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Greene, NY, United States | Member Since 2006

  • 5 reviews
  • 8 ratings
  • 272 titles in library
  • 10 purchased in 2015

  • The Hunchback of Notre Dame

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Victor Hugo
    • Narrated By Frederick Davidson

    Set amid the riot, intrigue, and pageantry of medieval Paris, Victor Hugo's masterful tale of heroism and adventure has been a perennial favorite since its first publication in 1831. It is the story of Quasimodo, the deformed bell-ringer of the Notre Dame Cathedral, who falls in love with the beautiful gypsy Esmeralda. When Esmeralda is condemned as a witch by Claude Frollo, the tormented archdeacon who lusts after her, Quasimodo attempts to save her; but his intentions are misunderstood.

    A User says: "Davidson was miscast"
    "One of my favorites!"
    What other book might you compare The Hunchback of Notre Dame to and why?

    The book stands alone. Obviously Victor Hugo is a masterful writer, and with Hunchback, he wrote a masterpiece. The characters are complex. The story is compelling. If you think you know the story from the Disney movie or some other Hollywood version, trust me, in no way can any movie capture the depth of these characters and this story.

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

    If I had to pick my favorite chapter from all the audio books I have ever listened to, it is a chapter from this book.

    I walk while I listen. My walks take about an hour. One fine fall day I set out listening to a chapter called "A Bird's Eye View of Paris." It was purely descriptive, the kind of chapter I may skim if I were reading a hard copy of the book -- but that's not an option with an audio book. I walked, listening, as Hugo described the different burgs of Paris, the streets of Paris, the homes, the buildings, the churches. Quite frankly, 45 minutes into the walk and the chapter, I was getting a little tired of description.

    But then, the glorious conclusion. Having built a city of stone with words in my imagination, he began the chiming of the bells in all the steeples across the whole city -- small bells, medium size bells, and huge grand bells of Notre Dame. Hugo describes as "a tumult of bells and chimes," "a furnace of music," and a symphony.

    I heard a symphony in a audio-book and it was one of the most beautiful things I have ever heard.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Diddakoi

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Rumer Godden
    • Narrated By Lynda Bellingham

    Kizzy was a diddakoi, a half-gypsy, but the more the children at school tormented her, the more determined she was not to become one of ‘them’ - gorgios. And as long as she had her Gran, and Joe the old horse, she would be all right. But then Gran died and faithful old Joe was sent to the knackers - and Kizzy to the gorgios.Luckily, in the midst of all this misery and interference, there were some people who loved Kizzy as she was - and with them this lonely little outcast found a true home at last.

    Alifa says: "The Diddakoi"
    "Charming Story"
    What about Lynda Bellingham’s performance did you like?

    Lynda Bellingham does a nice job reading the story and giving life to the characters. There were a few times, however, when her voice dropped to a whisper and it was hard to hear in the car.

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

    The book made me laugh and cry. It was a sweet, sweet story of a little girl overcoming many trials, including the death of her grandmother and racial prejudices because of her gypsy heritage. Ultimately, she finds a family and a home.

    Any additional comments?

    The story was a little predictable for me, because I've read many books, but listening to it with my two daughters, age 11 and 8, allowed me to enjoy the story for the sake of the story and not be critical of things like predictability.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Petria Thomas: Swimming Against the Tide

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Petria Thomas, Andy Shea
    • Narrated By Kate Hosking, Jim Daly

    Australian swimmer Petria Thomas won the hearts of millions around the world with her triple gold-medal-winning triumph at the Athens Olympic Games in 2004. Having overcome the pain and anguish of three shoulder reconstructions and two ankle reconstructions over the length of her glittering 12-year career, Petria is admired and respected for her grit, determination, and steely will to win.

    Barbara says: "Awesome"
    "Hard to Get Used to...."

    This is a great story of an Australian Olympic swimmer who overcomes many obstacles to win gold in Athens. The story itself is inspiring.

    However, the story is told in two voices, one is the first person voice of a woman (representing Petria) and the other a male voice giving a third person point of view, as well as speaking for the many other people in her life (her sister, mother, coaches, therapists, husband, etc). I personally found it distracting to have the narration jump between the two voices and many viewpoints. I was probably 3 - 4 hours into the book before I grew used to this. I suppose this technique was meant to give us a more complete picture of Petria, but in an audio book I found it distracting.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Phantom of the Opera

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Gaston Leroux
    • Narrated By Ralph Cosham
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    The story begins with an investigation into some strange reports of an "opera ghost", legendary for making the great Paris opera performers ill-at-ease when they sit alone in their dressing rooms. Some allege to have seen the ghost in evening clothes moving about in the shadows. Nothing is done, however, until the disappearance of Christine during her triumphant performance.

    Sarah says: "Book better than the movie"
    "Book better than the movie"

    I'm usually a purist and read the book before I watch the movie. However, my children persuaded me to watch Andrew Lloyd Weber's "Phantom" and I found the story to be haunting and unsettling, so much so that I decided to get the book.

    This audio book was fantastic! The reader did an outstanding job infusing emotion into the reading. Leroux develops the characters so much more than a movie is able to. I understood so much more of the emotions, character backgrounds, and even the plot than I had with the movie. I ached for Christine Daae with the decisions she had to make and the final outcome of the story.

    If your only exposure to Phantom of the Opera has been either Weber's Phantom or any of the other movies made based on this story, you must read (or listen to) this book. If you've never been exposed to any version of the Phantom, you must read this book. It is Beauty and the Beast set in an opera house. In the end, the only thing that can defeat evil is love.

    29 of 30 people found this review helpful

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