So lately I’ve been listening to Five Red Herrings on audio-book. Unfortunately, this book is not read by the fabulous Ian Carmichael, who’s read all the other Lord Peter Wimsey stories that I’ve listened to. I’m too lazy to go out to my car and find out who IS reading this one, but it’s probably for the best because I’m about to dis his book-reading abilities. I’m hoping the only reason he was chosen for this one is his ability to do a variety of Scottish accents (I can’t vouch for their authenticity, but they’re highly entertaining and various). Because his interpretation of Lord Peter, Bunter, and Parker…well, they’re terrible. Just eww. LP comes across as too namby-pamby for words. Bunter is an utter stereotypical butler and makes me want to gag. Parker sounds like the fifth Beatle.
Ian Carmichael’s LP, on the other hand, is crisp and sensitive and hard-nosed and upper-crust while also making you laugh your pants off. His Bunter IS Bunter. His Parker is dignified and unfettered by a sloppy accent.
While we’re on the topic of audio-books, I have to admit a certain fondness for ones ‘read by the author.’ Barbara Kingsolver’s Prodigal Summer is a good example (while the woman who reads most of her early books drives me up a wall). Also Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier. I haven’t gotten around to them yet, but you can listen to Charlotte’s Web and A Wrinkle in Time read by the authors (I’m saving those for a rainy day). And at work on Sunday I noticed that you can listen to Michael Chabon read Summerland.
I’m also particularly fond of rereading books on tape. I don’t have to worry about getting distracted while driving and missing key plot points. I know which books will transfer well to listening and which ones would be better read so I can move through the slow parts more quickly and take my time over other parts.
In other news, I recently finished Saving the World, which was good. Not amazing. It took me longer than I expected to get through it, and maybe I didn’t enjoy it more because I kept getting distracted from reading. I probably also missed most of the foreshadowing because it took me so long. It didn’t really affect the way I thought or felt, though, which I suppose is my mark of a Good Book.
I also reread Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth, William McKinley, and Me, Elizabeth, because it had been languishing on the library shelves for too long. I think EL Konigsburg is the only person to have had a Newbery Medal and Honor in the same year – and JHMWMAME (the Honor title) was her first book. Not too shabby. Especially not too shabby since she won a second medal 29 years after the first. Plus, she’s not afraid of really long titles.