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Do you listen to music while reading?

Do you listen to music while you read?

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Nearly all ereading devices have had mp3 players. I don’t know if this is for audiobooks or music playing.  ┬áBut I do know that writers often to listen to music to get them in the mood for certain scenes. Do readers listen to music while they read? I prefer perfect silence when reading.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com


  1. SonomaLass
    Jun 26, 2009 @ 12:53:17

    Really my answer is “not deliberately.” Sometimes my DP has music on that I can hear, and that doesn’t bother me. Usually I’m so deep in what I’m reading that I don’t notice the sounds around me.

  2. MaryK
    Jun 26, 2009 @ 13:06:46

    Generally, no. Sometimes I will use classical or jazz for white noise, but I don’t think that’s what you’re talking about.

  3. Karen Wester Newton
    Jun 26, 2009 @ 13:08:37

    Ditto SonomaLass. Also, when I’m reading from my Kindle (which is how I read books, lately), the last thing I want to do is run down the battery playing MP3s.

  4. Silver James
    Jun 26, 2009 @ 13:13:21

    I listen to music when I read or write, and if not music, then the TV is droning in the background.

  5. Denise
    Jun 26, 2009 @ 13:17:47

    Depends, at home No, on public transportation Yes. But that’s just to cover up all the other noise around me, if you ask me an hour later I couldn’t tell you what my shuffle was playing anyway.

  6. MB (Leah)
    Jun 26, 2009 @ 13:23:03

    Yes, but it has to be soft music like classical or new age with no words or singing, or I get distracted.

    When I was in school I always had hard core house/drumming/techno music because it helped me concentrate better with learning math and science.

  7. Christine M.
    Jun 26, 2009 @ 13:25:04

    I listen to music inthe background so that the other background noises won’t bother me (like the neighbourgs screaming in the street, or dogs yapping… That sort of thing. So it’s music to drown out noise.

  8. DS
    Jun 26, 2009 @ 13:27:04

    I’ve downloaded Baroque era music from iTunes that I usually listen to when I’m reading.

  9. Lori S
    Jun 26, 2009 @ 13:29:24

    Like so many of the others, I don’t turn on the music, but with 2 teenage boys and a rock musician for a husband, there’s always rock music blaring… loudly… from somewhere + TV. I’ve learned to tune it all out, thank goodness. If I’m home alone? Dead silence. Ahhhhhhhhh…….

  10. Shannon Stacey
    Jun 26, 2009 @ 14:09:28

    I never listen to music while I’m reading (except background music from the PS3) but sometimes I wish I could embed a song into a scene I’ve written if it really inspired me during the writing so the reader could hear it. So unfair that movies get to lead the viewer with that emotional “cheat” cue.

  11. Lexie C.
    Jun 26, 2009 @ 14:58:18

    I do, but I only do it if someone is home or if I’m on the train/subway. Otherwise my family will see that I *only* have a book in my hand, so obviously I’m not busy enough and will then proceed to keep bugging me until I listen to them. I found if I have my iPod on as well, they assume I must be REALLY busy. they’re so weird!

  12. CupK8
    Jun 26, 2009 @ 15:30:47

    I can’t, I get too easily distracted. My SO can have the TV running behind anything, but I can’t focus on the words.

  13. anny cook
    Jun 26, 2009 @ 15:36:18

    No music for reading OR writing. When I listen to music, usually it’s very quiet otherwise with no distractions. Can’t seem to manage more than one thing at a time!

  14. Lorraine
    Jun 26, 2009 @ 17:17:13

    Many years ago when I was in my 20s I’d listen to music while reading. It didn’t distract me at all. Now I need almost complete silence to be able to get into a book. I love it when I’m home alone while I’m reading.

  15. LizC
    Jun 26, 2009 @ 18:56:09

    Hmm. I think I actually clicked the wrong answer. In case I did my real answer is Yes. Not every time I read. Sometimes I also watch tv or a movie while I read. If I’m reading during lunch, on the beach, at the lake, etc I’m listening to my mp3 player (I’m not actually sure what I did before mp3 players. Portable cd player?). If I’m at home and the tv’s not on the radio is.

