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Dulce

Avid reader until vision impairment set in. Now an avid listener!

USA | Member Since 2010

59
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 22 reviews
  • 84 ratings
  • 317 titles in library
  • 24 purchased in 2014
FOLLOWING
6
FOLLOWERS
8

  • A Tale of Two Cities

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By Charles Dickens
    • Narrated By Jon Smith
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (63)
    Performance
    (58)
    Story
    (59)

    In this staple of classic literature, Charles Dickens tells the tale of fueding classes set at the inception and escalation of the French Revolution. Amidst the upheaval, righteous former aristocrat Charles Darnay becomes wrongly tangled in unfortunate events, endangering his freedom and family. Sidney Carton, a cynical lawyer who squandered his life away, seeks to redress his unhappiness through Darnay's beautiful wife, Lucie.

    Linda says: "A Great Classic Performed With Perfection"
    "Beautifully Rendered Melodrama"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to A Tale of Two Cities the most enjoyable?

    Growing up in an era in which American school kids actually read the classics in their English classes, I remembered Tale of Two Cities as one of my favorites. The audio version reinforced this impression. The brilliant prose style, the interplay of characters, the comic, the dark, and the melodramatic dextrously interwoven, and the surprises of plot development kept me listening with pleasure through the whole book.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of A Tale of Two Cities?

    It has a more sublime ending than any other book I can recall. Other than that, the scenes with Mme. DeFarge are darkly fascinating. Also those regarding Dr. Manette in the Bastille. I don't want to give anything away!


    Have you listened to any of Jon Smith’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I haven't, but I enjoyed his narration. It is subdued and emotionally low key, which I guess could be perceived as boring, but I thought it was a great counterpoint to the melodrama of the book. Characters are easily distinguishable and the accents are well done.


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

    You can't make a better choice than the opening phrase of the book!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The History of Christian Theology

    • ORIGINAL (18 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Phillip Cary
    Overall
    (66)
    Performance
    (59)
    Story
    (60)

    In this 36-lecture course, you'll find an engaging way to explore profound religious questions and the many responses believers, scholars, and theologians have developed over more than 2,000 years. Through this series, Professor Cary reveals the enduring power of the Christian tradition-as both an intellectual discipline and a spiritual path.These lectures begin at the very dawn of Christianity, as you examine some of the earliest examples of scripture recorded by the first communities of the faithful.

    Amazon Customer says: "Been Waiting for This"
    "Didn't meet expectations, probably my fault"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I would only if the friend was more interested in abstract philosophy than in the lived experience of Christianity over time. This is my overall problem with the lecture series. It's probably unrealistic to expect from a philosophy/theology professor, but I missed the social context. It's often the WHY, not the WHAT, that makes religious development so interesting. E.g., what were the influences on Augustine that sparked him to fashion a theology that was relatively more "rational" than Dionysus's heavily mystical version in the east? How did ordinary Christians assume these theological changes into their worship and everyday experiences? In other words, how did theological developments come about and what differences did they make?


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The History of Christian Theology?

    Honestly, I was too disappointed overall to be struck by any individual moments.


    What aspect of Professor Phillip Cary’s performance would you have changed?

    I wish his lectures had been less extemporaneous and more structured. He was often repetitious in ways that didn't aid understanding. Also I sometimes found his informality about the subject matter a bit jarring.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    No, just didn't care for it.


    Any additional comments?

    None of my comments are meant to detract from Professor Cary's knowledge and his obvious love of his subject. He is erudite and enthusiastic; just not my cup of tea.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Conservative Tradition

    • ORIGINAL (18 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Patrick N. Allitt
    Overall
    (30)
    Performance
    (29)
    Story
    (29)

    A thorough understanding of Conservatism's lineage, principles, and impact on history is essential to making sense of the 21st-century political dialogue-a dialogue that consumes the television you watch, the newspapers you read, and the radio you listen to.No matter where you place yourself on the ideological spectrum, these 36 lectures will intrigue you, engage you, and maybe even provoke you to think about this political philosophy in an entirely new way.

    Quaker says: "Another gem by Prof. Allitt & The Great Courses"
    "Even handed and absorbing overview"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to The Conservative Tradition the most enjoyable?

    Prof. Allitt's rare talents as scholar and teacher are in full display. He is a charming lecturer, full of passion for his subject and flashes of humor. His erudition is no less obvious than his ability to discuss the subject matter in a way that will be comprehensible to everyone. I love his practice (throughout all his series) of illustrating major points with quotations from primary sources. He previews each lecture in a few sentences before he starts, which gives the listener a mental outline to follow. He is organized and as thorough as one could be in a survey course.


