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Jefferson

Jefferson Jonan-ku, Fukuoka-shi, Japan Member Since 2010

I love reading and listening to books, especially fantasy, science fiction, children's, historical, and classics.

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15
  • "A Stark Tower on a Bare Rock, or a ..."

    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    On the surface not much happens in Virginia Woolf's semi-autobiographical modernist masterpiece To the Lighthouse (1929). In Part I: The Window, Mr. and Mrs. Ramsay (based on Woolf's own parents), their eight children, and several guests are vacationing at the Ramsays' summer house on the Isle of Skye in the early 20th century. Mrs. Ramsay, a meddling and kind fifty-year-old Greek-goddess, goes to town on errands, reads a fairy tale to her youngest child James, knits a stocking, presides over a dinner, communes without words with her husband, and holds the different people in the house together with the gravity of her charisma. Mr. Ramsay, an eccentric philosopher-academic, carries on with egotism, insecurity, and emotional tyranny. James' desire to visit the local lighthouse is thwarted by his father and the weather. Mr. Charles Tansley, an uptight disciple of Mr. Ramsay, asserts himself charmlessly. The somnolent and cat-eyed poet Mr. Carmichael reclines on the lawn. And independent, Chinese-eyed and pucker-faced Lily Briscoe works on a painting of Mrs. Ramsay and James and critically contemplates the family. In Part II: Time Passes, the forces of entropy besiege the house as it stands empty of people for ten years. And in Part III: The Lighthouse, Mr. Ramsay coerces his two youngest children--now moody teenagers—to accompany him to the lighthouse while Lily Briscoe--who partly represents Woolf herself as a writer--comes to terms with her feelings for Mrs. Ramsay as she tries to capture her vision in the painting she'd attempted ten years earlier.

    Woolf is so good at sympathetically and honestly exposing people's minds and so good at revealing the beautiful and awful world we live in, and her writing is so beautiful, flowing, controlled, and poetic, that spending only a couple days with her characters is an indelibly rich experience. She employs a modernist stream of consciousness narration, and fluidly moves from one character to another. Her technique in the novel has been likened to that of the lighthouse beam moving across the benighted island world, briefly illuminating one mind and then another as it goes round, but Woolf's narration feels more organic than that. I relish her long, elegant sentences comprised of multiple clauses attached by semi-colons, her original and vivid metaphors, and her insights into human nature in a variety of vessels (male, female, old, young, educated, simple, etc.). I expected To the Lighthouse to be beautiful, philosophical, and sad, and it was, but I was surprised by its constant humor. At least as often as a poignant pang, I felt a flush of pleasure, similar to what Cam feels while sailing towards the lighthouse:

    "From her hand, ice cold, held deep in the sea, there spurted up a fountain of joy at the change, at the escape, at the adventure (that she should be alive, that she should be there). And the drops falling from this sudden and unthinking fountain of joy fell here and there on the dark, the slumbrous shapes in her mind; shapes of a world not realised but turning in their darkness, catching here and there, a spark of light; Greece, Rome, Constantinople."

    The dense novel explores the miraculous fragility and meaning (or lack thereof) of life; the varied and complex nature of love; the losses and gains involved in making families or living alone; the fraught relationships between children and parents; the confining roles of men and women; the surprising vividness and poignancy of memory; the complex nature of perception; the doomed but necessary attempt to understand other people; and the doomed but noble attempt through art to capture truth and to avoid entropy.

    Juliet Stevenson was born to read Virginia Woolf! Her voice is lovely to listen to and full of understanding, irony, and sympathy, a perfect accompaniment to the text. With skillful subtlety, she modifies her voice for the thoughts of men and women and children and adults (and for the local Scottish workers who help the Ramsays). She carried me off To the Lighthouse. The only thing, perhaps, that is lost in the audiobook is Woolf's use of parentheses and brackets and semi-colons, which visually shape the reading of the text.

    To the Lighthouse, like Mrs. Dalloway and Orlando, should be read by anyone interested in gender, art, love, life, modernism, beautiful prose, and early 20th century British culture.

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    To the Lighthouse

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Virginia Woolf
    • Narrated By Juliet Stevenson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (196)
    Performance
    (152)
    Story
    (151)

    To the Lighthouse is a landmark work of English fiction. Virginia Woolf explores perception and meaning in some of the most beautiful prose ever written, minutely detailing the characters thoughts and impressions. This unabridged version is read by Juliet Stevenson.

