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Darwin8u

Darwin8u Mesa, AZ, United States Member Since 2011

A part-time buffoon and ersatz scholar specializing in BS, pedantry, schmaltz and cultural coprophagia.

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15
  • "Escapes the Boundaries of Time and ..."

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    A novel's greatness can often be seen in its timelessness and it globalness. This novel escapes the boundaries of time and place. It is as real today as it must have been when first publlished. There is something both poetic and banal in the solidarity and brotherhood that surrounds war, death and the madness of man's struggle for survival in the midst of the dark and chocking abyss that floats in the trenches of war.

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    All Quiet on the Western Front

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Erich Maria Remarque
    • Narrated By Frank Muller
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (617)
    Performance
    (524)
    Story
    (531)

    Paul Bäumer is just 19 years old when he and his classmates enlist. They are Germany’s Iron Youth who enter the war with high ideals and leave it disillusioned or dead. As Paul struggles with the realities of the man he has become, and the world to which he must return, he is led like a ghost of his former self into the war’s final hours. All Quiet is one of the greatest war novels of all time, an eloquent expression of the futility, hopelessness and irreparable losses of war.

    Darwin8u says: "Escapes the Boundaries of Time and Place"
  • "!"

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    Story

    Les Misérables is one of those defining social/protest novels that deserves to be read (and listened to) in its entirety. It is easily on par with the great social novels of the 19th century: Brothers Karamazov, Anna Karenina, Uncle Tom's Cabin and Hard Times.

    I remember the first time I read the unabridged version in high school, I was stunned that Hugo could engage me with such force. I practically read it straight through. Listening to Rose's relatively new translation and Guidall's audio version, I was transported back to the emotions and engagement I felt 20 years ago. All those memories and I was again anchored to my pro-unabridged novel bias. If you are going to attempt this work, please go the unabridged route, you will NOT regret it. There are few books I've read twice, but Les Misérables defintely makes the cut.

    When you begin this novel it DOES looks like a beast (1376 pgs or 60.5 hours), but when you finish it you realize you have sat down to a feast with a master novelist and social gospel writer. Dollar per page or dollar per minute, you can't get much better for its price, unless you steal it.

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    Les Misérables: Translated by Julie Rose

    • UNABRIDGED (60 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Victor Hugo, Julie Rose (translator)
    • Narrated By George Guidall
    Overall
    (907)
    Performance
    (777)
    Story
    (784)

    One of the great classics of world literature and the inspiration for the most beloved stage musical of all time, Les Misérables is legendary author Victor Hugo’s masterpiece. This extraordinary English version by renowned translator Julie Rose captures all the majesty and brilliance of Hugo’s work. Here is the timeless story of the quintessential hunted man—Jean Valjean—and the injustices, violence, and social inequalities that torment him.

    Darwin8u says: "!"
  • "More saints per capita than any boo..."

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    'David Copperfield' contains more saints per capita than any beatified book by Butler. Dickens is amazing in his ability to be both grand and personal. 'David Copperfield' is sprawling, with dozens of threads that weave around David Copperfield's youth and adulthood. IT is amazing not only how he can transform a character through time, but also show that our perceptions of those same characters are drawn often from imperfect information and overly simple assumptions. Yes, there are parts of 'David Copperfield' that float between the melodramatic and the grotesque, but one doesn't read Dickens for the unmoving, normal or embellished. There are a handful of novels that I would consider to be the literary equivalent of scripture: 'Les Miserables', 'the Idiot', 'Anna Karenina', and for sure 'David Copperfield'.

    There are several moments in 'David Copperfield' when, as a reader, you recognize you will never be half the writer Dickens was (on deadline). He might just be second to Shakespeare in my book, or at least be among a small cadre of writers that belong on the silver pedestal below the Bard.

    This isn't as technically perfect as 'Great Expectations', but it is top tier Dickens for sure. A massive novel that floats with the weight of a beach read half its size. If you are going to read a Dickens, this might not be your first stop, but it shouldn't be far from your second.

