I'm going through an Austen phase, re-reading all the books (except for the only one on my book list, bad person that I am) and I'm enjoying them terribly. I've always said I didn't like Sense and Sensibility and Persuasion as much as, say Emma, but they were so lovely. I actually listened to them on audiobooks from the library - read by Nadia May. Since we've been taking moments to acknowledge the greatness of people these days, let's take a moment for the great audiobook readers of the world.
A long moment. They deserve it.
Prunella Scales for Emma and Nadia May for all the rest of the Austen books. Nadia May for Till We Have Faces. Wonderful, wonderful Nigel Lambert for Dog Friday (the best book on tape ever, possibly) and There's a Viking in My Bed. When I was a kid, my family swore eternal devotion to Jim Weiss, reader of The Cat of Bubastes,who also reads a set of endearingly oddball short stories (in which he sang as well. If I recall correctly, one song ran, "Snow white, Rose Red joy was sure to follow from the life they led. Rose Red, Snow White something-something-else will find delight!"). Geoffrey Howard for his exceptional, suitably scary Out of the Silent Planet. Whoever reads the version of The Screwtape Letters my library has on tape. I worshiped Kate Maberly (still do, as a matter of fact) for Catherine, Called Birdy. Listened to it almost every day for a year or two. The tapes are so worn that, every once in a while, her voice suddenly pitches down about three octaves. I expected Jeremy Northam's read of The Silver Chair to be excellent and, big surprise! it was. Tim Curry is fabulous, and Daniel Handler reads excellently. Listening to the author is usually a let down, but Lemony Snicket and Bill Bryson are both delightful readers. I could go on and on and on about good books on tape. Or, audiobooks, I ought to call them. But in my head they're still books on tape. I'm a 90's kid.
Let me end by saying I LOVE AUDIOBOOKS. I am a huge geek about them, and I don't care who knows it. They make car trips ten thousand, and house cleaning a hundred thousand times more enjoyable.
Okay, last thing. On the way to Disneyland last week, we stopped at Starbucks for breakfast (because we are the stopping kind. We believe in gum and snack runs.) And, right next to the Starbucks was an old Hollywood video, turned into a sale bookstore. So what did we do? What would any sane person do? Go in, of course. I love cheap books.
But, the point of this very long tangent is that, while in this shop I found this:
A little teensy book on tape! You plug headphones in on the side! And only one dollar. The audio quality isn't the best, but it's still pretty sweet. And the absurdity of a line on the other side of it which reads "Written and read by the author" doesn't even annoy me. I love audiobooks. I'd like to go back to that book shop too. Good stuff. I got Ibsen and a huge book of Hercule Poirot mysteries for a dollar each. Also, there's something pleasantly absurd about pouring over shelves of books with a giant Nicole Kidman head looking down at you.