September 1st, 2014

Sam Merlotte

September posting: Day 1: Harry Potter and Sookie Stackhouse -considered separately, not together.

I heard somewhere – of course I can’t remember who said it or where – that there was a “post something to your LJ every day in September” meme going around.

And since I’ve been pretty poor at posting for a couple of years or so, I thought I’d give it a try. And I hope I can carry this off for a full month.

So, today: Listening to a series of audio novels in consecutive order. I’ve done this twice.

Because of the work schedule I had in recent years, I pretty much stopped reading books around 2010. And for a person like me, who learned to read at the age of 3, and have been inhaling books and fic ever since then, that’s a radical change. But I was working longer hours for a longer period of time than I ever had before, with a longer commute, almost no time off, and dealing with a lot of other RL “stuff”, and something had to give. I found I couldn’t read anymore because I was so tired I’d just fall asleep. (My schedule changed late last year and I’ve gone right back to reading – and writing again. But there’s another topic entirely.)

I missed reading. A lot. But there was that long commute, the public library, and audio books. And suddenly that commute became possibility.

So, a couple of years ago I listened to all the Harry Potter books on my commute, one right after another, so they all blended into one very very long novel. (So much so that I’d have a hard time figuring out what happened in which book anymore.) It was such a wonderfully immersive experience. Jim Dale, who was the reader, brought all the characters to life in such a way I felt even more part of that universe than reading the books or watching the movies. I’m tempted to do it again.

Last year, I did the same thing with Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse novels. Unlike Harry Potter, I didn’t listen to them all. I’d read the first six books, but there you go, no reading time. So I listened to the 7th one, thinking that I’d space them out between other books I wanted to hear. But no, I got hooked, and it was one right after the other, all the way to # 13.

It was interesting to see how the author developed her themes and threads. By book # 9 I began to get the idea of where she was heading, and each subsequent book added to my feelings about how she was going to end the series. In # 13 she did exactly as I thought she would.

A lot of people flipped out by how she ended the series. She even got death threats. I just want to know this – was I the only person paying any attention as to the undercurrents in these novels? Or did listening to them sequentially highlight subtext that would be easy to miss by reading one book a year? I wasn’t in the least bit surprised by the ending – in fact, I loved it. Kudos to Ms. Harris, for writing her character the way she wanted to, and letting Sookie take charge of her own life.