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Short Stories & Anthologies

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Cynthia

Cynthia Monrovia, California, United States Member Since 2012

Audible listener who's grateful for a long commute!

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  • "In the Catbird Seat"

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    Story

    James Thurber! James Thurber!

    Ben Stiller! Ben Stiller!

    Can you tell I was more than a little thrilled by this Audible short? James Thurber (1894-1961) was a wonderful commentator and cartoonist who was 50 years ahead of his time. For the last five years, every time I read a blog or a tweet that misses its mark, I've wondered, "What would Thurber say?"

    "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" (1939, 1942) tells the story of a henpecked man, on a quest to find new galoshes and dog biscuits, who daydreams an exciting life of saving lives and crucial war missions. He's every person - who hasn't thought of heroically saving a stranger from a falling shelf in an earthquake or tornado when you're stuck in a line at the grocery store, wondering whose tragedy People Magazine is exploiting this week?

    Ben Stiller does the narration, and - I'm going out on a limb that even a real life timid Walter Mitty would venture onto - I think that's because a movie version of "Mitty" is coming out. Just a guess on my part, of course. Stiller did a fantastic job acting in "Night at the Museum" (2006), one of my favorite movie adaptations of a book (Milan Trenc, 1993). Stiller directs and stars in "Mitty" and I hope I enjoy the movie as much.

    I'm only rating the audio at a 4, though, because while Stiller is a Great Narrator, the production wasn't. Too echo-y.

    If you're wondering about the title of the review - it's another Thurber short story.

    [If this review helped, please press YES. Thanks!]

    More

    Free: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

    • UNABRIDGED (15 mins)
    • By James Thurber
    • Narrated By Ben Stiller
    Overall
    (2788)
    Performance
    (2480)
    Story
    (2510)

    Mild-mannered Walter Mitty is a day-dreamer who escapes his anonymous life by disappearing into a world of fantasies filled with heroism, romance and action. This well-known and beloved tale has launched its famous protagonist into the cultural lexicon, warranting his inclusion in English-language dictionaries and countless anthologies. Stiller's imaginative performance as Mitty is the perfect re-introduction to the classic character and a great preface to the upcoming film, for longtime fans and new listeners alike.

    Dave says: "We Only Live Once. Or Do We?"
  1. Free: The Secret Life of ...
  2. .

A Peek at John's Bookshelf

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54 REVIEWS / 61 ratings 15 Followers / Following 0
 
John's greatest hits:
  • Blandings Castle

    "12 Great Stories...and 6 Back Stories"

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    The thing about reading—or listening to—Wodehouse is that his characters live such long, complex lives. Bertie Wooster, for example, made his first appearance in 1919 and his last adventure was published in 1974, the year before Wodehouse’s death. Consequently, the happily married man in the novel you just finished reading may have a backstory you know nothing about. Beyond, of course, the arch allusions to his checkered career made by his wife, his relations or the narrator in the novel you just finished reading.

    It all adds to the odd realism of Wodehouse. Keen observers like Evelyn Waugh asserted that the England Wodehouse writes about never really existed. Yet the appearance and reappearance of places and characters, the ability to see the same character from several other characters’ viewpoints, the interweaving of characters— for example, Bertie Wooster and Tipton Plimsol both belong to the Drones and therefor must have at least a nodding acquaintance—all contribute to this queer substantiality, making the England of P. G. Wodehouse, Utopian as it is, as solid as Faulkner’s Yoknapatawpha County.

    All of this is by way of explaining why Blandings Castle is such an enjoyable listen. You get the back story of how Freddie Threepwood met and married Niagara “Aggie” Donaldson. You finally understand what a character in one of the later Blandings Castle novels was talking about when he describes Lord Emsworth as being worried about his pumpkin (your natural reaction is to assume it’s a typo; he must have meant “pig”). You discover the surprising family connection between Lord Emsworth and his head gardener. And you get the full story, only alluded to in later books, of the chap from Nebraska.

