Saturday, December 4, 2010

50. read all the Chronicles of Narnia books

So. My commute to clinical is about an hour each way and it turns out there in fact IS a limit to just how much Cher a person can listen to. I have therefore turned to audiobooks to keep myself from going slowly insane during my drive (aren't we glad I don't live in LA anymore? Yes, we are). I decided that this would be a good way to work on number 50 on my life list. I had already read Prince Caspian, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, The Magician's Nephew, and The Last Battle and I read The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe back in July.
Anyhow, these books are actually great to listen to on audiobook. There is a different reader for each book and they all do a great job-- they even do different voices for all the characters. And C. S. Lewis spends a fair amount of time describing food and I very much enjoy listening to descriptions of food.

The Silver Chair
This was actually the second book I listened to and, wow. It was good. Eustace (cousin of Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy) is back in Narnia and has brought a classmate named Jill. They must follow the signs Aslan gives them to find King Caspian's son Rilian who has been missing for years. I found it to be an interesting and entertaining story despite the fact that it was basically a collection of my own worst fears rolled into one neat package: heights, cliffs and falling from them, being trapped, being chased, being buried alive, giants, cannibalism, being tied up, being hypnotized and unable to move, snakes, and DID I MENTION GIANTS?

The Horse and His Boy
This was the first book I listened to. A very fun adventure story of the runaway orphan boy Shasta and the horse Bree-- short for Breehy-hinny-brinny-hoohy-hah (Yeah. And we thought Talula Does the Hula From Hawaii was a crap name)-- that took place during the reign of Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy. The pair meet up with another child running away and her talking horse as they all try to escape Calormen and get to Narnia. I did get fairly eye-rolly during the descriptions of them dark-skinned barbarian Calormenes with their beards and turbans and pointy shoes and their false god, Tash. C. S. Lewis, I'm not sure I'm following your metaphor, could you be a little more clear?

The Magician's Nephew
I had already read this book but I listened to the audiobook just for fun. Here we see the creation of Narnia and meet Jadis in her own 'hood and see what kinds of misadventures ensue. This was actually my favorite book to listen to. It is read by Kenneth Branagh who is definitely the best reader (though, like I said, they are all quite good). I actually found myself laughing out loud during some of the parts-- there are a couple sequences wherein many different animals are having a discussion and Branagh manages to give each one his or her own voice AND keep them straight so that the same voice is consistently used for that particular animal. Well done, sir.

I actually also listened to Prince Caspian and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader because I was enjoying listening to the books so much. I did get a tad bit tired of Aslan and his infinite wisdom making people feel bad for their choices and implying that they should have done something else but refusing to discuss what might have happened if they had. Also, I kind of wanted to kick Reepicheep over the side of the boat about  halfway through Dawn Treader. I'm not sure if I'll round it out and listen to The Last Battle as well. I seem to recall that book stressing me out a bit when I read it, possibly because it's a giant metaphor for y'know, the end of the world and all.