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C. Telfair

Audible has changed my life! Dry , itchy eyes were destroying one of my greatest pleasures - reading. Now I am experiencing books again!

Shepherdstown, WV, United States

ratings
235
REVIEWS
222
FOLLOWING
2
FOLLOWERS
271
HELPFUL VOTES
1203

  • Heroes and Legends: The Most Influential Characters of Literature

    • ORIGINAL (12 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Thomas A. Shippey
    Overall
    (190)
    Performance
    (167)
    Story
    (168)

    Odysseus. Robinson Crusoe. Harry Potter. What do these memorable characters have in common? Why do we turn to certain stories again and again? And what impact have they made on world history? These 24 eye-opening lectures give fresh insight into some of the greatest heroes in world literature, from warriors such as Beowulf and Odysseus to unexpected heroes such as Uncle Tom and Sancho Panza. Professor Shippey gives you an inside glimpse into the writer's process.

    SC in SC says: "Outstanding! Myth, Legend & History Come Alive"
    "You're Gonna Love It!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I've never listened to a "Great Courses" on Audible that I didn't find at the very least interesting. This particular set of lectures surprised me a lot! And I loved it!

    I was expecting Ulysses and other heroes of classical literature. Not so much was I considering the inclusion of Sherlock Holmes, Frodo Baggins, James Bond and, for heaven's sake, Lizbet Salandar of "Dragon Tattoo" fame! Yet here they are, and Professor Shippey makes an enthusiastic and convincing case for including them all and more.

    These heroes and heroines (and Shippey includes an impressive number of female examples) are skillfully contrasted and connected as well as put in the context of their classical origins, their own times, and right now. Each discussion revolves around the nature of the example: what makes him/her a hero? How is she/he like and unlike other heroes? Why has he/she stood the test of time and changing tastes and values?

    Taking us from less-likely examples such as Elizabeth Bennett and Uncle Tom (don't scoff - listen to what he has to say! ) up to Harry Potter and Katniss Everdeen, the content and presentation of this material is timely, fascinating, enlightening, and inspiring.

    There's something for everyone here - it's time excellently spent!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Not My Father's Son: A Memoir

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Alan Cumming
    • Narrated By Alan Cumming
    Overall
    (56)
    Performance
    (54)
    Story
    (53)

    With ribald humor, wit, and incredible insight, Alan seamlessly moves back and forth in time, integrating stories from his childhood in Scotland and his experiences today as the celebrated actor of film, television, and stage. At times suspenseful, at times deeply moving, but always incredibly brave and honest, Not My Father's Son is a powerful story of embracing the best aspects of the past and triumphantly pushing the darkness aside.

    BG853 says: "A Memoir For Mystery Lovers"
    "Brave and Honest"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I write this as one who had a lovely childhood. Oh, my family had issues and ups and downs, but there was never any doubt about the love, respect, support, and security offered by my parents.

    So it should be for all children! I've long admired Alan Cumming as a fearless actor and as a wonderful narrator - now I also admire him as a survivor who shares his painful story with emotion and frankness which can not fail to be an inspiration for us all and especially for those who have also suffered childhood abuse.

    The book moves back and forth in time to reveal the fear and confusion of a child dealing with that abuse and the struggle of an adult to comprehend and come to terms with it and the inevitable effects it had on himself and his family. And it's all told within the context of the filming of an episode of "Who Do You Think You Are?", a series which explores the family trees of celebrities. We learn a lot about the process of that show and about the life it is focusing on in this case - that of Cumming's troubled grandfather. The two stories seem in ways to be completely different, yet there are striking similarities and the juxtaposition works.

    No one but Alan Cumming could have narrated this book. Listening to it is an incredible experience!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Arabella

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Georgette Heyer
    • Narrated By Phyllida Nash
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (57)
    Performance
    (52)
    Story
    (53)

    When Arabella first arrives in London, she has only one mission: to snare a rich husband. With a mind to beat the competition, she pretends to be a rich heiress and soon finds herself the talk of the town, pursued by the most eligible bachelors in the city. But she has her sights on one man only: the much-hunted Mr Beaumaris. Our feisty heroine puts up a fight and deals the worldly-wise Beaumaris a deft hand in the game of love; at first grudgingly charmed, he soon becomes smitten.

