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Katherine Michaels

Member Since 2007

18
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 15 reviews
  • 128 ratings
  • 0 titles in library
  • 4 purchased in 2014
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  • An Ideal Husband

    • UNABRIDGED (1 hr and 40 mins)
    • By Oscar Wilde
    • Narrated By uncredited
    Overall
    (43)
    Performance
    (21)
    Story
    (22)

    A tender love story, a serpentine villainess, a glittering setting in London society, and a showering of Wildean witticism are only a few of the reasons why this play has enjoyed hugely successful revivals in London, in New York, and on the silver screen. This 1895 drama is eerily prescient, as it examines the plight of a promising politician, desperate to hide a secret in his past. With empathy and wit, Oscar Wilde explores the pitfalls of holding public figures to higher standards than the rest of us.

    Mary says: "better heard than read"
    "Almost perfect"
    Overall

    An Ideal Husband is my favorite of Wilde's works, and I chose to listen to this version specifically because it was presented as an audio version of the play. And were it not for Yeardley Smith as Mabel, I would have given this 5 stars. Unfortunately, I had a rather nails-on-the-chalkboard reaction to Yeardley Smith's voice. That's what I get for not listening to the sample, I suppose. I'll probably listen to An Ideal Husband again, but not this version of it.

    This recording is a performance featuring Rosalind Ayres, Jacqueline Bisset, Paul Gutrecht, Martin Jarvis, Robert Machray, Miriam Margolyes, Alfred Molina, Jim Norton and Yeardley Smith.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • World War Z: The Complete Edition (Movie Tie-in Edition): An Oral History of the Zombie War

    • ABRIDGED (12 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Max Brooks
    • Narrated By Max Brooks, Alan Alda, John Turturro, and others
    Overall
    (2303)
    Performance
    (2181)
    Story
    (2184)

    World War Z: The Complete Edition is a new recording of Max Brooks’ best-selling novel, World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War, featuring 21 additional Hollywood A-list actors and sci-fi fan favorites performing stories not included in the original edition. New narrators include Academy Award-winning director Martin Scorsese, Spiderman star Alfred Molina, The Walking Dead creator Frank Darabont, rapper Common, Firefly star Nathan Fillion, Shaun of the Dead’s Simon Pegg, and members of the casts of Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica, Heroes and more!

    Chris says: "Will never pre-order again"
    "Simply art"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    ...where "complete" apparently means double the length of the last audio version, but still abridged. Usually I'd knock off a star for such shenanigans, but as this is such a good book in every other respect, I'll let that slide.

    I do love a good disaster story, but to my mind, the best sci-fi--and indeed the best fiction--examines some aspect of the human condition and questions it. This book delivers that by examining the very human condition itself. It's absolutely gripping, and oh, the audio production!

    As if the story wasn't enough, the 40-strong cast is a who's who of vocal prowess. Some voices are instantly recognizable--Nathan Fillion, Alan Alda, René Auberjonois, Parminder Nagra, Masi Oka, John Turturro--and somehow this only adds to the power of their stories. Some voices, like those of Alfred Molina and Simon Pegg, tickle at the back of the brain. Many more are wonderfully unrecognizable. And then there's the incomparable Mark Hamill, who in one line manages to convey some of the rawest emotion in a book that's filled with no shortage of breath-taking moments. This book is, quite simply, art.

    It's worth reading in any format, but if you've ever wondered what the audiobook fuss is all about, listen to this.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Oh, the Places You'll Go!

    • UNABRIDGED (7 mins)
    • By Dr. Seuss
    • Narrated By John Lithgow
    Overall
    (209)
    Performance
    (186)
    Story
    (197)

    Here is the incomparable Dr. Seuss' story of an unnamed "you" whose travels through the world involve a series of ups and downs. His ultimate success, however, is "98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed!"

    Matthew Ortiz says: "Oh, I enjoyed it very much :)"
    "Superbly Seussical"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Geisel as read by John Lithgow? Yes please!

