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Don

dhm

Somerville, MA, United States | Member Since 2001

4
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 8 reviews
  • 9 ratings
  • 1 titles in library
  • 0 purchased in 2014
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  • Pride and Prejudice

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Jane Austen
    • Narrated By Flo Gibson
    Overall
    (1063)
    Performance
    (889)
    Story
    (903)

    Many consider this rich social commentary to be Jane Austen's finest novel. It is certainly among her more famous ones. Austen sets her entertaining study of manners and misconceptions against the backdrop of a class-conscious society in 18th-century England.

    Rachel Kapila says: "Flo Gibson Reads You Stories"
    "Classic well performed"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The narrator is excellent and really brings out the classism, sexism, and unfounded pride in this story. I only wish the story didn't devolve into a feel-good ending which detracts from the earlier scathing observations.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Caveat Emptor: A Novel of the Roman Empire

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Ruth Downie
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (315)
    Performance
    (218)
    Story
    (222)

    Ruso and Tilla, now newlyweds, have moved back to Britannia, where Ruso's old friend and colleague Valens has promised to help him find work. But it isn't the kind of work he'd had in mind - Ruso is tasked with hunting down a missing tax man named Julius Asper. Of course, there's also something else missing: money. And the council of the town of Verulamium is bickering over what's become of it. Compelled to delve deeper by a threat from his old sparring partner, Metellus, Ruso discovers that the good townsfolk may not be as loyal to Rome as they like to appear.

    Bonnie says: "Ruth Downie doesn't dissapoint"
    "Entertaining unsophisticated historical novel"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It was fun imagining Roman era Britain although highly tinged w/ 21st century ideals. The story is a fun dime-store detective story which plays well enough.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Call to Conscience: The Landmark Speeches of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Edited by Clayborne Carson, Kris Shepard
    • Narrated By Andrew Young, Rosa Parks
    Overall
    (106)
    Performance
    (29)
    Story
    (31)

    These 12 moving speeches voiced by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. are original recordings collected here for the first time ever. Plus, listen to MLK deliver some of his most famous sermons in A Knock at Midnight.

    Inge A says: "A King size speech"
    "Second listen even better than first"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Trying to summarize or appraise MLK's speeches seems irreverent and a false sense of being an equal. Listening carefully to his deep faith, deep sense of justice for all, fears, and call to everyone being better than we imagine we can be reaches a deep spiritual plain. This recording is worth a frequent repeat.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Clockwork Orange

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By Anthony Burgess
    • Narrated By Tom Hollander
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (822)
    Performance
    (440)
    Story
    (442)

    A vicious 15-year-old droog is the central character of this 1963 classic, a frightening fable about good and evil, and the meaning of human freedom. In Anthony Burgess' nightmare vision of the future, where the criminals take over after dark, the story is told by the central character, Alex, who talks in a brutal invented slang that brilliantly renders his and his friends' social pathology.

    Steve says: "Great book, great narration, but not for everyone"
    "Superb narrator and story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This narrator and book blew me away. The narrator has the patter down so well that the book is a narrative poem. The writing is existential and fatalistic while not being morose. It's a lighthearted telling of tragedy with exquisite language and imagery.

    This edition includes the 21st chapter which is crucial at climaxing the existential crisis and is not a sellout. It is no Walt Disney redemption.

    This edition also includes an intro and 3 chapters read by the author.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Bend Sinister

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Vladimir Nabokov
    • Narrated By Robert Blumenfeld
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (49)
    Performance
    (35)
    Story
    (36)

    The first novel Nabokov wrote while living in America, and the most overtly political novel he ever wrote, Bend Sinister is a modern classic. While it is filled with veiled puns and characteristically delightful wordplay, it is, first and foremost, a haunting and compelling narrative about a civilized man caught in the tyranny of a police state. Professor Adam Krug, the country's foremost philosopher, offers the only hope of resistance to Paduk, dictator and leader of the Party of the Average Man.

    Darwin8u says: "A fantastic fairytale of fascism"
    "Great surrealist tale of conformity"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I listened to the marvelous Audible production narrated by Robert Blumenfeld.

    This is the third Nabokov book I've "read" and further elevates my appreciation of his intellect, imagination, and wry wit. He is the best surrealist I know of. His writing puts me in a great mood even while describing tragedies.  Its twists and subtle perversions lead the me down odd alleys. His descriptions of the absurdity of everyday life as being so prevalent permeate my imagination in such a way that I almost became physically ill when removing the headphones and having insipid pop blaring from the public address illustrate his point. 

    His characters are easy to see. You follow them down slippery slopes to absurdity and, with them, wonder how you got there. Perhaps you see the not too subtle mole, but you don't see the absurd dance she'll perform. 

