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.
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.
I am not a big fan of ghost stories but I do like wonderful narration. This was a book that I probably would not have finished in bound form, but found quite entertaining (if a bit overwrought) in audio form.
The two narrators, Jill Tanner for the older Vida Winter, and Biaca Amato for the younger Margaret were WONDERFUL and I would listen to either one of them again in a heartbeat.
The story itself was initially engaging but felt 'overengineered' by the middle of the book. I was kept going by the power of the audio version which was so well done. I can't emphasize enough how much skilled narrators can do to support a mediocre book. There wasn't much substance to the tale by the end, other than the importance of siblings but I very much enjoyed the reading.
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