Why did it take me so long to discover this spine-tingler? I majored in literature and heard this book mentioned; why not simply read it then when I was young? No matter. I'm on the second listen now and catching more bits of characterization, more details that show the author's careful planning of his story. The book transports you to 1850's England country houses with servants, long walks, dressing for dinner, dependable trains and amazingly fast mail service! Of course you want to know what happens next. Sometimes the book seems slow, as country life can seem slow. Then something is overheard or a letter is intercepted or there is a conversation during which you want to tell one of the characters to listen, pay attention and make the connection! Or don't do what you're about to do! On subsequent listens you notice how the attitudes of some characters change with time. One of the villains is mulled over and considered quite a nice-looking man, and a real charmer despite kicking dogs and yelling at servants!! So while I was commenting to myself "Gimme a break!" I was also captivated by the Victorian language and concerns in the story. ... Gabriel Woolf is an excellent narrator. Except for a couple froggies in the throat, his reading is perfect. . . I enjoyed that while the book is set in England, its scope is global. The characters go abroad and return. Or they have lived abroad. Or they are from elsewhere. . . . Collins ties everything up at the end. Lovely happy ending with our favorite characters plus of course a new little person facing their fortunate future. . . . A last comment: audible's blurb about the book suggests that it is multi-layered or a demanding mental puzzle. Yes it is, but for a reasonably bright person it is an effortless listen. I received some life-changing mail yesterday and push myself now to write this review quickly and badly to tell everybody to READ THIS BOOK -- YOU WON'T BE SORRY!
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.
I can't believe the people who were bored or somehow didn't get this wonderful story. There are three sisters in the story, but the youngest is not even allowed to come along. So we have two very different sisters affected by learning that the men they had pinned their hopes on had betrayed them. So we have the older girl, Eleanor, in a lifetime friendship with a young man who is like a brother, but all ready to become much, much more. Until Eleanor meets a horrible little chippie who confides to her that she is engaged to the very same man! She tells Eleanor in awful uneducated English all about the wedding plans. Eleanor quietly implodes because by this time she must do damage control with her younger sister, Marianne, who has fallen passionately in love with an enchanting young man. Their love blooms; he takes her to his home, walks her through it and they imagine it spiffed up with paint and new furniture, and they will live there blissfully together! It just gets better and better. Until it becomes clear that he has married a wealthy woman who is not a tenth as pretty or winsome as Marianne. And it comes out that he is a genuine cad, with a great career of courting vulnerable girls and leaving them in a very bad way. This man was SO handsome and SO clever and SO beguiling toward Marianne that her anguish at learning the truth -- and the way Ms. Stevenson reads Austen's words -- must be a high point in literature. Any listener with two IQ points and two ears would remember being 17 again and crying hot tears because Allen was holding hands with that other girl. Or Bill was spending way too much time with ugly pimply Toni (who was known to go "all the way"). Some of the background is different, but the youthful suffering is quite the same. Surely male listeners who have suffered over a heartless girl with a flippy pony tail will be able to relate. And the hurt goes on and on and on as the sisters analyze how right it all seemed at the time and why did he act that way and say those things if he didn't mean them? And what changed his mind? And how could he!
AND THEN JUST AT THE BEGINNING OF PART TWO, A GLITCH IN THE RECORDING SICKENED AND LAID LOW iRENE iPOD, MY MAGNIFICENT 80GB iPOD CLASSIC. SHE HAD TO BE LAID ON HER BACK, GENTLY PUNCHED IN THE BELLY FOR CPR, GIVEN INTENSIVE ENCOURAGEMENT AND AUDIBLE TECHNICIANS CALLED. WE SPENT LITERALLY HOURS DELETING PART TWO FROM THE iPOD, DOWNLOADING DIFFERENT FORMATS, BLAH BLAH BLAH. NICE PEOPLE IN THE CARIBBEAN, BUT MY iPOD IS STILL JAMMING AT THE SAME POINT. NO THANK YOU, AUDIBLE! STOP RECOMMENDING BOOKS I HAVE ALREADY READ AND GET BUSY FIXING THESE GLITCHES! ALL AMAZON'S MARKETING CAN'T REPLACE TECHNICAL EXCELLENCE!
This is the second book I have had to listen to sitting at my computer where the speakers cannot be turned up quite loud enough. I need the story on the iPod and to take to my work! That story had only one narrator and one recorded version. At least with this book I have a huge choice of narrators for a second try. Why so many? And which might be the best? In a week or two, I hope to write a happy positive review of this book with a different recording. And find out what happens to these two young ladies. Sometimes we listeners have to work hard to make our own happy endings!
