Monday, September 03, 2007

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Audiobook

It takes 7 hours to mow my lawn. That’s just mowing it, forget all the niceties about trimming the hedges, pulling weeds, etc. That very seldom gets done this year, and then only in bits and starts. Mostly because of the rain. The rain is making the vegetation grow wild. Looks good and green and lovely, but there is a matter of fire hazard if we ever stop raining again, so when it’s not raining I’m mowing. What does this have to do with Harry?

Well, in some ways everything a schoolteacher does has to do with Harry. Since Harry first started I’ve found ways of growing older physically. Somewhere in that edge of growing older my eyes have lost their 20-20 edge. Why? Dunno. Doctors say it’s normal. Doesn’t feel that way. Well, the author of Harry has gotten older, too. Harry has gotten older. The story isn’t filled with whooping hilarity anymore. Harry is serious, his co-horts are serious. Growing up is apparently serious business. That’s why my plan has always been to avoid that dreadful state of being.

Anyway, my eyes. I can read, still, with the aide of glasses, but it’s not the same pleasure it was once upon a time. Of course, the books aren’t as pleasurable as they were once upon a time. Luckily, somewhere around Book 4, maybe 5, I discovered the audiobooks. I can keep up with my students without forcing my eyes to peer through glass. That’s been very helpful. But in my car I love music. Music keeps my days light, cheery and creative. So now we’re back to mowing the grass.

I tried mowing the lawn with music in my ears. It’s okay, but not pleasurable. The bass gets drowned out by the mower, as well as the treble. The singers, who often grobble their words even when there are no distractions, end up being even more grobbled by the sound of weeds and grasses being chewed and spit. Somehow I discovered that audiobooks with a great narrator can overcome the shortcomings of music being grobbled. And that’s where Harry came in this summer.

I finished the book. Oh, I have the hard copy here thanks to my daughter ordering me a copy, and did actually curl up with it a chapter or two, but most of the story came to me trough my ears while I was mowing. Mowing went from being a chore to being a pleasure. Harry’s new story is more of an adventure than a fun romp, but mowing the lawn and zapping those weeds that grow so fast with my huge red wand of a mower was great fun in and of itself. The narrator (Jim Dale) is wonderful, and it is intriguing that even the few chapters I curled up to on the couch seemed to spring forth in my mind with his voice, even though the disks were safely tucked away for the night.

So, if you’re still young enough to read without a protecto between you and the book, enjoy the story. But if you find your eyes doing incredibly old things without your permission, may I suggest you try out the audio version. You might find it a perfect cure. And for anyone who wonders, I think Rawlings did an okay job, too. There was always a possibility of a series this predictable having a really cheesy ending, but she pulled it off. No surprises, but no moldy cheese either. Took my mind off of three different weekends of endless mowing, and that’s a feat.

Harry Potter