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Jeff

ratings
12
REVIEWS
6
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
1
HELPFUL VOTES
9

  • The Minister's Wooing

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Harriet Beecher Stowe
    • Narrated By Melbra Sibrel
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (2)

    First published in 1859, and set in 18th-century Newport, Rhode Island, The Minister's Wooing is a historical novel and domestic comedy that satirizes Calvinism, celebrating its intellectual and moral integrity while critiquing its rigid theology. Mary Scudder lives with her widowed mother in a modest middle-class home. Dr. Hopkins, a Calvinist minister who boards with them, is dedicated to helping the slaves arriving at Newport and calls for the abolition of slavery.

    Jeff says: "Wonderful book, lousy narrator"
    "Wonderful book, lousy narrator"
    Overall

    First, the good news. This book is wonderful; full of the insight, wit and import that made Uncle Tom's Cabin so critical. Stowe was keenly observant and quick to call something wrong when it was wrong. In this story, she still holds to her anti-slavery stand, though it is a secondary issue here. This book alone would have put her among Americas best and most important authors. Well worth the listen.
    Second, the bad news. The narrator does a poor job. Her accents are horrible, and her mispronunciations jar the ear a bit. The real problem, however, is that she reads the book in a mocking manner. She treats what is serious in the book cynically, as if it were her place to let us know that the opinions expressed are somehow out of date or silly. I prefer to make those judgments myself, and not have to fight the narrator. Overall, she seems to treat the book with contempt.
    Third point is that the review incorrectly implies that Stowe was mocking the Calvinist theology. Nothing could be further from truth. It is imposing 21st century thoughts on a 19th century writer. Stowe was the daughter of Lyman Beecher, sister of Henry Ward Beecher and wife of Calvin Stowe, all important figures in American Calvinism. She was certainly not criticizing the theology, though she seems to have been arguing for a softer interpretation of predestination.

    Overall, don't let the narrator keep you from this book. It is not only important for the understanding of early American life, it is also well written and just plain fun.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • A Game of Thrones: A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (33 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By George R. R. Martin
    • Narrated By Roy Dotrice
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (24067)
    Performance
    (18013)
    Story
    (18070)

    In a time long forgotten, a preternatural event threw the seasons off balance. In a land where summers can last decades and winters a lifetime, trouble is brewing. As the cold returns, sinister forces are massing beyond the protective wall of the kingdom of Winterfell. To the south, the king's powers are failing, with his most trusted advisor mysteriously dead and enemies emerging from the throne's shadow.

    DCinMI says: "Review of First 5 Books"
    "Meh"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The story was OK, but Martin is no Tolkein whom he seems to want to emulate. The violence was not frightening and the descriptions of sex was more disgusting than anything else. He seems to show an interesting mixture of having powerful women and yet treating women in general in the way that some sort of misogynistic porn producer might.
    There are interesting characters and he develops them very well. It's just that Martin's writing is fairly boring. I don't mean the story, I mean the writing.
    I don't want to paint a terribly bleak picture. The story does hold your attention and keep you waiting for what is about to happen. I would have liked to have him develop more of some of the characters I cared more about, but then that is personal preference.

    Finally, the narration is just atrocious. Dotrice seems to think that all fantasy characters speak with an accent somewhere between a brogue and a Sheffield - Cockney mix. Several characters have their voices change halfway through the stories, and in one case in the middle of a book. At first I thought he was trying to demonstrate a significant change in the character, but no, it is just a mistake.

    All in all, I give it a "Meh".

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Hornblower and the "Hotspur"

    • ABRIDGED (6 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By C.S. Forester
    • Narrated By Patrick Macnee
    Overall
    (101)
    Performance
    (30)
    Story
    (30)

    Napoleon is about to invade England, and it falls to young Horatio Hornblower to stop him. It's 1803, and the imperial leader of France is amassing an army of ships and planning his attack. Throughout several spectacular confrontations, Hornblower proves himself to be not only a courageous and worthy opponent, but also one of the most fascinating, complex heroes of our time.

    Mark says: "Macnee sinks Hotspur"
    "Bad Narrator"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    While the story is as good as you would expect, the narration is ponderous and VERY poorly done.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Desire of the Everlasting Hills

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Thomas Cahill
    • Narrated By Brian F. O'Byrne
    Overall
    (128)
    Performance
    (16)
    Story
    (17)

    With the same lively narration and irresistible perceptions that characterize How the Irish Saved Civilization and The Gifts of the Jews, Cahill invites listeners into an ancient world to commune with some of the most influential people who ever lived.

    Victoria says: "for the layman..."
    "Disappointed"
    Overall

    I must say, I was disappointed in this book. I usually enjoy Cahill, but this time it seems as if he got sloppy with his research. It does not seem as if Cahill did any original research, especially when it came to interpreting NT passages. The thinking about authorship which he follows is from early last century, much more recent study has been done about authorship and dating of documents.
    The book also seemed disorganized, leaping from topic to topic. I expected more analysis of the people of the time, but that was very brief. After that, the author goes on to ploddingly espouse German Higher Criticism for the last century.

    If you want to read Cahil (and I normally recommend him), read How the Irish Saved Civilization

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Prairie

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By James Fenimore Cooper
    • Narrated By Noah Waterman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (16)
    Performance
    (3)
    Story
    (3)

    The Prairie marks the final chapter in James Fenimore Cooper's great saga of American frontiersman Natty Bumppo. Though nearly 90 in 1804, Bumppo is still competent as a frontiersman and trapper, now on the Great Plains. Once more he is drawn into conflict with society in the form of an emigrant party led by the surly Ishmael Bush and his miscreant brother-in-law, Abiram White. And once again this great man of nature is called upon to exhibit his courage and resourcefulness to rescue the innocent.

    Jeff says: "Great Story, Narrator needs help"
    "Great Story, Narrator needs help"
    Overall

    This is a great story, though not quite as good as the earlier Leatherstocking Tales. The problem is the narrator. First, he seems to be in an incredible hurry. I get nervous just listening to him. He reads at a very fast rate. Second, there is a good deal of ambient noise including the narrators snorting and slurping. Likely this is caused by the rapidity with which he reads.
    Other than that, he has a fine voice with good inflections and interest. He jsut needs to slow down.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Leave it to Psmith

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 1 min)
    • By P.G. Wodehouse
    • Narrated By Jonathan Cecil
    Overall
    (206)
    Performance
    (70)
    Story
    (77)

    The idyll of Blandings Castle is about to be disturbed, for the Hon. Freddie Threepwood is poised to make his debut as a jewel thief. Freddie, however, is not alone: Blandings is simply brimming with criminals and impostors all intent on stealing Aunt Constance's 20,000 pound diamond necklace. It is left to the debonair Psmith, with his usual aplomb, to unscramble the passion, problems, and identities, of one and all.

    Fredtopia says: "Fundamental Interconnectedness of All Things"
    "Wonderful book, poor narrator"
    Overall

    This is a great book and a wonderful introduction to Wodehouse. The narrator, however, is overly dramatic and his voice is so deep that it is, at times, difficult to understand. Frederick Davidson is much better at Wodehouse.

    2 of 8 people found this review helpful

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