    Jefferson says: "A Stark Tower on a Bare Rock, or a Hanging Garden?"
  • "An Excellent Iliad"

    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Listening to Charlton Griffin's reading of Richmond Lattimore's translation of The Iliad was a wonderful experience.

    Griffin is good at modifying the pitch and tone of his voice to evoke the different genders and ages and moods and agendas of the various characters. He brings the epic to life. He even makes fascinating the 90-minute introduction by scholar Herbert J. Muller. And the sound effects (ravens cawing over a battlefield) and Greek mood music introducing and concluding the 24 books of the epic immersed me in its world.

    As for Homer's story, an epic focused on a short slice of a long war, a tragedy with plenty of humor, it is rewardingly rich, depicting the appalling heroism and horror of war, the full range of human nature (from bravery to cowardice, brutality to mercy, destruction to creation, and hatred to love), the richness of ancient Greek culture, the pettiness and power of the gods, and the mortality and wonder of life. Among the most impressive moments are Hector's meeting with his wife and baby before going out to fight, Hephaestus' crafting of a shield with the heavens and earth and all of human endeavor animated upon it, and Achilles' inability to embrace the ghost of Patroclus in a dream. I hope the following quotation will give an idea of the excellence of Lattimore's translation and the depth of Homer's vision:

    As is the generation of leaves, so is that of humanity,
    The wind scatters the leaves on the ground, but the live timber
    burgeons with leaves again in the season of spring returning.
    So one generation of men will grow while another dies.

    In conclusion, I thoroughly savored this audio version of The Iliad, often smiling with appreciation for Homer's story, Lattimore's translation, and Griffin's reading. I highly recommend it.

    More

    The Iliad

    • UNABRIDGED (22 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Homer, Richard Lattimore (translator)
    • Narrated By Charlton Griffin
    Overall
    (163)
    Performance
    (114)
    Story
    (114)

    The Iliad is one of the most enduring creations of Western Civilization and was originally written to be recited or chanted to the accompaniment of various instruments. Properly performed, this work today is just as meaningful, just as powerful and just as entertaining as it was in the ninth century B.C.,and it casts its spell upon modern listeners with the same raw intensity as it did upon the people of ancient times.

    Jefferson says: "An Excellent Iliad"
  • "Poignant Modern Fairy Tales Wonderf..."

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    Which is more impressive in this audiobook, the fairy tales of Oscar Wilde or the readings of them by the assembled famous British actors? At their best, Wilde's stories are exquisitely beautiful and painful and reveal deep understanding of the tragedy of the human condition (mortality, inequality, prejudice, selfishness, and hatred), as well as its transcendence through generosity, self-sacrifice, beauty, faith, and love. The readers are perfect, with wise, compassionate, and flexible voices and deep understanding of each word they say and of each scene they depict.

    Special highlights are Dame Judi Dench reading "The Nightingale and the Rose" so full of wit and emotion, Jeremy Irons reading "The Devoted Friend" with a surprisingly wide range of voices for different characters, Joanna Lumley reading "The Star Child" and moving me to tears, and Robert Harris reading "The Happy Prince" and moving me to tears, too, especially whenever he says, "Swallow, Swallow, little Swallow." Sir Derek Jacobi reading "The Fisherman and His Soul," Sinead Cusack reading "The Birthday of the Infanta," and Sir Donald Sinden reading "The Selfish Giant" all do fine jobs with fine tales.

    The only dud (forgive the pun) is "The Remarkable Rocket," which, despite Geoffrey Palmer's excellent reading and despite the interesting concept (sentient fireworks talking about their upcoming royal display) is finally a mediocre joke that long overstays its welcome. The only disappointment is that the cover art says that there is a bonus track of "The Actress" read by Elaine Stritch, but it's absent from the audiobook.

    Anyway, I highly recommend this excellent audiobook.

    More

    Fairy Tales of Oscar Wilde: In Aid of the Royal Theatrical Fund

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Oscar Wilde
    • Narrated By Judi Dench, Jeremy Irons, Joanna Lumley, and others
    Overall
    (94)
    Performance
    (72)
    Story
    (73)

    Here is a collection of the Oscar Wilde's famous fairy tales, read by a cast of leading British actors. Additional narrators include Geoffrey Palmer O.B.E., Sir Donald Sinden, and Elaine Stritch. Music: 'Reverie De Sebastian' by Steve Davies.

