Monday, August 23, 2004

Recording Books

I've started doing something new. Maya likes to listen to books on tape, but the supply at the library is often limited, and they are too expensive to buy all but her absolute favorites. We own all of the Harry Potter books on tape, unabridged of course. At any rate, it's cheaper to buy the books and some blank tapes and record them myself. So, that's what I just started.

I still plan to read to her in person as well. This is just a side project that I undertook while I was apart from the family. I would have been farther along, but I switched books mid-stream.

I started reading Book 1 of An Unfortunate Series of Events by Lemony Snicket. It was a decent read, but if didn't wow me. Perhaps I was expecting too much after all the hype. For those who haven't read the first book, I don't want to spoil it. Here is a brief overview omitting most major plot points. The Baudelaire children are orphaned by a fire. Lots of unhappy or unpleasant things happen to them. Any time there is the slightest ray of light, it is snuffed out quickly. In the end, they avoid absolute doom, but still end up pretty miserable.

Now I realize that not every book needs to end with "Happily Ever After" as that is not a realistic world view. However, "Miserably Ever After" is not necessary for Maya, at this point. I don't think she'd enjoy it. I had recorded several chapters by that point. Then I stopped and read the rest and decided against it. In retrospect, I should have set the tapes aside in case she was interested later. Instead, I put them right back into circulation.

I'm now about four chapters into a different book and I think she'll like this one a little bit more. I'm only reading ahead one chapter this time to familiarize myself with it before I record it. I'm recording The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett. It's a Discworld novel, but you don't need to be familiar with Discworld or its recurring characters to read and enjoy it. Thus far it is very amusing and clever. It takes a different angle on the world of fairies, pixies, and the like.

I'm still a long way from being a compelling audio book narrator, but you've got to start someplace. I also thought this would be good practice for my storytelling work. I'm making it a point to do different voices for the characters. Mind you, all the Wee Free Men are pretty indistinguishable and all talk alike, so I'm skimping on those voices a bit. They have great names though, like Rob Anybody and Daft Wullie. I'll post a review of the book when I have finished recording it, but it is satisfying so far.