Saturday, April 14, 2012

Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman (Audio Book)

One of the reasons that I was excited about getting my new library card was that I could start checking out audio books again.  When I am at home I want to sit and read.  When I am in the car, however, I need to listen to something.  I'm sorry NY/NJ folks, but the radio stations out here just don't live up to the ones I left behind in Chicago.  Heck, even back home in the Windy City I would tire of hearing the same top hits over and over.  (I love you, Adele, but these stations here have played you to the point of annoyance!) So what do you do when you have at least 30-40 minutes in the car each way?  Listen to a book!

In the past I listened to The Westing Game, books by Tamora Peirce, and other books for class.  I tried Darkly Dreaming Dexter, but found it to be way too intense for my daily commute.  I need something witty and fun and (shockingly) not romance.  I have yet to be able to bring myself to listen to sex scenes read aloud by a stranger while traversing the NJ Turnpike.

So upon getting my new library card I headed straight to the audio-visual room of the library. Wow.  Um, that's a lot of books on cassette.  Do many people still check those out?  Thankfully, as I was about to give up, I saw the section of CD audio books in a separate alcove. (Side note:  this library make me sad. It is so poorly organized and neglected.)  The selection was pretty good and they even have mp3 books so you only have to worry about one disc. Much better than having to switch out the CD while in the middle of driving over a bridge.  The A-V department was closing up for the lunch hour due to low staff numbers so I hurriedly made my choice.  OH, what a fantastic choice I made!

Title:  Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch
Author(s):  Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
Genre: Fantasy
Format: audiobook
Series: I wish!

Synopsis:  The world will end on Saturday. Next Saturday. Just before dinner, according to The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch, the world's only completely accurate book of prophecies written in 1655. The armies of Good and Evil are amassing and everything appears to be going according to Divine Plan. Except that a somewhat fussy angel and a fast-living demon are not actually looking forward to the coming Rapture. And someone seems to have misplaced the Antichrist.

I really don't want too say too much about this book and ruin it for those who have yet to read or listen to it.  What I can say is WOW!  Why did I wait so long to read/listen to this book??!!?  The characters are hilarious and charming.   You want a chance to browse through Aziraphale's used book store or have coffee with Crowley.  You are happy to have never met the Sisters of the Chattering Order.  You swear you know a girl just like Anathema Device.  You want to visit Lower Tadfield.  I swear I have taught a group of The Them.  The character list is long and brilliant. Even those who only appear briefly are vividly drawn.  For example, Mr. Young appears only a few times in the book and is described as a "serious minded man with a moustache smoking a pipe."  He does things "in accordance with tradition" and is not entirely comfortable comforting a baby because he has always respected Winston Churchill and has a difficult time patting tiny versions of him on the head.

The story itself kept my guessing quite a bit, which it rather impressive.  There are still a few things that my mind is mulling over weeks later, still trying to get straight in my head.  There is some room for interpretation about how things will play out in the future. Every detail is not laid out for the reader.  It is humorous and intelligent.  It respects the intelligence of the reader.

As an audiobook this was FANTASTIC.  Martin Jarvis was the reader and he did such an amazing job voicing all the innumerable characters.  He was recently in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, appeared on a handful of episode of East Enders, and did the voice of Nergal on the Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy (among many other credits.)  This man is talented and I want him to narrate every British novel I read. Yes, he was that good.

Seriously, this was a great book, a phenomenal audiobook.  If you have never read it GO GET IT.  If you have read it...GO GET IT!  Seriously, the reading is too fun to pass up on and you never know what crazy little detail you will have missed the first time around.  The four horsemen?  The telemarketers?  The hellhound?  The awesomeness that is Pepper?  Like I said, GO GET IT!

Oh, and by the by, there appears to be a TV mini-series in production for this book. The casting possibilities are spinning through my head!


nath said...

I've never tried to listen to audio-books, but lately, I've been reconsidering. See, I grew up listening to music in language that I don't understand... Cantonese, Mandarin, Japanese... LOL. So I've developed the habit of tuning words out and I fear I wouldn't be able to focus on the words in an audio-book. Course, only way to find out is to try it out.

I'll be keeping this in mind :) Gotta say, I love the drawings!

naida said...

I've yet to listen to an audiobook. Glad you enjoyed this so much. I adore Neil Gaiman and his fantastic writing. I have this one on Mt. TBR.
Great review!

Shannon said...

Nath- I worried about the same thing at first. As a music teacher I have learned to filter out so much noise. You get used to it, though. Since there is rarely any music on an audiobook you are able to focus solely on the words. And aren't the drawings great!!

Naida- You should definitely try an audiobook, especially if you commute or go on a road trip. it make the drive so much more entertaining.

Samantha said...

I read this a few years ago and really enjoyed it. I feel like maybe I should do a refresher by listening to the audiobook now. ;)

That would be awesome if they turned this into a TV series. I love me some Crowley.

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Jon Goldenberg said...

Lots of women are turning to audiobooks as our attention spans are diminishing quickly. solavei reviews

Allison Kester said...

I was a huge audio book girl until I got a Kindle, but I still use them in my car all the time. african mango uk