I bought this book quite a while ago but was moved to listen by a great customer review. Colin Firth, one of my favorite actors is truly an outstanding reader. He made this book a real listening experience. I can't say enough about his excellent expression and ability to bring the narrator's character and his emotions to life. This is a difficult book, it is full of strong emotions and demanding questions and it could easily be misread. I was drawn into the book immediately and captured entirely by the narration. This is a terrific example of a good book enhanced even further by a great reading. The themes of love and hate, death and faith are so weighty yet so well served by such a thoughtful performance.
First of all, I have several Great Courses for which I paid full price from the Teaching Company - I love the courses and get a lot of pleasure out of listening to them. The value of being able to get Great Courses for one Audible Credit per course is ALONE worth an annual Audible subscription.
Second, I think Robert Greenberg's Music Courses are terrific and really one of the best uses of the audio book format for university level lectures. You not only hear the discussion of the music but hear music samples as well which makes it far superior to books about music history which can't provide samples of the music discussed. Greenberg's choices of music to illustrate the points he make are always excellent and really make listening to these lectures an enormous pleasure. Like others have said elsewhere, he can be quite corny -if that bothers you this is not the professor you will want to hear. I find his energy and enthusiasm makes the course more interesting and his attempts at humor are rather endearing (it may be that people from New Jersey find corniness less offensive). I appreciate his attempts to liven things up even if some of the jokes are rather silly.
Third, although I am not particularly knowledgeable about music the more I get to know opera the more I realize how very much I love Mozart's operas. It is true that Greenberg spends a lot of time on Cosi Fan Tutte as another listener noted. I didn't expect this to be exhaustive but rather Greenberg's own view of the most interesting aspects of Mozart's operas since it is still an introductory level course. For someone as prolific as Mozart it didn't surprise me that the professor made a selection based on his views. However, if you are expecting it to be exhaustive you will not be satisfied. Greenberg is very informative but selective, and with me that's OK.
Lastly, some negative comments have been made on the lack of librettos included with the course - those librettos are not part of the more expensive versions of the course either. You have to get librettos on your own - there are no entire operas included in the course, only excerpts so I don't know why anyone would think a libretto would be needed to follow the lectures. Some of the complaints made by listeners are very picky considering the comparative value of getting these courses so cheaply on Audible.
Very highly recommended.
I haven't actually finished this book but I decided to write a review because I am enjoying it so much. I look often to see how many people have left reviews for books while I am reading them because I like to know if others have had the same experience.
In this case there don't seem to be many Audible readers so far, and I don't find the Amazon reviews very satisfying since the quality of the narrator is such an important part of the experience for me.
From the minute I read about this book's publication I have wanted to read it. I loved reading 'Middlemarch' many years ago and recently listened to the Juliet Stevenson audible version (highly recommended). For many years the book had intimidated me when I was young - I was afraid I would not be able to get through its density. I was quire surprised one day to pick it up and fall right in. Yet it took me thirty years to return to it. Having heard so recently the wonderful Juliet Stevenson narration It seemed perfect timing to experience someone else's experience of the book.
I find this sort of literary reflection both interesting and rewarding because I really like to know how others experience books I have loved. I would like so much to discuss these sorts of topics with serious readers and I hope that others will read this book and take the time to reflect on their impressions. As I am listening to Mead's book I feel like I am enclosed in a comfortable armchair, encompassed in my reading the way I was as a child, even though I am in reality sitting on an uncomfortable New Jersey Transit banquette. It's like being able to talk to a good friend about the things you really care about.
One criticism I have of the performance is that I am fond of Kate Reading's fiction narration, but I find it less satisfying for a non-fiction book. She has a storytelling musicality that lilts at the end of sentences but that just doesn't seem the appropriate rhythm for non-fiction. That said she is an excellent reader who makes the text easy to understand, just not perfect for this particular book.
I have recently developed a passion for opera that has found me attending an opera I know little about beforehand. A colleague in London got tickets for Don Giovanni and I decided my first visit to Covent Garden demanded a little investment in preparation ahead of time. This series from Naxos is just perfect to get you ready to attend an opera with a little bit of historical and musical context to make the experience richer.
The recording is only about 1 hour and 20 minutes long. The narrator is good, he provides not only background for the specific opera in question but also for other operas by the same composer. Clips of the music are part of the 'explanation' - one of the nicest feature of audiobooks vs. reading a regular text.
So, you get a summary of the story, some musical interludes and some historical and musical context - helpful to allow you to focus more attention on the music and the staging once you get to the opera.
