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Sandy

75 yr old MWF. I like historical novels with more history than story. Audiobooks shouldn't have too many characters.

Laguna Woods, CA, United States | Member Since 2011

20
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 17 reviews
  • 81 ratings
  • 181 titles in library
  • 31 purchased in 2014
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  • An American Tragedy

    • UNABRIDGED (34 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Theodore Dreiser
    • Narrated By Dan John Miller
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (210)
    Performance
    (182)
    Story
    (185)

    An American Tragedy is the story of Clyde Griffiths, who spends his life in the desperate pursuit of success. On a deeper, more profound level, it is the masterful portrayal of the society whose values both shape Clyde's ambitions and seal his fate; it is an unsurpassed depiction of the harsh realities of American life and of the dark side of the American dream.

    beatrice says: "a period piece, still resonant"
    "An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to An American Tragedy the most enjoyable?

    In high school we were told that this novel ranked with Moby Dick as "THE Great American Novel." I'm glad I finally got to it in my old age! Well, Moby Dick may be a greater novel, but it is much harder to read. This book flows and unfolds like a soap opera and really held my interest to the end. Dan John Miller is a wonderful reader. He can do voices -- children, regional accents, and is able to give each character a different voice. I highly recommend this novel.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    The hero of the book is Clyde, and this book is a sort of coming-of-age for him. Hwe seems all too real as he changes from the obedient son of a street preacher into a ruthless man. That may be a spoiler, so I don't want to say any more.


    Which character – as performed by Dan John Miller – was your favorite?

    Clyde


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    yes, but it is a long one!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Goldfinch

    • UNABRIDGED (32 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Donna Tartt
    • Narrated By David Pittu
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (9466)
    Performance
    (8667)
    Story
    (8680)

    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"
    "The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to The Goldfinch the most enjoyable?

    The characters seem real, and I found myself involved with them in a way that I haven't experienced in a long time. The plot is intricate yet followable, and surprising. The author writes with a remarkable insight into human nature.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The thoroughness with which the author explores the life of the main character, Theo, and that of his friend Boris. Also the appreciation of the Dutch Great Masters that Theo and his mother reveal. The surprising turns of plot.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Well, I don't want to spoil the book for anybody, so I won't describe the most amazing scene. From the very beginning, when Theo and his mother are in the museum, his mother pointing out the details that make the masterworks of the Dutch Golden Age so great, the book held my attention, although I have never been very interested in art.


    Who was the most memorable character of The Goldfinch and why?

    Boris is one of the most memorable characters I've ever encountered in any book, ever. He was born in Poland, speaks Polish, Russian, and Ukrainian, and has a completely different approach to life. The narrator, David Pittu, does a wonderful eastern European accent for Boris.


    Any additional comments?

    I highly recommend this book. I was recommending it to a friend, and mentioned that it was on the NY Times bestseller list. "Oh, I never read best-sellers," she replied. "Really good books never become best-sellers." I begged to differ in this case! This book will become a classic and will be relevant to readers for many years into the future.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Pines

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Blake Crouch
    • Narrated By Paul Michael Garcia
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2392)
    Performance
    (2174)
    Story
    (2174)

    Wayward Pines, Idaho, is quintessential small-town America — or so it seems. Secret Service agent Ethan Burke arrives in search of two missing federal agents, yet soon is facing much more than he bargained for. After a violent accident lands him in the hospital, Ethan comes to with no ID and no cell phone. The medical staff seems friendly enough, but something feels…off. As the days pass, Ethan’s investigation into his colleagues’ disappearance turns up more questions than answers. Why can’t he make contact with his family in the outside world? Why doesn’t anyone believe he is who he says he is? And what’s the purpose of the electrified fences encircling the town? Are they keeping the residents in? Or something else out? Each step toward the truth takes Ethan further from the world he knows, until he must face the horrifying possibility that he may never leave Wayward Pines alive…

    Linda B says: "Well done story"
    "Pines by Blake Crouch"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I would recommend this book to sci-fi fans with a willingness to suspend disbelief. For much of the book, I was very skeptical.


    Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

    The plot definitely held my interest except for a few overly-long battle scenes. The hero is always on the edge of survival, victimized by brutal bullies or beasts. The book seems to be inspired by Franz Kafka and Lewis Carroll, then suddenly becomes more like Pierre Boulle.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    I was getting tired of the constant perils when suddenly the book had an amazing turn-about. I hope not to give anything away, but advise like-minded impatient types like myself, by all means Keep Reading. The climax will amaze you!


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

    The book did not make me laugh or cry, but did inspire a melancholy feeling in the pit of my stomach about our planet and what could happen to it if we aren't good stewards.


    Any additional comments?

    The narrator, Paul Michael Garcia, is a wonder. Every character has a different voice. It's hard to believe it is being read all by the same man! He can do children and women as easily as men.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Russia: Part Two: The Rise and Fall of the Soviets

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Martin Sixsmith
    • Narrated By Martin Sixsmith
    Overall
    (38)
    Performance
    (35)
    Story
    (35)

    Martin Sixsmith continues his history of Russia, from the tumultuous events of 1917 to the country’s re-emergence as one of the world’s most powerful nations. After the whirlwind of the revolution, the Bolsheviks struggled to consolidate their victory. To rescue the economy and save the regime, Lenin made concessions to the people. But after his death, Stalin introduced forced collectivisation and industrialisation, condemning the Soviet people to conditions worse than those experienced under the Tsars.

    Nikoli Gogol says: "Re-Broadcast of a BBC's "Russia: The Wild East""
    "Russia, by Martin Sixsmith (Parts 1 and 2)"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I would definitely recommend this audiobook to anyone, whether they know Russian history very well, or not at all. It is more than a mere audiobook; it's a BBC radio series. Sixsmith makes us feel that we are there with him in the various historical spots, and there is wonderful Russian classical and folk music to accompany us on our journey!


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    This is a very tough question, because so many characters in Russian history are colorful and amazing -- think of St Vladimir, Ivan the Terrible, Peter the Great, Catherine the Great, Rasputin, Lenin and Stalin, Krushchev, Gorbachev -- how could anyone possibly select a favorite? I choose the marvelous panorama of them all!


    What about Martin Sixsmith’s performance did you like?

    He knows how to pronounce Russian correctly, he has a wonderful personality, and he made me feel that I was there to witness each event. He must have been collecting Russian music all his life. I wish I had it all on CDs.


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

    Yes --his relating of the horrors of the Stalinist regime, especially that after Russia won World War II, losing millions of soldiers, all the ones who had ever been in any other country, such as Germany, were put into prison when they got home -- or shot to death, because they had witnessed a higher standard of living.


    Any additional comments?

    Don't miss this marvelous performance!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Lionheart

    • UNABRIDGED (27 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Sharon Kay Penman
    • Narrated By Emily Gray
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (196)
    Performance
    (171)
    Story
    (169)

    From New York Times best-selling novelist Sharon Kay Penman comes the stunning story of a great medieval warrior-king, the accomplished and controversial son of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine: Richard the Lionheart. A powerful tale of intrigue, war, and diplomacy, Lionheart plays out against the roiling conflicts of love and loyalty, passion and treachery, all set against the rich textures of the Holy Land.

    jerelyn says: "Finally Sharon Penman on Audio!"
    "Lionheart"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to Lionheart the most enjoyable?

    Penman really knows the Middle ages, and she took me back to those chaotic times. Emily Gray made it even more real.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The pageantry, the descriptions, the suspense.


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

    no


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    no


    Any additional comments?

