turn down the lights and just listen

Last evening I listened to part of an audiobook, a recording by Simon Vance of one of the Aubrey/Maturin series, the 5th in the series, Desolation Island.

This book has a few of the best passages in the entire series.  I marvel at this writer’s prose and character development.

I very happily recommend these books.

Start with Master and Commander.

If you want an audio version, Simon Vance recorded the whole series on Blackstone Audio, though he hits his stride in the second recording, Post Captain.

But what I heard tonight was part of Desolation Island…

It is sometimes a great pleasure to turn down the lights and just listen when the reader is good and book excellent.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. CS says:

    This series has been a favorite of mine for years. Truly enjoyable reading.

  2. sparksj3 says:

    Father, have you dealt with Audible.com? I used to use their subscription service, and if you enjoy audiobooks, it is an amazing deal.

  3. spark: I use the public library and interlibrary loan.

  4. Jerry says:

    I listened to “The Fortune of War” after having read the previous five books. I had new voices in my head while reading “The Surgeon’s Mate.” Took a break for a while but now need to get a copy of Ionian Mission.

  5. Jerry: Are you listening to the Simon Vance reading?

  6. TJB says:

    Funny that we are now in an age when we can ask people, “Have you listened to any good books lately?”

  7. Emilio III says:

    I’m on The Far Side of the World, Patrick Tull version. I know that Master and Commander was the Simon Vance version, but don’t remember whose Desolation Island I got. (Getting two a month from audible.com.)

  8. Poppy Buxom says:

    I love Patrick O’Brian’s novels so much that I’ve read them all twice. I own them all in hard-cover, and am collecting them all on audiobook.

    Patrick Tull was O’Brian’s favorite reader, but I prefer Simon Vance. Tull’s voice has a husky, breathy quality that carries through to all of his characters’ voices. This is only to be expected, since if a voice is breathy, the reader can’t rid the voice of that quality–whereas a good reader with a well-trained instrument can always make the voice sound more breathy, for example, when portraying a character who is asthmatic, ill, or very elderly.

    (Also, Simon Vance is far better at the women’s voices.)

    I like Simon Vance so much that I’ve branched out from O’Brian’s books and am now listening to Naomi Novik’s Temeraire juvenile historical fantasy series as read by Vance, starting with His Majesty’s Dragon.

    The books wouldn’t be possible without O’Brian’s magnum opus, and one could call them derivative, but Simon Vance, the Age of Sail … and dragons! ::swoon:: I just wish I could get my children interested!

  9. Pensionato says:

    I have read the entire Aubrey/Maturin series twice. The material though familiar was as exciting the second time around. O’Brien had wonderful writing skills. Even when he gets technical and I have no idea what he is talking about regarding a ships rigging and the weather guage he is still riveting. After finishing the series the first time I had to go to Portsmouth, England and stand on the deck of HMS Victory, the flagship of Horatio Nelson, Aubrey’s hero! After hearing about the audio version I may start all over again.

  10. Pensionato: I did the same thing after my visit to HMS Victory and Portsmouth!

  11. JTinNYC says:

    I believe Desolation Island is best of PO’B’s work, and one of the great novels of the 20th Century. Best to start with Master and Commander, though the first two books in the series are the most difficult – but stay with it! They only get better, and really catch fire with Desolation Island!

  12. Andrew A says:

    Desolation island is a great book. My dad and I read it allowed recently. Even better than audio books is to read the book allowed with someone.

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