— Steven Pinker
Today's list is courtesy of the fabulous Anne, Libraries Advisor Youth Service Development. Take it away, Anne :)
We had a discussion earlier this year about whether or not reading was natural. Like we all know from experience – babies make noise. It comes to them as naturally as some of their other bodily functions. In fairness there is an element of learning as they pick up the sounds and make sense of them, but in much the same way I believe movement is a babies first language, sound (or speaking) comes in a very close second. However reading is something that they have to learn to do.
And that may be one of the reasons why the joy of listening to a story never grows old. I am a fan of stories, storytelling and, by extension, this year have become a fan of the audio book. It may be something to do with an increasing commute and disillusionment with some of the random radio stations my car tuner picks up. It may just be one way to read a book without having to turn a page. It certainly does have its up side as while I am still number well down the list waiting my turn for a copy of J.K. Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy, I have already read it... on audio book. There might not be as many copies available through the library system, but as many people have not yet discovered the advantages of the audio book, they still come through much quicker.
So for those of you about to embark on the traditional long holiday haul to other parts of the country, here are my Top 5 to make the drive more bearable (and with something for everyone).
The casual vacancy [compact disc] / J. K. Rowling
The aforementioned The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling and read by Tom Hollander. (I mention the reader as they make a huge difference to your ability to enjoy the book. I have been known to stop “reading” because I can’t stand the sound of the voice of certain narrators). Pretty much all the characters in this book are flawed, but that doesn’t detract from you laughing and crying (sometimes in frustration) with them. This is one you might want to avoid if you have children in the car as there is some strong language.
Good omens [compact disc] / Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
Read by Stephen Briggs. Quite topical as it addresses the fact that the world is going to end on Saturday (which it might well do in New Zealand depending on whether or not the Mayan calander runs on US time zones). The race between good and evil (and the friendships) take on a whole new, inventive and laugh out loud hilarious turn in one of the best reads of the year.
Don Linden presents Children's favourites. Volume 3, the Christmas collection [compact disc]
Don Linden presents Children’s Favourites Volume 3: The Christmas Collection. Bear with me on this one. I love a touch of nostalgia and I have still been known to cry when I listen to The Happy Prince narrated by Bing Crosby and Orson Wells. I was brought up on the Sunday Morning request session so these bring back lots of memories. And there is no reason why you can’t pass them on to your own children. However if it is a particularly long car trip you may want to grab two or three different CD’s so you don’t have to listen to the same one over and over again.
Killing floor [compact disc] / Lee Child
Read by Dick Hill. I am a latecomer to Lee Child but this year I finally took the plunge to discover that I actually get what all the fuss was about (although I am still really reluctant to go and see the movie – Tom Cruise? Really?). It won’t be the last Lee Child book I read, probably also by audio as they are so hard to get your hands on.
Short fat chick to marathon runner [compact disc] / Kerre Woodham with Gareth Brown
When I first read this book, I could hear Kerre’s voice in every word, on every page, including the guffaws of laughter, tears of frustration and meaningful pauses. I am delighted that it has been released in audio, not just because I loved the book, but because so few New Zealand titles are actually released in this format. If I need something to kick me into a New Year’s fitness resolution (and I really do) this might just be it.
No room for honourable mentions (although there are many) or my increasingly noticeable (but unconscious) habit these days to mimic the narrative as I drive along ("she tilted her head to the left and licked her lips", and even "he raised his eyebrows").