    Jefferson says: "Poignant Modern Fairy Tales Wonderfully Read"
  1. To the Lighthouse
  2. The Iliad
  3. Fairy Tales of Oscar Wild...
  4. .

A Peek at Robert's Bookshelf

Helpful
Votes
3336
 
Yamhill, OR, United States 212 REVIEWS / 346 ratings Member Since 2009 2113 Followers / Following 12
 
Robert's greatest hits:
  • The Once and Future King

    "My favorite book this year."

    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    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.

  • The Good Earth

    "Reread and comment as an adult."

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    The good earth was published in 1931, awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1932 and probably contributed to the author winning the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1938. While it can be considered a stand-alone work with its satisfying conclusion, it is the first installment in a trilogy. Set in post-imperial, pre-WWII China, it helped foment poor relations with Japan going into that war.

    The book is primarily about the rise and fall of one Wang Lung, his family and fortune. The protagonist begins the book as a hard working farmer who later becomes a rather successful business man as he accumulates more and more land (hence, the good earth theme). Wang Lung loves the land above all other things. That love comes with a price, as all farmers know, in the form of adverse weather, drought and famine. The value that Lung puts on the land in the face of starvation, death and despair represents perhaps the central theme of the book.

    I read this book as a youngster when the view and position of China in the world was a great deal different than it is today. I read a review of the book just prior to this reading which blasted the book for its collection of racist stereotypes. On this, Andrew Nathan in Foreign Affairs writes that in his view, Buck delves deeply into the lives of the Chinese poor and opposed "religious fundamentalism, racial prejudice, gender oppression, sexual repression, and discrimination against the disabled." I don’t think that we can criticize a book for telling a story about that way things once were and that seems to be the focus of much of the criticism. Further, I think that the book speaks more to who we are as human beings than the Chinese as a race. Apparently the whole notion of race in China is a new one. Chinese intellectuals translated “race” as “zhong zu” (种族) a combination of the word for “seed” (种 or zhong) and an old Chinese term (族 or zu) used to describe the lineage of patrilineal extended families. What a coincidence that is: a book about the earth where seeds are placed and the male-centric families that tend them. Does that make the book racist? Me thinks not.

    Now about that rating. For a book that brought its author the Pulitzer and Nobel Prizes, it’s hard not to give the book top ratings. Would not less than the highest rating say more about the reviewer than the book? But sometimes we must be bold. Many of us read this book as YAs and, especially because of its simplicity, it fits that billet well. As an adult, however, I look for more layers, depth and complexity in my reads. Not that simple isn’t good. For me too, simple can put a book over the top. This was just not one of them.

  • The Count of Monte Cristo

    "The Best"

    Overall

    One has to believe that truly, for many of the reviewers of this book, this one is maybe the best they have read. Decidedly, this is the case for me. It is cleverly funny, mesmerizingly beautiful and intelligently written. Some have commented on its length. For this reader, the length only made the savoring longer and more delicious. Each character is beautifully developed by Dumas and flawlessly rendered by John Lee. The story is complex but simply conveyed. I could not more highly recommend a book and its narrator than this one.

  • Great Expectations

    "That it was by Dickens should have been enough"

    Overall

    That it was Charles Dickens should have been enough but, add to that a narration by Charlton Griffin and we have a masterpiece of a masterpiece. Sounds like hyperbole but how else to describe a book so well written and so well, well what? Surely not merely narrated. Not even only acted. It was like Charlton Griffin got into the mind of Dickens and transfers that experience to us. This is such a wonderful book and to have it presented to us here by Mr. Griffin is not something to be missed. Everything is so well tied up in the end with a pretty little knot but not before we are entertained with surprise after surprise. And the use of the English language... OMG, like few ever have before him nor I doubt few ever will again.

Jefferson

Jefferson Fukuoka, Japan 10-03-11 Member Since 2010

I love listening to or reading books--especially fantasy, science fiction, children's, classics, & historical.

HELPFUL VOTES
149
ratings
REVIEWS
22
22
FOLLOWERS
FOLLOWING
84
1
  • "“Oh, Ford, Ford Ford, I Wish I Had ..."

