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Prsilla

Retired to mountains of California. Sell on eBay as Prsilla. No TV. Volunteer in wildlife rehab. Knit, sew or embroider while listening.

Member Since 2014

361
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 97 reviews
  • 133 ratings
  • 687 titles in library
  • 7 purchased in 2015
FOLLOWING
5
FOLLOWERS
39

  • The Count of Monte Cristo

    • UNABRIDGED (47 hrs)
    • By Alexandre Dumas
    • Narrated By John Lee
    Overall
    (4098)
    Performance
    (2390)
    Story
    (2445)

    Dashing young Edmond Dantès has everything: a fine reputation, an appointment as captain of a ship, and the heart of a beautiful woman. But his perfect life is shattered when three jealous friends conspire to destroy him. Falsely accused of a political crime, Dantès is locked away for life in the infamous Chateau d'If prison. But it is there that Dantès learns of a vast hidden treasure.

    Ramon says: "A true Time-machine"
    "Really-REALLY Classic!"
    Overall

    You major in literature and you get over 60 and find time to catch up on all the "classics" you should have read. Hey, some of them are a real crock! This is the story I've been waiting for. How I wish my French were good enough to read the original. No wonder the French have taken it to their hearts! Most of us would like to get revenge or prove something. Most of us think we would enjoy unlimited wealth. This story is about a bright and good-looking hero who has been betrayed terribly by his closest friends. He has every reason to want revenge. He comes into great wealth. He gets his revenge very slowly after a decade of preparation. The bad folks are caught mostly by their own evil, even when the hero gives them a chance to improve. This book is delicious! It is set in a period of French history but the same story can be told many ways. Everyone wants a good address, the prettiest girl, plenty of bling-bling. In the first listen you are trying to keep everyone straight. The hero's friends become nobility with fancy titles and you have to recognize all their names. The Wikipedia article on this helped me. In the first listen you're in suspense. In the second listen, you remember being in suspense and hear new details. It must be said that the narration is absolutely top drawer, so good that you don't notice it. I love the way this author describes the decor and clothing. And I love Dumas for not digressing to show off his knowledge of whales or understanding of what went wrong in a certain battle, or any sort of fancy talk to prove he's smart and in the know. He simply tells a wonderful story with many details and many twists and turns. The ending leaves one in a good space, able to imagine all the good characters sailing off into the sunset.

    69 of 70 people found this review helpful
  • Scientific Secrets for Self-Control

    • ORIGINAL (3 hrs and 1 min)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor C. Nathan DeWall
    Overall
    (329)
    Performance
    (282)
    Story
    (276)

    Join an expert in self-control research for six engaging and inspirational lessons that shatter the myths about willpower and replace them with verifiable science that can make the seemingly unattainable finally possible. Packed with eye-opening studies, experiments, and exercises to strengthen your self-control when dealing with money, fitness, personal relationships, and more, this course will have you wondering why you ever doubted yourself.

    DaemonZeiro says: "Don't skimp on this one"
    "Superbly Enlightening -- Thank You, Dr. DeWall!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Wow! I can't believe all the brats who found these lectures boring or unhelpful, etc. I thought the material followed along nicely, was most interesting and quite helpful. The narration is clear. This material helps me understand not only myself but also other people. I would have enjoyed some "fur instances" because that's how my own brain works. When I hear a general rule, my thoughts wander off to examples. Maybe I enjoyed this because I'm an old lady. I had bouncing good energy as a youngster, and I'm still fit and feisty. However, I am noticing levels of energy which fluctuate. After a bus accident in which I was slammed several feet, I hadn't the energy to dispute with a do-gooder woman who ferried me to the doctor, grocery and drug store. She had an agenda, which I realized but I hadn't the strength to protest. As I healed, my unique personhood began to emerge. I told her how grateful I was. Alas, the friendship didn't last. She said I was a "user."

