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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.

HELPFUL VOTES
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393
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15
  • "An adventurous hagiography, you kno..."

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    Finished reading this with my kids, but I probably enjoyed it the most. It was a fun introduction to Lawrence of Arabia written by Alstair MacLean in 1962. It focuses on the role that T.E. Lawrence played in the Arab Revolt during WWI. There is just enough wind-up with his early life, character, etc., and the history/geography of Arabia to insure the thrust of MacLean's small biography doesn't lose nonserious readers in a desert of Arab ignorance. But the book's real brilliance is in MacLean's depiction of the Capture of Aqaba, Battle of Tafileh and the Fall of Damascus. At the end, MacLean also ties the book off with a summary of the post-War years and some of the political results of T.E. Lawrence's work with Winston Churchill and the Colonial Office.

    Again, as a biography this is probably not where I would start for T.E. Lawrence. This is more literary hagiography than biography. Alistar MacLean is better known for his war novels like 'The Guns of Navarone' and 'Where Eagles Dare'. MacLean's book came out the same year as Lawrence of Arabia the academy award winning movie (which suggests this was one of those books intended to surf the wave of interest generated by a popular film). But still, if you are going to read one biography to your kids designed around a legend, saint, or mythmaker ... you could certainly feed the kids worse.

    More

    Sterling Point Books: Lawrence of Arabia

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Alistair Maclean
    • Narrated By Peter Ganim
    Overall
    (22)
    Performance
    (13)
    Story
    (12)

    Best-selling author and screenwriter Alistair MacLean follows Lawrence as he breaks with tradition to live with Arabs and, using modern-day guerrilla tactics, helps them defeat the Turks and gain an independent state. In addition to the enthralling details of the campaign, MacLean provides valuable insight into the origins of the Middle East we know today.

    Darwin8u says: "An adventurous hagiography, you know, for kids!"
  • "An Ode to Youth and the Books of Youth"

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    Just finished this with the kids. I remember reading this with my mother when I was 10. It is a nice generational conveyance. When I was young, the STORIES of Tom and Huck affected me the most. Now, however, it is Twain's language that touches me. I love how Tom's life and play is impacted by the adventure books he reads. One day Tom is animated by a bounty of pirates, the next day by a shadow of robbers, and everyday Tom's vocabulary and actions are endowed with the books of his youth. 'Tom Sawyer' is just as much an ode to his youth as it is a poesy to the adventure books of a more tender age.

    More

    The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Mark Twain
    • Narrated By Norman Dietz
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (45)
    Performance
    (33)
    Story
    (33)

    The name "Tom Sawyer" is synonymous with the adventures of boyhood. Bold and clever, Tom gets into and out of trouble with an ease many listeners will envy. A story beloved by children, it also has relevance for adults. Twain's beloved classic of growing up in Midwest America is as popular today as when it was first published in 1876.

    Tad Davis says: "Nostalgic fairy tale, but at times quite dark"
  • "One of the Greatest Fantasy Novels ..."

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    *** First a preamble:

    Just so you know, this audiobook contains Books 1 -4 of The Once and Future King AND Book #5 (The Book of Merlin). I didn't know #5 was included, but was thrilled to discover it came with the rest.

    *** OK, preambulations are done, on with the real review:

    I loved it and my two brats (11 & 13) absolutely enjoyed it, even if many of the jokes, the funky anachronistic blending of the Medieval with the Modern, might have floated a bit over their tiny wee heads.

    Anyway, I think White perfectly captured the magic, power, fears and the joy of both youth and myth with this retelling of early Arthurian legend. White's theme of power and justice ("Might Makes Right") seem to perfectly capture the political Zeitgiest of now. Perhaps, White like Merlin was just writing through time backwards and wanted to capture the queer contradictions of Imperial Democracy in the global 21st century, but wanted to write it in the 1930s so Disney would be around to animate it (ugh) in the 60s and thus make his point resonate better in the early 21st century.

    You might think a novel that basically focuses on a love-triangle (a quadrilateral if you include God), several affairs, a man's struggle between his love for a woman, love for God, love for his best friend, would not hold the interest of a 13 and an 11-year old for long, but this is T.H. White. The characters are so human, so filled with frailties, heroics, and insecurities that White could have written about cooking for 300 pages and my kids would have been rapt from page 1 to the end.

