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M. J. Christensen

Tucson, AZ. | Member Since 2011

11
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 31 reviews
  • 57 ratings
  • 443 titles in library
  • 74 purchased in 2014
FOLLOWING
29
FOLLOWERS
1

  • Meet McKinney's Cotton Pickers: Part One, Two, and Three (Dramatized)

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Guy Rathbun
    • Narrated By Guy Rathbun
    Overall
    (4)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (1)

    A documentary about the celebrated 1920's group, featuring the fully re-mastered music of this classic band and its stars: Don Redman, Cuba Austin, John Nesbitt, Claude Jones, George Thomas, Prince Robinson, Dave Wilborn, Todd Rhodes, Milton Senior and Ralph Escudero. Plus Lonnie Johnson and members of the Jean Goldkette Orchestra.

    M. J. Christensen says: "Meet Some Jazz Greats!"
    "Meet Some Jazz Greats!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Excellent preview of the seminal jazz group, McKinney's Cotton Pickers. Guy Rathbun introduces the group's members and its music in mostly chronological order - starting with their RCA Victor recording sessions in 1927 up through 1930. Although I was familar with a few of their recordings, It was definitely worthwhile to hear many of these sessions with commentary. Rathbun relates a few anecdotes and introduces each song with who was playing and a hint of what to listen for during the piece. I was especially interested in the group's version of Hoagy Carmichael's "Stardust" which was an uptempo version (the way Hoagy had originally written it) and featured bluesman Lonnie Johnson on guitar. This and some of the other songs highlighted listed the group as "The Chocolate Dandies" because they were recorded at the Okeh recording studio against their contract with Victor. Later some of their recordings featured a young Benny Carter and Coleman Hawkins. Rathbun's enthusiasm for the music came through clearly in his commentary and I gained a further appreciation for the group's musicianship and innovation. A wonderful listen and I wanted more!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Freedom Summer: The Savage Season That Made Mississippi Burn and Made America a Democracy

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Bruce Watson
    • Narrated By David Drummond
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (119)
    Performance
    (70)
    Story
    (66)

    In the summer of 1964, with the civil rights movement stalled, seven hundred college students descended on Mississippi to register black voters, teach in Freedom Schools, and live in sharecroppers' shacks. But by the time their first night in the state had ended, three volunteers were dead, black churches had burned, and America had a new definition of freedom.

    Roy says: "The Long Hot Summer"
    "A Turning Point In The Civil Rights Movement"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a thorough and engaging look at the summer of 1964 when a number of dedicated young people went to Mississippi to register blacks to vote and establish "Freedom Schools". All the harrowing events that started with the murders of Goodman, Schwerner and Chaney are chronicled as Watson follows several of the volunteers through the months of June, July and August. The listener can feel the fear that the volunteers experienced daily and the culture-shock that many of them felt. Toward the end of the book, Watson mentions how Mississippi is one of the most progressive states in the South now, having more black elected officials than any other state in the country. This summer was the 50th anniversary of "Freedom Summer"; however, there is much more to be done before all Americans are considered first-class citizens.

    The narrator David Drummond has the right tone and inflections for this important book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Breakfast at Tiffany's

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Truman Capote
    • Narrated By Michael C. Hall
    Overall
    (939)
    Performance
    (864)
    Story
    (868)

    Golden Globe-winning actor Michael C. Hall (Dexter, Six Feet Under) performs Truman Capote's masterstroke about a young writer's charmed fascination with his unorthodox neighbor, the "American geisha" Holly Golightly. Holly - a World War II-era society girl in her late teens - survives via socialization, attending parties and restaurants with men from the wealthy upper class who also provide her with money and expensive gifts. Over the course of the novella, the seemingly shallow Holly slowly opens up to the curious protagonist.

    Michael says: "Subtle yet Extravagant"
    "A Poignant Novella"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Capote's novella of Holly Golightly captures the superficial atmosphere surrounding Holly and her entourage. The narrator, probably a stand-in for Capote himself who came to New York from the Deep South, admires Holly at times, but also becomes exasperated with her. The author brings out the complexity of her character and her ability to design her own life, at least for a time, the way she would want others to view her. As the story unfolds, the readers / listeners get to know a bit of the real Holly, but by the end of the book, can only wonder what will happen to her eventually. She seems to be only able to face life by ignoring parts of herself. This thin novella has quite a different tone than the 1961 movie with Audrey Hepburn. The movie made Holly a much more sympathetic character. I really prefer the novel's character - she seems more human.

