I am an avid eclectic reader.
This book on Titian by Mark Hudson is really not a biography but a story of Hudson traveling around Venice searching for information on the last days of Titian. He takes us on a hunt for the house he died in during the plague of 1576. As Hudson wanders the city he describes the various painting by Titian in great depth and detail. He does attempt to show how Titian evolves as a painter from apprentice to old age. He appears to have a great deal of difficulty finding information about Titian as a man in the last days of his life. What brought me to read the book was a remark that said Titian was the most famous artist in the world and he never suffered from the dark decay of public neglect that has afflicted so many other artists from Guido Reni to Van Gogh. I thought if he is so famous why I have never heard of him. I am not an artist nor have I studied art but I have read a few biographies of artist and thought I knew some of the more popular famous ones. So I read this book to bring my art education up to date. Hudson does a good job of revealing the constant intrigue and backstabbing of the renaissance world. After reading the description of some of the pictures by Titian I did go on line and look at a few paintings. Hudson states that after Titian death Venice gathered many of Titian painting to display but the building caught fire and many were lost. Over all it has been an interesting education and enjoyable tour of Venice. Napoleon Ryan narrated the book.
Audible has changed my life! Dry , itchy eyes were destroying one of my greatest pleasures - reading. Now I am experiencing books again!
First of all, let me say that "Twelfth Night" is wonderful Shakespeare. It's great for an introduction to the bard: the story is easy to follow, the language is beautiful, there's music and comedy, and the characters are very appealing.
The format here is the difference. There's an introduction, with background on the play as well as a brief biography of Shakespeare and his times. Then, the play begins. A narrator interrupts the action every few lines to re-phrase in "plain English" what's been said. This sort of interpretation is helpful to newcomers to the play, but it can also be quite distracting and, understandably, disrupts the flow of the production. For the best experience of the play itself, I think the way to proceed would be to listen first to a version without the commentary, then to this.
The commentary is quite good, I think. The explanations are presented clearly, and there is a distinction between information that is historical and that which is purely speculative (as much of Shakespeare's personal history must be).
This approach to "Twelfth Night" might be an excellent way to prepare for seeing a production of the play and is of interest to anyone wanting to experience it in considerable depth. Like others in the series, "Twelfth Night: Shakespeare Appreciated" is an obviously well-researched and well-executed effort. The experience might, however, require more commitment than the casual playgoer/reader wants.