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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
255
REVIEWS
241
FOLLOWING
2
FOLLOWERS
285
HELPFUL VOTES
1474

  • The Tenant of Wildfell Hall

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Anne Brontë
    • Narrated By Alex Jennings, Jenny Agutter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (154)
    Performance
    (96)
    Story
    (99)

    This is the story of a woman's struggle for independence. Helen "Graham" has returned to Wildfell Hall in flight from a disastrous marriage. Exiled to the desolate moorland mansion, she adopts an assumed name and earns her living as a painter.

    A User says: "highly recommended"
    "My favorite Bronte book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Despite being lesser known than her sisters' works, "The Tenant of Wildfell Hall" may be the best of the Bronte books. Anne is a good writer; terrific at description, and there is humor here and richness of character development. I really loved this listen. The story is long and, I will admit, tedious at times (it's a Victorian novel after all!), but this edition of the audio book has handled the strange structure of the book very well. Both Alex Jennings and Jenny Agutter render their portions of the narrative beautifully.
    A word of warning, however. This claims to be an Unabridged version, but it is not so. Because I was listening to the book as a book club assignment, I followed along with the written version and found some puzzling omissions. Just why they chose to abridge some parts -- especially in the central, diary portion of the book -- I can't imagine. The cuts are small and not terribly important, but nevertheless are there. Anyone wishing to experience the entire work should be aware of the abridgment.
    But it's a fine trip! I'm very pleased to have learned that there is more to the Brontes than "Jane Eyre" and "Wuthering Heights".

    18 of 18 people found this review helpful
  • A Dangerous Place: Maisie Dobbs Mysteries, Book 11

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Jacqueline Winspear
    • Narrated By Orlagh Cassidy
    Overall
    (187)
    Performance
    (168)
    Story
    (173)

    Spring 1937. In the four years since she left England, Maisie Dobbs has experienced love, contentment, stability - and the deepest tragedy a woman can endure. Now all she wants is the peace she believes she might find by returning to India. But her sojourn in the hills of Darjeeling is cut short when her stepmother summons her home to England; her aging father, Frankie Dobbs, is not getting any younger.

    Cheryl says: "OKAY"
    "Reboot or Finale?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Like so many reviewers, I have loved Maisie Dobbs! And it seems Jacqueline Winspear knew just how much we all wanted her to find happiness and James. But Ms. Winspear apparently has a more - at least to her - important view of Maisie as a seeker of Nirvana, that place of complete inner peace through ultimate detachment.

    So we got what we wanted; then she swept it all aside and set Maisie back where she started. A good outcome? This listener is not so sure. An attempt to reboot the series? Or is this a finale? Whichever, this is certainly not a very satisfying chapter.

    "A Dangerous Place" (really good title, by the way) is sad and slow with a mystery that goes nowhere and a Maisie wallowing in her sorrow while the people she should love (and who love her) wring their hands and wail and wonder what the heck she's up to. She's lost a lot of people she cared about, so it seems she's willfully setting out to lose more. I think our old Maisie would not have left her dear father and her friends in such pain. To say nothing of her readers!

    The syrupy, oh so sweet and sleepy narration of Orlagh Cassidy just tops it all off as a real disappointment for those of us who have followed Maisie Dobbs faithfully and truly wanted to really like this book.

    If you haven't read this series, please don't let this be your introduction to and lasting impression of Maisie Dobbs! The first 6-or-so books are really gems.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Conservative Tradition

    • ORIGINAL (18 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Patrick N. Allitt
    Overall
    (41)
    Performance
    (37)
    Story
    (37)

    A thorough understanding of Conservatism's lineage, principles, and impact on history is essential to making sense of the 21st-century political dialogue-a dialogue that consumes the television you watch, the newspapers you read, and the radio you listen to.No matter where you place yourself on the ideological spectrum, these 36 lectures will intrigue you, engage you, and maybe even provoke you to think about this political philosophy in an entirely new way.

    Quaker says: "Another gem by Prof. Allitt & The Great Courses"
    "For Every Voter; Right, Left or Center!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A long course, this is absolutely worth every moment spent. In fact, the variety and amount of content warrant a second listen to the entire 18 hours or so.

    The first two-thirds of the sessions contain a real wealth of detail and analysis of the backgrounds and theories of conservative leaders, writers and philosophers in the English and American traditions. These lectures are a very valuable and, it seems to me, objective education.

    It's hard to listen to the last third of the lectures without some sort of bias, whatever your political persuasion, as most of the content here is too recent for real historical perspective. It certainly is enlightening, however, for any listener who has lived through, studied, or heard about the Thatcher and Reagan years, the religious right and/or the neo-conservatives. So much becomes a lot clearer.

