Well, you know how I feel about that…
That’s like, hour 14. Get to it.
To me, audiobooks are as necessary as meditation, as therapy, as running. They have an enormous amount of power in them. To read is wonderful. It’s an all-consuming activity that works every facet of your brain. Reading is like skipping though daisies during a meteor shower. But, being read to is like floating on a still pond during a rainstorm. There’s excitement with both, but only one is carrying you.
And today I am introducing the non-audiobook audience to one of my all-time favorite narrators.
He’s so bloody fantastic. Not only is he the inimitable narrator of Harry Potter, (affiliate link!) He’s also narrated so many other fantastic books (AL), including classics like Peter Pan, and Grimm’s Fairy Tales. But he’s also narrated newer books such as The Night Circus, which I so dearly loved. But for me, honestly, it comes back to Harry, Hermione, Hagrid, Dumbledore, and Ron. His Ron is so firmly embedded in my mind as RON, that when I watch the films, I think “no, that’s not the right voice,” even though I love Rupert Grint. I think if they ever made a film of The Night Circus, I’d have the same dilemma. He just is. It’s him.
Like many/most narrators, Jim Dale is a vocal chameleon. But unlike every narrator, I swear, you feel Jim Dale’s narration as though George Bailey has lasso’d you the moon, and you’ve eaten it.
When he starts narrating, you instantly become aware of every nuance in the story. He is so adept at magnifying the minor pieces of a narrative, that bits you may miss while reading yourself, are crystal clear. One bit of enunciation here, a declarative statement there. A bit of a growl, a breathy whisper, they’re all necessary, and they’re all magnificent. For the author who is able to have him narrate their words, it must be an enormous privilege just to be able to correspond and chat with him about even the silliest bits of pronunciation questions and bobs about emphasis. I am utterly jealous.
But I have his stories. His voice, immortalized in a recording, like Tom Riddle’s diary, nothing so insidious but similarly kept.
If you start anywhere with Jim Dale, start with The Boy Who Lived, and then see how much life he can put into yours.