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Classics > British Literature

British Literature

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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.

    More

    To the Lighthouse

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Virginia Woolf
    • Narrated By Juliet Stevenson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (209)
    Performance
    (164)
    Story
    (163)

    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?"
  • "Poignant Modern Fairy Tales Wonderf..."

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    Performance
    Story

    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
    (96)
    Performance
    (74)
    Story
    (75)

    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"
  • "A Perfect Canterbury Tales from Man..."

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    Performance
    Story

    The fourteen readers of The Canterbury Tales are excellent in changing their inflection, tone, and register to suit whatever is happening in their tales. Thus the ribald tales and insulting exchanges between pilgrims are funny, the tragic tales moving, and the virtuous tales uplifting. Nicholson's translation into modern English seems accurate enough; he maintains much of Chaucer's language and rhymes. At the same time, it is easy to follow the tales because of the fine readers, the clear translation, and Chaucer's natural storytelling.

    The tales and their prologues and epilogues (in which the pilgrims comment on the tales and each other) are fascinating and enjoyable and depict the full range of human folly (sanctimonious con men friars, corrupt judges, cuckolded husbands, lickerish wives, drunken cooks, and crooked millers) and goodness (noble courtly lovers, wise wives, faithful husbands, self-sacrificing virgins, and pure saints). The variety of tales is also impressive: beast fables, ribald jokes, sermons, parables, romances, and so on. They give a priceless glimpse into various Medieval English occupations, lifestyles, and philosophies.

    In short, if you're interested in Chaucer's tales, the Middle Ages, fine readings of good poetry, and life, or if you're studying the original Middle English version, I recommend this audiobook.

    More

    The Canterbury Tales

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Geoffrey Chaucer
    • Narrated By Martin Jarvis, Jay Carnes, Ray Porter, and others
    Overall
    (346)
    Performance
    (212)
    Story
    (215)

    In this edition, we hear, translated into modern English, 20-some tales, told in the voices of knight and merchant, wife and miller, squire and nun, and many more. Some are bawdy, some spiritual, some romantic, some mysterious, some chivalrous. Between the stories, the travelers converse, joke, and argue, revealing much about their individual outlooks upon life as well as what life was like in late 14th-century England.

    Tad Davis says: "Many voices, at times enthralling"
  1. To the Lighthouse
  2. Fairy Tales of Oscar Wild...
  3. The Canterbury Tales
  4. .

A Peek at John's Bookshelf

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Votes
106
 
54 REVIEWS / 61 ratings 17 Followers / Following 0
 
John's greatest hits:
  • The Count of Monte Cristo

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

    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    ...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.

  • 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.

  • The Luck of the Bodkins

    "There's a Serious Gap in this Recording"

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    And it eliminates a major twist in one of Wodehouse's most twisted plots. Running from page175 to page 181 in the Overlook Press edition, it renders the story absolute nonsense from that point forward. Fortunately, the break in the narrative flow is so obvious, and the pause that precedes it so long, that it's hard for even a casual listener to miss.

    Other than that I'm enjoying Jonathan Cecil's performance very much. It's a book I didn't like all that much when I read it several years ago. It is, I believe, Wodehouse's longest work and it does get a bit tedious on paper. But listening is a pleasure and, armed with the complete text, one can bridge over this unfortunate gap--along with any others that may crop up along the way.

connie

connie Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada 03-13-08 Member Since 2007

trying to see the world with my ears

HELPFUL VOTES
3434
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1465
395
FOLLOWERS
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1495
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  • "comfortable listening"

    32 of 32 helpful votes

    This is my favorite of the Chronicles of Barsetshire. If someone had told me six months ago that I'd ever even pick up a Trollope novel, I would have needed smelling salts. After recently coming across the very clever Trollope Society web site, I thought there must be some merit to the man's works and downloaded The Warden. I enjoyed every book in the series. There's no Dickenesque social problem exposition, but clever observations on human nature, some nice Victorian prose, lots of opportunity to "read between the lines," and for a Victorian man, some protofeminist ideas (but, unfortunately, he wasn't above his era's racism). I still don't think I would "read" Trollope, but I will listen to everything Audible offers for download. (very good narration though the entire series, too)

    More

    Barchester Towers

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Anthony Trollope
    • Narrated By Stephen Thorne
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (26)
    Performance
    (9)
    Story
    (10)

    Barchester Towers, Trollope's most popular novel, is the second of the six Chronicles of Barsetshire. Trollope continues the story, begun in The Warden, of Mr Harding and his daughter Eleanor.

    connie says: "comfortable listening"

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

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 23 mins)
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    Catherine says: "third book of the series"
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    Lawrence says: "Fantastic narration"
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    Die Falknerin says: "What a treat!"
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    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.

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    Ellen says: "At last - The Definitive Recording!"
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    • By George Orwell
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    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.

    Kit McIlvaine (GirlPluggedN) says: "Come one, Come all into 1984!"
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    • UNABRIDGED (47 hrs)
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    Dashing young Edmond Dantès has everything: a fine reputation, an appointment as captain of a ship, and the heart of a beautiful woman. But his perfect life is shattered when three jealous friends conspire to destroy him. Falsely accused of a political crime, Dantès is locked away for life in the infamous Chateau d'If prison. But it is there that Dantès learns of a vast hidden treasure.

