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Doggy Bird

doggybird

Glen Ridge, NJ USA | Member Since 2001

ratings
130
REVIEWS
91
FOLLOWING
7
FOLLOWERS
65
HELPFUL VOTES
452

  • Pack of Two: The Intricate Bond Between People and Dogs

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Caroline Knapp
    • Narrated By Hilary Swank
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (65)
    Performance
    (57)
    Story
    (57)

    In Pack of Two, the author of the acclaimed best seller Drinking: A Love Story tackles a different sort of relationship. Two-time Academy Award-winning actress Hilary Swank (Boys Don’t Cry, Million Dollar Baby) guides us into the life of Caroline Knapp who, after losing both parents to cancer and breaking off a two-decade long relationship with alcohol in the span of one year, struggles - and succeeds - to redefine her world. The unlikely solution to Knapp’s task was found in the form of a dog named Lucille.

    Doggy Bird says: "Great narration, moving memoir"
    "Great narration, moving memoir"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The subtitle is very accurate, it's the story of the bond between a woman and her dog and her investigation into that bond more generally because she is so surprised by the dog's impact on her own life.

    Very much a book for people who love dogs and have experienced this bond, I don't think someone who isn't a dog lover would find this as interesting as it is for those of us who have found ourselves gobsmacked in adulthood by the relationships in which we have unexpectedly developed with dogs.

    The narration by Hilary Swank is excellent, although she does mis-pronounce a word or two that sort of interrupted the flow of the text for me but only because the reading was so good only that mispronunciation made it clear it was not the author reading the book. Otherwise her reading was so sincere I felt the whole time like the author was talking directly to me about the intensity of her connection to her dog.

    Caroline Knapp is an excellent writer and her prose distinguishes this book from the plethora of dog books published each year. Sadly, I believe she died soon after this book was published.

    Highly recommended for dog lovers and people interested in the bonds people develop with animals.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Operas of Mozart

    • ORIGINAL (18 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Robert Greenberg
    Overall
    (11)
    Performance
    (11)
    Story
    (10)

    When Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart died in 1791 at the age of just 35, he nonetheless left behind the defining composition in every available musical genre of his time: symphony, chamber music, masses, and above all - opera. Opera was the prestige genre of the era, and the thought of it, Mozart wrote, made him, "beside myself at once." It was a form he loved dearly, depending on it heavily for personal, professional, artistic, and financial reasons of the greatest weight.

    Doggy Bird says: "One of the best values on Audible!"
    "One of the best values on Audible!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • My Life in Middlemarch

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Rebecca Mead
    • Narrated By Kate Reading
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (16)
    Performance
    (13)
    Story
    (13)

    A New Yorker writer revisits the seminal book of her youth - Middlemarch - and fashions a singular, involving story of how a passionate attachment to a great work of literature can shape our lives and help us to read our own histories. Rebecca Mead was a young woman in an English coastal town when she first read George Eliot's Middlemarch,regarded by many as the greatest English novel. After gaining admission to Oxford and moving to the United States to become a journalist, through several love affairs, then marriage, and family, Mead read and reread Middlemarch.

    Doggy Bird says: "A Reader's Pleasure!"
    "A Reader's Pleasure!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    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.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Don Giovanni: Opera Explained

    • ORIGINAL (1 hr and 19 mins)
    • By Thomson Smillie
    • Narrated By David Timson
    Overall
    (3)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (2)

    Don Giovanni has long been regarded as Mozart’s supreme theatrical achievement. The subject seems unpromising - the last day in the life of the notorious womanizer Don Juan - but the skill of the librettist allied to the genius of Mozart at the very peak of his powers has created a work which is not only highly entertaining but reflects an incredible understanding of the human condition.

    Doggy Bird says: "Very short introductions to specific operas!"
    "Very short introductions to specific operas!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    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.

    Highly recommended!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Pictures at a Revolution: Five Movies and the Birth of the New Hollywood

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Mark Harris
    • Narrated By Lloyd James
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (190)
    Performance
    (66)
    Story
    (68)

    Here is the epic human drama behind the making of the five movies nominated for Best Picture in 1967 - Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, The Graduate, In the Heat of the Night, Doctor Dolittle, and Bonnie and Clyde - and through them, the larger story of the cultural revolution that transformed Hollywood and America forever.