    Beyond these revelations that do so much to illuminate the rest of the Blandings Castle saga, you get “Lord Emsworth and the Girl Friend”, probably one of the sweetest stories Wodehouse ever wrote; not saccharine sweet but rather revealing an unsuspected tenderness and solicitude on the part of the ninth earl.

    So much for the first six stories in this collection. The other six are a delightful grab bag: one featuring Bobby Whickam, the rest the various nephews and connections of Mr. Mulliner who work in Hollywood. Bobby’s tale is pure Wodehouse lunacy and the last story, “The Castaways” is a writer’s-eye view of Hollywood that should not be missed—especially if you’re a writer.

    James Saxon’s performance makes me wish he’d record more Wodehouse. His characters all live as individuals in your ear buds and his vocal range covers every Wodehousian nuance, from the sprightly and brainless to the dark and dubious.

  • The Wisdom of Father Brown

    "Good Mysteries, Great Stories"

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    There are those for whom everything G. K. Chesterton said or wrote is worth quoting--especially in an argument. I know because I used to be one of them. Having let my conversion to Catholicism sink in over the course of a dozen years, I've mellowed somewhat but I still enjoy Chesterton immensely. In fact, being able to approach him with less reverence makes his work much more enjoyable.

    As mystery stories these are entertaining enough--though many in this collection and others turn on double identities, so much so that after a while the listener starts expecting them. And while I always enjoy Chesterton's prose style, bristling as it does with insights that range from the merely descriptive to the deeply social, religious and psychological, it can sometimes become too noticeable and slide into apparent affectation. Finally, his characters have a bad way of slipping into his prose style whenever they attempt to describe or narrate (see the girl's bit of autobiography in "The Head of Caesar").

    Nevertheless.

    Chesterton's irreverent attitude toward everything his age held (and ours holds) in such high reverence--machinery, technology, psychology, science--and his quiet, persistent reminders that the truth never changes, no matter how much we believe we have, are worth the price of admission every time. While the mysteries are intriguing enough, the commentary they provoke are what really matter:

    "What we all dread most," said the priest in a low voice, "is a maze with no centre. That is why atheism is only a nightmare."

    "But he died penitent—he just died of being penitent. He couldn't bear what he'd done."

    For the whole air was dense with the morbidity of blackmail, which is the most morbid of human things, because it is a crime concealing a crime; a black plaster on a blacker wound.

    "There's a disadvantage in a stick pointing straight," answered the other. "What is it? Why, the other end of the stick always points the opposite way."

    And Frederick Davidson is the perfect reader to deliver stuff like this.

    Sherlock Holmes asserted a detective should never reveal his methods. But Father Brown is a detective with no method other than his grounding in ultimate truth that permits him to see things as they actually are. And that's a mystery that can be more satisfying than the best who-done-it.

  • Very Good Jeeves

    "Inside: Some of the Very Best Bertie/Jeeves Tales"

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    My candidates for Very Best: The Inferiority Complex of Old Sippy, Jeeves and the Yuletide Spirit, Jeeves and the Song of Songs, The Spot of Art, The Love that Purifies, and Jeeves and the Old School Chum.

    Let's see...that's six out of a total of eleven stories. And the remaining five are almost as good.

    The only downside is that I first heard Frederick Davidson read this collection. As good as Jonathan Cecil can be--see his rendition of Uncle Fred in the Springtime, Uncle Dynamite or The Code of the Woosters--he doesn't come up to the mark set (at least in my mind) by Davidson on this set of stories.

    I bought this version because 1) it was on sale and 2) I have Davidson's version on cassette tape and needed something more portable. Cecil's performance is good but too rushed. As a rule, his versions of the same book are always an hour shorter than Davidson's, the reason being that Davidson uses that hour to squeeze every nuance of humor or irony out of very line. While I enjoyed the listen--it is, after all, Wodehouse--I was constantly being reminded of how much better a version I had on cassette tapes in the basement. If only that old Walkman still worked...

