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Alain

professor. like great and VERY good books, fiction and history, mainly

santa Fe, NM, United States | Member Since 2005

ratings
284
REVIEWS
23
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
1
HELPFUL VOTES
118

  • The Bonfire of the Vanities

    • UNABRIDGED (27 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Tom Wolfe
    • Narrated By Joe Barrett
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (878)
    Performance
    (447)
    Story
    (453)

    Tom Wolfe's best-selling modern classic tells the story of Sherman McCoy, an elite Wall Street bond trader who has it all: wealth, power, prestige, a Park Avenue apartment, a beautiful wife, and an even more beautiful mistress - until one wrong turn sends Sherman spiraling downward into a humiliating fall from grace. A car accident in the Bronx involving Sherman, his girlfriend, and two young lower-class black men sets a match to the incendiary racial and social tensions of 1980s New York City.

    JOHN says: "TEN STARS"
    "The Reader !"
    Overall

    This is one book -- and a fine one, indeed -- where the reader makes listening perhaps even richer and more enjoyable than reading. There are a myriad of voices, accents, personalities, and he renders them with brilliant sensitivity. A stunning listen!

    33 of 34 people found this review helpful
  • Capital: The Eruption of Delhi

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Rana Dasgupta
    • Narrated By Dana Hickox
    Overall
    (3)
    Performance
    (3)
    Story
    (3)

    In Capital, Commonwealth Prize-winning author Rana Dasgupta examines one of the great trends of our time: The expansion of the global elite. Capital is an intimate portrait of the city of Delhi, which bears witness to the extraordinary transmogrification of India's capital. But it also offers a glimpse of what capitalism will become in the coming, post-Western world. The story of Delhi is a parable for where we are all headed.

    Alain says: "RUINED BY READER"
    "RUINED BY READER"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    A different reader, one who can pronounce Indian words. More importantly, one who can read with intelligence and has read the book before he starts reading. Each sentence he "recites" ends with an iamb or a trochee. Many voices speak in this fascinating book, but the reader differentiates none, young or old, male or female.... A mess.


    What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

    The book is fascinating. Those who know Delhi, particularly those who were fortunate enough to visit it before the turn of the millennium, and then later, will find it compelling -- accurate and distressing.


    How could the performance have been better?

    See above.


    Do you think Capital needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    Sure, one of these years. It takes the history of the great Capital City up to today.


    Any additional comments?

    I am returning this book, and buying a hard copy where I can at least tell who is speaking, and understand the meaning of the narrative.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Nixonland: The Rise of a President and the Fracturing of America

    • UNABRIDGED (36 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Rick Perlstein
    • Narrated By Stephen R. Thorne
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (349)
    Performance
    (161)
    Story
    (168)

    From one of America's most talented historians and winner of a LA Times Book Prize comes a brilliant new account of Richard Nixon that reveals the riveting backstory to the red state/blue state resentments that divide our nation today. Told with urgency and sharp political insight, Nixonland recaptures America's turbulent 1960s and early 1970s and reveals how Richard Nixon rose from the political grave to seize and hold the presidency.

    Paula says: "Wholeheartedly agreeing with Jerrold"
    "poor reader"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    This is a fascinating book! Didn't want to stop listening. The author is intelligent, lucid, a brilliant and entertaining historian. Too bad the narrator just doesn't get it. All is delivered in a monotonous, semi-ironic, rather manic style. Worst of all, he mispronounces big words as if he had never heard them, and names, etc. etc. "Thruston" for Thurston, "Huston" for "Houston," "Tune in, turn in, drop out" for Leary's famous "Tune in, turn ON, drop out," and on and on.

