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Peregrine

If it weren't for Audible I'd never get any reading done.

Los Angeles, CA, United States | Member Since 2006

266
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 44 reviews
  • 200 ratings
  • 0 titles in library
  • 7 purchased in 2014
FOLLOWING
3
FOLLOWERS
17

  • Modern Times: The World from the Twenties to the Nineties

    • UNABRIDGED (37 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Paul Johnson
    • Narrated By Nadia May
    Overall
    (147)
    Performance
    (48)
    Story
    (51)

    Beginning with May 29, 1919, when photographs of the solar eclipse confirmed the truth of Einstein's theory of relativity, Johnson goes on to describe Freudianism, the establishment of the first Marxist state, the chaos of "Old Europe", the Arcadian 20s, and the new forces in China and Japan. Also discussed are Karl Marx, Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, Roosevelt, Gandhi, Castro, Kennedy, Nixon, the '29 crash, the Great Depression, Roosevelt's New Deal, and the massive conflict of World War II.

    Mark says: "Relevant History"
    "Challenging for a liberal to read"
    Overall

    Johnson has a great sense of narrative and real moral outrage about the evils of communist and fascist totalitarianism. For this liberal it was a stunning and provocative view of history from the conservative angle.

    That said, he refuses to criticize dictators who were on the US side and even excuses their crimes in a way he never excuses communists. The chapter on the Spanish Civil War is absurd, and his critiques of intellectuals and "east coast elites" are simplistic and Nixonian in their transparent resentment.

    11 of 16 people found this review helpful
  • The Luminaries

    • UNABRIDGED (29 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Eleanor Catton
    • Narrated By Mark Meadows
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (598)
    Performance
    (509)
    Story
    (526)

    It is 1866 and Walter Moody has come to make his fortune upon the New Zealand goldfields. On arrival, he stumbles across a tense gathering of 12 local men, who have met in secret to discuss a series of unsolved crimes. A wealthy man has vanished, a whore has tried to end her life, and an enormous fortune has been discovered in the home of a luckless drunk. Moody is soon drawn into the mystery: a network of fates and fortunes that is as complex and exquisitely patterned as the night sky.

    Ian C Robertson says: "Literally Dickensian"
    "A great read, but falls apart at the end"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The Luminaries is a great read for anyone who enjoys 19th-century British novels. Catton's prose is of a decidedly Victorian bent, beautiful descriptions spilling out as a Wilkie Collins-type plot unfolds. Now, I read the Woman in White recently and ended up angry at its cheap coincidences, but The Luminaries doesn't have any of those. For most of the book it's very funny and a real page turner, even with its formal prose style. There's also a fascinating portrayal of early New Zealand society, which indeed was the author's aim.

    What it does have is a weird structure in which little pieces of the whole plot drip out for 800pp., followed by a rush to the finish that doesn't even answer all the reader's questions. Upon finishing I went online and was both relieved and annoyed to find that the unexplained pieces of the plot are just that. There's also an astrological theme throughout that I confess I couldn't follow (even looking at the charts at the head of each section in the print book, which the audiobook of course omits).

    Mark Meadows may be the very best narrator I've ever listened to, as he switches effortlessly through a variety of British, Scottish and Irish accents.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Boxer, Beetle

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By Ned Beauman
    • Narrated By Robert Sams
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (2)

    Kevin "Fishy" Broom has his nickname for a reason - a rare genetic condition that makes his sweat and other bodily excretions smell markedly like rotting fish. Consequently, he rarely ventures out of the London apartment where he deals online in Nazi memorabilia. But when Fishy stumbles upon a crime scene, he finds himself on the long-cold trail of a pair of small-time players in interwar British history.

    Peregrine says: "Great book--with a *terrible* narrator"
    "Great book--with a *terrible* narrator"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Robert Sams reads this book sounding almost like a computer-generated voice--with little variation of tone and clearly NO idea what he's saying. Since I'm whispersyncing with a Kindle copy, I can tell you that this novel is filled with hilarious characters and biting social commentary, but he misses the point entirely! I had to stop sometimes and think through the words to get the joke or even just to get the meaning. Sams has no interest in this book and should really be replaced with a reader who will deign to make it comprehensible. BOO!

    The characters are almost all British--why didn't they get an English actor to read it?

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Flamethrowers: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By Rachel Kushner
    • Narrated By Christina Traister
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (104)
    Performance
    (90)
    Story
    (95)

    The year is 1975 and Reno - so-called because of the place of her birth - has come to New York intent on turning her fascination with motorcycles and speed into art. Her arrival coincides with an explosion of activity in the art world - artists have colonized a deserted and industrial SoHo, are staging actions in the East Village, and are blurring the line between life and art. Reno meets a group of dreamers and raconteurs who submit her to a sentimental education of sorts.

