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Tad

Tad Philadelphia, PA, United States Member Since 2005

Shakespeare, Dickens, Homer, Mark Twain, Walt Disney, History.

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  • "Intense and painfully sad"

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    I avoided this book for a long time: who wants to read a book about a person who's so good everyone around him thinks he's an idiot?

    Boy, was I wrong. This is an intense and brooding novel, filled with Dostoevsky's usual array of deeply conflicted characters and blistering monologues. The idiot himself, Prince Myshkin, is no pushover: maybe he's a bit naive at times, but he insists on treating people as equals and assuming their good intentions until contrary evidence is overwhelming. He suffers from epilepsy, and in the course of the novel has a couple of seizures that dramatically alter the direction of the story.

    Superficially, the novel is about Myshkin's conflicted relationships with two women: Aglaya, the youngest daughter of a distant relative, with whom he is in love; and Anastassya Filippovna, a "fallen woman" who's been fobbed off by her former lover and who seems to be drifting from one self-destructive relationship to another. Myshkin may have loved her once, but now he mainly pities her. Aglaya, who at one point seems willing to marry Myshkin, ultimately breaks off because of his obsession with Anastassya.

    But that's only one small facet of this complex, teeming book. The characters are captivating, the scenes at times almost hypnotic in their intensity. I've only read a few of Dostoevsky's novels, but so far I'm inclined to say this is probably my favorite.

    Robert Whitfield (=Simon Vance) gives a stellar reading. Of particular note is his ability to distinguish the voices of the many women in the book: sometimes the shading is subtle, but I always knew instantly who was talking. Well done, highly recommended.

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    The Idiot [Blackstone]

    • UNABRIDGED (22 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Fyodor Dostoevsky
    • Narrated By Robert Whitfield
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    Prince Myshkin, is thrust into the heart of a society more concerned with wealth, power, and sexual conquest than the ideals of Christianity. Myshkin soon finds himself at the center of a violent love triangle in which a notorious woman and a beautiful young girl become rivals for his affections. Extortion, scandal, and murder follow, testing the wreckage left by human misery to find "man in man."

    Tad says: "Intense and painfully sad"
  1. The Idiot [Blackstone]
  2. .

A Peek at Dan Harlow's Bookshelf

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Fort Collins 43 REVIEWS / 47 ratings Member Since 2012 14 Followers / Following 1
 
Dan Harlow's greatest hits:
  • The Grapes of Wrath

    "Almost more relevant now than when it was written"

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    Replace farmers from Oklahoma with migrant workers from Mexico and I doubt you'd be able to tell that this novel was written back in 1939. And that's what really stuck me about this novel - how relevant it still is - in some ways even more now than then.

    The first similarity is economic. As I write this we are still either going through a 'great recession' or are slowly emerging from an economic downturn. The causes are different, of course, here in the novel it was bad farming techniques mixed with new technology that drove the farmers from their land. Today it's an over-saturated housing market - people banking all their futures on the bubble of hope that perhaps the value of their own home will increase enough for them to make a tidy profit. And just like land that's been worked too hard, people worked the housing market too hard and it collapsed. Banks came to take the farms in the novel and banks came to take the homes in our own time.

    And both examples were of people running as fast as they could just to stay a little ahead of disaster. The farmers grew crops that destroyed the soil because they had no choice - they couldn't compete with the new farms, the corporate farms and machine efficiency. A family can't compete with a fleet of harvesters and tractors - working the land by hand can't keep up with a tractor. And the same goes for the people with houses these days. Everybody borrowed on cheap credit from the bank to hopefully 'buy low' and then 'sell high', but when everyone does it then there isn't no value in any of it and it all falls apart and everyone still owes the banks. And all they wanted was a piece of a dream, a chance to stay afloat economically, to send their kids to a good college, to make the car payments, put food on the table.

    In the novel the Californian's hated the Oakies, called them lazy, called them animals, called them thieves; in today's world we call the homeowners who lost it all idiots, greedy, lazy. But we also hate the banks. Call the banks greedy, inhumane, a great machine that's too big to die and too big to fail and everybody has to keep feeding it because nobody is really too sure how to control it anymore.

    But there is one difference, and that's the work. When the people lost the value on their homes, when the banks realized that the amount of money in the economy was based on a weak speculation and that there was actually a lot less money than there really was, when that caused credit to dry up, and when that caused smaller businesses to close up because they couldn't run the businesses with no credit, which in turn caused people to lose their jobs, and that caused the economy to drag down deeper and created a vicious cycle that made it worse and worse - after all that, the people had nowhere to go because all the 'poor jobs', the type of work Steinbeck writes about in the novel had all been taken by the immigrants.

    And that cussed more issues. The poor American middle-class blamed the Mexican's and now militia patrol the borders to kick the Mexican's out or do worse things in the desert at night when nobody is looking. A man like Casey in the novel is no different than a immigrant getting killed by some militia border patrol.

    And that causes resentment on all sides and the center can't hold.

    And that's just the economic similarity between the novel and today's times. Politically it's the same too. A conservative will say the poor just gotta work, but the conservative will also be on the side of the businessman and when everyone needs work, the businessman can keep wages down and in turn keep the poor really poor. But that's supposed to be ok because the conservative will say the poor can take help from a charity or a church - but that's easy to tell someone else when it's not you having to beg and take charity, easy to tell another man to beg. But the conservative man is holding on by a thread as thin as can be too and he's causing his own demise because soon the corporation will put him out of work too, his job will be lost and he'll have to go begging and he won't be so mean and conservative anymore. He'll see the value of sticking by your fellow man instead of blaming him for his troubles.