    What did you like best about this story?

    As an "old school" libertarian myself, I appreciated Prof. Allitt's even handed treatment of the varieties of American conservatism, from the excesses of Ayn Rand and the Moral Majority to the more tempered neo-conservatism of Buckley and Podhoretz. He is never condescending to his subjects, which must have been a temptation at times. His review of Thatcher's administration was eye opening; my prior knowledge of most of the history really benefited from the nuance Prof. Allitt contributed.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    I loved the lectures about Thatcher. She saved the British economy with a few steely common sense laissez faire moves, which were despised in the short term but which were beneficial in the long term.


    If you could give The Conservative Tradition a new subtitle, what would it be?

    The Anglo-American drive to let common sense prevail. LOL!


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Six Months in 1945: FDR, Stalin, Churchill, and Truman - from World War to Cold War

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 36 mins)
    • By Michael Dobbs
    • Narrated By Bob Walter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (71)
    Performance
    (60)
    Story
    (58)

    When Roosevelt, Stalin, and Churchill met in Yalta in February 1945, Hitler's armies were on the run and victory was imminent. The Big Three wanted to draft a blueprint for a lasting peace - but instead set the stage for a 44-year division of Europe into Soviet and western spheres of influence. After fighting side by side for nearly four years, their political alliance was rapidly fracturing. By the time the leaders met again in Potsdam in July 1945, Russians and Americans were squabbling over the future of Germany and Churchill was warning about an "iron curtain" being drawn down over the Continent.

    Alan says: "Totally Outstanding. Bravo !"
    "Unbalanced, Unoriginal, Disappointment"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    The pacing is way off. The first part of the book describes the Yalta conference in excruciating detail, including anecdotes about the leaders that any reader of other histories would find familiar. When the book finally gets going on the important issues, after what seemed like hours on the minutiae of Yalta, it makes some interesting observations about the roles of the various foreign ambassadors in negotiating issues, on Truman's unpreparedness for office, on Stalin's immorality, and on Churchill's doggedly anachronistic imperial sympathies. Yet even here, most of the material would be familiar to any student of the period. The book doesn't seem to include original research.


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    The book needed a good editor to cut unimportant detail and elaborate sections that really move the history forward. But in the absence of original research, the book can't be more than a rehash of other, familiar works.


    Did the narration match the pace of the story?

    The narration was painful. There is a sing song quality to the reader's voice that is the same in every sentence. I couldn't listen to much more than a half hour in a sitting.


    Was Six Months in 1945 worth the listening time?

    I don't think so, at least not for someone who's done substantial prior reading on the topic. As a primer, it might be fine, if you can take the narrator's odd cadences.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Victorian Britain

    • ORIGINAL (18 hrs and 36 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Patrick N. Allitt
    Overall
    (62)
    Performance
    (55)
    Story
    (53)

    This series of 36 fascinating lectures is a chronological journey into the story of Victorian Britain, from the unexpected ascension to the throne of teenaged Princess Victoria in 1837 to her death in 1901 as the Boer War neared its end.Presented with all of Victoria's strengths and foibles left intact by an award-winning teacher and author, the lectures invite you to reflect on both the positive and negative aspects of her reign.

    Dulce says: "Very good introductory course"
    "Very good introductory course"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I'd recommend this course to anyone who wants a broad overview of Victorian England. Prof. Allitt covers a LOT of topics, but none in very much depth. It's a great jumping off point to do further reading (listening). It's particularly useful that he quotes liberally from contemporary writers to give a sense of the culture. I wish a bibliography were included, though.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    My favorite lectures were on Gladstone and Disraeli. Prof. Allitt draws nuanced distinctions between them and we can see both sides of contemporary politics. While he describes the eccentricities as well as the accomplishments of both men, the portrayals don't veer toward caricature. Actually none of the people whom Allitt describes do--he seems to like the men and women he talks about and is sympathetic rather than condescending to their foibles.


    What about Professor Patrick N. Allitt’s performance did you like?

    I loved his teaching style. He's clear, not too redundant, and has a wonderful sense of humor about the material. His accent is engaging. All around, a terrific teacher.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    No, but the topics fascinated me.


    Any additional comments?

    On a personal note, I appreciated Prof. Allitt's attention to Victorian religion. This is a topic that is often absent from historical overviews. He's thorough and even handed.

