Full Cast Extravaganza
Because I'm always interested in hearing work read by the author, Phillip Pullman's audio edition of His Dark Materials: The Golden Compass caught my attention. A writer who understands the power of spoken word story-telling can deliver every nuance of a narrative in a way that renders much more than what can be captured on the page. There's context and subtle emphasis, there's the rhythm of speech and accent, there's the dramatic pause and the whispered parentheses. Here, in precise detail, with a supporting cast of a dozen marvelous actors to bring all the extraordinary characters to life, Pullman delivers a vivid tale that is far more cinematic in its breadth and scope than any Hollywood feature could ever be. This audiobook provides an excellent opportunity to get the whole family on the same page by listening together. It's equally enjoyable for pre-teens, teenagers, and adults. Forget the movie - go listen to this story!
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe may get all the glory among the classic Chronicles of Narnia books, but to my way of thinking, The Magician's Nephew is the place to start. It's the first book, chronologically, in the series, so it allowed our family to get into the "history" of Narnia from the very beginning. Even better, we were transported by Kenneth Branagh's magical voice and wonderful storytelling. And, maybe best of all, we had the delicious anticipation of six more incredible audio experiences to come!
I first checked out Water For Elephants in paperback (yes, paperback), cracking it open because several of my fellow editors had loved the audiobook. Reading the opening lines with my internal 40-year-old voice, I was intrigued enough to download the audio. But then I heard the same opening lines in the gruff "90- or 93-year-old" tones of narrator John Randolph Jones, and became moved by a man near the end of his days looking back at his younger self. With that younger self voiced by David LeDoux (whose rich characterizations are perfect for the Depression Era setting) Water For Elephants showed me the extra power performance can add to a great story.
When I interviewed for a job at Audible.com, my future boss recommended that I listen to Three Junes. The family saga very quickly drew me in, thanks to John Keating's lilting accent and the span of the novel's settings - Greece, Scotland, and Greenwich Village. Because I loved every minute of my first audiobook experience, I had plenty to talk about on my second interview...and, thankfully, got the job that I needed to support my new habit.