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susan

I like to weed and read at the same time.

Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada | Member Since 2014

17
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 23 reviews
  • 42 ratings
  • 292 titles in library
  • 6 purchased in 2015
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  • How Many Camels Are There in Holland?: Dementia, Ma and Me

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Phyllida Law
    • Narrated By Phyllida Law
    Overall
    (5)
    Performance
    (4)
    Story
    (4)

    Following Phyllida Law’s wonderful and acclaimed Notes to My Mother-in-Law - which comically and tenderly documented the author’s relationship with her husband’s mother who lived with the family for 17 years - we now have a chronicle of Phyllida’s relationship with her own mother who suffered from dementia. Recently widowed, bringing up her own two daughters (actresses Emma and Sophie Thompson), and working as a successful actress herself, Phyllida went up and down to Scotland to spend as much time with her ailing mother as she could manage.

    susan says: "Hackneyed I know but this is a MUST listen"
    "Hackneyed I know but this is a MUST listen"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book describes Phyllida Law's care of her dementing mother in Scotland while she was trying to sustain an acting career from her home in London. It is a glorious book full of gentle and rip roaring humor in the face of what must have been dreadful to witness. Phyllida had already cared for her mother-in law who was very deaf at the same time she was raising Emma and Sophie Thompson her actress daughters.Husband and father,Eric Thompson ( Magic Roundabout narrator for any Brits reading this) died very young.
    Phyllida has the most expressive, beautiful voice and narrates her exquisite prose to perfection. I listened to this book without a break and have bought another audible because she is narrating it.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher: The Undoing of a Great Victorian Detective

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Kate Summerscale
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (108)
    Performance
    (54)
    Story
    (55)

    In June of 1860 three-year-old Saville Kent was found at the bottom of an outdoor privy with his throat slit. The crime horrified all England and led to a national obsession with detection. At the time, the detective was a relatively new invention; there were only eight detectives in all of England and rarely were they called out of London, but this crime was so shocking that Scotland Yard sent its best man to investigate, Inspector Jonathan Whicher.

    Mark says: "Like reading case notes"
    "Scholarship combined with a terrific story."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Mr. Whicher and the case he attempted to solve were real. He became the forerunner of all our literary detectives beginning with The woman in white. The author provides the details of the case as well as relevant literary references and back stories. I had no idea what to expect and was utterly charmed and riveted by this book. "could not turn it off'.
    Wonderful narrator.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Philip Larkin: Life, Art and Love

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By James Booth
    • Narrated By Derek Perkins
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2)
    Performance
    (1)
    Story
    (1)

    Philip Larkin (1922-1985) is one of the most beloved poets in English. Yet after his death a largely negative image of the man himself took hold; he has been portrayed as a racist, a misogynist and a narcissist. Now Larkin scholar James Booth, for seventeen years a colleague of the poet's at the University of Hull, offers a very different portrait. Drawn from years of research and a wide variety of Larkin's friends and correspondents, this is the most comprehensive portrait of the poet yet published.

    susan says: "Fell in love withthe poetry if not the man."
    "Fell in love withthe poetry if not the man."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I am coming to poetry very late in life. It was poorly taught at school in the late 50's. I only went to Auden after 4 Weddings and a Funeral and so you will understand what a novice I am. I knew who Larkin was, that he was a Librarian,used four letter words, was at my husband's college at Oxford and after his death was found to be a bit of a racist who liked pornography. After our parents died my brother quoted the line of what Larkin thought our parents did to us.
    Enough to say that after listening to James Booth's masterful biography I have the Complete Poems, Required Writing and the CD of the Sunday Sessions on order.I really appreciated the format of making continual reference to how and when the poetry was being written and its connection to the people.places and events in his life.I had a friend who used to stamp Einstein's library books at Princeton and there must be many students who now associate their time at Hull with the Library.Kudos to the reader -beautifully done.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • In the Morning I'll Be Gone: Troubles Trilogy, Book 3 (Detective Sean Duffy, Book 3)

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Adrian McKinty
    • Narrated By Gerard Doyle
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (667)
    Performance
    (601)
    Story
    (593)

    It's the early 1980s in Belfast. Sean Duffy, a conflicted Catholic cop in the Protestant RUC (Royal Ulster Constabulary), is recruited by MI5 to hunt down Dermot McCann, an IRA master bomber who has made a daring escape from the notorious Maze prison. In the course of his investigations, Sean discovers a woman who may hold the key to Dermot's whereabouts; she herself wants justice for her daughter who died in mysterious circumstances in a pub locked from the inside.

