The Estella Society are currently hosting #PotterBinge – a Harry Potter readalong between November 1st and 31st January. And I signed up but hadn’t got started rereading yet. I was definitely going to but frankly I’ve not been reading lately. I love the Harry Potter books but having reread Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone a few years ago I didn’t enjoy it as much. I don’t know how many times I’ve read them but it’s a lot.
I could write a post of Harry Potter memories and at some point maybe I will. But that’s not what I wanted to write about today.
I’ve been wanting the audiobooks of Harry Potter for ages – I had the one of Order of the Phoenix when I was at uni but I never got through it all despite trying several times, some of the discs went missing and at least one got damaged. It wasn’t available on Audible and even the digital downloads (which is what I’d want) were extortionate on Pottermore/Amazon (over £180 for all seven books). Then I saw a tweet on Friday I think that the books are now available on Audible for 1 credit each. And I had two credits so now I have the first two books on audiobook.
I’ve been listening to Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone yesterday and today. It’s playing as I write this.
I’m enjoying it – Stephen Fry is the perfect narrator for these. My perspective as an adult is different to what it was the first time I read them as a late teen. I’m not far into the book but I think this is the first time the actions of The Dursleys around the letter make me think of anxiety and trying to do their best for Harry in their own possibly misguided way. I’d like to read more about that in fanfic.
I don’t know if part of the difference is just being older or if the fact it’s the audiobook (unabridged, I only get unabridged audiobooks). I’m a fast reader and audiobooks definitely take substantially longer than reading even though I tend to listen at 1.5x but it seems like I notice more of the details, the colour of books when I listen than when I read. So some of the nuaunces of the book may be more obvious.
As a writer I love audiobooks too. Hearing the dialogue makes it clearer to me how it works. I sometimes feel like dialogue is lacking in my writing and when I listen to a book I tend (if it’s the right book and I think Harry Potter is so far) to feel inspired and as though I can do better with it. Tips on how to show not tell (which I can really struggle with) have often come from audiobooks too. They say you can’t be a good writer unless you read a lot and read widely. But over the last few years I’ve begun to think you need to listen to audiobooks to be a good writer too.