For those who enjoy the history of the film this is a very rewarding book about the changes in our culture as they were reflected in five films of the late sixties, a period of extreme social and cultural turmoil. Although there are many complaints about some of the narrator's pronunciation, I didn't find those problems insurmountable to my enjoyment.
This is a great book of essays with very personal themes and much discussion of the author's relationships with family and friends. I had high expectations when this book of essays was recently published and I was not disappointed. The author's narration personalizes the entire book. I felt like she was speaking directly to me. This was further accentuated by the personal nature of the topics, strengthening the rapport between reader and author.
I would imagine these essays would interest even those readers unfamiliar with her novels, but for readers who are already fans these essays are particularly relevant since she discusses her craft and her working habits as well as her shift from the short story to the novel. For example, in one essay she talks about reading her manuscripts entirely out loud to a colleague before they are published. That will not surprise listeners to this audiobook since it is clear that her skills have been honed by much practice - she is a wonderful narrator.
I have been a fan of Ann Patchett for many years, and greatly appreciated the title essay of this collection when it was offered to Audible subscribers a few years ago. I also had experienced her narrating skills in her non-fiction book about her friendship with Lucy Grealy, TRUTH AND BEAUTY. I usually don't appreciate author-narrators but when they have such great skills they can really add to the personal essay read aloud - another example of this talent is Jonathan Franzen.
This book was a treat from beginning to end - everything about this collection was delightful and made me want more. I highly recommend it to essay fans, Patchett fans and those interested in the craft of writing.
I really love a well-written mystery and this one had all of the ingredients, suspense, good characterization and an excellent plot along with believable dialogue. I don't want to discuss in detail the one aspect of the book I found less than satisfying because I don't want to spoil it for potential readers. It was not critical to my enjoyment, but it is the one thing that kept me from giving the recording a higher rating. The narration was also excellent, I always appreciate Steven Crossley's talents.
I look forward to reading other Tana French mysteries. Although I am a 'temperamental' mystery reader - sometimes I'm in the mood to read one and sometimes I am not - I am always appreciative of having a new author to whose work I can look forward when I am in the mood.
We originally purchased this audiobook on cassette tape when it was first published and my now grownup daughter was a child. We have gone through multiple copies and given it as a gift to all of the children in the family. Most recently my husband and I listened to it together on a car trip and laughed out loud and then were moved to tears (…okay, I was moved to tears, but he did laugh out loud during the funny parts). Not only is this a wonderful story, the narration is among the very best I have heard. Obviously Cherry Jones is a very renowned actress, but many actresses lack the talent to give a book the transcendent quality that she has given this story. I can't believe anyone could listen to it and not be drawn in to listen till it ends. The reading is so moving, and the story is both realistic and yet hopeful. One of our very favorite books and a truly exceptional narration.
I love Margaret Atwood's later books, but this one seemed unsatisfying, not quite feminist yet not quite traditional, somewhere trembling in between a declaration of independence and complete confusion. I like the narrator - she didn't do a bad job, she was understandable but the performance did nothing to enhance my understanding of the book either. I felt the narration of the main character was a fairly aggressive reading, contrasted with other voices for less important characters that clashed with ideas I had of each of those characters as well. The only way I would recommend this audio would be for a passionate Margaret Atwood fan who most absolutely read everything available.
I love Jhumpa Lahiri's short fiction and think her collections, UNACCUSTOMED EARTH and INTERPRETER OF MALADIES are among the most enjoyable books I've read in recent years. I really looked forward to the publication of this book but was disappointed. I don't think she is as masterful in the novel as she is in the short story. I felt much of this book struggled to extend itself into a novel when it would have been better as a novella. I didn't find the characterization believable or convincing, and I felt the story dragged on long after I felt it should have been over.
Still, I read most of the book with gusto and eagerly went back to the story each time I had a chance - but having purchased the kindle version I was just as happy to read the book in kindle form as to listen - I didn't look forward to the narration as much as I usually do. It certainly didn't add to the book, and may even have detracted from it. The narrator reads clearly, but doesn't really bring anything engaging to the audio.
I recently read a review of this book which criticized it as deriving from 'The Great Men' theory of history as opposed to a more social historical analysis of the longer term trends that drove the results of this election. Baloney!
This is a reporter's book of what happened behind the scenes of the presidential campaign that many political junkies and others who follow politics closely love knowing about. It is NOT an historical analysis of the election results and in no way attempts to be one.
I enjoyed it tremendously and the narrator was great.
I also read GAME CHANGE and loved that - perhaps even more because there was more suspense to that election.
This is highly recommended for those looking to understand what went into some of the decisions made by the campaigns rather than a social explanation of the outcome. The only reason I rated it four stars instead of five is that I enjoyed GAME CHANGE even more.
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