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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
212
REVIEWS
200
FOLLOWING
2
FOLLOWERS
237
HELPFUL VOTES
920

  • The Modern Scholar: Children's Literature: Between the Covers

    • ORIGINAL (8 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Kimberley Reynolds
    Overall
    (5)
    Performance
    (4)
    Story
    (4)

    In the 21st century, many of the best-known and most influential stories have been conceived for juveniles. In "Children’s Literature", Professor Kimberley Reynolds of Newcastle University delves into the phenomenon and “golden ages” of this remarkably diverse literary genre. Throughout the lectures, Reynolds addresses questions of why children’s literature is so popular and how these extraordinary works have both responded to and helped to shape childhood.

    C. Telfair says: "Really valuable information here"
    "Really valuable information here"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Initially, I was disappointed that Kimberley Reynolds lacks the dynamic and conversational style that is so desirable in an Audible course.

    But, wait. The information packed into this set of lectures is so interesting and so valuable that I soon forgave, and actually came to like, the rather stiff delivery. This is a serious presentation of the history not only of children's literature but of the changing concept of childhood itself.

    Most of us choose books for our children based on what we have enjoyed ourselves, what we think will interest the kids and advance their reading skills, and on the pure entertainment value of the material. This course will likely not change that, but having a more scholarly foundation about the psychological and developmental benefits of reading for young people at different stages will offer a great advantage for parents, grandparents, teachers, librarians and others who help children choose appropriate books.

    The literature covered includes analysis of books for all ages of childhood, from infancy to young adult. When the subjects got a bit too esoteric for me (mostly in the YA lectures), I found the PDF study guide to be very helpful in deciding which lectures would interest me most. Although the analyses sometimes offer more detail than many of us ultimately want, I believe there is much general and particular information here that will be of interest and value to all parents and literature lovers.

    Another benefit is the timely nature of the course. Harry Potter is discussed, as are "The Hunger Games" series. Professor Reynolds touches on new technologies like digital and interactive books and the endless merchandise tie-ins which are peddled to children on the media. There's a bit near the end about the effects of tough economic times on youngsters. This is up-to-date stuff!

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • Chiefs

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Stuart Woods
    • Narrated By Mark Hammer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1303)
    Performance
    (733)
    Story
    (731)

    In 1919, Delano, Georgia, appoints its first chief of police. Honest and hardworking, the new chief is puzzled when young men start to disappear. But his investigation is ended by the fatal blast from a shotgun. Delano's second chief-of-police is no hero, yet he is also disturbed by what he sees in the missing-persons bulletins. In 1969, when Delano's third chief takes over, the unsolved disappearances still haunt the police files.

    Old Hippy says: "Absolutely Terrific!"
    "Falling in Love"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    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?

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Obituary Writer

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By Ann Hood
    • Narrated By Tavia Gilbert
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (331)
    Performance
    (292)
    Story
    (290)

    A sophisticated and suspenseful novel about the poignant lives of two women living in different eras.... On the day John F. Kennedy is inaugurated, Claire, a young wife and mother obsessed with the glamour of Jackie, struggles over the decision of whether to stay in a loveless but secure marriage or to follow the man she loves and whose baby she may be carrying. Decades earlier, in 1919, Vivien Lowe, an obituary writer, is searching for her lover, who disappeared in the Great San Francisco Earthquake of 1906.

    Kathi says: "Parallel stories of love and loss"
    "Good and Bad News"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Saint's Gate: Sharpe and Donovan, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By Carla Neggers
    • Narrated By Carol Monda
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (41)
    Performance
    (35)
    Story
    (36)

    New York Times best-selling author Carla Neggers has amassed legions of fans for her engaging blend of romance and suspense. Saint’s Gate features Colin Donovan, a deep-cover FBI agent who usually works alone - and likes it that way. When he tackles a case involving art heists and a convent’s long-held secrets, however, he finds himself more and more interested in the beguiling Emma Sharpe.

