Friday, August 30, 2013

Snips and Specs and Stick Shifts

I have been to the edge and back!  I have spent the last couple of weeks driving across our fine country, seeing the national parks, camping under the stars (and clouds), dipping my feet in both the Atlantic and Pacific, and driving back.  It was fantastic.  

Pretty much.
But this is not a travel blog, so why mention it?  Well, despite my great anticipation for this quintessential American experience, I was kind of dreading the 13 hour drive across Minnesota and South Dakota and the inevitable bickering with my copilot that was certain to ensue out of grumpiness.  And no surprise here, but BOOKS SAVED US FROM THIS FATE!  

SD is gorgeous!! What was I worried about??
I’ve always harbored something of a superiority when it comes to audiobooks.  “Audiobooks are for people who multitask when a book should be given the respect of your full attention!”  “Audiobooks are for people who don’t really like to read!”  But now I take it all back!  While I don’t think audiobooks will replace the joy of holding a book in my arms and making up the voices myself, I realize I have been unjust toward this form of presentation.  

I'll never let you go
As Kara and I made our way through Harry Potter after Harry Potter (and a Little House on the Prairie for good measure) I developed a great appreciation for the readers, their stamina, their ability to remember voices and transform themselves through voice alone into the characters I love.  I even looked forward to the long driving days.  It felt like discovering the book for the first time again, reading/hearing it in this different form.  And maybe it’s the crazy I’ve-been-in-this-car-too-long part of me talking, but Jim Dale started to feel like a friend. At the very least, I think I could pick out his voice anywhere now.  Especially the way he says “Oooooo, Haaarryyyyyy!” as Hermione.

Being able to contrast Jim Dale with the reader of Little House, Cherry Jones, also gave me an appreciation for how very important the reader is to the enjoyment of a book.  While Cherry certainly had charisma, she seriously lacked volume control.  When someone is yelling in a book, you don’t need to literally yell at me out of the car speakers.  And as much as I loved Jim, I wondered how different an experience it would be if J.K. Rowling herself read her book aloud to me.  I wondered if her accents, her inflections, her cadence would make her reading of Harry Potter a totally different experience from Jim’s Harry Potter performance. (From what I am told, btw, Madeleine L’Engle has read at least some of her audiobooks herself- that I’d like to hear!).

Oh Jim Dale!
Any readers out there like to mix it up with an audiobook now and then?  Any other must-hear audiobooks I should think about picking up from the library?  Any gawd-awful readers who have ruined books for you (I once heard a chapter of Twilight read aloud- yeesh!- that voice did NOT work for me!)?

1 comment:

  1. You know, I've never listened to an audiobook, mostly because I can read a book significantly faster than I can listen to that. Actualy scratch that I HAVE heard an audiobook - when we were in grade school they had us listen to E.B. White narrate Stuart Little and it was SO BORING. SO. SO. BORING. I had repressed that memory, it would seem. But a lot of bloggers I follow do listen to I'm CONSIDERING giving it a go.


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