    This is the fourth book by Sharon Kay Penman I've read, first one on audio. Although I loved the reader, I found it hard to follow on audio -- I needed a list of the characters and a map, so I recommend that others get the book in paperback, hardbound or e-book unless you have a photographic mind, as I'm sure many audio fans have!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Les Misérables: Translated by Julie Rose

    • UNABRIDGED (60 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Victor Hugo, Julie Rose (translator)
    • Narrated By George Guidall
    Overall
    (957)
    Performance
    (825)
    Story
    (834)

    One of the great classics of world literature and the inspiration for the most beloved stage musical of all time, Les Misérables is legendary author Victor Hugo’s masterpiece. This extraordinary English version by renowned translator Julie Rose captures all the majesty and brilliance of Hugo’s work. Here is the timeless story of the quintessential hunted man—Jean Valjean—and the injustices, violence, and social inequalities that torment him.

    Darwin8u says: "!"
    "Challenging, long, but Brilliant!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Victor Hugo put so very much deep thinking into this. Sometimes I didn't want to hear so much philosophizing and wanted to get on with the story, but it is brilliant and masterfully plotted out! It is hard for me to get the French names on audiobook, though I think George Guidall pronounces them meticulously. I was surprised that the book was so long -- doubt that I'd have finished it if I had chosen to read it in print. That would have been sad, because he really paints a detailed picture of the thinking of post-Napoleonic France. His description of the Battle of Waterloo is stunning.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Help

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Kathryn Stockett
    • Narrated By Jenna Lamia, Bahni Turpin, Octavia Spencer, and others
    Overall
    (27383)
    Performance
    (13993)
    Story
    (14040)

    Why we think it’s a great listen: The most celebrated performance in all of Audible’s history, The Help has nearly 2,000 5-star reviews from your fellow listeners. We hear the print book’s not bad, either. In pitch-perfect voices, Kathryn Stockett creates three extraordinary women whose determination to start a movement of their own forever changes a town, and the way women - mothers, daughters, caregivers, friends - view one another.

    Jan says: "What a great surprise!"
    "The Help"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I was worried that the actors might not be able to be convincing with their southern accents. They were all great.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Bossypants

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Tina Fey
    • Narrated By Tina Fey
    Overall
    (18442)
    Performance
    (14251)
    Story
    (14193)

    Before Liz Lemon, before "Weekend Update," before "Sarah Palin," Tina Fey was just a young girl with a dream: a recurring stress dream that she was being chased through a local airport by her middle-school gym teacher. She also had a dream that one day she would be a comedian on TV. She has seen both these dreams come true. At last, Tina Fey's story can be told....

    Warren says: "Tina Fey broke my new SUV"
    "Bossypants"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book is hilarious, and Fey's narration is just what you'd expect from the accomplished actress, comedienne, and aper. I was so glad she included her send-up of Sara Palin!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • God, No!: Signs You May Already Be an Atheist and Other Magical Tales

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Penn Jillette
    • Narrated By Penn Jillette
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1665)
    Performance
    (1506)
    Story
    (1506)

    From the larger, louder half of the world-famous magic duo Penn & Teller comes a scathingly funny reinterpretation of The Ten Commandments. They are The Penn Commandments, and they reveal one outrageous and opinionated atheist’s experience in the world.

    Paul says: "More memoir than theology"
    "God NO!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I do like Penn's theology, and he's pretty amusing, but he is so strident that I got tired of listening and did not finish the book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Wallace: Scotland's Greatest Hero

    • ABRIDGED (2 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Nigel Tranter
    • Narrated By Michael Elder
    Overall
    (12)
    Performance
    (8)
    Story
    (10)

    William Wallace is accepted as an even greater hero than King Robert the Bruce; he is Scotland's most honoured son, a patriot unrivalled. Bruce fought for a throne; Wallace fought for the nation's freedom with nothing wanted for himself. Terribly, Wallace paid the price, as this story relates.

    Sandy says: "The Wallace"
    "The Wallace"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Nothing but battle descriptions. I'm sorry I bought it. I wish audible had a way to return books that don't turn out to be sufficiently captivating to hold ones' interest.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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