    58 of 59 helpful votes

    Brave New World is a bitterly funny and humorously tragic dystopian novel in which Aldous Huxley satirizes modern civilization’s obsession with consumerism, sensual pleasure, popular culture entertainment, mass production, and eugenics. His far future world limits individual freedom in exchange for communal happiness via mass culture arts like “feelies” (movies with sensual immersion), the state-produced feel-good drug soma, sex-hormone gum, popular sports like “obstacle golf,” and the assembly line chemical manipulation of ova and fetuses so as to decant from their bottles babies perfectly suited for their destined castes and jobs, babies who are then mentally conditioned to become satisfied workers and consumers who believe that everyone belongs to everyone. In a way it’s more horrible than the more obviously brutal and violent repression of individuals by totalitarian systems in dystopias like George Orwell’s 1984, because Huxley’s novel implies that people are happy being mindless cogs in the wheels of economic production as long as they get their entertainments and new goods.

    Michael York does a great job reading the novel, his voice oozing satire for the long opening tour of the Hatchery and Conditioning Centre, and then modifying in timbre and dialect for the various characters, among them the self-centered brooder Bernard Marx, the budding intellectual poet Helmholtz Howard, the sexy, sensitive, and increasingly confused Lenina Crowne, the spookily understanding Resident World Controller of Western Europe Mustapha Mond, and especially the good-natured, sad, and conflicted Shakespearean quoting “savage” John.

    I had never read this classic of dystopian science fiction, so I’m glad to have listened to this excellent audiobook, because it is entertaining and devastating in its depiction of human nature and modern civilization, especially timely in our own brave new Facebook world.

    More

    Brave New World

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Aldous Huxley
    • Narrated By Michael York
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2472)
    Performance
    (1756)
    Story
    (1772)

    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!”"

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

    The Return of the King: Book Three in the Lord of the Rings Trilogy

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By J. R. R. Tolkien
    • Narrated By Rob Inglis
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
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    The Return of the King is the towering climax to J. R. R. Tolkien’s trilogy that tells the saga of the hobbits of Middle-earth and the great War of the Rings. In this concluding volume, Frodo and Sam make a terrible journey to the heart of the Land of the Shadow in a final reckoning with the power of Sauron. In addition to narrating the prose passages, Rob Inglis sings the trilogy’s songs and poems a capella, using melodies composed by Inglis and Claudia Howard, the Recorded Books studio director.

    Natalie says: "Finally!"
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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"
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    • By Marcel Proust
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    Darwin8u says: "Full of emotional/intellectual/experiential joules"
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    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.

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    Over the years, Classical archaeology has evolved from a pastime of collectors and antiquarians to a mature science. Today, the field is a multidisciplinary effort that involves not only traditional diggers, but also geologists, geographers, anthropologists, and linguists.These 36 lectures introduce you to this fascinating field of study. Professor Hale guides you through dozens of ancient sites with the skill of a born storyteller.

    Benoibe says: "One of my top 2 favorites of the Great Courses!"
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    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"
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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
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    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"
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UNABRIDGED) by Gerard Manley Hopkins Narrated by Jeremy Northam

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    • UNABRIDGED (1 hr and 1 min)
    • By Gerard Manley Hopkins
    • Narrated By Jeremy Northam
    Overall
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    A collection of the best-known poems by Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889). One of the Victorian era's greatest writers, Hopkins' reputation has continued to grow since his death. This collection includes "The Windhover", "The Caged Skylark", "Carrion Comfort", "Spring", and "Fall and Inversnaid".

    Robert says: "Excellent encounter with the poet."
  • Self-Reliance (






UNABRIDGED) by Ralph Waldo Emerson Narrated by Kurt Andersen, Joyce Bean

    Self-Reliance

    • UNABRIDGED (1 hr and 31 mins)
    • By Ralph Waldo Emerson
    • Narrated By Kurt Andersen, Joyce Bean
    Overall
    (21)
    Performance
    (15)
    Story
    (15)

    Redefining the classic essay, this modern edition of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s most famous work, Self-Reliance, includes self-reflections from both historical and contemporary luminaries. With quotes from the likes of Henry Ford and Helen Keller to modern-day thought leaders like Jesse Dylan, Steve Pressfield, and Milton Glaser, we're reminded of the relevance of Emerson’s powerful words today. Emerson’s words are timeless. Persuasive and convincing, he challenges readers to define their own sense of accomplishment and asks them to measure themselves....

