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Chat: Favourite Audiobooks

audiobooks‘Mr and Mrs Dursley of Number Four Privet Drive…’ The immortal words are etched into my mind. Not because they begin Harry’s adventure, although that has to help. I can recite half of Philosopher’s Stone by heart because I have listened to the Potter audio books on loop since the year 2000. My aunt and uncle sent me CoS on cassette, and begun a lifelong habit.

The cassettes half wore-out. I graduated to CDs. They still line my CD rack, in numerical order. When I read Harry Potter, it is Stephen Fry’s voice I hear inside my head. (Except for Snape. Nobody does Snape like Rickman.)

I listened to audio books before Potter. Me and my sister got one in our Christmas stockings every year. Aside from that, our library had a great selection of children’s audiobooks, which (read and learn, libraries,) were free to borrow. Sister played Shelia Lavelle’s Fiend stories when she thought I was asleep. It was her special Big Sister time. I snuggled under the covers and enjoyed special Little One time of listening-in-secret.

My golden rule of audio books is they can’t be abridged. There is nothing more disappointing to a bookworm than hearing half the words missing. Even if you have never heard the story before, you can hear the missing beats. (My Year 5 teacher gave up reading Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone because I called her out every time she skipped a couple of sentences. She thought it was ‘bad writing’.)

Dramatisation must enhance the story. I like the BBC Tom’s Midnight Garden and The Box of Delights. The Unabridged His Dark Materials dramatisation is a treat, and I have been caught humming the strange songs from BBC’s The Hobbit. 

I have yet to try Audible, although I drool over subscription plans on a regular basis. Does anyone have experience of Audible? Do the audio books live up to the clutter-up-your-home alternative? 

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8 thoughts on “Chat: Favourite Audiobooks

  1. I have an Audible account and have got through a fair few audiobooks, although I haven’t been listening as much recently. I got through a lot more when I was spending a lot of time in bed due to migraines and listening to audiobooks was one of the few things I could do, and also when I was travelling by car more. I’ve also used them to get me to sleep. Stephen Fry has been one of my favourite narrators because of the soothing quality of his voice, and I’ve got through all the Harry Potters as well as his three autobiographies. I’ve also downloaded his narration of the complete Sherlock Holmes, although I haven’t made any headway into that yet. Beyond the Harry Potter books and the Fry Chronicles, my favourite audiobooks are the Great Gatsby, narrated by Jake Gyllenhal (I love the book and Gyllenhal’s narration is fantastic, plus it’s short so I’ve listened to it about 9 times!); the Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber (an intriguing book and the narration really contributed to the otherworldly feel); and Wishful Drinking, by and narrated by Carrie Fisher (a really great, funny book, not just for Star Wars fans, and Fisher’s sardonic tone is brilliant). Just a few of my favourites!

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