    These lectures gave me priceless insight into something dramatic that happened recently. I was communicating by email with some people who care about wildlife. They are planning a gift for someone. I gave my ideas about the gift and was told that people had already donated toward the hefty pricetag and nothing could be changed. I commented that it looked like an ego trip on their part. Before it was over, I snapped and put together four very bad words, applying them to this lah-di-dah bear-lover person and her group. I was the only one of the group who actually moved to Tahoe to volunteer. The rest may be donating, but I depleted my nestegg to move, and I am the one who shovels the poop. Still, I refuse to dispute with other bear-lovers. Before it was over, I had bailed from the group, unfriended 9 people and 2 groups on FaceBook. I know how kids feel when they're bullied on FB. Empty and sick at heart, with few options. . . . I had been wondering why I snapped the way I did. I hated being belittled for being low-income because I'm educated; I have a good background: Sunday school, good grades, college, military, and work all my life. One of the people sided with the drama queen, comforting her to just "consider the source." The source? Yeah, me. So what happened? What happened was that all this happened late at night and I live in subsidized housing with a complete Nazi for a manager. Just living here with cameras up and down the halls, manager playing favorites, all manner of "nonsense and hoo-rah," is what happened. I am trying to preserve this precious energy and use it for creative work and doing my life, interacting with knitting and wildlife and church friends. I have detached as much as possible from the apartment community, receiving packages at a commercial facility and doing laundry up the street. When I have to go near Manager's office, I wear sunglasses and speak as little as possible. I may wave or pat a special friend on the shoulder. They know who they are. So this is how it happened. Those four bad words seemed to come out of nowhere. I have never before used them like that.

    So, it appears that I need to 1) eat breakfast, 2) get enough sleep, 3) carry good nibbles, especially protein, 4) close down in the evening and turn off the computer, don't make any big decisions and don't go online and buy anything! Also to challenge myself in the ways suggested, to strengthen self-control. The material about interactions with people of other races is wonderful and challenging. It will take more listens. Thank you, Dr. DeWall!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Mary Barton

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Elizabeth Gaskell
    • Narrated By Juliet Stevenson
    Overall
    (31)
    Performance
    (24)
    Story
    (25)

    Mary Barton is young, kind, and beautiful - perhaps dangerously so. John Barton, her hearty and intelligent but grievously uneducated father, who could never abide the gentlefolk, pours fierce love and courage into his family and work. One day, circumstance causes Mary to be faced with a terrible choice: either protect a member of her family or sit back and watch a terrible miscarriage of justice. Will she make the right decision in time?

    Elizabeth L Susskind says: "Another classic from Mrs. Gaskell"
    "GREAT FIRST NOVEL, GREAT NARRATOR, ENDS WELL, BUT"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Yes, it ends well but is terribly depressing in spots where other writers will shift gears, turn to some bright spot on the horizon. No, Gaskell just rubs salt in all the wounds of hard work, long hours, no food, no money, sick family members, worn old clothes hanging on long-faced hungry people. It helped me to realize this is my/our history! This is why so many emigrated! And how far we've all come with our labor unions, better laws, social work, more educational opportunities, apprenticeships. This book captures the horror of the ruined woman, the street walker, addicted to alcohol. It contrasts working class misery with opulence in the homes of the mill owners where there is plenty to eat and servants to keep everything clean, tend to large and attractive wardrobes. Mary Barton works as a seamstress. I am about to list a vintage ruffled silk shawl to sell online and deciding what price to ask. It is entirely hand-sewn with a French label. Modern women are struggling to learn to hand-roll a silk scarf -- or using their machines! I will not under-value this lovely thing!

    Of course Ms. Stevenson reads the book wonderfully, making good sense of the somewhat old-fashioned sentence structure. She got the accents, too. She sounds like my friend, Anne, who is from Yorkshire. Well, duh, of course, because this novel is set near there. I will gladly listen to anything she reads!

