Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Words Speak To Me

When I was younger I used to love going on long car journeys (actually I still do). Mainly because it meant I was going somewhere exciting like Hastings, Chartwell or Batemans, or any another of my favourite seaside towns or national trust venues. It also meant that we could listen to an audiobook, which when I was really little was played on by cassette, and later by CD when we updated the car.

(A very funny time was when we were on our way to Blackpool. I had a whole box of cassettes on my lap, and then the car broke down on the way up. We got a courtesy car, which had a CD player in. We had to buy one CD, the hits from 1996. I still own the CD and it makes me smile.)
So I've always associated fond memories with audiobooks, they remind me very much of my parents who introduced me to many wonderful stories and characters via the spoken word. I wanted to share some of my favourites, because this week I've recently downloaded a couple new stories. (Another development in audiobook technology.)

First and foremost, I love dramatisations. Love love love them. I have rented the dramatisations of His Dark Materials at least eight times from the library, I guess I really should purchase myself a copy of it soon. However I think my most favourite full cast stories are mysteries, especially when they involve the detective Paul Temple.

Paul Temple is a marvellous English crime novelist/detective created by Francis Durbridge. He solves all sorts of mysteries, sometimes going internationally to do so, and is often (if not always) accompanied by his wife Steve. And their lives always end up being endangered.
My first outing with Paul Temple was that of; Paul Temple and The Conrad Case. (Yes it was on cassette) I love the sound of Peter Coke's voice, it is like music to my ears. And I especially love the era created in this piece; there's fast cars; cocktails; jazz; fashion; murder; novelists; nod to movies. It is a fabulous story with many exciting twist and turns. I can't express my love for it enough.

I have The Time Travellers Wife on my iPod. If I had to summarise this in as few words as possible; I cried in the middle of the station, at rush hour. I didn't care, it was so powerful (even though I knew the story) that it just hit me. I don't think I have ever had my emotions so powerfully evoked like that before. Although I just downloaded One Day, and even though I don't think I'm going to shed tears for quite the same reasons, I know it's inevitable.

I own an abundance of Doctor Who audiobooks, because it is my favourite TV show. I love how they tie in with the stories shown on screen, it allows you to imagine other adventures for yourself that the doctor and his companions have enjoyed. They also prove how talented the actors on the show are.

And also I do have a couple dramatisations too, featuring the 'old' doctors. Jon Pertwee is my favourite of them all.

I also love readings/ dramatisations of Cadfael stories, written by Ellis Peters. The readings are read by Derek Jacob and he has a beautiful commanding voice.

There are of course those of Emma, Wuthering Heights and Pride and Prejudice etc. I love having some of the best love stories read to me.

I also have many different versions of the Narnia stories. I mean many. I had to tell my Mum not to get rid of any because they are all unique. I still don't think she's convinced but I think she knows it's better this way.
My favourite Narnia story is the Magicians Nephew, I think it is the most magical and interesting story of all.
My first introduction to Narnia was watching the 1989 BBC production of The Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe (I am terrified of the Maugrim in that show, I still have nightmares about him and get shivers if I see his picture. That fear is courtesy of my siblings).
In the Magicians Nephew I loved finding out how the world was created, and it has all those little things that of course tie in with later stories.

Now I have to mention the story that has become a tradition in my house to play every year in the month of December, although I'm going to confess I did listen to it the other day. Simon Bates' Save Our Santa.

Santa gets thrown in prison by taxmen Greedy and Grab for not paying his taxes. Yea of course we all know Santa shouldn't pay taxes. So Santa's young assistant Rupert marches to London with an enormous band of children and they ask the Queen for help.
It is very short, very sweet and the songs are extremely catchy. I just love it, when I hear it being played I know Christmas can't be far behind.

These are just some of the things that delight my ears. I think audiobooks, especially now they are available on all types of format, they are a great way for wonderful stories, new and old, to be shared with a wider audience.

Also there is currently an offer going around to get a free download from audible. Just type in Google; free audible download. Then you have 14 days to cancel your subscription, so I feel it's win win. Or you could accept the other of £3.99 for three months and get 1 audiobook download a month. (And if you purchase certain ones that will more be than enough - the unabridged One Day is over 16 hours long.) And then you can just cancel before the subscription fee goes up. I highly recommend.


  1. I love car journeys too. You have good tastes in [audio]books!

  2. I like your passion :) YAY I'm follower #8, my bday number :)