A FEW OTHER EVENTS FOR
- Happy birthday Paul Rogers (Jazz ABZ), Jennifer L. Holm (Turtle in Paradise), and Joyce Carol Oates (Big Mouth & Ugly Girl; After the Wreck, I picked Myself Up, Spread My Wings, and Flew Away).
- Itâ€™s the birth date of Zachary Ball (1897-1987), Bristle Face, and Isabelle Holland (1920-2002), The Man Without a Face.
- For National Fudge Day, also read Peeny Butter Fudge by Toni Morrison and Slade Morrison, illustrated by Joe Cepeda, and The Chocolate Fudge Mystery by David A. Adler.
July marks Audio Book Month, a perfect time to listen to a title that will entertain the entire family. I owe the audio of the day to Alison Morris of Scholastic Book Clubs, who raved about Simon Jonesâ€™s rendition of The Amulet of Samarkand by Jonathan Stroud for Listening Library. How right she was.
Now for those who have never met Bartimaeus, a five-thousand-year-old djinni, who provides the first-person narration for the story, you have missed one of the great bad boys of literature. Stroud alternates Bartimaeusâ€™s highly entertaining rants with a third-person omniscient story about eleven-year-old Nathaniel, a magicianâ€™s apprentice. Nathaniel lives in an alternate London where the parliament is ruled by magicians. But he has grown weary of his incompetent master, Arthur Underwood. So Nathaniel takes his education into his own hands, and summons Bartimaeus to do his bidding.
Bent on revenge Nathaniel sends the djinni to steal the Amulet of Samarkand from Simon Lovelace, an ambitious man who once humiliated Nathaniel. Magical tricks, narrow escapes, espionage, evil magicians, murder, and the potential overthrow of the government all keep listeners of the audio enthralled.
As much as the young readers cheer Nathaniel on, I must admit that my heart belongs to Bartimaeus. Heâ€™s cheeky and irreverent, sarcastic and incredibly funny. In the book he provides extensive footnotes describing details about the magical world. In the audio these pieces have been seamlessly woven into the narrative. Whether he is relating his age-old struggle with djinnis Faquarl and Jabor, or commenting on the stupidity of his Utukku guards, Bartimaeus adds sass and wit to the saga.
â€śThe best book I have ever read in my entire life,â€ť one child stated on line about The Amulet of Samarkand. The unabridged audio is just as good; Jones captures the different characters and brings them to life. Even if you know the book well, you will love listening to the audio. After all, it allows you to hang around with Bartimaeus for thirteen and a half hours! The only bad part is when it comes to an end. Fortunately, if you find yourself falling under the spell of Bartimaeus, you can go on to the sequelsâ€”The Golemâ€™s Eye and Ptolemyâ€™s Gate. Happy listening.
Hereâ€™s a section from The Amulet of Samarkand:
The kid spoke. Very squeakily.
â€śI charge you . . . to . . . to . . .â€ť Get on with it! â€śT-t-tell me your n-name.â€ť
Thatâ€™s usually how they start, the young ones. Meaningless waffle. He knew, and I knew that he knew, my name already; otherwise how could he have summoned me in the first place? You need the right words, the right actions, and most of all the right name. I mean, itâ€™s not like hailing a cabâ€”you donâ€™t get just anybody when you call.
I chose a rich, deep, dark chocolaty sort of voice, the kind that resounds from everywhere and nowhere and makes the hairs stand up on the back of inexperienced necks.
Originally posted July 16, 2012. Updated for .