  • Eggs, Beans, and Crumpets

    "A Bit of Luck for Us All"

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    The best story in this collection has to be "A Bit of Luck for Mabel". Any story with Stanley Ukeridge at its epicenter would be good, but this one is supreme. But then the last three stories are all Ukeridge tales and they'll all good.

    On the other hand, the first four stories form a panorama of the looney home life of Bingo Little, a man who gets his money from his devoted, novel-writing wife and his racing tips from dreams and omens. And things only get stickier when she lands him a job ("The Editor Regrets").

    The one Mulliner story, "Anselm Gets His Chance" is up to the usual lofty Mulliner standard. And "Romance at Droitgate Spa" stands alone with some of the funniest lines in all of Wodehouse: "We have a lung tonic I think you'll appreciate. We pride ourselves on our cellar."

    Just buy it, listen once, then keep it handy whenever it seems like life is getting you down. That P. G. Wodehouse survived a Victorian infancy, found his niche as a writer and continued to write until his dying day is indeed a bit of luck for us all.

Jane

Jane Chicago, IL, United States 02-24-14 Member Since 2010
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  • "He’s quirky, clever."

    3 of 3 helpful votes

    The best part is unusual ideas. My brain liked it.

    This is 63 vignettes. Some are just a few sentences. Others are several pages long. Some are like random thoughts of the author. Some have a little story to them. Many times I laughed. Some times I just said “huh” at the end. The last story was about a translator that was beyond me. I didn’t get it. I probably should have reread it, but I didn’t, so I remain ignorant about the humor in that one. Overall I loved this book. He thinks differently than I do, so I love his messing with my mind. My favorites were the following:

    No One Goes to Heaven... ( I loved his view of what heaven was like. I never would have thought of that.)
    Constructive Criticism (really good scene)
    Kellogg’s (surprising and a good story)
    Chris Hansen at the Justin Bieber Concert
    The Something by John Grisham
    Rithmetic
    Bingo
    The World’s Biggest Rip-Off
    Discussion Questions (I was laughing during his asking the questions.)

    AUDIOBOOK NARRATORS:
    B.J. Novak narrated most of the book. Other actors and actresses read parts. It was well done.

    Genre: humorous essays

    More

    One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By B. J. Novak
    • Narrated By B. J. Novak, Rainn Wilson, Jenna Fischer, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (454)
    Performance
    (425)
    Story
    (428)

    B.J. Novak's One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories is an endlessly entertaining, surprisingly sensitive, and startlingly original debut that signals the arrival of a brilliant new voice in American fiction. A boy wins a $100,000 prize in a box of Frosted Flakes - only to discover how claiming the winnings might unravel his family. A woman sets out to seduce motivational speaker Tony Robbins - turning for help to the famed motivator himself. A new arrival in Heaven, overwhelmed with options, procrastinates over a long-ago promise to visit his grandmother....

    Marci says: "It gets better, and better, and better, and better"

What's Trending in Short Stories & Anthologies:

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    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.

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    First appearing in print in 1890, the character of Sherlock Holmes has now become synonymous worldwide with the concept of a super sleuth. His creator, Conan Doyle, imbued his detective hero with intellectual power, acute observational abilities, a penchant for deductive reasoning and a highly educated use of forensic skills. Indeed, Doyle created the first fictional private detective who used what we now recognize as modern scientific investigative techniques.

    David says: "mouth watering"
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    Volume two in this series consists of one novel, The Hound of the Baskervilles, and two collections of short stories, which include "Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes" and "The Return of Sherlock Holmes" (a total of 23 stories). These creations by Doyle represent the finest work of his Holmes series, and certainly the most famous.

    T. says: "a list of what you'll find in Volume 2"
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    Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes tales are rightly ranked among the seminal works of mystery and detective fiction. Included in this collection are all four full-length Holmes novels and more than forty short masterpieces - from the inaugural adventure A Study in Scarlet to timeless favorites like “The Speckled Band” and more. At the center of each stands the iconic figure of Holmes - brilliant, eccentric, and capable of amazing feats of deductive reasoning.

