I spent most of last weekend driving to and from Minneapolis. I had fun during the in between parts, but the trip itself was really long. There is only one thing to make a long car trip better……audiobooks!
I checked out about five of them, but only listened to two (I like to have some choices). Here are mini-reviews of the two I listened to.
Agatha Chrisitie’s The Big Four read by Hugh Fraser–I have been on a big Agatha Christie kick ever since last year’s 48 Hour Book Challenge. This was the second Christie audiobook I have listened to, and it did not disappoint.
The story is one involving her famous detective Hercule Poirot, but the format is different than his other novels. The Big Four reads like a collection of short stories because it is lots of little mysteries that lead up to a big finale. The Big Four describes the most powerful group of criminals the world has ever known. They control crime across the globe and the only person who can stop them is Monsieur Poirot. *cue dramatic music*
I liked the book a lot, but mainly because Hugh Fraser did a very good job of reading it. He had to cover a lot of different accents and he performed them admirably. He did an especially good job with Poirot himself. He slipped effortlessly from his British narrator to the Belgian’s voice effortlessly.
The audiobook clocked in at just over 5 hours, which is about my limit, so it was great for my long car trip. It is a good mystery (I should say lots of good mysteries) that is improved by a great narrator.
Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland read by Jim Dale–I had very high hopes for this audiobook. I have never read the original Alice book, so I thought this would be a neat way to experience it. Unfortunately, I did not enjoy it all that much. Since everybody probably knows the story, I will just give my reasons for not liking it.
First of all, it was not a great book for me to read for the first time as an audiobook. Many times when I am listening to books (especially while driving) my mind tends to wander for a few seconds (or sometimes minutes). With most books this isn’t really a problem, but with a book like Alice it is a HUGE deal. Since the story is so full of nonsense, I had no idea what was going on most of the time. I would take a few moments to consider my exit off the interstate and Alice would be in a completely new place talking to a different creature and I would be totally lost in terms of the story.
Also, I found some of Jim Dale’s voice choices to be really grating on my ears. I enjoyed his Harry Potter audiobooks a lot, but I couldn’t handle listening to The Duchess, The Queen of Hearts, or the Griffin. EEEks! Everytime they said anything I was like, “Ack! Turn it down, turn it down!”
I also found myself wishing that I was watching “Pushing Daisies” the whole time I was listening to the book.
So, I personally have nothing against Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland or Jim Dale, I just don’t think I like them together. Most people would probably feel differently though.
I will be doing a lot of traveling in the next few months, so hopefully more audiobook reviews will be forthcoming! (Unless, of course, I accidently get caught in a never ending cycle of listening to the “Glee” soundtrack).