    The story turns, about half-way through, solidly to Lancelot. It is impossible to understand Lancelot without looking at Arthur, Guinevere, Elaine & Galahad. And White digresses throughout TO&FK to capture these stories. The middle of the book pivots as Camelot, under Arthur's leadership, undergoes a change from physical quests (Round Table v. Might makes Right) to spiritual ones (Round Table > Grail quest). This change captures/mirrors the dynamic of Lancelot's own story (the vacillation between the physical and spiritual).

    Finally, the weight of the conspiracies, the betrayals, the killings, and the expulsions are all there pushing against the King (I love when T.H. White calls Arthur - England) and his faith in man and justice. It just isn't to be. Do I need to hide the ending? Am I going to spoil the book for you? Come now, we are all mostly adults here. Camelot fails, but T.H. White explores the failure almost as beautifully as he does the magic of Camelot. He captures the magic of Camelot by focusing on the humanity of the people. He isn't satisfied with making (or keeping rather) Lancelot, King A, Guinevere, and even Mordred locked up in the stale symbols they often become. The trite shadows of type is not T.H. White's jam. He wants to humanize everybody. He wants to show the motives, the nuances of character that makes the reader LOVE these figures not because they symbolize things like bravery, chivalry, or justice ... but because they remind the reader of elements, times, moods and flaws found buried within. T.H. White started with a fantasy novel, but ended with an exploration of war, humanity, love, and hope.

    Look, I'm skeptical of fantasy novels. They aren't my thing. I want literature. I want something that pushes you against the wall of your own head and dares you to think bigger. I think T.H. White was aiming for that -- and holy anachronisms - he nailed it.

    More

    The Once and Future King

    • UNABRIDGED (33 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By T. H. White
    • Narrated By Neville Jason
    Overall
    (1314)
    Performance
    (1099)
    Story
    (1095)

    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. Sterling Point Books: Law...
  2. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
  3. The Once and Future King
  4. .

A Peek at FanB14's Bookshelf

Helpful
Votes
3763
 
119 REVIEWS / 129 ratings 234 Followers / Following 6
 
FanB14's greatest hits:
  • Shiver

    "Inventive Wolf YA Drama"

    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Grace's early encounter with the wolves in the woods just beyond her backyard created a connection. She dreams of the wolf, who seems to have saved her, and his striking yellow eyes. When he shows himself in human form, the questions and mystery with their surrounding love story take off.

    The idea for how the wolves transform; are created; hunt; live together; and many more intracacies are fascinating. Steifvater has a different take on the werewolf genre. She's talented and in the candy store sequence, as a reader, you believe you can smell the sweets and feel the old wooden floor beneath your feet after hearing the tinkling bell on the shop door.

    The only drawbacks are the narrator for Sam, who sounds like a thirty-something and how whiny and anguished the characters come across. There a few lazy holes in the overall story, for example, Grace's parents are so flighty they don't know if she's at home or has eaten.

    Overall, this story is definitely worth a listen for YA enthusiasts, young or old, who enjoy wolfie love stories.

  • Evermore

    "Not Bad"

    Overall
    Performance
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    This novel was mildly interesting. A little too much like Twilight, but I found the main character's backstory adequate. The narrator was very good. Not a great cross over for adults, but not a bad listen. The rest of the series is pure repetition.

  • Edward's Eyes

    "Sweet Story; Read, don't Listen"

    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Endearing story of two brothers, one is special, almost luminescent with the eldest constantly in awe. Edward's goodness is passed to his sister Sabine and all of his gifts live on. Very short listen, so would recommend reading this one. Sweet read for young boys (maybe 7-12yrs) and of course girls would enjoy, too.

Craig

Craig Bellbrook, OH, United States 09-01-11 Member Since 2007
HELPFUL VOTES
94
ratings
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0
  • "Rick is masterful with history and ..."

    9 of 9 helpful votes

    If you can get your kids to read these books then you are doing them a favor. These books are just plain fun but they also have many hidden treasures. The books have legends and history and ancient tales for them to read and maybe even remember. These are lessons that may creep up in school. These books have some fun mixed with knowledge. I cannot think of a better thing for a kid than to read for fun and accidentally learn something. The 30 Clues series is the same. Many historical and geographic facts mixed with a fun story.

    More

    The Throne of Fire: Kane Chronicles, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Rick Riordan
    • Narrated By Kevin R. Free, Katherine Kellgren
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1875)
    Performance
    (1485)
    Story
    (1502)

    Ever since the gods of Ancient Egypt were unleashed in the modern world, Carter Kane and his sister, Sadie, have been in trouble. As descendants of the House of Life, the Kanes have some powers at their command, but the devious gods haven’t given them much time to master their skills at Brooklyn House, which has become a training ground for young magicians. And now their most threatening enemy yet—the chaos snake Apophis—is rising.

