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  • The Persimmon Tree

    • UNABRIDGED (27 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Bryce Courtenay
    • Narrated By Humphrey Bower
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    The Persimmon Tree opens in Indonesia in 1942 on the cusp of Japanese invasion and the evacuation of Batavia (Jakarta) by the Dutch. Seventeen-year-old Nicholas Duncan is on holiday there, in pursuit of an exotic butterfly known as the Magpie Crow. It's an uncertain, dangerous time to be in Indonesia, and Nick's options of getting out are fast dwindling. Amidst the fear and chaos he falls in love with Anna, the beautiful daughter of a Dutch acquaintance, and she nicknames him 'Mr Butterfly'.

    Corinne says: "An excellent sequel"
    "Worst Book Ever"
    What disappointed you about The Persimmon Tree?

    I can't understand, when authors write how difficult it is to get their books published, how this one could have made it through. There are a couple of interesting stories buried deep beneath mountains of laborious description, including an awful lot of trivia the narrator, a main character, could not have known. He delivers lines such as,

    Has The Persimmon Tree turned you off from other books in this genre?

    No. One author doesn't ruin it for the others.

    What does Humphrey Bower bring to the story that you wouldn???t experience if you just read the book?

    His accent. His ability to distinguish about 50 different voices.

    You didn???t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    Anna's story was interesting, lousy writing notwithstanding.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Swan Thieves

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Elizabeth Kostova
    • Narrated By Treat Williams, Anne Heche, Erin Cottrell, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Psychiatrist Andrew Marlowe has a perfectly ordered life--solitary, perhaps, but full of devotion to his profession and the painting hobby he loves. This order is destroyed when renowned painter Robert Oliver attacks a canvas in the National Gallery of Art and becomes his patient. In response, Marlowe finds himself going beyond his own legal and ethical boundaries to understand the secret that torments this genius, a journey that will lead him into the lives of the women closest to Robert Oliver.

    Sara says: "Such Potential Wasted"
    "My New Favorite Book"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Swan Thieves to be better than the print version?

    I only listened so it's unfair to compare, but, yes, I do think the audio is better. This edition is terrific with five different voices and even some musical interludes for "ambience," in some places. I am really glad I chose to listen.

    There is a problem at the end of one of the sections. The audio cuts off mid-sentence and there's no announcement about "This is the end of a section, but not of the book." It doesn't appear much is missed there.

    What about the narrators???s performance did you like?

    I would not have read the 1870's characters with a French accent so hearing them read that way made them come alive.

    Treat Williams' version of Marlowe was quite believable. He sounds like a 50-something bachelor whose work has become his life, who may be getting bored at the routine of work, who may feel he has more past than future.

    Every reader performed their character believably, in ways that made it seem I was hearing directly from the characters, not actors. Every one of them returns to mind and I wonder how they're doing now. See how alive they became?

    Who was the most memorable character of The Swan Thieves and why?

    There are five main characters in this book, five separate, interlaced stories.

    The most memorable character may be the author, who not only carefully wove the characters together, but also made them endearing and real. Putting it all in a backdrop of the art world was lovely and intelligent. Her use of a few clever writing devices such as the flowered hat and the statement, "I observe your heart is broken. Allow me to repair it for you," were wonderful little surprises.

    She SHOWs instead of TELLs the reader her complex and compelling story.
    Brava, Elizabeth Kostova!

    Any additional comments?

    As soon as I finished listening to The Swan Thieves, I started over and listened to the entire book again...and enjoyed it just as much. Wonderful!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Memory of Running

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Ron McLarty
    • Narrated By Ron McLarty
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    In late 2003, in his column in Entertainment Weekly, Stephen King called The Memory of Running "the best novel you won't read this year." This glowing endorsement of the audiobook resulted in Ron McLarty receiving a $2 million two-book deal from Viking Penguin. Also, Warner Brothers has shelled out big bucks for the movie rights to The Memory of Running, for which McLarty will write the script.

    Neal says: "Funny and Fascinating, A Wonderful Book"
    "Author is Narrator"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I would recommend this audiobook. The intriguing characters secured my interest quickly and held it through to the end. I found I wanted to get back to the story because I cared what happened to this hapless fellow/narrator. I enjoyed the dual-path storytelling, living the past and present concurrently.

    Ron McLarty, reading his own novel, spins it delightfully, making the character seem dull at times, charming at others, interested in the journey more than the destination.

    The ending was a bit abrupt, although appropriate for the story. Fortunately, there is an interview with Ron McLarty following the audiobook which provided a gentle withdrawal from the characters Smithy and Bethany.

    Which character ??? as performed by Ron McLarty ??? was your favorite?

    The main character, Smithy, is catapulted into his journey without a plan, without opinion, without direction. A truly free spirit, working out grief and loss over miles of a traveling meditation on life and love.

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

    Not really. I liked the sense of time passing while Smithy was on his epic ride. I didn't let too much time pass, though. I was eager to return for more of the story.

    Any additional comments?

    This is not a blockbuster novel, just a sweet read.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Stein on Writing: A Master Editor Shares His Craft, Techniques, and Strategies

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Sol Stein
    • Narrated By Christopher Lane

    Stein on Writing provides immediately useful advice for writers of fiction and nonfiction, whether newcomers or accomplished professionals. As Sol Stein, renowned editor, author, and instructor, explains, "This is not a book of theory. It is a book of usable solutions, how to fix writing that is flawed, how to improve writing that is good, how to create interesting writing in the first place."

    ddsharper says: "Excellent Content and Listen"
    "You go, Sol!"
    Would you listen to Stein on Writing again? Why?

    I most certainly will listen to this book again. Stein has enlightened me on what makes a great book great.

    What was one of the most memorable moments of Stein on Writing?

    Stein makes it personal, using stories from his own experience. He also uses examples from literature, which are readily known and/or accessible. He shows instead of tells, which is one of the basic premises.

    Which character ??? as performed by Christopher Lane ??? was your favorite?

    This is not fiction. The only

    What???s an idea from the book that you will remember?

    That's just it...this entire book is worth remembering. When I think I'm starting to forget, I will re-listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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