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J.

I live in Vermont. My freelance work requires reading critical and expository prose, so I like fanciful escapist fare for fun.

PUTNEY, VERMONT, United States

4
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 7 reviews
  • 8 ratings
  • 27 titles in library
  • 0 purchased in 2014
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  • Blackadder the Third

    • ORIGINAL (2 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By Richard Curtis, Ben Elton
    • Narrated By Rowan Atkinson, Tony Robinson, Full Cast
    Overall
    (65)
    Performance
    (19)
    Story
    (18)

    England 1760-1815. With the advent of the Regency period the Blackadder's family fortune has rather plummeted. Edmund Blackadder, butler to the Prince Regent, veers from calamity to disaster with very little in the way of constructive help from either his imbecile Lord and master the Prince Regent or the mouse-brained Baldrick.

    J. says: "crackling wit"
    "crackling wit"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Where does Blackadder the Third rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    one of the most entertaining listens--high density of zingers per minute


    Would you recommend Blackadder the Third to your friends? Why or why not?

    yes--some of my friends share the bitter sense of humor required to enjoy the clever writing


    What does the narrators bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Atkinson's delivery serves the brilliant writing with clarity and character. Having a full cast helps keep the invisible action straight.


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

    No, it's a set of sparkling half-hour television episodes. Space them out like savouries, and give each your full attention.


    Any additional comments?

    Pace is just right--the preposterous plots move swiftly, yet every word is crisply pronounced and emphasized--even the sarcastic "throwaway" lines.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Orlando

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Virginia Woolf
    • Narrated By Clare Higgins
    Overall
    (183)
    Performance
    (100)
    Story
    (105)

    Fantasy, love offering, exuberant celebration of English life and literature, Orlando is a uniquely entertaining novel. Originally conceived by Virginia Woolf as a playful tribute to Vita Sackville-West, Orlando's central character lives as both a man and a woman through four centuries.

    Mayca says: "Magical"
    "wonderful language, unusual style"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Perhaps. It's something that few people would seek out on their own.


    If you’ve listened to books by Virginia Woolf before, how does this one compare?

    Somewhat less grim than her polemics, a witty fantasy.


    What about Clare Higgins’s performance did you like?

    Superb reading, showing fluency and thorough familiarity with the material and idiom. It made me able to pretend I was hearing the voice and thoughts of the author, as she projected them into her protagonist.


    If you could rename Orlando, what would you call it?

    Migrations of a soul


    Any additional comments?

    Vivid descriptions of wonderful natural and social environments; no direct dialog or conversations; some devastating skewering of the follies of manners and institutions, as in essays; rambling plot and erratic pace, with many digressions and ellipses; humorous turns of phrase; interesting characters.

    Not nearly enough pause breaks for skipping back if you miss one or two intricate sentences among the dense verbiage.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Take It from Here

    • UNABRIDGED (1 hr and 56 mins)
    • By Dennis Norden, Frank Muir
    Overall
    (2)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (2)

    Take It from Here was one of the most influential radio shows of all time, sweeping in a new era of comedy and introducing an enduring pair of writers: bright young things Frank Muir and Denis Norden. Their literate scripts, and the madcap adventures of Dick Bentley, "Professor" Jimmy Edwards, and June Whitfield, ensured 11 years of classic capers.

    J. says: "nutty, sometimes fun"
    "nutty, sometimes fun"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you consider the audio edition of Take It from Here to be better than the print version?

    This doesn't apply, as it's a variety show; it would be a drag to read it without hearing it.


    If you’ve listened to books by Dennis Norden and Frank Muir before, how does this one compare?

    They can be brilliant, and their performance is good, but this sample isn't their best material.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The recurring dramas involving the father and his maladjusted son are the most memorable, and very funny.


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

    No, it's more a box of assorted bonbons to come back to (several half-hour shows).


    Any additional comments?

    The sketches are snappy and reckless, the carefully arranged musical numbers something of a bore. No pause points to skip to except between whole shows.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Morecambe and Wise: Volume 3, You Can't See the Join

    • ORIGINAL (2 hrs)
    • Narrated By Eric Morecambe, Ernie Wise
    Overall
    (2)
    Performance
    (1)
    Story
    (1)

    Even more sunshine from the great and glorious days of BBC Radio's The Morecambe and Wise Show. Join Eric and Ernie in classic sketches such as 'speaking at the same time' and follow little Ern's writing career as he plans his own Memorial Theatre. Favourite guest stars include Penelope Keith, Des O'Connor, Allan Cuthbertson, and Brian Wilde with music from Syd Lawrence (of Arabia) and Peter Knight, and inimitable impersonations of James Stewart and James Cagney from Eric and Ern themselves.