    Craig says: "Rick is masterful with history and incrporation."

What's Trending in Kids:

  • The Giver (






UNABRIDGED) by Lois Lowry Narrated by Ron Rifkin

    The Giver

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Lois Lowry
    • Narrated By Ron Rifkin
    Overall
    (1879)
    Performance
    (1196)
    Story
    (1221)

    December is the time of the annual Ceremony at which each twelve-year-old receives a life assignment determined by the Elders. Jonas watches his friend Fiona named Caretaker of the Old and his cheerful pal Asher labeled the Assistant Director of Recreation. But Jonas has been chosen for something special. When his selection leads him to an unnamed man, the man called only the Giver, he begins to sense the dark secrets that underlie the fragile perfection of his world.

    far_to_go says: "Annoying music"
  • If I Stay (






UNABRIDGED) by Gayle Forman Narrated by Kirsten Potter

    If I Stay

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Gayle Forman
    • Narrated By Kirsten Potter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (652)
    Performance
    (422)
    Story
    (426)

    In a single moment, everything changes. Seventeen year-old Mia has no memory of the accident; she can only recall riding along the snow-wet Oregon road with her family. Then, in a blink, she finds herself watching as her own damaged body is taken from the wreck.

    Jill says: "Loved it!"
  • Gathering Blue (






UNABRIDGED) by Lois Lowry Narrated by Katherine Borowitz

    Gathering Blue

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Lois Lowry
    • Narrated By Katherine Borowitz
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (316)
    Performance
    (236)
    Story
    (244)

    Kira, an orphan with a twisted leg, lives in a world where the weak are cast aside. She fears for her future until she is spared by the all-powerful Council of Guardians. Kira is a gifted weaver and is given a task that no other community member can do. While her talent keeps her alive and brings certain privileges, Kira soon realizes she is surrounded by many mysteries and secrets. No one must know of her plans to uncover the truth about her world and see what places exist beyond.

    Stephanie says: "Hard to stop listening!"
  • Percy Jackson's Greek Gods (






UNABRIDGED) by Rick Riordan Narrated by Jesse Bernstein

    Percy Jackson's Greek Gods

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Rick Riordan
    • Narrated By Jesse Bernstein
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (5)
    Performance
    (5)
    Story
    (5)

    "A publisher in New York asked me to write down what I know about the Greek gods, and I was like, 'Can we do this anonymously?' Because I don't need the Olympians mad at me again. But if it helps you to know your Greek gods, and survive an encounter with them if they ever show up in your face, then I guess writing all this down will be my good deed for the week." So begins Percy Jackson's Greek Gods, in which the son of Poseidon adds his own magic - and sarcastic asides - to the classics.

    Gillian's Mommy says: "Interesting and funny"
  •  
  • Wonder (






UNABRIDGED) by R. J. Palacio Narrated by Diana Steele, Nick Podehl, Kate Rudd

    Wonder

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By R. J. Palacio
    • Narrated By Diana Steele, Nick Podehl, Kate Rudd
    Overall
    (987)
    Performance
    (894)
    Story
    (888)

    August (Auggie) Pullman was born with a facial deformity that prevented him from going to a mainstream school - until now. He’s about to enter fifth grade at Beecher Prep, and if you’ve ever been the new kid, then you know how hard that can be. The thing is Auggie’s just an ordinary kid, with an extraordinary face. But can he convince his new classmates that he’s just like them, despite appearances?R. J. Palacio has crafted an uplifting novel full of wonderfully realistic family interactions, lively school scenes, and writing that shines with spare emotional power.

    Jay says: "A Beautiful Story"
  • Pollyanna (






UNABRIDGED) by Eleanor H. Porter Narrated by Rebecca Burns

    Pollyanna

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Eleanor H. Porter
    • Narrated By Rebecca Burns
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (47)
    Performance
    (19)
    Story
    (18)

    Pollyanna, an expert at her favorite "Glad Game" of always looking at the bright side in her numerous trials, is one of the most popular and enduring characters in all of children's literature.

