Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Review: "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" Audiobook

"Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" by J.K. Rowling, read by Jim Dale
Book first published in 2003
Audiobook: 7 discs
My rating: 5 out of 5
(image source)

I always thought I wouldn't like audiobooks -- much like their cousin e-books they seem to take the soul out of reading -- but Harry Potter and Jim Dale, the magnificent voice artist who reads  Rowling's work -- have changed my mind.

A few years ago I tried listening to an audiobook while working out. I chose a Playaway at random from the library and ended up hating it so much I didn't come close to finishing. I disliked the way the female reader did the men's voices for one thing, and for another I had trouble staying focused.

But several factors pointed me the way of the Harry Potter audiobooks: I have to listen to an audiobook for my Reading Outside of the Box Challenge; I was planning to re-read all the Harry Potter books this year anyway; and a friend at work mentioned many times how much she loved the HP audiobooks.

I now totally see where she was coming from! Jim Dale does a remarkable job with the narration and the characters' voices. Everyone has a different, easily identifiable voice and they're almost all spot-on. The only voice I didn't love was Hermione, who sounds slightly whiny at times -- but that's a minor complaint. Dale has won many awards for his reading of the HP audiobooks, and he actually holds the Guinness world record for most voices recorded in one audibook -- 146 for "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows." Amazing!

Perhaps it's because I've already read the books and seen the movies (many times), but I had no trouble following along or visualizing what was happening. I did have occasional trouble keeping my mind from wandering away if I was just sitting around listening to the audiobook, but it's the perfect accompaniment for knitting. And I feel like I'm accomplishing two things at once!

Even if you think you aren't an audiobook person, I'd recommend trying one of the Harry Potter audiobooks. I've already started "Chamber of Secrets" and I'm planning to listen to "The Prisoner of Azkaban" too. I'll probably read the 10-pound-book-in-your-hands version of "Goblet of Fire," though, since it's my favorite book and I want the whole experience.

*"Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" is fulfilling the Reading by Ear requirement for the 2014 Reading Outside the Box Challenge.

1 comment:

  1. I'll have to give audio books a try sometime. Sounds like a good option to try, although I do like to have the book in hand.


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