    This book was less absurd than Invitation to a Beheading but more than Lolita. 

    The first half seemed to be a universal tale of a person dealing with the dislocation of a personal loss trying to get his feet under himself while his community was going through a political spasm. Like Invitation, it portrayed society's inability to accept thinkers who don't conform and reform to the latest zeitgeist. Adam, the hero, didn't fully appreciate societal anti-bodies for nonconformists and presumed that his stature would protect him from the temporary tempest. Unlike Invitation, the hero had more at stake and more to value than himself. His weakness was not understanding that vulnerability until too late. 

    The second half appears to be an anti-Stalin tale and thus loses some of the first half's universalism. Nabokov wants us to know how absurd and little Stalin is. It's great writing with wondrous allegories, but I wanted to retain the first half's universalism. 

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Divine Comedy

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Dante Alighieri, Herbert A. Kenny (translator)
    • Narrated By Grover Gardner
    Overall
    (34)
    Performance
    (32)
    Story
    (33)

    This unique poetic translation by Herbert A. Kenny, historian and poet, is the first that incorporates the Biblical, theological and historical allusions of the greatest poem im Christendom into the text itself. It can now be appreciated without a glossary or accompanying notes. Listen as the liquid lines take you through the horrors of the "Inferno", the mysteries of "Purgatorio" and the glories of "Paradiso".

    Tad Davis says: "Built-in study guide"
    "Crisp, engaging"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I found this translation and narration very crisp and engaging.

    The story itself has high and low parts. I am constantly amazed at Dante's boldness in criticizing the church while worshiping in deep and honest reverence. His political and religious criticisms are very worthwhile to hear. It's only a shame that the events are too far removed from us to understand how these people and events fit into his world.

    The imagery and constant imagination of Dante are without many equals. No one else has done any worthwhile imagining of Hell, Heaven, or Purgatory especially of Heaven. He manages to engage us and draw us in with vivid and personal descriptions.

    The anachronism of the belief system is often a problem. I bristle at the vituperation heaped upon the tragic suicides. The paucity of grace and vindictiveness of god fall outside of my faith. I do love that he places Satan not as a victor but as the very deepest and most tortured prisoner.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The Inferno of Dante

    • ABRIDGED (3 hrs)
    • By Dante Alighieri (translated by Robert Pinsky)
    • Narrated By John Cleese
    Overall
    (114)
    Performance
    (29)
    Story
    (30)

    Poet and essayist Robert Pinsky's translation captures the intensity and passion of the literary masterpiece, and world-renowned actor John Cleese contributes a profound and electrifying performance.

    A User says: "Good Interpretation, Somewhat difficult to follow"
    "Muddled voice and language"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Compared to the Kenny translation, I found this very hard to listen to. The language was much less engaging and the audio quality and narrator inflections made is much less engaging.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Prince of Tides

    • UNABRIDGED (22 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Pat Conroy
    • Narrated By Frank Muller
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1961)
    Performance
    (1145)
    Story
    (1146)

    Spanning 40 years, this is the story of turbulent Tom Wingo, his gifted and troubled twin sister Savannah, and their struggle to triumph over the dark and tragic legacy of the extraordinary family into which they were born.

    Ella says: "A "Prince" amongst novels"
    "Touches of interesting writing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The narrator was superb. Parts of the story were superb. But, more than once, I felt continuity errors: for example, Tom goes to dinner several times with the therapist, paints his sister's apartment, visits and then gets banned from visiting his sister, complains about the length of the ban, and then says he's on his second week in NYC. Huh? Savannah supposedly has no recollection of major childhood events, but she spent over a week with Tom detailing these events in her journal just a few years ago. Huh? Also, the incredibility of the psychiatrist allowing Tom to take Savannah for an outing as his first reunion meeting after the ban and without supervision and without any joint therapeutic sessions was completely incredible.

    I also felt, especially at the beginning, that some of the writing was just too dramatic: felt too sorry for itself in an unconvincing way. It didn't help that Tom's character as the jock and coach who somehow hid behind his brother rather than fight his own fights and also somehow was a gourmet cook, well-read intellectual, and emotionally stunted abused child just didn't fit together well.

    The story was interesting and is a good hero myth (as told, not as far as truthfulness, I can't comment on how truthful its southern depiction is).

    The story also brings out important themes:
    - denial as a ineffective means to handle tragedy
    - abuse as a devastating life-foundation. Actually, I found Tom too healed for his life story.
    - greed and manipulation as unforgivable relationship destroyer.
    - the desire of the abused to seek restoration with their abusers when the rest of us think they should flee and get restraining orders.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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