Mr Covell's pronunciation enabled me to either listen and follow along with a book simultaneously, or simply listen alone and still understand everything that was being said. Words were said clearly with no confusion or slurring of phrases. Very well done.
Well, Crime and Punishment comes to mind first due to the similar settings, vocabulary, and the fact that they're written by the same author. I enjoy this latter aspect because in C&P we know the killer and root for him being the main character, but in TBK we don't know him and have come to despise him by the time we figure out who the killer truly is.
If I had just read the book there would've been portions that would've been skimmed over quickly rather than meticulously studied thanks to the pace of Walter Covell's read. As I followed along with my book, I was able to read with more patience rather than storm through the book, forgetting lines only minutes after reading them.
I didn't laugh or cry, but I was amazed at the social attitudes that were prevalent in the historical times of the novel. This was shown immensely during the trial, and I was greatly amazed at the jury's judgement when all that was given by the prosecution was circumstantial evidence. But that's the way courts worked in those times, with just men hearing the story and making decisions - when judges could put forth their opinions and tell the jurors what is true and what is not.
Only a couple of times in the narration was a line or a phrase skipped over. This was no doubt due to the same phrases being in back-to-back lines (scribal phenomenon called homoeoteleuton) and the error (called periblepsis) of the omission of the end of the first line as the scribe or orator's eyes returned to the page.
Also, a little more emotion in the narrator's voice could always liven the story up a bit, but it is understood how taking on a frantic character's voice could lose verbal clarity which Mr Covell maintained very well throughout.
Mr Ball has narrated an excellent collection of fantastic works when it comes to the discussion of the human mind and the answers it must create for itself when contemplating its most common spiritual questions throughout the ages. The truly unfortunate thing about this audiobook's collection is that not all of the compiled works are being narrated. With only two hours left in the second audio file I realized that I was only halfway through the book. So much of the collection is missing.
Another drawback to the narrator's performance is the fact that it is sometimes hard to distinguish the difference between Hitch's introduction to the compiled text and the text itself.
Aside from these two drawbacks, Hitchens' collection of works comes from many different eras of spiritual contemplation. Whether springing from the mind of a psychologist, physicist, zoologist, or fellow author, the works express mankind's need to find the answers to as many questions as it can, sometimes inventing what actually aren't solutions to the problem but rather ideas that raise more questions. Faith and fact are two entirely different things and the authors that Hitchens compiled in this book express that clearly.
I was amazed from the very beginning of this book at how the nature of the characters were pronounced - very Shakespearean in letting the reader/listener immediately know who the heroes and villains are, rooting for Dantes from the very beginning to take his revenge on those who sent him off to prison. It's sad, of course, that Abbe Faria doesn't survive long enough to make his escape with Dantes, but we can't really be sure that Dantes would've made it out had he not taken Faria's place being thrown over the cliff and into the waters of freedom.
Dantes's revenge is very meticulous and, though his mind is set on ruining the lives of those who sent him to prison, he manages to do good works for worthy folks who cross his path. Perhaps the greatest point in the novel (at least for me) is when Mercedes is begging that he not take part in the duel against her son, pronouncing that she's recognized Dantes as the Count the whole time and has always loved him. This sends him into a time of deep reflection which is very profound and insightful into the human psyche.
John Lee's narration is fantastic, especially when he gets into the more emotional aspects of the novel. At first, it was a little bit of a chore in trying to distinguish between two males in dialogue (even though I read along until my eyes get tired) but, after he got going all the characters could be easily recognized. Very well done, sir - a great narration of one of the greatest novels my eyes and ears have ever encountered.
This is the first book I've read by Edith Wharton and, trust me, I'll be reading as many as I can from here on out! I found myself constantly upset with the center of the novel, Lily Bart, because of her ego, her reluctance to accept the love being offered to her upon nearly every encounter with a male (though one she was wise to refuse), and her inability (or, rather, lack of effort) to crawl out of the hole she had dug for herself in the final chapters of the book.
But, no matter what the author was expressing, I've seldom seen more beautifully constructed sentences, painting an exquisite picture of the characters' surroundings, moods and behaviors. Not only does she display a wonderful landscape, she also delivers bits of wisdom here and there to keep the reader from falling into Lily's debacle.
"In whatever form a slowly-accumulated past lives in the blood - whether in the concrete image of the old house stored with visual memories, or in the conception of the house not built with hands, but made up of inherited passions and loyalties - it has the same power of broadening and deepening the individual existence, of attaching it by mysterious links of kinship to all the mighty sum of human striving."