    This isn't even close to being my favorite Dr. Seuss book, but the performance is simply outstanding. Lithgow's energy makes him an excellent narrative choice, and the backing musical track is perfectly, superbly Seussical. At 7 minutes, it was well worth my time.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Slow Heat in Heaven

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Sandra Brown
    • Narrated By Dick Hill
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (532)
    Performance
    (311)
    Story
    (313)

    The adopted daughter of the most powerful man in town, Schyler Crandall left Heaven, Louisiana, a brokenhearted girl. Now a crisis has brought her home to a family in conflict, a logging empire on the brink of disaster, and seething secrets that make Heaven hotter than hell.

    bluebelle says: "Spectacular, Kept me guessing the whole time!"
    "Dated and cliche-ridden"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I want to begin by saying that this book really ought to come with trigger warnings for domestic violence, male & female rape, and animal abuse.

    Now that that's out of the way...

    This book was apparently first published in 1988, which surprised me because I'd only noted the mid-2000s audio publication date, but it feels even more dated than that. Just about every cliche from the late 70s/early 80s makes an appearance in this book, from the career woman epithet to the general dynastic drama. The author has a ton of subplots and spends a ridiculous amount of time building them up, and I frankly only kept listening to see how they would all tie together (predictably, as it turns out).

    This cliche-ridden book is unfortunately made even worse by an atrocious narrator. I got used to his voice after a while, but I never came to like it or the fact that he occasionally used the same voice for multiple characters.

    Apparently the author and narrator are both generally well-liked, but I will be actively avoiding them in the future.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Sweeney Todd and the String of Pearls: An Audio Melodrama in Three Despicable Acts (Dramatized)

    • ORIGINAL (2 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Yuri Rasovsky
    Overall
    (50)
    Performance
    (13)
    Story
    (12)

    Here is the 18th-century classic about the "demon barber" of Fleet Street, London, who cuts the throats of his customers and disposes of the bodies in a most unusual way. He carries them through underground tunnels to the bakery of one Mrs. Lovett a few blocks away, where they supply the stuffing for her meat pies, the favorite mid-day repast of the lawyers who work nearby and get their shaves from Sweeney Todd.

    richard clayton says: "Very Entertaining"
    "Earns its Audies"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Rasovski's adaptation easily earns its 3 Audie awards. The cast - including Martin Jarvis, W. Morgan Sheppard, and Rosalind Ayres - is superb. The same is true of each musical performance from by Tony Barrand and John Roberts between scenes. I always enjoy the Halloween season, and this macabre story definitely got me in the holiday spirit.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • BBC Radio Shakespeare: The Taming of the Shrew (Dramatized)

    • ORIGINAL (1 hr and 38 mins)
    • By William Shakespeare
    • Narrated By Gerard McSorley, Ruth Mitchell, Full Cast
    Overall
    (22)
    Performance
    (11)
    Story
    (10)

    BBC Radio has a unique heritage when it comes to Shakespeare. Since 1923, when the newly formed company broadcast its first full-length play, generations of actors and producers have honed and perfected the craft of making Shakespeare to be heard.

    David says: "Well Done"
    "A Face Value Interpretation"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    No, because this audiobook is unfortunately (in my opinion) a face value reading of the play that omits the opening bit with Sly. The play within a play element is lost, which means the farcical setup is also lost.

    I tend to come down on the side of the farcical, ironic or commedia dell'arte interpretations of the play. Given the reception of the play in its own time, the outrageous behavior of the two protagonists, and Shakespeare's approach to female characters in his other works (while not always kind, he never gets anywhere near this ridiculous anywhere else), this play simply doesn't make sense to me when taken at face value.


    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Lost World (Dramatized)

    • ORIGINAL (57 mins)
    • By Arthur Conan Doyle, John de Lancie, Nat Segaloff
    • Narrated By Tom Virtue, Josh Clark, Kyle Colerider-Krugh, and others
    Overall
    (2)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (2)

    Arthur Conan Doyle’s rollicking adventure tale follows a scientific expedition deep into the Amazon jungle - right back into the time of dinosaurs and cave men. Before Jurassic Park, before Indiana Jones - there was The Lost World!

