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Fiction & Literature

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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
    Performance
    Story

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    More

    The Once and Future King

    • UNABRIDGED (33 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By T. H. White
    • Narrated By Neville Jason
    Overall
    (1274)
    Performance
    (1064)
    Story
    (1059)

    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!"
  • "Glad I took a chance."

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    I had my doubts about reading this book. I have a hard time with books about WWII Germany. I knew this would probably be a heartbreaker too but for some reason I decided to take it on. Maybe because the book was about books, and I usually like that genre; maybe because the reviews were so good; certainly not because I read it was appropriate for "sophisticated teens and adults." For whatever reason, I am glad I selected The Book Thief. It was incredibly well-written. The characters completely came to life. While there certainly was heart-brake, the heart-warming more than made up for it. This is a book for all ages. The narrator was outstanding and all and all, it was a book I will not soon forget.

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    The Book Thief

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Markus Zusak
    • Narrated By Allan Corduner
    Overall
    (7691)
    Performance
    (5902)
    Story
    (5922)

    It's just a small story really, about, among other things, a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak's groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can't resist: books.

    Shannon says: "Word Thief"
  • "A Lost Review"

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    This is one of many lost reviews by Audible. It's not much but luckily, it was stored elsewhere:

    Narrated by Katherine Kellgren, this is one of my all-time favorite audiobooks. It is an audio book at its best. This is a performance and not just a reading. This book and its reader have won many awards and rightfully so. The book is entertaining to the point of addiction. I read the first two books in the series in two days and would be working on the third if my iPod were not fully discharged.

    There is not a dull moment in any of the first two books in this series: Bloody Jack #1 and The Curse of the Blue Tattoo #2. I have heard it said and read of listeners that they had fallen in love with the narrator's voice... well add me to her fanboys and girls. Katherine Kellgren is one of the best talents in this art form. In fact, certainly gender-wise, she is perhaps without peer.

    More

    Bloody Jack

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By L.A. Meyer
    • Narrated By Katherine Kellgren
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1186)
    Performance
    (694)
    Story
    (688)

    Life as a ship's boy aboard HMS Dolphin is a dream come true for Jacky Faber. Gone are the days of scavenging for food and fighting for survival on the streets of 18th-century London. Instead, Jacky is becoming a skilled and respected sailor as the crew pursues pirates on the high seas. There's only one problem: Jacky is a girl. And she will have to use every bit of her spirit, wit, and courage to keep the crew from discovering her secret.

    Terry says: "Sometimes it clicks"
  1. The Once and Future King
  2. The Book Thief
  3. Bloody Jack
  4. .

A Peek at Amazon Customer's Bookshelf

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3 REVIEWS / 11 ratings Member Since 2010 0 Followers / Following 0
 
Amazon Customer's greatest hits:
  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower

    "This one is special"

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    If you could sum up The Perks of Being a Wallflower in three words, what would they be?

    Best performance ever!


    What does Noah Galvin bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    I can't even imagine reading this book or hearing it read by any other performer. Noah "owns" this book!


    Any additional comments?

    I don't write many reviews because I really don't think I'm a very good book reviewer. So many people write so much better than I do, and all I can do is second what they have to say. But I loved this book and the performance of the reader so much that I felt like I needed to write something. I have listened to many audible books and have enjoyed many of them, but this one is special. That's the best description I can give it really. It has a special place in my heart.

Michael

Michael Walnut Creek, CA, United States 02-09-13 Member Since 2002

I focus on fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, science, history, politics and read a lot. I try to review everything I read.

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  • "A Rare Gem of a Short Story"

    20 of 20 helpful votes

    Dostoevsky did not write many short stories so this is a rare gem. This is a very, very good short story narrated excellently. It is dark, surprising, touching, and real. A real bargain at a buck (don’t waste a full credit).

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    The Wedding

    • UNABRIDGED (21 mins)
    • By Fyodor Dostoevsky
    • Narrated By Walter Zimmerman
    Overall
    (51)
    Performance
    (25)
    Story
    (26)

    Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky is considered one of the greatest Russian writers. His works have had a profound and lasting effect on 20th-century literature. His psychological penetration into the human soul had, in novels like Crime and Punishment and The Brothers Karamazov, a profound influence on the 20th century novel. He also wrote a number of brilliant short stories along these same lines. "The Wedding" is one of his best.

    Michael says: "A Rare Gem of a Short Story"

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    The Fault in Our Stars

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    • By John Green
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    Performance
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    The Bad Beginning, A Multi-Voice Recording: A Series of Unfortunate Events #1

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    • By Lemony Snicket
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    Performance
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    Story
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    • By William Golding
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UNABRIDGED) by Cassandra Clare Narrated by Mae Whitman

    City of Bones: The Mortal Instruments

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Cassandra Clare
    • Narrated By Mae Whitman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (177)
    Performance
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    Story
    (165)

    When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder - much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It's hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing - not even a smear of blood - to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy?

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UNABRIDGED) by E. Lockhart Narrated by Ariadne Meyers

    We Were Liars

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By E. Lockhart
    • Narrated By Ariadne Meyers
    Overall
    (135)
    Performance
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    Story
    (122)

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  •  
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UNABRIDGED) by Rainbow Rowell Narrated by Rebecca Lowman, Sunil Malhotra

    Eleanor & Park

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Rainbow Rowell
    • Narrated By Rebecca Lowman, Sunil Malhotra
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    (756)
    Performance
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    Story
    (709)

    Set over the course of one school year, in 1986, this is the story of two star-crossed misfits - smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. When Eleanor meets Park, you’ll remember your own first love - and just how hard it pulled you under.