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    David Copperfield

    • UNABRIDGED (33 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Charles Dickens
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1158)
    Performance
    (726)
    Story
    (735)

    Based in part on Dickens's own life, it is the story of a young man's journey from an unhappy and impoverished childhood to the discovery of his vocation as a successful novelist. Among its gloriously vivid cast of characters, he e.ncounters his tyrannical stepfather, Mr. Murdstone; his formidable aunt, Betsey Trotwood; the eternally humble yet treacherous Uriah Heep; the frivolous, enchanting Dora; and one of literature's great comic creations, the magnificently impecunious Mr. Micawber.

    Darwin8u says: "More saints per capita than any book by Butler"
  1. All Quiet on the Western ...
  2. Les Misérables: Translate...
  3. David Copperfield
  4. .

A Peek at John's Bookshelf

Helpful
Votes
106
 
54 REVIEWS / 61 ratings 16 Followers / Following 0
 
John's greatest hits:
  • The Count of Monte Cristo

    "Ok, so I was buying a lawnmower..."

    Overall
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    ...and the guy says, "With a lawn as big as yours, you really need a riding mower." I smiled, knowing I had the perfect counterargument to his sales pitch. "That's ok, I have an iPod and I just started The Count of Monte Cristo."

    As the words left my mouth I realized I just forfeited any chance I had that this guy would treat me as a man and a brother. In the horsepower-and-self-propulsion world of your average lawnmower shop, literary discussions are not the ticket to respect. I imaged the thought that was forming under his feed cap: "What a dweeb."

    Instead, his jaw dropped, his eyes popped and he said "That's a great book! I read the unabridged version, and there's a lot of detail, but it's just fantastic!"

    A few weeks later I was catching the train to work. A guard I've become friendly with was supervising the restocking of the vending machines. My train wasn't for a few minutes so I made a detour. After a few casual remarks about the weather the guard noticed the iPod clipped to my jacket and asked what I was listening to. I said The Count of Monte Cristo, with that same shrinking feeling I had at the lawnmower emporium. But the vending guy stood bolt upright, his eyes wide and his hair a-bristle: "That's a great book!"

    I was now convinced I was the only person in the universe who hadn't read The Count of Monte Cristo. And thanks to John Lee and Audible, that flaw in an otherwise blameless upbringing has now been repaired.

    Yes, it includes everything I don't like about 19th Century novels (Jane Austen excluded): it is sloppily, even glutinously sentimental. It is overwrought. It is insanely improbable. It is Gothic. It is Romantic in that overly-ripe, Victorian/Dickensian way that gets under my skin.

    And it is also one of the greatest books I have ever read. Or listened to.

    For all its improbabilities it is true to life. For all it's sentimentality it almost moved me to tears. For all its Gothic cloak-and-dagger antics it is a profoundly, even beautifully Catholic work of literature. It is a big, baggy story full of cul-de-sacs and blind corners, memorable characters and quotable sentences. Yes, the good people are a little too saintly and the bad ones a shade too bad. But what holds it all together is the Count himself. What he suffers, what he does and, finally, what he learns about revenge, forgiveness and redemption are well worth the 56 hour journey. And the lawn looks really good, too.

    John Lee's clean, clear delivery seldom falters. In a six-part audiobook I needed to back up and re-listen only a handful of times to catch something I'd missed. Sometimes the male characters get a little mixed, but that's to be expected in conversations where 4 or 5 are speaking at once. And an invaluable aid to keeping the story straight is supplied by Dumas himself. Since the novel was originally serialized, he's always reminding us of when we last saw a character he's reintroducing to the story--knowing that the newspaper with that vital information has long since been wrapped around a fish in a Parisian gutter.

    I got this one on sale, but even at full price it is a bargain.

  • The Modern Scholar: Masterpieces of Medieval Literature

    "The Kind of Professor I Want My Kids to Have"

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    First, there is Professor Shutt's infectious enthusiasm for the works he's discussing and even more for the insights that can be derived from those works. Then there's his openness to cultural concepts (Beowulf's heroic manliness, for example, or the piety of the Dream of the Rood) that aren't that popular in the academy these days. He never resorts to cheap shots at the faith or ideals of the Middle Ages, never lapses into that "chronological snobbery" (C. S. Lewis' term) that assumes everyone and everything that came before us is somehow inherently less worthwhile.

