Orthogonal Thought | Random musings from the creator of Cooking For Engineers and Lead Architect of Fanpop





Books - His Dark Materials 1: The Golden Compass / Northern Lights

Posted 2 May, 2007 at 6:05pm by Michael Chu
(Filed under: Books)

I finished listening to the first His Dark Materials book by Philip Pullman called The Golden Compass here in the U.S. and Northern Lights everywhere else. I listen to a lot of books on tape (actually CD and MP3's on CD) as I drive. I also read paper books (you just can't beat the feel of paper between your fingers as you flip pages). In any case, I listened to The Golden Compass which is one of the best produced audio books I've ever had the pleasure of listening to.

The book itself is narrated/read by Philip Pullman himself while all the characters voices are performed by a full cast with enthusiasm and believability. It's not hard to be sucked into this magnificent parallel world where Lyra, a young girl who is about to embark on a journey of destiny, and Pantalaimon, her daemon - a strange (to us) and wonderful creature that accompanies all humans and functions as a physical and partially independent manifestation of the human soul, brave dangers in Oxford, London, and the Arctic to accomplish what they view to be the right thing to do. Lyra is a fearless heroine who does not shirk from lying and manipulating others to accomplish her goals - in fact, that almost seems to be a gift of hers. Because of her pleasant nature and desire to do good, you cannot help but cheer her on as she tries to save others from an unthinkable fate.

I also picked up a copy of the book and glancing through a few of the pages, wished I had read it in paper form. There is a certain magic to reading books that fill me with a sense of awe and amazement that the audio books cannot accomplish. The audio for this book is done so well though, that I will probably listen to the other two books in the trilogy before picking up the books to read at a future time. The story is so captivating (and also relatively short) that listening to/reading the books does not feel difficult in any way. (Some books feel like they drag out - especially when read by a slow reader - at least with paper copies you can skim the slow sections, knowing that if you need to you can return to those pages later if needed.)

What I'm reading: Shardick by Richard Adams (1976 Mass Market Paperback), Educating Peter: How I Taught a Famous Movie Critic the Difference Between Cabernet and Merlot or How Anybody Can Become an (Almost) Instant Wine Expert by Lettie Teague (Hardcover), The Hedge Knight by George R. R. Martin (Audio - read by the legendary Frank Muller), and Cross by James Patterson (Audio - read by Peter J. Fernandez who will forever share the voice of Alex Cross with Morgan Freeman for me).

1 comment to Books - His Dark Materials 1: The Golden Compass / Northern Lights

Katie, May 3rd, 2007 at 8:32 am:

  • Don't be too disappointed if you don't find the second and thirds books as captivating as the first- but they are still great reads.