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Stories to be read aloud

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Mastadge
Posted on Monday, April 07, 2003 - 09:10 pm:   

One of my pleasures is reading stories (and the occasional novel) to people. I love words; I love the way they sound; I love reading them out; and I love all the complements I get on my voice, and on how well I read. One of the things I've noticed though is that some stories just don't lend themselves to reading like that. Stories rife with parenthetical comments, complex multi-commad sentences, constant digressions . . . it's too easy for the listener to lose track of what's going on. On the other hand, some stories seem almost to beg to be read aloud; the words just flow so naturally, and the plot flows on naturally, and it's just a wonderful reading experience.

Anyway, can anyone recommend any stories that they think deserve to be read out loud?
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Ben Wooller
Posted on Monday, April 07, 2003 - 09:54 pm:   

I love all the fairy-tale types: Goldman's PRINCESS BRIDE, Gaiman's CORALINE and STARDUST. These need to be read aloud (although, I'll admit that PRINCESS BRIDE is a bit difficult, with all the interjections and all.)
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Night Shade Books
Posted on Monday, April 07, 2003 - 10:05 pm:   

Roger Zelazny's A Night in the Lonesome October.

Jasno
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Des
Posted on Tuesday, April 08, 2003 - 08:20 am:   

These are the books I read aloud (serialised) to my children at bedtime when they were growing up twenty odd years ago:
King of Elfland's Daughter - Lord Dunsany
Hello Summer, Goodbye - Michael Coney
Jimbo - Algernon Blackwood
The Fruit-stoners - Algernon Blackwood
Des
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Brian Overton
Posted on Tuesday, April 08, 2003 - 11:48 am:   

I haven't tried it myself, but weren't all M.R. James' ghost stories created to be read out loud? Certainly would be a fun event to hear "Ghost Stories of an Antiquary" read out loud.
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Night Shade Books
Posted on Tuesday, April 08, 2003 - 01:19 pm:   

The Halloween Tree is very good read aloud as well.


Jason
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Ellen
Posted on Tuesday, April 08, 2003 - 02:21 pm:   

Not a story but I loved reading Gerard Manley Hopkins aloud, especially the poem about the nuns drowning in a storm-tossed sea. I don't recall the title. Haven't read it for years. But Hopkins's
words are beautifully rounded and lovely to speak, despite the disaster they depict.
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Des
Posted on Tuesday, April 08, 2003 - 10:50 pm:   

These are the novels I enjoyed reading aloud (serialised) to my wife in the early seventies:
Women In Love - DH Lawrence
Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
Des
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Nicholas Liu
Posted on Wednesday, April 09, 2003 - 02:24 am:   

Your children were very lucky, Des!

I have no one to read aloud to, but I've been known to read bits from M. John Harrison's Viriconium series out to myself, as well as Hope Mirrlees' Lud-in-the-Mist.
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Mike Williams
Posted on Sunday, April 13, 2003 - 11:22 am:   

Isn't G.M. Hopkins wonderful to recite! The Windhover is my favourite.

I read aloud some passages from Mark Helprin's Winter's Tale. I discussed this with my mum, and she said she did the same thing.

The J.P.Martin Uncle books are fun to read aloud with all those bizarrely named characters.

Finally, my niece loves me reading Eloise aloud, and attempting to put accents on all the voices.
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Michael Bishop
Posted on Monday, April 14, 2003 - 05:04 am:   

I read Bradbury's Dandelion Wine aloud to my son Jamie when he was small, and parts of the Tolkien trilogy to both him and his sister Stephanie, and those formative reading experiences have stayed with both of them over the years.

My son is now 32, and our daughter will turn 30 in August. Both are readers, and Stephanie has a three-year-old daughter of her own, Annabel, who insists on our reading books to her at bedtime. She's big on the Little Bear stories of Elsie Holmes Minarek (if I've spelled that author's names correctly), and on Eloise, too, which she would have me read ten times in succession if I could manage that feat.

Mike
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John Klima
Posted on Monday, April 14, 2003 - 06:09 am:   

I've found that THE PHANTOM TOLLBOOTH by Norton Juster is fun for both adults and children to be read aloud.

JK
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Michael Bishop
Posted on Tuesday, April 15, 2003 - 05:12 am:   

I'd second John Klima's recommendation.

Mike
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Jack Haringa
Posted on Tuesday, April 15, 2003 - 03:54 pm:   

For novels both whimsical and horrific, I'd recommend John Bellairs' books, particularly the Johnny Dixon series (The Curse of the Blue Figurine et. al.). While I also like the Lewis Barnavelt books (such as The House with the Clock in its Walls), something about tales that take more than a season internally makes them less appealing to hear out loud.

A more contemporary writer who is great fun to oneself or aloud is Lemony Snicket. His Series of Unfortunate Events is hysterical and morbid at the same time. For children whose favorite color is black.

~Jack~
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E Thomas
Posted on Wednesday, April 16, 2003 - 04:03 pm:   

The only problem with reading THE PHANTOM TOLLBOOTH aloud (I've tried it) is all the puns. Sometimes you have to explain WHICH witch you are talking about, if you know what I mean.
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Paul Beardsley
Posted on Saturday, April 19, 2003 - 01:57 pm:   

I'm a great fan of audio - especially SF. I occasionally review CDs and tapes of books, plays etc for Interzone. The best thing I've come across so far is the unabridged reading of Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials (not the BBC radio play, tho' that wasn't bad).

The one thing I find doesn't work to well is detective stories - too many character names.

In the late 80s I went out with a blind lass for two years. I read quite a few stories to her, either live or onto tape. Stories that stick out (probably because they matched my voice and my mood at the time) include "Oh Happy Day!" by Geoff Ryman, "Why Don't You Dance?" by Raymond Carver, and "There Will Come Soft Rains" by Ray Bradbury. Oh, and one of my own stories.

I occasionally read to my wife (who has 20-20 vision, BTW) when she's feeling lazy. One story I tried reading was "Two Doctors" by M.R. James...

>>I haven't tried it myself, but weren't all M.R. James' ghost stories created to be read out loud?<<

...but it didn't gell. I think it takes too long to start. I've heard other M.R. James read out by professional readers, and they've worked a lot better - notably The Mezzotint and The One With The Spiders In The Tree (I think it's called).

>>A more contemporary writer who is great fun to oneself or aloud is Lemony Snicket.<<

Hooray! Another fan! I'm thinking of getting them on CD, if only to see how they handle Aunt Josephine and her obsession with grammar.

Only two weeks till The Hostile Hospital comes out. This promises some very interesting revelations...

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