    It amazes me that I came out of this, as I went in, with no really good guess about the political leaning of Professor Patrick N. Allitt! He deserves great credit for that, and for his exhaustive command of and enthusiasm for the subject. Next, I'd like to hear his 18 hours on Liberalism!

    Another complete winner from The Great Courses.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Escape: Survivor's Club, Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Mary Balogh
    • Narrated By Rosalyn Landor
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (309)
    Performance
    (283)
    Story
    (279)

    After surviving the Napoleonic Wars, Sir Benedict Harper is struggling to move on, his body and spirit in need of a healing touch. Never does Ben imagine that hope will come in the form of a beautiful woman who has seen her own share of suffering. After the lingering death of her husband, Samantha McKay is at the mercy of her oppressive in-laws - until she plots an escape to distant Wales to claim a house she has inherited. Being a gentleman, Ben insists that he escort her on the fateful journey.

    Kimberly says: "A lovely escape"
    "Historical?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Mary Balogh has been writing historical romances for many years - some of them quite good. So I saw this on sale and took a chance. And was very disappointed.

    Our hero is one of a tediously saintly group of Napoleon War survivors - admirable men and a woman who have overcome terrible physical and mental injuries in battle but who lack just about any realistic human qualities. And our heroine is a supremely put-upon widow whose trials seem to be based mostly on her partial gypsy origins. So the two make a determinedly brave pair.

    As the romance slowly develops, we are introduced to mean and horrible family members and eventually to an idyllic time spent by our lovers in Wales. Suddenly quite lovely and utterly surprising family attachments appear, and our heroine is now rich and appreciated by villagers who care not that a torrid love affair is being conducted by their recently bereaved new neighbor.

    Things work out in the end, of course, and our lovely couple face a future of happiness together as the Industrial Revolution promises to make them even richer and more beloved by the happily singing Welsh people who are increasingly being put to work down the family's coal mines.

    I know this is meant to be light entertainment, but the complete disregard of the social and moral rules of the time is startling. Evidently Balogh believes readers no longer care (or, worse, don't know) about historical accuracy. And never to even hint at the less positive side of the emerging industries which she introduces into this plot line is a real distraction.

    I was constantly thinking of repressive Victorian morals and of the black skies and dangerous working conditions in early mining towns. Just not real conducive to happily-ever-after!

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Fifth Gospel: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 36 mins)
    • By Ian Caldwell
    • Narrated By Jack Davenport
    Overall
    (265)
    Performance
    (230)
    Story
    (227)

    In 2004, as Pope John Paul II's reign enters its twilight, a mysterious exhibit is under construction at the Vatican Museums. A week before it is scheduled to open, its curator is murdered at a clandestine meeting on the outskirts of Rome. The same night a violent break-in rocks the home of the curator's research partner, Father Alex Andreou, a Greek Catholic priest who lives inside the Vatican with his five-year-old son.

    Pamela Rees says: "Wow. Just wow."
    "Yes, but, "Been There; Done That""
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Ian Caldwell is definitely a better writer than Dan Brown. He creates here a Vatican that breathes reality, and a Church that is rich in its beliefs and in its complexity. The characters have sincerity and could inhabit such a rarefied atmosphere. Church officials are especially well drawn and there are moments of great feeling.

    Also, this is one of those books that takes you immediately to reviews of the work, details of the author's research, and wikipedia - loved being introduced to ancient manuscripts, unfamiliar branches of the Catholic Church, and new "evidence" about controversies like that surrounding the Shroud of Turin.

    But there's no denying that there is much of the "deja vu" feeling about "The Fifth Gospel." Intriguing and thoughtful it may be, but it has been done before.

    So a recommendation here is tricky. If you like religious and literary mysteries (with or without the conspiracy theories), then I'm pretty sure you'll like this. I went along quite willingly with the story and with the really wonderful narration of Jack Davenport.

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • The Great Beanie Baby Bubble: Mass Delusion and the Dark Side of Cute

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Zac Bissonnette
    • Narrated By P.J. Ochlan
    Overall
    (77)
    Performance
    (67)
    Story
    (67)

    There has never been a craze like Beanie Babies. The $5 beanbag animals with names like Seaweed the Otter and Gigi the Poodle drove millions of Americans into a greed-fueled frenzy as they chased the rarest Beanie Babies, whose values escalated weekly in the late 1990s. A single Beanie Baby sold for $10,000, and on eBay the animals comprised 10 percent of all sales.

    C. Telfair says: "King of Crushed Dreams"
    "King of Crushed Dreams"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    If, like me, you remember this craze well, I think you'll find this book fascinating, appalling, and a bit unnerving. If you're too young to recall the time, then consider it a cautionary tale.

