Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Roald Dahl Audio Books

Last year I lucked upon this magnificent CD collection in one of those book sales that display at your work or the gym. I knew immediately that I needed to buy it. The attraction of Roald Dahl is massive enough, but the list of readers is astonishing.

Simon Callow
Stephen Fry
Miriam Margolyes
Andrew Sachs
Hugh Laurie
June Whitfield
Geoffrey Palmer
James Bolam
Timothy West
Martin Jarvis

And all for 20 or 30 bucks! The stories range from 1 to 3 CDs, perfect for short or longer trips. Packed in a fantastic zippered tin, just perfect for rattling around in the car.

I first listened to Stephen Fry reading The Enormous Crocodile. I don't believe that I'd read that story before. Of course Stephen, perhaps most famous for reading audiobooks of the Harry Potter series, did a fabulous job reading this wonderful story about an enormous crocodile plotting with "secret plans and clever tricks" to eat up vast quantities of small children. Yes, it is Dahl.

Next up I listened to Simon Callow reading The Twits. OMG, it's stupendous. But then I've loved Simon Callow long time. Simon Callow is so fabulous that I want him to read every one of the stories from now on, which is possibly a bit unfair to the other readers. Of course, the story is full of the malevolence of Mr and Mrs Twit, and the opening is sensational about the disastrous state of being of "hairy faced men", with hair sprouting on their faces in revolting tufts. I've listened to this three times now, just to have Simon in the car with me for a bit longer.

Simon also reads The Witches, one of Roald Dahl's most famous stories, but it isn't one I've read yet. (Update 2015 see my review of The Witches) I feel I should read it first, so I can then listen to Simon tell me the story. But I listened to the The Twits before I read it, and indeed I haven't read it yet, and have come to love it enormously.

Geoffrey Palmer reads one of my very favourite Dahl titles, The BFG. The BFG is Dahl at his neologic best. The story of young Sophie's adventure with the BFG (Big Friendly Giant), who is not like the other giants, such as The Bloodbottler or The Fleshlumpeater, who of course gobble up people for dinner every night. The BFG is full of wondrous words like scrumdiddlyumptious (precursor of Ned Flanders?), snozzcumbers, frobscottle and whizpoppers. It was wonderful to hear the story again. I had forgotten that the Queen of England plays such a role in the story.

Most recently I've listened to Andrew Sachs read James and the Giant Peach. I've read James twice now, including just before I listened to it in the car. It's rather fascinating to listen to an audio version of something that I've just read in the past few days- there are parts that seem as if I'm hearing them for the first time!

I still have so many treats in store from this most wondrous collection. Miriam Margolyes reading Matilda- I love her nearly as much as Simon Callow. And first visits with The Witches  and Danny The Champion of the World, neither of which I've read yet. This has been definitely one of my best buys ever.

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