Staff Picks: Listening to a Good Book
Since childhood I have loved being read to. Even now, as an adult, I love to hear a good story read aloud. Although being a commuter admittedly has its downsides, it offers me the opportunity to have wonderful books read to me by some pretty amazing actors and readers.
I’ve also discovered that I can often listen to something that I wouldn’t necessarily want to read as I lay in bed at night. For example, although the Dickens’ classic “Great Expectations” is lauded worldwide, I just never could get into the heaviness of Victorian writing. However, listening to this classic was a whole different story, so to speak. Hearing the dialogue spoken – the inflection and tone of the dialogue -made this story come alive for me. This is true for other classics (some I had read and others not) that I enjoyed as I made my way to and from work, examples being “Brideshead Revisited” by Evelyn Waugh and “The Age of Innocence” by Edith Wharton.
I don’t just check off the classics with my book listening though. I listen to books I’ve read (some several times) just for the joy of hearing a great story told. Anyone who regularly listens to audiobooks will attest that the reader makes all the difference. Some of my favorite books and now audiobooks include the “Harry Potter” series read by the amazing Jim Dale; “To Kill a Mockingbird” read by Sissy Spacek (who’s slight Southern draw is perfect for telling the tale of Scout, Gem, and Atticus); and “The Lord of the Rings” read by Rob Inglis whose rich toned voice transports you to Middle Earth. (BTW, Inglis also helped write tunes to accompany the songs sung throughout the stories).
I also make an attempt to keep up with children’s and teen literature with audiobooks. Two of my favorites have been John Flanagan’s “Ranger’s Apprentice” series and Eoin Colfer’s “Artemis Fowl” series. Although I must admit, I don’t care for the way Colfer wrapped up the final Artemis Fowl installment.
And finally, I sometimes listen to more recent, popular works. A guilty pleasure of mine has been “The Game of Thrones” series on HBO, but being a librarian, I wanted to read the books as well. The books, first published under the series title “A Song of Ice and Fire” and written by George R.R. Martin is a daunting read. Thus far, of the five written, none have been less than 700 pages – daunting to even the most voracious reader! It’s even a bit daunting to see in CD format – 30 plus CD’s per title, but with a 2-hour round trip commute, what better to do with my time than listen to a story? Once again, the reader of four of these five installments, Roy Dotrice, brings the myriad of characters in these convoluted tales to life. John Lee, who read the fourth book, “A Feast for Crows,” also did a fine job, but one becomes accustomed to the character development of a reader and I, at least, like the continuity of having the same reader throughout a series.
Another more recent publication that I thoroughly enjoyed listening to was “Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter” by Tom Franklin. This psycological mystery set in the deep south is a finely written work and a great story to boot.
If you’re a commuter or about to embark on a long car trip, consider checking out the audiobooks available at the Fauquier County Public Library. Some titles are available in both CD and e-audio format.
Dawn, library administration, Warrenton central library