I've got the wonderful (no longer available) John Cleese recording of The Screwtape Letters, as well as the Ralph Cosham version, also very good. But this performance is the best; it's beyond expectation and it might now be my favorite audio book. Ackland's voice is calmer and less cheeky than Cleese, but with much more gravitas.
Now, the case could be made that Cleese's less dignifiied Screwtape gives us a better laugh at the devil and thereby gives us a truer picture of the Underworld's ultimate loss of dignity. But for listening pleasure, which is an aid to absorption, this heavier reading is perfect. Very highly recommended.
This narrator sounds earthy, not professional. Kind of a "girl next door" voice. Maybe even a little smoker's rasp in there. I think it works for this book which is, after all, about practical mysticism. The every-dayness of it fits the subject. She's not going to unseat Juliet Stevenson anytime soon, but I found her easy to listen to.
Pretty high; among the very best of the kid's books I've tried.
Piglet. The voice.
This is a perfect mix of cuteness and dry humor. Eeyore and Pooh contrast with Piglet and Christopher Robin and keep the tone from slipping into sugar sweetness. The book is brilliant, and this performance is a highly intelligent interpretation.
At the time of this review, there are three Lewis essay collections available on audible, all read (very well) by Ralph Cosham.
1. God in the Dock
2. The Weight of Glory
3. This series of essays taken from the printed Essay Collection & Other Short Pieces, which Audible has broken up into the nine sections of that book. This recording, Aspects of Faith, is just one of those nine.
What I want to tell you is: all of them are good collections and worth having, but if you collect the nine titles described in #3 above, you will have every essay contained in the other two collections except for Rejoinder to Dr. Pittenger and Is Progress Possible. So, unless you are a completist, I would recommend simply collecting the nine in this series Also, this series of nine is better organized, skipping forward exactly one essay each time you click the forward button on your mp3 player or other interface. I believe God in the Dock jumps whole sections forward for each click.
But if you want a short (a half dozen hours or so) introduction to some of the very best Lewis essays, try The Weight of Glory collection. In my opinion, every single essay in that collection is essential Lewis, even Why I Am Not a Pacifist, which, even if not as timely in theme, still contains such great prose and turns of thought that it deserves placement with the broader essays found there.
In every case, don't miss the single essay, The Weight of Glory. That one's about the most exciting thing he ever wrote, in my opinion.
Collecting Lewis's essays in print as been problematic for a while because they are compiled in so many books that overlap in content. Now it appears that the audio world will follow suit. The good news is that having them at all, and read by such a good voice as Ralph Cosham's, is wonderful. The even better news is that so many of them, surely 85% or more, are now appearing on audio.The bad news is that there is indeed overlap. This new series, of which "The Art of Writing ... etc" is a part, tackles the long out-of-print (is it coming back to print now?) book called "Essay Collection & Other Short Pieces." As of this review, all of the sections of that book have not landed on audio, but I have heard they are all coming. If you do nothing but collect this series, you will be in great shape. There will be no overlap and you will have collected the lion's share (heh) of Lewis's essays. But if you have already, or plan to, buy the very good audio collections "God in the Dock" and/or "Weight of Glory" you will have a lot of repeats. If you go over to Amazon's site and take the time to jot down the tables of contents from the printed forms of God in the Dock, and Weight of Glory, and then go to the REVIEWS of the out-of-print Essay Collection & Other Short Pieces, some kind reader has taken the time to type out all the contents of that book, which are now the contents of this series of audios.But if you want a quick and easy strategy to pick up a great collection of these audios, you can do what I have done:1. Buy God in the Dock on audio. It's a long collection, it's cheap, and it's very good.2. Buy Weight of Glory on audio. It's short, but contains surely his best essay (Weight of Glory) and probably his second best as well (Transposition).3. Buy English and Literature, The Art of Writing and the Gifts of Writers, and The Church from this collection. These are the three parts of the new collection (again, the one taken from Essay Collection & Other Short Stories) which, if my observations are right, contain the least overlap with the other two collections. DISCLAIMER: I have made so many little check mark notations and inked dots and highlighter marks in my printed Lewis essay collections that I've forgotten what some of them mean, so please do poke around in tables of contents to form your own strategy. But just know that A) there is overlap and B) it is absolutely worth the headache to track down a good audio collection of these essays, whether by mixing series or just buying all of this one series. Happy hunting.
I've bought the Frederick Davidson and the Walter Covel(sp?) versions, and while I eventually got over the robotic drone of the latter enough to absorb the great story, I've always wished for a really good performance of this, my favorite novel. (The less I say about Frederick Davidson's over-cooked tone of voice, the better.)
Before I forget: this is the old Constance Garnett translation, which will be a disappointment to some, but I like it best.
