& Fridays: Let’s Listen to Some Books

So…do you listen to books in the car? On your commute, whether it’s 5 minutes or 45? Do you stock up for a road trip? Do you plug in at the gym, sweating to the sounds of Lord of the Rings instead of Katy Perry?

One of my first experiences with audiobooks were the Harry Potter books. Hardly surprising, but it was particularly memorable because it was the first time the rest of my family got to experience the books. I read them at a breakneck pace. I bought the last book and read it on a family trip to the beach (every time I gasped, they’d sigh and go “who died this time?”). When it came time to pick something we could all endure listening to as a family on that first road trip, I begged for Harry Potter. So we bought the first book on our way out of town. And when that one ended, we stopped in another town to buy the second one.

It was in no small part because of Jim Dale, the superb narrator of the Potter audiobooks. His accent, his character voices (even the female ones – and one of my pet peeves is narrators who can’t convincingly or pleasantly portray the opposite sex character. High-pitched and nasally does not equal female characters), the rhythm of the book being read…it kept us all spellbound, awake during our road trips.

Coincidentally, Jim Dale also narrated on of my favorite TV shows: Pushing Daisies, which was cancelled too soon. The first time I heard Jim Dale’s voice, I kept expecting him to say something like “And then Hermione…”

There have been audiobooks I’ve had to stop in the middle of the second CD or tape — the narrator wasn’t convincing, or their voice just grated. And there are others, like Potter, that deepen the book for you, giving you another layer from which to appreciate the story.

So whose voice has brought your favorite stories to life? What books did you have to hit stop? I recently downloaded an audiobook app on my tablet, and am looking for awesome suggestions!

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