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Naomi

BRONX, NY, United States | Member Since 2009

30
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 11 reviews
  • 12 ratings
  • 77 titles in library
  • 6 purchased in 2014
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FOLLOWERS
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  • Doctor Thorne

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Anthony Trollope
    • Narrated By Timothy West
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (196)
    Performance
    (99)
    Story
    (97)

    Frank Gresham, son of the impoverished squire of Greshambury, has fallen in love with penniless Mary Thorne. Despite the promptings of his family to consider a Miss Dunstable, heiress to a fortune, Frank's affections persist, and the humane Doctor Thorne, as Mary's protector, must confront the prejudices of the mid-Victorian society.

    Joseph R says: "An Adult Cinderella Story"
    "Greshamsbury comes alive"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The end of this story is predictable from the beginning of this book, but getting there is so much fun. Trollope's slightly jaundiced eye is turned on the small-town aristocracy in this volume of the Barsetshire novels, and just as he dissected the ins and outs of clerical politics in Barsetshire Towers, he dissects the expectations and pretensions of the landed gentry in this volume. Frank, the hero, struggles to maintain his integrity without compromising his responsibility to his family, and Mary struggles to be true to Frank without locking him into a commitment that will destroy his social standing. Dr Thorne, Mary's uncle and guardian, must step cautiously through an obstacle course of conflicting responsibilities. And there are the wonderful supporting cast--Miss Dunstable (my favorite), Louis Scatchard, Lady Arabella Gresham, Mr Moffitt, and the rest.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • North and South

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Elizabeth Gaskell
    • Narrated By Juliet Stevenson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (799)
    Performance
    (582)
    Story
    (584)

    Set in the context of Victorian social and medical debate, this novel is about rebellion, posing fundamental questions about the nature of social authority and obedience. This revised edition draws on recent theoretical work on gender and class.

    Sally says: "Delightful"
    "A 19th Century Romance with a Social Conscience"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This novel was recommended to me as a withdrawal treatment for MIddlemarch. While it is not as great as that masterpiece (not much is), it brings alive several rich, real worlds -- London society, the southern village of Helston, and the northern industrial town of Milton. Margaret Hale, an intelligent, compassionate, and highly principled young woman, returns from the society world of London to live with her parents in the beautiful village of Helston . Almost immediately, her father, a minister who has lost his faith, is transferred to Milton, where he makes his living as a tutor . In Milton, Margaret meets the working-class HIggins family and the wealthy factory owner, John Thornton, who is one of her father's students. Thornton is in his own way as principled as Margaret. Through her acquaintance with the Higgins and with the Thornton families, Margaret learns that her compassion must be balanced with realism,

    All of the characters in this novel are fully believable with understandable motivations and complex emotions. Margaret is particularly well-defined and one comes to admire her compassion, courage, and resourcefulness and to feel for her tragic losses. John Thornton grows as a human being. The plot takes a number of twists and turns which hold the reader's interest.

    The one weakness is the end, which comes abruptly and which I see as a little inconsistent with Thornton's character.

    Juliet Stevenson's reading is rich and resonant. Her characterization of John Thornton with his northern accent is particularly fine.

    1 of 1 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
    (85)
    Performance
    (60)
    Story
    (58)

    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"
    "One of the greatest novels in the English language"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about Middlemarch?

    Dorothea Brooke is both an original character and as familiar as my own heart. She is a well-educated, upper-class young woman who wants to build a life that is meaningful on her own terms and not by the conventions of society, but she is held back by society's limited view of a woman's role in the world. What else did I love -- the many other complex characters who came alive and who worked out their lives in their own ways -- with or without success.


    What other book might you compare Middlemarch to and why?

    In bringing a whole society to life and creating characters as vibrant as real people -- Barchester Towers by Trollope, Vanity Fair by Thackeray, any number of novels by Dickens (Great Expectations, Little Dorrit,Our Mutual Friend,Bleak House).


    What about Maureen O'Brien’s performance did you like?