    And that's what the book is about - about family, about sticking together, about helping, about not letting the fruit on the vine rot when others go in need. And that's why it's an even more radical novel today than when it was written because it 'smells' of Communism or of Socialism. And the conservative man doesn't want to hear about that, he doesn't want a union because union men are lazy and he doesn't want socialism because the government will tell him what to do and he doesn't want communism because he can take care of his own family.

    That is until he can't, then he'll be singing a different tune or he'll be turning on his own people like some of the people in the novel who turned against their own just to put food on the table; the great selfishness.

    That's the saddest thing about the book - how spot on Steinbeck was about human nature. And for as beautiful as the novel is, as well written as it is, nothing can compare to how true it is. And maybe that's the thing that makes people still so angry about it - that it reveals a truth we don't want to accept about ourselves, that deep down we know that they way we live, that the American dream is not working, that it never really worked and that we either side with the people who will toss us on the heap of irrelevance or we fight the powers that be. And maybe if we worried a little more about if their neighbor has enough in his bowl and a little less about if we have enough in our own then maybe things would be better.

    The novel is a microcosm of American, then and now. And that's quite an achievement because how many novels ring this true 75 years after they were written? And the novel is a damning indictment too, and that's why it still scares people.

    And that ending. What an ending too. It's both hopeful and sad. It's religious and it turns religion on it's head too. It's bleak and yet it's also comforting.

    Now I didn't realize it at first, but this is the third in a series of books I've been reading that deal explicitly with society - 'The Seven Pillars of Wisdom' talked about a people fighting for their independence in the deserts of Arabia, '100 Years of Solitude' about a village coping with modernity, and now this novel about a country having to find a new direction. And they are also about the poor, about people who have been taken advantage of by a government or an economy and have been cast aside. And that's been a struggle since man understood ownership and it will continue to be a struggle as long as some men side with the very forces that could steamroll everyone in the end.

    'Don't turn on your own kind', Tom says. Well I hope Tom is still somewhere out there keeping an eye on everyone, helping where he can, beat up and bloody but still fighting. The world needs more Tom's and more Ma's. Someone's gotta keep the family together.

    Anyway, brilliant novel. Pure genius.

  • Moby Dick

    "Not a novel; epic poetry."

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    Samurai films are my favorite genre pictures. Mainly what attracts me to them isn't so much that I love Japanese history or ever wanted to be a samurai, it's that I love how a good, proper samurai film teases out the action until the finale. Samurai films are about patience; the slow burn. Shots might linger on the rain, or cherry blossoms, or footprints in the snow, or the sounds of cicadas in the summer heat but the 'action' isn't until after two hours of build up.

    For me anticipation is what I love, perhaps more than the resolution itself. I love waiting for something to happen but I never really was that excited for the thing itself. I suppose I just like having something to look forward to. Expectation and imagination is, typically, far more interesting than reality.

    A samurai would spend his entire life training for battle yet, like the samurai in Kurosawa's 'Seven Samurai' not be victorious even once. There would be very little glory in a war; only the young and inexperienced would find it romantic while the old veterans would know there is never really any winning a war.

    And that is what Moby Dick is for me: a samurai film set at sea where the warriors are all Nantucket whalers and the villain is a fish.

    Melville, too, must have felt similar about anticipation as I do. His whole novel - though this is not a novel, it's really an epic poem - is imagination and anticipation and beautiful images of the sea and of death and of the whaling life. Yet in the end it's all so futile.

    "Great God, where is the ship?"

    One thing I hadn't counted on about Moby Dick is how even though everyone who hasn't read the novel is well aware of it and the events within, it's not a book you can really know anything about without reading. This is a book, like Ulysses, you have to experience. You have to live through this novel; it has to happen to you. This isn't a story to be told in the normal sense - in fact the book is almost everything but a normal novel after we set sail - this is a book whose art is in forcing you to live the events of the book as if you are on that cursed ship.

    Something that really struck me is that our narrator who is so famously introduced to us in one of the great first lines in a book - 'Call me Ishmael' - slowly ghosts away as the novel goes on. What starts as a book about Ishmael's experience getting on the ship and learning about whaling (and the entire science of whales), he lets go of our hand and we begin floating about the Pequod like a disembodied spirit. We overhear everyone's conversations, even their private mutterings, and the point of view expands out to be in all places at all times. It's an unsettling sensation because Melville is physically enlisting onto that ship as a shipmate and after our initial training we are forced to watch the events unfold to their conclusion.

    I also had no idea that the novel is not really a novel - not in the traditional sense. Moby Dick is, basically, postmodern but from the 1850's. I had expected a somewhat straightforward novel about the grappling with a whale, not 209,117 pages of epic poetry. I had not expected the novel to still feel so fresh as it must have been when it was written nearing on 200 years ago.

    One last thing that I have to confess is that I don't believe Ahab was mad. Obsessed? yes, but not insane. He was a salty captain with 40 years of experience at sea and he knew what he was doing. I don't even think he had a death wish, I just think he saw an opportunity to be truly great and flew at it with everything he had. He was already a great whaler (how else would he have lasted so long?) so he knew he could defeat that fish if he really tried. And I don't see anything wrong with that, too. All those men knew what they were in for and if Starbuck was more of a man he might have stopped Ahab, but Ahab is the sort of person who winds up wither being great or being killed; he is no ordinary person.

    He's very American in that way - he'll damn everything to get what he wants.

    Overall and beyond all the great themes of the novel is just how damn well it's written. There is nothing like this book. The language is so seductive, the imagery so vivid, everything on that ship and the sea so perfectly realized that there were times I had to pinch myself that this was real. Some of the writing is so good that it almost doesn't even seem possible, as if it were written by some God.

