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Jenny Jenkins

Old Chatham, NY | Member Since 2012

ratings
9
REVIEWS
9
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
0
HELPFUL VOTES
9

  • A Tale of Two Cities [Tantor]

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Charles Dickens
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (894)
    Performance
    (682)
    Story
    (717)

    A Tale of Two Cities is one of Charles Dickens's most exciting novels. Set against the backdrop of the French Revolution, it tells the story of a family threatened by the terrible events of the past. Doctor Manette was wrongly imprisoned in the Bastille for 18 years without trial by the aristocratic authorities.

    Teddy says: "Truly a Classic"
    "Simon Vance is the best Dickens reader anywhere!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about A Tale of Two Cities?

    The story you remember from your younger years is even more compelling and moving now.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Simon Vance brings to life the minor characters with such verve. Characters like Miss Pross whom I had skimmed over when I was a younger reader filled the book's landscape with so much powerful life. And I had such a palpable sense of Sidney Carton as a man intent on redeeming himself in a way that felt so right and true.


    Any additional comments?

    Reading the book on my iPad while listening to Simon Vance read on my commute to work was a powerful and fantastic experience.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York

    • UNABRIDGED (66 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Robert A. Caro
    • Narrated By Robertson Dean
    Overall
    (334)
    Performance
    (275)
    Story
    (280)

    Robert Caro's monumental book makes public what few outsiders have known: that Robert Moses was the single most powerful man of our time in the City and in the State of New York. And in telling the Moses story, Caro both opens up to an unprecedented degree the way in which politics really happens - the way things really get done in America's City Halls and Statehouses - and brings to light a bonanza of vital new information.

    jeff says: "AMAZING read"
    "Superb Narration of an Essential Story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Where does The Power Broker rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Probably among the top two or three. It does all that I ask of audiobooks. It permits me to read long books that I don't have time to read otherwise; keeps me intellectually engaged; and provides a narrator whose grasp of the material is reflected in the nuanced way in which he or she reads.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Robert Moses literally shaped New York City's 20th and 21st century destiny. Robert Caro pieces together the story of how and why Robert Moses did so to weave a universal story of power and how it is acquired and maintained, a personal story of a man of greatness and severe deficiencies, and an essential study of urban planning and government, and their ways, means, and impacts.


    What about Robertson Dean’s performance did you like?

    Robertson Dean's straightforward, intelligent, heartfelt, measured performance was incredible. He seemed to fully understand all that he was reading -- familiar with all the names and ideas found there -- and I wondered how many times he had read the text before the performance. His pacing was also perfect -- not too fast, not too slow.


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

    It made me furious. I hadn't realized that the lack of amenities -- park areas, playground areas -- in Harlem and other principally black neighborhoods was not the result of benign neglect but of active racism. Having grown up there and now being a mother myself, I now see that the teenaged boys who lived in cramped, unpleasant apartments had no other recourse than to hang out in the streets and expose themselves to bad influences and predators -- the odds were so stacked against them from that aspect of their existence alone. I also hadn't realized to what extent the funds that might have improved schools and hospitals -- facilities that were crumbling in the 1950s through 1970s -- were channeled instead to the highways and bridges that Moses masterminded. And I was inspired by those who successfully -- and unsuccessfully -- fought against Moses' incursions into thriving neighborhoods, and fascinated to see how Moses' power eventually and suddenly crumbled.


    Any additional comments?

    I don't know if this would be as compelling to the reader who isn't able to visualize the places under scrutiny -- Randall's Island, Triboro Bridge, Jones Beach. But if you are familiar with New York and don't really understand how this city became the way it is now, you must listen to this book. The story of Robert Moses is -- not at all metaphorically but in the most concrete sense -- the story of New York, the city and the state.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • What Maisie Knew

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Henry James
    • Narrated By Maureen O' Brien
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (31)
    Performance
    (21)
    Story
    (20)

    Maisie is an innocent six year-old, torn between her divorced parents, pathetically isolated yet tragically involved.

    Seth says: "A great reader reads a great writer"
    "Unexpectedly Modern Story, Beautifully Read"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Maisie appears to be the pawn of her feckless, self-involved parents; and then the adored darling of her subsequent stepparents. The story is told more or less from Maisie's point of view. We only know as much as she does -- no, let's take that back. She might know far more than we realize she knows. Who is playing who in this bitter game?


    What other book might you compare What Maisie Knew to and why?

    It's a psychological study, alive to every nuance of expression and unstated communication, but Maisie, as all humans do, remains a mystery. I'm sure some perfect comparisons will spring to mind as soon as I finish this review. But it's safe to say that if you found Turn of the Screw unsatisfying, you will not like this either. James hands you nothing but complexity and ambiguity. In other words: life.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The very last scene. It is not a spoiler to say that it is a play on the title of the book.


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

    I returned to this book after seeing the updated movie version of the book with Julianne Moore and Steven Coogan as the irresponsible, self-involved parents. But in the film, Maisie is played by a darling girl whose sweetness is touching and beautiful. Here, Maisie is far more complex.