    Never a fan or collector, I do remember being shoved around in line at McDonald's during the frenzy for "teenie beanies". I was there for a fish sandwich and quickly gave up in the wake of shrieking people grabbing Happy Meals they would throw into trash bins outside the store.

    So, what is the benefit of listening to this sad tale? Well, it does give whatever insight can be given into the brain and motives of a worthless, hollow billionaire. He's a freakish, intriguing case, but of more interest to me, at least, is the story of the "delusion" mentioned in the title. Beanie Babies may have been a particularly intense example of the boom/bust cycle, but the human psychology behind such phenomena remains forever with us.

    Those of us not attracted to that particular plush toy (at least not in adulthood) can still recognize the all too human tendency to be swayed by salesmanship, media hype, mass hysteria and general greed. And to the lies and excuses we are prone to use in justifying rash behavior after we come to our senses. The fact that the one undeniable huge fortune accumulated during the Beanie Baby bubble was that of Ty Warner, a man so insensitive and lacking in gratitude or generosity, pretty much sums up the result of most of the not-infrequent financial bubbles in history. Few benefit, most lose, then we start all over again.

    We shake our heads and laugh at the folly of the fans of Ty and his babies, but there's a lesson here for all of us! And it's a lesson interestingly presented and very well narrated. Listen and marvel!

    11 of 11 people found this review helpful
  • Confucius, Buddha, Jesus, and Muhammad

    • ORIGINAL (18 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Mark W. Muesse
    Overall
    (150)
    Performance
    (130)
    Story
    (127)

    No understanding of human life, individual or collective, could be complete without factoring in the role and contribution of these history-shaping teachers. Now, this 36-lecture series takes you deep into the life stories and legacies of these four iconic figures, revealing the core teachings, and thoughts of each, and shedding light on the historical processes that underlie their phenomenal, enduring impact.

    cliff says: "Audible at its best"
    "A Valuable and Entertaining Overview"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a good example of what "The Great Courses" do best. There's a lot of information here, clearly and enthusiastically presented. These four religious figures are described in their historical context, religious and ethical significance, and influence on their and our contemporary worlds.

    At the outset, the Professor remarks that it is his goal that the listener not be aware of his own religious leanings by the end of the set of lectures - and he delivers on this promise of objectivity. We may argue to ourselves that one or another of these religious icons stands above the others, but this course presents them - quite rightly - as equal, giant figures in the history of religion and thought.

    I suppose it could be said that this is pretty basic stuff if you are already well versed in the lives and significance of these men and in the study of world religions. For most of us, however, it seems to me that this is a wonderful overview and well worth the time spent.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Deeper Than the Dead

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Tami Hoag
    • Narrated By Kirsten Potter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1826)
    Performance
    (1168)
    Story
    (1158)

    Three children, running in the woods behind their school, stumble upon a partially buried female body, eyes and mouth glued shut. Close behind the children is their teacher, Anne Navarre, shocked by this discovery and heartbroken as she witnesses the end of their innocence. What she doesn't yet realize is that this will mark the end of innocence for an entire community, as the ties that bind families and friends are tested by secrets uncovered in the wake of a serial killer's escalating activity.

    John Wayne Tucker says: "A pleasant surprise"
    "Exploitative, Trite, and Badly Written"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    If I could, I would have given this book minus ratings. If I dislike a book this much, I usually just either return it or decide not to review. But this time I think I should warn serious readers of psychological thrillers, dark mysteries, or romantic fiction.

    The characters here are mere stereotypical ciphers, the dialog is trite and hokey. I could not believe that a woman writer could present women in such a way: there's the nagging scold, the grasping and icy social climber, the cowering battered wife - all without a trace of subtlety or insight. Men are manly men, total abusers, or not very interesting. And, heaven help us, there's even the chattering, gossipy, one-of-the-girls gay man! Seriously?

    Add to this a nearly sickening and exploitative degree of graphic violence against women, child abuse, and utterly unimaginative and gratuitous sex scenes.

    Even the "mystery" isn't all that good. It doesn't come as any surprise at all who the villain is.

    Waste of time, money and/or credit. Skip it!

    4 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Flowers from the Storm

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Laura Kinsale
    • Narrated By Nicholas Boulton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (918)
    Performance
    (856)
    Story
    (856)

    He's a duke. He's a mathematical genius. He can't talk and he's locked in a lunatic asylum. Only a modest Quaker girl can reach him, but when she helps him to escape, she's swept into his glittering aristocratic world, her life torn apart by his desperate attempt to save himself.

