Ladies and gentlemen, may I present to you the award for Best Audiobook Experience:
The 7-book Harry Potter series, as read by Jim Dale. I was blown away by the reader, and the experience of listening to (and re-reading, as I re-read two of them in hardcover) the entire series all in one go was really wonderful.
I’d read the first three books a couple of times, but hadn’t re-read Books 4-7 since my first reading of them (which was usually about six months after they came out). To my surprise, the last four books stood up to the test of time for me. Sometimes in series, the books get worse as time goes on. However, the story was better and richer than I’d remembered, and I was completely enthralled again in the entire Harry Potter world. I listened to the books on my commute and then, when I couldn’t get enough, I got the hardcover book from the library so I could continue reading at home once I got out of the car.
I credit Harry Potter with breaking my post-breakup reading slump. I could not get enough, and now I seem to have my reading mojo back enough that I feel able to read for a few hours at a time again.
If you haven’t read the Harry Potter books yet, well, you must. I’m not going to go over the plot here. However, as a re-read, the books held up wonderfully, and as I said, the narrator was so fabulous. He did really convincing voices and maintained them all throughout the entire 7-book span, and it added immeasureably to the experience. The sad parts were even sadder; I cried multiple times throughout the listening. The funny parts were funnier. I laughed out loud. It really felt like a completely viable way to experience the story. Usually I feel that the audio version is just someone reading me the book so I can absorb the book when I can’t actually hold the paper book in my hands. However, this felt like a true performance in its own right. I loved listening to these. I of course liked the books way better than the movies, but the audiobook experience was almost as good as reading them myself, and sometimes moreso.
Perfect, comforting, exciting, dangerous, touching, and oh-so-much fun. I really really loved re-reading and listening to the whole series in one go. I think Book Seven was my favorite this time. I also will always love the charming and simply perfect Book One.
So that’s what I’ve been doing all this time; listening to and re-reading Harry Potter. I think I’ve got just one more book to review and then I’ll be all caught up. I am holding off on starting another novel on the Kindle because I want to save them for the trip, but I might have to start Emma before I go.