For Love of a Voice
September 10, 2012
I've fallen in love! It's true; I can't deny it any longer. I have fallen in love with a voice. Not just any voice, mind you. Jim Dale's voice. (sigh) It all started when I decided to listen to the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. I usually prefer reading books myself. I'm a quick reader, and soon get bored by the poor individuals who get paid to read in three days what I could read in three hours. The worst was when they decide to sing the songs that were never intended to actually be sung. So it was with a little trepidation that I picked up Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.
At first, the smooth British baritone of Jim Dale flowed gently from the recording, introducing the book and the author. But then, not five minutes into the story, Professor MacGonigal's high pitched Scottish lilt was suddenly screeching at me from the speakers, soon followed by Dumbledore's ancient yet humble rasp and Hagrid's innocent roar. He did the voices perfectly; each character had their own distinct voice pattern. (In fact, Jim Dale has a world record for having created and recorded 146 different character voices for the last book in the Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.) Just a half hour after I started the first book, I was hooked. Three books later, I was in love.
When I finished the series after book seven, I literally almost cried. I was devastated. Who would read to me when I drove long distances? Who would woo me into a fantastical land while I did menial earthly labor in my messy house? I frantically went to the Library's website, pulled up OverDrive Digital Downloads, and did a search for Jim Dale. After several agonizingly, tense moments, I literally squealed with joy: There were more audiobooks he had narrated!
One of them, The Emerald Atlas, was a new juvenile book that I had never read before, but was on my list of books to get to one day. "One day" became right then, and for another three days, I was a happily contented listener. At the moment, (as I'm writing this, in fact) I am listening to Mr. Dale give life and voice to Peter, Molly, Tubby, James, and The Black Stache in Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson. (There are four books in this series. Squeal!!!)
Here is a list of some of the other books narrated by Jim Dale. They can be found in both our catalog as a CD sound recording or through OverDrive, where you can checkout and listen to them on your computer or MP3 player (all are young adult or juvenile unless noted):
Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Caroll
Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne
Bikeman: [an epic poem] (adult) by Tom Flynn
The Boy with the Cuckoo-Clock Heart (adult) by Mathias Malzieu
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
The Emerald Atlas, book 1 of The Books of Beginning Series by John Stephens (OverDrive)
Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling (catalog and OverDrive)
James Herriot's treasury for children [warm and joyful animal tales] by James Herriot
King of Shadows by Susan Cooper
Liesl & Po by Lauren Oliver (OverDrive)
Never Land series (side stories based off of Peter and the Starcatchers) by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson
The Night Circus (adult) by Erin Morgenstern (catalog and OverDrive)
Peter and the Starcatchers series by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson (catalog and OverDrive)
The Shoe Bird: A Musical Fable by Samuel Jones
Red Bridge Branch