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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
263
REVIEWS
248
FOLLOWING
2
FOLLOWERS
286
HELPFUL VOTES
1510

  • The Importance of Being Earnest

    • UNABRIDGED (1 hr and 59 mins)
    • By Oscar Wilde
    • Narrated By James Marsters, Charles Busch, Emily Bergl, and others
    Overall
    (1005)
    Performance
    (863)
    Story
    (859)

    This final play from the pen of Oscar Wilde is a stylish send-up of Victorian courtship and manners, complete with assumed names, mistaken lovers, and a lost handbag. Jack and Algernon are best friends, both wooing ladies who think their names are Ernest, "that name which inspires absolute confidence." Wilde's effervescent wit, scathing social satire, and high farce make this one of the most cherished plays in the English language.

    Tad Davis says: "Delightfully silly"
    "Wanted to Love It!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I love "The Importance of Being Earnest" and have seen and heard a number of productions. Being also a fan of James Marsters, I bought this with great anticipation. It's respectable, but it was ruined for me by the actor (yes, actor!) playing Lady Bracknell. One of the great female parts in the theater, Lady Bracknell deserves more than just the novelty of being played by a man. No objection in this of all plays to gender-bending, but it just didn't work in this case. See if you can find "The Importance of Being Earnest" from BBC, with Joan Plowright in the role.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • H Is for Hawk

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Helen Macdonald
    • Narrated By Helen Macdonald
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (187)
    Performance
    (167)
    Story
    (168)

    When Helen MacDonald's father died suddenly on a London street, she was devastated. An experienced falconer captivated by hawks since childhood, she'd never before been tempted to train one of the most vicious predators: the goshawk. But in her grief, she saw that the goshawk's fierce and feral anger mirrored her own.

    Sara says: "Mabel The Hawk--The Fire That Burned The Hurts Away"
    "Beautiful; Fascinating; Disturbing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a book like none I have experienced. The writing is nearly sublime, and Helen Mcdonald narrates as only a person deeply involved in the story can.

    I rated it 5 stars across the board because, like other reviewers, I was astounded at the language and range of this book. It deals with grief and recovery and loneliness and attachment. And it informs about her experiences with hawks as well as the somewhat parallel story of the author T. H. White and his efforts in dealing with life and a goshawk.

    To me, this was also a deeply disturbing work of art. There can be no doubt about the love - and the respect - that Mcdonald has for her bird Mabel. Yet (and, for me, this was the elephant constantly in the room) she has had this bird trapped and dominated and trained to her will. Never in the book is this need to control a wild and free thing really discussed. Mcdonald refers to her hatred of killing and the reservations she must overcome about her role in this. She mentions that looking at pictures of birds is not sufficient for her - seeing them in life stimulates and satisfies something in her. So, why not bird watching? Or migration studies?

    Hunting with birds of prey has, of course, a long and romantic history. The process of capturing, training, and working these birds undoubtedly requires skill and courage. And her book is very effective at showing the healing power this process had for her. It's a personal and revealing book, yet I could and cannot for the life of me get inside of the mind of a person who can most appreciate a living and wild thing by dominating it. In some ways, I left this book feeling close to Helen Mcdonald; in that one startling way, I never could be.

    It's part of the fascination of this extraordinary listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Mansfield Park (Dramatized)

    • ORIGINAL (2 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Jane Austen
    • Narrated By Benedict Cumberbatch, David Tennant, Felicity Jones, and others
    Overall
    (116)
    Performance
    (99)
    Story
    (98)

    Felicity Jones, David Tennant and Benedict Cumberbatch star in BBC Radio 4's full-cast dramatisation of the novel by Jane Austen, one of the great English classics. Seeking a position in society, young Fanny Price goes to live with her rich aunt and uncle. But her life there is not as she might wish. Felicity Jones plays Fanny, whilst David Tennant is her cousin Tom and Benedict Cumberbatch his brother Edmund.

