Saturday, 4 September 2010

Bonjour bonheur.

Having rather a jolly time of it today which is due in no small part to having started a new book. Technically it is not new but one I am rereading but I am always so desolate without a book in my hand that being plunged back into one is perfectly heavenly. I am reading 'Bonjour Tristesse' by Francoise Sagan which is a smash book about a young French girl named Cecile and her interventions in the love life of her charismatic and decadent playboy father. It is a wonderful little novella and Sagan was but a mere 18 years of age when she published the book which is quite extraordinary when one considers the complex nature of the character development. The voice of the narrator and main character Cecile, who is the same age as the author when it was written, is marvelously accurate and it is solely on that head that one might guess Sagan to have been so young a literary queen.

I also continue with my Blandings novels but as they really are very similar and all in the same style one also needs at least one other book on the go. Indeed I mostly reserve my P.G Wodehouses to be read with meals and to take around with me in the bag for spot of reading on trains and so on. One needs to very careful with them though for a often find myself giggling aloud as I read them and have attracted some interested looks!

Not only an I great devourer of the written word but I adore and am utterly and completely dependant on audiobooks. Currently my ears are enjoying 'Diary of a Nobody' by the bros Grossmith. It is one of my all time favourite books and I just can't listen to it too often. I have the Martin Jarvis version on my ipod and he is the perfect compliment to Pooter. I was first introduced to the brilliant and second to none audiobook work of Jarvis as a child when I heard his versions of the 'Just William' books which incidentally I think are some of the very best childrens books ever, they are right up there with 'The Wind in the Willows', 'Winnie the Pooh' and my personal favourite 'The Hobbit'. Jarvis is masterful at humour in his voice acting and I can't recommend him strongly enough. Selecting audiobooks to listen to is a fine art for one is not merely looking for a ideal book but a book ideal for listening to (they are very much not one and the same, I once owned 'The Wings of the Dove' as audio and it was truly dreadful) and also the perfect narrator for that work. I tend to avoid dramatisations as I find they have changed lots of things about the book to made it right for dramatisation and almost always severely abridged it, although an exception to that rule is the terrific BBC dramatisation of 'Lord of the Rings' which includes lots of splendid music written specially for Middle Earth.

I have a huge collection of audiobooks and my hot tips are 'Paul Temple' - but only the Peter Coke versions which are utterly splendid, Agatha Christie Poirot or Miss Marple books - Hugh Fraser and Joan Hickson versions are particularly good and Terry Pratchett novels - only the Tony Robinson versions. I normally always go for the unabridged version and my one exception to that rule is for the Tony Robinson Terry Prachett audiobooks. They are heavily abridged but it is skillfully done and Tony Robinson is such a perfect choice as the voices of the characters that it is more than made up for. He is to the Discworld what Martin Jarvis is to 'Just William'.

No comments:

Post a Comment