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Laura

Greenwood Village, CO, USA

ratings
296
REVIEWS
7
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
2
HELPFUL VOTES
92

  • World Without End

    • UNABRIDGED (45 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Ken Follett
    • Narrated By John Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (8773)
    Performance
    (3215)
    Story
    (3249)

    In 1989 Ken Follett astonished the literary world with The Pillars of the Earth, set in 12th-century England. Readers and listeners ever since have hoped for a sequel. At last, here it is. Although the two novels may be listened to in any order, World Without End also takes place in Kingsbridge, two centuries after the townspeople finished building their exquisite Gothic cathedral. The cathedral is again at the center of a web of love and hate, greed and pride, ambition and revenge.

    Laura says: "Repetitive, but still enjoyable"
    "Repetitive, but still enjoyable"
    Overall

    For anyone who recently read or listened to Pillars of the Earth, I would suggest waiting a while before starting World Without End. I just listened to the first one two months ago, and I wish I had waited at least year before listening to the second.
    At first, I felt as if Follett had used up all his ideas about basic personality traits and plot ideas in Pillars, and in the second book just mixed them around, assigning them to different characters (good monk becomes bad monk, bullying, jealous builder (Alfred) appears in a new family, etc). The plot "twists," this time much more predictable, and other obstacles were also all too familiar, but each with a new outcome or resolution. After about 20 hours of that, the plot finally took off and became a new story in its own right, and it was a lot more interesting and engrossing. Since it's so long, that still left me with about 30 good hours, but it would have been a lot more enjoyable if my memory of the first book had been dimmer.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Too Big to Fail

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Andrew Ross Sorkin
    • Narrated By William Hughes
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1110)
    Performance
    (469)
    Story
    (472)

    A real-life thriller about the most tumultuous period in America's financial history by an acclaimed New York Times reporter. Andrew Ross Sorkin delivers the first true, behind-the-scenes, moment-by-moment account of how the greatest financial crisis since the Great Depression developed into a global tsunami.

    Laura says: "Surprisingly Revealing"
    "Surprisingly Revealing"
    Overall

    Initially, I didn't even consider listening to this book since I'm well aware of current events, and I thought it would be repetitive. After all, didn't we get enough of the daily harping on the factors contributing to our economic crisis? But The Economist listed it as one of the best books of the year, so I thought I would give it a try. In fact, Too Big to Fail is not a dull chronology of the events leading up to Lehman's failure and the creation of TARP; rather, it exposes the sentiments, conversations, decisions, and intentions of every major player and government figure involved with Wall Street's financial rescue. It reads like a suspense novel and is full of gossipy, fascinating tidbits which one would never hear on the news.

    Sorkin's awareness of private conversations and correspondence between government regulators and the investment banking firms' staff is absolutely incredible. Since there haven't been any lawsuits accusing Sorkin of slander, I can only assume that they are truthful portrayals. He must have convinced friends, spouses, government staffers and high-level figures alike to recount everything they had witnessed, heard, or said. I don't know how he managed to do all of that and publish the book in such a short amount of time, but it's pretty impressive.

    20 of 20 people found this review helpful
  • David Copperfield

    • UNABRIDGED (36 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Charles Dickens
    • Narrated By Frederick Davidson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (183)
    Performance
    (53)
    Story
    (53)

    Of all Charles Dickens' novels, this is perhaps the most revealing, both of Dickens himself and of the society of his time. It is little wonder that Dickens said of it, "of all my books I like this the best; like many fond parents I have in my heart of hearts a favorite child. And his name is David Copperfield."

    R. H. Krauch says: "Charming & Delightful"
    "Incredible"
    Overall

    Dickens has a sharp eye for the best, the worst, and the absurd in human nature, and narrator Frederick Davidson brings every character to life as never before. Because Dickens' work relies more heavily on dialogue than prose, Davidson's talent is unleashed to its full extent here, with a stunning result. As with Shantaram, another of my all-time favorite listens, this audio version of David Copperfield is one of those rare gems, better heard than read.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Robinson Crusoe

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Daniel Defoe
    • Narrated By Frederick Davidson
    Overall
    (49)
    Performance
    (9)
    Story
    (9)

    The marvel of this timeless tale of adventure and utiltity verges on the inexpressible. The book begins with the restless longings of young Robinson Crusoe for travel and adventure and climaxes with the ultimate fusion of man's resourcefulness with the agents of nature. The remarkably realistic account of the marooned Crusoe's ability to make himself an endurable existence in his solitude bespeaks Defoe's genius for life-like fiction. Its message argues a strong case for the concept of individualism.