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    Hailed by The New York Times as "a marvel of storytelling", The Things They Carried’s portrayal of the boots-on-the-ground experience of soldiers in the Vietnam War is a landmark in war writing. Now, three-time Emmy Award winner-Bryan Cranston, star of the hit TV series Breaking Bad, delivers an electrifying performance that walks the book’s hallucinatory line between reality and fiction and highlights the emotional power of the spoken word.

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    B.J. Novak's One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories is an endlessly entertaining, surprisingly sensitive, and startlingly original debut that signals the arrival of a brilliant new voice in American fiction. A boy wins a $100,000 prize in a box of Frosted Flakes - only to discover how claiming the winnings might unravel his family. A woman sets out to seduce motivational speaker Tony Robbins - turning for help to the famed motivator himself. A new arrival in Heaven, overwhelmed with options, procrastinates over a long-ago promise to visit his grandmother....

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UNABRIDGED) by Thea Harrison Narrated by Sophie Eastlake

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    • By Thea Harrison
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    Dragos Cuelebre is no longer the only dragon. Dragos’s son Liam Cuelebre (a.k.a. Peanut) is springing into existence, reminiscent of the first of the Elder Races who were born at the beginning of the world. At just six months of age, he has already grown to the size of a large five-year-old boy. He can read, write in complete sentences, and his math skills are off the chart. A white dragon in his Wyr form, Liam also holds more power than almost anyone else.

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  • Side Jobs: Stories from the Dresden Files (






UNABRIDGED) by Jim Butcher Narrated by James Marsters

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    Brian says: "Know what sucks about this book?"
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UNABRIDGED) by Stephen King Narrated by Becky Ann Baker, John Cullum, Boyd Gaines, Peter Gerety, Josh Hamilton, Arliss Howard, Judith Ivey, Stephen King, Justin Long

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    The first collection of stories Stephen King has published since Nightmares & Dreamscapes nine years ago, Everything's Eventual includes one O. Henry Prize winner, two other award winners, four stories published by The New Yorker, and "Riding the Bullet", King's original e-book, which attracted over half a million online readers and became the most famous short story of the decade. Intense, eerie, and instantly compelling, they announce the stunningly fertile imagination of perhaps the greatest storyteller of our time.

    Samir Quntar "al-Muti" says: "A Really Great Audiobook"
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UNABRIDGED) by Diana Gabaldon Narrated by Robert Ian MacKenzie

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    • UNABRIDGED (1 hr and 59 mins)
    • By Diana Gabaldon
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    Available for the first time as an audiobook in this original Outlander novella, Diana Gabaldon reveals what really happened to Roger MacKenzie Wakefield’s parents. Orphaned during World War II, Roger believed that his mother died during the London Blitz, and that his father, an RAF pilot, was killed in combat. But in An Echo in the Bone, Roger discovers that this may not be the whole story. Now, in "A Leaf on the Wind of All Hallows," readers finally learn the truth.

    Jina says: "Overall a grim story, but oh, so well written."
  • Shots Fired: Stories from Joe Pickett Country (






UNABRIDGED) by C. J. Box Narrated by Chandler David

    Shots Fired: Stories from Joe Pickett Country

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    • By C. J. Box
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    Performance
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    From C. J. Box, the New York Times-bestselling author of the Joe Pickett novels, comes a thrilling book of suspense stories about the Wyoming he knows so well - and the dark deeds and impulses that can be found there. Over the course of eighteen books, C. J. Box has been consistently hailed for his brilliant storytelling and extraordinary skills at creating character, suspense, and a deep sense of place. All of those strengths are in the ten riveting stories - three of them never before published - that make up Shots Fired.

    justin says: "That's odd...a THREE star review within 3 hours???"
  •  
  • The Complete Stories of Sherlock Holmes (