    FanB14 says: "E + P 4-ever!"
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UNABRIDGED) by Stephen Chbosky Narrated by Noah Galvin

    The Perks of Being a Wallflower

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Stephen Chbosky
    • Narrated By Noah Galvin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1893)
    Performance
    (1722)
    Story
    (1744)

    Most people think 15-year-old Charlie is a freak. But then seniors Patrick and his beautiful stepsister Sam take Charlie under their wings and introduce him to their eclectic, open-minded, hard-partying friends. It is from these older kids that Charlie learns to live and love.

    FanB14 says: "Intelligent, Absorbing Coming of Age Story"
  • Will Grayson, Will Grayson (






UNABRIDGED) by John Green Narrated by MacLeod Andrews, Nick Podehl

    Will Grayson, Will Grayson

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By John Green
    • Narrated By MacLeod Andrews, Nick Podehl
    Overall
    (0)
    Performance
    (0)
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    (0)

    Penguin Audiobooks presents Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan. An unabridged recording voiced by MacLeod Andrews and Nick Podehl. One cold night, in a most unlikely corner of Chicago, teenager Will Grayson crosses paths with . . . Will Grayson! Two teens with the same name who run in two very different circles suddenly find their lives going in new and unexpected directions.

  • If I Ever Get Out of Here (






UNABRIDGED) by Eric Gansworth Narrated by Eric Gansworth

    If I Ever Get Out of Here

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By Eric Gansworth
    • Narrated By Eric Gansworth
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (0)
    Performance
    (0)
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    (0)

    Lewis "Shoe" Blake is used to the joys and difficulties of life on the Tuscarora Indian reservation in 1975: the joking, the Fireball games, the snow blowing through his roof. What he's not used to is white people being nice to him - people like George Haddonfield, whose family recently moved to town with the Air Force. As the boys connect through their mutual passion for music, especially the Beatles, Lewis has to lie more and more to hide the reality of his family's poverty from George.

  • The Secret Side of Empty (






UNABRIDGED) by Maria E. Andreu Narrated by Eileen Stevens

    The Secret Side of Empty

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Maria E. Andreu
    • Narrated By Eileen Stevens
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (0)
    Performance
    (0)
    Story
    (0)

    What's it like to be undocumented? High school senior M.T. knows all too well. With graduation and an uncertain future looming, she must figure out how to grow up in the only country she's ever called home... a country in which she's "illegal". M.T. was born in Argentina and brought to America as a baby without any official papers. And as questions of college, work, and the future arise, M.T. will have to decide what exactly she wants for herself, knowing someone she loves will unavoidably pay the price for it.

  • Homeroom Diaries (






UNABRIDGED) by James Patterson, Lisa Papademetriou, Keino (illustrator) Narrated by Lauren Fortgang

    Homeroom Diaries

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By James Patterson, Lisa Papademetriou, Keino (illustrator)
    • Narrated By Lauren Fortgang
    Overall
    (0)
    Performance
    (0)
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    (0)

    Cuckoo's also got a nearly impossible mission: she, along with her misfit band of self-deprecating friends (who call themselves "the Freakshow") decide to bridge the gap between warring cliques and "bring the Nations together". Not everyone is so willing to join hands and get along, but Cuckoo never stops smiling... until one of her closest friends, pushed to desperation by a Hater prank, decides that enough is enough.

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  • The Rude Poets Society (






UNABRIDGED) by Lew Macgeorge Narrated by Alicia Harris

    The Rude Poets Society

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Lew Macgeorge
    • Narrated By Alicia Harris
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    Seeking to embarrass and humiliate an obnoxious editor, four college students create an amazingly profane alter ego to submit poetry to the student literary magazine. Hilarity ensues...until the Rude Poet continues to submit new works after the four have retired their alter ego. Then when things get personal and threatening, more than just some bruised egos may be on the line.

  • Power of Five: Night Rise (






UNABRIDGED) by Anthony Horowitz Narrated by Paul Panting, Kerry Shale

    Power of Five: Night Rise

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By Anthony Horowitz
    • Narrated By Paul Panting, Kerry Shale
    Overall
    (0)
    Performance
    (0)
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    (0)

    Fourteen-year-old twins Jamie and Scott Tyler are performing a mind-reading act in a dingy theatre. But when a sinister multinational corporation, Nightrise, kidnaps Scott, Jamie is left alone - and wanted for murder. He becomes embroiled in a corrupt presidential campaign and breaks into the American prison system before being propelled 10,000 years into the past, where he encounters the other Gatekeepers and witnesses the creation of Raven's Gate - and the first fateful battle against the Old Ones.

  • And We Stay (






UNABRIDGED) by Jenny Hubbard Narrated by Erin Spencer

    And We Stay

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Jenny Hubbard
    • Narrated By Erin Spencer
    Overall
    (0)
    Performance
    (0)
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    When high school senior Paul Wagoner walks into his school library with a stolen gun, he threatens his girlfriend Emily Beam, then takes his own life. In the wake of the tragedy, an angry and guilt-ridden Emily is shipped off to boarding school in Amherst, Massachusetts, where she encounters a ghostly presence who shares her name. The spirit of Emily Dickinson and two quirky girls offer helping hands, but it is up to Emily to heal her own damaged self.