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Neil Chisholm

"fabric artist and quilter"

Buninyong, Australia | Member Since 2011

250
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 81 reviews
  • 93 ratings
  • 291 titles in library
  • 14 purchased in 2014
FOLLOWING
3
FOLLOWERS
43

  • The Warden: Timothy West Version

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Anthony Trollope
    • Narrated By Timothy West
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (180)
    Performance
    (125)
    Story
    (125)

    The first of Trollope's Barsetshire novels, The Warden concerns the moral dilemma of the Reverend Septimus Harding, who finds himself at the centre of a bitter conflict between defenders of Church privilege and the reformers of the mid-Victorian period.

    Joseph R says: "The Old Man & His Terrific and Single Daughter"
    "A jab at the hierarchy of the Church of England"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This was an interesting book but the satire is lost on modern readers. You had to know that The Jupiter newspaper was really The Times and that various characters were swipes at Charles Dickens and other authors and journalists for it to be amusing or even to make sense.

    Timothy West does an excellent job as a narrator and I enjoyed the book enough to give the next in the series of the Barchester Chronicles a go but its not really grabbed me ... yet!

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Little Women

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Louisa May Alcott
    • Narrated By Justine Eyre
    Overall
    (71)
    Performance
    (43)
    Story
    (47)

    It is no secret that Alcott based Little Women on her own early life. While her father, the free-thinking reformer and abolitionist Bronson Alcott, hobnobbed with such eminent male authors as Emerson, Thoreau, and Hawthorne, Louisa supported herself and her sisters with "woman’s work."

    Madelynn says: "Great Narration"
    "A primer on how to be proper little madams"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I knew this book only from hearsay and the Winona Ryder movie and I was feeling in a classic sort of mood when I bought it but not wanting to work too hard to listen to it. Its not Trollope although its amusing, its not Henry James but it has an American in Europe, it doesn't have the polish of Edith Wharton but it is a lovely book for all that.

    It has some indications of feminism in it but most of all it is a book that can be seen as a guide for adolescent girls wanting to do the right thing in early womanhood.

    Its a hark back to the past but some of the lessons learnt still have value today. A most enjoyable listen but relieved both to be a male and that its the 21st century!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Phineas Finn

    • UNABRIDGED (23 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Anthony Trollope
    • Narrated By Timothy West
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (144)
    Performance
    (106)
    Story
    (105)

    In Phineas Finn, the second of the Palliser novels, Trollope balances the rival demands of public and private life, entangling political ambitions with the experiences of love. Phineas Finn, an irresistible but penniless young Irish barrister enters Parliament and comes to London leaving behind him an Irish sweetheart, Mary Flood-Jones. In London, Phineas wins friends on all sides and is admitted to high society.

    Leni Ramberg says: "The entire book is in the 3 parts of download."
    "Lost love in a parliamentary setting"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book, the second in the Pallisier Series. Again previous characters crop up now and again but only to provide a bigger context to the actual action by the new characters.

    Trollope was a marvellous creator of believable heros and heroines and relates their emotions and thoughts with total reality. Its not a skill but a gift to be able to do that and he has that gift in trumps. Its as though he has gotten into the mind of the characters. It makes them three dimensional and live and breathe and utterly believable as real individuals.

    Again Timothy West is wonderful at narrating and brings even more life to an already lifelike story despite the fact it is a tale from a long lost age.

    Highly recommended to those that enjoy Trollope and those that want to understand why parliamentary reform was so necessary in the mid 19th century.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Can You Forgive Her?

    • UNABRIDGED (28 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Anthony Trollope
    • Narrated By Timothy West
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (223)
    Performance
    (143)
    Story
    (145)

    Trollope inextricably binds together the issues of parliamentary election and marriage, of politics and privacy. The values and aspirations of the governing stratum of Victorian society are ruthlessly examined and none remains unscathed. But it is above all on the predicament of women that Trollope focuses. ‘What should a woman do with her life?’ asks Alice Vavasor of herself, and this theme is echoed by every other woman in the novel.

    David says: "Superb performance and sound"
    "A tale of poor decisions and their rectification"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I am a new convert to Anthony Trollope. I have listened to all the Barsetshire novels and I am delighted to hear that some of those characters are appearing in the Palliser novels. An English "Comedy Humane" in the manner of Balzac, except it is so terribly terribly English. One can see the vivid green grass in the fields and smell the mustiness of the old houses but it is a delight all the same.

    Timothy West is perfect to read Trollope, in fact dare I say he was born to read it. He brings the characters alive and the descriptions to vision.

