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Alicia

Baltimore, MD, United States | Member Since 2008

70
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 31 reviews
  • 49 ratings
  • 256 titles in library
  • 7 purchased in 2014
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4

  • Vanity Fair [AudioGo]

    • UNABRIDGED (31 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By William Makepeace Thackeray
    • Narrated By John Castle
    Overall
    (177)
    Performance
    (108)
    Story
    (109)

    Set during the time of the Napoleonic Wars, this classic gives a satirical picture of a worldly society. The novel revolves around the exploits of the impoverished but beautiful and devious Becky Sharp.

    Constance says: "A book that was meant to be read aloud!"
    "Becky, the great "bad girl" of English literature"
    Overall

    In spite of the slow second half, Vanity Fair's Becky Sharpe still stands as a model for the anti-heroine.
    Thackeray is a bit heavy handed in the latter part of the novel where he must have felt compelled to moralize and show a more degenerate side of Becky, done at the expense of sublimating the highly entertaining malice of her behavior. The "nice" folks grow rather boring in contrast to Becky.
    But Vanity Fair was a shot heard round the world. Trollope and Mrs. Gaskell were friends and admirers of Thackeray and must have been influenced in some of their character depictions by his portrayal of the charming and ruthless Becky.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Habits of the House

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Fay Weldon
    • Narrated By Katherine Kellgren
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (121)
    Performance
    (111)
    Story
    (108)

    As the Season of 1899 comes to an end, the world is poised on the brink of profound, irrevocable change. The Earl of Dilberne is facing serious financial concerns. The ripple effects spread to everyone in the household: Lord Robert, who has gambled unwisely on the stock market and seeks a place in the Cabinet; his unmarried children, Arthur, who keeps a courtesan, and Rosina, who keeps a parrot in her bedroom; Lord Robert’s wife, Isobel, who orders the affairs of the household in Belgrave Square; and Grace, the lady’s maid who orders the life of her mistress.

    Cindy says: "A Downtonlike story read by my favorite narrator?"
    "Aimless, silly and unlistenable"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It is not the fault of the narrator, but entirely that of the author that "Habits" is rubbishy drivel.
    It is pieces of shapeless verbal frippery like this book that makes me wonder anew at the dreck that gets published. I bought this Fay Weldon on an Audible $4.95 sale, mistaking the author for one recommended by a friend. "Habits of the House", not worth a plastic penny.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Minotaur

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Barbara Vine
    • Narrated By Rosalyn Landor
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (106)
    Performance
    (22)
    Story
    (24)

    As soon as Kerstin Kvist arrives at remote, ivy-covered Lydstep Old Hall in Essex, she feels like a character in a gothic novel. A young nurse fresh out of school, Kerstin has been hired for a position with the Cosway family, residents of the Hall for generations. She is soon introduced to her "charge", John Cosway, a 39-year-old man whose strange behavior is vaguely explained by his mother and sisters as part of the madness that runs in the family.

    Susan B. says: "Top notch Barbara Vine"
    "Trendy Rendy"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The Minotaur started out fairly well, although I am not a fan of first-person narratives, the lazy authors fall-back. But soon the meandering tale of "family secrets" became wearying and Kirsten, in the character of narrator, grew flatter by the page. How can someone who is supposed to be a cartoonist write an epic tale without a trace of wit, humor or irony? I have known many, many professional cartoonists and, to a man (or woman) they are founts of comic mots and outrageous witticism and are especially adept at black humor. Then, comes the trendy autism theme which seems like a how-do-I-get-out-of-this-mess plot device, ending in dull summary. Is Ruth running out of steam, or does she just not want to send us her very best anymore?

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders

    • UNABRIDGED (26 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Vincent Bugliosi, Curt Gentry
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1196)
    Performance
    (1042)
    Story
    (1045)

    Prosecuting attorney in the Manson trial Vincent Bugliosi held a unique insider's position in one of the most baffling and horrifying cases of the 20th century: the cold-blooded Tate-LaBianca murders carried out by Charles Manson and four of his followers. What motivated Manson in his seemingly mindless selection of victims, and what was his hold over the young women who obeyed his orders? Now available for the first time in unabridged audio, the gripping story of this famous and haunting crime is brought to life by acclaimed narrator Scott Brick.

