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Andrew

MURFREESBORO, TENNESSEE, United States | Member Since 2012

ratings
18
REVIEWS
16
FOLLOWING
2
FOLLOWERS
1
HELPFUL VOTES
5

  • The Brothers Karamazov

    • UNABRIDGED (37 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Fyodor Dostoevsky
    • Narrated By Walter Covell
    Overall
    (237)
    Performance
    (94)
    Story
    (90)

    Dostoevsky studied human nature with passion and precision. He plumbed the depths and never winced at what he found, even when it was beyond his understanding. This extraordinary novel is a recital of his findings, told in the story of four brothers: Dimitri, pleasure-seeking, impatient, unruly; Ivan, brilliant and morose; Alyosha, gentle, loving, honest; and the illegitimate Smerdyakov, sly, silent, cruel. What give this story its dramatic grip is the part these brothers play in their father's murder.

    Paul Z. says: "This book is one of the reasons I joined Audible!"
    "Clarity and Eloquence"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to The Brothers Karamazov the most enjoyable?

    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.


    What other book might you compare The Brothers Karamazov to and why?

    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.


    What does Walter Covell bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    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.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    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.


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Far From the Madding Crowd

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Thomas Hardy
    • Narrated By Jamie Parker
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (2)

    In a remote corner of early Victorian England, where traditional practices remain untouched by time, Bathsheba Everdene stands out as a beacon of female independence and self-reliance. However, when confronted with three suitors, among them the dashing Captain Troy, she shows a reckless capriciousness that threatens the stability of the whole community. Published in 1874, and an immediate best seller, Far From the Madding Crowd established Thomas Hardy as one of Britain's foremost novelists.

    Andrew says: "A Masterpiece of Culture and Eloquence"
    "A Masterpiece of Culture and Eloquence"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I must say that, with future books, it will be hard not to rate the authors' words and compare them with Thomas Hardy's knowledge of a dictionary and his construction of a sentence. It can be rather simple to narrate the combined works of many characters onto pieces of paper and call it a novel, but Hardy has a lovely style that I'll show presently. In randomly turning to any page in the book I've found the following paragraph: 'At this moment on the ridge, up against the blazing sky, a figure was visible, like the black snuff in the midst of a candle-flame. Then it moved and began to bustle about vigorously from place to place, carrying square skeleton masses, which were riddled by the same rays. A small figure on all fours followed behind. The tall form was that of Gabriel Oak; the small one that of George; the articles in course of transit were hurdles.' Now, if this had been me (or many other authors) I would've said 'Mr Boldwood saw Gabriel Oak and his horse moving hurdles in the hot sun.' See what I mean by eloquence?

    As for the story, it is terrific! Gabriel Oak is a loveable man who devotes his life to hard work. Unfortunately, one of his herding dogs happens to chase his flock of ewes off a cliff, so he's left without work and he comes to be employed by Bathsheba, a woman that he falls in love with after she saves his life. I rooted for him the entire time, hoping that she would find some sort of romance with him, but, even after she doesn't, his devotion to her as a concerned employee doesn't stray, though she's being courted by an older gentleman after she plays a trick on him and she ends up marrying a gambling drunkard who doesn't love her in the first place. And at this point, the story's not even halfway through!

    Now, when it comes to Jamie Parker's reading of the novel, I found it spot-on! There were several characters with regional accents that he performed incredibly well. His recognition and performance of the author's words was one for the ages. There was only one thing I didn't enjoy about it, at first: his performance was so accurate that, when whispered words were uttered, it was sometimes difficult to hear on my laptop. But this was quickly remedied with the use of headphones, and his performance was enjoyed exponentially more! Well done, sir!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Portable Atheist: Essential Readings for the Nonbeliever

    • ABRIDGED (10 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Christopher Hitchens
    • Narrated By Nicholas Ball
    Overall
    (369)
    Performance
    (134)
    Story
    (130)

    Christopher Hitchens continues to make the case for a splendidly godless universe in this first-ever gathering of the influential voices past and present that have shaped his side of the current (and raging) God/no-god debate. With Hitchens as your erudite and witty guide, you'll be led through a wealth of philosophy, literature, and scientific inquiry, including generous portions of the words of Lucretius, Benedict de Spinoza, Charles Darwin, Karl Marx, Mark Twain, and more.

    Oskar E. Boethius Lissheim says: "Hitchens' Heroes"
    "Abridged Collection"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Count of Monte Cristo

    • UNABRIDGED (47 hrs)
    • By Alexandre Dumas
    • Narrated By John Lee
    Overall
    (3681)
    Performance
    (2011)
    Story
    (2060)

    Dashing young Edmond Dantès has everything: a fine reputation, an appointment as captain of a ship, and the heart of a beautiful woman. But his perfect life is shattered when three jealous friends conspire to destroy him. Falsely accused of a political crime, Dantès is locked away for life in the infamous Chateau d'If prison. But it is there that Dantès learns of a vast hidden treasure.

