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Listening to this was quite a revelation. My mother had often referred to someone who had not been properly brought up but just "grew like Topsy." She also knew something of Simon Legree. Both characters are in the book, as well as sayings like "It's a free country!" I can only imagine families reading this book aloud in the evening. It is not an easy read. I gave it five stars because between the author and the narrator it is absolutely superb. It is quite entertaining with great turns of plot and violence and ghosts and even love stories. Modern people may find it sappy. Other modern people may find something like their old-time religion in it. I gave it an immediate second listen at a time of serious depression and was much comforted. The book came out in 1852 and helped prepare the whole population for the end of slavery. With school children continuing to read the classic, it would have leavened thinking in ensuing years. In passing, I enjoyed noticing quaint turns of phrase no longer in use. I have a paper copy of the book and plan to share the Topsy chapter with my ESL learner, a Russian lady. Thanks, audible, for another good listen!
I got this book in hopes it would help me deal with my subsidized senior housing manager when it's time for recertification. I can't afford to live anywhere else. Most people who rent can manage to get along with their landlord. I certainly have over 50 years at 17 addresses. This is very different. This woman says "might-could" and "would've went" and thinks every car has a Cadillac converter! She knows nothing of right and wrong -- only who she likes, who she doesn't like, and what she can get away with! A sappy faith-based organization hired her and now provides no guidance at all. They have ignored my certified letters. The annual crunching of numbers to determine next year's rent will take place mid-November. And continue into the New Year! Torture by paperwork! I am educated and a military veteran. I have an ideal regarding respect and even-handed treatment of everyone. In the military we are Sergeant Jones and Major Smith. Everyone has a job adding up to defense of our country. Last year I finally got a sizable settlement from a VA case. I had to disclose it to the manager during recertification. She had no idea how to handle it. I suggested she present the question to her superiors. I insisted I did not want it treated as gambling winnings because the VA had garnished my government checks by mistake. The money had always been mine. She turned to her assistant and commented, "This one gets a little money and she gets all excited!" . . . I still have nice things, though a low income. The manager goes into people's units when they are out. She gave away the television set in our front room to a favorite. I have received three written "lease violations," the most recent for using profanity! This was on the word of one of her favorites, pure hearsay. I do get extremely frustrated at times, and I am convinced the F-word has its good uses.
As I listen to this smart-aleck, fast-talking narrator make it all sound like a piece of cake, I am getting a headache and while the listen has shown me how "un-safe" my manager feels, I don't know how to tell her I am not judging her bad English. I married a man who used sub-standard English when he was weary -- but he was honest and had a heart of gold! That is the difference! I have discovered this woman in blatant lies; she enjoys creating upset and uncertainty. She gets off on creating stress, tightening rules, fixing new requirements. She calls residents in to sign a many-paged new lease without telling us what changes have been made! I have vowed handle that differently next time.
The book gives examples of behavior and dishonesty that I think are exaggerated. If I cut someone off in traffic, it's a coordination problem -- not that I'm a jerk! And I would be sorry, not rationalizing like crazy. The people in some of the examples are really bad.
I think these ideas will help me deal with a pissy woman in the knitting group. I feel sure it would help anyone holding a job, in a marriage or close relationship, or a homeowner with problem neighbors. Then again, this manager uses the cameras she has placed everywhere to micro-manage the maintenance man. I've no idea what he would do. No, I'm glad if the book helps all those brittle yuppies having their conferences. [I did flash on a lawyer I tried to work for who mumbled and scribbled, such that nobody really knew what he wanted, and evidently nobody had the guts to tell him just that.] I'll probably listen to the rest. For now, I'm bailing and will go back to old-fashioned techniques like meditation and exercise to cope.