    Instead, he takes you on an amazing journey through many of the high spots of Medieval Literature, one that will either send you back to reread Gawain and the Green Knight and the Lais of Marie de France or send you forward to finally read those Icelandic Sagas and Troubadour lyrics you somehow managed to dodge in your undergrad days. Unlike most of the lectures I've heard in my life, these bear re-listening. Shutt is that rare type of professor who isn't afraid to admire what others marginalize, nor is he embarrassed by the concept of "truth".



  • Big Money

    "Another Dry Martini. Another Perfect Souffle."

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    Someone, one of those big-brained chaps no doubt, like Darwin or Shakespeare or Thomas Hardy, once said that trying to describe the pleasure of reading Wodehouse was like trying to describe the perfect dry martini. Similarly, someone else equally brain-burdened likened any attempt at criticizing a Wodehouse story to taking a spade to a souffle.

    Just so. Therefore I'll limit myself to saying this story is standard Wodehouse fare, which means it's a cut above most other humor you're likely to find out there. Another tour of life among the inane and the earnest, the lovelorn and the broke. Of course, it all comes out right in the end. The fun is seeing how that happens. And the fun is also hearing Jonathan Cecil narrate how it happens. Like Frederick Davidson, Cecil gets Wodehouse and never overdoes it, giving the words and the humor the right, light touch.

  • The Scarlet Pimpernel

    "Great Performance, Awful Production"

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    There are a round dozen recordings of The Scarlet Pimpernel available at Audible. Unabridged, abridged, a radio play featuring the great Leslie Howard and even a version in Italian. I chose the one by David Thorn for three reasons: it is unabridged, it is by far the cheapest and, to my ear anyway, it is the best performance. I’ll add a fourth: it isn’t in Italian.

    These impeccable reasons overcame my uneasiness at the cover art: a sort of CGI nightmare of two humanoids in non-period costumes swooning woodenly toward each other (if that’s possible) in the sort of faux-medieval atmosphere familiar to dedicated gamers (or “Barbie Princess” video viewers). But the real problems started when I hit “play”.

    First, my eager ears were saluted by a gaggle of kids chanting, “This is Audible Kids!” Really? This tale of intrigue and guillotines, set in the complex political atmosphere of Revolutionary, Republican France, riddled with references to Gluck and Burke and Fox, is a kid’s story? Granted, what the good baroness wrote is not great literature—in the pantheon I’d put her somewhere near Ian Fleming: a gifted spinner of tales, observer of people and writer of dialogue. Her book is one of the best examples of an iffy genre: popular historical fiction. I can’t recall another story I’ve seen spoofed more often. Still, this isn't kid’s stuff.

    Next came the musical accompaniment at the beginning and end of every chapter. I suppose it’s meant to cast a spell of mystery and intrigue. What sounds like a synthesized guitar (or harp?) wanders up and down the scale hand-in-hand with a toy piano—or possibly a miniature xylophone? I didn’t know what it reminded me of. And then I got it: 70’s lounge music. I could see the shag-carpeted electric piano, the cocktails with little umbrellas. Next thing I expected was Bill Murray belting out, “Sta-a-a-a-a-r Wars, nothing but Sta-a-a-a-a-r Wars!” (Youtube it if you’re too young to remember.)

    Then I discovered that the chapter divisions on my iPod didn’t sync up with the chapter divisions in the book. Instead, my menu showed eight “chapters”, each an hour-and-some-odd minutes long, each containing several actual chapters. In other words, lose your place and you’re lost.

    And in between every chapter was wedged a generous slab or two of the lounge music. But I shouldn't complain. Those oases of synthesized smarminess served as the next best thing to chapter divisions, making the job of finding your place a little easier.

    But the real problem, the thing that makes this recording a tragedy, is that there are words missing.

    At first it wasn’t so bad. At the end of chapter 5, the last few words of the final sentence actually begin to fade away in order to make room for the dreadful muzak. But at least I could hear them.

    Then, at the end of chapter six, the final sentence didn’t make sense at all. Looking up The Scarlet Pimpernel on the Guttenberg Project, I discovered that the sentence was missing its entire second half—words that reveal a detail I very much needed to hear if the story was to make any sense later on. The same thing happens at the end of chapter seven, the middle of chapters thirteen and fourteen and, I have no doubt elsewhere in places I didn’t notice. Admittedly, these later gaps are not nearly as crucial. Still, they’re flaws any competent producer would have caught.