    J. says: "bit of fluff"
    "bit of fluff"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you like best about Morecambe and Wise? What did you like least?

    nice friendly vibe and tribute to old vaudeville style--they are audibly enjoying what they do; but the lame sketches and pop-passe musical numbers, though accompanied by a very polished big band, don't hold up well these days

    guest stars are accomplished: Penelope Keith's script allows her to point out that it's beneath her, which is supposed to be comic but it's all too true

    one drawback: the voices of the 2 principals are not very distinctive from one another, so it's sometimes hard to follow the story with audio only


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    already started a novel


    What three words best describe Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise ’s voice?

    clear; pleasant; underemployed


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    not if I had to pay money


    Any additional comments?

    nice if you want to kick back and be entertained without engaging much brain

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • SmartPass Plus Audio Education Study Guide to Henry V (Unabridged, Dramatised, Commentary Options)

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By William Shakespeare, Mike Reeves
    • Narrated By Full-Cast featuring Joan Walker, Peter Lindford, Terrence Hardiman
    Overall
    (25)
    Performance
    (14)
    Story
    (15)

    Combined for great value! The multi-award-winning SmartPass study guide with and without commentary options. Full-cast, unabridged performance with comprehensive commentary and analysis for any student to fully understand and appreciate the play. Hear "A little touch of Harry" whenever you want to! Examine and appreciate the powerful language of leadership in this guided history play, considered to be Shakespeare's greatest creative statement about war.

    J. says: "a more thorough understanding"
    "a more thorough understanding"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you try another book from William Shakespeare and Mike Reeves and/or the narrators?

    Probably


    What other book might you compare SmartPass Plus Audio Education Study Guide to Henry V (Unabridged, Dramatised, Commentary Options) to and why?

    Presumably other Shakespeare plays have a similar treatment. Listening to this version of Henry V combines the advantages of dramatic expressive audio with those of a careful reading, with time to "read" explanatory notes in context--so it compares well with other versions of the same material.


    Did the narrators do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

    There are multiple readers, which alternated to sort out the many characters and separate them from the explanatory material. Some of the readers are pretty lame (the one who plays the Dauphin is particularly awful), but the words are spoken clearly at a good moderate pace.


    Do you think SmartPass Plus Audio Education Study Guide to Henry V (Unabridged, Dramatised, Commentary Options) needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    It stands on its own and is quite thorough. It's possible that eventually a few of the contemporary references will need to be updated (such as when the commentary suggests a modern equivalent to a historical person or event).


    Any additional comments?

    It's hard to put together a study guide that's at the right level for everyone, and strikes a tone that everyone will like. This one introduces itself as your companion at the theater, who mutters in your ear every time a character says something you might not understand; since it isn't an interactive computer program, it has to guess at what you don't know, and if you have any familiarity at all with Shakespeare you will find many of the "translations" unnecessary. But the historical background is very helpful. The Socratic "question and answer" interludes sound forced and stiffly scripted, as does the earnestly cheerful "let's dig in and really enjoy this marvellous writing!" encouragement along the way. Therefore it's good that you can listen to the whole reading without interruptions after you've taken the time to understand each scene with the help of the commentary. Although you don't get the visuals of a theatrical performance, if you see it onstage much of the play is usually cut out; so this is a deeper experience that allows you to hear more poetry without distraction.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • La's Orchestra Saves the World: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Alexander McCall Smith
    • Narrated By Emily Gray
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (112)
    Performance
    (40)
    Story
    (41)

    In 1939, Lavender flees London to escape the German bombs and her shattered marriage. Settling in a small town, she pulls together a makeshift orchestra to help cope with the times.

    glamazon says: "McCall Smith Does It Again!"
    "haunting, thoughtful"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    If you could sum up La's Orchestra Saves the World in three words, what would they be?

    loads of atmosphere


    If you’ve listened to books by Alexander McCall Smith before, how does this one compare?

    musing, quiet, not as clever or rollicking as Scotland Street series -author and listener try hard to put themselves in the time and place


    Which scene was your favorite?

    rushing through the rain to the farm by bike - or perhaps the moment of looking up as the concert begins and there he is in the woodwind section


    Who was the most memorable character of La's Orchestra Saves the World and why?

    mostly told from La's point of view: she tries to understand everyone - farm folk were particularly nicely evoked


    Any additional comments?

    not nearly enough bookmark breaks for skipping forward and back in case you missed something: not even one per chapter, but something like one every eight chapters--drove me crazy!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Count of Monte Cristo

    • UNABRIDGED (47 hrs)
    • By Alexandre Dumas
    • Narrated By John Lee
    Overall
    (3772)
    Performance
    (2091)
    Story
    (2143)

    Dashing young Edmond Dantès has everything: a fine reputation, an appointment as captain of a ship, and the heart of a beautiful woman. But his perfect life is shattered when three jealous friends conspire to destroy him. Falsely accused of a political crime, Dantès is locked away for life in the infamous Chateau d'If prison. But it is there that Dantès learns of a vast hidden treasure.

    Prsilla says: "Really-REALLY Classic!"
    "old tale well told"
    Overall

    Rollicking adventure, colorful, detailed, old-fashioned writing, long but elegant, lots of interesting characters. The reader's pace is just right, clarity and expression are very good; pronunciation of the French not great ("du" sounds like "doo"). Great choice for snowstorm or long dreary sick day.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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