    This is a gutsy novel! Gaskell takes us to court and shows her characters suffering all their various anxieties that people still feel when they must appear in court in any role at all. A great city has villages; at least I know that Madrid, Spain and San Francisco do. The great trial has people venturing out of their little daily routines and traveling great distances, having to look good in an unaccustomed situation, having to speak up to their "betters!" I looked up this author. She must have known Jane Austen's work. George Eliot was a contemporary. Gaskell was a minister's daughter who married a minister. So she had books, newspapers and good talk around her. I look forward to more good listens. This author is well worth-while!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Good Manners for Nice People Who Sometimes Say F*ck

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Amy Alkon
    • Narrated By Carrington MacDuffie
    Overall
    (375)
    Performance
    (314)
    Story
    (312)

    We live in a world that's very different from the one in which Emily Post came of age. Many of us who are nice (but who also sometimes say "f*ck") are frequently at a loss for guidelines about how to be a good person who deals effectively with the onslaught of rudeness we all encounter. To lead us through this this miasma of modern manners, syndicated columnist Amy Alkon - The Advice Goddess - gives us a new set of manners for our 21st-century lives.

    G. House Sr. says: "Hilarious and a Direct Hit - Must Listen"
    "Bratty and Brassy -- A Dismal Excuse for a Book!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I really loved Jen Sincero's Smart Ass book read by her. I was uplifted by it so that I sent off for the print copy. That book helps me! This book is not read by the author but by someone else with a harsh tough brassy sound. This unhelpful book is written by a smartass and read by one. And I'm smart enough to know when to bail.

    The author is attractive and bright, but she uses her gifts to get off in a way. I did not want some kind of stand-up comedy; I wanted a modern etiquette book. Ms. Amy is simply trying to show the world what a happening chick she is! Someone past the half-century mark should aim higher. The book rambles, is inconsistent and is badly organized. I have some real questions about good manners, but I seriously doubt that I will find my answers by finishing this totally stupid book. And no, it is NOT a good listen! It's irritating! One minute she's pretending to be oh so kind and compassionate. The next, she's a total bitch and truly hateful.

    Enough about bleeping FB and texting and what started to be a good chapter on dating services. I would ask what to do in senior housing when the 78-year-old upstairs drops her free weights at 3 a.m. and HER next door neighbor suffers with the headboard banging on the wall, telling me, "He must be using Viagra -- they always do it four times a night!" And the clueless management hasn't the guts to tell the woman what will happen if she doesn't shape up. I would ask what about people who want to appear to do good things but don't want to take the training and actually show up to pick up the poop -- in this case wildlife rehab. What about a neighbor who stands in the flower bed to peek in your window thereby violating California Penal Code, so Management puts out a little memo saying it's not nice to peek in windows! What about bear lovers who set up a secret room on FB to discuss their exclusive crapola and leave a person out who should be in? What about magnificently educated and accomplished senior citizens who are discredited, discounted and refused because of their low income? How to dress for success out of K-Mart and thrift shops? Well, happening chick? Will it be navy blue and fake pearls -- or what!

    I'm outta here! Maybe my review will be more entertaining than this whole damned book!

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Timbuktu

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Paul Auster
    • Narrated By Joe Barrett
    Overall
    (306)
    Performance
    (248)
    Story
    (251)

    Mr. Bones, the canine hero of this astonishing book, is the sidekick and confidant of Willy G. Christmas, a brilliant and troubled homeless man from Brooklyn. As Willy's body slowly expires, he sets off with Mr. Bones for Baltimore in search of his high-school English teacher and a new home for his companion. Mr. Bones is our witness during their journey, and out of his thoughts, Paul Auster has spun one of the richest, most compelling tales in American fiction.

    Dubi says: "Should I Have Said Gehrig?"
    "Story is a Downer -- Not for Me!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    First of all, the dog is not clear about why his master was such a loser. The Poles I've met are clear-headed and hard-working. While the approach of the story is "interesting," that doesn't make it a good read! Sad beginning, sad ending, and way too many authoritarian figures who don't like dogs or pets or kids. Could've thrown in a Russian, a famous painting, a lot of drugs, more words -- and gotten the Pullitzer! Bah, humbug!