I am a Rumer Godden fan, and this book did not disappoint! The general plot is classic: a misfit kid that nobody really understands or wants, do-gooders, "social services," prejudice and preconceived notions of the good life and how kids should be brought up. The little girl is a gypsy in England many years ago. Gypsies continue to challenge people all over the world! In Spain they beg pitifully, whining on the subway stairs, holding a sedated half-grown "baby" in their lap. I have heard of kidnapping and medical imprisonment of an adult in Northern California where the alleged gypsy perps have obscure foreign names, light skin and impressive credentials. Pretty scarey! In this story, it would be easy to judge the "nice" people who try to take charge of the child without contaminating their own lives. I enjoyed learning some of the different attitudes of the gypsies -- cleanliness rules akin to keeping kosher! This would be great family listening, maybe on a road trip. There's a little girl whose precious grandmother has died, rough and disgusting relatives who steal the treasures and burn the grandma's caravan, a rich and handsome Englishman, a dear old horse named Joe, way too many new clothes, nice people at the school, and one brave young woman who actually has an extra bedroom and agrees to give the child a home. And a delicious slowly-emerging romance that will take care of everything for this little girl. In the listen, we learn that men can indeed cook and clean very well -- and not to pour gasoline on a fire. Also that brown people aren't dirty -- a loving God made them that way and it won't wash off! -- and differences are just that, differences, not better or worse. But Rumer Godden doesn't preach; she didn't say all that; I did. Rumer Godden wrote a very nice book. Enjoy!
This book written by a master and read by a master narrator is to be savored a bite at a time like a box of chocolates -- or gobbled whole overnight! I didn't gobble it whole; however I stayed with the last several hours and was left in a real funk! The story is about a sweet old lady who is only in her early 70's but is dying of cancer. Her care-giver in a pricey nursing home thinks the old lady is interesting. A real love and care grows between them. There are plot details that would be missed by listeners who "gobble"! The medical details are minimal. Both women have been married and had a lover on the side. Their stories are inter-twined with no confusion between the two. The listener cares about both -- with Genevieve's (the care-giver) story progressing in real time and Stella's (the old lady) told in flashbacks and on cassette after she is gone. This is a true horror story! Ruth Rendell is clever and subtle and quite delicious!
Juliet Stevenson is superb narrating Jane Austen. In this story she gets to holler and talk like some unkempt hausfrau in a dirty housecoat. She's an actress! I appreciate the silences after some shocking fact is revealed and between sections. At first Genny sounds like real disadvantaged trash. As the story progresses, we learn that she looks up words and studies classical music and art (to impress the cultured lover) and as she reaches to improve her knowledge, her voice softens. She takes on some of the fastidious "great lady" qualities of her patient, Stella, even as we learn that Stella was considered and treated as "a little nothing" in her own prime!
I feel like I know these people. Right away I sent for a reading copy of the book to go to my elderly English friend, Anne, living in Alabama. (She gobbles!) This is a book to set aside as a real treat on a long weekend or New Year's Eve when you don't have a date. Enjoy!
Some people had a hard time with this author jumping back and forth in time, linking up all the people. I did at first, thinking, Oh, gosh, now who is this? And what color are these people? And what relationship? There are long scenes in which you simply follow one character. When I found myself not paying enough attention, I just backed up or moved to a different activity for awhile. I have only listened once -- with several back-ups! I want to get the print book. I found Edward P. Jones through the recent marketing trick in which authors told about their own favorite authors. I sifted and took notes, and came out with paydirt like this! I am pursuing African-American authors for new personal reasons. I called the suicide hotline one night recently and a man answered. I told him, "I'm going through something absolutely outrageous and it reminds me of what black people have put up with for a long time and while I'm white, if you're black, I think you can really help me!" A man's soft voice answered, "I am black." I wanted to know how black people cope, how they get up in the morning and feel hopeful. How they deal in their own interior lives with hoo-rah and nonsense coming from unworthy people who nonetheless are in positions of power, people jerking us around in our immediate personal lives, little Nazis. The conversation we had was extremely helpful, freeing me to do the most healing and beneficial thing for myself because "we could come back in ten years and maybe nothing would have changed!" This seems to me at first like giving up. Then I realized I was going into tailspins trying to write letters and getting involved in situations not my own immediate business. Emotional energy is limited.So let's save it for the poetry, music, color.
Actually, this book inspires me to do some writing, myself. Mr. Jones has a wonderful writing style, telling what a character was thinking about, who did what, who said what, but not many adjectives or even adverbs. When shocking things happen, they simply happen. This makes them more shocking. I have not read Hemingway in a while, but Mr. Jones is spare like Hemingway. And yet he pulls together a rich and colorful "known world". I see patterns of intense jealousy when some people show tremendous talent as well as good work ethic. Still happening! Strong women and weak women. Hierarchies based on energy, intelligence, inspiration -- and color. Men and women praying for all they are worth. The woman weeping as she milks the wonderful cow. The bride who is given a slave girl for a wedding gift and never actually frees her, despite saying she is against slavery! The good white man who had blackouts and might have lived longer except for a bad tooth. The ordinary house with a stairs that didn't creak and the woman living there who always had a tablecloth -- that came from intelligence, industry and refinement. I relished the way a few people got away to fresh vistas and to un-dreamed-of joy and fulfillment.