    Nena says: "Delightful !"
    "Young Lady with Mind and Heart!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    "Arabella" is one of Georgette Heyer's earlier books, and it illustrates much of what makes her writing so much fun. The title character is young, spirited and lovely - but what sets her apart is her native intelligence and her exceptional heart. Our hero is experienced and a little jaded (and, OK, to modern audiences, just a shade too patronizing), but he recognizes the quality as well as the physical attributes of the lady. A charming, highly mannered Regency romance ensues.

    We might wish for more of the eccentric and funny secondary characters that Heyer so deftly presents in later books ("Sylvester", "Venetia", "A Civil Contract" are excellent examples), but I dare anyone to resist Jemmy the chimney sweep or especially the wonderful Ulysses in "Arabella".

    It's a short listen, but, as one of Heyer's characters might say, "highly diverting".

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Big History: The Big Bang, Life on Earth, and the Rise of Humanity

    • ORIGINAL (24 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor David Christian
    Overall
    (221)
    Performance
    (202)
    Story
    (201)

    How is it possible for the disciplines of cosmology, geology, anthropology, biology, and history to fit together? These 48 lectures answer that question by weaving a single story from accounts of the past developed by a variety of scholarly disciplines. The result is a story stretching from the origins of the universe to the present day and beyond, in which human history is seen as part of the history of our Earth and biosphere, and the Earth's history, in turn, is seen as part of the history of the universe.

    John P. Gillespie says: "The Big Picture of Big History"
    "Perfect Title for an Enlightening Experience"
    Overall
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    Story

    Thank you Great Courses!

    I loved this listen! I bought it because I had read about Bill Gates' suggestion that this set of lectures be adapted for High School use. He thought it a brilliant new way of looking at the structure and content of the basic history course.

    Well, I think he and Professor Christian are absolutely right. This course begins with the real beginning - progresses through the formation of our universe, our solar system, and our planet to the eruption of life, division of species, and, finally, the development of human civilizations.

    It's all here and presented in a fascinating way. The Professor is a wonderful speaker, and his enthusiasm for this material is evident and contagious. My husband and I listened during many drives and found ourselves several times going out of our way to avoid arrival before a lecture ended!

    I hope Gates can help encourage more school systems to consider "Big History" as a high school course. It's high time for a more inclusive approach to history.

    "Big History" is a long trip, but it's a total pleasure. Embrace it!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Invention of Wings: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Sue Monk Kidd
    • Narrated By Jenna Lamia, Adepero Oduye, Sue Monk Kidd
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (6395)
    Performance
    (5808)
    Story
    (5802)

    From the celebrated author of The Secret Life of Bees, a magnificent novel about two unforgettable American women. Writing at the height of her narrative and imaginative gifts, Sue Monk Kidd presents a masterpiece of hope, daring, the quest for freedom, and the desire to have a voice in the world - and it is now the newest Oprah’s Book Club 2.0 selection. Hetty “Handful” Grimke, an urban slave in early nineteenth century Charleston, yearns for life beyond the suffocating walls that enclose her within the wealthy Grimke household. The Grimke’s daughter, Sarah, has known from an early age she is meant to do something large in the world, but she is hemmed in by the limits imposed on women.

    Jan says: "Historical Fiction - beautifully quilted!"
    "Wanted to love it, but. . . ."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Do you ever get the feeling that you've heard or read a book before? Well, "The Invention of Wings" is one of those. There's much to admire: the Grimke sisters offer an excellent and mostly unknown historic starting point; the main characters are well drawn; the narration is excellent throughout.

