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C. Randall Curb

USA and UK | Member Since 2015

  • 2 reviews
  • 15 ratings
  • 82 titles in library
  • 2 purchased in 2015

  • Charles Dickens: A Life

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Claire Tomalin
    • Narrated By Alex Jennings
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Charles Dickens: A Life gives full measure to Dickens's heroic stature - his huge virtues both as a writer and as a human being - while observing his failings in both respects with an unblinking eye. Renowned literary biographer Claire Tomalin crafts a story worthy of Dickens's own pen, a comedy that turns to tragedy as the very qualities that made him great - his indomitable energy, boldness, imagination, and showmanship - finally destroyed him.

    C. Randall Curb says: "A great biography brilliantly read"
    "A great biography brilliantly read"
    What made the experience of listening to Charles Dickens the most enjoyable?

    Claire Tomalin is one of the finest biographers working today. This is the fourth biography by her that I have read, and I have found only one--her book on Katherine Mansfield--less than superb. The complaints that the novels are not summarized or analysed in detail are absurd. Who goes to a genuine literary biography for plot synopses? The quibbling remarks about syntax are laughable. Tomalin is an extremely lucid and careful writer. The so-called slips are not based on current grammatical rules (and I taught English for years). I loved listening to this book as I am no longer able to read the print in most books. I do own this biography however and could at least follow along, mark my place, and look at the illustrations. I found the reading impeccable.

    What other book might you compare Charles Dickens to and why?

    The book can be compared only to other great literary biographies, such as Claire Tomalin's book on Thomas Hardy and the biographies of Michael Holroyd.

    What about Alex Jennings’s performance did you like?

    Alex Jennings, a great actor, is represented by many titles in the Audible catalogue. There is a good reason for this--he has a pleasing, resonant voice that the listener never tires of. It is a strong, sympathetic, manly, British voice that is perfect for reading a book about Dickens. I will seek out other recordings that Jenning has made.

    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Heavens no. I spent two weeks on this book. Though not overlong, it is packed with information and insight, especially into Dickens's marriage and his friendships. I have read a great deal about Dickens, but I learned much more from taking my time in reading this volume.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • The Queen of Spades: A Pushkin Short Story

    • UNABRIDGED (1 hr and 4 mins)
    • By Alexander Pushkin
    • Narrated By Deaver Brown

    "The Queen of Spades" is the best known and probably the best of all Russian short stories. It confronts the great riches of a few and the impoverishment of the many in the form of the assistant to the fabulously rich and old Countess; Hermann, who seeks great wealth through any means; and the countess's knowledge of how to win one's fortune on three cards. The denouement is worthy of being considered one of the finest in literature.

    Gordon says: "Murder!"
    "A wretched performance"
    Would you try another book from Alexander Pushkin and/or Deaver Brown?

    I have read other Pushkin stories and will re-read some favorites. I shall never listen to another book by Deaver Brown

    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    I could hardly bear to listen to the story as the reading was so amateurish.

    How could the performance have been better?

    I'm not sure there's much hope for this reader. The voice is abrasive and his pronunciations are all over the shop. Nothing professional about the performance.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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