    Now that I'm done with the book I'm sad. I've now read Moby Dick and there are only so many great novels in the world worth throwing a harpoon at. But what a voyage getting there!

  • Kim

    "A wonderful friendship"

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    The most interesting, and shocking fact about history is just how young so many of the military commanders and leaders actually were down through time. One of the most famous, Alexander III of Macedon, was barely into his 20's when he began conquering the known world. Wars today are still fought by people the same age as Alexander (some even younger), and there will always be glory in war for a young man wanting to make a name for himself.

    Kim begins with a gun, a giant canon representing the strength, struggle, and oppression of India and the people who wanted control of the subcontinent. The book ends with a choice. In between we get the education of young Kim by his elders who see great promise in this talented, smart, cunning, and devious boy. Some wish to use him for the Great Game, that struggle for control over India (and now Pakistan), others wish to see him stay true to his native people (though little do they know he's actually white - a 'Sahib'), and one man, Teshoo Lama, wishes to set him on the path of 'the way', the true path of eternal salvation and freedom from sin.

    And this struggle for Kim's soul - both figuratively and literally - makes up the heart of the book, and not so much for the character's sake, bot for our own. Kipling is forcing us to decide which way we would choose to go (war, peace, or indifference) by letting us inhabit a main character who makes us feel smarter than we probably are in real life, more cunning than we are even on our best of days, braver, stronger, and more experienced than we would admit to being and then leaving the final decision open to our own interpretation as a test to see what we would do with Kim's talents and teachers influence.

    The novel does seem to aim for an audience of boys aged somewhere between 10 and 16 and Kipling does seem to be square in the camp of hoping young men will grow up to choose the way of peace, like the Lama, yet he doesn't beat you over the head with his morality, either. The life of the Great Game is very exciting, could lead to great renown, money, women, respect: all the things us boys dream of when we're young (and pretty much till the day we die old men, too). And even the simple life of just living your life out with basic comfort, a family, your head down and nose clean (the typical life most of us wind up choosing) is here seen as exotic, profitable, and, at the least, interesting.

    In fact considering how much of the novel is focused on the relationship between Kim and the Lama and how relatively little is devoted to a more exciting life, goes to show just how difficult it is to steer people away from war, from vain glory, from 'illusion' as the Lama would say. Just one encounter with a spy, with a Russian with a gun, with a mysterious gem trader can nearly undo years of fellowship with a peaceful Lama whose earthly reward is begging and heavenly reward is uncertain.

    And so looking deeper into these decisions it seems much clearer how in that particular part of the world even today it's not so difficult to see why young men chose to join up with groups that offer far more attractive and comfortable rewards here on Earth instead of following the ways of a prophet. Life in Pakistan and the surrounding area is harsh, dangerous, other cultures and foreigners look down on them as dirty and stupid, there are no real opportunities, and so it's not hard to understand why on the one hand even a powerful religion such as Islam can teach peace and on the other young men will kill in the name of it.

    So in many ways that I doubt Kipling would have ever imagined, Kim is a very relevant novel today that teaches us quite a bit about ourselves as well as the people of an 'exotic' land in the middle east and subcontinent. Kipling shows us the struggle between right and wrong, good and evil, and though he aims for a younger audience, the book is filled with a wisdom that is well beyond the age of the intended reader.

    I am a little uncomfortable with some of the generalizations Kipling paints with concerning nearly all the ethnicity. Mahbub Ali, a Muslim, is dangerously close to the stereotypical dangerous and shady Afghan Muslim, Hurree is a buffoon even when he's tough as nails and brilliant, Creighton is far too fatherly and pretty much stands for all of British colonialism, the two chaplains (a Catholic and a Protestant) are comic relief, and even the Lama seems very one-dimensional and straight out of a bad Hollywood interpretation of the wise, Tibetan monk.

    Yet there is also real friendship between Kim and the Lama that transcends the page and in moments of crisis for the two of them genuinely had me worried for the outcome and that strength of the friendship helps sell the idea of the way of peace in the face of so many more tempting options. And it's that friendship on the page, the real art of the novel that made me really love the book despite its flaws.

  • The Master and Margarita

    "There is nothing else quite like it"

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    Russian literature gets a bad rap for being dry, thick, and dull, when the reality is much of the most respected Russian literature is filled with fantastic flights of fancy, and outrageous absurdities. Take, for example, a small scene in Anna Karenina where all of a sudden we get narration from the point of view of Levin's hunting dog. This scene seems so natural it's easy to forget we're getting the inner-monologue of a dog. Gogol, who Bulgakov is most similar too, was famous for his absurdities: his story The Nose is about a man's nose that leads a life of its own. And even that most serious of authors, Dostoevsky, wrote his best works about the struggles of man against the powers of the supernatural. And while many good people would scoff at the idea of religion being lumped into the same category as mere "fantasy", the idea of a naked witch riding a man turned into a pig over a sleeping Moscow is not that much harder to believe than an angel falling from heaven and corrupting all of mankind.

    But what is this book about? Yes, the plot is easy enough: The Devil comes to Moscow, causes all sorts of trouble, then leaves, but that's not what the book is "about". For me, this novel was about a search for truth.

    Famously, Communism biggest flaw was that after awhile everyone under it grew apathetic, nobody bothered to fix or change anything because it couldn't be fixed or changed; there was no point looking for the broken pieces because it would just cause a lot of trouble. But couldn't the same thing be said of religion? How do we know that the story of Jesus and Pontius Pilate happened as it says in the New Testament? Bulgakov makes a good case for his version of events being much more realistic than what's in the Christian Bible. Yet the story we have in the Gospels talks about a man who while being crucified suffered so that man could be forgiven for all their sins and on the third day after his burial he rose from the dead and ascended into heaven. Millions of people take that for an absolute, unarguable fact.

