THE BLOG
08/14/2012 03:00 pm ET Updated Oct 14, 2012

How Do You Stay in a Story?

What pulls you out of a book?

Do you struggle with a character you just can't support? A setting that's too fantastical? Too much dense exposition? Too much conversation? Or is it the actual page length that intimidates you and makes you want to throw a book down in frustration?

Growing up, my mother read to me every night. By the time I was reading along with her, I had already accepted the way that she pronounced certain words, and it colored the way I still read today. As I got older and began experiencing books alongside classmates and the like, I discovered that she wasn't, shockingly, always right about those pronunciations. I swear this realization rocked me to my core.

So, it's rarely the things mentioned above that draw me out of a book. It's usually a vocabulary I struggle with or a dialect I know I'm not getting right. I've found ways around it though.

As much as I love the physical act of reading a book and letting my eyes wander over the ink on the page or screen, there are other ways to enjoy books. I commute to work no matter where I live. The commute tends to average twenty minutes to a half hour, and depending on the locale, I'm on a train or in a car. It's not always conducive to burying my nose in a book. But I love audio books for this reason.

I didn't put the language/dialect disruption together until I listened to Memoirs of a Geisha a few years ago. If you've read the book, or seen the movie I suppose, you know that the potential for language barriers in the story are frequent. Whether the writer is describing an action that there isn't an English equivalent for, or imparting pieces of Japanese culture, there are moments throughout that include Japanese.

Listening to the audio book allowed me to immerse myself in the story more fully than I would have been able to if I had picked up the novel and read cover to cover. The Japanese is italicized in the printed book. On the audio book, it just flows with the rest of the story.

And it's a beautiful story. I loved the ceremony, the heightened reality and the traditions that the world of the teahouse is steeped in. Experiencing the story aurally anchored me.

So next time you're feeling yourself pulled out of a novel for whatever reason, give another medium a shot. You may find a new way to read in the process.