    Larry says: "What a great book."
    "Interesting story until the epilogue-but "evil"?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Never having been much interested in the much-hyped Manson saga, I selected this recording when it was on a $4.95 Audible sale. Manson is what makes it all interesting; the fact that he was then, and still is, a source of fascination for so many. As the author says, if this were a work of fiction, the story would not be sensational. Truth, because it is truth, is stranger than fiction. If there had been no murders of an especially gory type, Manson's story would not be of exceptional interest. In the late sixties there were plenty of vagrant young folks experimenting with drugs, free-love and the communal experience. It was just the right group of people with the right catalyst (Manson) that brought about the crimes that riveted popular attention, like rubber-neckers at a colossal accident. A bored populace loves vicarious horror and the murders were better than any fictive cinematic production. While I found Helter Skelter interesting, I could hardly attend to the author's repeated pronouncements of "evil" upon Manson, etc. Highly disturbed, aberrant, but what the heck is "evil"? This is a child's word, a bogeyman catch-phrase, and I found Bugliosi's frequent use of the word simplistic and lazy and his moralizing tiresome. People always accept the mores of the moment as all-in-all, and are ever ready in a Babbitty way to distance themselves from anything overtly different in concept or behavior. If there is such a thing as "evil', try the blithe acceptance of the fact of the extermination of the indigenous peoples by the white invaders and the theft of their lands to make the good ol' USA. We accept the USA's ongoing wars of aggression upon civilians all over the world. By comparison a cluster of gory murders by criminal oddballs is just one of millions of violent crimes that go on every day, held in indifference by the general sensation-seeking public. Nevertheless, Helter Skelter was worth $4.95.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Alfred Lansing
    • Narrated By Simon Prebble
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1666)
    Performance
    (1047)
    Story
    (1050)

    In August of 1914, the British ship Endurance set sail for the South Atlantic. In October, 1915, still half a continent away from its intended base, the ship was trapped, then crushed in the ice. For five months, Sir Ernest Shackleton and his men, drifting on ice packs, were castaways in one of the most savage regions of the world.

    Thomas says: "The best book I've had"
    "Remarkable story marred by Prebble's histrionics"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing must be experienced; a living adventure conveyed through the author's words. This engrossing book is especially vivid due to the wealth of extraordinary factual details drawn from the survivors' own records of this horrific struggle for survival.
    The problem with the recording of this fine work is Simon Prebble. He was the wrong narrator, someone like George Guidall would have made this recorded version perfect. Prebble's voice has a supercilious quality, plus a sing-song cadence from over-emphasizing every few words as if they were italicized. A work of this length based on a truly "incredible" adventure does not need his hyped-up narration. The words, so masterfully set down by the author, do not need Prebble's familiar and generic histrionics, suited to pot-boilers like those by Dick Francis.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Che Guevara: A Revolutionary Life

    • UNABRIDGED (36 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Jon Lee Anderson
    • Narrated By Armando Durán
    Overall
    (374)
    Performance
    (169)
    Story
    (172)

    Che Guevara was a dashing rebel whose epic dream was to end poverty and injustice in Latin America and the developing world through armed revolution. Jon Lee Anderson traces Che's extraordinary life from his comfortable Argentine upbringing to the battlefields of the Cuban revolution, from the halls of power in Castro's government to his failed campaign in the Congo and his assassination in the Bolivian jungle.

    Matthew says: "Encompassing and Fair Look at an Historical Man"
    "Che lives!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    What human being has lived so thoroughly in his life, his mind and his posterity? This biography of Che Guevara is fascinating and inspiring. Che's sense of mission, his clarity of purpose, his strength and humanity are revealed in his words and actions. A real martyr to the cause of human rights, Che predicted the future {present} global struggle against the crushing war machine of US imperialism which would move to enslave the world. El Che vive!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Double Indemnity

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By James M. Cain
    • Narrated By James Naughton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (52)
    Performance
    (28)
    Story
    (28)

    Tautly narrated and excruciatingly suspenseful, Double Indemnity gives us an X-ray view of guilt, of duplicity, and of the kind of obsessive, loveless love that devastates everything it touches. First published in 1936, this novel reaffirmed James M. Cain as a virtuoso of the roman noir.

    Marv says: "a solid listen"
    "Cain, still the crime master!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Double Indemnity; when Cain is good, he is brilliant. Who else writes crime like this-sudden and gripping? Not word that doesn't drive the story forward with a you-are-thereness few writers can rival. Crime in Cain's novel is like an impulsive, illicit passion, when it's done, the partners separate in mutual disaffection. The intricate insurance scam and murder plot is masterful. Cain's style is odd yet apt and he can write dialogue with the real rhythm of speech and remarkably, Cain's language doesn't feel dated. I found that the terse, controlled tone of the narrator, James Naughton, exactly suited Walter Huff, telling us just how it was, his nightmare venture into crime.

