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Two Reps and a Bookseller Share an Audiobook Favorite

August 17, 2011

Today, we’re sharing an audiobook we love, as part of our Random Acts of Listening series. Harry Potter + narrator Jim Dale = can’t miss classic audiobook entertainment! If you love the Harry Potter audiobooks, please testify in the comment section below!

From Deanna:

I’ve been a huge fan of Jim Dale’s Harry Potter audios from the beginning. The first one came out the season Random House bought Listening Library so we certainly started out with a bang with that line! Later audios were simultaneous with the books, but the first few were published a bit out of synch. Eventually I developed a system where I’d read the books as soon as they came out (lest the plot be ruined by spoilers) and a few months later I would listen to the audio to really absorb it. The beauty of audiobooks is that you can’t skim or read faster which can sometimes be excruciating but also gives you time to enjoy the details.  Jim Dale’s talent combined with my less-than-stellar memory means I can listen to the Harry Potter audios over and over and still be interested. As I blogged about recently, my oldest has gotten into Harry Potter lately. He expressed interest in the audio so I dug out my copies, only to realize that the first few I only had on tape! And here’s the secret I discovered (after unearthing the last electronic device with a cassette player in our house): tapes are the best way to listen to audiobooks. It’s the only format that reliably keeps your place whether you turn it off, take it out or touch the wrong button. Levi’s been enjoying Jim Dale’s performance as well, though his one criticism (which I agree with) is his Hermione portrayal. I’ve noticed that women and girls more often than not sound odd with male narrators – though he nails McGonagall.

From Nic:

When I moved to Maryland from Michigan I took a job that was about 25 miles from my house.  What I didn’t know at the time was the 25 Michigan miles is equivalent to about 75 Maryland miles!  The traffic here is like nothing I had ever seen!  Thank goodness for Jim Dale and the Harry Potter audio books!  I started listening to them a few months before Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince was released and was able to tear through all five books before the midnight party for book five.  The drive was still atrocious, but bearable, while I languidly listened while my favorite wizards battled dragons, squirmed each time Harry uttered the true name of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named and soared through the air on the Quidditch field.  The audio recordings add to the Potter experience, listening to them should be a requirement for all diehard Potter fans.

From: Holly Myers, Elliott Bay Book Company

Right now, I am obsessed with knitting. I go to sleep at night thinking about my current project, my upcoming project and when I might get to the yarn store again. I wake up in the morning considering how much time I have to make lunches, get ready for work and how long I can knit before I’m late. Did I mention I’m obsessed?

And while it is ultimately rewarding to watch yarn turn into socks, a sweater, a gift for a friends baby, it can get, well, boring. To pass the hours more pleasantly, I listen to audio books, and currently I am having a fantastic time revisiting my friends at Hogwarts. To say that Jim Dale “reads” the Harry Potter books would be as much of an understatement as saying J.K. Rowling made a little money on her books.  Jim Dale performs magnificently not only the narration of the rollicking wizarding tales, but brings to life all our beloved friends with his clever vocal intonations. How is it one voice can oscillate between innocent preteen Ron to the sussing sibilance of Snape? Having been a fan of the series and painted my own mental portraits as I read the books of Harry, the Dursleys, Hagrid, and Dumbledore, I feel as though I am having a fresh experience being reintroduced to them all as seen through Jim Dale’s vocal renderings.

I’m nearly finished with my knitted CD cozy to house all my audio.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. August 17, 2011 9:21 am

    I’ve heard these audios are excellent, but I’ve never tried them since I’ve read the books. If we ever go on a long car trip, maybe my husband and I can listen to them.

  2. August 17, 2011 11:52 am

    Overall, I love them. I listen to them while at the gym. But… his Hermione is a little whiny.

    I would *love* to hear the British versions narrated by Stephen Fry. As much as I love Jim Dale, it’s STEPHEN FRY!

  3. Julia and Corduroy permalink
    August 21, 2011 1:09 am

    We lived on the Outer Banks of North Carolina for 3 years, including the winters when nothing is open and even the radio stations go onto a loop. I LOVE the Harry Potter Books and I must say that the audio books saved my sanity during the long winter days. They are a whole new way to experience the books. I managed an indie bookstore while we lived there and I sent almost everyone home- killer traffic on turnover days- with at least one of the audio books and then the next year they’d usually end up buying the set.

    For those of you who can’t get enough of Jim Dale he also narrated the original Peter Pan audio book as well as the Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson Peter Pan prequels, the Starcatcher series. That series is just as good with Jim Dale performing it.

    Now I’ll have to go and dig them back out again and start at the beginning. Shucks.

  4. Anita permalink
    August 23, 2011 10:56 am

    The True Meaning of Smekday by Adam Rex is great fun in audio and I love Terry Pratchett’s reader. His scottish brogue for the wee free men is the best.

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