    Katherine Michaels says: "Funny, but it didn't seem like Doyle"
    "Funny, but it didn't seem like Doyle"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I could hear John de Lancie's writing far more in this edition than I could hear Arthur Conan Doyle. The production was funny, mostly, and definitely cheesy, but unfortunately it sometimes also seemed racist. I'm not sure if that was due to how Doyle wrote it, how de Lancie wrote his adaptation, or how the narrator chose to play the part of Gomez.

    I now have a decent sense of the book, but I'm going to have to listen to another edition to actually hear it in Doyle's words.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • As You Like It

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By William Shakespeare
    • Narrated By Vanessa Redgrave, Keith Michell, Max Adrian, and others
    Overall
    (31)
    Performance
    (8)
    Story
    (8)

    "All the world's a stage...." In the enchanted forest of Arden, everyone has their way. Sins are forgiven, quarrels are resolved, and love rules over all. And - just as the author liked it - the frolic of clowns and comedy includes provocative insight into nature versus society and into humanity itself. Follow Orlando, Celia, Rosalind, and Touchstone the Clown from court to forest in this play that features disguised princesses, an unjustly deposed ruler, and a handsome leading couple. Actors Vanessa Redgrave (Rosalind) and Keith Michell (Orlando) head the cast of celebrity performers in this Shakespearean romp of mischief, intrigue, and surprise.

    Mary says: "sometimes, oldest is best"
    "Hard to follow"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    If you haven't previously encountered As You Like It in some form, be it print or performance, I don't recommend starting with this version. While I picked up on the overall plot, there were definitely points when I was completely lost because I wasn't sure who was speaking. This recording was also hard to hear in spots, which didn't help. The music was lovely though - this was the first time I've really understood how a chorus can contribute to a play.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • True Grit

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Charles Portis
    • Narrated By Donna Tartt
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1709)
    Performance
    (893)
    Story
    (902)

    Mattie Ross, a 14-year-old girl from Dardanelle, Arkansas, sets out to avenge her Daddy who was shot to death by a no-good outlaw. Mattie convinces one-eyed "Rooster" Cogburn, the meanest U.S. marshal in the land, to ride along with her. In True Grit, we have a true American classic, as young Mattie, as vital as she is innocent, outdickers and outmaneuvers the hard-bitten men of the trail in a legend that will last through the ages.

    Tommygaus says: "So worth it!"
    "A classic adventure yarn"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I grew up on the John Wayne movie of this tale, but I had no idea that the story was based on a book until after the Jeff Bridges version came out a year or so back. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that Portis' Mattie is ever so much more complex than the girl who starred opposite John Wayne. Portis' Mattie is matter-of-factly kick-ass, and sometimes stubborn to the point of hilarity and stupidity.

    I was also surprised to discover that the book is quite a bit more brutally violent than the story on which I was raised. I plan to watch the Jeff Bridges adaptation now that I've read this, and I'll be interested to see how ugly it gets.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Mark of Zorro (Dramatized)

    • ORIGINAL (3 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Yuri Rasovsky, McCulley Johnston
    • Narrated By Val Kilmer
    Overall
    (18)
    Performance
    (15)
    Story
    (16)

    Set in Los Angeles during the era of early 19th-century Colonial Spanish California, the story introduces us to wealthy, young aristocrat Don Diego de la Vega, son of the richest ranchero in the country. Don Diego is an idler who has never concerned himself with more than the cut of his clothes. Unlike other full-blooded youths of his age, he presents himself as a fop, lacking in vigor, vitality, and strength. But Vega’s timorous reputation is merely a mask to conceal his alter ego—El Zorro.

    Katherine Michaels says: "An excellent adventure story"
    "An excellent adventure story"
    Overall

    Full of humor, snark and action, this audiobook is well worth the listen, though it alters a few things from McCulley's original version. The most notable alteration, and the only reason I gave this particular version 4 stars instead of 5, is that it entirely skips the d??nouement, a.k.a. the last couple pages of the written version. Audio listeners thus miss out on Zorro's reveal, which entirely changes the end of the story. It's a shame, really, because this is otherwise a gloriously fun recording.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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