    I called this a tragedy but that’s too strong a word. This is simply a waste. Because David Thorn’s performance—his delineation of character, his pacing, his ability to keep several simultaneous voices (and the narration) distinct and vivid—is very good. It is a shame that his fine performance should be marred by such slipshod production. And it’s a shame that such a good yarn—a story that has come, like the Three Musketeers, to define our collective image of the period in which it is set—should be robbed of it’s full vigor.

    I can give you no better proof of that vigor than by saying that, in spite of all the production flaws, I persevered because I was hopelessly hooked. It really is a glorious, swashbuckling rip-snorter of a story. Yes, at heart it is a bodice-ripper. The horns of Lady Blakeney’s various dilemmas are dwelt upon ad nauseum. One more reference to “a woman’s heart” and I probably would have given up. But there is good writing here and even shrewd insights.

    For example, this description of an empty dining room is something of a tour de force:

    “When Chauvelin reached the supper-room it was quite deserted. It had that woebegone, forsaken, tawdry appearance, which reminds one so much of a ball-dress, the morning after.

    “Half-empty glasses littered the table, unfolded napkins lay about, the chairs—turned towards one another in groups of twos and threes—very close to one another—in the far corners of the room, which spoke of recent whispered flirtations, over cold game-pie and champagne; there were sets of three and four chairs, that recalled pleasant, animated discussions over the latest scandal; there were chairs straight up in a row that still looked starchy, critical, acid, like antiquated dowager; there were a few isolated, single chairs, close to the table, that spoke of gourmands intent on the most recherche dishes, and others overturned on the floor, that spoke volumes on the subject of my Lord Grenville's cellars.

    “It was a ghostlike replica, in fact, of that fashionable gathering upstairs; a ghost that haunts every house where balls and good suppers are given; a picture drawn with white chalk on grey cardboard, dull and colourless, now that the bright silk dresses and gorgeously embroidered coats were no longer there to fill in the foreground, and now that the candles flickered sleepily in their sockets.”

    Not bad. Not bad at all.

    Then there are keen observations that get at the heart of the paradoxes of the French Revolution and, indeed, of all modern totalitarianism:

    “On seeing the strangers…[the innkeeper] paused in the middle of the room… looked at them, with even more withering contempt than he had bestowed upon his former guests, and muttered, "Sacrrree soutane!"

    “[One of the newcomers] had taken a quick step forward towards Brogard. He was dressed in the soutane, broad-brimmed hat and buckled shoes habitual to the French cure, but as he stood opposite the innkeeper, he threw open his soutane for a moment, displaying the tri-colour scarf of officialism, which sight immediately had the effect of transforming Brogard's attitude of contempt, into one of cringing obsequiousness.”

    In other words, the political saviors have quickly become even more terrifying (and hateful) than even the Church that had supposedly been oppressing everyone so ruthlessly up until then.

    Long story short: this is a good book and a very good performance, hampered by lamentable production. Which is probably why it was the cheapest.

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.

HELPFUL VOTES
3481
ratings
REVIEWS
366
214
FOLLOWERS
FOLLOWING
2134
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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.

    More

    The Once and Future King

    • UNABRIDGED (33 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By T. H. White
    • Narrated By Neville Jason
    Overall
    (1319)
    Performance
    (1103)
    Story
    (1100)

    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!"

What's Trending in Classics:

  • 4.8 (597 ratings)
    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
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (597)
    Performance
    (555)
    Story
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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"
  • 4.8 (174 ratings)
    The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, Volume 1: The Treason of Isengard (






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

    The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, Volume 1: The Treason of Isengard

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By J.R.R. Tolkien
    • Narrated By Rob Inglis
    Overall
    (174)
    Performance
    (103)
    Story
    (105)

    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
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    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
    (8761)
    Performance
    (7867)
    Story
    (8001)

    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
    (210)
    Performance
    (188)
    Story
    (187)

    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
    (1994)
    Performance
    (1088)
    Story
    (1109)

    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
    (2595)
    Performance
    (1858)
    Story
    (1877)

    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"
  • 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"
  • 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)"
  • 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.