As a fan of the "Downton Abbey" series, I picked this selection on a complete, total lark. I expected it to be lightweight, fun, and not much more than a marketing exploitation based on the new fame of the series. Instead I found a completely interesting story of lives, society and a time, enveloped and transformed not only by the tragedy of WWI, but also by the discovery of King Tut's tomb. Not only well done and interesting, but the narrator, Wanda McCaddon. is fabulous and completely appropriate to the story. Really enjoyed this.
I picked up this audiobook because the narrator, Juliet Stevenson, is one of my favorites. The topic was of interest - a couple buys a home/vineyard/winery in Southwest France. This is not written in the Peter Mayle mode and not an escapist yarn -- the author is brutally honest as to her struggles, lack of preparedness in many of the situations she faced, relationship difficulties, and cultural differences. It was pleasant and at times, very poignant. I would say that - as a memoir of sorts - this is written in the vein of telling a story, superficially. The author goes from 'vendage' (harvest) to the next year's vendage in the matter of 2 pages. She rips out a parcel of her vineyard, after commenting early in the book that it would take 4 years for her to realize production from the new vines, and voila (a terms she loves), 2 pages later she wins a 'Coupe de couer' from Guide Michelin for her wine from the new vines! So in a sense, it was as if she was rushing to finish the book. I did enjoy the story, I did love the narration, and I did go back to relisten to it inorder for the entire context of the story to make sense - it is easy to get confused in the storyline because author Atkinson has a tendency to skim over large swaths of time in a matter of sentences. Despite this, I did find it to be well written, enjoyable, and it ended before I wanted it to.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. That said, if you are not interested in a) wine, b) economic development in third world countries or c) Argentinian subjects and history, this book would not be for you. While there were times when the author jumps around in the narrative in a manner that makes the storyline more difficult to follow (my one criticism of the actual written book), overall I enjoyed the topic and would listen again, despite my main criticism of the audiobook - the inadequacy and inexpertness of the narrator as to this specific subject matter, and lack of attention to finer points of audiobook production.
Likely in an effort to 'save money' -- the narrator's primary qualification was some knowledge of Americanized spanish, and an ability to use inflection to add interest. Certainly her voice was pleasant. It was a) chronic mangling/mispronunciation of terms used in wine lexicon, b) when she 'messed up' she would simply reread the passage, and no one bothered to edit this out, and c) even more basic, an inability to correctly pronouce 'Chile.' It is correctly pronounced "Cheelay" not 'Chilly.' Grating. I cannot see how the author would be happy with the handling/production of his book in such an inexpert manner, unless he had no say in the matter, which is unfortunate.
My perspective is such because I expect an audiobook to 'take me there' - take me on the journey, take me to the land in question, tell me the story in a way that educates me as the author intends! Nice voice, simply poor execution, and one should hold production accountable.
I was not in any hurry to read/listen to this book given its difficult subject. What a mistake. Nabokov is pure genius, and while the subject matter remains despicable to me, his treatment of it through the vehicle of this story is haunting yet beautifully rendered. I plan to go back to reread using a heavily annotated written version as prepared by Alfred Appel, but must say that the audio piece performed by Irons perfectly captures and interprets the intended cadence and emotion it seems Nabokov intended.
If you are not familiar with Virginia Woolf or her most famous work 'Mrs Dalloway' this piece may be confusing. If you are familiar with the outline of Virginia Woolf's life and writings, specifically her masterwork "Dalloway" - you will find this book interesting, enjoyable - a puzzle. Many of the reviews were negative regarding the author - Cunningham - reading the piece, as he is not a professional audiobook reader. I thought this would be off-putting initially - he has distinct New York accent to me, but in truth, his reading lent emphasis in an important way. To me, his reading matched the style of this particular book, in a way that made the presentation more harmonious.I did not think I would like it, but found I did like it very much.
