When I'm really into a novel, I'm seeing the world differently during that time - not just for the hour or so in the day when I get to read. I'm actually walking around in a bit of a haze, spellbound by the book and looking at everything through a different prism.Someone who does not have a passion for reading may think Firth is a bit silly, but I completely understand what he's saying because I feel that way myself. There is something eminently pleasing about getting lost in a good story, of putting yourself in the story line, of investing in the characters. I find that if a book is exceptionally well-written, everything around me goes quiet and I am transported into the author's make-believe world.
Which is why I scoffed at audio books. How could I be enraptured with a story while driving? Then a friend offered to lend me Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy. My library didn't have it, and though I didn't want to buy it, I desperately wanted to read it; I had no choice. Halfway through the first CD, I was hooked. I discovered that listening to a book is a different experience altogether, but no less delightful.
After Bonhoeffer, I listened to Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption (as an aside, Edward Herrmann is my favorite non-fiction reader, hands down). Then I forayed into fiction. I believe Gilead was the first and it was wonderful, like a good conversation over a cup of hot tea with John Ames.
In the past three years, I've listened to many audio books, including books I've already read. I've found that the right reader can move me to tears, laughter, and incredulity in the same ways written words can. And although in most cases, I prefer the written word, I have discovered that audio books offer their own enchantment. Here are a few of my other favorites:
I, Coriander reader by Juliet Stevenson, who is simply superb. Her interpretation of this magical tale drew me in.
Persuasion, also read by Stevenson. Even though I'd read the book, I gained a new appreciation for this lesser known of Jane Austen's works. In fact, it became a favorite after hearing Stevenson's rendition.
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, read by Kate Burton. I'd never read this book, but I fell in love with Francie Nolan after listening to Burton tell her tale.
Speaking from Among the Bones: A Flavia de Luce Novel, read by Jayne Entwistle. Entwistle brought one of my favorite fiction characters to surprising, hilarious life.
March, read by Richard Easton. An amazing work.
John Adams, read by Edward Herrmann. I could listen to Herrmann read the phone book, but a fascinating story also made this a favorite.
Cranford, read by Nadia May. I felt as though I were right there with Miss Mattie and the rest of the Cranford ladies.
Wives and Daughters, another outstanding job by Nadia May.
Lord willing, I will always read books; however, the audio book has a certain place in my heart. What about you, reader? Have you listened to any audio books? If so, do you have any favorites to recommend?