    She gave each character their own voice, without making anyone a caricature.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Too long! and too complex. It needed to be savored and enjoyed.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Winter of the World: The Century Trilogy, Book 2

    • ABRIDGED (12 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Ken Follett
    • Narrated By John Lee
    Overall
    (49)
    Performance
    (39)
    Story
    (37)

    Ken Follett follows up his number one New York Times best seller Fall of Giants with a brilliant, pause-resisting epic about the heroism and honor of World War II, and the dawn of the atomic age. Winter of the World picks up right where the first book left off, as its five interrelated families - American, German, Russian, English, Welsh - enter a time of enormous social, political, and economic turmoil, beginning with the rise of the Third Reich, through the Spanish Civil War and World War II.

    Naomi says: "History told by a master storyteller"
    "History told by a master storyteller"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    If you could sum up Winter of the World in three words, what would they be?

    EpicWell-researched clear


    What did you like best about this story?

    Ken Follett tells his 5 family stories with confidence and clarity. The reader always knows and cares who and where the characters are and can identify them and follow them. At the same time there is enough detail to be interesting and informative. We learn many things we're not taught much about -- how US radio intelligence decoded Japanese military strategies in the Pacific, how the Russians betrayed the Loyalists in the Spanish Civil War, the brutality of the Soviet occupiers after the defeat of Germany.


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

    John Lee reads beautifully. I love his Welsh lilt. the only thing that bothers me is that he pronounced "fraulein" "frowline."


    Who was the most memorable character of Winter of the World and why?

    This is the problem -- the characters are all pretty wooden. I think probably Chuck Dewar, the gay in navy intelligence was the most interesting.


    Any additional comments?

    A painless and worthwhile way to learn a lot about the history of WWII.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Great Expectations

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Charles Dickens
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (302)
    Performance
    (165)
    Story
    (168)

    As Pip unravels the truth behind his own "great expectations" in his quest to become a gentleman, the mysteries of the past and the convolutions of fate through a series of thrilling adventures serve to steer him toward maturity and his most important discovery of all - the truth about himself.

    Ed says: "This Dickens guy has promise"
    "May be the greatest novel in the English language"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is probably Dickens's greatest work -- devoid of the cloying sentimentality that gums up so many of his other novels. The many characters are individuated and the multiple plots, so skillfully intertwined, keep you listening until they resolve. There is not a false note in this book.

    The story begins with the terrifying encounter between Pip, a frightened orphan boy, and Magwich, a desperate escaped convict. Without Pip realizing it, Magwich becomes the mechanism, by which Pip may be able to realize his dreams of escaping his lowly marshland village and becoming a gentleman. As we watch Pip mature, we see his relationship with Magwich develop and our sympathies toward Magwich change as do those of Pip,

    The novel can be seen as a meditation on love -- something that Dickens was less than successful at in his real life. In the end we see that those who love, even though they may be deeply hurt, are far luckier than those who cannot, like the beautiful Estella, the bitter Miss Havisham, and the secretive lawyer, Jaggers.

    As ever, Simon Vance brings this novel and its many characters to life. I wanted to find out what happened to the characters in this book, but I was sorry to have completed it. Listening to it was such a great source of pleasure.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Matterhorn: A Novel of the Vietnam War

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Karl Marlantes
    • Narrated By Bronson Pinchot
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4285)
    Performance
    (2446)
    Story
    (2447)

    Why we think it’s a great listen: A performance so poignant, we gave Bronson Pinchot (yes, Balki from Perfect Strangers) our inaugural Narrator of the Year award.... In the monsoon season of 1968-69 at a fire support base called Matterhorn, located in the remote mountains of Vietnam, a young and ambitious Marine lieutenant wants to command a company to further his civilian political ambitions. But two people stand in his way.

    Zachary says: "Matterhorn"
    "The Vietnam War as real as yesterday"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This novel of the Vietnam War follows the marines of Bravo Company through a single monsoon season as they hump through the jungle to establish a landing zone that is never used and fight their way up to retake positions that they were commanded to abandon. The company forms a tribe who are fiercely loyal to one another. They fight more for the honor of the company than for the top brass, whose military objectives change and whose orders are motivated more by ambition and ego than by any overall strategy.

