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M. J. Christensen

Tucson, AZ. | Member Since 2011

18
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 35 reviews
  • 62 ratings
  • 562 titles in library
  • 35 purchased in 2015
FOLLOWING
29
FOLLOWERS
1

  • How It All Began

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Penelope Lively
    • Narrated By Katherine Kellgren
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (253)
    Performance
    (208)
    Story
    (210)

    When Charlotte Rainsford, a retired schoolteacher, is accosted by a petty thief on a London street, the consequences ripple across the lives of acquaintances and strangers alike. A marriage unravels after an illicit love affair is revealed through an errant cell phone message; a posh yet financially strapped interior designer meets a business partner who might prove too good to be true.

    Molly-o says: "Wonderful and beautifully written"
    "Lovely Interconnected Stories"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A humorous, well paced story that flows along well as we see how the characters' lives are changed by the mugging of Charlotte. In some ways, this reminds me a bit of Wodehouse in structure; some of the characters are funny at times, but also very human. A very entertaining read and although I found the narrator's voice harsh at first, I came to really enjoy and appreciate her reading after awhile. I especially like her voicing of Anton. Lively is one of my favorite authors and this is definitely one of her best books.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Iliad: The Fitzgerald Translation

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Robert Fitzgerald (translator), Homer
    • Narrated By Dan Stevens
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (47)
    Performance
    (44)
    Story
    (44)

    Since it was first published more than 25 years ago, Robert Fitzgerald's prizewinning translation of Homer's battle epic has become a classic in its own right: a standard against which all other versions of The Iliad are compared. Fitzgerald's work is accessible, ironic, faithful, written in a swift vernacular blank verse that "makes Homer live as never before" (Library Journal).

    Tad Davis says: "Beautiful"
    "A Classic Of Western Literature"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I enjoyed listening to The Iliad very much. I knew very little about the Trojan War but had seen the movie "Troy" (which tells the story with some alterations and without mentioning how the gods interacted with humans - a key element of the story). Stevens (of "Downton Abbey") was an excellent narrator and I don't think I would have gotten as much from the book if I had only read it. Chapter two was particularly uninteresting to me as it was a listing of all the ships and the linage of their Captains who traveled with Agamemnon to Troy. The story itself gave me a better understanding of the Ancient Greeks and their way of life. I will probably listen to this again in the future.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Iliad of Homer

    • ORIGINAL (6 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Elizabeth Vandiver
    Overall
    (94)
    Performance
    (81)
    Story
    (80)

    For thousands of years, Homer's ancient epic poem the Iliad has enchanted readers from around the world. When you join Professor Vandiver for this lecture series on the Iliad, you'll come to understand what has enthralled and gripped so many people.Her compelling 12-lecture look at this literary masterpiece -whether it's the work of many authors or the "vision" of a single blind poet - makes it vividly clear why, after almost 3,000 years, the Iliad remains not only among the greatest adventure stories ever told but also one of the most compelling meditations on the human condition ever written.

    Elan says: "Vandiver never disappoints"
    "Gives A Better Understanding Of A Classic"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I had never read The Iliad before, so after listening to the Fitzgerald translation, I wanted to get more meaning and context from my reading. Professor Vandiver of Northwestern University gave some excellent lectures and enhanced my understanding of this classic of Western Literature. She was very organized and presented the material in an easy-to-grasp way. Her enthusiasm for the book and ancient Greek literature was evident in her voice. I would love to take one of her classes! I am now reading The Odyssey and intend to purchase her series of lectures on it too.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue: The Untold Story of English

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By John McWhorter
    • Narrated By John McWhorter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1507)
    Performance
    (1195)
    Story
    (1190)

    A survey of the quirks and quandaries of the English language, focusing on our strange and wonderful grammar. Why do we say "I am reading a catalog" instead of "I read a catalog"? Why do we say "do" at all? Is the way we speak a reflection of our cultural values? Delving into these provocative topics and more, Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue distills hundreds of years of fascinating lore into one lively history.

    Cookie says: "Oh the joy!"
    "Meaningless "Do" And More"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Very interesting look at the history of the English language through its syntax and usage. Renowned linguist McWhorter makes a case for Celtic influence on the development of English. I had to remember my grammar lessons from grade school (a long time ago!) to follow some of the book, but his explanations helped. This is a book that I could listen to a number of times.

    McWhorter's narration is excellent and his pronunciation of other languages is first rate.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Habits of the House

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Fay Weldon
    • Narrated By Katherine Kellgren
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (186)
    Performance
    (165)
    Story
    (162)

    As the Season of 1899 comes to an end, the world is poised on the brink of profound, irrevocable change. The Earl of Dilberne is facing serious financial concerns. The ripple effects spread to everyone in the household: Lord Robert, who has gambled unwisely on the stock market and seeks a place in the Cabinet; his unmarried children, Arthur, who keeps a courtesan, and Rosina, who keeps a parrot in her bedroom; Lord Robert’s wife, Isobel, who orders the affairs of the household in Belgrave Square; and Grace, the lady’s maid who orders the life of her mistress.

    Cindy says: "A Downtonlike story read by my favorite narrator?"
    "If You Like Downton Abbey"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This novel by prolific British novelist, Fay Weldon, is enjoyable and a fun listen. Each chapter is headed by the time and date - maybe some listeners might not like that, but I found it helped me keep track of the plot. This is like Downton Abbey and Upstairs Downstairs as we are introduced to characters from both the upper and lower strata of English society during the Edwardian years. I liked it enough to continue on with the trilogy.

    It took awhile for me to get acclimated to Katherine Kellgren's voice, but then I enjoyed her reading.

    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
    (131)
    Performance
    (79)
    Story
    (76)

    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
    (1897)
    Performance
    (1727)
    Story
    (1740)

    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.

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • The Cricket on the Hearth

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Charles Dickens
    • Narrated By Jim Dale
    Overall
    (3338)
    Performance
    (2820)
    Story
    (2853)

    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
    (4724)
    Performance
    (4212)
    Story
    (4214)

    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
    (514)
    Performance
    (473)
    Story
    (473)

    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 J 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
    (93)
    Performance
    (78)
    Story
    (76)

    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

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