I have to bail on this. The narrator sounds like she's trying to eat too-hot Scottish porridge. She reads way too slowly, and the material needs to be speeded up because it's so mind-numbingly simple! State the obvious and then explain it! I can't imagine what kind of people thought this was a great book! Having read oodles of Diana Gabaldon, Bryce Courtenay, Alexandre Dumas and more recently Jane Austen, I just can't settle for this nonsense. Also there seems to be a formula in which the heroine starts out quite pitiful and one hopes eventually soars above it all. I bailed from another book awhile back which began with an abusive father. This one begins with an educated father who is so stupid he discusses religion at work and is fired. The heroine is clueless and pregnant. It is too stupid and sad. What happened to heroines who are strong and resourceful from the get-go? Anybody read A Lantern in Her Hand by Bess Streeter Aldrich? Awesome good read! And that is my basis for comparison.
This book is about young ladies in England over 100 years ago. Their mail service was better than ours today, plus they had servants to run errands. As ever, these young ladies possess varying amounts of confidence, beauty, money, education and talent. The whole idea is to marry well, preferably for love. About like now except it was much more difficult then for a single woman to earn her own living and do her own "thing."
I majored in English and probably read this book and probably saw the movies, but I don't remember being so engrossed in all the fine points of the story. If I saw this on PBS, it was too many very similar girls in little tight dresses walking in gardens with foppish gentlemen. Actually listening to the words -- and more than once, please! -- delivers a wonderful experience! You can't tear through this material just to see what happens next! You already know almost everybody gets married off in the end. I found Sparks Notes for the novel and after two listens am not 100% clear on who is who. I think the more listens I give this, the more delicious the story will be, as in, "Oh, here comes the good part!"
One Audible reviewer said the characters were dis-likeable. Yes, wonderfully so. One new wife is nauseating, coarse and presumptuous, a huge snob. Juliet Stevenson gives her a horrible nasal voice! Most disgusting! The woman is a total bitch. She leans on one young lady to push ahead and get her a governess job with one of HER high-class friends! The girl sweetly and repeatedly tells her no, not to do that, but there is no taking no for an answer! The woman goes ahead, with disastrous results which she doesn't even realize! She is too stupid to be uncomfortable when the whole business falls through and has to be smoothed over with others.
Another character, a well-born but very poor maiden lady who is included in all the parties and never EVER shuts up, is wonderfully portrayed by Stevenson. This took preparation because Miss Bates is just gasping and so full of gratitude and sweet nonsensical comments. I think I do that sometimes. . . And the main character makes fun of Miss Bates in the presence of several other people. Snide comments are nothing new. The poor little lady doesn't even quite get the joke, but the others do. Emma is not very nice at the beginning, but she gains in compassion and graciousness through the story. Near the beginning she discourages a younger girl from pursuing a love interest that would have been suitable. She comes to regret that. And before it's over, she tells the same girl she would not presume to advise her about such a thing. How many of us today lean on each other for this or that reason -- rather playing God when it is not our place!
This tale does have sex and violence, but it is certainly not fifty shades. They talk about platonic man/woman friendship versus "making love" which only means carrying on a romance, but -- well, fully dressed and talking in a flirtatious way -- not what it means now. But they know when they're teasing or leading someone on in an expectation of engagement and marriage. These girls are up for auction, and people in the market should not waste someone's time. All the fine points are discussed. Much of the fun is in imagining! As for violence, two girls are walking in the country when they are overtaken by a gang of gypsy kids, a woman and large boy. Very rough characters! One girl gets away, but the other girl is helpless. Today we would say they mugged her. Pretty frightening even today when it happens to travelers!
I don't think this is satisfying literature for everyone. Maybe if your real life is complex and upset at the moment, this would help you calm down and relax. I think in the past I thought it was just silly business of ladies and gentlemen in drawing rooms talking about the weather and their health. Oh, no! These are real human situations; and that is what makes the book a classic and Austen deserving of all her fame. Lovely book! Lovely narrator who does men's voices very well also.
Don't disdain this book as just for kids or just about rabbits, OK? I only listened once, and once is not really enough. I want to get my own copy of the illustrated print version. The author says this is not allegory, but nonetheless we have politics, warfare, patriotism, government in action, oppression, stories within stories. There is much to think about as we listen and get excited to hear what happens next. The story has many twists and turns, set-backs, gains and not too many really-bad losses because it was originally told by a loving father to his two daughters. The author is thoughtful and educated, as are his courageous wild rabbit characters. I enjoyed the special vocabulary explained at the beginning -- rabbit terms for midday, evening feeding, etc. At the beginnings of most chapters are quotations from a variety of works which I will have to look up.
The rabbits all have wonderful names, though I had a problem with a large male leader kind of rabit going by Hazel! Hazel's brother, Fiver, is extremely intuitive, so that the rabbits listen to him when he has a bad feeling about something. The rabbits realize that they are all males, so they ask a nearby warren which has too many female rabbits to share with them. The leaders of that oppressive foreign warren say absolutely not! So we have male rabbits with names like Blackberry and Vervain, while the females they eventually take to wife have exotic nearly unpronounceable multi-syllabic names.
