Read to Me: Benedict Cumberbatch


I’ve always treasured the few memories I have of someone reading to me. I am a middle child, and I don’t remember my mother reading to me, although she must have because I can remember her reading to my brother, who is three years my junior. By the time my sister came along, my mother tasked me with reading to her. It was a win-win situation for Mom, she was able to listen to me read, and correct my skills, while I entertained my sister.

As a result, I can tell you my older brother’s childhood favorite. He was partial to Howdy Doody, most likely Howdy Doody and the Princess, since I can recall repeated references to Princess Summerfallwinterspring.


My younger brother enjoyed the Mr. Small series by the beloved and award winning author Lois Lenski. I particularly remember his enjoyment of Policeman Small, Cowboy Small and The Little Farm.

My family still jokes about my younger sister’s love of Beatrix Potter, especially The Tale of Timmy Tiptoes. My mother took us to the library every other week to pick out new books. While we stood in line to return things, my sister would wander through the children’s stacks and pick out another copy of Timmy Tiptoes. By the time she outgrew the story, my mother and I had it memorized.


In any event, hearing someone read out loud is a rare treat, and though I like audio books, I prefer a live reading. Sometimes, the best I can do is find a reading performance online.

I am a huge fan of Benedict Cumberbatch, and was delighted to discover he has an extensive reading catalogue on YouTube. Cumberbatch shows both acting ability and sensitivity in his readings. The first video performance I found was The Little Red Hen, which is apt since it is a children’s story.

The readings that are the most fun are stories written by John Taylor and inspired by the character of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle.

These include:


The 10:59 Assassin

The Trinity Vicarage Larceny

An Inscrutable Masquerade

The Conundrum of Coach 13

If you prefer something more erudite, Cumberbatch has a wide selection of poetry and letters, such as

Words for You;

Shakespeare’s The Seven Ages of Man.”

Cumberbatch reads “My dearest one” Chris Barker’s letter to Bessie Moore at Letters Live. There are a few seconds cut off the beginning of this performance. There are more complete recordings, but this YouTube video shows the reaction of the crowd.

I am sure there are even more Cumberbatch readings for me to find and enjoy. Do you enjoy audio books or book readings? Do you have a favorite reader?


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