    But how do stories really get told? Aren't the best stories really just exaggerations built upon more exaggerations? Couldn't the story of Homer in The Odyssey have started out as a true tale of a man lost at sea for awhile who managed to return home (an exciting enough story as it is), but then have been built upon by countless storytellers who turned it into the epic poem we now know? And maybe that's why in this novel The Master is belittled by the editors - not just because he's written the true (and less supernatural) version of events concerning Pontius Pilate and Jesus - but because he's dared to use his imagination at all in communist Russia. After all, Russia at the time was a state built on scientific reason, absolute logic, and pure atheism; Russia was building a new world order but was failing miserable, as Voland quickly discovers and as Bulgakov so humorously explores.

    One of the greatest feats the novel pulls off is creating Pontius Pilate as a sympathetic, complex character. He's not made out to be the good guy, but neither is he all evil, either. And by the end of the novel we understand the real meaning of what Jesus (Yeshua here) preached when he said all men are good (something Pilate completely disagreed with). Salvation awaits for even the most troubled of people and is where, I believe, Bulgakov was being optimistic about what would happen one day in Russia - that communism would fail (which it did 60 years later).

    However, all this would be just dry academic babbling if the book itself weren't any good, and oh, boy is this book wonderful. Ranging from moments of pure insanity - a cat with a gun - to moments of beautiful tenderness such as the fate of Judas and the moonbeams, this novel covers so much ground that it's nearly impossible to pin down and say with any certainty what it's really all "about". What is is though is wonderful, funny, and touching. The Master and Margarita is one helluva story and there is nothing else quite like it.

Robert

Robert Yamhill, OR, United States 12-13-12 Member Since 2009

Hey Audible, don't raise prices and I promise to buy lots more books.

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  • "My favorite book this year."

    86 of 88 helpful votes

    When I read reviewers write, “the best book I have ever read,” I thought yeah right! ‘must not have read many books. Well, I have read a fair bit myself and this is definitely one of the best written books I have ever read. I believe it is a book that one can read and reread and enjoy over and over and find something new in each reading of it. Not to be redundant, it is also one of the most fun and funniest I have ever read. It is a scholarly and even literary work, if you will. And yet, at the same time, the book is totally enchanting, witty and charming.

    The legend of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table arose in the early Middle Ages, when England was just beginning to come under the influence of Christianity. When anyone retells the story, the author brings his own perspective to the tale of chivalry. Here T.H. White often appears to use the education of the young king Wart by Merlyn to educate the reader. While not in so many words, or maybe it is that: Merlin is a time-traveler. Not so much in the context of some science fiction novel but in his memory. Merlin is aware of past, present and the future. Certainly the author is aware of those times and uses those temporal events to tell his story. The book is in many ways a critique of mid-twentieth-century British culture. At first, things seem somewhat anachronistic but then we see that the narrator regularly references events and people in modern times to help tell his tale even more effectively.

    Both T.H. White’s The Once and Future King and J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings were written in the shadow of World War II, and both reflect that context to some extent:

    “No. There is one fairly good reason for fighting - and that is, if the other man starts it. You see, wars are a wickedness, perhaps the greatest wickedness of a wicked species. They are so wicked that they must not be allowed. When you can be perfectly certain that the other man started them, then is the time when you might have a sort of duty to stop him.” (Merlyn)

    Not only is T.H. White’s The Once and Future King full of anachronistic references to places and events of modern times, but it also plays fast and loose with time within the framework of the novel itself. Given the references to the death of Uther Pendragon in 1216 and the appearance of Thomas Malory at the end of the story, Arthur would have lived from 1201-1485. In effect, what White does is telescope almost three hundred years of English history and social development into the backdrop of a single narrative.

    The book is long. But multiple versions of the story of King Arthur are considered within its covers so how short can it be? No, this is the best of several interpretations of the legend and it is not too long. While much of the book’s ending dwells on allegory, philosophy and social commentary, it is done with and eloquence and prose that is hard to compare with.

    One of the young reviewers of this book that I found tried to figure out the audience for for whom the author intended and concluded there were many. I agree:

    For children and young adults-
    “I have been thinking ... about Might and Right. I don’t think things ought to be done because you are able to do them. I think they should be done because you ought to do them.” (Arthur). One of the central themes of the book is War: Right and Might.

    On one level, both Mark Twain’s A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court and T.H.
    White’s The Once and Future King are children’s stories, yet both novels contain very
    serious social commentary clearly intended for adults. Who could argue though that the social satire found in these novels detracts too much from the ability of children to enjoy them. Could a child appreciate all that is contained within TOaFK? Certainly not. However, there are many stories in this legend and many that target the child in all of us. One need not read this entire book though I am sure a lust will always remain to do so.

