing by Asian Americans. Since 2010, the group has committed to giving away more than $100,000 to emerging Asian American writers. Its online magazine, The Margins, has attracted more than half a million visitors. The AAWW also hosts events featuring hundreds of writers a year, with Maxine Hong Kingston and Chang-rae Lee among the luminaries.

Find out more »
Donate »

Barbershop Books

Barbershop Books is a community-based literacy program that creates friendly reading spaces in barbershops for boys. The nonprofit’s mission is to help black boys between the ages of four and eight become readers by bringing books into barbershops—and involving the men who work there to help foster a love of reading. Every dollar invested in a reading space results in 27 minutes of reading in a barbershop. Find out more about the program’s impact as well as how you can get involved.

Learn more »
Donate »

Books Through Bars

Based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the volunteer-run nonprofit organization Books Through Bars distributes free books to incarcerated people in the states of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, and West Virginia. Each week, the organization receives hundreds of letters from prisoners requesting books. And every year Books Through Bars sends more than 8,000 packages of books.

Learn more »
Donate »

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library

In 1995, country singer Dolly Parton started the nonprofit Imagination Library to promote reading in her home state of Tennessee. Today the group has donated millions of books to children in need throughout the United States, Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom. Every month the Imagination Library mails more than 1 million books to children’s homes, and in February the nonprofit sent its 100 millionth book. Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library partners with local communities; if your community would like to get involved, learn more here.

Get Involved»
Donate »

Girls Write Now

Celebrating its 20th year, the nonprofit Girls Write Now is a community of women writers from ages 13 to 83. The group matches girls with professional women writers to work on portfolios and readings as well as provides writing workshops and college preparation. The New York City-based organization accepts donations and is seeking mentorsmentees, and people to join its team. “We take girls seriously for who they are as well as who they will become,” the group says. “The relationships we foster tear down stereotypes, building a community of women writers of all ages who work to inspire and support one another with every pair session, every reading, and every workshop.”

Find out more »
Get involved»
Donate »

International Literacy Association

The International Literacy Association is a global nonprofit organization of more than 300,000 educators, researchers, and experts across 78 countries. Its mission is to make literacy accessible for all. ILA collaborates with its partners to develop, gather, and disseminate high-quality resources, best practices, and cutting-edge research to empower educators, inspire students, and inform policymakers.

Find out more »
Donate »

Lambda Literary

The nonprofit Lambda Literary believes “lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer literature is fundamental to the preservation of our culture and that LGBTQ lives are affirmed when our stories are written, published, and read.” The group traces its beginnings back to 1987, when L. Page Maccubbin, owner of Lambda Rising Bookstore in Washington, D.C., published the first Lambda Book Report. The Lambda Literary Awards, or “Lammys,” followed in 1989. Then in 2007, the group founded its Writers Retreat for Emerging LGBTQ Voices, a residency designed to offer intensive and sophisticated instruction to select writers over a one-week period. Lambda Literary accepts donations to sustain all of its programs.

Find out more »
Donate »

Learning Ally

The nonprofit Learning Ally uses educational technology to assist struggling readers who have learning differences and visual disabilities. Its cloud-based library of narrated audio textbooks and popular literature—all voiced by volunteers—gives these students access to grade-level content so they can become successful, engaged learners alongside their peers. Working with schools across the U.S., Learning Ally provides teachers with tools, training, and support to help students.

Get Involved»
Donate »

Little Free Library

Painted red and shaped like a miniature one-room schoolhouse in honor of his schoolteacher mother, the first Little Free Library—built by Todd Bol in Hudson, Wisconsin, in 2009—launched what would become a worldwide movement. Just nine years later, more than 75,000 such “Little Free Libraries” dot the globe in all 50 U.S. states and in 88 countries. Often custom painted by local artists, these tiny book collections are outfitted with the cheerful motto “Take a book, return a book!” Believing that no one should have to live in a book desert, the nonprofit Little Free Library needs donations to keep the movement going. Find out how you can help place a Little Free Library in your hometown and in cities across the globe. You can also get involved by becoming the “steward” of your own library by ordering one ready-made or designing your own!

Learn more »
Donate »

National Novel Writing Month

Each November means something special in the writing community: It’s time for National Novel Writing Month (aka NaNoWriMo). The basic challenge is to write 50,000 words of a rough draft in the month of November, but NaNoWriMo is so much more than that. The organization provides the structure, community, and guidance necessary to help people find their voices and develop the tools and discipline necessary to build writing mastery. Its programs extend beyond November and go year-round to help people get from the first draft to the last draft and provide opportunities for all ages to participate in a literary community on local and global levels.