I've sent for this author's two short story collections in print because I don't do so well listening to stories and I have a huge wish list anyway. I do hope this author is percolating another good book!
I found Kevin Free a perfect narrator for this book and many others -- I have him neck and neck with Humphrey Bower, another favorite. He can do Irish and white gentlemen and low-life truly evil good ol'boys and sweet black people and uninspired black people. The reading is seamless. You forget he's reading. Great clarity, no mispronunciations. I had to google his name . . . oooh, dimples too! Thank Heaven we live in a time when talent and industry can be recognized, enjoyed and rewarded.
Yeah, I give 5 stars to fiction writers, too. I'm a doctor's daughter. In the 1940's Dad, an osteopath, survived terminal TB to begin his practice in Bakersfield, CA of dustbowl fame. He told his overweight patients to eat God's food. Our milk man brought certified raw milk to the front door. And I grew up (and later OUT) on Oroweat Honey Wheat Berry bread! Meanwhile, I was learning to follow recipes, first sifting the flour and leveling it in the measuring cup with a knife and to win blue ribbons at the county fair! Betty Crocker! And tonight I felt Dad was listening with me, telling me to pay attention because for sure the big boys have really done it now! However, Dr. Davis does point out that wheat was originally modified for greater yield, in hopes of feeding a hungry world. Greed has certainly taken over -- greed and stupidity and not really caring about people. I love this book! Thank you, Dr. Davis!
Tom Weiner reads very well. I have no scientific background. I had to just sit and listen, almost holding my breath to take it all in, almost as though it were in a foreign language. And yet, Mr. Weiner makes the following as easy as possible. The book is also well written. I loved the story about the President of the Soupbone Club. My dad would comment, "Oh, he's a walk-off!" [It seems God was making people one afternoon and left some sitting on the fence to dry and their heads off a little way. When He came back next day, they had walked off. Without their heads.] I am already following Dr. D'Adamo's Blood Type Diet plan and as I work with wildlife and love animals, I am vegan or at least vegetarian. While listening, I realized I would have to turn on my oven and look around for recipes, ask questions at my health food store and try a lot harder to cook well for myself. Dr. Davis is loving. He says more than once that people are genuinely trying to follow food guidelines, but . . . and I for one don't FEEL like exercising! My love handles ache. I live in HUD housing and the Powers that Be bring us charity junk food. Well, I just put aside a lot of it to take back to the "free" table for someone who really needs it. . . . When I think of the decades of "good" breakfasts I had, getting up so early and not wanting to go to those jobs, slightly sickened by the wheat? Maybe so. Dr. Davis mentions several specific ailments I have already suffered. . . . I don't have precious little kids to feed, but I do have long-lived parents and grandparents, baby birds to go feed, good things yet to do. Thank you, Dr. Davis, for giving me hope. And for the PDF with great recipes. As the girl said, "Because I'm worth it!"
I've had this book for awhile and have already suffered with that Angliotta person trying to read Jane Austen. She rushes and swallows the last part of every important word. The neighbor's 7-year-old would do a better job.; Anyone at all would do a better job. I'm bailing for now and look forward to hearing Davina Porter do the work justice.
The author, a white man who served in Vietnam, was the perfect person to read these wonderful stories. He pronounces everything properly and moves along in a comfortable way. I had recently listened to a novel about a stolen painting -- 32 hours of the main character being drunk or stoned. When the next day it won the Pullitzer Prize, I was ready to scream in the street! This book, however, is so deserving! This writing is so rich. Most of the stories are told from the viewpoint of a Vietnamese person,man or woman, elderly or younger, usually a Vietnamese who came to the U.S. -- usually Lake Charles, Louisiana -- to settle. Not all the stories are about war at all. Some are about family life, co-workers, romance, trying to fit the old teachings and ideals into the new American framework.
I thought I already knew too much about Vietnam. I have a half-Vietnamese step-daughter who un-friended me on FaceBook, who got into serious drugs, whose daughter photographed her pregnant belly in the bathroom to show all of FaceBook, etc. etc. As the third wife, I listened to sickening stories of cutting down our tortured soldiers in the jungle, the naughty little lizard who uses the F-word. I've been screamed at by a Vietnamese-American boss one-third my age. . . . Americans tend to assume that brown people who don't understand English probably don't have much to say anyway. Butler shows how wrong this is as he paints the most subtle thoughts of his sweet and interesting characters.
