There are many people who love fiction, but can’t read. Maybe you’re one of them. Some people can’t read for a physical reason – because they’re blind or have bad eyesight, for example – while some find reading difficult or strenuous on a mental level, such as dyslexic people and children. If any of these descriptions fit you, then maybe you should try audio books.
Audio books are voice recordings of people reading books – they used to be called ‘books on tape’, but now they mostly come on CD or even over the Internet as mp3 files. They are a surprisingly versatile medium, allowing for everything from straight readings to radio drama-style productions of the books with actors and sound effects. Some are read by the author, which can be an interesting experience, especially for books of poetry, while others are read by celebrities.
The best thing about audio books is that it’s much less effort to listen than it is to read. You can do other things while you have the audio book on, much like listening to music, such as driving or household chores. Audio books on long car journeys can be relaxing both for you and for children as well, as there are few things children love as much as hearing stories.
However, one word of warning. You should avoid any audio books you might find on the web that have been automatically produced by computer. The standard of computerized reading is not yet up to scratch for most purposes, and that’s certainly the case for audio books – it’s like hearing a robot trying to tell a story. The tone of voice is all wrong, the stresses go in the wrong place, and there’s no sense of drama. It’s difficult to even listen to for a long time, never mind enjoy. Until technology leaps forward (it’ll probably take a few decades), stick to human-read audio books.