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A book is a literary compass that has the potential to direct our thoughts and actions:

"Everything we read stimulates our mind to think, and what we think determines what we desire, and desires are the seedbed of our actions. Given this iron law of human nature--from reading to thinking, to desiring, to acting--we are shaping our destiny by the ideas we choose to have enter our minds through print." - Fr. John Hardon, S.J., The Catholic Lifetime Reading Plan

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"Every soul that uplifts itself uplifts the world." --Elisabeth Leseur

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Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Master and Commander Audio Book Review

Simon Vance does a superb job reading every character in Patrick O'Brian's Master and Commander except one: the central character Jack Aubrey.

I just finished listening to Blackstone Audio's unabridged version of Master and Commander, and the book keeps getting better each time I experience it. I first read it about ten years ago, then a few years after that I listened to Patrick Tull's unabridged audio recording from RecordedBooks.com.

This time around I didn't get so bogged down trying to understand the naval jargon, so I was able to concentrate more on the characters. If you've never read any of O'Brian's books, you're missing out on some fantastic characters and compelling stories.

But Simon Vance just didn't read Jack Aubrey correctly, in my opinion. Vance read him with a deep voice that sounded overweight and pompous, rather than forceful and commanding. I realize that Aubrey is a big man, and Maturin is constantly harping on him to lose weight, but Vance's reading went a bit beyond what was necessary. I much prefer Patrick Tull's gravelly, rough voice.

However, Vance's overall narration was excellent, and I would still recommend this recording to those who can't get a hold of Patrick Tull's superior reading. And speaking of the late Patrick Tull, I'll end with a video of Tull reading from The Reverse of the Medal, and one of the most powerful scenes in the whole series. Warning: the video contains a strong vulgarity and gives away some of the plot, so take that into account before watching.

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posted by Nick Senger at 5:59 AM

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