    10 of 10 people found this review helpful
  • The Picture of Dorian Gray

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Oscar Wilde
    • Narrated By Michael Page
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (148)
    Performance
    (129)
    Story
    (127)

    This novel is indeed a morality tale about the hazards of egotistical self-indulgence. Dorian Grey's pact with evil allows his portrait to take on his many sins and degradations while his physical appearance remains youthful. Over the years as he becomes cruel and vicious, even murderous, Dorian's young and perfect body is no longer enough to salvage his deteriorating mind and morality. Will justice and good prevail?

    Erica says: "Oscar Wilde was ahead of his time..."
    "Creepy Gothic Story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about The Picture of Dorian Gray?

    The fact that the writer directly engaged the moral issue, which can be summed up as, "Is it better to be beautiful than good?" Oddly he answers his own question in the conventional way, which is not what I was prepared for. It seems Gray gets his just punishment at the end. But along the way there is the idea that fate, accident, random occurrences also can determine one's outcomes. So this isn't a straightforward justification of the "wages of sin." I think Wilde was more subtle than that in his contemplation of art and aesthetic appreciation and their effects on human life.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    There isn't a single likeable character in the story. Dorian is immorality incarnate, Basil allows his appreciation of aesthetics to get in the way of his judgment, Sir Henry is a loathsome upper class idiot, and Sybil is a fool. But Dorian's development from a beautiful young innocent to a decadent monster is fascinating.


    Which character – as performed by Michael Page – was your favorite?

    The narration was very good and Page did all the characters well.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    No, but I learned more about the 19th century foppish British aristocracy--possibily Wilde's own circle--that I might have wanted.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln

    • UNABRIDGED (41 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Doris Kearns Goodwin
    • Narrated By Suzanne Toren
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1688)
    Performance
    (1423)
    Story
    (1462)

    On May 18, 1860, William H. Seward, Salmon P. Chase, Edward Bates, and Abraham Lincoln waited in their hometowns for the results from the Republican National Convention in Chicago. When Lincoln emerged as the victor, his rivals were dismayed and angry. Throughout the turbulent 1850s, each had energetically sought the presidency as the conflict over slavery was leading inexorably to secession and civil war.

    Amazon Customer says: "Beautiful, Heartbreaking, and Informative"
    "Terrific History, Irritating Narration"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    If you could sum up Team of Rivals in three words, what would they be?

    Context-rich history


    What did you like best about this story?

    To me the best histories frame the narration of events with the social contexts that shape them. I'm always interested in how religion, social standing, family and group experiences, and culture, for example, influence the choices historical figures have made. This book excels at discussing these interactions. It's so much more than a biography of Lincoln and the other men who make up the "team of rivals." We get a rich and persuasive portrayal of the contexts in which all of the characters form their ideas and set out on their actions.


    What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

    I thought the performance distracted from the book. It was so overrefined and stagey. The narrator spoke with an American accent, but the only word I can think of to describe it is "plummy." A less theatrical reading would have made listening a great pleasure.


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

    No. The book is long and full of details, memorable anecdotes, and lots of important historical information.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Ivanhoe

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Sir Walter Scott
    • Narrated By Michael Page
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (311)
    Performance
    (220)
    Story
    (228)

    Wilfred, knight of Ivanhoe, the son of Cedric the Saxon, is in love with his father's ward, Rowena. Cedric, however, wishes her to marry Athelstane, a descendant of the royal Saxon line, whom Cedric hopes will restore the Saxon succession. With a colorful cast of chivalric knights and fair ladies, this action-filled novel comes complete with feats of derring-do, the pageantry of a tournament, and a great flame-engulfed castle - all of which makes it the most enthralling of Scott's creations.

    Bill Dewey/Reclaiming Quarterly says: "Great Adventure, Good Rendition"
    "Moving romantic epic, beautifully read"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to Ivanhoe again? Why?

    Yes, I'm sure I will. The performance is incredibly good--the reader was able to find a unique voice for each of the many characters. It's also a very rich story and I'm sure I'd get more from a second listen.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The author's empathy with the Jewish characters, particularly Rebecca. Scott doesn't shy away from describing the contempt of English medieval nobility for the Jews, who were in their opinion total aliens- nonbelievers and usurers. But underlying the insults and blame is Scott's essential humanism. He insists on a portrayal of Jews that supersedes medieval stereotypes, making Rebecca one of the noblest and most memorable heroines in romantic literature. The ending made me cry.


