Some Authors Are Better Listened To, Not Read

Tansy Bradshaw
2 min readNov 13, 2022

It was 2011 when I tried to read Kurt Vonnegut for the first time.

I say tried because even though I did read some of his books — I didn’t get what all the huge fuss was about.

Sure, as a fellow writer — I can see the merit in his work. As someone who has done stand-up comedy, I can see they were funny… but I just didn’t get the joke.

I thought there was something wrong with me.

Image Credit: Realtor

What made me annoyed was that I knew I would like his work. Seeing his speeches and interviews filled me with joy. His attitude on the world reminded me a bit of my grandfather. I just couldn’t quite seem to be bit by the Vonnegut bug that I wanted to catch.

It wasn’t till this year that I decided to give Kurt Vonnegut another try. Only this time — I would listen to the books rather than read them.

That was when everything changed. I cracked the code, as they say. I finally got Kurt and this led me to a realisation. Some authors are better being heard, not read.

What do I mean by this?

Well, I am aware that some types of jokes don’t land when they are printed — they have to be heard. I also know that jokes are reliant on the tone and pitch at which they were told.

As a cause of seeing a lot of stand-up comedy (as well as being taught it) I have developed a preference for listening to humorous writing and satire rather than reading it.

I needed to listen to Kurt Vonnegut’s stories being told because, albeit on a subconscious level, Kurt was a writer but he was also a comedian to me. Realising this was the lightbulb I needed.

Out of the 63 books (so far) that I have read, Kurt Vonnegut has been my most read person. This year I have listened too:

  • Slapstick
  • God Bless You, Mr Rosewater
  • Cat’s Cradle
  • Breakfast of Champions

So, if some things don’t feel right — try an audiobook.

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Tansy Bradshaw

Murderino. Cat Lady. I write about stuff that interests me. She/Her and They/Them