    ~~ DARA ~~ says: "~COMPELLING!!~ Love This Author! Love This Book!"
    "Odd Choice for this Genre"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    How strange is it to find yourself in the middle of a traditional Romance Novel wishing for fewer erotic moments. Well, this is a most unusual book, and that is what happens! Stick with me for a moment while I explain.

    "Flowers from the Storm" (and where, oh where, does that inadequate title come from??) is very, very good in many ways. It's probably the best I've ever encountered at describing what it must be like to have a stroke and endure its effects. The confusion, frustration, anger, and helplessness of our hero are ours - his scrambled thoughts, feelings, attempts at language are conveyed to the reader/listener in an almost visceral way. It's extraordinary.

    Then there's our heroine. Maddie's Quaker beliefs are really honored and explained here - not just shoved in to create contrasting life styles and views for our lovers. All characters, in fact, are wonderfully presented, from the Duke's family and friends to the Quakers to the attendants at the madhouse. There's a real talent here for filling the story with rich and full characters.

    So, here's the dilemma: "Flowers" is full of serious, thoughtful, and interesting content. Yet, there's the necessity, in a Romance Novel, for the love scenes in some detail and eroticism. I'm not adverse to these scenes in traditional romances, but they do seem rather out of place here. I actually found myself wanting these diversions to go away and get us back to the real story of the Duke's struggles with his physical disabilities and the desperate need to communicate his mental competence. And Maddie's struggle with her efforts to help him and maintain her values of simplicity and honesty.

    Books which present this subject matter so well are usually given credibility - I'm just afraid the book's genre category and the really dumb cover and title will keep its rightful audience away. Too bad!

    Nicholas Boulton is a fantastic narrator - especially when conveying the Duke's point of view. It's harrowing to hear the raw confusion, fear, and frustration of a man accustomed to absolute power dealing with the inability to communicate - and we're with him every step of the way.

    8 of 10 people found this review helpful
  • Yes, Chef: A Memoir

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Marcus Samuelsson
    • Narrated By Marcus Samuelsson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (603)
    Performance
    (536)
    Story
    (530)

    It begins with a simple ritual: Every Saturday afternoon, a boy who loves to cook walks to his grandmother’s house and helps her prepare a roast chicken for dinner. The grandmother is Swedish, a retired domestic. The boy is Ethiopian and adopted, and he will grow up to become the world-renowned chef Marcus Samuelsson. This book is his love letter to food and family in all its manifestations. Yes, Chef chronicles Marcus Samuelsson’s remarkable journey from Helga’s humble kitchen to the opening of the beloved Red Rooster in Harlem.

    loix says: "A fun and inspiring civics lesson"
    "More than Meatballs"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This seemed a no-brainer bargain buy - classically French trained, Ethiopian chef from Sweden who ended up in Harlem. Sounded fascinating, and so it turned out to be!

    I'm neither great cook nor foodie, but I do watch Food Network shows in spare moments, and I've admired Samuelsson's point of view in his various contests and food shows. Turns out he's just as thoughtful and intelligent as he appears on TV.

    Nothing is better than a memoir where the author actually has something to say - with honesty and humility. Sometimes our "American Dream" stories get glossed over, without revealing the price that almost always has to be paid for success in business. Samuelsson tells his own interesting life-so-far story without a lot of psychological self-analysis, but with awareness of his flaws - and with refreshing condor and lack of self pity. The people in his life ring true, and the reader/listener finds him/herself taking an interest in each one of them.

    Must say I look forward to hearing what he has to say later on in his life. This is a memoir with a difference and well worth the time.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Language A to Z

    • ORIGINAL (6 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By The Great Courses, John McWhorter
    • Narrated By Professor John McWhorter
    Overall
    (657)
    Performance
    (596)
    Story
    (581)

    Linguistics, the study of language, has a reputation for being complex and inaccessible. But here's a secret: There's a lot that's quirky and intriguing about how human language works-and much of it is downright fun to learn about. But with so many potential avenues of exploration, it can often seem daunting to try to understand it. Where does one even start?

    Jacobus says: "A genious Miscelany of linguistic topics"
    "Gobsmacked!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Now this is something fun and different from the venerable "Great Courses." I love them, but they tend to be considerably longer and more scholarly than "Language A to Z".

    Not that Professor McWhorter doesn't know his stuff. He is a speaker who helps put the "great" in these courses! I've listened to more than one of his audios and really respect his knowledge and teaching ability.

    Whether or not you are interested in linguistics, I would recommend listening to this course. It goes by in a minute (every lecture is only 15 of them!), and there's lots of pop culture references and interesting revelations about the origins of some of our strangest sayings.

    This is a great highway listen - and an enjoyable way to learn something in 15 minutes!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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