Gregory's reading is calm, warm, with a frequent whimsy, but never, to my ear, obnoxious or over-acted. It's really classy-sounding, not too bitter, not too dry, not too cynical or snooty. And this is a tricky book for finding the right tone, so kudos to Gregory and whoever picked him to do it. I think the best way to put the personality of this reading would be to call it friendly, which it ought to be, despite the dark subject matter, since Dostoyvesky's biggest difference from other writers about depravity is his transparent love for his reader.
ANY decent reading would have been welcome, but an hour into this one, I think I can say it's much better than decent, even great.
C. S. Lewis is my favorite author, but I was almost horror-stricken the first time I heard his voice. He sounded to me like he was looking down his nose, and unfriendly. But I kept listening, mostly out of sheer novelty. And now, all sorts of qualties, tones, colors, nuances, and inflections have settled in and I find that not only do I enjoy his voice, but I almost can't understand how I had such an aversion to it. I think there's just been a lot lost in the lecture manner of 1950's Oxford/Cambridge, until what was excellent, clear, and forceful once comes off as cold and affected now. But in his day, nobody packed the house for lectures like Lewis. And it wasn't just his ideas, but his voice they loved. There are many accounts of this. So, if you are turned off at first, keep going and see if you don't end up loving it.I know, by the way, that this wasn't just a matter of "getting used to it" or forcing myself to like it because I like Lewis. Because I tried to apply the same acclimation to a particularly obnoxious narrator who happened to perform my favorite novel of all time. But try as I might, I couldn't take the guy.Lastly, if you find the commentary (I believe it's Dobson, but I could be wrong) before each of the loves to be jarring - as I did - you can order a CD version of these recordings plus two other CD's of Lewis reading a paper on The Pilgrim's Progress and a longish paper he wrote when he took his position at Cambridge, all for 20 bucks from the folks at Episcopal Media Center. They call the collection "C S Lewis Speaks His Mind." In addition to the extra material, the Four Loves recordings are presented without commentary. (I hope Audible doesn't mind my plugging their version here, but Audible doesn't have those other recordings available.) Just google "C S Lewis Speaks His Mind" and it'll pop right up.
Well, I have to read this monster for a college class. Not that I don't want to read it for pleasure, but in this case it's especially important that the translator and narrator are as clear as possible. I have liked all of the beginnings of the unabridged versions available here, but I've kept spending credits hoping I'd get one that really knocked me out. This is the one. After a bit of cursory research, I found the Grossman translation highly recommended. And my own ears tell me that the Guidal narration is the best. This reading is four hours longer than most of the others, and it sounds so far like the extra time is well spent in helpful pauses. There is the added benefit for me that Grossman's translation is easily attainable in printed, annotated form so that I can dig up good notes for my paper after absorbing the audio a few times. I can't say I've listened to the whole of any of these, but if the first hour of four different versions can be trusted, I can easily call this one the best by far. Happy listening.
Get this collection and also the audio of his essay collection called "The Weight of Glory" and you'll be in great shape. I'm so much a fan of Lewis that I don't know how valuable my review can be - indeed, I don't even go to him to find answers anymore so much as for the pleasure of his company - but I can at least say that if you like Lewis in general, these essays are not a step down from his books. They're just... you know ... shorter. Happy listening. Cosham performs well as always.
I tried all three narrators available for the unabridged Brothers K. I hated them all to begin with, but Covell is the one that I was able to settle into. Davidson's condescension, though I tried my best to ignore it, was just too much. Woolf and Clovell are both underwhelming, and it takes more concentration to hang on, but between them, I like Covell. In general, I've found boring narrations to be less offending to the ear across a long listening than obnoxious ones that might be more dramatic. Listening to Covell is sometimes like hearing those computer-automated voice, but it can actually become endearing after a while. In any case, while his voice didn't do anything to enhance the reading, in the end he didn't detract from it. I've read the book before, and I found the sensation of hearing Covell's reading exactly the same, whereas Davidson's narration jarred the spell completely for me.
It's a shame there is not a reading of this novel as great as Guidall's masterful Crime and Punishment, but this performance still amounts to a wonderful experience.
I'm sorry to say I couldn't enjoy Walter Zimmerman's narration. I've found this same story in a small, inexpensive collection of Dostoyevsky short stories called "A Disgraceful Affair." Since it isn't obvoius which stories that collection contains (odd to me, since Dream of a Ridiculous Man is pretty famous and I'd think the collection would sell better if they'd put it up front), I thought I'd come here and recommend that one as an alternative.The narrators for that collection are Michael Page and Kirby Heyborne, and I'm not sure which reads Dream of a Ridiculous Man. The performance there is a bit more manic than the voice I "hear" when I read Dostoyevsky, but it's a worthy intepretation.Anyway, if you want to give a different narrator a shot at this great story, punch "A Disgraceful Affair" into the search engine. I don't know the other stories it contains except the very early one called "White Nights," which is also lovely.
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