We’ve gotten into the habit of listening to a lot of audio books over the last few months. I read The Chronicles of Narnia aloud to the boys in the spring, and as soon as I finished The Last Battle, they wanted me to read them again. Instead, I got a couple of them on audio book and they’ve been listening to them at night when they go to bed every night. It warms my heart how much they love to listen to books.
I received a couple of free audio books a few months ago – both were narrated by Richard Armitage, whose voice seems to have been designed for audio narration. So when I was browsing and found that he had narrated David Copperfield, I decided to take the plunge. When I was in high school I read Great Expectations and truly thought that I hated Charles Dickens ever since. I haven’t enjoyed an audio book more than David Copperfield – ever! The characters were unforgettable and the suspense – would Agness marry Uriah Heap?! – was palpable. I thought David was possibly one of my least favorite characters until toward the end of the book, but he was redeemed in my eyes. The ending was probably one of the most satisfying I’ve read in a long while.
One of the reasons I’ve not read David Copperfield before this was because of its sheer length. I like long books, but with all of the other reading I’ve been doing I am sure I wouldn’t have read it for a long while if I hadn’t listened to it. Once I had completed it, I decided that audio was the perfect way to consume those long classics that I wouldn’t otherwise get around to reading, and I downloaded Middlemarch by George Elliot, narrated by Juliet Stevenson. (People, I’m in love with audio books narrated by British actors. <Insert multiple heart emoticons here.>) Elliott had a masterful understanding of the intricacies of marriage, as well as the interconnectedness of a small community, and how small choices we make can ripple and impact those around us in a magnified way. This book is a virtual feast and the beauty of its ending brought me to tears:
“But the effect of her being on those around her was incalculably diffusive: for the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life and rest in unvisited tombs.”
– George Elliot, Middlemarch
If you’re looking for a delightful audio book, both of these are sure to fit the bill!