    Any additional comments?

    Maureen O'Brien does an amazing job capturing the accents (with all the class connotations) as well as the emotions of the characters, which requires great insight into both human nature and literature as well as great acting skills. I will search out more books read by her.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Goldfinch

    • UNABRIDGED (32 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Donna Tartt
    • Narrated By David Pittu
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (8710)
    Performance
    (7993)
    Story
    (7998)

    The Goldfinch is a haunted odyssey through present-day America and a drama of enthralling force and acuity. It begins with a boy. Theo Decker, a 13-year-old New Yorker, miraculously survives an accident that kills his mother. Abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. Bewildered by his strange new home on Park Avenue, disturbed by schoolmates who don't know how to talk to him, and tormented above all by his unbearable longing for his mother, he clings to one thing that reminds him of her: a small, mysteriously captivating painting that ultimately draws Theo into the underworld of art.

    B.J. says: "A stunning achievement - for author and narrator"
    "David Pittu gave an amazing performance!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about The Goldfinch?

    The characters brought completely to life by both Donna Tartt's writing and David Pittu's acting (much more than narration). I came to know Andy so well through David Pittu's realization of him. Really special experience. I found myself missing Andy so much the other day.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Boris because I so related to his feral ability to devour life as it came. (Friends and families would laugh, I know -- and yet that's the power of a great novel, right? A sedate middle-aged bourgeois lady thinks that Boris is her!)


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

    No, I was so sorry to see he has mainly read middle school novels -- not even young adult ones! I cannot wait to hear him read some other


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

    Kept me riveted most of the time. And I didn't even love Theo Decker, the narrator. But loved the philosophical turns the novel took -- probably more than I loved the "we are suddenly in a European thriller/mystery" turns. And I did love all the antiques world details, too. So many different worlds brought completely to life. Well done, Donna Tartt!


    Any additional comments?

    Expressed so much about the power of art for me. Just when the novel seemed to veer into the predictable or the corny, it swerves away and stays true.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Wild Tales: A Rock & Roll Life

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Graham Nash
    • Narrated By Graham Nash
    Overall
    (188)
    Performance
    (172)
    Story
    (174)

    From Graham Nash - the legendary musician and founding member of the iconic bands Crosby, Stills & Nash and The Hollies - comes a candid and riveting autobiography that belongs on the reading list of every classic rock fan.

    James says: "A Great Story for fans of the Hollies and CSN!"
    "Hated the Band, Loved the Book!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    The fact that Graham Nash was not a rock-and-roll genius made this book all the better! Nash's story of a working-class kid from the Manchester slums who found success with The Hollies and mega-success with Crosby Stills Nash and Young is so interesting because he wasn't and isn't a genius. What Graham Nash has always been is curious, appreciative of talent, embracing life's opportunities, positive-minded, forward looking. Every time a new opportunity presents itself, Graham Nash says, "That's interesting, that's cool, let me try that!" and then works hard once he's in the situation.


    What does Graham Nash bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    You really feel he's telling us his story without mediation. It's very intimate and friendly and draws you in. That North England/West Coast accent is disarming, to say the least!


    Was Wild Tales worth the listening time?

    Yes, to see Nash's evolution from an almost 19th century childhood in Manchester (no hot water, no indoor toilet) to discovery of rock-and-roll to the perfect timing of following The Beatles into rock-and-roll hero status ... it's a cultural history as well as a personal one.

    The second half of the book was far less interesting to me -- as was the case with Keith Richards' book. All those tales of decadence in the 1970s and 1980s are tedious, sad, annoying. But they were part of the trajectory, I suppose!


    Any additional comments?

    I still don't like any of CSN's songs, and thought they were corny and mushy even when I was young! But Graham is like a favorite uncle: not cool, perhaps, but loving and really great to have over for a visit.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Cousin Bette

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Honore de Balzac, Sylvia Raphael (translator)
    • Narrated By Paul Hecht
    Overall
    (7)
    Performance
    (6)
    Story
    (7)

    Honore de Balzac's classic book of revenge and passion in which the title character Bette plots the destruction of various men including her cousin-in-law, Baron Hector Hulot. Bette enlists the help of Valérie, an unhappily married young woman, to seduce Hulot, destroy his life, and take his family's fortune.

    W. Perry Hall says: "Sweat Land of Libertine (Hell Hath No Fury....)"
    "Loved this in college, but now...?"
    Overall
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    What did you like best about Cousin Bette? What did you like least?

    The window into Parisian society of the mid-1800s -- corrupt, licentious -- was what I found interesting and then was ultimately bored by.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    I don't want to be unkind, but he should not have agreed to narrate this. The great narrators on Audible create voices for each of the characters that capture the essence of each "person" and help you find the wit and poignancy that you might not have noticed. This narration seemed stentorian and with so many female characters, he was very unsuited for representing the women. I don't know how other narrators manage to play women so incredibly well without seeming ridiculous or unmanly, but they do! This narrator, alas, seemed to march through the text with a heavy tread. He should probably stick to nonfiction.