    No reviewer could possibly do justice to this book. How about some more of the author’s own words:

    On Wisdom-
    “The best thing for being sad ... is to learn something. That is the only thing that never
    fails. You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake at night listening to the disorder of your veins, you may miss your only love, you may see the world about you devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honour trampled in the sewers of baser minds. There is only one thing for it then - to learn. Learn why the world wags and what wags it. That is the only thing which the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting.” (Merlyn)

    This is a story about great compassion-
    “If I were made a knight ..., I should insist on doing my vigil by myself, a Hob does with
    his hawks, and I should pray to God to let me encounter all the evil in the world in my own person, so that if I conquered there would be none left, and, if I were defeated, I would be the one to suffer for it.” (Wart)

    The author writes a great deal about the evolution of man-
    “Here, all you embryos, come here with your beaks and whatnots to look upon Our first
    Man. He is the only one who has guessed Our riddle, out of all of you, and We have great pleasure in conferring upon him the Order of Dominion over the Fowls of the Air, and the Beasts of the Earth, and the Fishes of the Sea. Now let the rest of you get along, and love and multiply, for it is time to knock off for the weekend. As for you, Man, you will be a naked tool all your life, though a user of tools. You will look like an embryo till they bury you, but all the others will be embryos before your might. Eternally undeveloped, you will always remain potential in Our image, able to see some of Our sorrows and to feel some of Our joys. We are partly sorry for you, Man, but partly hopeful.” (Badger)

    Much is written about human morality-
    “Morals ... are a form of insanity. Give me a moral man who insists on doing the right
    things all the time, and I will show you a tangle which an angel couldn’t get out of.” (Lionel)

    This title actually includes Books 1-5 of T.H. White’s magnum opus. It is not so much about world-building per se though there is enough of that. The book is more about us as humans and our nature... our intellectual, psychological, social and even political nature. The book is philosophical, satirical with even a little theology thrown in. Not too much; just the right amount. If it is action that ye seek, knockdown, drag out fighting, best look elsewhere. This is one more about relationships and different kinds of heroes.

    This is brilliant storytelling brilliantly read and performed. The narration by Neville Jason is as good as it gets. I could not recommend a book more highly.

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    The Once and Future King

    • UNABRIDGED (33 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By T. H. White
    • Narrated By Neville Jason
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    (1103)
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    The complete "box set" of T. H. White's epic fantasy novel of the Arthurian legend. The novel is made up of five parts: "The Sword in the Stone", "The Witch in the Wood", "The Ill-Made Knight", "The Candle in the Wind", and "The Book of Merlyn".

    Bookoholics Anon says: "Fabulous reading, epic story and a new chapter!"

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    To Kill a Mockingbird (






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    • By Harper Lee
    • Narrated By Sissy Spacek
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    Harper Lee’s Pulitzer prize-winning masterwork of honor and injustice in the deep south - and the heroism of one man in the face of blind and violent hatred, available now for the first time as a digital audiobook. One of the best-loved stories of all time, To Kill a Mockingbird has been translated into more than 40 languages, sold more than 30 million copies worldwide, served as the basis for an enormously popular motion picture, and was voted one of the best novels of the 20th century by librarians across the country.

    Alan says: "Stunning"
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    The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, Volume 1: The Treason of Isengard (






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    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By J.R.R. Tolkien
    • Narrated By Rob Inglis
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    Frodo and the Companions of the Ring have been beset by danger during their quest to prevent the Ruling Ring from falling into the hands of the Dark Lord by destroying it in the Cracks of Doom. Now they continue their journey alone down the great River Anduin, alone, that is, save for the mysterious creeping figure that follows wherever they go.

    Catherine says: "third book of the series"
  • 4.9 (27 ratings)
    Time Regained: Remembrance of Things Past, Volume 7 (






UNABRIDGED) by Marcel Proust Narrated by Neville Jason

    Time Regained: Remembrance of Things Past, Volume 7

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Marcel Proust
    • Narrated By Neville Jason
    Overall
    (27)
    Performance
    (26)
    Story
    (26)

    Lost in the blacked-out streets of Paris during the First World War, Marcel stumbles into a brothel and accidentally witnesses a shocking scene involving the Baron de Charlus. Later, at a reception given by the Prince de Guermates, his meditations on the passage of time lead to his determination to embark on his life's work at last.

    Darwin8u says: "Full of emotional/intellectual/experiential joules"
  • 4.9 (21 ratings)
    Master i Margarita [The Master and Margarita] (






UNABRIDGED) by Mikhail Afanasyevich Bulgakov Narrated by Vladimir Ivanovich Samoylov

    Master i Margarita [The Master and Margarita]

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Mikhail Afanasyevich Bulgakov
    • Narrated By Vladimir Ivanovich Samoylov
    Overall
    (21)
    Performance
    (19)
    Story
    (18)

    Master i Margarita - "posledniy zakatnyy" roman M.A. Bulgakova, roman zaveshchanie, voskresshiy iz pepla unichtozhennoy avtorom pervoy redaktsii. V Mastere i Margarite fantastika natalkivaetsya na realizm, mif na istoricheskuyu dostovernost, teosofiya na demonizm, romantika na klounadu.

  •  
  • 4.9 (15 ratings)
    The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Volume I (






UNABRIDGED) by Edward Gibbon Narrated by David Timson

    The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Volume I

    • UNABRIDGED (22 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Edward Gibbon
    • Narrated By David Timson
    Overall
    (15)
    Performance
    (15)
    Story
    (15)

    Some 250 years after its first publication, Gibbon's Decline and Fall is still regarded as one of the greatest histories in Western literature. He reports on more than 1,000 years of an empire which extended from the most northern and western parts of Europe to deep into Asia and Africa and covers not only events but also the cultural and religious developments that effected change during that time.

    Allen L. Harris says: "DAVID TIMSON IS AMAZING!"
  • 4.8 (14 ratings)
    Anne of Avonlea: Anne of Green Gables, Book 2 (






UNABRIDGED) by L. M. Montgomery Narrated by Laurie Klein

    Anne of Avonlea: Anne of Green Gables, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By L. M. Montgomery
    • Narrated By Laurie Klein
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (14)
    Performance
    (13)
    Story
    (12)

    This is the second story in the Anne of Green Gables series. Skinny little red-haired Anne has changed into a pretty 16-year-old and is all grown up - well, sort of grown up. The story opens with Anne as a school teacher at Avonlea school. When Anne reached the school that first morning, she was confronted by prim rows of "shining morning faces". She had sat up until nearly midnight composing a speech which she had revised and improved painstakingly. It was a wonderful speech with fine ideas. And then, she couldn't remember it!