    There are several novels in the Palliser and I am thrilled to think that I have many hours of enjoyment ahead of me.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Bel Ami

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Guy de Maupassant
    • Narrated By John McDonough
    Overall
    (50)
    Performance
    (42)
    Story
    (43)

    Guy de Maupassant is revered for his naturalistic fiction, which brilliantly captures flesh-and-blood characters as it evokes the most telling details of everyday life. Considered one of the finest French novels ever written, Bel Ami follows journalist Georges Duroy and his increasing stature among the Paris elite. With an immense thirst for power, Georges is not above an almost gleeful use of wealthy mistresses to achieve his ends.

    Neil Chisholm says: "Bel Ami or how to socially climb in 1885 Paris"
    "Bel Ami or how to socially climb in 1885 Paris"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Bel Ami starts as a penniless returned soldier and by the end of the book after affairs and marriages he is one of the most powerful men in Paris if not France. He tramples on all he meets, money and position become everything and his sexual gratification is the cherry on the top.

    The women in the story seem to be strong but really are weak and bend to his every whim and it shows that the story is basically a story of human desire, weakness and determination. Maupassant was well know for his excellent characterisation and in Bel Ami the characters are brilliantly portrayed.

    Listening to my favourite Maupassant has really stimulated my hunger for more French literature which I have read extensively in my 30s. However, having it read to me gives it a whole extra layer of richness and complexity (and correct pronounciation of the French names and places!).

    This book is highly recommended - listen to it before you see the film. The movie has been given a bad review but if you go in knowing the story and the main characters you might get more from it. Certainly you will go in understanding better the times and morals and be less judgemental. I hope to see the movie myself shortly. Standby - I might add to this review after I have seen it!

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Paris Reborn: Napoléon III, Baron Haussmann, and the Quest to Build a Modern City

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Stephane Kirkland
    • Narrated By Robert Blumenfeld
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (13)
    Performance
    (11)
    Story
    (11)

    Traditionally known as a dirty, congested, and dangerous city, 19th Century Paris was transformed in an extraordinary period from 1848 to 1870, when the government launched a huge campaign to build streets, squares, parks, churches, and public buildings. The Louvre Palace was expanded, Notre-Dame Cathedral was restored and the French masterpiece of the Second Empire, the Opra Garnier, was built.

    Neil Chisholm says: "Why Paris looks the way it does today"
    "Why Paris looks the way it does today"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This was an interesting book but not the easiest of books to listen to unless you had a map of Paris in front of you most of the time. I know Paris quite well but even I was sometimes confused and was grateful that Google Maps were there at my fingertips.

    It certainly showed that Napoleon III and Baron Haussmann didn't lack balls, as to make the boulevards that Paris is now so famous for, they had to carve up medieval and historic central Paris to put in the much needed thoroughfares and to make Paris into a modern city. Really only a despot and a single minded administrator could do it and thank God they did. This is the story about how they did it.

    I enjoyed it but the narrator wasn't the best - he had a strange accent (English clearly wasn't his first language), he paused in the middle of sentences, but his pronunciation of the French names of people, areas and roads were a delight to hear akin to music.

    Recommended to those that are interested in Paris, Urban Planning and understanding French History from 1848 - 1870.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • The West End Front: The War Time Secrets of London's Grand Hotels

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Matthew Sweet
    • Narrated By Christopher Oxford
    Overall
    (2)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (2)

    It’s the Second World War and the Savoy, the Dorchester, and Claridge’s teem with those determined not to allow Hitler to impact on their way of life. Spies: Meet Marie-Jacqueline Lancaster, the woman from M15 who has the gravy browning licked from her legs by Dylan Thomas. Royals: Meet Crown Prince Alexander of Yugoslavia, born in a suite at Claridge’s that was declared Yugoslav territory for the night. Players: Meet Joyce Stone, whose husband leads the band at the Dorchester. West End Front is a witty and eye-opening account of the extraordinary events that unfolded under the reinforced ceilings of London’s grand hotels.

    Neil Chisholm says: "For the rich war life didn't involve coupons"
    "For the rich war life didn't involve coupons"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I expected this book to be filled with amusing stories of goings on both up stairs and down stairs during the war. It wasn't that at all. Each chapter had a main character with a story to tell of war life that involved either Claridges, The Dorchester, The Ritz or The Savoy.

    Once I got over my disappointment that I wasn't going to be spending the time being amused I actually really enjoyed the interesting stories being told of the communist storming of the Dorchester and the post war strikes at the Savoy or the gay bar in the basement of the Ritz.

    Through it all the duchesses continued to stay in their suites often even during the air raids and ate very well in the dining rooms - purchased food wasn't on coupons and was dependant on availability so pheasant and quail and woodcock continued to be roasted and eaten by the rich.