    This is not to recommend NOT to get the book -- the history, the personality of Nixon and others, is compelling. But it really ought to have a reader who at least proof reads himself, and understands the material a little better.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Stephen R. Thorne’s performances?

    nope


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

    It's much too long to do that.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Time Regained: Remembrance of Things Past, Volume 7

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Marcel Proust
    • Narrated By Neville Jason
    Overall
    (26)
    Performance
    (25)
    Story
    (25)

    Lost in the blacked-out streets of Paris during the First World War, Marcel stumbles into a brothel and accidentally witnesses a shocking scene involving the Baron de Charlus. Later, at a reception given by the Prince de Guermates, his meditations on the passage of time lead to his determination to embark on his life's work at last.

    Darwin8u says: "Full of emotional/intellectual/experiential joules"
    "THE SUBLIME PROUST!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    yes! So few have read more of "In Search of Lost Time" than "Swan's Way." The full Journey is sublime, and essential for a true appreciation of Proust.


    What did you like best about this story?

    EVERYTHING


    What about Neville Jason’s performance did you like?

    THIS IS ONE OF THE FINEST PERFORMANCES I EVER HAVE HEARD.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    Tag line rather unnecessary!


    Any additional comments?

    GRATITUDE TOWARDS THE AUTHOR AND THE READER.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The Orphan Master's Son: A Novel of North Korea

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Adam Johnson
    • Narrated By Tim Kang, Josiah D. Lee, James Kyson Lee, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1080)
    Performance
    (935)
    Story
    (943)

    Pak Jun Do is the haunted son of a lost mother - a singer “stolen” to Pyongyang - and an influential father who runs Long Tomorrows, a work camp for orphans. There the boy is given his first taste of power, picking which orphans eat first and which will be lent out for manual labor. Recognized for his loyalty and keen instincts, Jun Do comes to the attention of superiors in the state, rises in the ranks, and starts on a road from which there will be no return.

    Lisa says: "The most compelling listen I've ever owned"
    "DISAPPOINTING"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you like best about The Orphan Master's Son? What did you like least?

    I GOT THIS BECAUSE IT WON THE PULITZER. I WONDER WHY... IT BEGINS BEAUTIFULLY, BUT THEN INDULGES INTERMINABLY IN THE "MAGICAL REALISM" OF HORRENDOUS TORTURE TECHNIQUES. THE PORTRAYAL OF N. KOREA GETS STALE, AS DO THE CHARACTERS. COULDN'T WAIT TO GET TO THE END.


    Would you be willing to try another book from Adam Johnson? Why or why not?

    NO. TOO SELF-INDULGENT.


    Did the narrators do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

    OK. THE CHARACTERS WERE FLAT, AND SO WERE THEIR VOICES.


    Did The Orphan Master's Son inspire you to do anything?

    DON'T LET PRIZES SEDUCE ME.


    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Marie Antoinette: The Journey

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Antonia Fraser
    • Narrated By Donada Peters
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (186)
    Performance
    (54)
    Story
    (56)

    France's iconic queen, Marie Antoinette, wrongly accused of uttering the infamous "Let them eat cake", was alternately revered and reviled during her lifetime. For centuries since, she has been the object of debate, speculation, and the fascination so often accorded illustrious figures in history. Married in mere girlhood, this essentially lighthearted child was thrust onto the royal stage and commanded by circumstance to play a significant role in European history.

    Karen says: "Very Detailed"
    "UTTERLY CAPTIVATING"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Where does Marie Antoinette rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    I HAE LISTENED TO SO MANY... BUT THIS IS AMONG THE TOP.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    THE PROTAGONIST


    What about Donada Peters’s performance did you like?

    SHE IS CURRENTLY MY FAVORITE READER -- SUCH INTELLIGENCE AND SENSITIVITY IN HER VOICE -- AND SHE CAPTURES THE IRONY AND HUMOR, AS WELL.


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

    NO, I'D RATHER SAVOR IT.


    Any additional comments?

