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Book-club Conundrum

If you listen to a book instead of reading it, are you cheating? Six publishing types weigh in.

"Reading is more than being told a story—it involves other senses and behaviors. But if the book is intimidating, it might be better to listen than not to experience it at all." —Sara Nelson, editor in chief of Publishers Weekly

"Whether you're listening or reading, the story and the language get in your system and affect you—and that's what matters, right?" —Terry Gross, host of Fresh Air on National Public Radio

"Listening isn't like the intimate experience of reading, but for some people, the only time they have to 'read' is while driving or traveling." —Alice Hoffman, author of Practical Magic and Turtle Moon

"If you fail to prepare for a club meeting, you've let down the other members. So if you enjoy reading, read; if you prefer audiobooks, listen." —Randy Cohen, The Ethicist columnist for the New York Times Magazine

"I think that book-club members should be allowed to listen to the audiobooks—but only unabridged ones." —Kathy L. Patrick, founder of the Pulpwood Queens Book Club

"To follow the intricacies of plot, character development, the occurrence of symbols—all of these require shuffling between pages, a visual scanning that can't happen by ear." —Kathryn Harrison, author of While They Slept: An Inquiry Into the Murder of a Family

Has your book club become a bore?
We all know how a book club can get once you've been doing it for a while—she loves everything, she hates everything, she's only here for the wine…. For the next issue of Girlfriend Getaways (due out in the fall), we're putting together a story about how to make a book club fun and interesting again. Got any ideas? Send 'em to!

Note: This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.



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