    Susie says: "Good story and perfect narrator"
  • 4.8 (14 ratings)
    Tom Jones: The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling (






UNABRIDGED) by Henry Fielding Narrated by Bill Homewood

    Tom Jones: The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling

    • UNABRIDGED (37 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Henry Fielding
    • Narrated By Bill Homewood
    Overall
    (14)
    Performance
    (13)
    Story
    (13)

    Tom Jones, a foundling, is brought up by the kindly Mr. Allworthy as if he were his own son. Forced to leave the house as a young man after tales of his disgraceful behavior reach his benefactor's ears, he sets out in utter despair, not only because of his banishment but because he has now lost all hope of gaining the hand of the beautiful Sophia. But she too is forced to flee her parental home to escape an undesirable marriage and their stories and adventures intertwine.

    Lawrence says: "Fantastic narration"
  • 4.8 (13 ratings)
    Complete Short Stories, Volume 3 (






UNABRIDGED) by W. Somerset Maugham Narrated by Charlton Griffin

    Complete Short Stories, Volume 3

    • UNABRIDGED (27 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By W. Somerset Maugham
    • Narrated By Charlton Griffin
    Overall
    (13)
    Performance
    (13)
    Story
    (13)

    In 1938 Maugham wrote, "Fact and fiction are so intermingled in my work that now, looking back on it, I can hardly distinguish one from the other." Maugham also wrote that most of his short stories were inspired by accounts he heard firsthand during his travels to the lonely outposts of the British Empire. In volume three of this series, we present all of the remaining short stories which Maugham published after World War I and which he subsequently caused to be republished in various collections.

    Die Falknerin says: "What a treat!"
  • The Hobbit (






UNABRIDGED) by J. R. R. Tolkien Narrated by Rob Inglis

    The Hobbit

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By J. R. R. Tolkien
    • Narrated By Rob Inglis
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (8759)
    Performance
    (7865)
    Story
    (7999)

    Like every other hobbit, Bilbo Baggins likes nothing better than a quiet evening in his snug hole in the ground, dining on a sumptuous dinner in front of a fire. But when a wandering wizard captivates him with tales of the unknown, Bilbo becomes restless. Soon he joins the wizard’s band of homeless dwarves in search of giant spiders, savage wolves, and other dangers. Bilbo quickly tires of the quest for adventure and longs for the security of his familiar home. But before he can return to his life of comfort, he must face the greatest threat of all.

    Darwin8u says: "Victory after all, I suppose!"
  • The Chosen (






UNABRIDGED) by Chaim Potok Narrated by Jonathan Davis

    The Chosen

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Chaim Potok
    • Narrated By Jonathan Davis
    Overall
    (444)
    Performance
    (209)
    Story
    (212)

    Though they've lived their entire lives less than five blocks from each other, Reuven Malter and Danny Saunders exist in very different worlds. Reuven blends easily into both his secular Jewish faith and his typical American teen life, while Danny's conservative Hasidic clothes and appearance make him stick out in any crowd. Their improbable friendship teaches them that the differences separating people through cultures and generations are never as great as they seem.

    connie says: "truly rates overused "classic" label"
  • Classical Mythology  by The Great Courses Narrated by Professor Elizabeth Vandiver

    Classical Mythology

    • ORIGINAL (12 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Elizabeth Vandiver
    Overall
    (209)
    Performance
    (187)
    Story
    (186)

    These 24 lectures are a vibrant introduction to the primary characters and most important stories of classical Greek and Roman mythology. Among those you'll investigate are the accounts of the creation of the world in Hesiod's Theogony and Ovid's Metamorphoses; the gods Zeus, Apollo, Demeter, Persephone, Hermes, Dionysos, and Aphrodite; the Greek heroes, Theseus and Heracles (Hercules in the Roman version); and the most famous of all classical myths, the Trojan War.

    Matt says: "Very Informative and Entertaining"
  • The Screwtape Letters (






UNABRIDGED) by C.S. Lewis Narrated by Ralph Cosham

    The Screwtape Letters

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By C.S. Lewis
    • Narrated By Ralph Cosham
    Overall
    (1993)
    Performance
    (1087)
    Story
    (1108)

    A masterpiece of satire, this classic has entertained and enlightened readers the world over with its sly and ironic portrayal of human life and foibles from the vantage point of Screwtape, a highly placed assistant to "Our Father Below". At once wildly comic, deadly serious, and strikingly original, C.S. Lewis gives us the correspondence of the worldly-wise old Devil to his nephew, Wormwood, a novice demon in charge of securing the damnation of an ordinary young man.

    Amazon Customer says: "So much truth, much of it scary."
  •  
  • Brave New World (






UNABRIDGED) by Aldous Huxley Narrated by Michael York

    Brave New World

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Aldous Huxley
    • Narrated By Michael York
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2594)
    Performance
    (1857)
    Story
    (1876)

    When Lenina and Bernard visit a savage reservation, we experience how Utopia can destroy humanity.

    Cloning, feel-good drugs, anti-aging programs, and total social control through politics, programming, and media: has Aldous Huxley accurately predicted our future? With a storyteller's genius, he weaves these ethical controversies in a compelling narrative that dawns in the year 632 A.F. (After Ford, the deity). When Lenina and Bernard visit a savage reservation, we experience how Utopia can destroy humanity.