    C. Telfair says: "A Mixed Bag"
    "A Mixed Bag"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I thought this started well, and I liked the premise and the initial mystery. Somehow, however, my interest was not sustained. With one notable exception, the characters just never came to life and remained one dimensional. I won't be continuing this series. Not terrible, just not special enough to spend a credit or cash.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Rise and Fall of the British Empire

    • ORIGINAL (18 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Patrick N. Allitt
    Overall
    (79)
    Performance
    (70)
    Story
    (69)

    What were the forces that thrust the British Empire to its extraordinary position of greatness and then just as powerfully drove it into decline? And why is nearly every nation on earth, in one way or another, the consequence of the British Empire?In these 36 lectures, Professor Allitt leads you through four centuries of British power, innovation, influence, and, ultimately, diminishment-four profound centuries that literally remade the world and bequeathed the complex global legacy that continues to shape your everyday life.

    Sarah says: "A good educational course on the British Empire"
    "Comprehensive and Thoughtful"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The full consequences of the rise and (perhaps especially) the fall of the British Empire are still very much unfolding in our world. In Africa and the Middle East especially, the transformation to independence has been so recent that no historian can give true perspective to the influences, rights, and wrongs of the Age of Empire.

    That said, it seems to me that Professor Allitt's course is very comprehensive and as balanced as any modern European historian's can be at this point. I learned a tremendous amount and am so glad for the recent inclusion of "The Great Courses" series into the Audible library.

    There are 400 years of stories in this (some familiar, some not), well organized and very entertainingly presented. My husband has been abruptly disturbed many times by my exclamations of "did you know?" and "can you believe?" and "wow, I didn't know that!"- always a sign that I'm deeply involved in an absorbing and valuable listening experience!

    This is certainly a wonderful overview of a long arc of history which has so influenced the development of today's political map. The evolving and widely differing motives and opinions about empire are presented with modern sensibilities (of course), but also with an attempt to recapture the mindset of the times, both in Britain and in the countries of the Empire. Non-Western historians no doubt have differing points of view, ones of equal value, but this is a great introduction to the complexities that have defined the age of imperialism.

    Whether inclined or not to agree with his perspective and his conclusions, I believe anyone will benefit from listening to Professor Allitt!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Testament of Mary

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Colm Toibin
    • Narrated By Meryl Streep
    Overall
    (127)
    Performance
    (122)
    Story
    (119)

    Meryl Streep’s performance of Colm Tóibín's acclaimed portrait of Mary is hailed by the New York Times Book Review as “an ideal audiobook,” presenting the three-time Academy Award-winner in “yet another great role.” Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, Colm Tóibín's The Testament of Mary presents Mary as a solitary older woman still seeking to understand the events that become the narrative of the New Testament and the foundation of Christianity. In the ancient town of Ephesus, Mary lives alone, years after her son's crucifixion. She has no interest in collaborating with the authors of the Gospel. They are her keepers, providing her with food and shelter and visiting her regularly. She does not agree that her son is the Son of God; nor that his death was "worth it"; nor that the "group of misfits he gathered around him, men who could not look a woman in the eye," were holy disciples. This woman who we know from centuries of paintings and scripture as the docile, loving, silent, long-suffering, obedient, worshipful mother of Christ becomes a tragic heroine with the relentless eloquence of Electra or Medea or Antigone, in a portrait so vivid and convincing that our image of Mary will be forever transformed.

    ana says: "from a non believer..."
    "A living, breathing woman"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    There have been a lot of literary interpretations of other women from the Bible; Mary Magdalene, for example, has been reexamined and interpreted in many ways. But rarely has an author taken on the prospect of transforming the Holy Mother herself into a flesh and blood woman and mother. Our religious images are too imposing: the serene, sorrowful, and eternally loving and patient virgin and Saint.

    This is an exceptional performance of an impressive monologue. Meryl Streep's expressive, clear and powerful voice conveys what actually might be the thoughts and feelings of a mother in the circumstances in which Mary finds herself. She's an old woman now, weary and heartbroken still, sometimes questioning and untrusting, even angry. All that, and yet the qualities of her strength and honesty shine through.