I am not familiar with the works of PD James. I tuned into PBS' 'Mastepiece Mysteries' for the first portion of 'Death Comes to Pemberley' and was intrigued enough to get the audio book to listen to the entire story before watching the conclusion. Regarding the audiobook, the narration was sensational.It was fun to listen to. The plot was somewhat implausible and the story wraps up rather neatly - conveniently - in the end, but in the process I find one is looking for the different clues towards an actual plot twist that I would not have conceived. But Jane A didn't write this, PD James wrote this. And it's good enough. Inventive update on a classic. It's not the classic. Yet, I enjoyed it.
Lyrical, funny, poignant. I'd been opposed to reading this - a man attacking windmills, c'mon. And instead I've found myself going back to listen over passages, laughing out loud over many passages, honestly. it's been unexpected. Other readers have commented that this translation is in the old english, and this seems appropos to me. It is a remarkable work of genius.I am very particular on readers - I believe that really makes a story come alive, or deep-sixes it. Whitfield has a good enough range, and some of his characterizations remind me of Monty Python. Just makes me laugh out loud. For me, it works, and it's kept me wanting to come back to this as a story.
Initially I'd rented this as an mp3 through Overdrive and my local library system. Since it is 36 hours in length ... well I needed to renew it which meant having to re-download the 32 parts. I found that at the dinner table at night I would comment "Have I mentioned how much I love the book 'Don Quixote?" -- and have found it a work I want to go back to periodically in the future. So I downloaded it from Audible -- for me it's made sense to have this particular translation / rendition in my audio library.
Not if I can help it.
There was so much hype that this was a popular, widely acclaimed course offered through Stanford Continuing Ed. There is way too much fluff in this book, it takes too long to get to the point, the stories and analogies used are - too often - dumbed down.
Wrong person for this topic. He sounds way too effeminate for me. I would have preferred the author to narrate this, she probably brings a much stronger emphasis and perspective.
There were some suggested exercises - around breathing and meditation - that are useful, applicable.
I am halfway through this book. It's just gotten worse. It is tautologic, and I can't believe this is the basis for a weekly course that people thought was so wonderful. Perhaps the narrator's performance gets in the way of understanding the energy and emphasis of the author, but I am losing patience with it. I am sure this is helpful to some people, but not for me. Dull, slow paced, tautologic.
My husband definitely would. He loved it. It's pure escapism and at the same time, it is a (mostly) true story. I found it far-fetched and a little bit contrived, but it is (mostly) a true story, and the narration just detracted from the overall experience.
To me, it was Ray Walker's return to Northern California after having spent months in Burgundy - and his comments on how life in France and French culture is different - what's important, the focus on freshness of meats and produce, how 'terroir' weaves into the fabric of french life in ways that just don't happen in the US.
The narrator did not add to the story at all - left a lot to be desired, and at times seemed snarky to me. He kept mispronouncing words like 'Beaune' (he pronounced it as 'Boone' as opposed to the correct pronunciation, phonetically 'Bone') a fairly important city in Burgundy. Initially I thought this oversight (there were others) was part of the charm of the story (San Fran native moves family to Burgundy to make wine, knows no french much less how to make wine), but this wasn't the case. How could one love Burgundy and then consistently mispronounce that great city's name or the Côte d'Or? Cringeworthy, but obviously I got over it.
One of the lessons of this story, I believe, is the underlying 'make it happen against all odds' David v. Goliath message. Walker understood his passion, never knew quite were it would take him, yet persevered through the stress, naysayers and uncertainty to arrive at a place in his life he never could have imagined. And he tells you at the end, it is worth imagining, believing and pursuing doggedly -- making happen what one may only dream about.
Absolutely! A great Dickens Christmas story, really well done.
Dale was Dickensian-perfect in his characters - his performance added to the enjoyment of the story for me.
It was hard for me to get beyond the grating quality of the narrator's voice and his characterizations which I just did not care for. The stories were odd. I don't typically have issues with 19th century or early 20th century writing, but this edition was painful to try to keep an open mind about. I purchased this audiobook as it was highly rated; in truth, not in high enough numbers to give it an objective review? I could not recommend this.
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