Learn more »
Donate »

We Need Diverse Books

We Need Diverse Books is a grassroots nonprofit program that is run by children’s book lovers and aims to increase the diversity of books available to young readers. The group works to promote literature featuring children’s book characters who are from diverse racial, ethnic, cultural, religious, indigenous, LGBTQ, and other minority communities. We Need Diverse Books was spearheaded by author Ellen Oh and 21 other children’s book writers and industry professionals. The group was founded on the belief that more diversity in children’s books better reflects the world and teaches kids about our differences as well as our shared feelings and aspirations.

Find out more »
Become a fund-raiser »
Volunteer »

 

Words Without Borders

Founded in 2003, Words Without Borders is an organization that promotes cultural understanding through the translation and publication of contemporary international literature. Every month the group publishes 8 to 12 new works by international writers, including Nobel Prize laureates and new writers. To date, Words Without Borders has published more than 2,400 pieces from 132 countries and 112 languages. In 2014, it also began an education program that provides educators with resources to incorporate contemporary international literature into their classes.

Find out more »
Get involved»
Donate »

By Cybil, December 02, 2018, first appearing on Goodreads Blog

2018 GOODREADS CHOICE WINNERS ANNOUNCED

The voting is done, and Goodreads has announced the winners of their 2018 Goodreads Choice Awards. If you’re not familiar (and didn’t get to vote!), Goodreads releases nominees for the best books of the year in genres like fiction, nonfiction, poetry, romance, sci-fi, YA, and several others. Readers vote, or write-in new nominees, and a second found of finalists is released. Voting continues, and a third round of finalists is released before the big announcement comes in early December. And today is that day!

The Hate U GiveI’ve included the full list of winners below, but I want to pause and talk about a new category that Goodreads included this year. To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Goodreads Choice Awards, they introduced the Best of the Best category, where readers were asked to vote on the ultimate best book from the 170 past winners in the competition. The winner is Angie Thomas’s The Hate U GiveShe took the top spot at an 8K+ lead over the runner up (All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr). THUG has been a Book Riot favorite, and we’re psyched to see her book chosen from such a large pool of titles.

A couple of other noteworthy wins:  Tomi Adeyemi’s Children of Blood and Bone won in the Debut Author category. You might remember that Adeyemi’s book was the inaugural pick for Jimmy Fallon’s book club on The Tonight Show. She claimed the top spot at a whopping 35K lead over the runner up. So, she didn’t just win, she really won.

The Kiss Quotient by Helen HoangIf no one has told you about The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang yet, do yourself a favor, call out of work, and read it today. Hoang’s book won for Romance in a category that boasted a diverse and exciting group of finalists. Lots of buzzy books from this year.

Speaking of diversity, Goodreads showed a bit of improvement in that category. Winners in the 2017 Awards showed 20% books by authors of color (with Angie Thomas’s THUGtaking two of those spots). This year’s awards round out to 29% books by authors of color.

See the complete list of winners below, and then get your book shopping on!

2018 GOODREADS CHOICE AWARD WINNERS

FICTION

Still Me by JoJo Moyes

MYSTERY AND THRILLER

The Outsider by Stephen King

HISTORICAL FICTION

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

FANTASY

Circe by Madeline Miller

BEST OF THE BEST

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

ROMANCE

The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang

SCIENCE FICTION

Vengeful by V.E. Schwab

HORROR

Elevation by Stephen King

HUMOR

The Last Black Unicorn by Tiffany Haddish

NONFICTION

I’ll Be Gone in the Dark:  One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer by Michelle McNamara

MEMOIR AND AUTOBIOGRAPHY

Educated by Tara Westover

HISTORY AND BIOGRAPHY

The Good Neighbor:  The Life and Work of Fred Rogers by Maxwell King

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs:  A New History of a Lost World by Steve Brusatte

FOOD AND COOKBOOKS

Cravings:  Hungry for More by Chrissy Teigen

GRAPHIC NOVELS AND COMICS

Herding Cats by Sarah Andersen

POETRY

The Witch Doesn’t Burn in This One by Amanda Lovelace

DEBUT AUTHOR

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

YOUNG ADULT FICTION

Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli

YOUNG ADULT FANTASY

Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas

MIDDLE GRADES AND CHILDREN’S

The Trials of Apollo:  Book Three, The Burning Maze by Rick Riordan

PICTURE BOOKS

I Am Enough by Grace Byers

By , December