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Power is Within You

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By Louise L. Hay
    • Narrated By Louise L. Hay
    Overall
    (256)
    Performance
    (101)
    Story
    (101)

    Louise expands on her philosophy of "loving the self" and shows you how to overcome emotional barriers through learning to listen to your inner voice, loving the child within, letting your true feelings out, and much more!

    Surinam says: "Simple truth about self"
    "Precious Content, Wonderful Narrator -- Bad Music!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I love this woman and all her good work! She reads her own material very well. Her voice sounds young and musical. I was already planning to get the print book so I can underline, bend down pages, and see references to other works. This is a book to be eaten for breakfast with soymilk and raisins! I can't say enough about using this resource and all the suggestions if you want healing or just a happier life. Louise Hay seems like the gentle older sister of Jen Sincero (of Bad Ass fame). I love them both. Over and over they both say "Yes, you can!" "You deserve!" and "Just DO it!"

    My problem was with the last half hour or so when Louise reads the appendices, meditations on different themes, with the worst piano accompaniment imaginable! Oh, but wait! I play piano and have to say the music is okay. It flows. It's trying to be pretty. It's in tune. It was probably composed with great love. Just that it's excruciatingly harsh and loud and DETERMINED TO DROWN LOUISE OUT!!! Maybe the recording engineer was "on" something! I could not finish. Maddening. Torture. If I knew any secrets, I would have spilled them for sure!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • You are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By Jen Sincero
    • Narrated By Jen Sincero
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1450)
    Performance
    (1295)
    Story
    (1291)

    Bestselling author, speaker, and world-traveling success coach Jen Sincero cuts through the din of the self-help genre with her own verbal meat cleaver in You are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life. In this refreshingly blunt how-to guide, Sincero serves up twenty-seven bite-sized chapters full of hilariously inspiring stories, life-changing insights, easy exercises, and the occasional swear word.

    Amazon Customer says: "Good at times"
    "One Listen Changed My Life!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I've been trying for 50 years (as an adult) to get my life together. I've read all the books and when I could remotely afford to, I went to seminars and airy-fairy weekends. This youngster comes along and in just a couple of hours gives me back a condensed version of all this wisdom in a way that made me want to -- uh, do the rest of my life like I mean it and tell it like it is. I'm selling on eBay and after a power outtage my computer would not start. I called around and was called "Ma'am" in a way that meant disrespect and told I need a new computer. I finally found someone who said he would replace the starter button for $20, but he did not call back as promised and got upset when I called to check on his progress. Three days went by. I am churning with Jen's awesome input about quit telling your stories (my car broke down; my computer runs Windows XP; I was the family scapegoat; I'm low-income; I'm probably too old and too fat, etc.) and take charge! Decide! Get up and do it! Well, then she offers many ways to get up and do it! She offers all kinds of easy strategies to "get there" from here, break it down into doable chunks, if you're really up for the trip. I tried a little meditation, asked God what to do with my Friday, and called the computer guy to say I want it today, fixed or not. When I got there, he gave me hell and watched me carry the huge CPU out to my car. I drove to another storefront which purported to be woman-owned. This precious Minnie Driver look-alike admired my old computer, got busy and gave me a "veterans discount." The shop was busy. I was happy to wait, thinking without the inspiration of Jen's neat book, I'd have been a victim and never met this wonderful computer goddess! Turned out she's the single mom of a two-year-old. She jumped out of an airplane at Burning Man to marry her true-love in 2008. They had crossed the country to live out west. He died two years ago sky-diving, may not have met his daughter. His widow keeps going, using what she learned from him to run his computer repair shop. And completed jobs are lined up on a shelf with their cords wound neatly on top of invoices ready for pick-up by pleased owners! It feels SO MUCH better to push out love and admiration than to sit grumbling in the gutter! . . . Jen says to envision, to dream. I know I don't have the money to travel; seen a lot already; I'm probably washed up for travel. Oh, no! They were talking on NPR about travel on the Dalmatian Coast which my parents had loved. Suddenly I listen with new ears thanks to Jen; I really want to see all that, try the foods, walk on the beaches! . . . The computer lady is going to install upgrades for me. Then I can do FB. If I still want to! Meanwhile some people ganged up on me in a FB group. It really hurt. I lost friends. I had the clarity to see their silly games and bail -- take care of myself, move on!

