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Graham, NC, USA | Member Since 2002

  • 6 reviews
  • 13 ratings
  • 588 titles in library
  • 0 purchased in 2015

  • Life of Pi

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Yann Martel
    • Narrated By Jeff Woodman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Pi Patel has been raised in a zoo in India. When his father decides to move the family to Canada and sell the animals to American zoos, everyone boards a Japanese cargo ship. The ship sinks, and 16-year-old Pi finds himself alone on a lifeboat with a hyena, an orangutan, a zebra with a broken leg, and a 450-pound Bengal tiger. Soon it's just Pi, the tiger, and the vast Pacific Ocean - for 227 days. Pi's fear, knowledge, and cunning keep him alive until they reach the coast of Mexico, where the tiger disappears into the jungle.

    Theresa says: "Best audio of the year for me"
    "Possibly my #1 recommended audiobook"

    I have been listening to audiobooks for over an hour/day for over 4 years and Life of Pi is one of the most magical blends of "narration" (what should be called reading), writing, and spiritual adventuring I've ever experienced. The Alexander McCall Smith books, the James Herriot books and the Harry Potter series (which I hope that Audible will be able to afford some day) are similarly blessed with perfect reading, but the strength of this novel is in its writing and story. I think that it works better in the story-telling realm, and is one of the few books that I've found a better listen than a read.

    WARNING: I am a Comparative Literature scholar, so I was excited and delighted by literary devices that may put off other readers. However, I truly believe that anyone who can just relax and listen to the story develop (for example, the reviewer listening while driving as opposed to the listener who needed more out of the story sooner than it was given) will feel that they have experienced something even greater than a good read.

    51 of 55 people found this review helpful
  • The Known World

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By Edward P. Jones
    • Narrated By Kevin Free

    Henry Townsend, a black farmer, bootmaker, and former slave, has a fondness for Paradise Lost and an unusual mentor, William Robbins, perhaps the most powerful white man in antebellum Virginia's Manchester County. Under Robbins's tutelage, Henry becomes proprietor of his own plantation, as well as of his own slaves. When he dies, his widow Caldonia succumbs to profound grief, and things begin to fall apart.

    Rachel says: "wonderful and highly recommended"
    "Flashes of brilliance"

    Actually 2.5 stars from me - a mixed bag.
    This book was highly recommended to me, and I did enjoy it. However, I was annoyed by 2 aspects that some of the other reviewers have alluded to, and I'd like to add my voice to warning you BEFORE you buy. This book desperately needed a good editor. Jones' writing is really good and the plot is impeccable, leading to a wonderful story that I may reread some day. But the good writing is diminished by the fact that an editor never made Jones make decisions about how to best convey what he wanted to convey, whether he wanted to be clear and direct or purposefully convoluted. The result is passages of breathtaking power and beauty amongst a lot of words, not all of which add to the story nor even the narrative style.

    I also did not enjoy the reader. I admit that I just said that the author was not always clear where he was going or wanted to go, but the reader didn't help either. I had the impression that I was listening to someone reading the story for the 1st time, unable to put much life or expression into his reading and extremely inconsistent with character voicing (mostly not at all, but sometimes somewhat!)

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Eragon: The Inheritance Cycle, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Christopher Paolini
    • Narrated By Gerard Doyle
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    When Eragon finds a polished blue stone in the forest, he thinks it is the lucky discovery of a poor farm boy; perhaps it will buy his family meat for the winter. But when the stone brings a dragon hatchling, Eragon realizes he has stumbled upon a legacy nearly as old as the Empire itself.

    Mary S. Murray says: "Delightful and Enjoyable"
    "Written by a teenager"

    I really think that this book is an exceptional first effort by a talented young writer, but as an unexceptional older reader I liked it only because it's the only way I've ever gotten the word "jejune" into a conversation. I found everything about the plot utterly predictable and boring (read it before, liked it better then) and the storyline very much in keeping with the imagination of a teenager. The first description of the main female character was such hackneyed tripe that I almost threw my device across the room. Imagine a lunchroom discussion at almost any junior highschool of a "perfect" or "beautiful" woman. Not that the imagination is lacking, but that most adults have imagined it before, and then (hopefully) moved on.

    So, if you're young, or have VERY little fiction background, you may love this book. The reading is good, it moves along. I feel more sorry for Paolini than for any unhappy reader like myself, because when he gets older he'll have to face the fact that he actually wrote this (well, re-wrote actually, going back to the fact that nothing in the book is truly new or even a particularly fresh take).

    5 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • The Brothers Karamazov

    • UNABRIDGED (34 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Fyodor Dostoevsky
    • Narrated By Frederick Davidson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    In The Brothers Karamazov, Dostoevsky explores human nature at its most loathsome and cruel but never flinches at what he finds. The novel tells the stirring tale of four brothers: the pleasure-seeking, impatient Dmitri; the brilliant and morose Ivan; the gentle, loving, and honest Alyosha; and the illegitimate Smerdyakov, shy, silent, and cruel. They are behind the murder of one of literature's most despicable characters: their father. This was Dostoevsky's final and perhaps his finest work.

    David says: "superb rendition of Dostoyevsky's greatest novel"
    "poorly read??"

    I'm just offering an alternative viewpoint to the 1st review. Frederick Davidson does take some getting used to, no doubt about that - I had a big problem with the first book read by him that I tried (The Count of Monte Cristo) became somewhat more tolerant with "the Magician" and really like his reading of P.G. Wodehouse. However, he seems to have a monopoly on many of Audible's unabridged recordings of "classics" of British literature and more, so I recommend giving him a chance by starting where his very mannered reading is less offensive (Wodehouse). I don't feel like I need to speak to Dostoyevsky's works. Russian literature can also take some getting used to.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Sons and Lovers

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By D.H. Lawrence
    • Narrated By Jim Killavey
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Sons and Lovers was the first of Lawrence's major works, and is still considered to be one of his best. The 1913 novel, partly autobiographical and set in the coalmining village of Bestwood, is notable for being the first English novel to be genuinely working-class in origin and focus.

    Jimcin says: "Great book and good reading"
    "NEVER buy anything read by Jim Killavev"

    PLEASE heed these reviews - I've never yet read this book and I can't listen to this guy any more - I struggled through the 26+ hours of "Our Mutual Friend" only because I worked out a scheme to close my eyes and pretend I was reading the printed word, and because it quickly became clear that that novel was one of the great masterworks of English literature. 25" was all I could devote to this one & I'm actually going to write to Audible to complain directly. This reader is a menace.

    3 of 24 people found this review helpful
  • Our Mutual Friend

    • UNABRIDGED (37 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By Charles Dickens
    • Narrated By Jim Killavey

    Stephanie says: "Will this book be our mutual friend?"
    "NEVER buy anything read by Jim Killavev"

    I struggled through the entire unabridged listening experience though there were technical problems in my version, chapters out of order and absolutely the most bizarre and awful reader I have ever listened to (I estimate that I've listend to about 80 unabridged recordings so far). I accidentally bought D.H. Lawrence's "Sons and Lovers" read by this guy with the same result - WHAT a disappointment! HOWEVER, I still value the entire experience because this may be one of the finest works of English fiction written to date. Shakespeare doesn't hold a candle to the depth, realism, heart and "truth that only fiction can reveal" found in this magnificent novel. I found that the only way I could bear the reader was to close my eyes and pretend I was reading the printed page, so I agree with Zack about reading it to yourself.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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