Not a Secret Anymore: The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett Review

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The Secret Garden

The Secret Garden

Written by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Published in 1911

Five Stars

The other day I decided to give audio books a second chance. Last year I downloaded the audiobook app for my Itouch. It was only 99 cents for over 20,000 books. Did I realize the books were only classics? No, not at first. As I enjoy classics, I didn’t mind at all. But, after each one, I just wasn’t satisfied with the experience. The narrator changed, mostly, after each chapter. I lost all faith. I don’t have money for current audio books, so I stopped downloading them, or giving them a try.

The book I decided to try first was Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Secret Garden.

A ten-year-old disagreeable and self-centered little girl orphan Mary,  comes to live in a lonely house on the Yorkshire moors where she discovers  her equally disagreeable invalid cousin and the mysteries of a locked garden.

The garden, discovered by Mistress Mary, laid untouched for ten years, the same time her cousin was born and his mother died giving birth to him. Her cousin Colin’s father locked the garden up once his wife died-the garden was her favorite place to be. Mary decides to bring new life to the garden with her new friend, Dickon the animal whisperer and the best gardener at the young age of twelve.   What enfolds is a great story where Colin and Mary become each other’s savior. The garden healing them all (with magic as Colin repeatedly and joyfully said).

I looked forward to each chapter, hanging on to every word. The book was a great choice to rediscover audio books. Narrated by Karen Savage, the novel moved fast and charmingly.  Her voices were very much enjoyable. Savage did a great accent when each character entered the page. Dickon’s Yorkshire dialect was represented excellently. Mary’s was proper, with Colin’s voice slightly obnoxious, and superior. I felt every bit of the joy Savage felt. She embodied the story for me. I can’t picture another narrator that could do this great classic justice.

If you haven’t read this classic children’s book, you should!

 

 

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Move over paper: E-books and Audio books

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These days, even with books still in print, there are too many different ways to read. I never grew up with e-books, or audio books quite frankly. Now, these two formats are hard to avoid. They are cheap, convenient, and widely available. Of course bookstores are still around; children running around with new toys, or trying to listen to story time; students taking all the available seats, and the floor, too!; adults stroll; with cafes in store, people settle and read magazines. Then, there are advertisements for Nook books, Kobo books at independent bookstores like the one I once worked at. You can browse the limited audio book sections.

 

 

More people are listening to audio books. I am constantly seeing e-readers. I admit I have one, but the power dwindles more than I turn the fake pages. The one format I am having trouble grasping is audio books.

I admit to getting joy of finding great and cheap reads on my Nook. For each gift card, I stretch it out by only getting $2.99 or less books. I have learned to stay away from free, google copied classics. I rather buy a new book than buy it on my Nook. I don’t like that the prices don’t differ as much. You would think with ink being limited, trees untouched, the price would be lower. But, audio books, I have passed on.

I have only read a few audio books. Often though, you will hear my music seeping from my headphones rather than hearing unfamiliar voices speaking Dickenese, Austenian, or any other dialect. When I clean, which isn’t too often, I still choose music. Why, because I don’t want to not hear a novel. I can’t concentrate and focus on the words being spoken. I try to listen to The Wind in the Willows, but it has taken me around six months, or so, to reach chapter nine. What happened during the book, I just don’t know. I can’t quite remember because I don’t think my brain was really listening.

But, I have discovered my problem, narrators! I am listening to The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett and absolutely love the narrator! I am enjoying it so much I forget I am listening to it, instead I feel present with the narrator. Other works I have listened to, I just didn’t like the voice speaking to me. When I listened to Peter Pan, a librivox recording, the narrators switched; a new voice each chapter, but not for each character.

For all you audio book fans, what makes an audio book work for you? And, what format do you really enjoy?

I know audio books are not for all, but now I think I will give them a second chance. Unfortunately, I am on a budget, I only listen to the books featured on the 99 cent app on my Iphone and Itouch. Who can pass up unlimited audio books with a one time fee of 99 cents plus tax?

Feeling a book is great. But I have no more room for books. My library is terrible. Audio books just be something I want to keep as a major option.

Happy reading!

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