Tag Archives: Audio Book

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley – Audio Book Review

Read by Michael York

Finally, I have read this book! I’ve been meaning to for so many years but just kind of haven’t, but I know it is in the same esteem (and somewhat similar style) of 1984. And wow, how wonderful.

So, it is the future, and everything in the world is controlled, from birth to the sleep learning of status and structure, to the set careers and playtime fun through to death and the recycling of the human body. Sex is a normal interaction like conversation, spending time alone is considered freaky, and no one reads. People are bred and conditioned into several groups, from the Alphas who control everything and have the most fun to the Epsilons who are deprived of oxygen during incubation in a test tube (people are decanted, not born. No-one actually carries a baby anymore). And to avoid emotions and anything unpleasant, people take Soma, a drug that can stimulate good things and send people on holidays in their mind.

Bernard is an Alpha who feels that things are not quite right, and when he goes on a holiday to a savage reservation in New Mexico with Lenina, a woman who plays by the ‘normal’ rules of sex and dating, he discovers an Alpha woman who was abandoned there many years ago. She was pregnant, an unacceptable state in society, and has become an alcoholic who sleeps with men to get drink. Her son is now an adult, and Bernard delights in bringing him back to society to be shown off like a trophy, like a novelty, a creature who, despite his recitation of the famous line from Shakespeare’s The Tempest (Oh brave new world that has such people in’t), finds society disgusting and disgraceful.

The one thing I found difficult from the reading of the book by Michael York was the range of accents he (or the producer) chose during the reading. Bernard is Welsh and The Savage and his mother are from the North of England, possibly Birmingham as a couple of examples. This creates a different reading to it which I’m not sure was intended by Huxley, and I wonder if it added a sense of class that changes things. It’s a shame in a way, because I think I would have preferred to have kept it relatively neutral.

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The Help by Kathryn Stockett – Audio Book Review

Read by Jenna Lamia, Bahni Turpin, Octavia Spencer, Cassandra Campbell

I’ve avoided audio books for the longest time, because when I drive or walk or whatever, I tend to listen to podcasts on my tiny little old iPod nano. But recently when about to leave work for my usually forty minutes drive home and heard that there were accidents everywhere and it was likely to take me a lot longer to get home, and my iPod nano was flat. Boo. But, thanks to a lot of advertising my audible on many of the podcasts, I knew what to do. I downloaded the app and headed to the audible store. Just because it came up early on and I’ve been meaning to read it for ages. One thing I have found in general about audio books is that listening to them is quite different to listening to podcasts, for some reason. Often, I’ll be listening to podcasts and find myself drifting in and out of concentration, and have to flick to music. But audiobooks hold my attention for much longer. Interesting.

So, The Help. The book is written from several perspectives – from Skeeter, the white woman who wants to be a writer, who sees the society and the segregation around her differently to her peers and family, who starts to write a book telling the stories of the African American women who take care of the houses and children of the rich, white woman; then there are a couple of the maids, Aibileen and Minny, who are faced with these horrible women who are happy to let black women raise their children but refuse to share a toilet. I recall that I found the film of The Help to be quite light – yes, it was dealing with serious issues, but it was kind of fun and entertaining. I found the book far more intense, giving a greater sense of how potentially dangerous the actions of these women could potentially be. The reading was wonderful, especially having different voices for the different characters. It was certainly a great introduction to audio books.

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