    Michael C. Hall's narration was excellent. He brought out the vulnerability and hesitancy of the narrator in the story, called "Fred" by Holly and his voicing of all the characters was very good.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • The Cricket on the Hearth

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Charles Dickens
    • Narrated By Jim Dale
    Overall
    (2861)
    Performance
    (2401)
    Story
    (2427)

    The holidays are upon us, and this year Audible is very happy to present to our members one of Charles Dickens’ most popular Christmas stories, The Cricket on the Hearth. This holiday classic (original subtitle: “A Fairy Tale of Home”) tells the innocent, picturesque, and charming story of a poor family and their would-be guardian angel; in short, a delightful vision of Victorian Christmas. As always, a great story calls for a great voice, so we’ve brought in legendary actor and record-breaking Audie and Grammy award-winning narrator Jim Dale (The Night Circus). Happy holidays and happy listening!

    Benedict says: "One of the best stories about Men and Women ..."
    "Short Novella That Warms The Heart"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This was the perfect read for winter days and nights. Not quite as wonderful as "A Christmas Carol", it still has some interesting characters (including the cricket) and a Dickensian misunderstanding that resolves happily for all. Jim Dale's narration is excellent as always, although Dot's voice seemed a bit strained at times. Having both read and listened to the story, I would definitely recommend the audio version to get the full effect of Dickens' writing. This leaves the listener with a happy feeling that "all is well with the world"!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Suspect

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Robert Crais
    • Narrated By MacLeod Andrews
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4143)
    Performance
    (3691)
    Story
    (3689)

    LAPD cop Scott James is not doing so well, not since a shocking nighttime assault by unidentified men killed his partner, Stephanie, nearly killed him, and left him enraged, ashamed, and ready to explode. He is unfit for duty - until he meets his new partner. Maggie is not doing so well, either. The German shepherd survived three tours in Iraq and Afghanistan sniffing explosives before she lost her handler to an IED and sniper attack, and her PTSD is as bad as Scott’s. They are each other’s last chance.

    Jacqueline says: "Gripping Page Turner!!"
    "A Dogged Canine Mystery"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I enjoyed listening to this book, although I don't own a dog and am not a dog lover. The mystery held my attention, but I did guess some of the outcome. I particularly liked the chapters from the perspective of Maggie, the police dog. Crais seemed to be able to think like a canine in these parts of the story. I also learned something about the training of dogs which seemed like practical information that someone could use. The writing kept me interested and the end was exciting. The narrator had a feel for the story - his voicing of the characters was excellent; I became thoroughly engrossed in the final confrontation with the "bad guys". Can this book be the beginning of a new series for Crais? All in all, I'm happy I listened to this; however, I still prefer the author's Elvis Cole mysteries.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Society's Child: My Autobiography

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Janis Ian
    • Narrated By Janis Ian
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (463)
    Performance
    (430)
    Story
    (430)

    Janis Ian was catapulted into the spotlight in 1966 at the age of 15, when her soul-wrenching song "Society's Child" became a hit. But this was only the beginning of a long and illustrious career. In Society's Child, Janis Ian provides a relentlessly honest account of the successes and failures - and the hopes and dreams - of an extraordinary life.

    Pamela says: "I know why this won the grammy"
    "Triumphing Over Adversity"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Janis Ian's autobiography relates the story of an artist who gained fame at the young age of 15 years and had many other peaks and valleys throughout her life. Having been so successful at an early age was perhaps a detriment as she seemed to be too trusting in her professional life as well as her personal one. As I listened, I came to expect that if things were going smoothly, then something was just waiting to bring her down - trouble with her health, the IRS, her relationships. She was able to persevere through it all and seems to be much happier now.

    I really wanted to hear more about her singing and songwriting career and how she translated her feelings and hopes into such powerful songs. Her narration was very good

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Rebel: Bull Run, 1861: The Nathaniel Starbuck Chronicles, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Bernard Cornwell
    • Narrated By Ed Sala
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (80)
    Performance
    (67)
    Story
    (65)

    When William Faulconer rescues Nate Starbuck, his son’s friend, from the clutches of a Yankee-hating mob in Virginia, he finds a grateful and willing recruit for Faulconer’s Legion. But Nate’s decision to fight against his native North is only one of the human dilemmas facing the Legion. The Legion commander’s son is against the war, and his daughter’s fiancé is plotting for control of the family fortune. As a motley gathering of men prepares to engage the enemy at Bull Run, they have high hopes of ending the war before it starts.

    francisco says: "Great story, but weak performance."
    "Fine Historical Fiction"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A historical novel about the beginnings of the Civil War mostly from the Southern point of view. Bernard Cromwell is British, but gives us a great look at the Battle of Bull Run. His main character, Nathaniel Starbuck, is a Yankee who fights for the South. There is humor in the book and the characters really come to life. Cromwell's writing about the battle strategies of both sides places the reader in the thick of the fighting. Ed Sala's reading is perfection - he brings all the characters to life. I especially liked his voice for "Pecker", Washington Faulconer's brother-in-law. I look forward to downloading the next in the series so I can find out what happens to the characters.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Before I Go to Sleep: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By S. J. Watson
    • Narrated By Orlagh Cassidy
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (579)
    Performance
    (474)
    Story
    (475)

    "As I sleep, my mind will erase everything I did today. I will wake up tomorrow as I did this morning. Thinking I'm still a child. Thinking I have a whole lifetime of choice ahead of me...." Memories define us. So what if you lost yours every time you went to sleep? Your name, your identity, your past, even the people you love - all forgotten overnight. And the one person you trust may be telling you only half the story. Welcome to Christine's life.

