Shepherdstown, WV, United States
Georgette Heyer may be an acquired taste, but I'm guessing that you will like her if you like Jane Austen. "Sprig Muslin" is one of her best and most spirited works with lots of humor. Sian Phillips is the very best imaginable reader for a book like this. I have experienced male narrators attempting to do justice to Georgette Heyer -- can't be done! If you love Heyer, you can't miss with this; if you haven't tried her, it's the very best introduction.
What fun to discover a classic that has not come my way before. Loved everything about this: the plot, the structure, and the narrator.
Levin's story is riveting, featuring a very believable bad guy with mind boggling self confidence and resourcefulness. The book is structured around three episodes, each one with memorable characters and building suspense, capped by surprise. And the narrator guides us well, bringing it all to life.
If I'd been reading this, I'm sure I'd have skipped ahead to find out the ending - love that that's a lot harder in Audible versions!
It's been years since I read (and absolutely loved) "Neverwhere." This is a terrific way to re-discover a fantasy classic.
Others have mentioned the perfect performances here. They are wonderful, and the work has been lovingly and beautifully adapted for radio (and Audible).
If you read the book, dive into this version of "Neverwhere". If you haven't yet experienced Gaiman's crazy world, take a moment to get used to the accents and the background noises, and enter. Like radio, it's presented in episodes - but be prepared to stay up late listening to all of them in one sitting! It's that good!
Having recently been in the Alaska Inland Passage, I thought this was worth a try. And, because of my own good memories, it was, if only for the location and the whales.
There's some decent intrigue here, as well. But the entire work is marred by the really terrible reading of the story. Meaning that this narrator only READS the book, and with not a lot of interest or enthusiasm at that.
I can only recommend this book if you have a thing for remote lighthouses and/or the magnificent Inland Passage of Alaska.
Wow! This is one of those books after which you never look at things quite the same way again. And, oh, it all makes so much sense!
I'm sure there are experts who would question whether this is exactly the number of "American Nations" or the precise boundaries and variances within each district. However, the weight of historical fact and intuitive "rightness" of this general theory is, in my view, absolutely undeniable. So much of what puzzles us in the disagreements and different philosophies of America's regions is explained forcibly and persuasively by Colin Woodard.
All of the regions display good and appalling mindsets and inclinations in this description - no one escapes scathing criticism for actions throughout American history. Naturally, there are sweeping generalizations and stereotypes involved in presenting such a thesis, but I found myself often smacking myself on the forehead (figuratively speaking, mostly) and expostulating: "Oh, of course! of course!"
I'll never forget this book - it will come to mind especially at Election time. I recommend it highly for anyone from any region. You may not agree with it all, but you won't deny it offers intelligent insight into much of America's past and present - and probably foretells the future all too well!
Huge fan; I want to make that clear. I have gobbled up all the Longmire mysteries and am in awe of George Guidall's narrative abilities. Love the humor and the interaction of the characters.
That said, I was a bit disappointed in "Any Other Name". For the first time in the series, I felt myself being manipulated here. One too many demonstrations of Walt's doggedness, one too many wounds in one too many extended confrontations, and for what? Would the man we know and love really put so many strangers above a frightened Katie in her hour of most need?
There are excellent moments. I just loved, for instance, the fog-and-snow storm that finds our hero unknowingly in the midst of a herd of potentially dangerous buffalo.
I'm just hoping for a return to top-notch form in Book 12.
I gave up calling Georgette Heyer a "guilty" pleasure a long time ago. A literature major, I was taught that certain genres of writing are just inherently inferior - and one of them, of course, is Romance. Now I know that good writing is good writing, whatever the genre, and writing doesn't get any better than in "Venetia"!
The story is a fairly common one in historical romance: "good" girl heroine attracted to "bad" boy hero. But Heyer does it so well here. The characters (major and minor) sparkle with humor, wit and personality. There are even valuable lessons in tolerance and reserving judgment.
Venetia is an exceptional leading lady, full of life and heart, and I predict that anyone (even those who aren't big Romance fans) will fall in love with her, with her flawed love, with her brother, and even with those minor characters who so perfectly reflect the oddities in our fellow humans.