    Joseph R says: "Redefining Pollyanna"
  • Messenger (






UNABRIDGED) by Lois Lowry Narrated by David Morse

    Messenger

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Lois Lowry
    • Narrated By David Morse
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (263)
    Performance
    (169)
    Story
    (178)

    Six years earlier, Matty had come to Village as a scrappy and devious little boy. Back then, he liked to call himself "the Fiercest of the Fierce." But since that time, Matty has grown almost into a man under the care of Seer, a blind man whose special sight had earned him the name. Now Matty hopes that he will soon be given his true name, and he hopes it will be Messenger. But strange changes are taking place in Village.

    A User says: "we'll remember this one forever!"
  • The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe: The Chronicles of Narnia (






UNABRIDGED) by C.S. Lewis Narrated by Michael York

    The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe: The Chronicles of Narnia

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By C.S. Lewis
    • Narrated By Michael York
    Overall
    (3577)
    Performance
    (955)
    Story
    (994)

    Lucy is the first to find the secret of the wardrobe in the professor's mysterious old house. At first her brothers and sister don't believe her when she tells of her visit to the land of Narnia. But soon Edmund, then Peter and Susan step through the wardrobe themselves. In Narnia they find a country buried under the evil enchantment of the White Witch.

    Caitlin says: "Great audiobook!"
  •  
  • The Lightning Thief: Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book 1 (






UNABRIDGED) by Rick Riordan Narrated by Jesse Bernstein

    The Lightning Thief: Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Rick Riordan
    • Narrated By Jesse Bernstein
    Overall
    (3668)
    Performance
    (1807)
    Story
    (1843)

    Twelve-year-old Percy Jackson is about to be kicked out of boarding school...again. No matter how hard he tries, he can't seem to stay out of trouble. But can he really be expected to stand by and watch while a bully picks on his scrawny best friend? Or not defend himself against his pre-algebra teacher when she turns into a monster and tries to kill him? Of course, no one believes Percy about the monster incident; he's not even sure he believes himself.

    Teddy says: "Fun KIDS Book"
  • Eldest: The Inheritance Cycle, Book 2 (






UNABRIDGED) by Christopher Paolini Narrated by Gerard Doyle

    Eldest: The Inheritance Cycle, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (23 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Christopher Paolini
    • Narrated By Gerard Doyle
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3871)
    Performance
    (1884)
    Story
    (1920)

    Eragon and his dragon, Saphira, have just saved the rebel state from destruction by the mighty forces of King Galbatorix, cruel ruler of the Empire. Now Eragon must travel to Ellesmera, land of the elves, for further training in the skills of the Dragon Rider: magic and swordsmanship. Soon he is on the journey of a lifetime, his eyes open to awe-inspiring new places and people, his days filled with fresh adventure. But chaos and betrayal plague him at every turn, and nothing is what it seems.

    Teddy says: "You see growth in the Author"
  • Tales from Witchway Wood: Crash 'N' Bang (






UNABRIDGED) by Kaye Unmansky Narrated by Veronika Hyks

    Tales from Witchway Wood: Crash 'N' Bang

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Kaye Unmansky
    • Narrated By Veronika Hyks
    Overall
    (0)
    Performance
    (0)
    Story
    (0)

    Filth is Witch Sludgegooey’s Fiend; Arthur the Dragon is precise, meticulous, and lives with his mum; and O’Brian is a Leprechaun who is often mistaken for a Pixie. These three very different characters have two things in common - the band they play in (The Witchway Rhythm Boys) and the music they play - Crash ‘n’ Bang - which nobody likes very much. But then The Thing in the Moonmad T-shirt becomes their manager and sets their sights higher - on the forthcoming music competition The Battle of the Bands.

  • Friends and Brothers (






UNABRIDGED) by Dick King-Smith Narrated by Stanley McGeagh

    Friends and Brothers

    • UNABRIDGED (58 mins)
    • By Dick King-Smith
    • Narrated By Stanley McGeagh
    Overall
    (0)
    Performance
    (0)
    Story
    (0)

    It's not easy having a younger brother, William finds. Especially one like Charlie who shows off, asks a million questions, and will say "absolutely" all the time. But when Charlie is in trouble, William is the first to come to the rescue. After all, they are friends and brothers.

  • The Vanishing of Billy Buckle: Wings & Co, Book 3 (






UNABRIDGED) by Sally Gardner Narrated by Simon Russell Beale

    The Vanishing of Billy Buckle: Wings & Co, Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Sally Gardner
    • Narrated By Simon Russell Beale
    Overall
    (0)
    Performance
    (0)
    Story
    (0)

    Spot on the Fishcake! The famous fairy detective agency, Wings & Co, has a problem. Really quite a big problem. Well, a few of them actually. There's the missing giant, Billy Buckle, who has vanished without a trace, and left his giant daughter with the detectives. There's a surprise visit to the seaside, which uncovers a murder and a stolen diamond. And then there's that tricky business of the TV talent show. Squat on a squid, this is Emily, Buster and Fidget's most complicated case yet. Read by Simon Russell Beale.

