Let Me Put My Suggestions In You: The Harry Potter Books on CD
Welcome back evil geeks, it’s time for Lilith to take the suggestions column hostage and seed your little brains with her recommendations. This week’s column is dedicated to all you book-lovers out there, and I know there are many of you amongst our followers. Read on for some incredible advice and a never-dull tale.
If you are anything like Lilith, you probably feel that The NeverEnding Story got it right when they described books as a gateway to another world, as the doorway to an unchecked imagination (even though seeing the movie kind of dilutes the point a little bit). Actually, I think Neil Gaiman said it best here. You see, books can give you so much more than a movie or TV show, because it gives you the ability to use your own imagination to create worlds. Yes, as Gaiman says, there are oodles of amazing eye-candy flicks out there these days, but it becomes something so much more vivid when you get to make up the images of what is happening on your own, in your mind, instead of having them regurgitated on the screen in front of you as someone else’s vision. Thanks to books my imagination is as well trained a muscle as the rotator cuff of a professional baseball pitcher.
But for those of you whom are as avid a reader as me, we face some first world problems with regards to our hobby. Me? I am forever battling the unceasing pile of books I have not read yet. Take for example, exhibits A and B. Exhibit A is my current library of books I have already read. Exhibit B is my box of unread books I am working on finishing. There are dozens of books that I would love to re-read, but with an ever increasing list of books to read, I just don’t feel I can justify the time lost if I were to travel back to the lands of a prior novel.
I was really struggling with this problem once, as shortly after the Harry Potter movies were released I really wanted to enjoy the novels all over again. Of course, there are 7 novels, and I had two options that I could think of at the time: pick one of them to re-read, losing a week or two to my usual reading schedule or read all 7 by isolating myself in a room for a week and inhaling them non-stop as I would the day the book was released. But then I found a better solution to my problem: books on cd.
I actually stumbled on this solution when in a bookstore just before leaving for a road trip. Saddened by the fact that I would lose 12 hours behind the wheel, I walked past the audiobooks section and was immediately enlightened with this resolution to my problem! I purchased the first Harry Potter novel, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, and was excited to start my drive.
All the Harry Potter audiobooks start similarly: with a quaint little tune as Jim Dale, the voice artist, reads the title to the book, followed by Chapter One…I will admit, when I first started listening to this I was a little taken aback. I had never before listened to a book on cd, and I was sort of expecting to hear different voice actors for each individual character, or at least a separate female and male voice artist for those parts. But no, Jim Dale does them all, and initially hearing him as Hermione or Aunt Petunia was a little odd.
Luckily Dale is a superb reader, and you get over the weirdness of a man voicing all the female characters rather quickly. As a testament to how good Dale is, he won 2 Grammy awards for his work on the Harry Potter series, and he currently holds a Guinness World Record for most characters portrayed in one audiobook (146 in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows). Seriously, this guy is BLOODY BRILLIANT! He gets all the intonations perfect, not only does his voice change, but he times his speech and inflections just right so that even before you know he is reading for Ron or Hermione, you know which character it is! And I don’t think any voice could ever make you picture someone rolling their eyes better than Dale. He just embraces the mood of each conversation, from fearful to bored, excited to heart-breaking. All 7 novels are read by Dale, and each one is a delightful listen.
I strongly suggest this to all you readers out there that don’t have the time to repeat reading novels you loved. Yes, I still think you should read them first, but if you find yourself wanting to re-read them, grab the audiobook version and hopefully you will be pleasantly surprised.
Most of the time so far I have enjoyed this approach to re-reading novels, but the Harry Potter series is still the best read books on cd I have encountered thus far. My only warning: you might find it very hard to get out of your car when you are in the parking lot at work, after all these books transform the interior of my Toyota Yaris in to the magical world of Harry Potter, and I just can’t get enough of it!
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Posted on November 19, 2013, in Books, Let Me Put My Suggestions In You and tagged audiobooks, Books on cd, harry potter, Jim Dale, JK Rowling, Neil Gaiman, Reading, suggestions. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.