Source: Librivox (zipped mp3s)
Length: 7 hr, 33 min
Reader: Adrian Praetzellis
The book: This classic boy's adventure follows Jim Hawkins out of his innkeeper's life and into the world of pirates, danger, and buried treasure. Stevenson's imaginative mind introduced several new concepts into pirate literature, including the parrot on the shoulder and "X marks the spot" pirate maps. The story takes a few chapters to get underway as Stevenson takes extra time to build up a sense of foreboding, which pays off later in dividends of excitement as the action comes to fruition. On the other hand, the ending seems to arrive too quickly, with room for a sequel that Stevenson never got to write (though others have tried).
I first tried to read Treasure Island as a boy, but the combination of nautical terms and antiquated language made it a frustrating attempt. Coming back to the book with the experience of reading many 19th century books and a few Patrick O'Brian novels, I am now able to enjoy it more thoroughly. I find it incredible that a book written for boys such a long time ago still has the power to thrill an adult of the 21st century.
The reader: Adrian Praetzellis is my favorite Librivox reader. As I mention above, Stevenson's language can be a barrier to the enjoyment of the story, but Praetzellis's narration goes a long way toward bypassing this difficulty by making the meaning clear through his tone. Each character is given an interesting voice, using a multitude of accents. His acting of Long John Silver brings out the Sea Cook's beguiling friendliness as well as his hidden danger. When all the pirates sing "Yo-ho-ho and a bottle of rum", Praetzellis overdubs his voice to produce a chorus of buccaneers. This type of attention to every aspect of the recording reflects why this audiobook is so enjoyable.