  • To Kill a Mockingbird (






UNABRIDGED) by Harper Lee Narrated by Sissy Spacek

    To Kill a Mockingbird

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Harper Lee
    • Narrated By Sissy Spacek
    Overall
    (34)
    Performance
    (30)
    Story
    (33)

    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"
  • The Fellowship of the Ring: Book One in The Lord of the Rings Trilogy (






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

    The Fellowship of the Ring: Book One in The Lord of the Rings Trilogy

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By J. R. R. Tolkien
    • Narrated By Rob Inglis
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4221)
    Performance
    (3793)
    Story
    (3869)

    The Fellowship of the Ring, the first volume in the trilogy, tells of the fateful power of the One Ring. It begins a magnificent tale of adventure that will plunge the members of the Fellowship of the Ring into a perilous quest and set the stage for the ultimate clash between the powers of good and evil.

    Ellen says: "At last - The Definitive Recording!"
  • 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
    (8295)
    Performance
    (7461)
    Story
    (7578)

    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!"
  •  
  • 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
    (614)
    Performance
    (430)
    Story
    (434)

    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"
  • T'was the Night Before Christmas (






ABRIDGED) by Clement Clark Moore Narrated by John William Cawthorne

    T'was the Night Before Christmas

    • ABRIDGED (3 mins)
    • By Clement Clark Moore
    • Narrated By John William Cawthorne
    Overall
    (39)
    Performance
    (28)
    Story
    (32)

    This is a wonderful rendition, set to the overture of "The Nutcracker", of the timeless Christmas classic by Moore to be enjoyed again and again from season to season.

    Marigold Galore says: "just lovely!"
  • 1984: New Classic Edition (






UNABRIDGED) by George Orwell Narrated by Simon Prebble

    1984: New Classic Edition

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By George Orwell
    • Narrated By Simon Prebble
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3702)
    Performance
    (2272)
    Story
    (2303)

    George Orwell depicts a gray, totalitarian world dominated by Big Brother and its vast network of agents, including the Thought Police - a world in which news is manufactured according to the authorities' will and people live tepid lives by rote. Winston Smith, a hero with no heroic qualities, longs only for truth and decency. But living in a social system in which privacy does not exist and where those with unorthodox ideas are brainwashed or put to death, he knows there is no hope for him.

    Jay Stone says: "Enduring Classic"
  • The Two Towers: Book Two in the Lord of the Rings Trilogy (






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

    The Two Towers: Book Two in the Lord of the Rings Trilogy

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By J. R. R. Tolkien
    • Narrated By Rob Inglis
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2847)
    Performance
    (2565)
    Story
    (2622)

    The Two Towers is the second volume of J.R.R. Tolkien's epic saga, The Lord of the Rings. The Fellowship has been forced to split up. Frodo and Sam must continue alone towards Mount Doom, where the One Ring must be destroyed. Meanwhile, at Helm’s Deep and Isengard, the first great battles of the War of the Ring take shape. In this splendid, unabridged audio production of Tolkien’s great work, all the inhabitants of a magical universe - hobbits, elves, and wizards - spring to life. Rob Inglis’ narration has been praised as a masterpiece of audio.

    Anna says: "Thank you, Audible! Tolkien at long last!"
  •  
  • Great Expectations (






UNABRIDGED) by Charles Dickens Narrated by Simon Prebble

    Great Expectations

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Charles Dickens
    • Narrated By Simon Prebble
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (195)
    Performance
    (177)
    Story
    (185)

    One of the most revered works in English literature, Great Expectations traces the coming of age of a young orphan, Pip, from a boy of shallow aspirations into a man of maturity. From the chilling opening confrontation with an escaped convict to the grand but eerily disheveled estate of bitter old Miss Havisham, all is not what it seems in Dickens’ dark tale of false illusions and thwarted desire.

