advice for readers
The plan for this blog post was to reflect on the impressive audiobooks that have come out over the past year, as nominations for the 2014 Audie awards have just closed. Then I realized that there's really only one voice actor that I hold dear (besides Neil Gaiman, of course, I can listen to him read source code), and that's Jim Dale, ahem, MBE.
Dearest Jim Dale,
Your voice is like buttered velvet, but not in a gross way. Actually, that's a terrible description, what I mean is that your voice is complex and sophisticated and terribly pleasing. Will you please read the phone book to me?
For me, what makes a great book even better is superior narration, and I'm a big fan of Jim Dale. With every word, I'm more convinced that our world is filled with magic and wonder. He seems to almost exclusively narrate stories that are moody, otherworldly, extraordinary, and often a bit dark. He embodies each character completely, from the meek to the gruff to the absurd.
The Harry Potter series is one of only two bodies of work to make in into the Audio Publisher's Associations Audiobook Hall of Fame. Granted, the APA isn't the only awards game in town, in addition to numerous Audie awards and nominations, Jim Dale has also won multiple Audiofile and Grammy awards for his work.
Besides the entirety of the Harry Potter series, he's narrated several works of Adult fiction including:
The Boy With the Cuckoo-Clock Heart by Mathias Malzieu. A modern fairytale, both chilling and sweet. This is my favorite of the list.
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
And just a quick program plug: if you're having trouble getting an audiobook on your phone or tablet, check out one of these programs at Main (1/25/14) or Lakeview (2/8/14). You can also talk to one of our Ready, Set, Connect! Assistants at the following branches for help: Main, Asian, César E. Chávez, Dimond, Eastmont or Rockridge, give them a call for details.
Do you have a favorite narrator? Whisper sweet nothings in the comments.
Submitted on January 17, 2014 by Jenera Burton, Piedmont Ave branch
As I reflect on the great books I've read this year, one really stands out: Where'd you go, Bernadette by Maria Semple. Bee is an over-schedule teen in a Seattle private school filled with parents who seem to have too, much time, show too much interest or otherwise are over-involved in school politics. Bee's dad is an up-and-comer at Microsoft, and her mom, Bernadette, is a former prodigy-turned mom-on-the-verge (of a breakdown). This book is sassy, charming, and Bernadette is totally relate-able.
At a recent holiday party, a friend told me that here favorite part of the book was actually in the reader's guide at the back (trade paperback version). It's a short piece called "Dear Mountain Room Parents" and it's hilarious! A mostly one-sided email exchange from a parent attempting to set up a Día de los Muertos altar at the school. Everyone is too PC for their own good and everything gets lost in translation:
Hola a los Padres:
El Día de los Muertos begins with a parade through the zócalo, where we toss oranges into decorated coffins. The skeletons drive us in the bus to the cemetery and we molest the spirits from under the ground with candy and traditional Mexican music. We write poems called calaveras, which laugh at the living. In Mexico, it is a rejoicing time of ofrendas, picnics, and dancing on graves.
I sincerely apologize for Adela’s e-mail...How about we process our feelings face to face?
Finally, to those parents who are offended by our Day of the Dead celebration, I’d like to point out that there are parents who are offended that you are offended.
Lucky for us, "Dear Mountain Room Parents" is available at the New Yorker website. If you haven't read it, consider this my gift to you.
When I started this post a few weeks ago, the A's were riding high on a wave of victory, sadly, the season is over for us now, but there's always next year. Here's a look a one of the best players our team has ever seen: