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Kids & Young Adults

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Robert

Robert Yamhill, OR, United States Member Since 2009

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

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  • "My favorite book this year."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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    The Once and Future King

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

    Bookoholics Anon says: "Fabulous reading, epic story and a new chapter!"
  1. The Once and Future King
  2. .

A Peek at Bookoholics Anon's Bookshelf

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  • The Once and Future King

    "Fabulous reading, epic story and a new chapter!"

    Overall

    I first read this book in 1963, and it was always a great favorite; the layers of Arthurian myth with White's dry wit and time-bending sensibilities as if Camelot were set in circa WWI Great Britain. This version is an admirable reading, Neville Jason provides finely-honed voices and the perfect slightly-ironic intonation that catches the tongue-in-cheek nature of this book. There is a chapter new to me, actually two. The "Mrs Mim" section was absolutely not in my edition, and features a wizard's duel between Mrs Mim and Merlyn. Reminds me of some other book about wizards I've read recently, can't think which one, though. And the Book of Merlyn is at the end, an addition to the version I read, advice to the king from his departing tutor. HIGHLY RECOMMEND this for the most enjoyable listening.

qtvxzplr

qtvxzplr 09-01-12
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  • "Perfect reading of my favorite book"

    6 of 6 helpful votes

    Black Beauty has been my favorite book since childhood. I know it through and through, and there are some passages that I know by heart. I have never liked the various TV and movie adaptations of the story, and was particularly annoyed by Beauty's voice in the 1999 movie version, in which he sounds like a gerbil. When I found this recording by Nathaniel Parker, an actor I have long respected, I knew I had found the right one. I was not disappointed. Parker gives this moving, thought-provoking classic all the right touches. He brings the story to life with the different accents for the human characters and the lively voices for the equine characters, who are of course the most important. He made me smile at the humorous moments and brought tears to my eyes at the sad moments. Most importantly to me, in portraying Black Beauty, he sounds like a noble, spirited, thoughtful horse. Not a gerbil, not a man, but a horse. I don't know how he managed that, but he did it. I can't recommend this recording highly enough to those who already love this book or to those who are coming to it for the first time. You are in for a treat.

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    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Anna Sewell
    • Narrated By Nathaniel Parker
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    (58)

    This classic tale of a handsome, spirited horse, Black Beauty has been a children's favourite for over 100 years. Sewell tells the story of Beauty's life from a young foal through to a working horse.

    qtvxzplr says: "Perfect reading of my favorite book"

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    Bookoholics Anon says: "Fabulous reading, epic story and a new chapter!"
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    Having sold millions of copies in print, Bernard Evslin’s classic retelling of the Greek myths captures the excitement and enchantment of these stories that have influenced many of today’s popular films and novels. Easy to understand and fun to read for both adults and children, it is no wonder this book has been taught in schools all over the world.

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    Overall
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    Performance
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    Story
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    • By The Brothers Grimm
    • Narrated By Kathy Verduin
    Overall
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    Performance
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    • By Richard Johnson
    • Narrated By Kathy Verduin
    Overall
    (0)
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    (0)
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    (0)

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    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Frances Hdogson Burnett
    • Narrated By Virginia Leishman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (0)
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    (0)
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    (0)

    Imagine that you are a little boy. Your handsome father is dead, and each day your beautiful mother grows weaker from grief. The two of you have little money, and even less hope for the future. Would you want to give up, or can you be brave? Now a surprising message comes from England. You are heir to a title, a lordship. Soon, you will be on your way to live with a wealthy but grumpy old uncle, whom you have never met. But you are going to live with him in a castle! This is the story of Little Lord Fauntleroy.

  •  
  • Heroes, Gods and Monsters of the Greek Myths: One of the Best-selling Mythology Books of All Time

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Bernard Evslin
    • Narrated By Todd Haberkorn
    Overall
    (12)
    Performance
    (10)
    Story
    (11)

    Having sold millions of copies in print, Bernard Evslin’s classic retelling of the Greek myths captures the excitement and enchantment of these stories that have influenced many of today’s popular films and novels. Easy to understand and fun to read for both adults and children, it is no wonder this book has been taught in schools all over the world.

  • Orchi e Fate: Le meravigliose fiabe di Perrault: [Ogres and Fairies: Perrault's Wonderful Fairy Tales]

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Charles Perrault
    • Narrated By Franco Costantini
    Overall
    (0)
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    (0)
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    (0)

    Quando si sveglierà la Bella Addormentata? Di chi sarà una scarpina così piccola? Come mai la nonna di Cappuccetto Rosso sembra tanto strana? E poi quale nuova idea brillante avrà il Gatto? Arriveranno in tempo i fratelli al palazzo di Barbablù? Avventure di principi e principesse, lupi cattivi e bambini prodigiosi, tra boschi e castelli, fate incantatrici e terribili orchi... Meraviglioso Perrault, con le sue fiabe immortali.

  • Snezhna koroleva

    • UNABRIDGED (1 hr and 22 mins)
    • By Hans Christian Andersen
    • Narrated By Natalia Gurevitch
    Overall
    (0)
    Performance
    (0)
    Story
    (0)

    Snezhnaja korolevaHans Kristian Andersen (1805-1875) - velikij datskij pisatel', ch'e tvorchestvo navechno voshlo v zolotoj fond mirovoj kul'tury. Navernoe, net takogo rebenka, kotoromu ne znakomy geroi ego skazok: trogatel'nye, beskorystnye i bezzashhitnye. Na skazkah Andersena vyroslo ne odno pokolenie chitatelej. S teplotoj v dushe vspominajut vzroslye prochitannye v detstve istorii, a potom vozvrashhajutsja k nim i chitajut svoim detjam. V predlozhennom izdanii samaja izvestnaja skazka velikogo skazochnika.

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    • UNABRIDGED (7 mins)
    • By Beatrix Potter
    • Narrated By Glenn Hascall
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    (0)
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    (0)
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    A tale by Beatrix Potter reborn from Aesop's shorter fable of the town mouse and country mouse. High living in town, but many dangers. A more simplified life in the country, but perhaps not to the liking of some. A tale of divergent perspectives and, in this case, a realization that neither were wrong. Narrated by Glenn Hascall.