    But there's just nothing new here. We have already pretty much realized that slavery was horrific. That early 19th century society was also confining for intelligent, sympathetic women in general. Not until the author's statement at the end do we learn all that much about the historic sisters' lives - and that an equally important half of the story is entirely fictional.

    I was expecting more.

    8 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • The Secret Place: Dublin Murder Squad, Book 5

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Tana French
    • Narrated By Stephen Hogan, Lara Hutchinson
    Overall
    (638)
    Performance
    (581)
    Story
    (576)

    "The Secret Place", a board where the girls at St Kilda's School can pin up their secrets anonymously, is normally a mishmash of gossip and covert cruelty, but today someone has used it to reignite the stalled investigation into the murder of handsome, popular Chris Harper. Stephen joins forces with the abrasive Detective Antoinette Conway to find out who and why.

    Pamela says: "Well...I really liked 50% of it"
    "Games Teenagers Play - And Adults Too!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I think I know what Tana French was getting at in this quite different book. She begins with pulling you into this seemingly uniquely banal teenage world. Girls sniping, bickering, bullying in an elite private school - totally unlike the adult world, yeh? Then, slowly and throughout the book, she introduces the parallel, if more subtle, ways in which the police culture is structured. Repeating the same painful scenes: jealous, sniping men and women vying for top dog status!

    It's actually very clever, and you have to wade through perhaps too much teenage angst and confusing skips back in time to get there. I found it hard to understand, for instance, why it was so important to emphasize that one story line took place in one day. And why the other storyline was so repetitive. The two-narrator decision is fairly clear - it helps distinguish for the listener just where in time you are at any given moment. But this concept was not helped by the grating, valley-girl accent of the female narrator - or by the strong accents that took really getting used to.

    I respect an author who tries different styles, so Tana French will remain, for me, an intriguing voice among young writers. I tend to agree with other reviewers that this work might well have been better experienced in written form.

    But I got the point.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Code Talker: The First and Only Memoir by One of the Original Navajo Code Talkers of WW II

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 36 mins)
    • By Chester Nez, Judith Schiess Avila
    • Narrated By David Colacci
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (567)
    Performance
    (494)
    Story
    (503)

    Chester Nez, the only surviving member of the original twenty-nine Navajo code talkers, shares the fascinating inside story of his life and service during World War II.

    Roxane says: "Interesting Listen for WWII Buffs"
    "Lessons We Learn"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    How is it that some of the people treated most badly in this country end up being some of the best heroes and patriots?

    I know an American woman of Japanese descent who spent years in an interment camp while her two brothers served very honorably in the US Armed Services. She was never bitter, but she has only recently told her story, even to her family.

    Here we have Chester Nez, a boy forced to attend an abusive boarding school, which would forbid him his language, change his name, and denigrate his culture. Yet he - and other Navajos - responded to a call to serve this country that so undervalued his people. He performed extraordinary deeds in the Marines and agreed never to divulge the extent of his service. Amazing.

    This account is told simply and in a most straightforward style. The war sections are interesting, but the book also includes a fascinating account of the early years of this Navajo boy and then his years after the war. The combination makes for more than a story for WWII buffs; it's a true American tale.

    I for one am so glad that Chester Nez finally decided to tell his story. I learned a lot from this book - I recommend it to others.



    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • The Pluto Files: The Rise and Fall of America's Favorite Planet

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Neil deGrasse Tyson
    • Narrated By Mirron Willis
    Overall
    (417)
    Performance
    (307)
    Story
    (306)

    In August 2006, the International Astronomical Union voted Pluto out of planethood. Far from the sun, tiny, and eccentric in orbit, it's a wonder Pluto has any fans. Yet during the mounting debate over Pluto's status, Americans rallied behind the extraterrestrial underdog.

    John says: "A Great Value"
    "Much Ado"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I like Neil deGrasse Tyson (tho he's no Carl Sagan!), and I love the idea of this short book. The first couple of hours have some interesting information about the big bru-ha-ha over the "demotion" of Pluto from planethood.