    I think I very rarely read in complete silence. Probably due to years of living in college dorm rooms. I’d need something to block out the sound of my roommates, the people next door, etc so I’d pop in headphones and read.

  16. Mireya
    Jun 26, 2009 @ 19:03:21

    All my life I’ve read with music playing in the background. During my college years, it was the T.V. tuned in to MTV (no joke). Even reading stuff for school or college, I needed something playing in the background. For my commutes I use an MP3 player. People talking around me is, actually, the worse type of distraction for me. If I have people babbling around me, I can’t read. That includes home, my commutes (my player is a lifesaver), and pretty much anywhere else.

  17. Castiron
    Jun 26, 2009 @ 20:21:05

    Depends on my mood. I don’t like to listen to English-language vocal music while I’m reading (too much competition along the brain circuits), but instrumental is fine.

  18. Valerie
    Jun 26, 2009 @ 23:22:36

    I don’t generally listen to music when reading, but always do when writing. However, I will make the shameful admission that when I was an awkward teenager, I listened to the Smashing Pumpkins while reading Anne Rice. Oh the shame.

  19. Edie
    Jun 26, 2009 @ 23:55:39

    I have to have music going at all times. At home it is generally the radio, out and about the iriver.

  20. Shan
    Jun 27, 2009 @ 00:20:42

    Sometimes, I do, but once I start getting distracted I have to turn the music off. I have a tendency to sing every song that I have ever heard if it comes on, so I definitely can’t do both at the same time unless I concentrate really hard:)

  21. Caty
    Jun 27, 2009 @ 04:38:46

    Sometimes, but not very often. And much less than I used to: I always had music on when I was studying.

    I don’t mind music while I’m reading (I rarely put it on specially, but if someone else does then it’s fine), and I can usually cope with other people’s conversations, but I do struggle with having the TV on. If I’m reading and someone else comes in and turns the TV on, I often leave the room. (I can usually read with sport, but if it’s a soap or a drama then I’m gone.) I’m so antisocial.

  22. Azure
    Jun 27, 2009 @ 06:15:15

    Not using my ebook reader, because I drain the battery enough with reading! :D

    But I have trouble reading when there’s absolutely no noise at all. Every little sound gets magnified, which takes me out of the book. So if there’s a steady stream of sound–whether from the stereo or the TV–it keeps me focused on the book. Strange though that may sound.

  23. Marianne McA
    Jun 27, 2009 @ 09:17:33

    If I’m reading when alone, I wouldn’t choose noise in the background, but if the family are there and have music or the TV on, I can tune it out: doesn’t bother me.
    I’m not in any way musical – I remember a friend dragging me to one of the proms in London and being marginally appalled that I read through the whole thing.

  24. Tammy
    Jun 27, 2009 @ 18:21:46

    While I read, no music. But while I write? It’s absolutely required.

  25. Caz
    Jun 28, 2009 @ 06:21:59

    I can’t do anything that requires concentration while I’m listening to music. Which might sound odd when I say that I’m a musician! But the thing is, if there’s music on, I’ll start LISTENING to that instead. Background music is fine for cooking or ironing or whatever, but not for something which requires close attention.

  26. Maili
    Jun 28, 2009 @ 08:27:26

    There ought to be another option: Depends.

    If it’s music already familiar – to the point of being white noise, yes I let it play while I read. If it’s not, I prefer silence.

  27. ms bookjunkie
    Jun 29, 2009 @ 07:48:24

    Heck, no. If I’m concentrating on the reading, I don’t hear the music. And if I’m listening to the music, I’m not concentrating on the reading.

    I guess I’ve been lucky enough to live in places where I haven’t needed constant music to drown out the background. But then again, I never listened to music while doing my homework, like my friends did in school. I preferred the quiet so I could concentrate and be done with it.

  28. gabrielle chastene
    Apr 21, 2010 @ 20:10:55

    Yes. I love listening to music while i read my novels. I made romantic playlist I listen to when I read novels. and Im playing it when my husband and I are having a candlelight dinner, it just puts you in a good mood quickly. But then again Im a music lover

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