    Some will of course be offended to see Mother Mary presented in this way, without the trappings of 2000+ years of religious teachings. I was very moved by Toibin's writing and Meryl Streep's interpretation. The "Testament" is brief, thought-provoking, and just about perfect in every way. This Mary is truly full of grace.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The Cold, Cold Ground

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Adrian McKinty
    • Narrated By Gerard Doyle
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1070)
    Performance
    (920)
    Story
    (916)

    Adrian McKinty was born in Carrickfergus, Northern Ireland. He studied politics and philosophy at Oxford before moving to America in the early 1990s. Living first in Harlem, he found employment as a construction worker, barman, and bookstore clerk. In 2000 he moved to Denver to become a high school English teacher and it was there that he began writing fiction.

    Alan says: "What a stunning book"
    "Left Me Pretty Cold Too"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is cynical stuff. There's not much of anybody to really like in the story, and extreme violence makes it not for the faint of heart or stomach.

    BUT, this is a really effective view of what it must be like to live in a war zone such as Northern Ireland was at the time of this action (and many places in the world, alas, remain today). McKinty is chillingly good at description, and the constant fear, guardedness, emotional numbness and lack of hope seem very real. There could be no more suitable narrator for this than Gerard Doyle.

    If you like gritty, realistic mysteries about the worst of characters and situations you may appreciate this one. It's a lot of bleak, but I can say that it took all the "romance" out of the fabled "troubles" of Ireland for me - an outcome very much intended by the author, I think!

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • The Grand Sophy

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Georgette Heyer
    • Narrated By Sarah Woodward
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (176)
    Performance
    (161)
    Story
    (164)

    Resourceful, adventurous and utterly indefatigable, Sophy is hardly the mild-mannered girl that the Rivenhalls expect when they agree to take her in. Kind-hearted Aunt Lizzy is shocked; stern Cousin Charles and his humorless fiancée Eugenia are disapproving.With her inimitable mixture of exuberance and grace Sophy soon sets about endearing herself to her family, but finds herself increasingly drawn to her cousin. Can she really be falling in love with him, and he with her? And what of his betrothal to Eugenia?

    Carol says: "The Full Sophy"
    "Grand and Great and Entirely Heyer"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    You can't argue with "The Grand Sophy". Here is one of Georgette Heyer's most memorable heroines, full of courage, charisma and feeling.

    The "minor" characters are so essential in these books, which (it must be admitted) have pretty thin plots. No fear, Sophy and those around her make for rich entertainment. Not a lot of hot romance, but mayhem and comedy aplenty. I love the way Sarah Woodward voices these eccentric characters, male and female. She is an excellent narrator - so very important in the enjoyment of Heyer's books.

    This book was written in 1950, at the height of the author's powers. How I wish that she had refrained from the cringe-worthy stereotypes which make a (thankfully short) episode in "Sophy" uncomfortable to listen to. I know she is writing about Regency England, where such perceptions were commonplace, but, by 1950, she should have known better than to have dwelt on them.

    Aside from that, "The Grand Sophy" remains one of the best of Georgette Heyer, and therefore very entertaiing indeed! In the mood for light, well written diversion, and with a great narrator like Woodward, the listener can't go wrong with Sophy!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves, and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Robert M. Edsel, Bret Witter
    • Narrated By Jeremy Davidson
    Overall
    (392)
    Performance
    (300)
    Story
    (305)

    In a race against time, behind enemy lines, often unarmed, a special force of American and British museum directors, curators, art historians, and others, called the Monuments Men, risked their lives scouring Europe to prevent the destruction of thousands of years of culture.

    Paul Bennett says: "Fine book, adequate narration"
    "Been to a Museum? Thank these People!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    If you have ever been to or wanted to visit any of the great museums of the world, then you should read this and marvel!

    It's a great book, but the real marvel is that we have never heard of this endeavor before. There are many stories of inspiration from WWII, and I think this ranks with the very best of them! It's the story of how we nearly lost most of the great and irreplaceable treasures of Western culture - and why that would have been a tragedy of unthinkable magnitude.

    Of course, so many people died too. And, understandably perhaps, that story has been the focus of most books and movies about WWII. This book acknowledges that, but it also asks an important question about the role of art in the identity of nations.