    Prsilla says: "Really-REALLY Classic!"
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    Story
    (8038)

    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!"
  • 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
    (2609)
    Performance
    (1871)
    Story
    (1890)

    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!”"
  • 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
    (4614)
    Performance
    (4151)
    Story
    (4234)

    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 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
    (2004)
    Performance
    (1095)
    Story
    (1117)

    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."
  •  
  • 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
    (1136)
    Performance
    (800)
    Story
    (811)

    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 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
    (3143)
    Performance
    (2840)
    Story
    (2895)

    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!"
  • 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
    (717)
    Performance
    (525)
    Story
    (530)

    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"
  • 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
    (3885)
    Performance
    (2445)
    Story
    (2477)

    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.

    Kit McIlvaine (GirlPluggedN) says: "Come one, Come all into 1984!"
  •  
  • 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
    (2847)
    Performance
    (2563)
    Story
    (2616)

    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!"
  • Animal Farm [Dramatised]  by George Orwell Narrated by Tamsin Greig

    Animal Farm [Dramatised]

    • ORIGINAL (1 hr and 26 mins)
    • By George Orwell
    • Narrated By Tamsin Greig
    Overall
    (63)
    Performance
    (57)
    Story
    (59)

    Animal Farm - the history of a revolution that went wrong - is George Orwell's brilliant satire on the corrupting influence of power. Mr Jones of Manor Farm is so lazy and drunken that one day he forgets to feed his livestock. The ensuing rebellion under the leadership of the pigs Napoleon and Snowball leads to the animals taking over the farm. Vowing to eliminate the terrible inequities of the farmyard, the renamed Animal Farm is organised to benefit all who walk on four legs. But as time passes, the ideals of the rebellion are corrupted, then forgotten. And something new and unexpected emerges....

    Leslie says: "Are you sure this is Animal Farm?"
  • 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
    (2332)
    Performance
    (2127)
    Story
    (2152)

    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"
  • Pride and Prejudice (






UNABRIDGED) by Jane Austen Narrated by Sharon Williams

    Pride and Prejudice

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Jane Austen
    • Narrated By Sharon Williams
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (203)
    Performance
    (165)
    Story
    (179)

    A delightful novel about "how girls catch husbands." Listen in to find out: What will happen to sister Lydia? Will the arrogant Lady Catherine de Burgh's intrigues be foiled? Will sister Jane marry Mr. Bingley? And especially, will Elizabeth, cured of her prejudice, and Mr. Darcy, cured of his pride, fall into each other's arms? Listeners will also savor the wit, the sly irony and satire and comedy that Miss Austen crowds into almost every quiet, well-bred line of this novel.

    Amazon Customer says: "A great story to make the end of an era"
  • Query (






UNABRIDGED) by

    Query

    • UNABRIDGED (27 mins)
    • By "Seamark", Austin Small
    • Narrated By Cathy Dobson
    Overall
    (0)
    Performance
    (0)
    Story
    (0)

    Thomas Masterick had spent the best years of his life trying to solve the problem. Why had he been convicted of the murder of Fred Smith? Why had life and "the system" been so unfair to him? He knew he had not killed Fred Smith. He wasn't even sure that Fred Smith had been killed. Eventually Masterick solves the problem and sends a greater shock through the legal world than it has ever known.

  • The Interruption (






UNABRIDGED) by W. W. Jacobs Narrated by Cathy Dobson

    The Interruption

    • UNABRIDGED (31 mins)
    • By W. W. Jacobs
    • Narrated By Cathy Dobson
    Overall
    (0)
    Performance
    (0)
    Story
    (0)

    Spencer Goddard's wife has died suddenly after a short and intense illness. Finally Goddard has his freedom and full use of his wife's wealth. But before he can begin to enjoy his new-found freedom, Hannah the cook begins to behave rather oddly. Goddard realizes that Hannah knows his secret...and a terrible power struggle begins.

  • The Burglary (






UNABRIDGED) by Arnold Bennett Narrated by Cathy Dobson

    The Burglary

    • UNABRIDGED (27 mins)
    • By Arnold Bennett
    • Narrated By Cathy Dobson
    Overall
    (0)
    Performance
    (0)
    Story
    (0)

    Arnold Bennett (1867-1931) was an English author, born in one of the "Five Towns" which form the background of so many of his witty stories. In The Burglary, Bennett tells the story of a highly respectable and distinguished citizen who hires a burglar to rob his house.

  • Why Shoot a Butler? (






UNABRIDGED) by Georgette Heyer Narrated by Ulli Birvé

    Why Shoot a Butler?

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Georgette Heyer
    • Narrated By Ulli Birvé
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (0)
    Performance
    (0)
    Story
    (0)

    On a dark night, along a lonely country road, barrister Frank Amberley stops to help a young lady in distress and discovers a sports car with a corpse behind the wheel. The girl protests her innocence, and Amberley believes her – at least until he gets drawn into the mystery and the clues incriminating Shirley Brown begin to add up. In an English country-house murder mystery with a twist, it's the butler who's the victim, every clue complicates the puzzle, and the bumbling police are well-meaning but completely baffled.

  •  
  • The Unfinished Clue (






UNABRIDGED) by Georgette Heyer Narrated by Ulli Birvé

    The Unfinished Clue

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Georgette Heyer
    • Narrated By Ulli Birvé
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (0)
    Performance
    (0)
    Story
    (0)

    It should have been a lovely English country-house weekend. But the unfortunate guest list is enough to exasperate a saint, and the host, Sir Arthur Billington-Smith, is an abusive wretch hated by everyone – from his disinherited son to his wife's stoic would-be lover. When Sir Arthur is found stabbed to death, no one is particularly grieved and no one has an alibi. The unhappy guests find themselves under the scrutiny of Scotland Yard's cool-headed Inspector Harding, who has solved tough cases before.

  • 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.

  • 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.