    Jefferson says: "“Oh, Ford, Ford Ford, I Wish I Had My Soma!”"
  • Persuasion (






UNABRIDGED) by Jane Austen Narrated by Juliet Stevenson

    Persuasion

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Jane Austen
    • Narrated By Juliet Stevenson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1127)
    Performance
    (791)
    Story
    (802)

    Anne Elliot has grieved for seven years over the loss of her first love, Captain Frederick Wentworth. But events conspire to unravel the knots of deceit and misunderstanding in this beguiling and gently comic story of love and fidelity.

    Emily - Audible says: "Juliet Stevenson is Simply Amazing"
  • The Importance of Being Earnest (






UNABRIDGED) by Oscar Wilde Narrated by James Marsters, Charles Busch, Emily Bergl, Neil Dickson, Jill Gascoine, Christopher Neame, Matthew Wolf

    The Importance of Being Earnest

    • UNABRIDGED (1 hr and 59 mins)
    • By Oscar Wilde
    • Narrated By James Marsters, Charles Busch, Emily Bergl, and others
    Overall
    (568)
    Performance
    (465)
    Story
    (463)

    This final play from the pen of Oscar Wilde is a stylish send-up of Victorian courtship and manners, complete with assumed names, mistaken lovers, and a lost handbag. Jack and Algernon are best friends, both wooing ladies who think their names are Ernest, "that name which inspires absolute confidence." Wilde's effervescent wit, scathing social satire, and high farce make this one of the most cherished plays in the English language.

    Tad Davis says: "Delightfully silly"
  • Alas, Babylon (






UNABRIDGED) by Pat Frank Narrated by Will Patton

    Alas, Babylon

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Pat Frank
    • Narrated By Will Patton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4027)
    Performance
    (2990)
    Story
    (2994)

    This true modern masterpiece is built around the two fateful words that make up the title and herald the end - “Alas, Babylon.” When a nuclear holocaust ravages the United States, a thousand years of civilization are stripped away overnight, and tens of millions of people are killed instantly. But for one small town in Florida, miraculously spared, the struggle is just beginning, as men and women of all backgrounds join together to confront the darkness....

    Evelyn says: "Excellent listen"
  •  
  • Mark Twain's Helpful Hints for Good Living: A Handbook for the Damned Human Race (






UNABRIDGED) by Lin Salamo (editor), Victor Fischer (editor), Michael B. Frank (editor), Mark Twain Narrated by Grover Gardner

    Mark Twain's Helpful Hints for Good Living: A Handbook for the Damned Human Race

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Lin Salamo (editor), Victor Fischer (editor), Michael B. Frank (editor), and others
    • Narrated By Grover Gardner
    Overall
    (309)
    Performance
    (277)
    Story
    (274)

    Irreverent, charming, and eminently quotable, this handbook - an eccentric etiquette guide for the human race - contains 69 aphorisms, anecdotes, whimsical suggestions, maxims, and cautionary tales from Mark Twain’s private and published writings. It dispenses advice and reflections on family life and public manners; opinions on topics such as dress, health, food, and childrearing and safety; and more specialized tips, such as those for dealing with annoying salesmen and burglars.

    tracy says: "Mark Twain is Hilarious!"
  • Julius Caesar (






UNABRIDGED) by William Shakespeare Narrated by Andrew Buchan, Sean Barrett

    Julius Caesar

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By William Shakespeare
    • Narrated By Andrew Buchan, Sean Barrett
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (213)
    Performance
    (186)
    Story
    (186)

    Julius Caesar is one of Shakespeare’s most compelling Roman plays. The plot against Caesar and the infamous assassination scene make for unforgettable listening. Brutus, the true protagonist of the play, is mesmerizing in his psychological state of anguish, forced to choose between the bonds of friendship and his desire for patriotic justice.

    David says: "The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars"
  • Ulysses (






UNABRIDGED) by James Joyce Narrated by Jim Norton

    Ulysses

    • UNABRIDGED (27 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By James Joyce
    • Narrated By Jim Norton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (679)
    Performance
    (408)
    Story
    (394)

    Ulysses is regarded by many as the single most important novel of the 20th century. It tells the story of one day in Dublin, June 16th 1904, largely through the eyes of Stephen Dedalus (Joyce's alter ego from Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man) and Leopold Bloom, an advertising salesman. Both begin a normal day, and both set off on a journey around the streets of Dublin, which eventually brings them into contact with one another.

    A User says: "Ulysses (Unabridged)"
  • Gulliver's Travels: A Signature Performance by David Hyde Pierce (






UNABRIDGED) by Jonathan Swift Narrated by David Hyde Pierce

    Gulliver's Travels: A Signature Performance by David Hyde Pierce

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Jonathan Swift
    • Narrated By David Hyde Pierce
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (711)
    Performance
    (520)
    Story
    (525)

    A Signature Performance: Four-time Emmy Award winner David Hyde Pierce delivers an air of lovable self-importance in his rendition of the classic social satire that remains as fresh today as the day it was published.

    Rose says: "Loved every minute"
  • Gespräche mit Goethe in den letzten Jahren seines Lebens: Dritter Teil (






UNABRIDGED) by Johann Peter Eckermann Narrated by Hans Jochim Schmidt

    Gespräche mit Goethe in den letzten Jahren seines Lebens: Dritter Teil

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Johann Peter Eckermann
    • Narrated By Hans Jochim Schmidt
    Overall
    (0)
    Performance
    (0)
    Story
    (0)

    Die Niederschriften der von Eckermann in den Bänden 1 und 2 seiner "Gespräche mit Goethe" im Jahre 1836 veröffentlichten Unterhaltungen gelten als authentisch und werden in Publizistik, Literatur und Wissenschaft immer wieder als Quelle herangezogen. Die erst im Jahre 1848 veröffentlichten Unterhaltungen des dritten Bandes dagegen beruhen weitgehend auf fragmentarischen Notizen Eckermanns sowie auf Aufzeichnungen seines Freundes Frédéric Soret.

