As I suggested below in my Gift Guide For Guys, I take gift-buying VERY seriously. (More on this in future issues.)
So I thought I would create a few choice posts about stuff I love, would never want to live without, in a gift-guide-y like way, in case you can use this info to shop for someone this holiday season.
(And if you think these are stupid entries, YOU try writing something every day.)
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#1 Thing I Own And Love: Any (And All) Of The Harry Potter Books On Tape/CD, As Narrated By Jim Dale
Let me make two things very clear about this.
FIRST, understand that I never read fantasy. Shameful though you may find this, I've not read The Lord of the Rings, or The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe, or any of those I should have.
Perhaps understandably, then, I started the first Harry Potter book three times and just didn't like it, didn't get it, didn't care.
Finally I forced myself through it and got to the end and was like, "Eh."
Then I read the second one, egged on by my ex, and was even less enthused. I just couldn't bring myself to think it page-turningly amazing. Yes, I was mildly curious in how things would eventually go down with old Voldemort, but I wasn't exactly losing sleep over it, either.
But, I allowed my mild curiosity to lead me to the third book. And by the end of that one, I was hooked.
I devoured the fourth, which had come out not long before I started on the whole series, and was miserable when it ended because I couldn't wait for number five.
Oh, and I waited and waited and then -- well, by then I was in San Francisco and with El_Gallo and the day The Order of the Phoenix came out the both of us walked down to Borders on Powell St. and got in line a block away and made our way through the store and purchased two copies and walked home and read them both that weekend.
As maybe a couple of you miiiiiiight remember, number six came out the week before I left one job for another. I took a week off in between, and (quite serendipitously) was able to enjoy The Half-Blood Prince at my leisure.
The final installment came out right before the first annual BlogHer Conference I was responsible for planning, and I waited until the final night of the event to crack it open. What a divine gift to myself, being able to enjoy that when the even was all finished!
The point is, I didn't immediately love the series, but came around and fell in love. It's really something special.
THE SECOND point I want to make is that, regardless of how you feel about the series or books on tape in general, these are A-MAZ-ING. Jim Dale is the narrator and I have never heard anyone like him. He's fun and enthralling and you just want to listen to him tell you these magical stories over and over and over.
Great for trips to the gym. Great for long car rides. (I discovered these when I bought the first four books on tape for my car drive across the country, moving from Connecticut to San Francisco.) Ish didn't think he cared for Harry, either, until I begged him to start over, from the beginning, with Jim Dale as his guide.
Ish was totally converted.
Bottom line: Give them to someone you love, ask for them for yourself. Jim Dale's narration makes it worth it to start from the beginning and get lost in the series all over again.
The whole audio collection is available at Amazon and on iTunes.