    Dana says: "The narrator!!"
  • Dracula [Audible Edition] (






UNABRIDGED) by Bram Stoker Narrated by Alan Cumming, Tim Curry, Simon Vance, Katherine Kellgren, Susan Duerden, John Lee, Graeme Malcolm, Steven Crossley

    Dracula [Audible Edition]

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Bram Stoker
    • Narrated By Alan Cumming, Tim Curry, Simon Vance, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2168)
    Performance
    (1976)
    Story
    (2002)

    The modern audience hasn't had a chance to truly appreciate the unknowing dread that readers would have felt when reading Bram Stoker's original 1897 manuscript. Most modern productions employ campiness or sound effects to try to bring back that gothic tension, but we've tried something different. By returning to Stoker's original storytelling structure - a series of letters and journal entries voiced by Jonathan Harker, Dr. Van Helsing, and other characters - with an all-star cast of narrators, we've sought to recapture its originally intended horror and power.

    N. Houghton says: "Gothic Horror Never Sounded So Good"
  • The Return of the King: Book Three in the Lord of the Rings Trilogy (






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

    The Return of the King: Book Three in the Lord of the Rings Trilogy

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By J. R. R. Tolkien
    • Narrated By Rob Inglis
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2585)
    Performance
    (2322)
    Story
    (2373)

    The Return of the King is the towering climax to J. R. R. Tolkien’s trilogy that tells the saga of the hobbits of Middle-earth and the great War of the Rings. In this concluding volume, Frodo and Sam make a terrible journey to the heart of the Land of the Shadow in a final reckoning with the power of Sauron. In addition to narrating the prose passages, Rob Inglis sings the trilogy’s songs and poems a capella, using melodies composed by Inglis and Claudia Howard, the Recorded Books studio director.

    Natalie says: "Finally!"
  • Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: A Signature Performance by Elijah Wood (






UNABRIDGED) by Mark Twain Narrated by Elijah Wood

    Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: A Signature Performance by Elijah Wood

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Mark Twain
    • Narrated By Elijah Wood
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2368)
    Performance
    (1855)
    Story
    (1839)

    A Signature Performance: Elijah Wood becomes the first narrator to bring a youthful voice and energy to the story, perhaps making it the closest interpretation to Twain’s original intent.

    James says: "Worthy "signature" premiere"
  • The Republic of Plato 2nd Edition: Translated with Notes, an Interpretive Essay, and a New Introduction by Allan Bloom (






UNABRIDGED) by Plato, Allan Bloom (translator) Narrated by Don Hagen

    The Republic of Plato 2nd Edition: Translated with Notes, an Interpretive Essay, and a New Introduction by Allan Bloom

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Plato, Allan Bloom (translator)
    • Narrated By Don Hagen
    Overall
    (0)
    Performance
    (0)
    Story
    (0)

    Long regarded as the most accurate rendering of Plato’s Republic that has yet been published, this widely acclaimed work is the first strictly literal translation of a timeless classic. This second edition includes a new introduction by Professor Bloom, whose careful translation and interpretation of The Republic was first published in 1968. In addition to the corrected text itself there is also a rich and valuable essay - as well as indexes - which will better enable the listener to approach the heart of Plato’s intention.

  • Fishead (






UNABRIDGED) by Irvin S. Cobb Narrated by John W. Michaels

    Fishead

    • UNABRIDGED (26 mins)
    • By Irvin S. Cobb
    • Narrated By John W. Michaels
    Overall
    (0)
    Performance
    (0)
    Story
    (0)

    First published in 1913, "Fishhead" by Irwin S. Cobb takes place at real Reelfoot Lake, the largest lake south of the Ohio line mostly in Tennessee but extending up across what is now the Kentucky line. The protagonist, Fishhead, a halfbreed lives alone by his choice and by the choice of his neighbors because of his deformity that causes his head to resemble a fish. This story was written in 1913, and the narrators chosen to leave the N-word in as part of the narration, so please be aware. This is another nery creepy story, that no doubt influenced H.P. Lovecraft.

  • A Texas Ranger (






UNABRIDGED) by William MacLeod Raine Narrated by Mark F. Smith

    A Texas Ranger

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By William MacLeod Raine
    • Narrated By Mark F. Smith
    Overall
    (0)
    Performance
    (0)
    Story
    (0)

    When a hardened criminal kills guards and breaks out of prison, Steve Fraser, a lieutenant in the Texas Rangers, is tasked with bringing him to justice. From the bowels of a mine, deep underground, to the stone labyrinths of the mountains of Wyoming, Steve follows his quarry. But his chase requires him to befriend people who turn out to be wanted in another killing. How can he justify his actions with his innate sense of honesty, his new friends, and the bewitching woman he meets in their midst?