Eleanor Bron's performance of the novel is terrific, with discernible accents for specific characters and the ability to fluently express the author's tremendous work. Well done, indeed.
Middlemarch is an amazing book that portrays a list of characters that seem to get themselves into trouble by thinking too much instead of going with their instincts. Social hierarchy seems to be the factor in the back of every person's mind that decides which romantic or financial turns they will take, at the onset nearly ruining their lives.
Dorothea happens to be my favorite character due to her independence. I was very frustrated with her time and time again, however, whenever she and Will Ladislaw got together and never acted on the love that each knew was present. It seemed that every time both of them got together I was silently screaming to them both to profess their love and lead happy lives, not ones of servitude to others. When they finally did, I knew that all would turn out well for them.
The supposed superiority of men over women was a predominant issue that came back over and over again to nearly every character. Whether it was the disgust of a woman deciding for herself who she should marry, or a wife trying to help her husband financially, each woman was put in her place and their actions were restricted, threatened by the fear of a poor lifestyle. Strangely enough, it was the wives that survived their restrictive husbands, and went on to live happily in the end.
George Eliot (a.k.a. Mary Ann Evans) put together a wonderful conglomeration of social, political, spiritual, and ethical hardships as well as the solutions to such difficulties, and she did so with excellent eloquence. Maureen O'Brien, the narrator, brought forth a terrific performance, with each character clearly understood, even in the most emotional scenes. Very well done!
I never would have imagined that the adventures of a group of whalers could be so eloquently relayed to a reader, but here's the book that does just that! Herman Melville's expression of even the simplest ideas are given with such incredible phrases that one has to sometimes rewind the narrative (I did, at least) in order to be sure they actually heard what their ears reported. His eloquent use of alliteration was of such spectacular skill that several scenes stood steadily in sight, stuff that easily brings a smile to to a serene listener's face.
We immediately are encountered by social dilemmas of racism and conflicting religious beliefs when Ishmael meets Queequeg for the first time. Fear is the first thing that Ishmael expresses, though he and Queequeg quickly become friends before they even head out on their voyage. On the ship, the existence of good and evil, even of a reigning deity, are examined as we hear of the history and beliefs of other shipmates. All in all, it's a diligent group of men who are either running from their lives on land or searching for something better than the lands from whence they came, even if it's something as simple as adventure.
Mr Frank Muller is an excellent narrator of the book and, though his accents for various characters are very subtle, they're still enough of a change to inform the listener that a new character is speaking, or that Ishmael's commentary has begun again. At times the narrative was so exciting and high-paced that I couldn't have understood what was being said without following along in my book, but, aside from that small glitch, the performance was fantastic. Mr Muller did a great job in delivering sometimes complicated phrases from an amazing author. Very well done, sir!
This is a great work by Henry James, the story of Isabel and her reluctance to search for love, in the meantime setting her up with the wrong man, one who challenges her independence.
I particularly loved her Aunt and Uncle and extended family, folks who took her in after her father died and treating her as if she was their daughter or sister - very lovely indeed. Her independence when it comes to finding her future lover is quite hilarious when she starts to meet men in London, with practically every fellow she speaks to immediately hitting on her, and being sent on their way with low-hanging heads after just a couple of encounters.
One can tell how much her family really loved her when her uncle dies and she's given an inheritance, a wealth that allows her to travel across the continent, meeting Gilbert Osmond and eventually marrying him, much to the dismay of her former suitors and her cousin Ralph, one who treats her like a younger sister.
Chapter 42 is a rather life-changing point in Isabel's life, several hours spent in her bedroom into the wee hours of the morning, wondering whether or not her choice to marry Gilbert was a mistake. Another turning point in the novel is when she's told that her husband never married the father of his little girl - one that she's come to love as her own - and is doing now what he did to his former lover, using her for her money.
The story is a fantastic one that illustrates how money can be both a blessing and a curse, guiding a person of independence into a life of poor choices and regret.
When it comes to Nadia May's performance, it is a terrific one! Each character has their own subtle tone, easily discerned from the others. And her expression in both dialogues and narration make it easy to understand the importance of what each character is thinking or doing. Very nicely done Ms May, not to mention Henry James!