    Marlantes's characters jump off the page and into your consciousness. Each brings with him a piece of his background -- Cortell's deeply felt Christianity, Cassidy's redneck bigotry, Goodwin's hunting instincts, Mellas's Princeton-trained analytical skills. Bronson Pichot's reading helps individualize the characters, from the Georgia cracker twang of Cassidy to Hawke's Boston accent, to the reserved iinflections of the urban blacks like Jackson and China. Most amazingly -- Marlantes is able to put us inside the mind of the marines when they are facing death -- their own or the prospect of killing the North Vietnamese soldiers, whom they hate but have come to respect as disciplined fighters.

    This novel accurately captures the late 1960's, a period that is too often caricatured and oversimplified. Unlike the army, in which the enlisted men were largely draftees, the Marine Corps was made up of volunteers who wanted to become part of a disciplined fighting force. Men like Hawke and Mellas have faced the disapproval of friends who oppose the war and of girlfriends who left them for someone who stayed in the States and protested the war. The Blacks, like Cortell, Jackson, and China, are torn between the bonds of race and the shared experience with bigotry and their loyalty to the corps. The war-of-attrition strategy that made "body count," into a nightly news staple, is demystified.

    Much of the book is told from the point of view of 2nd Lieutenant Mellas, the Princeton grad who hopes to go on to law school and use his USMC experience in politics, His reflections on life, and death and the meaning of each are worthy of Camus, but they don't slow down the action of the book.

    Just one suggestion -- it helps to download the pdf files of command structure and maps when you're starting out. Once you're into the books, the characters will live for you as individuals, and you will be so caught up in the action that the maps won't matter much.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Year of Magical Thinking

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Joan Didion
    • Narrated By Barbara Caruso
    Overall
    (1304)
    Performance
    (433)
    Story
    (436)

    "Life changes fast....You sit down to dinner and life as you know it ends." These were among the first words Joan Didion wrote in January 2004. Her daughter was lying unconscious in an intensive care unit, a victim of pneumonia and septic shock. Her husband, John Gregory Dunne, was dead. The night before New Year's Eve, while they were sitting down to dinner, he suffered a massive and fatal coronary. The two had lived and worked side by side for nearly 40 years.

    Darwin8u says: "Sharp, sometimes funny, but always clear & precise"
    "Do you really care?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Joan Didion and her husband, the writer Gregory Dunne, returned from the hospital where their adopted daughter, Quintana Roo was in a coma. Dunne suffered a fatal heart attack. Didion reviews what happened in excruciating detail and wonders if there is something that she could have done differently, noticed earlier, to save her husband's life. Didion's prose is, as usual, crystalline, but the self-absorption in her own pain and that of her family wore me out.

    She's written another one about her daughter's death, but I think I can skip it.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Zeitoun

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Dave Eggers
    • Narrated By Firdous Bamji
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (775)
    Performance
    (366)
    Story
    (371)

    When HurricaneKatrina struck New Orleans, Abdulrahman Zeitoun - a prosperous Syrian-American and father of four - chose to stay through the storm to protect his house and contracting business. In the eerie days after the storm, he traveled the flooded streets in a secondhand canoe, passing on supplies and rescuing those he could. A week later, on September 6, 2005, Zeitoun abruptly disappeared.

    Darwin8u says: "Something bold, ebullient, yet quiet"
    "A postapocalyptic tale that is all too real"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The is a true story of a man named Abdulrahman Zeitoun and his experiences when he stayed in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Eggers wants to outrage us, and he succeeds by telling it straight, piling detail upon detail, and treating his protagonists--Zeitoun, his wife Kathy, their friends and family, and the people they encountered during this period--with respect and caring.