    Daniel Mcafee says: "One of my Favorites"
    "Wish McKinty had written a sextet."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a great story surrounding a true event in N. Ireland 1980s. Our detective has a self deprecating sense of humor and his detection doesn't always turn out as it should.Like other detectives before him (Dalgliesh, and Rebus to name 2, uses music and literary references to punctuate and color the dialogue. Evocative scenes of Ireland,cars clothing,Ulster fry up ( yes please!) and a Pint of Bass from Burton on Trent in the prose . Doyle is a master at hitting exactly the right tone,speech pattern and accent of the many characters. He does the several women's voices very well-. I refuse to describe plot because I hate it when other reviewers do. If you liked the first 2 you will really like this one. I have all three now and can see myself listening to them again next summer.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Course of My Life

    • UNABRIDGED (38 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Edward Heath
    • Narrated By Paul Boehmer
    Overall
    (1)
    Performance
    (1)
    Story
    (1)

    The Course of My Life is not only the autobiography of one of the most distinguished figures of modern times, but a revealing panoply of twentieth-century political, international and social history. Born in 1916, Edward Heath became a Conservative Member of Parliament in 1950, following a glittering Oxford and military career, and was at the heart of political life for a long time - as Chief Whip (notably during the Suez Crisis), Minister of Labour, Lord Privy Seal at the Foreign Office, Leader of the Conservative Party from 1965-75, and Prime Minister from 1970 to 1974.

    susan says: "Underated politician."
    "Underated politician."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I found this interesting because Heath was active in politics around the time I was born and was working his way in the parliamentary system while I was growing up and unaware of what a very hard worker he was . actually was not much interested in what was going on until Kennedy was shot. He came from blue collar stock and had to work incredibly hard to get to university and then find employment until he was elected to parliament.
    His inability to control industrial unrest forced him out of 10 Downing St. He was much more valuable to the conservatives while he was an MP and Chief whip. He was disappointing as a PM and I think he never got over the failure.
    This autobiography gives a vivid account of how parliament worked behind the scenes post war, during Suez and during Britain's fight to join the common market. He was reserved about his private life and he doesn't shed much light on it in his book apart from his abiding love of music, about which he knew a great deal.Who knew this man loved fast cars and taking the faithful party workers on pub crawls, . The narrator made some unforgivable pronunciation errors and chopped up some sentences. If you are interested in parliamentary history 1950-70 then you will enjoy this.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Ghosts of Belfast

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Stuart Neville
    • Narrated By Gerard Doyle
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1140)
    Performance
    (525)
    Story
    (527)

    Fegan has been a "hard man" - an IRA killer in Northern Ireland. Now that peace has come, he is being haunted day and night by 12 ghosts: a mother and infant, a schoolboy, a butcher, an RUC constable, and seven other of his innocent victims. In order to appease them, he's going to have to kill the men who gave him orders. As he's working his way down the list, he encounters a woman who may offer him redemption; she has borne a child to an RUC officer and is an outsider too.

    Rebecca says: "You've love this Story"
    "Total surprise"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I bought this as part of a two for one. I thought it would be a break from the rather serious biography,history that I usually listen to.It was riveting; the premise and construction worked well. I read until I fell asleep on several nights and had to re-wind. I lived in London near Kentish town (IRA stronghold) throughout the early IRA bombings and the narrator's voices were spot on and chilling. Have bought the next one for a train trip.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Fatal Gift

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Alec Waugh
    • Narrated By Aaron Abano
    Overall
    (2)
    Performance
    (1)
    Story
    (1)

    If you enjoyed the powerful atmosphere of Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby you may just have an inkling of the smoothly professional efficacy of Alec Waugh's The Fatal Gift. His novel breathes the values and attitudes of the early decades of the 20th century. Raymond Peronne has wealth, is bright, is devastatingly attractive to women: his fatal gift. Second son of a baronet, Perronne goes to Oxford (from which he is rusticated), then to New York (in the '20s and '30s) and is in Egypt during the war (moving in circles then, as in this novel, inhabited by such as Evelyn Waugh, Claud Cockburn and Robin Maugham).