    Andrew says: "No, its not"
    "Slightly dull"
    Overall

    Considering that this book was written almost 300 years ago, it's very readable and the language is not difficult. However, I strongly disagree with the reviewer who made it sound like this book is just another great example of riveting historical fiction. Certainly when it was published it must have been a fascinating new idea- a man being marooned on an island- gee, how could he ever survive? But in our current day and time this is an idea which has been explored over and over from many different angles, with many heroes and heroines in much more dire straits.

    Robinson Crusoe was stranded in the very best of circumstances, with ample tools and important items from the ship to help him on his way. Thus, it is no page turner but rather a classic piece which has influenced pop culture in myriad ways, and is, as such, worth reading. If you are not interested in the story from that perspective, and furthermore if you find movies like Cast Away even slightly tiresome, this book is not for you.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Washington Square (Blackstone Audio Edition)

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Henry James
    • Narrated By Lloyd James
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (57)
    Performance
    (26)
    Story
    (25)

    On New York City's Washington Square lives Catherine Sloper, a shy and plain-looking young woman who is tyrannized by her wealthy, overbearing father. When young Morris Townsend begins to court her, Dr. Sloper, distrusting his motives, threatens to disinherit Catherine. In accordance with her father's suspicions, young Townsend disappears, leaving Catherine to humiliation, heartache, and lonely spinsterhood.

    Celia says: "Fabulous"
    "A Light Classic"
    Overall

    If you enjoy well written 19th century classic literature, this is a great choice. It's pretty light, and not quite as intriguing as The Portrait of a Lady, but it still keeps you interested. My only complaint is the narrator's pacing- he reads well, but leaves interminable pauses between most of his sentences. It might be worthwhile to listen to a sample before buying it.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Shantaram

    • UNABRIDGED (43 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Gregory David Roberts
    • Narrated By Humphrey Bower
    Overall
    (3237)
    Performance
    (1577)
    Story
    (1576)

    This mesmerizing first novel tells the epic journey of Lin, an escaped convict who flees maximum security prison in Australia to disappear into the underworld of contemporary Bombay. Accompanied by his guide and faithful friend, Prabaker, Lin searches for love and meaning while running a clinic in one of the city's poorest slums and serving his apprenticeship in the dark arts of the Bombay mafia. The keys to unlock the mysteries that bind Lin are held by two people: his mentor Khader Khan, mafia godfather and criminal-philosopher; and the beautiful, elusive Karla, whose passions are driven by dangerous secrets.

    Jamie says: "Do Not Miss This"
    "phenomenal narration"
    Overall


    This is the most well done audiobook I have ever listened to. Roberts does an incredible job of depicting the experience of exile, self-imposed or otherwise, and in doing so brings the many Indian dialects, customs, and particularities of speaking English as a second language to life. However, as intriguing, humorous, and interesting as the story is itself, it is the fabulous narration that truly makes it brilliant. Humphrey Bower does such a masterful job of portraying every accent, character, and emotion that it shocks me that he did not win the award for best male narration. Don't miss this one!

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • The Thirteenth Tale: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Diane Setterfield
    • Narrated By Bianca Amato, Jill Tanner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4752)
    Performance
    (1638)
    Story
    (1647)

    All children mythologize their birth... So begins the prologue of reclusive author Vida Winter's beloved collection of stories, long famous for the mystery of the missing thirteenth tale. The enigmatic Winter has always kept her violent and tragic past a secret. Now old and ailing, she summons a biographer to tell the truth about her extraordinary life: Margaret Lea, a young woman for whom the secret of her own birth remains an ever-present pain.

    PA Law says: "Haunting and beautiful tale"
    "Disappointing"
    Overall

    This read was just okay- very tortuous and certainly not gripping. I appreciate her attempt to make the book feel more like literature than typical current fiction, but felt that her attempt fell short of success. The author clearly loves books along the lines of Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, and Rebecca- I imagine she wishes this book could sit right next to it on a shelf in the library. At times eloquent but never deep, her myriad references to Jane Eyre as a foreshadowing device falls way short of the literary brilliance I expected after reading other people's reviews. I wouldn't recommend this book.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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