by: Tania Lasenburg
Prior to listening to LeVar Burton’s podcast, LeVar Burton Reads, I had no experience listening to audio books. I am that person that does not consider audio books as reading. I believe that audio books play on oral storytelling and the most obvious, is that the action you are doing is listening.
However, let me not get too into that topic, as it is a hill, which I can talk on for ages.
What drew me to Burton’s podcast was the desire to stop listening to music as much. Music has a way of shaping your mood and my mood was shaping. As a fan of Burton I decided to give his podcast a try. Let me say that I was blown away.
LeVar Burton Reads is Burton reading short stories that he loves and breaks down what they mean to him and how they connect to not only his but life in general. If you did not already know, he is an actor (Roots, Star Trek, Reading Rainbow, etc). So I was not surprised when he really took this form of storytelling to heart.
Before he begins each story, he takes a breath and when he does, I do. It may sound funny but just like he is preparing, so am I.
He plays out each character; speaking in their language (if it is different from English), giving them a voice that is distinctive and in every sense of the word making them alive; no matter how small their role is. But the coolest thing about LeVar acting this out is how well he describes . . . well everything. The picture in your mind is clear; so clear that I felt as if I was there and not even a fly on the wall but there.
LeVar’s style is so notable in each story that he reads. His voice is light and airy, so when he deepens his voice, changes his accent or does any form of change with his breath, you feel it. It changes the whole story.
Let’s get into my favorites and highly recommended listens.
- “Free Jim’s Mine” by Tananarive Due
- “Jackalope Wives” by Ursula Vernon
- “Childfinder” by Octavia Butler
- “A Fable with Slips of White Paper Spilling from the Pockets” by Kevin Brockmeier
- “Kwoon” by Charles Johnson
Oddly enough, these stories are stories I know that I would not have read. Short stories aren’t exactly my forte i.e. I had more misses in this area than any other books. However, after listening to Burton act out these stories, I had a strong desire to read these stories even though I know I won’t get the same reaction to them as I did listening to them. They were just that good.
Overall, this podcast took me by surprise because I didn’t believe I would be fully invested into it. My final rating is if you’re looking for something to keep you up an entertained throughout the day or evening, this is where you should go and the come back and let me know what you think ^_^