    Prsilla says: "Really-REALLY Classic!"
    "A Must Read/Listen"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The House of Mirth

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Edith Wharton
    • Narrated By Eleanor Bron
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (145)
    Performance
    (100)
    Story
    (104)

    First published in 1905, the House of Mirth shocked many by its candour. Lily Bart moves in the shallow, new-moneyed class of New York society in which men make the money and women spend it. There amongst the glib diversions of the newly rich, she seeks a husband who can not only maintain her in this charmed existence, but can also provide unstinting admiration.

    Catherine says: "Wonderful"
    "A Most Eloquent Tragedy"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Middlemarch

    • UNABRIDGED (32 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By George Eliot
    • Narrated By Maureen O'Brien
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (70)
    Performance
    (46)
    Story
    (46)

    George Eliot's most ambitious novel is a masterly evocation of diverse lives and changing fortunes in a provincial community. Peopling its landscape are Dorothea Brooke, a young idealist whose search for intellectual fulfillment leads her into a disastrous marriage to the pedantic scholar Casaubon; the charming but tactless Dr Lydgate, whose marriage to the spendthrift beauty Rosamund and pioneering medical methods threaten to undermine his career.

    Julie W. Capell says: "Read for its humor & glimmers of female rebellion"
    "A Town that Thinks Too Much"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    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!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Moby-Dick

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By Herman Melville
    • Narrated By Frank Muller
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1129)
    Performance
    (862)
    Story
    (866)

    Labeled variously a realistic story of whaling, a romance of unusual adventure and eccentric characters, a symbolic allegory, and a drama of heroic conflict, Moby Dick is first and foremost a great story. It has both the humor and poignancy of a simple sea ballad, as well as the depth and universality of a grand odyssey.

    Brendon says: "An American Classic!"
    "Tremendously Eloquent"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    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!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Portrait of a Lady

    • UNABRIDGED (22 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Henry James
    • Narrated By Nadia May
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (72)
    Performance
    (35)
    Story
    (34)

    An American heiress newly arrived in Europe, Isabel does not look to a man to furnish her with destiny; instead, she desires, with grace and courage, to find it herself. Two eligible suitors approach her and are refused. She then becomes utterly captivated by the languid charms of Gilbert Osmond.

    Rebecca says: "Nary a good marriage to be found..."
    "A Most Excellent Heroine"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    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!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Civil War: A Narrative, Volume I, Fort Sumter to Perryville

    • UNABRIDGED (37 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Shelby Foote, Ken Burns (introduction)
    • Narrated By Grover Gardner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1588)
    Performance
    (699)
    Story
    (705)

    Here begins one of the most remarkable works of history ever fashioned. All the great battles are here, of course, from Bull Run through Shiloh, the Seven Days, Second Manassas to Antietam, and Perryville in the fall of 1862, but so are the smaller and often equally important engagements on both land and sea: Ball's Bluff, Fort Donelson, Pea Ridge, Island Ten, New Orleans, Monitor versus Merimac, and Stonewall Jackson's Valley Campaign, to mention only a few.

    Jeanne says: "The best"
    "The Epitome of Historical Narratives"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    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!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Tale of Two Cities [Recorded Books]

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs)
    • By Charles Dickens
    • Narrated By Frank Muller
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1007)
    Performance
    (500)
    Story
    (491)

    "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times..." So begins this classic, one of the most beloved novels of all time. Charles Dickens brings the French Revolution to life through such vivid characters as Charles Darnay, the Old Doctor, Sydney Carton and Lucy Manette. The action peaks with the storming of the Bastille, the dreaded symbol of government authority. And the blade of La Guillotine falls again...

    Docedward says: "Absolute literature...and a page turner at that!"
    "Terrific Performance of a Classic!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    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!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Great Gatsby

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By F. Scott Fitzgerald
    • Narrated By Tim Robbins
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1467)
    Performance
    (875)
    Story
    (883)

    The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald's portrait of the Jazz Age in all its decadence and excess, is, as editor Maxwell Perkins praised it in 1924, "a wonder". It remains one of the most widely read, translated, admired, imitated, and studied 20th-century works of American fiction.

    Redhawk Readers says: "Something you won't fall asleep to..."
    "An Excellent Classic and Decent Narration"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to The Great Gatsby again? Why?

    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.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    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.


    What does Tim Robbins bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    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.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    Dreams of yesterday - now today's.


    Any additional comments?

    A great work of art and a great performance by Tim Robbins. Nicely done!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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