    But, OMG, after that! I think Tyson may have mentioned by name every single member of every Astronomical Society in the world! Maybe twice! His need to wriggle out of responsibility for disappointing school children and Plutophiles everywhere is at times funny, at times very exasperating - and nearly always repetitous.

    I believe that this book just about sums up why our society has become so anti-intellectual. Scholars argue and backbite and fret about the "masses" daring to have opinions.

    And there is Pluto, still in the heavens and not the slightest bit concerned!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Windigo Island: Cork O'Connor, Book 14

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By William Kent Krueger
    • Narrated By David Chandler
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (63)
    Performance
    (56)
    Story
    (58)

    The award-winning author of the best-selling Cork O’Connor series, William Kent Krueger pens novels with pulse-racing suspense. In Windigo Island, the corpse of an Ojibwe girl washes ashore, and locals at the Bad Bluff reservation believe it to be the work of the mythical Windigo. But the dead girl’s friend is also missing, and sheriff-turned-PI Cork O’Connor will brave any danger to bring her home.

    C. Telfair says: "All Saints"
    "All Saints"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I love the characters in Krueger's Cork O'Connor series. They are mostly back for this adventure, and, as always, adventure it is!

    The story line involves rescuing girls of Ojibwe ancestry from the evils they often find when they run away from the reservation. As young as 13 or 14, they are often enticed into lives of prostitution and have nowhere to turn for safety. This brings Cork, along with Jenny and Henry and others, into the dangerous world of the Lake Superior docks in Duluth.

    As is usually evident in this series, there's a spiritual element involving the "Windigo," a demon of myth and, in this case, a real man and his cohorts. Cork, Henry, and Jenny face physical danger and their personal devils and anxieties along the way.

    So, the story moves along, and we are happy to be in the company of these people. My one concern is that Cork and his family (and extended family) have all become quite saintly. I miss the old conflict that Cork had with his wife. Henry has always served as the conscience of this world, and his spirituality and wisdom are believable and inspiring (although his physical exploits at nearly 100 stretch the imagination). I'm not quite ready to accept that all the characters have joined him in perfection.

    Not sure where such flawless characters can go from here!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Classical Mythology

    • ORIGINAL (12 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Elizabeth Vandiver
    Overall
    (417)
    Performance
    (368)
    Story
    (362)

    These 24 lectures are a vibrant introduction to the primary characters and most important stories of classical Greek and Roman mythology. Among those you'll investigate are the accounts of the creation of the world in Hesiod's Theogony and Ovid's Metamorphoses; the gods Zeus, Apollo, Demeter, Persephone, Hermes, Dionysos, and Aphrodite; the Greek heroes, Theseus and Heracles (Hercules in the Roman version); and the most famous of all classical myths, the Trojan War.

    Matt says: "Very Informative and Entertaining"
    "Enlightening and Entertaining"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    "Classical Mythology" is one of "The Great Courses" doing what this series does best in several ways:

    1) Elizabeth Vandiver is a well-qualified, pleasant-voiced, and obviously enthusiastic lecturer. Her command of the subject and interest in conveying it to the listener is evident.

    2) There's lots for the general listener to learn. My husband and I have listened to the entire course during driving trips. We are perhaps just a bit more-than-average in our acquaintance with Greek mythology through history and literature. We're experiencing the "Percy Jackson" series with our grandson just now and enjoying that very much. This course serves as a great reminder and review of the knowledge we have/had, as well as lots of new information about the gods, heroes and tales of ancient Greece.

    3) Professor Vandiver shares her opinions and even her biases. It's fantastic when listeners can pause the presentation to debate and even argue some of the points made by a teacher. Makes for a thought-provoking and involving experience.

    4) It's unforgettable in lots of ways. The course brings insight into how our society today is still affected by these stories. Vandiver points out ways in which these myths have influenced modern archaeology, psychology, politics, and literature from Shakespeare to comic books.

    Highly recommended as a useful and fun listen!

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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