    Peregrine says: "Stories come gushing out of this book"
    "Stories come gushing out of this book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Cradled in a fine evocation of the world of the New York art scene circa 1976 and the tumult of labor protests in Italy are a torrent of shorter narratives, almost like a Thousand and One Nights. Most though not all of the stories she tells are enjoyable and contribute to the world she's portraying. I'm not certain it all hangs together, but I suspect I'll be chewing this one over for a while.

    The narrator has a pleasant voice that is just right for the protagonist's unsure 23-year-old self. When she says "I" you really believe she's the one telling you this story. However, her intonation is sometimes way off, as if she's concentrating on keeping a smooth delivery at the expense of understanding what she's saying.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • The Woman in White

    • UNABRIDGED (25 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Wilkie Collins
    • Narrated By Josephine Bailey, Simon Prebble
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (834)
    Performance
    (655)
    Story
    (655)

    One of the greatest mystery thrillers ever written, Wilkie Collins's The Woman in White was a phenomenal best seller in the 1860s, achieving even greater success than works by Charles Dickens. Full of surprise, intrigue, and suspense, this vastly entertaining novel continues to enthrall audiences today.

    David says: "Gripping novel, excellent production"
    "19th century pulp!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I picked this up because there's a reference to it in Ulysses, and Joyce owes a tiny debt to Wilkie Collins for developing the idea of a multi-narrator novel. With Collins' The Moonstone, it has a place in history as the original mystery novel.

    That said, it's very hokey stuff, a bad gothic story that relies on a string of coincidences and a very Victorian concept of foreigners. Some of the descriptions of action are just hideously long and dull. I almost gave up halfway through.

    The readers trade off, Prebble reading the male narrators and Bailey the female ones. Both are masters of the craft.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Joyce's Ulysses

    • ORIGINAL (12 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor James A. W. Heffernan
    Overall
    (13)
    Performance
    (11)
    Story
    (12)

    Ulysses depicts a world that is as fully conceived and vibrant as anything in Homer or Shakespeare. It has been delighting and puzzling readers since it was first published on Joyce's 40th birthday in 1922. And here, Professor Heffernan maps the brilliance, passion, humanity, and humor of Joyce's modern Odyssey in these 24 lectures that finally make a beguiling literary masterpiece accessible for any reader willing to give it a chance.

    Peregrine says: "I really recommend this if you're reading Ulysses"
    "I really recommend this if you're reading Ulysses"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a superb series of lectures walking you through Joyce's very difficult novel. I read Ulysses in college and although I remembered a great deal about it, there were many aspects of it that passed me by at the time. Prof. Heffernan is skillful and entertaining as he takes you chapter-by-chapter through the thorny book. He's particularly good at explicating the Homeric parallel.

    The Great Courses format is frankly absurd, with its 30-minute chunks, applause and the same damned bit of Brandenburg concerto at the head of every lecture.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Neruda Case: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Roberto Ampuero
    • Narrated By Robertson Dean
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (13)
    Performance
    (11)
    Story
    (11)

    Roberto Ampuero's novels starring the wonderfully roguish Cayetano Brulé are an international sensation. In The Neruda Case, listeners are introduced to Cayetano as he takes on his first case as a private eye. Set against the fraught political world of pre-Pinochet Chile, Castro's Cuba, and perilous behind-the-Wall East Berlin, this mystery spans countries, cultures, and political ideas, and features one of literature's most beloved figures-Pablo Neruda. Cayetano meets the poet at a party in Chile in the 1970s.

    Peregrine says: "OK combination of historical fiction & mystery"
    "OK combination of historical fiction & mystery"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The rendering of Pablo Neruda is by far the best part of the book. As Ampuero says in the postscript, he aimed to bring El Poeta down to earth, show him for the great but flawed person he was. By all means, go read some Neruda poems when you're done; they'll bring out the Great Man part.

    The "mystery", such as it is, is disappointing, just this-happened-then-this-then-this, even as the story goes all over the world. As the Pinochet coup approaches, descriptions of Chile in turmoil are vivid and harrowing, but are over almost as soon as they begin.

    I found the reading professional but perfunctory.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Guermantes Way: Remembrance of Things Past, Volume 3

    • UNABRIDGED (28 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Marcel Proust
    • Narrated By Neville Jason
    Overall
    (40)
    Performance
    (36)
    Story
    (31)

    Remembrance of Things Past is one of the monuments of 20th-century literature. The Guermantes Way is the third of seven volumes. The narrator penetrates the inner sanctum of Paris high society and falls in love with the fascinating Duchesse de Guermantes. Proust describes vividly the struggles for political, social, and sexual supremacy played out beneath a veneer of elegant manners. He also finds himself pursued by the predatory Baron de Charlus.

