From time to time I remind you to listen to Michael Chabon reading his Summerland. This would be a good time to do it again, what with pitchers & catchers & all, but that’s not (entirely) why I’m writing.
I just finished listening to Neil Gaiman reading his own The Graveyard Book. I won’t say a lot about the book itself. You can follow the link, or if you know Gaiman already, you’ll know it’s worth a read.
But, like Chabon and Summerland, Gaiman does his own reading on the audiobook version of Graveyard, and the result is just as wonderful. Obviously he knows the material, but he’s simply an excellent reader, with a collection of character voices that are just plain fun to hear.
While I’m on the subject of audiobooks, I’ve been meaning to mention that Steve Toltz’s A Fraction of the Whole (Booker shortlist) is a fine novel and exceptionally well read, not by Toltz but by two readers, Colin McPhillamy and Craig Baldwin, who are respectively the voices of a father and son, Martin and Jasper Dean, in more or less alternating chapters. Baldwin/Jasper starts off, and I was taken with the reading. When McPhillamy/Martin took over my first reaction was hey, I want more Jasper, but McPhillamy and Martin stole the show.
It’s one of the pleasures of audiobooks, the extra contribution that a really good reader brings to the party.