    The story is simple. Zeitoun, a Syrian Muslim who has immigrated to the US, settled in New Orleans, and built a successful and well-respected contracting business, chooses to stay in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina floods the city to watch over his property and do what he can to help other residents. His wife, Kathy, chooses to flee the city with their 4 children, but the 2 are able to keep in touch regularly until he suddenly disappears. The circumstances of his disappearance, the efforts of Kathy and Zeitoun's farflung but loving Syrian relatives to find out what happened to him, and the ultimate resolution are described in simple, unpretentious, but elegant prose -- and yes -- things like this are not supposed to happen in the USA.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Framley Parsonage

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Anthony Trollope
    • Narrated By Timothy West
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (137)
    Performance
    (81)
    Story
    (77)

    In the fourth of the Barsetshire Chronicles, the values of a Victorian gentleman, the young clergyman Mark Robarts, are put to the test. Through a combination of naivety and social ambition, Robarts is compromised and brought to the brink of ruin. Trollope tells his story with great compassion, offsetting the drama with his customary humour. Like all the Barsetshire novels, it is an extraordinarily evocative picture of everyday life in 19th-century England.

    Joseph R says: ""Is the Game Worth the Gamble?""
    "Not the best of the Barchesters, but still good"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Residents at Framley Parsonage include the Parson, Mark Robarts, a young man on his way up; his loyal and sensible wife Fanny; and his younger sister Lucy who falls in love with Lord Ludovic Lufton, the local aristocracy. So, once again, we read of the difficulties posed when a high-born young man and a commoner fall in love. Once again, the marriage is opposed by the young man's mother. But Lady Lufton is a far more complex and sympathetic character than Lady Arabella Gresham of "Dr Thorne." She is indeed someone who wants to be in control, but she also acts out of love for her son and a very conventional sense of what is right in society. We watch as she thinks through the implications of her demands, changes her mind, forgives, and accepts. Trollope treats her with sensitivity and we watch and listen, as she develops and changes over time.

    Another interesting and complex character is Mr Sowerby, an old reprobate, who manipulates Mark Robarts into financial embarassment. Minor plots re-introduce some of our old acquaintances from other novels in the Barchester series: the Grantlys, Miss Dunstable (who marries the man of her dreams), and Mrs Proudie, who is, I'm sure, far more fun to read about than to have known in person.

    As in the previous installments of this series, Trollope shows himself to be a master of creating characters who come to life on the page (or in the ear), even if the plot is something of a rehash.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Barchester Towers

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Anthony Trollope
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (125)
    Performance
    (31)
    Story
    (32)

    This magnificent novel, sequel to The Warden and second in the Chronicles of Barsetshire, satirizes the struggle for ascendancy among the clergy of a cathedral city. The contest is between the outgoing church authorities led by Archdeacon Grantly and the newcomers led by Mrs. Proudie and her protégé, the ambitious Mr. Obadiah Slope. Each wishes to become the dominant voice in the quiet diocese of Barchester, and they contend for the newly vacant post of warden of Hiram's Hospital.

    Marv Klinger says: "Entertaining"
    "If you've run out of Jane Austen novels..."
    Overall

    If you enjoy dense, complex novels which illuminate an entire society and have a broad range of unique characters with recognizable foibles, I highly recommend this delightful sequel to The Warden. Bishop Grantly has died and is succeeded by the Rev Proudie who brings with him his domineering wife and his ambitious and manipulative chaplain, Mr Slope. Mr Slope aspires to marry the wealthy and attractive Widow Bold, nee Eleanor Harding. Will he succeed in his courtship, or will the spirited Eleanor favor the feckless Bertie Stanhope or the scholarly Mr Arabin? Will Eleanor's father, the self-effacing Reverend Harding be re-appointed as warden of the hospital, or will the position go to the aptly named Reverend Quiverful, struggling to support a family of 14? And what of the fascinating, beautiful, and scandalous Signora Neroni, (nee Madelyn Stanhope), sister of the worthless Bertie, whom all men seem to desire? Minor characters, like the eccentric Miss Thorne and the combative Archdeacon Grantly, are delineated for our delight. Siimon Vance makes each character and incident come alive in this reading. Pay an extended visit to Barchester. You will enjoy the company.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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