Posted by: Matt | August 15, 2007

Listening to Stardust

StardustI finished listening to the audiobook version of Neil Gaiman’s Stardust yesterday. I have decided not to write a review of it or any other audiobook I may listen to because I think my opinion of the book may depend on the reader. I’m still not sure exactly what I think of it and how much my impressions were altered by hearing it read by Neil Gaiman. The great thing about Gaiman reading the story is that he is an Englishman and I absolutely love the accent. I also like the author reading the book because he/she likely has an idea of what the character’s voices ought to sound like.

I did enjoy listening to the book, it made my drive to and from work seem much quicker. It really grabbed my attention. But I also felt that the book had no real climax, and nothing that occurred in it felt all that dangerous. I don’t know if this is because of the way it was read or not. I was prompted to listen to Stardust when discovering it had been made into a movie. After listening to the novel I am looking forward to seeing the movie. I think I should also mention that the book is available in an illustrated version, basically a graphic novel.  After all, he did get his start in comics.

As for my Gaiman experience, I had tried reading American Gods previously but stopped less than 50 pages in. This is the first Neil Gaiman book I have read or listened to in its entirety. It was a fun and pleasant experience. I plan on reading a couple more of his books, namely Anansi Boys and Coraline as I have heard they are both excellent.

This was also the first audiobook I’ve listened to in a few years and I plan on continuing with books that are of a lighter subject. Next up is Douglas Adam’s The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, which is also read by the author.

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Responses

  1. I like when authors read their own work, too. But I have such a hard time concentrating on audio books while driving that I very rarely try any more. I’m thinking of trying it while hiking, though. Maybe your idea of sticking with lighter audiobooks is also a good idea.

  2. Those are great reasons for not reviewing the book, Matt. I agree that a really good reader can make even the most mediocre book seem better and I wonder if it’s fair to credit the author with a better book just because the reader does such a good job of presenting it. I’ve noticed that many of the audio books now say that they are being “performed” by someone rather than being “read” by them.

  3. I do highly recommend watching Stardust—it’s a hugely fun and delightful movie!

    I think it’s okay to review an audiobook as long as you make it clear that what you’re reviewing IS the audiobook, with all that entails: i.e., you’re reviewing the performance as much as the story.

  4. The audiobook of Anansi Boys is *incredible*. The reader has this lush British/Caribbean accent, and he gets all of the characters down so well.

    I don’t review audiobooks either; I love them, but I don’t feel that they go with my usual reviewing style. However, after seeing you and Sam’s posts, I think I’ll have to do a post about my favourites!

  5. Dew – I don’t seem to have a problem concentrating on audiobooks while I’m driving. Unless I get mad at someone cutting me off or something…

    Sam Houston – I remember listening to an audiobook several years ago that was simply read. But you’re right, now they all seem to be “performances” with the readers attempting to do different voices for all of the characters. Makes it more interesting I suppose.

    Heather – I might be seeing Stardust tomorrow, but then again I might not. Yeah, I guess as long as I make it clear that it was an audiobook that would be sufficient to account for any differences.

    Eva – I think I will probably read Anansi Boys but if I start getting anxious for it but can’t fit it into my reading schedule I might go for the audiobook. If my library has it that is.

  6. I am one of those people that loved this book! I really liked the simplicity of it. I’m not a huge fan of audiobooks though. It’s a great thing for some people, but I myself prefer holding an actual book in my hands.

    I loved both American Gods and Anansi Boys!!

  7. Stephanie – I also prefer to read an actual book, but I know I’ll never have time to read every book I want to so this is a good alternative for me.

  8. Coraline was wonderfully narrated by Gaiman. My kids, my sister, and I all enjoyed it tremendously. I liked Coraline quite a bit more than Stardust.

  9. 3m – I will be getting to Coraline someday. I have heard many good things about it, like most of his novels.


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