The Case for Audio

I suppose now is the time to talk about audiobooks.

As for my personal experience with the things, the only audiobooks I’ve listened to (apart from a fifth grade class reading of From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler**) are for the Artemis Fowl series, by Eoin Colfer.  They’re about fairies- but not the Tinkerbell, oh-look-at-me-I’m-a-rainbow-sweating-daffodil-aren’t-I-pretty kind.  No, these are kick-behind save-the-world fairies WITH RAY GUNS.  And there’s also an evil genius child wonder in the thick of it, which I always enjoy.

Remember when I said I had decoded Gnommish? This is the series I was talking about.

Anyway.  One day a couple of years ago I was skulking around iTunes, looking for something good to buy, and I came across the first of these books as an audiobook.  I had never read Artemis Fowl before.  I had never listened to an audiobook for fun before.  Purchasing it as a curiosity, I proceeded to fall in love with the series, thanks in part to Nathaniel Parker’s wonderful narration.  In the time since, I have purchased the second, fourth, and fifth books on audiotape, buying the rest (of seven books) in actual paper editions (although I’m working on getting the third and seventh off iTunes, which was so gracious as to FINALLY get those available).

The title character and his female counterpart at the time of the sixth book. This fan art is FANTASTIC.

Unfortunately, the sixth one doesn’t appeal to me as an audio version because it’s read by a different person than all of the other ones are.  That’s where one of my main points comes in: when a book is read to you, the person reading it shapes your perception of the action in a big way.  How fast or slow or loud or soft or in what cadence they read it determines the film that appears in your mind when you imagine the action.  A lot of times, it adds to the adventure of reading a book for the first time.  For the most part, I feel Mr. Parker does a splendid job of doing this.

But that’s not the best part.  The very best part is the voices.  If you have a really good audiobook, the narrator will do different voices for all the characters.  This is true of the Artemis Fowl audiobooks.  Each character has a distinct voice that adds so much more to the story.  Now, even when reading a hard copy of one of the books, I find myself imagining Mr. Parker’s voices and even narrations going along with the text.

This is, I believe, an "official" picture of Artemis from the official website/graphic novels.

So, that’s my bit.  I just thought I’d share my thoughts on this rather different method of reading (as well as proclaim my being part of the Fowl fandom).  In all, it’s a good way to get into the story.  Besides that, audiobooks are handy when you’re doing something with your hands and want to read at the same time.  Nowadays I never clean my room without putting Artemis Fowl on the speakers.

Oh!  I almost forgot!  There’s this really cool ARG going on in the Hunger Games fandom, and it’s called Panem October.  Not much has happened yet, but it’s a six-month thing that’s going to run until March, when the movie comes out.  Go there!  Sign up!  Tell me if you want to friend me!

Oh again!  Yesterday I started reading the first book of The Lord of the Rings.  Thoughts on the series?

Happy reading!


*Quick side note: I was nominated once more for a Versatile Blogger award by the lovely Nerdygirl98.  Thanks!  Everyone go check out her blog!  It’s got rolls of duct tape and barrels of awesome!

**Does anyone else think that’s a REAAALLLLY long name for a book?  But it works somehow.  THE MAGIC OF WORDS!


FinnickWatch 2013

Or, Yet Another Hunger Games Post.

I know that Gary Ross and co. have yet to finish filming The Hunger Games.  But, come on.  Do you really not expect the fandom to be clamoring for Finnick?  Especially since the release date for Catching Fire is already out.  Thus, many fan sites, from The Hob to Victor’s Village, have initiated what I will call FinnickWatch 2013.

Loving this artwork.

In the books, Finnick Odair is a sexy twenty-something victor from District 4.  He is described as having “famous sea green eyes,” as well as being “[t]all, athletic, with golden skin and bronze-colored hair” (Catching Fire, page 208).  He’s basically a dream boat, and all the women in the Capitol want him.  Beyond this, though, he is in love with a crazy girl, Annie Cresta, from his district, and he’s more complex than he seems.  It’s really no wonder Tributes are already taking down names and trying to see who would be best in the role.

I can’t talk about the nominees as eloquently as other sources can, so I’ll just link.  The main candidates were put up by this article, and most of the fandom seems to agree, with the single addition of Colton Haynes.

The interesting thing about these picks is a couple of them were fan favorites to be Peeta, back before Josh Hutcherson was cast.  I’m dubious about that, of course, because Peeta and Finnick are not at all alike.  But, hey, I don’t control the fandom.

Of course, I had to get in on the FinnickWatch action.  The above drawing of Finnick is just about spot-on for me.  If that was a real dude, I would be all, “cast him!”  But he’s not.  Keep in mind, too, that I haven’t seen any of the actual guys in a role.  So, going by looks, I have to see who best embodies the essence of Finnick.