  • The Murder of the Countess Görlitz (






UNABRIDGED) by Sabine Baring-Gould Narrated by Cathy Dobson

    The Murder of the Countess Görlitz

    • UNABRIDGED (59 mins)
    • By Sabine Baring-Gould
    • Narrated By Cathy Dobson
    Overall
    (0)
    Performance
    (0)
    Story
    (0)

    The bizarre death of the Countess Görlitz at Darmstadt in Germany, in 1847, was one of the greatest mysteries of the age. For several years it was widely believed that the Countess had spontaneously combusted at her writing desk. Another popular theory was that her husband, Count Görlitz, a Privy Councillor and Chamberlain to the Grand-Duke of Hesse had murdered her - a charge which he vigorously denied.

  • The History of the Man in Black (






UNABRIDGED) by Oliver Goldsmith Narrated by Cathy Dobson

    The History of the Man in Black

    • UNABRIDGED (14 mins)
    • By Oliver Goldsmith
    • Narrated By Cathy Dobson
    Overall
    (0)
    Performance
    (0)
    Story
    (0)

    Oliver Goldsmith (1730 – 1774) was an Irish novelist, playwright and poet. In "The History of the Man in Black" he describes the cynical journey of a generous and benevolent young man from dire pecuniary circumstances to riches, achieved by divesting himself of any moral considerations for others.

  • Masterpieces of Murder: Intriguing and Unusual Crime Stories (






UNABRIDGED) by G. K. Chesterton, Edgar Allan Poe, A. J. Allan, Stacy Aumonier, Sabine Baring-Gould, Nathaniel Hawthorne, E. W. Hornung Narrated by Cathy Dobson

    Masterpieces of Murder: Intriguing and Unusual Crime Stories

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By G. K. Chesterton, Edgar Allan Poe, A. J. Allan, and others
    • Narrated By Cathy Dobson
    Overall
    (0)
    Performance
    (0)
    Story
    (0)

    A fascinating collection of intriguing and unusual classic murder stories by some of the masters of mystery and crime writing.

  •  
  • Once There Was a War (






UNABRIDGED) by John Steinbeck, Mark Bowden (editor) Narrated by Lloyd James

    Once There Was a War

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By John Steinbeck, Mark Bowden (editor)
    • Narrated By Lloyd James
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (0)
    Performance
    (0)
    Story
    (0)

    In 1943 John Steinbeck was on assignment for The New York Herald Tribune, writing from Italy and North Africa, and from England in the midst of the London blitz. In his dispatches he focuses on the human-scale effect of the war, portraying everyone from the guys in a bomber crew to Bob Hope on his USO tour and even fighting alongside soldiers behind enemy lines. Taken together, these writings create an indelible portrait of life in wartime.

  • The Fir Tree (






ABRIDGED) by Hans Christian Andersen Narrated by AudioscapePlayers

    The Fir Tree

    • ABRIDGED (22 mins)
    • By Hans Christian Andersen
    • Narrated By AudioscapePlayers
    Overall
    (0)
    Performance
    (0)
    Story
    (0)

    The great Hans Christian Andersen creates a fir-tree with a voice, a soul, and thoughts we can briefly share.An audio-dramatisation with full cast, sound effects, and 'audio-ambience' created for you by AudioscapePlayers.

  • The Moonstone (






ABRIDGED) by Wilkie Collins, J. A. Mears (adapted by) Narrated by AudioscapePlayers

    The Moonstone

    • ABRIDGED (1 hr and 42 mins)
    • By Wilkie Collins, J. A. Mears (adapted by)
    • Narrated By AudioscapePlayers
    Overall
    (0)
    Performance
    (0)
    Story
    (0)

    John Herncastle, an English officer, kills three guards, and steals a precious jewel from the head of a Hindu moon-god, during the battle of Seringapatam. It passes into the hands of Miss Verinder, on the celebration of her 18th birthday. The Brahmins then come to regain it. That night the moonstone disappears; but who has it? The mystery is tackled by the resourceful detective, Sergeant Cuff.

  • Man Without a Shadow: An

    Man Without a Shadow: An "Old-Fashioned" Mystery Series

    • ABRIDGED (1 hr and 21 mins)
    • By Keith Perreur-Lloyd
    • Narrated By AudioscapePlayers
    Overall
    (0)
    Performance
    (0)
    Story
    (0)

    An episode of a light-hearted mystery series, with American, Canadian, and British actresses and actors. Adam Grant, or so his name appears to be, finds himself in a hotel room with a person he doesn't recognise: himself. His attempts to find out who he is, embroil him in a number of strange and sometimes dangerous situations in many parts of the world. (As this script was written in the 1970s, one may guess that its main theme was very attractive to other authors!)

  •  
  • The Traveling Companion (






ABRIDGED) by Habs Christian Andersen Narrated by AudioscapePlayers

    The Traveling Companion

    • ABRIDGED (50 mins)
    • By Habs Christian Andersen
    • Narrated By AudioscapePlayers
    Overall
    (0)
    Performance
    (0)
    Story
    (0)

    This enchanting tale of the journey taken by a youngster together with his mysterious friend, leads the listener into a unverse of magic and mystery: a princess who is a witch, a giant who likes to eat human eyes, a miserable king, a garden of bones...these are some of the ingredients of this fetching story. An audio-dramatization with full cast, sound effects, and 'audio-ambience' created for you by AudioscapePlayers.