    An interesting book with some humour but most of it was exhibiting the typical stiff upper lip stuff that went on during the war.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Secret Cases of Sherlock Holmes

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Donald Thomas
    • Narrated By John Telfer
    Overall
    (13)
    Performance
    (9)
    Story
    (8)

    This compelling collection brings Baker Street's celebrated resident and his cohort, Dr Watson, out of retirement to investigate seven of the most notorious mysteries in the annals of true crime, from the murder of a London prostitute to the 1907 theft of the Irish Crown Jewels.

    Neil Chisholm says: "Holmes in real historical settings"
    "Holmes in real historical settings"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is an interesting concept - the short stories are real cases in history and Donald Thomas has put Sherlock Holmes in as the detective that solves the mysteries. I really enjoyed it as it put a whole new level of complexity into what are often complex stories.

    Well narrated by John Telfer again and I would recommend this book to history buffs as well as Holmes fans.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Death on a Pale Horse: Sherlock Holmes on Her Majesty's Secret Service

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Donald Thomas
    • Narrated By John Telfer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (24)
    Performance
    (19)
    Story
    (19)

    In a momentous period of British history, Donald Thomas' latest Sherlock Holmes adventure pits the great detective and his faithful biographer, Dr. John Watson, against an international conspiracy led by a disgraced English officer. Colonel Hunter Moran bears upon him the "Mark of the Beast"; his satanic ingenuity leaves a spectacular trail of devastation. It runs from the annihilation of a British armored column by Zulu tribesmen - armed only with shields and spears - to a life-and-death struggle on the sinking passenger steamer Comtesse de Flandre.

    GEORGE says: "Captivating Sttle and Story Line !"
    "A Real Sherlock Holmes Mystery"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A long time a go I read a collection of Sherlock Holmes mysteries in a big hard cover book that I borrowed from the library of my Great Aunt. I am sure that it was a first edition but where it is now I have no idea. I remember being riveted with the action and confounded by the mystery and amazed at Sherlock's observations.

    I was no less riveted, confounded and amazed by this book. I can highly recommend it and plan to read more modern interpretations of Sherlock Holmes mysteries. They appeal to my gothic nature without the need of zombies and the like.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Empires and Barbarians : The Fall of Rome and the Birth of Europe

    • UNABRIDGED (25 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Peter Heather
    • Narrated By Sean Schemmel
    Overall
    (35)
    Performance
    (34)
    Story
    (33)

    Empires and Barbarians presents a fresh, provocative look at how a recognizable Europe came into being in the first millennium AD. With sharp analytic insight, Peter Heather explores the dynamics of migration and social and economic interaction that changed two vastly different worlds--the undeveloped barbarian world and the sophisticated Roman Empire--into remarkably similar societies and states.

    Kirsty says: "Enjoying the book, but the performance...."
    "As dry as chips"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a treatise, or maybe it was a PhD dissertation, whatever it was it was ever so learned and made my eyes rotate with pain into the back of my head. Most of that pain was at the murderous narration by Sean Schemmel - if you are going to have a learned text narrated at least get some one who can read long words and gets geographical names correct. The other pain was the names of the tribes and leaders listed ad nauseam and the fact that a pertinent point was repeated several times just so that in the stream of learned stuff you didn't miss the salient point.

    I persisted and listened to all 3 volumes as I am interested in the topic but I shall not need to delve any further into the migration of the germanic hords in the first millenium AD any more - I have heard the definitive history now and can relax in the knowledge that my history of the fall of the roman empire is complete.

    9 of 10 people found this review helpful
  • Sicily:Three Thousand Years of Human History

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Sandra Benjamin
    • Narrated By Fred Filbrich
    Overall
    (21)
    Performance
    (19)
    Story
    (19)

    Emigration of people from Sicily often overshadows the importance of the people who immigrated to the island through the centuries. These have included several who became Sicily's rulers, along with Jews, Ligurians, and Albanians. Greeks, Romans, Vandals, Goths, Byzantines, Muslims, Normans, Hohenstaufens, Spaniards, Bourbons, the Savoy Kingdom of Italy and the modern era have all held sway, and left lasting influences on the island's culture and architecture.

    Neil Chisholm says: "It improved with time"
    "It improved with time"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I was initially disappointed with this book - 3000 years is a lot to cover and the years BC were very confusing and not very exciting listening. I felt that the wars between the different greek colonies ended up being a list that just baffled me.

    I was particularly interested in the Norman occupation and that didn't disappoint and really from then on it was well written and held my interest.

    Poor Sicily has had many invasions and masters. It has been included in several empires and ruled by kings and emperors that lived far away. None of it really changed the character of the sicilians themselves.

    The latter part of the book concerned itself with the unification of Italy and the mafia which made most interesting listening but it took a lot of getting to.

    I do recommend this book - persist with it and you will get to some hidden gems and nuggets of interesting information.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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