    Sara says: "A terrifying story"
    "After I Wake Up"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This novel deals with amnesia and I chose it because I've always been interested in that subject. The beginning of the book was very intriguing - Christine wakes up every morning and doesn't remember anything about her life. The reader gets information as the character does and it's fun to work out the puzzle of what happened to Christine and why she has amnesia. But as the novel goes on, I found it repetitive as she learns many of the same things each day, but we the reader already know some of it. I figured out the end of the book and thought that Christine should have had some inkling of what happened to her and who was responsible. I won't give anything away, but points in the plot seemed very far-fetched even for a thriller. It was an easy listen and I thought Cassidy's narration was perfect - she read with the right amount of confusion and fear in her voice as this is a first-person narrative. I would try another of the author's books, but probably won't put any at the top of my reading list.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Magnificent Ambersons

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Booth Tarkington
    • Narrated By Geoffrey Blaisdell
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (104)
    Performance
    (43)
    Story
    (43)

    The Magnificent Ambersons chronicles the changing fortunes of three generations of an American dynasty. The family serves as a metaphor for the old society that crumbled after the Industrial Revolution, as a Midwestern town spreads and darkens into a city.

    Darwin8u says: "Many of the great ones too are soon forgotten"
    "A Bygone Era"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This enduring classic was a Pulitzer Prize winner in 1919. The novel shows life in a small town in the early part of the 20th Century before and after the automobile made an impact and changed the status of the town's prominent families. The author portrays the decline of the big estates and the rise of a new aristocracy based on business acumen and not only inherited wealth. The main character, George Minafer, is not very likable, although by the end of the book, he is more sympathetic. His mother seems to me overprotective and indulgent toward George and this leads to his personality problems. Tarkington introduces humor, especially in the first part of the book, where the townfolk gossip about the Amberson family. This is a well written story with astute characterizations.

    The narration by Geoffrey Blaisdell is excellent. I especially liked his tone and inflection when George exclaims: "riff-raff!".

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Free: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

    • UNABRIDGED (15 mins)
    • By James Thurber
    • Narrated By Ben Stiller
    Overall
    (3062)
    Performance
    (2727)
    Story
    (2761)

    Mild-mannered Walter Mitty is a day-dreamer who escapes his anonymous life by disappearing into a world of fantasies filled with heroism, romance and action. This well-known and beloved tale has launched its famous protagonist into the cultural lexicon, warranting his inclusion in English-language dictionaries and countless anthologies. Stiller's imaginative performance as Mitty is the perfect re-introduction to the classic character and a great preface to the upcoming film, for longtime fans and new listeners alike.

    Dave says: "We Only Live Once. Or Do We?"
    "A Classic Short Story!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    James Thurber is one of my favorite authors and this is one of my favorite short stories. Henpecked Mr. Mitty is a character everyone can relate to - we all have our daydreams in which we are the hero or heroine and at times want to get away from reality. Ben Stiller brings out the humor in the story. Thanks Audible for this free download!

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Free: Three Shots Rang Out - The JFK Assassination 50 Years Later

    • ORIGINAL (2 hrs)
    • By Darren Reynolds
    • Narrated By Diane Sawyer
    Overall
    (396)
    Performance
    (345)
    Story
    (344)

    This edition of Three Shots Rang Out: The JFK Assassination 50 Years Later is an audio-only ABC News special created exclusively for Audible and hosted by ABC World News Anchor Diane Sawyer. Sawyer takes listeners back to Dealey Plaza in Dallas, Texas, on November 22, 1963, for a “you are there” exploration of the day of U.S. President John F. Kennedy’s assassination.

    mary says: "Compelling"
    "You Are There!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Excellent review of the Kennedy assassination with the actual ABC radio broadcasts of the time. Narrated professionally by Diane Sawyer. You really get the feeling of "being there". I especially liked the comments of Ike Pappas during the shooting of Lee Harvey Oswald by "an elderly man" (Ruby). He exclaims: "Holy Mackerel!" Other highlights are the interview with the surgeon in charge of trying to save JFK, the interview with Officer Tippet's wife, and the closing interview with Larry Sabato, author of the recent "The Kennedy Half Century". Thank you Audible and ABC for this free program! It brought back all the memories of that awful time.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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