Being from District 4, Finnick has spent his entire life swimming and fishing.  Growing up with that kind of daily regimen would have given him a lean, muscular body.  Furthermore, he won the Games when he was only 14, which is extremely young and proves that he must be very strong, as Katniss describes his victory and shows us that he won by brawn.  We have to keep that in mind when casting him.  In addition, I don’t picture his face as being soft at all.  Rather, it’s hard around the edges (while still being attractive, of course), and the actor who plays him must be able to portray someone who has been through the Games, been hardened and scarred by it, but can still be an emotional character when he needs to.

So who would I pick?  First of all, I have to accept the fact that no actor is going to be exactly like the perfect Finnick I have in my mind.  Going on looks alone, and with the choices already put forward, I’m going to have to go with Mr. Alex Pettyfer.  There’s just something about him that makes me think Finnick.  The article I linked to above said that they thought this actor wasn’t soft enough to play Peeta.  By the same reasoning, though, he’s golden to be Finnick Odair, heartbreaker.  He has that edgy look to him that, if played right, could really bring Finnick to life.

Don't you see it?

To completely please the fans, he might have to subject himself to a little hair dye, but that’s OK!  The people over on the Hunger Games set just LOVE hair dye!  It’s the answer to ALL THEIR CASTING PROBLEMS!

The only problem I have with him, though, is his age.  As I said above, Finnick is supposed to be in his mid-twenties, 24 exactly if this Wiki page is accurate.  Though I’m not completely sure about that.  I’ll have to read Catching Fire and Mockingjay again to be sure about his age and the year he won the Games.*

Alex Pettyfer, however, is 21, which puts him at the same age as Jennifer Lawrence and Liam Hemsworth, who of course play Katniss and Gale.  Katniss and Gale, in turn, are supposed to be sixteen and eighteen, respectively, which puts a pretty good gap between them and Finnick.  But if the actor playing Finnick is just as old as the kids, viewers are going to notice that.  He’ll look extremely young on-screen when compared to the people who actually are supposed to be young.

It’s for this reason, then, that I think Lionsgate should cast someone who is a bit older than 21.  Maybe 26 or 27 would do, though I don’t know of any actors who would fit the role at that age.  Perhaps as we get closer to the release of the first movie and the casting for the second, someone who truly fits the role will come forward and surprise us all.

I’m not saying that Pettyfer doesn’t fit the role.  I’m just talking about that age difference, and that will be a problem if a 21-year-old is cast.  Finnick will just look weird, too young to be a seasoned mentor.

So what do you guys think, fellow Tributes (if there are any of you out there)?  Do you agree with my choice?  Or would you rather choose someone like Hunter Parrish or Benjamin Stone?

This concludes today’s FinnickWatch 2012 update.  I’ll keep you posted when they finally do cast him.

Now a bit of other news…

Apparently the Mortal Instruments series is being made into a movie.  I tried to read the first book, but after a few pages it got really weird for me.  Recently, though, I’ve been questioning that line of thought.  I mean, if I’m as obsessed as I am with a series in which KIDS KILL EACH OTHER FOR ENTERTAINMENT, I shouldn’t be put off by anything, right?  Therefore, I’m willing to give the series another try.  Are any readers here Cassandra Clare fans?  What do you think about the movie?

Happy reading!

*Unless Suzanne Collins said this in an interview?  Could someone help me out here?

Continue reading

Scorpio Races AWESOMENESS!

I’ve posted before about Maggie Stiefvater, an author whose books I fully enjoy, primarily the Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy.  Well, in October she’s releasing her next book, a standalone piece called The Scorpio Races.  It looks very exciting, it’s all about Irish water horses and the myths surrounding them.  It looks great.

As I said, that’s coming in October.  BUT!  A lucky three people will be able to receive Advanced Reading Copies, or ARCs, of The Scorpio Races.  All one needs to do to enter is embed the trailer for the book on their blog, Facebook, or Twitter.  And that’s what I’m doing here.

Because it would be so awesome to get an ARC.

I should tell you that the trailer was animated, scored, and performed by Mrs. Stiefvater herself.  She did trailers for the Mercy Falls books as well, and personally I think the work is stunning.  It definitely makes me want to read the book.

So that’s it for today.  I just thought I’d sneak this in here now even though I already posted once today.  The Scorpio Races is just that awesome.  Also, if any of you are fans of Mrs. Stiefvater, or just want a chance to win this, the contest page is here and here is the post on her blog where she announced the contest.

Happy reading!