These stories call for more than one listen -- and not more than two stories at a sitting! They're pungent! And sometimes funny. Among my favorites was the sleepy girl at the restaurant and Mr. Cohen. I also loved the ending of the one about bringing grandpa home from the airport, how the family prepared a feast and was so excited to have this dear old man come to live with them after many years of separation. How could the husband offer some kind of healing to his wife? Listen and see! These stories are a treasure. Thank you, Mr. Butler!
Audible sort of, um, lost my first review. I know they got it because on Day 2 when I checked, they said it was being looked at. That was over a week ago. Now, the best they can do is tell me to rewrite it! Mary Sarah Whatzername is still a terrible reader who is still in a hurry and doesn't know how to pronounce paroxysm and a number of other good English words! I agree with the other reviewer who suggested this narrator had to "use the facilities" and they wouldn't let her out of the recording booth until she finished the book! It's two hours shorter than the other version I just finished listening to.
So here you are, audible! I will give dear Anne Bronte's masterpiece a good review under the other version. In listening to that version with male and female narrators including Ms. Agutter, a number of new truths came out that I completely missed in Ms. Agliotta's breathy, hurried rendition. Every word is beautiful!
This was $1.95 absolutely wasted!
This is a serious book, well-narrated and a not difficult listen for regular lay-persons of any religious preference. The author is quite neutral, matter-of fact, though with a Protestant born-again background. You could sit there with your King James on your lap, scribbling furious notes. Or you could just keep knitting and listen twice as I did. I don't like the title at all. It suggests a flippancy or jokester element that is not in the book. We are all misquoting Jesus simply because the original texts are lost and nobody had a tape recorder running when Jesus was teaching. His first listeners and everyone since have done the best they could. Really.
The author is a fine scholar who built on his youthful passion for Bible study and went so far as to learn the original languages and immerse himself in the absorbing study of ancient documents, second-guessing the old scribes, reasoning through all the whys and wherefores. What this book does is impress the lay-person with how much he doesn't know, can't know, and has to trust the scholars about. Mr. Ehrman gives fascinating specific examples of the kinds of mistakes that were made over centuries of copying -- some accidental, some deliberate tweaking in a time before printing presses or copy machines. There was no respect for copyright. If material was being dictated, a word that sounded similar might be substituted inadvertantly.
I majored in English, so studied Chaucer and Shakespeare. I understood that the King James Bible was not telling me to go in my clothes CLOSET to pray among the boots and tennis shoes, although that could be a good place. I also came through a rigorous Sunday School and Bible study regimen as a kid. One college required four units of religion for graduation. That expanded my understanding. A visit to the un-Holy Land helped as well. This author does not speak down to anyone. He manages to include all of us as his friends and fellow students. I stayed interested. I can only imagine how difficult it would be to decide where to stop in taking up this study. Does an eager young person learn Latin, Greek and Hebrew and start studying old documents -- or does she learn enough to appreciate the more thorny passages, the major puzzles, and then proceed to ministerial life? This is the stuff of entire lifetimes! I have to think of the people who want to learn the computer, starting with bits and bytes and ones and zeros. They don't understand that they can learn to click a mouse and be gaming on FaceBook by suppertime! At any rate, this is a book I think the whole family would enjoy together, although I would never ever insist any child sit and listen! The old folks could play it on a road trip and the kids pick up a bit by osmosis. Even a teen would best find this subject gently for himself. The author gives a history of this study of Biblical texts so that we can investigate further to our heart's content. Huge subject! Absorbing listen!
I wish I had gotten around to this classic many years ago. At this stage of my life, I am finding love and joy and good works everywhere I look. I am way, way too far along to need reminding that we all die soon anyway, or to contemplate what happens to dead bodies or any more dismal nonsense.
Yes, it's a classic and Wikipedia has a wonderful long article about this fine person.
I want to recognize Duncan Steen's wonderful, smooth reading of this work. He sounds a bit like my old teacher, Stuart Wilde, another Brit. He reads with understanding so that the listener is better able to understand also. He varies his pace and tone so that the listener is refreshed. I never had the feeling that he was just droning on. I will definitely follow this narrator.
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