    This is a powerful book! Jen has heard all the excuses. She knows all the traps. She talks fast giving all kinds of ideas in a great tumble of words. She touches on all kinds of problems that can hang us up for months or years. I have been diagnosed depressed and have kicked my meds. I know about depression, family pressure, music performance anxiety. Jen offers help for all these things. She has had the courage in her own life to try all sorts of wild and crazy things. She uses the F-word. As do I. To hell with people who turn off their ears and brains, stopped by a couple of word choices! She's had her own rock band and been to India. She has a website. Go see, watch her spiel on the home page. I believe a listen to this book would lift someone of any age, either sex, any body type, any ethnicity -- anyone who is not having the life they had hoped for. And I'm only on the second listen. Thank you, Jen! I love you!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High, Second Edition

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Kerry Patterson
    • Narrated By Joseph Grenny
    Overall
    (905)
    Performance
    (768)
    Story
    (771)

    Perhaps once a decade, a book comes along that transforms people's lives in a very real, measurable way. This is one of them. Crucial Conversations exploded onto the scene 10 years ago and revolutionized the way people communicate when stakes are high, opinions vary, and emotions run strong. Since then, millions of people have learned how to hold effective crucial conversations and have dramatically improved their lives and careers thanks to the methods outlined in this book. Now, the authors have revised their best-selling classic to provide even more ways to help you take the lead in any tough conversation.

    Michael says: "There is something useful here"
    "NOT GOING TO SOLVE MY MAIN PROBLEM, VERY YANG"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    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.

    0 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Diddakoi

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Rumer Godden
    • Narrated By Lynda Bellingham
    Overall
    (7)
    Performance
    (5)
    Story
    (5)

    Kizzy was a diddakoi, a half-gypsy, but the more the children at school tormented her, the more determined she was not to become one of ‘them’ - gorgios. And as long as she had her Gran, and Joe the old horse, she would be all right. But then Gran died and faithful old Joe was sent to the knackers - and Kizzy to the gorgios.Luckily, in the midst of all this misery and interference, there were some people who loved Kizzy as she was - and with them this lonely little outcast found a true home at last.

    Alifa says: "The Diddakoi"
    "A Sweet Book About Lifestyles, Horses, Respect"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    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!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Brimstone Wedding

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Barbara Vine
    • Narrated By Juliet Stevenson
    Overall
    (58)
    Performance
    (33)
    Story
    (33)

    Unlike the other residents of Middleton Hall, Stella is elegant, smart and in control. Only Jenny, her care assistant, knows that she harbours a painful secret, and only she can prevent Stella from carrying it to the grave. As the women talk, Jenny pieces together the answers to many questions that arise: Why has she kept possession of a house that her family don’t know about? What happened there that holds the key to a distant tragedy?

    N. says: "Stevenson + Vine/Rendell = good audiobook"
    "Ruth Rendell and Juliet Stevenson . . . Wonderful!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    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!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Known World

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By Edward P. Jones
    • Narrated By Kevin Free
    Overall
    (496)
    Performance
    (110)
    Story
    (107)

    Henry Townsend, a black farmer, bootmaker, and former slave, has a fondness for Paradise Lost and an unusual mentor, William Robbins, perhaps the most powerful white man in antebellum Virginia's Manchester County. Under Robbins's tutelage, Henry becomes proprietor of his own plantation, as well as of his own slaves. When he dies, his widow Caldonia succumbs to profound grief, and things begin to fall apart.

    Rachel says: "wonderful and highly recommended"
    "Challenging but Most Worthwhile!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    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.

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