    Did Cousin Bette inspire you to do anything?

    Yes, revisit my other college favorites and make sure I don't reflexively say I love a book if I haven't read it in the past 20 years!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Our Mutual Friend

    • UNABRIDGED (36 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Charles Dickens
    • Narrated By David Timson
    Overall
    (497)
    Performance
    (236)
    Story
    (229)

    A mysterious boatman on the Thames, a drowned heir, a dustman and his wife, and a host of other Dickens characters populate this novel of relationships between the classes, money, greed, and love. The 58 characters are presented with remarkable clarity by David Timson.

    A. Millard says: "A Masterpiece"
    "Amazingly Great Narration"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you consider the audio edition of Our Mutual Friend to be better than the print version?

    Perhaps Dickens was always meant to be read aloud. David Timson brought to life the idiosyncrasies of every character is such a distinct way -- a slew of different personalities to which he added so much insight and brought to such vivid life.


    What about David Timson’s performance did you like?

    He created distinct voices for every character that captured their essential qualities and brought out essences of their personalities I had not been aware of earlier. His doll's dressmaker's voice was pure genius -- genius totally in step with Dickens's genius.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Capital

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By John Lanchester
    • Narrated By Colin Mace
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (120)
    Performance
    (100)
    Story
    (103)

    It’s 2008, and things are falling apart: Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers are going under, and the residents of Pepys Road, London - a banker and his shopaholic wife, an old woman dying of a brain tumor and her graffiti-artist grandson, Pakistani shop owners and a shadowy refugee who works as the meter maid, the young soccer star from Senegal and his minder - are receiving anonymous postcards reading "We Want What You Have." Who is behind it? What do they want?

    Lynda Rands says: "Wonderful characters, great story"
    "21st Century London Comedy of Manners --with Heart"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I would absolutely recommend this audiobook!

    John Lanchester paints a portrait of 21st century life in London with sympathy, humor and dead-on accuracy. At first you think you're getting yourself into one more social satire -- aren't these materialistic wannabes so terrible (or at least so much worse than I am?). And Lanchester nails all those details perfectly with pitch-perfect nuance. But then the book opens up and gives us real human lives with humor, heart and insight.


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

    The narrator is incredibly good!

    He's funny, sympathetic, smart, and gives perfect intonation to both dialogue and narration. True, some of the African accents were not so great, but to be able to assume the accents and perspectives of so many people of multicultural London -- a Polish builder, Hungarian nanny, City bankers, artist with a fake East End accent (for his street cred), Pakistani shopkeepers male and female as well as their children ("Daddy!"), an 82-year-old middle class lady named Petunia -- constitutes a true tour de force.


    If you could take any character from Capital out to dinner, who would it be and why?

    I loved the Kamal family and begrudgingly admired and even loved Mrs. Kamal's determination. I think I would enjoy their argumentativeness, intelligence, and willingness to connect with one another.


    Any additional comments?

    I'll be looking out for more novels from John Lanchester and more books read by Colin Mace.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Cuckoo's Calling

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Robert Galbraith
    • Narrated By Robert Glenister
    Overall
    (6630)
    Performance
    (6029)
    Story
    (6035)

    After losing his leg to a land mine in Afghanistan, Cormoran Strike is barely scraping by as a private investigator. Then John Bristow walks through his door with an amazing story: his sister, the legendary supermodel Lula Landry, famously fell to her death a few months earlier. The police ruled it a suicide, but John refuses to believe that. The case plunges Strike into the world of multimillionaire beauties, rock-star boyfriends, and desperate designers, and it introduces him to every variety of pleasure, enticement, seduction, and delusion known to man.

    Tracey says: "Unbelievable debut mystery set in London"
    "Great Mystery, Amazing Performance"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you like best about this story?

    I loved the private eye, Cormoran Strike: tough, smart, full of heart, wry, cool, thoroughly flawed -- just great. Great interviewing and extracting of key info and using his imagination to understand when the pieces didn't fit and how to make connections. And although modern and realistic, the book wasn't gory -- phew!And the narration was truly superb.


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

    After I finish writing this review, I'm hunting down Robert Glenister's other performances and will begin downloading immediately. He was fantastic -- so full of understanding and intelligence, empathy and wry humor. He made the experience of listening like being at the movies, bringing all the characters to life with fantastic timing. I'm too American to understand what Strike's accent is supposed to be! Maybe Robert Glenister will explain it to us; I know that mixture of strains is indicative of Strike's motley background, but I don't know how!


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Strike's sympathy for his characters -- his moments of really understanding them was always moving. But I was touched by his inner responses to learning key info -- a kind of commitment that was so great. And I was touched by his heart going out to his own mother and Lula --the women who wouldn't or couldn't follow the rules.


    Any additional comments?

    Long may JK Rowling and Robert Glenister continue to bring to life the damaged, the great Cormoran Strike.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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