    susan says: "Neglected older brother"
    "Neglected older brother"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Alec Waugh absolutely captures the pre-world war 1 rise of a smart wine merchant merchant and his family into respectability and wealth and on into the 1920s. The narrator has the accents and nuances down pat. I remember older people talking this way into the 1950s. The descriptions of character and place are vivid. The story held me and I was very unhappy when I had finished it. Shell shocked veterans and suffragettes are all there. Excellent escapist summer read and written in beautiful prose.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Cheever: A Life

    • UNABRIDGED (27 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Blake Bailey
    • Narrated By Malcolm Hillgartner
    Overall
    (48)
    Performance
    (21)
    Story
    (19)

    John Cheever was a soul in conflict, a high-school dropout who published his first story at 18, a dire alcoholic who recovered to write the great novel Falconer, a secret bisexual who struggled with his longings and his fierce homophobia, whose groundbreaking work landed him on the covers of Time and Newsweek, a man who believed in the power of family love and sexual pleasure, a man whose desperate loneliness was never wholly offset by his faith in the joy of creation.

    susan says: "What feast for Cheever enthusiasts!"
    "What feast for Cheever enthusiasts!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A beautifully written,magnificently read chronicle of John Cheever's life and literary legacy.The authori is unflinching regarding Cheever's alcoholism,bisexuality, relationship with his wife and children and his friends and publishers;however he is compassionate and non-judgmental.The story is also very funny in parts. The author chronicles Cheever's alcoholism and also his final recovery .I had the feeling that the author loved his subject but was not blind to the many destructive issues in Cheever's remarkable life. I hated to come to the end of this book. I read Cheever's diary many years ago and must go back to it and the short stories.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Howards End

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By E M Forster
    • Narrated By Edward Petherbridge
    Overall
    (8)
    Performance
    (7)
    Story
    (7)

    Howards End' is the story of the Schlegel sisters and their struggle to come to terms with social class and their German heritage in Edwardian England. Their lives are intertwined with those of the wealthy Wilcox family and their country house, Howards End, as well as the lower-middle-class Basts.

    susan says: "It's all in the narration"
    "It's all in the narration"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Edward Petherbridge has exactly the Edwardian delivery that Foster needs. Can I give the narrator 10 stars? I read this book years ago but this reading that I bought on the recommendation of a friend, uncovers humor and nuances that I totally missed before. I actually lost sleep not wanting to turn if off for the night.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Catching Life by the Throat: How to Read Poetry and Why

    • ABRIDGED (3 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Josephine Hart
    • Narrated By Ralph Fiennes, Roger Moore, Juliet Stevenson
    Overall
    (7)
    Performance
    (4)
    Story
    (3)

    Here is an audiobook of the hugely successful Josephine Hart Poetry Hours at the British Library. Actors such as Roger Moore and Juliet Stevenson have read poetry from Auden to Eliot and from Larkin to Plath.

    susan says: "For those who think they don't like poetry."
    "For those who think they don't like poetry."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I was only exposed to metaphysical poets in high school and developed an aversion for adult poetry. There are much read children's poetry books on my shelf but the gifts of Auden, Frost ,TS Eliot etc. have sat unread and unappreciated. I woke up to the fact that I need to HEAR poetry after a visit to my brother who can recite reams of it. Catching Life by The Throat was my first venture into really listening to poetry. This is a great selection with interesting commentary and excellent readers. Who knew that Roger Moore could do such a good job with Kipling?

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Golden Notebook

    • UNABRIDGED (27 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Doris Lessing
    • Narrated By Juliet Stevenson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (122)
    Performance
    (92)
    Story
    (95)

    Author Anna Wulf attempts to overcome writer’s block by writing a comprehensive "golden notebook" that draws together the preoccupations of her life, each of which is examined in a different notebook. Anna’s struggle to unify the various strands of her life – emotional, political, and professional – amasses into a fascinating encyclopaedia of female experience in the ‘50s.

    Victoria says: "Transcendent narration of a masterpiece."
    "Unexpected treat"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I downloaded this simply because Lessing died recently and I felt guilty that I had never read her. The narrator was also an incentive.
    To my surprise, although I loved the book , found the heroine to be completely believable and found it confusing, (had to go back and re-listen) it was the structure of the book as well as the writing that I found completely compelling and absorbing. This book was dismissed in the past as a 1960's feminist tract. It's so much more than a book about a woman in the 60's. Juliet Stevenson is a superb reader: there are accents and dialects involved and she nails every one. I think this book is a keeper and I will listen again.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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