    Is any work of art worth a human life? Should military decisions include an attempt to preserve important cultural sites and works of art? These are questions well worth our consideration and "The Monuments Men" offers a terrific argument about why the answer should be "yes"! It was important in the past and should be in the future.

    This book is fascinating! These people and their mission make for a "you couldn't make these things up", true and suspenseful story. The narrator does a great job.

    I'll never again visit a museum without thinking about this book and the movie made from it. I know the movie didn't get great reviews, but it did bring to light a fantastic and hopeful story. Those who like books about history and/or art will enjoy both the filmed and audio versions.

    This is important stuff!

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • The Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon: No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, Book 14

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Alexander McCall Smith
    • Narrated By Lisette Lecat
    Overall
    (296)
    Performance
    (265)
    Story
    (264)

    Precious Ramotswe has taken on two puzzling cases. First, she is approached by the lawyer Mma Sheba, who is the executor of a deceased farmer’s estate. Mma Sheba has a feeling that the young man who has stepped forward may be falsely impersonating the farmer’s nephew in order to claim his inheritance. Mma Ramotswe agrees to visit the farm and find out what she can about the self-professed nephew. Then the proprietor of the Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon comes to Mma Ramotswe for advice.

    Pamela says: "This one is for the faithful"
    "Comfort, Comfort, Comfort"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It is with thorough approval that I declare "The Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon" to be just exactly like all the other Mma Ramatswe stories.

    Predictability, reassurance, comfort are not bad things in every case, and Alexander McCall Smith keeps reminding us why. In a modern, fast-moving, cynical world it's a wonderful pleasure to put up your feet in front of the fire, relax, and listen to the superb Lisette Lecat reading about the good woman of Botswana. Reader and character are never cloying, never "cute" - just a reminder that simplicity and goodness can still exist.

    I like that this world changes little, that the quiet humor and unfailing kindness and tolerance of our lady detective can be depended upon.

    These gentle books are not for every mood, to be sure. But I hope they keep coming - I love these visits!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Through the Evil Days: A Clare Fergusson and Russ Van Alstyne Mystery, Book 8

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Julia Spencer-Fleming
    • Narrated By Suzanne Toren
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (58)
    Performance
    (52)
    Story
    (50)

    On a frigid January night, Chief of Police Russ Van Alstyne and Reverend Clare Fergusson are called to the scene of a raging fire, that quickly becomes a double homicide and kidnapping. Which is the very last thing Russ needs.... Currently he's struggling with the prospect of impending fatherhood. And his new wife is not at all happy with his proposal for their long-delayed honeymoon: A week in an unelectrified ice-fishing cabin.

    C. Telfair says: "Action, Suspense, Bad Weather!"
    "Action, Suspense, Bad Weather!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Behind the main story of this book, a real controversy of current politics looms: in times of stretched budgets, does a small town/city really need its own police force? It seems the debate will continue in this series, as that particular question is not resolved here. But it adds another note of timely reality to the Fergusson/Van Alstyne novels.

    "Through the Evil Days" also adds a darn good thriller to a fine series. There's lots of action and suspense, a real terror of an ice storm, and innocents aplenty in peril. For my taste, there's one or two too many "top this" twists and turns, but the story certainly moves quickly and holds the readers' interest.

    Clare and Russ have proven to be a likable, believable characters who complement each other. Their marriage has not brought boredom or total peace of mind to the relationship. I like their feisty individuality and their differences. This volume also throws a great deal of light on the secondary romantic relationship of the series, and this relationship is every bit as interesting and complicated as the one between Clare and Ross. I marvel that Spencer-Fleming is so good at developing these romances while still maintaining a religious/philosophic element and first-class suspense in the series. I will definitely be back for the next adventure!

    The narrator is a different issue. Although I like her basic reading voice very much, I find her extreme attempt to change tone for different characters a bit disconcerting. She tries too hard: those overly gruff male and sickeningly sweet female voices are distracting to a point nearing the absurd. There's plenty of drama in the book. I'd prefer a little less overdone narration.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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