Saturday, October 10, 2015

BOOKS: Audio Classics

 Classics are classics for a reason. Reading them can sometimes feel like deja vous, because the characters and plots are in the popular culture. And yet, reading them is still new, and adds to your own knowledge bank. Sometimes it feels a bit like taking a vitamin, it's good for you; but some vitamins are good on their own, like Vitamin C! I have mixed results with classics, but I still always appreciate the originality of the 'classic.' Thanks to the YA Sync program for providing all, except Rainbow Valley.

Dracula - Bram Stoker (audiobook)
I have never been a vampire fan, but this was a good original story, the one that started it all. I liked the epistolary style, full of letters and diaries from many different characters. I listened to this in the summer and I know I enjoyed it though it was a tad long. However, details are escaping me. Dr Vanhelsing, the virtuous Victorian women, one of whom was smarter and more capable than the men would acknowledge. Good on Stoker for writing that, and for all the original vampire lore.

 Around the World in 80 Days - Jules Verne (audiobook)

Not exactly what I thought it was, but this was a rollicking good adventure, as Phileas Fogg attempts to win a bet and travel around the world. His poor servant Passepartout is one of the best parts, as are the interactions with the Detective following them who believes Fogg is a thief. Delays, mix-ups, and old-timey travel keep the reader hoping for Fogg to make it back to London.

Lord of the Flies - William Golding (audiobook)
I decided to give Lord of the Flies another chance. The first read was in grade ten English, and I hated it. In retrospect, I thought maybe I hated it because it was a book we studied, so it was analyzed, examined, and broken down. Sometimes that can ruin a book. But, no. I hated it because of the awful characters, the survivalist theme, the belief that man is basically evil, especially if left to their own devices. It is too depressing to think that way. I know there are 'bad' people, but I think they are everywhere, and some situations just allow them to flourish and this was a prime example.

I also may have been put off by the author note at the beginning of the audiobook, where Golding defended not having girls in the story because he didn't know any and had never been a girl. Weak.

Rainbow Valley - LM Montgomery
Another reread, but first time on audiobook. Not all books have been available on audiobook for my rereading this year. Anne disappears a bit in this one with her children and the manse children taking over the story, particularly the manse children. Even children with parents can be orphans as we watch these siblings try to 'raise themselves' as their widowed father is barely hanging on writing his sermons after the death of his wife. Lots of old grudges, sacrifices, and gossip  - lots of fun in a Montgomery early 1900s Canada.