    Sharon says: "A good listen - A valuable book"
    "Really Enjoyable Cultural History"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Ann Patchett
    • Narrated By Ann Patchett
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (94)
    Performance
    (86)
    Story
    (87)

    Blending literature and memoir, Ann Patchett, author of State of Wonder and Bel Canto examines her deepest commitments: to writing, family, friends, dogs, books, and her husband in This is the Story of a Happy Marriage. Together, these essays, previously published in The Atlantic, Harper, Vogue, and The Washington Post, form a resonant portrait of a life lived with loyalty and with love.

    Bonny says: "Entertaining, engrossing, and elucidative essays"
    "Great Reading, Great Writer!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • In the Woods

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Tana French
    • Narrated By Steven Crossley
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4335)
    Performance
    (2408)
    Story
    (2408)

    As dusk approaches a small Dublin suburb in the summer of 1984, mothers begin to call their children home. But on this warm evening, three children do not return from the dark and silent woods. When the police arrive, they find only one of the children, unable to recall a single detail of the previous hours.

    Twenty years later, the found boy, Rob Ryan, is a detective on the Dublin Murder Squad and keeps his past a secret. But when a 12-year-old girl is found murdered in the same woods, he and Detective Cassie Maddox find themselves investigating a case chillingly similar to the previous unsolved mystery.

    Barbara says: "A near-flawless audiobook (but for one thing...)"
    "Enjoyable mystery, well written and suspenseful"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Because of Winn-Dixie

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Kate DiCamillo
    • Narrated By Cherry Jones
    Overall
    (166)
    Performance
    (65)
    Story
    (68)

    When 10-year-old India Opal Buloni moves to Naomi, Florida, with her preacher father, she doesn't know what to expect. She is lonely at first, that is until she meets Winn-Dixie, a stray dog who helps her make some unusual friends. Because of Winn-Dixie, Opal begins to let go of some of her sadness and finds she has a whole lot to be thankful for.

    Amazon Customer says: "Heart Warming Book"
    "Family Favorite"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Edible Woman

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Margaret Atwood
    • Narrated By Lorelei King
    Overall
    (124)
    Performance
    (51)
    Story
    (53)

    Marian is truly ordinary, just waiting to get married. She likes her work, her broody flatmate, and her sober fiancé Peter. All goes well at first, but Marian has reckoned without an inner self that wants something more, an inner self that calmly sabotages her careful plans and stable routine: and her digestion. Marriage a la mode, Marian discovers, is something she literally can't stomach.

    connie says: "Better with age"
    "Dissapointed, not much to hang onto"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Lowland

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By Jhumpa Lahiri
    • Narrated By Sunil Malhotra
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (381)
    Performance
    (330)
    Story
    (333)

    Born just 15 months apart, Subhash and Udayan Mitra are inseparable brothers, one often mistaken for the other in the Calcutta neighborhood where they grow up. But they are also opposites, with gravely different futures ahead. It is the 1960s, and Udayan - charismatic and impulsive - finds himself drawn to the Naxalite movement, a rebellion waged to eradicate inequity and poverty; he will give everything, risk all, for what he believes. Subhash, the dutiful son, does not share his brother’s political passion; he leaves home to pursue a life of scientific research in a quiet, coastal corner of America.

    Simeen says: "My least favorite of all her work."
    "Still a better short story writer than novelist"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Double Down: Game Change 2012

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Mark Halperin, John Heilemann
    • Narrated By Robert Fass
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (356)
    Performance
    (320)
    Story
    (324)

    Drawing on hundreds of interviews with the people who lived the story, Heilemann and Halperin deliver another reportorial tour de force that reads like a fast-paced novel. Character driven and dialogue rich, replete with extravagantly detailed scenes, Double Down offers a panoramic account of a campaign at once intensely hard fought and lastingly consequential. For Obama, the victory he achieved meant even more to him than the one he had pulled off four years earlier.

    Tony says: "Game Change 2.0"
    "Very enjoyable 'back story' to the 2012 election"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    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.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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