    Julie Vetter says: "Easy listening"
    "How On Earth?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    can you fit "Mansfield Park" into 2 hours and 18 minutes? This lovely dramatized production answers the question thusly:
    1) Get some wonderful A-list British actors;
    2) Find a writer or writers who can severely cut Miss Austen to the bone without sacrificing all the dialogue, the essence of the characters, or the dated charm of Jane Austen and Fanny Price;
    3) Don't worry if you seriously tick off the purist Janeites out there!

    That's what the BBC has done, and here it is done supremely well. Cumberbatch, Tennant, and Jones are three of today's most popular artists - it's a wonder how they were assembled for such a project - and the rest of the cast equals their talent and energy.

    I'm not usually a fan of abridged classics, but this is valuable whether or not you are familiar with Jane Austen's perhaps least-favorite novel. Reading "Mansfield Park" can be something of a chore - this listen is a breeze!

    (The BBC dramatization may well encourage some to seek out the full version. I'd recommend going with Juliet Stevenson's narration of the unabridged "Mansfield Park" - it's available at Audible.)

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Silent Voices: A Vera Stanhope Mystery

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Ann Cleeves
    • Narrated By Charlie Hardwick
    Overall
    (45)
    Performance
    (42)
    Story
    (40)

    When Inspector Vera Stanhope finds the body of a woman in the sauna room of her local gym, she wonders briefly if, for once in her life, she's uncovered a simple death from natural causes. But a closer inspection reveals bruises around the victim's throat, and Vera quickly realizes she has a murder on her hands.

    C. Telfair says: "Long Live Vera"
    "Long Live Vera"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I first "discovered" Vera Stanhope on TV. The extraordinary actress Brenda Blethyn brings her completely to life. Anxious to see if the books were as good, I was glad to see that Audible features one of her adventures - I certainly am hoping for more!

    Vera is a dedicated, persistent investigator. She's also a loner, inept in social situations; a poor dresser; and a woman with demons from her past. Sound familiar? Well, she may not be the only such character in mystery fiction, but she is one of the most interesting.

    "Silent Voices" follows a very complicated path to a very complicated conclusion. Maybe a bit too complicated - but Vera and her team make it well worth the journey.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Woman in White (Dramatized)

    • ABRIDGED (3 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Wilkie Collins
    • Narrated By Toby Stephens, Juliet Aubrey, Full Cast
    Overall
    (63)
    Performance
    (28)
    Story
    (27)

    A lonely stretch of road on Hampstead Heath is the venue for Walter Hartright's midnight first encounter with a mysteriously distressed figure in white. As he helps the woman to escape from unnamed pursuers, he has little understanding of the way she will affect his future.

    Joseph R says: "As Good as the Book, and I Loved the Book"
    "High Melodrama"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    In this performance, some wonderful British actors do a great job presenting Wilkie Collins' "The Woman in White". We are by now so accustomed to this "Gothic" horror/romance formula that it's difficult to see the plot as much other than an old, melodramatic chestnut. There's the ladies in distress, the lonely old mansion, the ominous foreign villain, the spooky surroundings....on and on.

    That's why this dramatization is so much fun. The original full-length book can get a little tedious in its Victorian excesses, but here we're reminded of how well this "grandaddy of them all" created his atmosphere and kept his readers on the edge of their seats. There are even sound effects!

    It's a great listening experience.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • King Arthur: History and Legend

    • ORIGINAL (11 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Dorsey Armstrong
    Overall
    (17)
    Performance
    (16)
    Story
    (16)

    These 24 spellbinding lectures reveal the full scope of the Arthurian tradition, from its beginnings in post-Roman Britain to its extraordinary trajectory across the centuries and its latest incarnations in modern times. Your pathfinder in this world of mythic adventure and romance, Professor Armstrong, is one of the world's leading Arthurian scholars and the current editor-in-chief of the academic journal Arthuriana.

    C. Telfair says: "Twelve Hours in Camelot"
    "Twelve Hours in Camelot"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Professor Dorsey Armstrong is obviously a real Arthur geek, as well as a serious medieval scholar. Her enthusiasm for all things Arthur - past and present - make this a well-rounded look at the Arthur of the 5th century all the way up to the Arthur of contemporary books, films and advertising (King Arthur flour!).

