Playing on the theme of my previous post, here are a few audiobooks that have provided me with innumerable hours of pleasure and personal satisfaction. My initial inkling to explore the medium was to naturally gravitate towards authors whom I adored in print, but our senses often tend to have a motive of their own. The voice-actor, I’ve come to find, are as pertinent to my satisfaction as the contents of the books themselves. But I was relieved to notice that these audiobooks have been narrated by professionally practiced patrons. Afterall, why shouldn’t they be? They are widely acclaimed classics…anyways, without further ado, here are they:
1) PG Wodehouse – The Code of the Woosters, narrated by Jonathan Cecil (Link)
My love of PGW is no secret and if there is such a thing as pure love, I ought to not apologize for my constant recommendation and so, I will not. What I would commend highly instead is Jonathan Cecil’s most delightful rendition of Bertie Wooster for the silly, urban and brave bachelor that he is. “Constantly landing in the soup,” as my memory reminds me. Wodehouse is an ideal candidate for dramatic narration, radio work, use of his funny metaphors in real life, as the master of verse leaves much to the imagination to fill in for the delights to occur. Pure joy and happiness – get, listen and be prepared to be satisfied to just exist beautifully.
2) Stephen Fry Presents a Selection of Oscar Wilde’s Short Stories (Link)
Stephen over here does a sublime job of exposing the intricate wit of Wilde. For instance, in The Devoted Friend, which recollects the story of the miller and little Hans through a conversation between a duck and a rat, there is a great quality of losing myself in the narrative tracks of Mr. Fry’s voice. I remember Stephen once remarked about standup comedians, that the important thing for a staged performer is to able to communicate to the audience that everything is going to be fine, and reassure them in a way that would make them rest back in their seats. After having read Mr. Fry’s autobiographies and his combats with his emotions and physical insecurities, I’m yet doubly astonished by the reassurance of his voice. There’s hardly any intimidation in these recordings. Plus, there’s something to be said about that brand of British accents (Alistair Cooke, Richard Burton…) towards which we are all, rightfully, suckered in. Evelyn Waugh might lampoon me for making such a statement, but hey, Mr. Waugh can go toss it! Go Wilde and get Fried.
3) Rudyard Kipling – Plain Tales From the Hills, narrated by Mike Harris (Link)
I’ve only recently come across the output of Librivox and I’m astounded. I was on the lookout for short stories a night ago and my mind decided to gravitate towards Rudyard Kipling (funny how two of the three recommendations are children’s tales.) I’ve only read a couple of his shorts before, but I’ve quickly found that Kipling is fun, Kipling is fine, and Kipling exudes that strenuous sense of balance required to live in any day and age (in my school years, the poem ‘If..’ was given to us boys as a sort of anthem for growing up.) The great bard of children’s stories has still yet an arresting effect on my mind, and the beauty he evokes in these tales has a lot to do with the rhythm and music of the prose. Mike Harris, in this free recording, although slightly monotonous, is also possessed of a deep bassy voice that you would instantly agree with if the bass guitar happens to be your favorite instrument. Oh, I forgot to repeat that it’s free. What more, if I have succeeded in converting any of you readers to Wodehouse by now, then feel free to grab his recordings of PGW’s short stories as well, which is bound to bring only more joy and happiness. Undesirable consequences, of course.
Righteo then, cheers for reading.