And no small credit goes to the wonderful Phyllida Nash, who narrates this with great energy and skill. "Venetia" has long been a favorite read; now it's also a favorite listen! Along with Audible's versions of "Sylvester" and "Sprig Muslin", this will certainly appeal to Heyer fans and would be an excellent introduction to her really superior books.
I have watched some of the BBC series based on these books, but this was my first "reading" of one. The TV version is bleak indeed, and Sweden is portrayed as a really depressing place.
I found the listening experience to be more balanced. Because the book is not so entirely focused on Wallander and his demons, it presents a wider view entirely. The detective's frequent depression isn't so much the crux of the story as an intricate part of the puzzle.
"Sidetracked" is a great thriller. We know who the perpetrator is from nearly the beginning, so this is more a police procedural than a mystery. But it's also a really good study about the psychology and humanity of a seeming monster. It has really intense violence, but it also has great suspense, an interesting and varied cast of characters, and terrific writing.
Dick Hill narrates beautifully.
I'll seek out other listens in this series.
Get this one for your car journeys! My husband and I take a lot of short trips- say an hour or two each way. We're always happy to find something to listen to that holds our attention but is short enough that we don't have to keep driving in circles to finish before arrival.
Does that sound like faint praise? Well, it is. As anyone might expect, this selection of non-Doyle Holmes stories is a real mixed bag. Some of the stories are clever and involving; others not so much. But the advantage of the short story format is just that - none requires a major investment of time or attention.
So, if you enjoy the original Holmes canon and are looking for an entertaining way to pass the time and/or miles, this is a pretty sure pleaser.
Note: There are a number of non-fiction diversions, including some fairly lengthy author bios and two final essays on Doyle and his attitude to Americans and (rather strangely) to the Irish. Interesting, perhaps, but definitely not short stories.
Yep, I fell in love with this book! With 2 of the Chiefs, with lots of other characters and a town, and especially with a narrator!
Narrator is too weak a description of what Mark Hammer accomplishes with "Chiefs". His voice seems relaxed and unhurried, but it conveys all the heart and soul of a small town called Delano and its residents. He's flat out fabulous!
The book, too, is a real find. I agree with all the reviewers who note that this is obviously a deeply felt, deeply personal work by Stuart Woods. As the section for each chief ended, I grieved and thought the next one couldn't possibly be as good, but each time I was wrong and got just as engulfed in the lives and cares of the next set of people. There are wonderful and sometimes surprising connections among the 3 stories. There's suspense, emotion, and a just-plain-good-old plot in "Chiefs". And a progression through the years which reflects perfectly the changes in all of America during the period from 1920 to 1963.
Everyone can relate to this story and to these people. And that's pretty much what a good book and a good listen should be, isn't it?
I loved Vivien, the 1919 title character of "The Obituary Writer". Her story is haunting and leaps off the page. She's a survivor of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake with unresolved issues of loss and uncertainty - and she fills some of her own need and anguish in dealing brilliantly with the grief and mourning of others in her obituary tributes.
The book is divided, alternating Vivien's story with that of Claire, an early-1960's suburban housewife. Claire's life and trials are, unfortunately, not as compelling. She's a very familiar example of "Feminine Mystique" discontent of the era. There's a wonderful bit about the local wives' betting pool on what Jackie Kennedy will wear to the Presidential inauguration festivities, but mostly I was just anxious to get back to 1919.
Much of the anticipation and suspense of "The Obituary Writer" is in connecting these two women somehow. Unfortunately, that process isn't entirely successful and comes across as rushed and pretty much contrived. It's not a crime for a novel to leave some unanswered questions and unresolved issues - confusion, frustration, and the feeling that something is deeply wrong do not, however, add up to a satisfying conclusion.
So, there was disappointment in this listening experience, but I will not soon forget the lessons that Vivien has to teach about grief and memory. Because of that, and because of Vivien's early story, I do give something of a qualified recommendation to this book.
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