Thursday, December 5, 2013

BiblioFile: The House with a Clock in its Walls (1995)

In 1995 The House with a Clock in its Walls – as well as four other titles – was released in audiobook format by Recorded Books, LLC. The unabridged novel was read across either three audio cassettes or four compact discs for upwards of four-and-a-half hours of listening excitement. Telling the story is acclaimed award-winning narrator and actor George Guidall who has has recorded over 900 unabridged novels that have favorably earned reviews from Audiofile, Library Journal, Publisher's Weekly, and a variety of national newspapers and magazines.

The artwork used for both the cassette and CD covers was created by artist Dan Sweetman and figures into the house-personified category. A sky of pinkish-salmon color covers the top third of the canvas and below sits the titular house. Two things stand out to us on the house, mainly its colors and its shape. Its gray-washed walls and slate roof make contrast the sky nicely, giving the dwelling a dull, dark tone reminiscent of Poe’s house of the Ushers. And like the house of Usher this one has eye-like windows above the front door, which itself becomes a howling mouth. Like most faces this one also includes a nose between the eyes and mouth – has a sort of lintel-is-a-septum-is-a-lintel thing going on.

We don’t have much more to say on the cover – what was used for the cassette version was cropped and squared for the CD cover – but we take a moment to praise Guidall’s reading and for conveying the intended emotion at hand, be it playful (Lewis enjoying his first poker game) or suspenseful (the car chase). Here’s a brief snippet of Lewis, his uncle, Jonathan, and Mrs. Zimmermann preparing the house for a random ceremony that they hope will find the clock.

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