  • Coby Collins: Marley Elementary Adventures, Book 1 (






UNABRIDGED) by Justin Johnson Narrated by Brian Allard

    Coby Collins: Marley Elementary Adventures, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (1 hr and 8 mins)
    • By Justin Johnson
    • Narrated By Brian Allard
    Overall
    (0)
    Performance
    (0)
    Story
    (0)

    Coby Collins is a typical third grader. He goes to school, has friends, and hates peanut butter and jelly sandwiches that have been left in plastic all morning. Oh, and his teacher's evil and trying to destroy him! Listen and hear about Coby and his adventures with his best friend Antoine. Together, they try to get to the bottom of everything that's happening with a girl named Suzy Trudell and the teachers at Marley Elementary School.

  •  
  • The Dreadful Dragon (






UNABRIDGED) by Kaye Unmasky Narrated by Thomas Eyre

    The Dreadful Dragon

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Kaye Unmasky
    • Narrated By Thomas Eyre
    Overall
    (0)
    Performance
    (0)
    Story
    (0)

    Ronald the Magnificent is the youngest wizard in the Wizards’ Club. The trouble is, he is not a very good wizard and all the others tease him terribly. They don’t even let him have his own chair. What Ronald needs is a pet so at least somebody is on his side. But pets are not allowed, so Ronald has to magic his pet up in secret. And when he does get his pet, it is not as easily controlled as Ronald would have liked. A very funny new book featuring wizards, fire-breathing, some misplaced magic and a lot of sausages!

  • The Summer I Held the Chisel (






UNABRIDGED) by Kathy May Davies Narrated by Lia Frederick

    The Summer I Held the Chisel

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Kathy May Davies
    • Narrated By Lia Frederick
    Overall
    (0)
    Performance
    (0)
    Story
    (0)

    The Summer I Held the Chisel is told by Daisy Ryals, a young girl who relates the accounts of one summer in her life. The majority of the names, places, and events are real. Conversations and sequence of events are created in order to make the audiobook an adventure instead of a nonfiction account. It is a story about a family during the Great Depression, working and living during a difficult time in America's history.

  • The Princess and the Dolphin (






UNABRIDGED) by Dan Alatorre Narrated by Heidi Tabing

    The Princess and the Dolphin

    • UNABRIDGED (6 mins)
    • By Dan Alatorre
    • Narrated By Heidi Tabing
    Overall
    (0)
    Performance
    (0)
    Story
    (0)

    An amusing audiobook for children, The Princess and the Dolphin tells the story of a little princess who has a very special stuffed animal - that she loses somewhere in the castle! With help of her parents (the king and queen) and the family dog, they are off on a search. Persistence is important, as well as being resourceful, and working together.

  • Melika and the Magic Leaf (






UNABRIDGED) by Elihu Blotnick Narrated by Apple Butter

    Melika and the Magic Leaf

    • UNABRIDGED (14 mins)
    • By Elihu Blotnick
    • Narrated By Apple Butter
    Overall
    (0)
    Performance
    (0)
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    (0)

    The restaurant game, played with leaves for props, leads Melika to an artful mission: protecting the forest against a false spring.

  •  
  • The Complete Blot: The Adventures to Date of Mysterious Mr. Blot (






UNABRIDGED) by Elihu Blotnick Narrated by Elihu Blotnick, Apple Butter, Kiwi Butter, Mango Butter

    The Complete Blot: The Adventures to Date of Mysterious Mr. Blot

    • UNABRIDGED (33 mins)
    • By Elihu Blotnick
    • Narrated By Elihu Blotnick, Apple Butter, Kiwi Butter, and others
    Overall
    (0)
    Performance
    (0)
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    (0)

    In Book One, Mr. Blot welcomes Pengwendolin into his home. Together they tamper with the weather. Blot's true nature is soon revealed, leading to more than one surprise. In Book Two, Mr. Blot's adventures with the weather produce a most unusual music and make Pengwendolin, his partner from Antarctica most, most famous. In the third book, Mr. Blot travels to the city in search of Lauren Lake. In the final book, Mr. Blot finds his inner weather in outer space.