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The Outsiders

Sunday July 31st, 2011 in Audio books, Young Adult | No Comments »

I’m listening to The Outsiders by SE Hinton, read by Jim Fyfe. I love this story tape and I wanted my partner to hear it, so we’re listening to it before bed each night.

I first listened to The Outsiders when I was in Grade 5. My sister and I lay on our bunk beds and listened to the whole thing in an afternoon, absolutely mesmerised. We then made all our friends listen to it and played “The Outsiders” at recess, which mainly involved pretending to jump people and saying “Need a haircut greaser?”

I’m now listening to the exact same recording, which is lucky because I couldn’t stand hearing another narrator read it. For me, Jim Fyfe’s voice is integral to the book. I once read The Outsiders and it was impossible to stop hearing his voice.

Listening to the audio book after all this time, I really want to join in on phrases like “Paul Newman and a ride home” in a terrible American accent. But I don’t, because I’m sure would be very annoying.

The Road

Sunday April 10th, 2011 in Audio books, Young Adult | No Comments »

I’m loving The Road by Catherine Jinks. It’s not just murderously scary, it’s also supernaturally spooky – not my usual audio book scene. But it is very good. It is so tense and absorbing that even my partner – who often pretends to find story tapes annoying – has been caught listening with interest.

I’m not surprised because I am a big Catherine Jinks fan. When I was a teenager and going through my “All YA is beneath me, because I’ve read Wuthering Heights” stage I made an exception for Catherine Jinks’ Pagan series. I loved those books with an hysterical passion that saw me ending friendships and sobbing if someone else didn’t like the book.

When I was a teenager I believed that the books you liked defined your identity. And anyone who didn’t like reading wasn’t even a proper person.

It reminds me of the great video serious Talking Faiths presented by the Immigration Museum. Students pair up to talk about their faith and identity. All the participants are very respectful and keen not to judge the other’s perspective.

But in this video there is a sudden moment of discord. Two girls are cheerfully discussing Harry Potter when it is revealed that one of them is a Twilight fan and the other one isn’t. No amount of awkward giggling can disguise the fact that this budding inter-faith friendship has hit a rocky patch. The Jewish/Muslim thing was fine but the Twilight/non-Twilight divide might be a breaking point.

Fortunately later in the video they’re back on less controversial topics and chatting happily about wearing the hijab.

So my point is – if anyone doesn’t like The Road then I don’t like you. (Same goes for John Brown Rose and the Midnight Cat.)

Questions answered

Tuesday March 15th, 2011 in Audio books, narrators, Young Adult | No Comments »

I finished Joel and Cat set the Story Straight last night while making a cardamon slice. The book is about a girl and boy who frickin’ hate each other and have to write a tandem story together for English. Nick Earls writes and narrates Joel, Rebecca Sparrow writes and narrates Cat and the book alternates perspectives each chapter.

Last week I said I was intrigued by the writing process between Nick Earls and Rebecca Sparrow but was holding out on discovering more until I’d heard the whole thing. Well, the moment I finished the final disk I minimised the slice recipe and opened a new browser window, Googling like a mad thing.

Soon, all of my questions were answered with most of them covered by this interview.

To sum up, in real life Earls and Sparrow are not on together and they never frickin’ hated each other. So the life cunningly disguised as art ingeniously impersonating life masquerading as art hiding under a flowerpot thing is confined to the tandem story writing, not to the actual plot.

Anyway, this was probably the most enjoyable audio book I’ve listened to all year. Was funny and the authors were very good narrators.

Getting ahead of myself

Wednesday March 9th, 2011 in Audio books, narrators, Young Adult | 2 Comments »

While I was working my core on my fit ball (that is actually true!) I started listening to Joel and Cat Set the Story Straight, by Nick Earls and Rebecca Sparrow.

The book is dual perspective, with Joel’s story written and read by Nick Earls and Cat’s story written and read by Rebecca Sparrow. Happily, both authors do a good job as narrators.

The plot involves Joel and Cat writing a tandem story for an English assignment, with each of them taking turns to write a paragraph. This makes me extremely curious about the writing process for the book.

Did Earls and Sparrow use the tandem method to write Joel and Cat? Did they map out the plot beforehand? Did either of them make the other one change bits? Are they on together?

When I read books I am a terrible skipper-to-the-ender. I frequently go to the last page or flick through to see if a character keeps being mentioned. With story tapes you theoretically can’t do that. Except, you sort of can if you Google the book, or look at reviews on Goodreads, or look up the author on Wikipedia etc. Recently I have not been able to resist reading spoiling reviews/interviews/articles of the books I’ve been listening to.

So I am determined not to impact my experience of Joel and Cat set the Record Straight by reading about it. Dammit, I will form my own opinions of the work, and let the plot unfold at its own pace.

I am finding it hard to resist the temptation to Google. Very hard. Like my core. (That is not true, core is not hard despite aggressive once a week fit ball regime.)


Sunday March 6th, 2011 in Audio books, Young Adult | 3 Comments »

I am growing up and learning new things all the time.

I went to my first babyshower two weeks ago. A lovely afternoon, but there was more smoking than I expected.

Last night I went to my first hens night. It was a great night, but there was more talking about death than I expected.

I’ll know for next time.

Meanwhile I’m listening to Undine by Penni Russon, read by Melissa Eccelston. It’s a book about a girl discovering that she has nautically-inspired magical powers.

You can listen to a sample.

I’m enjoying listening to this story more than I expected, because I don’t get into much fantasy. Perhaps because whenever I read a book like Undine I can’t help thinking that poor Undies might be mentally ill rather than magical. This is clearly a failure of my imagination and I wish I was better at suspending disbelief.

I keep telling myself that Harry Potter really did go to Hogwarts – he’s not just a lonely boy in a basement who has lost his grip on reality.