    LISTEN TO IT!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Justine: The Alexandria Quartet

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Lawrence Durrell
    • Narrated By Jack Klaff
    Overall
    (15)
    Performance
    (7)
    Story
    (7)

    Set amid the corrupt glamour and multiplying intrigues of Alexandria, Egypt, in the 1930s and 1940s, the novels of Durrell's Alexandria Quartet (of which this is the first) follow the shifting alliances - sexual, cultural and political - of a group of quite varied characters. In Justine, an English schoolmaster and struggling writer falls in love with a beautiful and mysterious Jewish woman who is married to a wealthy Egyptian.

    Alain says: "Ruined..."
    "Ruined..."
    Overall

    ...by the reader. The Alexandria Quartet is a fascinating series of novels, and could have been a delightful listen. But the reader is simply atrocious -- affects such mannered voices for all characters that he spoils the prose. For instance, the voice of beautiful, young Justine sounds like an eighty-year-old woman who has smoked all her life. It would be wonderful if Audible would get these books by another reader.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Wolf Hall

    • UNABRIDGED (24 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Hilary Mantel
    • Narrated By Simon Slater
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1902)
    Performance
    (1178)
    Story
    (1184)

    In the ruthless arena of King Henry VIII's court, only one man dares to gamble his life to win the king's favor and ascend to the heights of political powerEngland in the 1520s is a heartbeat from disaster. If the king dies without a male heir, the country could be destroyed by civil war. Henry VIII wants to annul his marriage of twenty years, and marry Anne Boleyn.

    S. Marie says: "A unique perspective of history"
    "Wonderful!"
    Overall

    I couldn't stop listening to this book. Cromwell is one of the most finely drawn 'historical" characters I have ever experienced. The whole fascinating world of Henry VIII, Thomas Moore, etc. comes alive and is amazingly fresh. Mantel is an accomplished writer. The reader is up to the task.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Parisians: An Adventure History of Paris

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Graham Robb
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (162)
    Performance
    (54)
    Story
    (55)

    This is the Paris you never knew. From the Revolution to the present, Graham Robb has distilled a series of astonishing true narratives, all stranger than fiction. A young artillery lieutenant, strolling through the Palais-Royal, observes disapprovingly the courtesans plying their trade. A particular woman catches his eye; nature takes its course. Later that night, Napoleon Bonaparte writes a meticulous account of his first sexual encounter....

    Myrna Minkoff says: "Difficult....but worth it"
    "What a journey!"
    Overall

    Robb brings the City of Light to life in a unique and fascinating way, through the lives of people who have lived there. Napoleon, Mme. Zola, Hitler, and others unknown but remarkable. It makes one want to take the book to Paris and trace the stories. Wonderful, and beautifully read.

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • A World Lit Only by Fire: The Medieval Mind and the Renaissance: Portrait of an Age

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 36 mins)
    • By William Manchester
    • Narrated By Barrett Whitener
    Overall
    (282)
    Performance
    (107)
    Story
    (109)

    From tales of chivalrous knights to the barbarity of trial by ordeal, no era has been a greater source of awe, horror, and wonder than the Middle Ages. In handsomely crafted prose and with the grace and authority of his extraordinary gift for narrative history, William Manchester leads us from a civilization tottering on the brink of collapse to the grandeur of its rebirth, the Renaissance.

    Wallen says: "Ruined by the narrator"
    "Weak for Mancheste"
    Overall

    But what makes me give this interesting book only three stars is the reader. He might be OK at popular novels, but he has no refinement (lie-berry for library, etc.), mangles French words and names... What a poor choice! He's American, too, which is not appropriate.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Palace of Illusions

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
    • Narrated By Sneha Mathan
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (149)
    Performance
    (49)
    Story
    (49)

    The novel traces the princess Panchaali's life, beginning with her birth in fire and following her spirited balancing act as a woman with five husbands who have been cheated out of their father's kingdom. Panchaali is swept into their quest to reclaim their birthright, remaining at their side through years of exile and a terrible civil war involving all the important kings of India.

    Richard says: "timeless story"
    "Needs prior knowledge"
    Overall

    A fun, albeit shallow, often silly, recounting of the Mahabharata. But you need to know the story to grasp it at all.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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