Monday 16 February 2015

Classic Children's/YA: Peter Jay Black on Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

Really pleased to welcome Peter Jay Black to the blog today to talk about a favourite book of his for my irregular Classic Children's feature!

Here’s my confession: I’ve only read three books in my entire life. No, really! From beginning to end – just three books. But. . . I have listened to hundreds, maybe thousands of audiobooks. My parents used to read a lot to me when I was a child, so that’s how I grew to love audiobooks and the sound words make.

One book that has stuck with me for a lifetime is Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. From the first pages where the main character – orphaned Pip – crosses paths with a criminal escaped from prison, all the way through to the revealing of a mystery benefactor who has funded Pip’s education, Great Expectations gripped me.

So much so that every time I see a copy or print that I don’t have, I’ve just got to buy it. As you can imagine, my shelves are overloaded with quite a few books now, but I find it interesting to see the illustrations and differences in typeface and layout.

The same goes with the audiobook editions I have, with the diverse actors and narrators reading the characters. There’s got to be at least thirty audio editions, but the one version I bought fairly recently is probably the best so far - it’s narrated by Simon Preble. He has a very clear voice and does a fantastic job with the narration. I also believe a classic like Great Expectations is amazing when it’s read aloud!

My favourite character in the book would have to be Miss Havisham – a woman who was jilted on her wedding day. She’s a wealthy old lady who lives in a huge, dilapidated mansion house. Her character is fantastic because she’s so eccentric – wearing nothing but the same wedding dress for decades, sitting next to a long table of decayed food, and every clock in her home has been stopped at the same moment in time: 8:40.

If you haven’t already read it, I couldn’t recommend it highly enough. Fantastic, timeless story.

Blackout, second in Peter Jay Black's Urban Outlaws series, was released on February 12th. Find out more about the series at the official website, or follow Peter on Twitter.

1 comment:

  1. I can totally see the point of collecting different editions of a book - in my case, it's The Hobbit, which has some beautifully illustrated editions as well as the one the author illustrated himself, and I have an enhanced ebook where you can press play and hear the author read some of the songs. I treat audiobooks as entertainment and don't usually listen to a book I havrn't read. I like to see how an actor has interpreted a book I love. But each to their own.