Sunday, January 21, 2007

You Only Get One First Time, Part I

I rarely read books over again, and when I do, years, sometimes decades, have passed between readings.

That's probably just as well.

Yesterday I was in a car for around thirteen hours, so we listened to Gregor the Overlander. I usually use car time for listening to books I wouldn't otherwise read, thus at least exposing myself to books I feel I should be familiar with but don't want to take the time to read myself. I had already read Gregor, though. But I thought the family member I was traveling with would like it. Since I'm a big fan of this series, I already knew I liked it.

Well, not so much yesterday. I didn't dislike it, but it wasn't as great as reading it myself back a few years ago.

Now there are probably a number of reasons for this. 1. Listening to a book being read while you're trapped in a car is definitely different from reading it yourself at your leisure. 2. I had already formed images of the characters and the reader of this version couldn't meet my expectations. Boots, for instance, is a risky character. She's only two years old, and two-year-olds can be...cute and sappy. In the books she works, but given voice here she was...cute and sappy. My favorite character, Ripred, has a hard-edged wit on the page. He's the anti-hero of the Underworld. On the CD he sounded like a poser. He sounded like someone pretending to be Ripred.

And, finally, I already knew what was going to happen. All those breath-taking deaths and saves--they're only breath taking once.

I was right. The family member I was traveling with did like the book. We'll probably be listening to the second book in the series on some future trip this year. I'm not exactly looking forward to it.

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