Heart & Mind

I’ve always been fascinated with the human mind and how the brain works. it is such a complex and intricate machine/organ. I’ve read many books and articles, and watched many documentaries about the brain, about brain surgeries and mind disorders. i just find it all so interesting and compelling.

One of the things that I’ve learned about this, and that has changed the way I se many things, is about the contrasting and cooperating halves of our brains. I like to think about it like a set of conjoined twins: each one has it’s own roles and jobs, but they are both always ready to pick up the slack should there be a need.

Just imagine it. At this moment, each side of your brain is doing its own thing. One side of your brain does all the math, and the other makes you cry at the end of sad movies . You use one side of your brain when you write a letter, but the other when you listen to music.

One side is linked to creativity, impulses, and emotions; and, the other one, to rational thought, and the interpretation of symbols (basic for reading and writing).

So, it came as no surprise when I realize that I feel more emotionally attached to stories when I’m only listening to them. It takes more of a toll on me, when I’m listening to an audio-book and I feel more invested in the characters and their lives, than I do when I’m actually reading the same book.

But, at the same time, I find it hard to remember where exactly in the story I was, and the precise way in which something was said. This doesn’t happen when I’m reading  book, printed or electronic. If I can see the words, I am most likely to remember it.

I guess this is way I work well with a paper planner. I always feel more comfortable with remembering things if i can write them down and see them written somewhere, no matter where… even if it is just on a post-it that i’m going to loose at any moment.

This would also explain why I like to have both, the audio and the printed version of my favorite books…

Does the same thing happen to you?

Have you notice a difference in how you enjoy books if they come in print or in audio?




Definitely! There are some books that are more suited for listening to than others, and that’s just a fact.

2312 by Kim Stanley Robinson
2312 by Kim Stanley Robinson

Most of the times, I can let my mind wander about through the eyes of a main character, across strange lands, meeting interesting people and living a completely different life. And that’s my thing… Let my mind fly away while my body is stuck here doing monotonous and boring chores.

But 2312, has way too many new words, easily mixed up names, too long words that I had never heard before, and strange and bizarre places that bring up concepts that require all of my attention and maybe a dictionary on hand. Maybe not the most appropriate book for listening to.

And I do find it quite interesting, and I’m looking forward to know what Alex was working on that was such a secret…

Truthwitch by Susan Dennard
Truthwitch by Susan Dennard

The search for the print book has already begun. Hopefully, it won’t take more that what’s left of the year.

In the meantime, let’s try some magic. Witches to be precise.

Truthwitch by Susan Dennard.

How cool would it be to always know when someone is lying to you? I think that would be a superpower that could be very useful.

… On second thought… I think I would rather believe it when people tell me I don’t look fat wearing my most comfortable pair of jeans, regardless of what the truth actually is.

Another kind of Queen

Queen of the Damned by Anne Rice
Queen of the Damned by Anne Ric

I remember reading The Queen of the Damned, by Anne Rice, years ago. it was one of the first books that got me to really enjoy audiobooks. I used to listen to it on the way to an from school, while riding the subway and walking down the crowded streets in city that didn’t speak my language but I love anyway.

It brings me wonderful memories, and it feels like visiting with myself from years ago.

Some people say that the books you enjoy change over the years, and an be used as a measuring tool for how much YOU have change. Some other people say that the books that really grab onto you, will always remain a part of you.

Either way, I’m looking forward to getting into it with a new Queen, this time with printed letters instead of audio files.

Audio vs. print: Vocabulary

To be completely honest, the first time I re-read Seraphina, will probably be to check out all those words that weren’t quite clear to me. There were, along the whole book, some words that I’m not familiar with (English not being my native tongue and all). Most I could discern for the context and guess what she was referring to, and there were a few that were aimed to descriptions or objects that could be ignored without affecting my understating of the plot. But there were a few that really bothered me.

audiobookI remember the first books I read completely in English, some years ago when I was in school and one of my teachers recommended it as a good way to improve my vocabulary. I used to have to sit down on my desk with my trusty dictionary and stop a couple of times in every page to search for a word and write it down (so I wouldn’t forget it).

But the years passed and the times I had to stop and consult my dictionary became fewer and fewer. And then came the era of electronic readers, and everything became even easier. Now, when I encounter a word I’m not familiar with, I just have to tap it with my finger and I get a definition. Easy as pie.

But, guess what?! It doesn’t work for audiobooks. Shocking, right?!

So, I’m already in search of the eBook or print book that would give me the visual to catch all these unknown words. I might even start using them. Who knows when I can bring up into conversations things like chemise or sally-port, right?!

Refining my goals

I have been thinking long and hard about it… the audio vs print dilemma.

I kept going back to that statistics I told you about at the beginning of the year, and how shocking I found that my countrymen can’t or won’t read more books. I guess the main difficulty for most people would be finding the free time to do so… with work, errands, cooking, cleaning, keeping a house, pets and/or children! It CAN be hard to find the moment to sit down and enjoy a good book.

For me, the point of reading is all about enjoying a good story, to allow my mind to fly away from me and travel to other places and meet other people that might not even be real… I still enjoy it all. So, to me, there’s very little difference if I read the words on the page, or if someone else reads the story to me.

But… The point of this year’s goal, is to show that books are not the enemy, they won’t suck the little remaining energy you have at the end of the day right out of you… On the contrary, they relax you, they can help empty your head of all concerns and worries that buzz around non-stop and keep you up at night. Books can fight off stress and help you sleep easier.

Books are your friends.

And they don’t really requiere you to drop everything else that normally occupies your day, or even take away much time from a busy schedule. All you need is to wait for the end of the day, find a comfortable position (or place), and let your mind drift through a couple of pages every night and before you know it, you would have finished a book and be looking forward to a new one.

And so, I ended up deciding to split my read-list between audio and print. And that meant going back and recounting the books that I read vs the ones I listened to last year, to see how many would be this year’s objective (remember, it has to be at least one more than last year).

This year’s goal: 21 books.