    So we get a look at what evidence exists for a historical Arthur. Whatever that long ago, charismatic and valiant figure may have accomplished, none can argue with the power and scope of the legends and ideals he inspired. Professor Armstrong considers the legacy in literature of the Western world and in fine art ranging from ancient tapestry to the paintings of the Pre-Raphaelites to films and musicals.

    Her emphasis is on the idealistic and romantic qualities which spread the legend, expanded it so much, and have kept it alive through the centuries. For me, a middling Arthur fan, there was quite a bit of new and very interesting information here.

    I quite like the Professor's rather casual tone and her eagerness to include modern pop references. In this course, thankfully, there is none of the distracting "Great Courses" applause, although you may find yourself looking around for the source of the music that wafts in at the end of each lecture. My one qualification is that Armstrong does repeat herself more than necessary - and with the exact same words she previously used. For teachers in the classroom this may be a necessary and helpful tactic, but it's out of place in an Audible recording.

    On the whole, I'd say this is an admirable quest.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Greatest Controversies of Early Christian History

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By The Great Courses, Bart D. Ehrman
    • Narrated By Professor Bart D. Ehrman
    Overall
    (87)
    Performance
    (75)
    Story
    (75)

    In this course, an award-winning professor and New York Times best-selling author offers a penetrating investigation of the 24 most pivotal Christian controversies, shedding light on fallacies that obscure an accurate view of the religion and how it evolved into what it is today. In each lecture, you'll delve deeply into a key issue in Christianity's early development. Explore intriguing questions in this unique inquiry into the core of Christian tradition.

    Ahmedinejad says: "Essential early Christian history"
    "And the Controversies Go On!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The Great Courses offers several lecture series by Bart Ehrman and I have enjoyed each one I've encountered. He has great command of the subjects of early Christianity, and his approach is clear and understandable.

    Ehrman begins the course with an explanation of his purpose. Not a religious interpretation, this is an attempt to explore the historical realities and the context in which early Christians lived, told their stories, and advanced their faith.

    So the controversies include not only the questions Ehrman confronts about the historical probabilities of the Christian Bible and beliefs, but also about how listeners will react to the approach itself. As a scholar, the Professor challenges areas which most of us have encountered only in a religious context. If the listener's mind is not open to different ways of looking at Christianity, he/she will most likely not appreciate this course.

    Anyone willing to listen will learn a lot.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Falling in Love

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Donna Leon
    • Narrated By David Colacci
    Overall
    (26)
    Performance
    (22)
    Story
    (22)

    Donna Leon's Death at La Fenice, the first novel in her beloved Commissario Guido Brunetti series, introduced listeners to the glamorous and cutthroat world of opera and one of Italy's finest living sopranos, Flavia Petrelli - then a suspect in the poisoning of a renowned German conductor. Years after Brunetti cleared her name, Flavia has returned to Venice and La Fenice to sing the lead in Tosca.

    C. Telfair says: "A Night at the Opera"
    "A Night at the Opera"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'm a big fan of Brunetti and Donna Leon, but this book did not seem to me to be at all inspired. The first of Leon's Venetian mysteries was set at La Fenice opera house, and this one is a return of both the location and one of the main characters of that book.

    Unfortunately, that is about the only appeal of "Falling in Love." Venice, usually the star of this series, seems a bit tired and not nearly as 'present' as in previous volumes. Brunetti and his family and work colleagues also lack the vitality and wit we're used to.

    The plot is slow to develop and not all that interesting. In short, "Falling in Love" is a pale, weakened addition to this series, and I, at least, hope Donna Leon will either find her Venetian muse again or move on to a new, fresher series.

    2 of 2 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
    (255)
    Performance
    (229)
    Story
    (236)

    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.

    3 of 3 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
    (42)
    Performance
    (38)
    Story
    (38)

    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
    (328)
    Performance
    (300)
    Story
    (296)

    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

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