    And Audible, bring us MORE of the fabulous James M. Cain!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Hook

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Donald E. Westlake
    • Narrated By William Dufris
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4)
    Performance
    (4)
    Story
    (4)

    Bryce Proctorr has a multimillion-dollar contract for his next novel, a trophy wife raking him over the coals of a protracted divorce, a bad case of writer's block, and an impending deadline. Wayne Prentice is a fading author in a world that no longer values his work. He's gone through two pseudonyms, watched his book sales shrivel, and is contemplating leaving the writing life. Proctorr has a proposition: If Prentice will hand over his unsold manuscript to publish under Proctorr's name, the two will split the book advance fifty-fifty. There's just one small rider to the deal....

    Nancy Wells says: "Horrible"
    "Westlake at his darkly humorous best"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The Hook vies with The Axe for first place on my list of Donald E. Westlake favorites.
    Along side the basic story of two men colluding in crime, The Hook gives an insider's (Westlake's) satyric view of the publishing world.

    Westlake is a master at understatement when he scripts two amateurs plotting murder. And what an easy-going, likeable hitman he creates!

    Great book! Great narrator!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Unnatural Death: A Lord Peter Wimsey Mystery, Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Dorothy L. Sayers
    • Narrated By Ian Carmichael
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (151)
    Performance
    (134)
    Story
    (133)

    The wealthy Agatha Dawson is dead and there are no apparent signs of foul play. Lord Peter Wimsey, however, senses that something is amiss and he refuses to let the case rest - even without any clues or leads. Suddenly, he is faced with another murder - Agatha's maid. Can super-sleuth Wimsey find the murderer and solve the case before he becomes the killer's next victim?

    Alicia says: "At last! Sayers read by Ian Charmichael"
    "At last! Sayers read by Ian Charmichael"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A Dorothy Sayers (unabridged) novel narrated by Ian Carmichael is a marriage made in heaven. Carmichael has narrated most of the Sayers Lord Peter novels and he is without rival for excellence in this genre. In this recording of Unnatural Death Sayers' complex and riveting story of clever deception and calculated murder is brought to its full dramatic heights by narrator Ian Carmichael.

    Audible, PLEASE bring us more Sayers read by Carmichael!

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Tales of the Supernatural: Volume 1

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By M. R. James
    • Narrated By Gareth David-Lloyd, Ian Fairbairn, Geoffrey Bayldon
    Overall
    (45)
    Performance
    (17)
    Story
    (17)

    M. R. James is one of the finest English language ghostwriters ever published. These short stories are not only classics of their genre, but are outstanding examples of beautifully paced, understated terror and sociological horror, reaching to the dark expanse of the unconscious mind.

    Adeliese says: "Narrations worthy of James's efforts"
    "Recorded in a glob of mucous? +Piano accompaniment"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I found these stories difficult to decipher. Did Gareth David-Lloyd have a severe head cold? I do not want musick plinckity-planking during a recorded reading; it is stupid at best. A dud;
    M.R.James deserves better.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Memory

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Donald E. Westlake
    • Narrated By Stephen R. Thorne
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (18)
    Performance
    (7)
    Story
    (8)

    Hospitalized after a liaison with another man's wife ends in violence, Paul Cole has just one goal: to rebuild his shattered life. But with his memory damaged, the police hounding him, and no way to even get home, Paul's facing steep odds - and a bleak fate if he fails. This final, never-before-published novel by three-time Edgar Award winner Donald E. Westlake is a noir masterpiece, a dark and painful portrait of a man's struggle against merciless forces that threaten to strip him of his very identity.

    jycarter says: "A very poor and disappointing book"
    "The accident of existence"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Memory is a departure from the usual story-based novel, not only for Westlake, but for most writers. The central character, Paul Cole, has the kind of internalized perceptions found in the protagonists of Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment or Camus' The Stranger. Their world is defined by a logic which conflicts with the expectations of others. Cole is driven, not by circumstances, but by their refusal to fit together in a way that will allow him to re-establish his forgotten way of life.
    This is a very interesting and ambitious mode of story-telling, because Westlake lets the reader see ahead of his hapless protagonist and sense the outcome of Paul Cole's groping attempts at regaining his memory. The theme of the book stands as a kind of metaphor for the accidental nature of life. Events appear to be cyclical, but they are spiral, the circles never quite overlap.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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