Thursday, June 4, 2009

Douglas Adams + Stephen Fry = Ecstasy

Since I last wrote about audiobooks (here and here), I have been continuing on that path, listening to more of these. At long last, I have hit upon a narrator-book combination that is absolutely explosive!

The book I am listening to is an old favorite - The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams. The book is narrated by the supremely multi-talented Stephen Fry. For those familiar with British comedy, Fry is half of the Laurie and Fry comedy duo, along with Hugh Laurie (or Dr. Gregory House). He is also star (with Laurie again) of the Jeeves and Wooster show where he plays Jeeves.

Now, I have long maintained that The Hitchhiker's Guide is one of the funniest books in the English speaking world. I can't go through a page without bursting out laughing. Having read it multiple times in the past, I also have favorite passages in the book, and sometimes just read those instead of the whole book again. So when I started listening to the book on audio, I was expecting the narrator to just do his job: narrate an all-time classic, don't try anything fancy, let me enjoy what I already love.

I changed my mind by the time Fry read the second sentence on the book. And by the time he got to the Vogon ship, I was in splits. Fry is uproariously funny, makes incredibly unselfconscious noises totally appropriate for The Hitchhiker's Guide, and by and large, made the book even better for me than I thought was possible. If you ever come across this version, take my word for it, pick it up! Listen to it, and if you aren't breaking up in minutes, get something checked.

Fry is also an audiobook narrator for the Harry Potter books. I can't wait to hear what he can do with that!


  1. On a few occassions I have laughed out aloud when reading books. These were by Douglas Adams and PG Wodehouse. Recently I read "Halfway to Heaven" by Mark Obmascik and I did the same. I am only half way through the book and I highly recommend it. A surprising fact was that I came across a reference to this book in one of the US Airways flight magazines. I can't remember a single other occassion when I read something relevant or useful in those magazines!

  2. S+M - I hadn't heard of this book till I read your comment. I have since looked it up and it sounds very cool. Not the kind of book I would have picked up by myself, but given your endorsement, I am going to put it on my list.