Ralph Cosham handles simple narrative, strange sound effects, difficult names and even songs with expertise. But he outdoes himself as the large friendly bird with a Swedish accent and a rat who sounds like a skittish Italian. Quite wonderful! This is what comes of turning off the television! Do give it a listen!
This strange and flawed book is actually part history and part modern fiction. Listening to it is like listening to "Rock Around the Clock" against "Adeste Fidelis." Disorienting, absurd. I certainly did not mind the profanity. But I found the style of very good writing to be inconsistent. Great chunks are more like a magazine article than a great Work of Literature! Mr. Courtenay is gone now, so his feelings won't be hurt. I realize he had to do a lot of research to write this book. And some of the book reads like his notes. I was nowhere nearly as glad to get the cat story as Ryan was. And the cat story ends badly. I certainly did not expect to go through detox and twelve-step discussions. Those parts are good but quite protracted; whereas the details of the happy ending are rushed and shortened. Not good. Not fair. I did not see that marriage coming. We deserved several more delicious hours of that paydirt!
The discussion of co-dependency told me that Bryce didn't really get that part. Melody Beattie wrote "Codependent No More" in 1986. The one book has helped scores of Americans, including me. Codependency is almost a physical pain. You can't sit still. You have to make phone calls, write letters, go talk to someone, go check up on someone who is not doing what you think he/she should be doing. You forget to bathe, eat, do laundry, go to bed while you're being codependent. They're doing it to you and you have to tell them! You simply can't walk away or detach. It is miserable! You go to Al Anon meetings and think you will never be free and happy again. You wonder if you were ever normal. Bryce could have pointed out that people who love an alcoholic are torn up in this manner. Then Billy and his mates could begin to appreciate how deeply they were hurting and had hurt the people in their lives. Little kids who are codependent are affected for their entire lives.
Bower's rendition of the song Strange Fruit is very beautiful. He is excellent as usual. Nice meow, too!
The book begins with the main character's funeral. And it just gets better. By all means read the books in this series in order. This is Book 3. I most enjoyed learning the background of the one character who had a warm family life, was a brilliant lawyer, and was heartily hated by Eddie, aka Old Filth. This book fills us in on his whole interesting life from his parents to the time as a very elderly man he moves in next door to Eddie, who gets locked out one lonely Christmas in a bad storm with no electricity or telephone, so the two of them have to make the best of it when Eddie knocks on Terry's door. I need to listen to all the books again because there are some women in this story that I have difficulty placing. One of them is the widowed wife of an old judge nicknamed Pastry. It seems a lot of the women admired Terry from some distance. This woman is also concerned with a smarmy old lawyer named Fred Smith. He was handy on Eddie's and Betty's wedding day, so he was grabbed in his T-shirt to serve as Best Man. He boasts for the rest of his life about being Best Man. Highlight of his life! Nobody really likes him. This hard to like character invites himself to people's houses or arrives unannounced and expects to stay a couple of weeks.
The book ends abruptly, seems to me. I was moving on in my own mind anyway. However, it's a good and enjoyable Book 3 in this trilogy. There's a different narrator, but I got used to him quickly and he reads with great poetry. I need to listen again because these are not the then-what-happened kind of story. It's about details fitting together years later. Very rich listen.
I would be lost in this book if I had not read Old Filth first. This book takes the same characters and manages to tell more story. It focuses on Eddie's wife, Betty. She has a predicament. She agrees to marry Eddie and then a few hours later meets a real charmer, married but oh goodness! He has white blond hair, piercing blue eyes. He speaks several languages. His Chinese wife seems to have been a bad choice. Betty is planning a wedding, but Eddie doesn't seem to realize how low her funds are. He has plenty of money. She spends the last of her money to have an aqua green silk dress made with matching purse and shoes, but wears it to an assignation so sweaty and shameful that when she finally gets back to the hotel, she throws it in the wastebasket. She resurrects it for the intended occasion. . . . And the matching evening bag comes back to haunt her! See my review of Old Filth. All I said there is true of this Book II. Not to put anyone off, once Betty is married to Eddie, she is faithful. So it wasn't really adultery except, well, yes the man is married to someone else and Betty isn't yet married to anyone. This is an exciting book considering how little outright sex or violence it contains.
I HAD NO END OF TECHNICAL DIFFICULTY WITH THIS RECORDING. IT JAMMED MY IPOD. THREE DIFFERENT AUDIBLE TECHNICIANS TRIED TO HELP ME. I ENDED UP LISTENING TO IT AT THE COMPUTER. WELL WORTHWHILE. PLEASE, AUDIBLE, FIX THIS PROBLEM BECAUSE I HOPE TO LISTEN AGAIN AND AGAIN.
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