UNABRIDGED) by Arthur Conan Doyle Narrated by Charlton Griffin

    The Complete Stories of Sherlock Holmes

    • UNABRIDGED (70 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Arthur Conan Doyle
    • Narrated By Charlton Griffin
    Overall
    (210)
    Performance
    (196)
    Story
    (197)

    Here in one recording is every Sherlock Holmes story ever written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Originally appearing in serial form, these famous stories are here presented in the order in which they were first published beginning in 1887. Included in this definitive, award-winning collection are four novels and 56 short stories, a total of 60 titles. The 56 short stories are aggregated into five named collections, just as they were originally published in book form.

    Yvette says: "Pretty good production & a great value!!!"
  • Extraction (






UNABRIDGED) by Douglas Preston, Lincoln Child Narrated by Rene Auberjonois

    Extraction

    • UNABRIDGED (1 hr and 7 mins)
    • By Douglas Preston, Lincoln Child
    • Narrated By Rene Auberjonois
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (443)
    Performance
    (390)
    Story
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    From number-one New York Times best-selling authors Preston & Child, an all-new short story featuring Agent Pendergast, available only as an ebook and audio download. In New Orleans' French Quarter, the Tooth Fairy isn't a benevolent sprite who slips money under your pillow at night.... He's a mysterious old recluse who must be appeased with teeth - lest he extract retribution. When young Diogenes Pendergast loses a tooth, however, his skeptical older brother Aloysius is determined to put the legend to the test...with dire consequences.

    Janels says: "Great Pendergast short story, don't use a credit"
  • FaceOff (






UNABRIDGED) by David Baldacci (editor) Narrated by Dylan Baker, Jeremy Bobb, Dennis Boutsikaris, Daniel Gerroll, January LaVoy, David Baldacci

    FaceOff

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By David Baldacci (editor)
    • Narrated By Dylan Baker, Jeremy Bobb, Dennis Boutsikaris, and others
    Overall
    (50)
    Performance
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    Story
    (47)

    Edited by number-one New York Times best-selling author David Baldacci and including stories by Michael Connelly, Lee Child, Jeffery Deaver, and more, this one-of-a-kind anthology pulls together the most-beloved characters from the best and most popular thriller series today. Worlds collide! In an unprecedented collaboration, 23 of the world’s best-selling and most critically acclaimed thriller writers have paired their series characters - such as Harry Bosch, Jack Reacher, and Lincoln Rhyme - in an 11-story anthology curated by the International Thriller Writers (ITW).

    RueRue says: "Sampler of thrill writers"
  • Nightmares & Dreamscapes, Volume I (






UNABRIDGED) by Stephen King Narrated by Stephen King, Tim Curry, Rob Lowe, Whoopi Goldberg

    Nightmares & Dreamscapes, Volume I

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Stephen King
    • Narrated By Stephen King, Tim Curry, Rob Lowe, and others
    Overall
    (399)
    Performance
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    (214)

    A star-studded cast of readers present unabridged tales of horror and suspense from Stephen King's classic best-selling short story collection.

    Walter says: "Great short stories!!"
  • Showdown Trail: A Western Duo (






UNABRIDGED) by Louis L'Amour, Jon Tuska Narrated by Jim Gough

    Showdown Trail: A Western Duo

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Louis L'Amour, Jon Tuska
    • Narrated By Jim Gough
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    In "The Trail to Peach Meadow Canyon", Mike Bastian has been raised by outlaw chief Ben Curry and trained in frontier skills by Curry's most trusted associates. Curry now wants to retire from leadership of the gang he has headed for years. But he is frustrated in this ambition by various factions within his gang who want to seize leadership and by Mike himself, who is not sure that he wants to lead the life of an outlaw.

