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Catherine

Maplewood, NJ, USA | Member Since 2002

77
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 5 reviews
  • 14 ratings
  • 276 titles in library
  • 0 purchased in 2014
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  • The Moonstone

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Wilkie Collins
    • Narrated By Patrick Tull
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (501)
    Performance
    (250)
    Story
    (251)

    No, the "Moonstone" isn't a celestial relic, it's a gigantic yellow diamond of unearthly beauty that was given to Rachel Verinder as a present on her 18th birthday - and stolen that very night! Betteredge, one of the most beloved butlers in English literature, is the focus of this seminal detective novel, which examines how one family's life is turned upside-down by the theft. And find out why the answers to all of life's problems can be found in the pages of Robinson Crusoe.

    Catherine says: "One of the best readings ever"
    "One of the best readings ever"
    Overall

    The Moonstone is a classic, and if you like mysteries it is a must-read (or must-listen). What is truly special about this rendition is the reading. The reading is superb, done by several actors to match the voices of several narrators.

    Although it is VERY long, I never once got bored - in fact I couldn't wait for my drive to/from work so that I could listen some more. This is my favorite audio book to date (I've been doing this about a year now).

    39 of 39 people found this review helpful
  • Lolita

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Vladimir Nabokov
    • Narrated By Jeremy Irons
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1796)
    Performance
    (958)
    Story
    (951)

    Why we think it’s a great listen: Among the great literary achievements of the 20th century, Lolita soars in audio thanks to the incomparable Jeremy Irons, bringing to life Nabokov’s ability to shock and enthrall more than 50 years after publication. Lolita became a cause celebre because of the erotic predilections of its protagonist. But Nabokov's masterpiece owes its stature not to the controversy its material aroused but to its author's use of that material to tell a love story that is shocking in its beauty and tenderness.

    Jim says: "An Absolutely Gorgeous Audible Experience"
    "Amazing"
    Overall

    Jeremy Irons is one of my favorite actors, and he delivers a stunning reading of this classic. Nothing short of amazing - I can't imagine reading this book silently or hearing anybody else read it. The musical use of language is what makes this book, and it just rolls of Irons' tongue like honey. I didn't so much listen as observed this performance in amazement.

    Wonderful. If I could give more stars, I would.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • King Solomon's Mines

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By H. Rider Haggard
    • Narrated By Patrick Tull
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (67)
    Performance
    (21)
    Story
    (20)

    Anya says: "Great old adventure yarn"
    "A ripping yarn, narrated by a master"
    Overall

    I loved every minute of this book. It was transporting. What else could you hope for - dashing hunters, desert adventures, a fortune in gems, a tyrranical king, a noble battle for justice, an evil ancient sorceress, and tragic true love.

    Patrick Tull is one of my favorite narrators and I would listen to almost anything he does. His rendition of the sorceress Gagool is nothing short of fabulous. I will never, ever forget the wicked "ha ha! hee hee!" as done by Tull. Delightfully evil.

    Do not expect 21st century values from this book, as they are not there. It has the capability to offend on many levels due to racism, sexism, and shocking environmental attitudes. But if you can get past that and accept it on its own terms, you are in for a treat.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Oryx and Crake

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Margaret Atwood
    • Narrated By Campbell Scott
    Overall
    (1501)
    Performance
    (675)
    Story
    (679)

    As the story opens, Snowman is sleeping in a tree, mourning the loss of his beloved Oryx and his best friend Crake, and slowly starving to death. How did everything fall apart so quickly? Why is he left with nothing but his haunting memories? Alone except for the green-eyed Children of Crake, he explores the answers to these questions in the double journey he takes - into his own past, and back to Crake's high-tech bubble-dome, where the Paradice Project unfolded and the world came to grief.

    Doug says: "Very Scary Stuff"
    "Overdone"
    Overall

    I am a great fan of Atwood, but not her speculative fiction. This book, like "The Handmaid's Tale", screams "Author's Message" in every sentence. It is overwrought, obvious. The characters are at best two-dimensional, and seem to be symbols standing in for traits, rather than real people possessing those traits. I found Oryx to be particularly irritating, a Western stereotype of an Asian female. This is especially annoying coming from a writer who is supposedly one of the greats in feminist fiction.

    Crake is similarly a stick-figure genius, and for such a smart guy his choices are pretty dumb. His naive, new-agey Crakers would last about a day in a wilderness filled with rampaging pigoons, wolvogs, and bobkittens. Atwood's attempts to shroud him in mystery seem an inelegant attempt to deflect closer examination of his motives, which don't hold together. Jimmy / Snowman is only slightly more compelling. A great deal is made out of how he is not a genius like Crake, but at times he seems closer to mentally retarded. I can't believe anybody would be so clueless about survival, even if they had been brought up in a cocoon.

    Despite these flaws, at times I found the audiobook hard to put down. I wanted to find out what had happened. But by the end of the book I felt cheated and manipulated by the same kinds of tricks that writers of cheap suspense novels use. The backstory was not that interesting, and has been done better before. Comparisons to other popular works are obvious.

    The ending is hollow and unsatisfying. It has neither the happy ending of a cheap suspense novel, nor the bleak ending it seemed headed for. I think that this is because the story had no logical place to land - Atwood's point was in the build-up, so why waste time crafting a reasonable ending?

    I give it three stars because the world is well-visualized, and because Campbell Scott's reading is superb. Atwood should stick with complex character situations, as in "Cat's Eye."

    4 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • A Passage to India

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By E.M. Forster
    • Narrated By Frederick Davidson
    Overall
    (18)
    Performance
    (1)
    Story
    (1)

    Catherine says: "Classic novel, terrible reading"
    "Classic novel, terrible reading"
    Overall

    I enjoyed the novel tremendously but had a very hard time understanding what was being said due to the poor sound quality of this recording. I'd skip this one and read it rather than get the audiobook. The narrator's fake (and often insulting, Sambo-esque)Indian accent gets in the way, as well. The narrator also uses a lispy falsetto to represent female voices, which is like fingernails on a blackboard to me.

    27 of 28 people found this review helpful

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