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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
238
REVIEWS
225
FOLLOWING
2
FOLLOWERS
278
HELPFUL VOTES
1296

  • The Hobbit

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By J. R. R. Tolkien
    • Narrated By Rob Inglis
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (9787)
    Performance
    (8786)
    Story
    (8948)

    Like every other hobbit, Bilbo Baggins likes nothing better than a quiet evening in his snug hole in the ground, dining on a sumptuous dinner in front of a fire. But when a wandering wizard captivates him with tales of the unknown, Bilbo becomes restless. Soon he joins the wizard’s band of homeless dwarves in search of giant spiders, savage wolves, and other dangers. Bilbo quickly tires of the quest for adventure and longs for the security of his familiar home. But before he can return to his life of comfort, he must face the greatest threat of all.

    Darwin8u says: "Victory after all, I suppose!"
    "Gather Around and Listen!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    If ever a book was meant to be read aloud, it's this one! The storyteller is a tremendously important part of "The Hobbit", and Inglis just does a wonderful job enthralling us all with this adventure.

    The tone and significance of this work is very different from that of "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy. As long as you recognize that and accept "The Hobbit" for the children's book it basically is, you will enjoy this version of a classic. And, when it comes to a good tale, there's a child in each of us who will absolutely love it!

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • The Map Thief: The Gripping Story of an Esteemed Rare-Map Dealer Who Made Millions Stealing Priceless Maps

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Michael Blanding
    • Narrated By Sean Runnette
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (188)
    Performance
    (163)
    Story
    (167)

    Maps have long exerted a special fascination on viewers - both as beautiful works of art and as practical tools to navigate the world. But to those who collect them, the map trade can be a cutthroat business, inhabited by quirky and sometimes disreputable characters in search of a finite number of extremely rare objects.

    Once considered a respectable antiquarian map dealer, E. Forbes Smiley spent years doubling as a map thief - until he was finally arrested slipping maps out of books in the Yale University library.

    Andy says: "with a little charm, you can rob almost anyone"
    "A Study of the Strangeness of People"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a fascinating listen! You might think map collectors and dealers just couldn't be all that interesting, but you would be wrong.

    Anyone who has poured over a map on the fly leaves of a book or noticed the beauty of a colorful map will appreciate the subject matter here. There's a lot of surprisingly enlightening information about the history and artistry of map making around the world. Listening while on road trips, my husband and I found ourselves learning a lot and enjoying the process.

    But this is not a book just about maps. It's primarily about people and their odd, odd ways. Forbes Smiley is the map collector, student, dealer, and, finally, thief. He's a complicated man - one who can love maps and the libraries which harbor them while, at the same time, consistently stealing for personal gain from the institutions and people who trust him.

    It's also about the incredible lack of records and security in rare book libraries and archives. About the defensiveness of university and public library officials who fear losing prospective donations so much that they fail to report thefts from their collections. About collectors and dealers who eagerly snap up maps which they well know may be stolen. About the distinction between "fine art" and these lovely antique maps and atlases - and the discrepancy between punishments for criminals involved in stealing them.

    This book is about a lot. I think just about anyone will like it!



    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Masqueraders

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Georgette Heyer
    • Narrated By Ruth Sillers
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (194)
    Performance
    (179)
    Story
    (176)

    After participating in the Jacobite Rising of 1745, Robin and Prudence, brother and sister, become engaged in a swashbuckling, romantic adventure. Our hero and heroine must cross-dress and switch genders if they are to escape prosecution a humorous move that allows Heyer to explore the manners and language affectations of the period as the two romp through the elite saloons and clubs of London.

    Patricia says: "Intrigue, romance, loyalty and wit!"
    "Swashbuckle City!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Most of Georgette Heyer's best known romances are set in the fairly sedate English Regency period at the beginning of the 19th century, but "The Masqueraders" takes place a couple of generations before that. The Hanoverian King George I has recently defeated the Stuart line of Bonny Prince Charles, so the politics are more unsettled and dangerous at this point in time. The French Revolution is 50 years in the future, so English aristocrats still emulate their continental counterparts in lavish dress, speech, and exaggerated manners. Duels are common and pretty much tolerated in a fairly permissive society.

    Add to this exotic setting a couple of young adventurers, Prudence and Robin, who assume gender-bending disguises to obscure their politically- and socially-suspect past. Confused prospective lovers, a couple of duels and carriage chases, and an oh-so-eccentric father add complications and hijinks galore.

    The story and characters are alternately charming and frustrating, as is the somewhat antiquated language assumed by the author. I believe that Ruth Sillers does a wonderful job of presenting this hodgepodge of French-accented and mannered English without often resorting to an overly arch tone.

    I still prefer the Regencies, but "The Masqueraders" does offer some memorable characters, stirring action sequences, and a change in style and tone.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Graveyard Book: Full-Cast Production

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Neil Gaiman
    • Narrated By Neil Gaiman, Derek Jacobi, Robert Madge, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (114)
    Performance
    (109)
    Story
    (111)

    Nobody Owens, known to his friends as Bod, is a normal boy. He would be completely normal if he didn't live in a sprawling graveyard, being raised and educated by ghosts, with a solitary guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor of the dead. There are dangers and adventures in the graveyard for a boy. But if Bod leaves the graveyard, then he will come under attack from the man Jack - who has already killed Bod's family…

    C. Telfair says: "Splendid and Splendider!"
    "Splendid and Splendider!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Since Neil Gaiman's own excellent reading of this was already in my library, I hesitated before adding the dramatized version of "The Graveyard Book." How glad I am that I went ahead and used a credit!

    This man has written lots of memorable books, but "The Graveyard Book" stands out. There's a lot of love in here, and it is wonderful to hear the author explain a little about that at the end of the recording. No one will be surprised to hear that the work is quite important personally to Mr. Gaiman - it shows in every chapter.

    There's a lot that is very special in this book regardless of how it's experienced - I have read the hard copy and enjoyed both audios. The characters - living, dead or somewhere in between - are absolutely real and absolutely unforgettable. The episodic nature of the narrative not only reflects its admitted source, Rudyard Kipling's "The Jungle Book," but it makes for excellent reading aloud in segments - sharing with children or adults. (I imagine even the cats and dogs listening in during an evening reading will love it.)

    The fine actors involved in this production all obviously enjoyed performing this for us. If you've already read it, consider getting this edition as well. "The Graveyard Book" simply cannot read or heard too many times!

    One personal note - my young grandchildren live in a house across from an historical cemetery. They play there and ride their bikes and look for angel headstones. Before very long, I hope to introduce them to the world of "The Graveyard Book." I think they will feel quite at home in its pages.



    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • 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
    (292)
    Performance
    (264)
    Story
    (263)

    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
    (221)
    Performance
    (211)
    Story
    (211)

    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!

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Arabella

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Georgette Heyer
    • Narrated By Phyllida Nash
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (122)
    Performance
    (109)
    Story
    (110)

    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.

    Carol says: "Don't Believe the Synopsis"
    "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".

    3 of 3 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
    (271)
    Performance
    (244)
    Story
    (242)

    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
    Performance
    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!

    4 of 4 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
    (6856)
    Performance
    (6209)
    Story
    (6207)

    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.

    9 of 10 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
    (986)
    Performance
    (885)
    Story
    (878)

    "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.

    Jim says: "CAN NOT UNDERSTAND HALF THE BOOK (AUDIO)"
    "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.

    5 of 5 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
    (621)
    Performance
    (536)
    Story
    (546)

    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

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