Shelby Foote's three-volume work is fantastic. When it comes to historical narratives, it takes the cake as far as detailed accounts of the conflicts, both between the northern and southern military regimes, but also of the inner struggles of major characters on both sides. Not only are key issues covered in detail, but, rather than merely stating facts, the author created an eloquent recital of events that keeps the listener/reader interested. (At least, it did this for me. I imagine that if it was simply a straight compilation of listed facts then it wouldn't be considered the must-read that it is when it comes to a key portion of the US's history.) Whether it's the details of military conflict, the planning before and after such events, the social and political conundrums of the day, the emancipation of slaves, or even the happenings in major characters' personal lives, Foote did an amazing job of setting the events down on paper.
Grover Gardner does an excellent job of narrating this piece, too. Considering the book's large amount of direct quotes of conversations, speeches, and letters, Gardner applies a subtle change to his tone which lets the listener/reader know that quotation marks go around what he's reading - an excellent touch that you'll become familiar with quickly. His voice is very clear and eloquent, too, so there won't be a problem understanding what he's reading. Nicely done, sir!
Charles Dickens is, as we all know, a fantastic author of several classics, and A Tale of Two Cities is surely one of his greatest. Frank Muller's excellent performance of this work added even more quality to the book, so he must be praised for his clarity and eloquence, even when portraying characters in sorrow or rage - very well done, indeed.
It's hard for me to decide which character I enjoyed best until the last few chapters. I read the book in my teenage years, so I knew that Sydney Carton was a person of some significance; I just couldn't recall why. His actions were very inspiring, especially because of the lack of necessity in them. He really could've just tipped off Dr Manette as to Madame Defarge's plan, telling him to get Lucie and her daughter out. They would've been safe in their flight, though grieving for Charles Darnay. Carton's passion for Lucie is so great that he decides to take the place of the man who, in the quest for Lucie's love, could be considered his nemesis. The words running through his mind as he is preparing to be guillotined are profound, to say the least, and they are a way of comforting himself as he dreams of the future happiness of his love. But I also enjoy the short but comforting chat he has with the Seamstress, a young lady (who he addresses as his 'gentle sister') who is to be guillotined just before him, assuring her that there is no Time in the afterlife, so she will not be troubled in waiting for her younger cousin where she believes she and Carton will be 'mercifully sheltered.'
A great work of art that is well-performed by an excellent narrator. I look forward to more works by both Dickens and Mr Muller again!
I would listen to The Great Gatsby again due to F Scott Fitzgerald's excellent choice of words when explaining the simplest things. He's a very eloquent writer and this book is just one apex in his range of mountainous talent. The social and political situations of the times are firmly addressed in his book as well, with his (and his characters') commentary on the culture of the times as well as organized crime.
My favorite character is Jay Gatsby, of course, due to his casual character and sense of ease with which he flows through his life, even in harsh situations. He's gone through a lot in his life and has put a ton of work into rekindling his love interest with Daisy, steps that many lovers wouldn't care to strive toward after his initial rejection.
He brings some interesting voices to various characters - typically giving all the ladies southern accents, strangely enough - but one thing I didn't enjoy about his performance was the fluctuations in volume within a single sentence. The majority of sentences tended to trail off to near silence, making me either turn the volume up every few minutes or strain to understand the end of sentences. This happened most often during characters' dialogues.
Dreams of yesterday - now today's.
A great work of art and a great performance by Tim Robbins. Nicely done!
The ambitions of each character was easily determined as Jane Austen's work quickly got underway. With all the matchmaking that took place in the times, Emma's social meddling gets her into a predicament with her friend Harriet, who Emma tries to set up with a man whose ego will not allow such a match to be made. Such a social hierarchy was a staple of the times and Austen illustrates both its purpose and its ridiculousness at the start. Due to Emma's fear of ruining her friendship with Harriet, she avoids her friend's company as best as she can, until the examination of her own romantic life requires a meeting.
From the beginning of their encounters, it is clear that Emma and Mr Knightley would make a great couple, as he is the only one who can put up with her sarcasm and dish his own out as well. But her lack of interest in a partner (or perhaps her own ego) keeps their romance from reaching the levels the reader knows it could - at least, at the beginning. Once Emma decides to quit meddling in other people's affairs, she begins to examine her own life and her desires of a relationship, something she's slipped to the side until now. Finally, she begins to wonder what she wants in a man and comes to identify her wishes in the end.
Juliet Stevenson's performance of each character is terrific, especially when it comes to those of Miss Bates and Mrs Elton. Just as the sentence structure displays, Miss Bates rambles on to no end, rather annoyingly at times, and the narrator's performance of such a characteristic feature is flawless, as is the pronunciation and clarity of every line in the book. Well done Juliet Stevenson!
Report Inappropriate Content
If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.