    Have you listened to any of Michael Page’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No, but I'm sure to look for other books by him now.


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

    No, it was too long and much too dramatic to take in one sitting. Anyway I knew how it ended, because I'd read it before. But if I hadn't known about Rebecca's fate, the suspense might have had me listening in longer sessions.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years

    • UNABRIDGED (46 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Diarmaid MacCulloch
    • Narrated By Walter Dixon
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (420)
    Performance
    (238)
    Story
    (243)

    Once in a generation, a historian will redefine his field, producing a book that demands to be read or heard - a product of electrifying scholarship conveyed with commanding skill. Diarmaid MacCulloch's Christianity is such a book. Breathtaking in ambition, it ranges back to the origins of the Hebrew Bible and covers the world, following the three main strands of the Christian faith.

    Celia says: "Generally quite good"
    "Massive Scope Works Against It"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you like best about Christianity? What did you like least?

    I enjoyed the first few chapters about the early church, especially the analysis of Origen and Augustine's theology, and the effects of neo-Platonism on Christian thinking. After that, however, I lost interest for different reasons: while the chapters on the variants of the eastern church were too detailed and sometimes just plain dull, subsequent chapters on the medieval and especially the renaissance church seemed rushed and raised more questions than they answered. The author seems more concerned with the "what" than the "why," which isn't unusual for a historian, but I would have liked more explanation of, for example, why the ideas of Lutheran and reformed theologies were so appealing to people at the time. Unfortunately when the author does explain the appeal of ideas, he's frequently reductive, as when he tries to explain iconodulia as a result of the need for certainty and tangibility in troubled times. I guess it would be an impossible task to achieve in a one volume history, but I wish he'd given as much play to the importance of ideas in later chapters as he did in those concerning the early church.


    Would you recommend Christianity to your friends? Why or why not?

    Maybe to those who want an overview. It's certainly a jumping off place for further reading.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    I liked the chapters on the early church. There's a feel in those chapters for how compelling the new theology must have seemed to its early adherents and teachers. I also enjoyed hearing about the application of Platonist ideas to scriptural interpretation and to the development of theology.


    Could you see Christianity being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

    Hasn't the BBC already done this?


    Any additional comments?

    The narrator deserves a lot of credit for his stamina and for the majority of times his pronunciation of foreign terms was correct. A few quibbles about the ancient Greek, but altogether an excellent job. I hope he got a lengthy vacation after narrating this work.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Woman in White

    • UNABRIDGED (25 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Wilkie Collins
    • Narrated By Josephine Bailey, Simon Prebble
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1091)
    Performance
    (889)
    Story
    (892)

    One of the greatest mystery thrillers ever written, Wilkie Collins's The Woman in White was a phenomenal best seller in the 1860s, achieving even greater success than works by Charles Dickens. Full of surprise, intrigue, and suspense, this vastly entertaining novel continues to enthrall audiences today.

    David says: "Gripping novel, excellent production"
    "Perfection All Around"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to The Woman in White again? Why?

    Absolutely yes. I had to control myself from starting over from the beginning the minute I finished the first time through. The richness of the plot, the development of the characters, and the brilliant narration lend themselves to a second and maybe third or fourth listen.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The story is enthralling, with terrific characterizations, settings, and plot development. More than a mystery--although it is a great mystery--it gives the listener a vivid sense of the class structure of mid 19th century England that governed the social behavior of virtually all the characters. I loved the description of the fledgling attempts of women to assert some degree of independence, sympathetically portrayed through the character of Marion Halcolme. And there is the rest of the colorful cast of characters from the villainous Count Fosco to the courageous and moral Walter Hartright to get to know and enjoy. I loved that the story is told in the form of letters, which allows for the separate voices of characters to reveal their emotions and thoughts directly to the reader/ listener.


    Have you listened to any of Josephine Bailey and Simon Prebble ’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No, but this narration is so wonderful that you can bet I'll be listening to their other performances in the future. Prebble's skill in differentiating the speech of the various characters he gives voice to is amazing. He also handles the female voice particularly well, which isnt always the case with other narrators.


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

    Yes, although the length of the book makes that impossible. By the end, I was in love with Walter and in awe of Marion. Finishing the book made me reluctant to start another. Honestly this is the best listen I've had from among the scores of audio books I've owned.


    Any additional comments?

    Do NOT pass this one up. It is a rare treat!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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