Thursday, November 8, 2012

Thankful Thursday: "I like to listen."

“I like to listen. 
I have learned a great deal from listening carefully. 
Most people never listen.”
-Ernest Hemingway

This week I am thankful to the creators of audiobooks, as well as those wonderful people who narrate them.  While on our trip last weekend to Seattle/Tacoma and Portland (more on that later), I had the opportunity to listen to The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien.  I was excited to be listening to it, but to be honest, I was also a bit leery.  

My previous experience with audiobooks was listening to both Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass on a trip to Nevada before I saw the latest movie.  I really had a hard time paying attention to the story, and every time AC or I wanted to say something I obsessively stopped the recording so I wouldn't miss anything.  I got through both stories with an understanding of the plot, but really didn't "get into" the books in any way.

I expected my experience with The Hobbit to be similar, but really wanted to give it a shot. SC would only request the same five bands over and over on the trip (which I love, but we listen to them daily already), and I wanted to try something different.  

However, I was more than just pleasantly surprised, but absolutely blown away by Rob Inglis' narration of The Hobbit.  He uses different voices for each character.  He SINGS all the songs that Tolkien wrote into the story.  I am so enamored with the story and Inglis' telling of it that not only did I listen on the trip down to Portland and back, but I gave AC a quick recap of the first seven chapters and forced him to listen along with me when we decided to take an impromptu drive to Ocean Shores, WA to see the sunset (see picture below), and I sat in the bathtub last night until the water was cold just to finish the eleven-hour tale.

I found it curious, however, that I could be so completely taken by this one audiobook, and so completely turned off by the others.  AC explained it to me, though.  Rob Inglis read the story in a way that I am not capable, and it was an altogether different experience for me.  See, I do not do voices, or SONGS, and really struggle to stick with stories I read myself that have a long list of characters.  I can do action, adventure and excitement, but I prefer a book with only one or two main characters that (in my head) talk just like me.  AC is the opposite, and I love that when he reads to SC at night each character has a different voice, and I am pleased that she has picked up that art as I hear her playing or telling stories.  So I was really able to "get into" this story because the narrator made it an experience for me, while whichever version of the Alice tales did not go that far, which forced me to listen as I would have read, rather than just listen.

I have decided that if being read aloud to is good for SC, it must be good for me, so I am going to try to find audiobook versions of all the books that I have previously struggled with, started and stopped, and hope that the narrators have what it takes to capture me.  This list includes the remaining Lord of the Rings trilogy books, which I have found narrated by Rob Inglis, as well as The Count of Monte Cristo, War and Peace, Anna Karenina, Jane Eyre, and maybe some James Joyce (but can anyone really make Joyce make sense?).

What audiobooks are you thankful for and would recommend?  Leave a comment, then check out:

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