  • Mr. Bloke's Item (






UNABRIDGED) by Mark Twain Narrated by Glenn Hascall

    Mr. Bloke's Item

    • UNABRIDGED (7 mins)
    • By Mark Twain
    • Narrated By Glenn Hascall
    Overall
    (0)
    Performance
    (0)
    Story
    (0)

    Who determines what stops the presses? Enter the world of Mark Twain who was handed an item from an emotional man late one night. The presses were stopped, the item run, and Twain was in trouble with his editor. Enjoy the humor as Twain tries to understand the importance of "Mr. Bloke’s Item".

  •  
  • A Medieval Romance (






UNABRIDGED) by Mark Twain Narrated by Glenn Hascall

    A Medieval Romance

    • UNABRIDGED (16 mins)
    • By Mark Twain
    • Narrated By Glenn Hascall
    Overall
    (0)
    Performance
    (0)
    Story
    (0)

    If you've ever wondered what a tale of knights and dukes would look like through the mind of humorist Mark Twain? Travel back in time to the 1200s. Twain starts well setting the scene for a very interesting conflict. How will it resolve - or will it? The ending really shouldn't be a surprise for those who love the careless ease of Twains humor.

  • The Woman's Ghost Story (






UNABRIDGED) by Algernon Blackwood Narrated by Lee Ann Howlett

    The Woman's Ghost Story

    • UNABRIDGED (23 mins)
    • By Algernon Blackwood
    • Narrated By Lee Ann Howlett
    Overall
    (0)
    Performance
    (0)
    Story
    (0)

    A woman tells her story of an encounter with a ghost in a deserted old lodging house in the middle of London years ago. She was told that a woman had been murdered there before she agreed as a "psychical researcher" to spend a night in the old building. Her expectations are challenged in this psychological ghost story. Algernon Blackwood wrote over 200 ghost stories as well as being a novelist, playwright, and a writer of nonfiction and children’s stories. His ghost stories fall into what is usually called weird fiction.

  • The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (






UNABRIDGED) by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Narrated by Robert Maskell

    The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
    • Narrated By Robert Maskell
    Overall
    (0)
    Performance
    (0)
    Story
    (0)

    The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes changed crime fiction forever and helped launch not just a popular character but an enduring legend who is just as loved today.

    This audio book was narrated in London by experienced British stage actor Robert Maskell at a voice recording studio renowned for high production values.

    The stories were originally featured not in a book at all, but were written as installments in a London magazine called The Strand.

  • The Book of Tea (






UNABRIDGED) by Okakura Kakuzo Narrated by Alan Munro

    The Book of Tea

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Okakura Kakuzo
    • Narrated By Alan Munro
    Overall
    (0)
    Performance
    (0)
    Story
    (0)

    The Book of Tea by Okakura Kakuzo is a long essay linking the role of tea (teaism) to the aesthetic and cultural aspects of Japanese life. Addressed to a western audience, it was originally written in English and is one of the great English tea classics. Okakura had been taught at a young age to speak English and was proficient at communicating his thoughts to the Western mind. In his book, he discusses such topics as Zen and Taoism, but also the secular aspects of tea and Japanese life.

  •  
  • The Pacifist (






UNABRIDGED) by Arthur C. Clarke Narrated by John W. Michaels

    The Pacifist

    • UNABRIDGED (25 mins)
    • By Arthur C. Clarke
    • Narrated By John W. Michaels
    Overall
    (0)
    Performance
    (0)
    Story
    (0)

    A 1950s supercomputer’s purpose is to help fight battles, but what happens when the pompous general in charge of the project chooses to berate the rather meek and mild "Nerd" Dr. Milquetoast, whose job it is to program the massive machine, is a classic case of getting even.

  • Rescue (






UNABRIDGED) by Gordon R. Dickson Narrated by John W. Michaels

    Rescue

    • UNABRIDGED (22 mins)
    • By Gordon R. Dickson
    • Narrated By John W. Michaels
    Overall
    (0)
    Performance
    (0)
    Story
    (0)

    It seemed like a good idea at the time to rescue the tribe of Amuk from their primitive ways and move them into modern society. Pibo, their a-lot-smarter-then-he-looked leader, however, had other ideas. Pibo liked his job too much to allow Scout Lieutenant Holroyd Aldo to bring in the mother ship and its extensive reorientation of his people.