    David E. Gregson says: "Makes a very big reading project a breeze!"
    "Another fine entry in the project"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    If you're looking this far into the gigantic Proust novel, I'll assume you need no recommendations regarding the "story", such as it is, but I will say that Guermantes Way is likely one of the most entertaining and funny of all the volumes. Proust's dead-on critique of high society is full of cynical humour as he comes to realize that the princes and duchesses he's worshipped from afar are either vain, stupid or badly wasting any wit or talent they possess.

    Neville Jason has undertaken the huge task of rendering Remembrance of Things Past into audio-book form in English. He gives a fine read, giving characters equivalent British accents (the Duc de Guermantes is given a London aristocrats' accent, Fran??oise an Irish servant's tones, etc.) and pronounces all surviving French words correctly. The short pdf reader's guide that comes with the audiobook was actually written by Jason as well, and he does a good job of introducing the general reader to Proust.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Infinite Jest

    • UNABRIDGED (56 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By David Foster Wallace
    • Narrated By Sean Pratt
    Overall
    (340)
    Performance
    (297)
    Story
    (296)

    A gargantuan, mind-altering comedy about the Pursuit of Happiness in America set in an addicts' halfway house and a tennis academy, and featuring the most endearingly screwed-up family to come along in recent fiction, Infinite Jest explores essential questions about what entertainment is and why it has come to so dominate our lives; about how our desire for entertainment affects our need to connect with other people; and about what the pleasures we choose say about who we are.

    Darwin8u says: "Removing Endnotes Does NOT Equal Unabridged!"
    "I waited years for this audiobook"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I waited a long time to read Infinite Jest since I depend heavily on audiobooks to keep up on my reading???I have a long commute, a busy job, kids, etc.???so I was very glad to see IJ become available. Having spent a month making my way through it with the audiobook AND a kindle version, reading every footnote, using Internet wikis to keep track of the story, exceptional vocabulary and references, I declare that I loved the book. It's a Ulysses for the 90's, combining erudition and a pop culture sensibility.

    The reader does OK. He puts on some good Boston accents, but he's clearly no French speaker. There are some annoying edits inserted around the first half or so, as some producer clearly freaked out and made him correct the pronunciation of several French phrases and DFW's patented weird vocabulary. Still, give the poor bastard some credit--this must have taken him a month to record.

    I understand the decision to leave out the footnotes, but it does seem like corner-cutting. If DFW were still alive, I bet he would have called for some clever compromise, such as putting the footnotes on a separate audio file in a different voice, or writing some comments for the reader to add, such as "That's just an explanation of the drug he's taking," or "Seriously, don't skip this one." Audiobook makers seem to forget that their products are performances like any other, and need not be a literal recitation treating the text as a sacred object.

    15 of 19 people found this review helpful
  • The Dispossessed: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Ursula K. Le Guin
    • Narrated By Don Leslie
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (150)
    Performance
    (109)
    Story
    (111)

    Shevek, a brilliant physicist, decides to take action. He will seek answers, question the unquestionable, and attempt to tear down the walls of hatred that have isolated his planet of anarchists from the rest of the civilized universe. To do this dangerous task will mean giving up his family and possibly his life. Shevek must make the unprecedented journey to the utopian mother planet, Anarres, to challenge the complex structures of life and living, and ignite the fires of change.

    Justin says: "The Anti Atlas Shrugged"
    "Great story, philosophical and poignant"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    One of the 2 best adult sci-fi titles Le Guin has given us; I was very happy to re-read it (after about 30 years) when it came to Audible finally. It's a meditation on human nature, disguised as commentary on the Cold War. At first it seems as if she's idealizing socialist society, but she does an excellent job critiquing it, with an almost Randian notion of egalitarianism suffocating human ingenuity. I finished it yesterday and I'm still chewing it over.

    The reader is fine, a little slow and I used the audible app's 1.5x speed feature sometimes.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Pandora's Star

    • UNABRIDGED (37 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Peter F. Hamilton
    • Narrated By John Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3808)
    Performance
    (2157)
    Story
    (2190)

    The year is 2380. The Intersolar Commonwealth, a sphere of stars some 400 light-years in diameter, contains more than 600 worlds, interconnected by a web of transport "tunnels" known as wormholes. At the farthest edge of the Commonwealth, astronomer Dudley Bose observes the impossible: Over 1,000 light-years away, a star...vanishes. It does not go supernova. It does not collapse into a black hole. It simply disappears.

    Devin says: "Great Epic Scifi"
    "Good, but damned long"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    There are plenty of interesting characters and cool ideas in this book, but at the end of its 1000 pages, you're only going to be half-way through the story. Many of Hamilton's long descriptions of new planets and societies are worth reading, but some are just boring. Don't get me wrong, I'm reaching for the sequel very soon.

    John Lee is a good reader, but he mixes up his accents sometimes.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful

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