  • The Grim Reaper's Bedside Story Book: Tales of Gruesome and Unusual Deaths (






UNABRIDGED) by Edgar Allan Poe, Sherwood Anderson, Alexander Pushkin, Wilkie Collins, Thomas Hardy, Arnold Bennett, Egerton Castle Narrated by Cathy Dobson

    The Grim Reaper's Bedside Story Book: Tales of Gruesome and Unusual Deaths

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Edgar Allan Poe, Sherwood Anderson, Alexander Pushkin, and others
    • Narrated By Cathy Dobson
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    A highly unsettling collection of macabre stories in which death and the dead are key themes. Moon’s Gibbet by Egerton Castle, A Strange Goldfield by Guy Boothby, The Withered Arm by Thomas Hardy, The Pistol Shot by Alexander Pushkin, The Premature Burial by Edgar Allan Poe, The Dead Hand by Wilkie Collins, The Famous Race between the Hearse and the Steamroller by Sidney Keyes, The Masque of the Red Death by Edgar Allan Poe, Nine O’Clock by Wilkie Collins, The Queen of Spades by Alexander Pushkin.

  • Puttin' on the Ritz: This Is Not What I Expected (






UNABRIDGED) by Lisa Kinsey Narrated by Patrick M. Seymour

    Puttin' on the Ritz: This Is Not What I Expected

    • UNABRIDGED (5 mins)
    • By Lisa Kinsey
    • Narrated By Patrick M. Seymour
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    Dear S-F, I saw you were having a bad day. Summer Internship? That's rough. Payin' Dues? We're all payin' dues. It never ends. Especially, when you wanna make it real. Gotta find a way to relax-in-it. You're gonna make it. You made me laugh, S-F!

  • Old Land, New Tales: 20 Short Stories by Writers of the Shaanxi Region in China (






UNABRIDGED) by Chen Zhongshi, Jia Pingwa Narrated by Mikael Naramore, Kate Rudd

    Old Land, New Tales: 20 Short Stories by Writers of the Shaanxi Region in China

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Chen Zhongshi, Jia Pingwa
    • Narrated By Mikael Naramore, Kate Rudd
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    In this captivating collection from the Shaanxi region, considered the cradle of Chinese civilization, twenty disparate and unique voices come together to show a China caught between new-world advancements and old-world traditions. From the homeland of China’s first dynasty and the world-famous terra-cotta warriors, these tales show rugged rural life colliding with fast-paced city life; hollow arranged marriages juxtaposed with torrid forbidden love affairs; and the vanity of newly minted millionaires clashing with the desperation of the poor.

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  • The Knight of the Chimney-Piece (






UNABRIDGED) by A.A. Milne Narrated by Glenn Hascall

    The Knight of the Chimney-Piece

    • UNABRIDGED (5 mins)
    • By A.A. Milne
    • Narrated By Glenn Hascall
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    A Margery story. The storyteller interacts with his niece who is just learning to speak. For his own benefit he is quick to interpret the word Gorkey - which apparently has more than one meaning. Relatable humor in this delightful shot story from the mind of Winnie the Pooh creator A.A. Milne.

  • Afternoon Sleep (






UNABRIDGED) by A. A. Milne Narrated by Glenn Hascall

    Afternoon Sleep

    • UNABRIDGED (5 mins)
    • By A. A. Milne
    • Narrated By Glenn Hascall
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    A Margery story. The storyteller interacts with a very young niece. No matter how he thinks to convince Margery that he needed a nap she refuses to follow. If you’ve ever had a child who asks lots of questions and dreams up new ways to command your attention you will identify with the trials of the storyteller. A short story from the mind of Winnie the Pooh creator A.A. Milne.

  • Toby (






UNABRIDGED) by A.A. Milne Narrated by Glenn Hascall

    Toby

    • UNABRIDGED (6 mins)
    • By A.A. Milne
    • Narrated By Glenn Hascall
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    A good horse has an amazing effect on a rider – even if the rider knows nothing of horses. Our storyteller would make up whatever he needed to in order to keep the horse. He even kept his military mustache if it meant he could continue a companionship with Toby. Filled with a patchwork of humor from the mind of A.A. Milne, the author of Winnie the Pooh.