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T. Chapman Wing


  • Invisible Man: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 36 mins)
    • By Ralph Ellison
    • Narrated By Joe Morton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Ralph Elllison's Invisible Man is a monumental novel, one that can well be called an epic of 20th-century African-American life. It is a strange story, in which many extraordinary things happen, some of them shocking and brutal, some of them pitiful and touching - yet always with elements of comedy and irony and burlesque that appear in unexpected places.

    Robert says: "You've been waiting, buy it, you won't be sorry..."
    "Reading slightly too dramatic, in EVERY paragraph"
    What did you love best about Invisible Man?

    The opening chapter was brilliant, original, and engaging; very reminiscent of Dostoyevsky's _Notes from Underground_ but significantly new at the same time. The novel as a whole maintains a tacit Dostoyevskian tendency to constantly consider ambiguities of action and interpretation that seem honest throughout--you can really believe in this character. And yet the actual narrative is clear, not muddy like Henry James or other authors who might fit this same description.

    What was one of the most memorable moments of Invisible Man?

    The opening chapter; the book begins in media res, and you wonder throughout how we're ever going to get back to the beginning, which is fascinating in itself.

    What three words best describe Joe Morton’s voice?

    Overly dramatic, widely varying volume, impressive range of character voices

    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No; I couldn't stomach it for more than an hour at a time.

    Any additional comments?

    Joe Morton has a truly impressive and useful range of character voices throughout, but he puts way too much dramatic emphasis on every paragraph of the whole novel, and it's just frustrating. Whereas on a scale from Robot (0) to Melodrama (10) I like my books to be about a 5, 6 or 7, he's a consistent 8. (For comparison, I'd put Jim Dale at a 6.) It makes the whole book sound like it's full of caps, italics, and ellipses, and it's just way too overstimulating. I can handle listening to the whole book, but only in 20-60 min. snippets at a time.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Help

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Kathryn Stockett
    • Narrated By Jenna Lamia, Bahni Turpin, Octavia Spencer, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Why we think it’s a great listen: The most celebrated performance in all of Audible’s history, The Help has nearly 2,000 5-star reviews from your fellow listeners. We hear the print book’s not bad, either. In pitch-perfect voices, Kathryn Stockett creates three extraordinary women whose determination to start a movement of their own forever changes a town, and the way women - mothers, daughters, caregivers, friends - view one another.

    Jan says: "What a great surprise!"
    "Decent novel; superb performance makes it great"

    This was a very good, very engaging, suspenseful, but I think destined to be forgotten, book. One comes to care about the characters, which makes for an excellent listening experience. But the overall frame of social issues will probably not age well; or at least, it will become less important to our experience of the book. It has the feel of a slightly too forceful white woman's meditation on racism, and the author knows this only too well (her Afterword, read by herself at the end of the novel, is totally worthwhile), and yet it's still true. It's not totally groundbreaking in its themes, but its characters feel alive and Kathryn Stockett allows the unresolved ambiguities of their lives and relationships to persist throughout. The question is--does she make us think about anything new beyond the specific experiences of these characters? For me, not really ...

    I highly recommend it for a listening experience (I bought it for someone as a gift immediately after I finished listening to my own copy), but I wouldn't bother reading it in print. The voice actresses are all pitch perfect, and really bring out what is good in the text--and maybe even inject life into the text where reading it would most likely fall flat.

    I could have listened to this straight in one sitting, if that were physically possible.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Complete Stories of Sherlock Holmes, Volume 1

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
    • Narrated By Charlton Griffin

    First appearing in print in 1890, the character of Sherlock Holmes has now become synonymous worldwide with the concept of a super sleuth. His creator, Conan Doyle, imbued his detective hero with intellectual power, acute observational abilities, a penchant for deductive reasoning and a highly educated use of forensic skills. Indeed, Doyle created the first fictional private detective who used what we now recognize as modern scientific investigative techniques.

    David says: "mouth watering"
    "Excellent, gripping, relistenable"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes, this is one of few audiobooks that I would go out of my way to recommend, because the story is excellent--Sherlock Holmes and Watson are not the characters popular culture has made them to be (c.f. Frankenstein), but much more interesting--and the reading is perfect. My wife and I listened to this whole collection together, and when one of us missed a part, the other one really didn't mind going back and hearing parts of it all over again.

    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Complete Stories of Sherlock Holmes, Volume 1?

    I didn't care a fig for the actual mysteries (that's me, not a deficiency of the text), but I loved and couldn't get enough of the parts that were about Sherlock Holmes and Watson as characters, their relationship, their habits and proclivities. They really come to life, and far beyond the stereotyped images we get from popular culture.

    Which scene was your favorite?

    Almost every scene from the first 5 or 10 minutes or last 3 minutes of a story were my favorites, because that's where most of the character development was.

    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    I wouldn't; and films have totally ruined Sherlock Holmes already. The pacing of a textual narrative is fundamental to the whole Sherlock Holmes conceit.

    Any additional comments?

    The introduction to Peter Brooks' _Reading for the Plot_ might be a great place to whet one's appetite for Sherlock Holmes if one feels one is too old or smart or well-read to be interested in this kind of stuff.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Most Powerful Idea in the World: A Story of Steam, Industry, and Invention

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By William Rosen
    • Narrated By Michael Prichard

    Award-winning author William Rosen tells the story of the men responsible for the Industrial Revolution and the machine that drove it: the steam engine.

    Roy says: "A Revelation about a Revolution"
    "Excellent book, hypnotic reading voice"
    If you could sum up The Most Powerful Idea in the World in three words, what would they be?

    Interesting, wide-reaching, informative storytelling

    Who was your favorite character and why?

    N/A (nonfiction)

    Have you listened to any of Michael Prichard’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    This was the first one I've heard. Other reviewers said they hated his reading, that it was too slow. And yet others said you get used to it in no time. I completely agree. After the first five minutes or so, this book is gripping enough on its own for the relatively slow reading pace to feel fine. And I liked the timbre of Michael Prichard's voice, once it got into me.

    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    I could have, but I bought it with the intention of spacing it out. It might be just too long and too information-packed to do that. But I never got bored of it.

    Any additional comments?

    Occasional jokes in the narrative or footnotes (which the narrator reads) gave me a positive feeling about the author of this generally quite scholarly book. It was definitely worked into a book that anyone with a little bit of attention span could enjoy, though most people who don't like to read printed books in general wouldn't be able to sit through this. You have to be a little curious about the Industrial Revolution, but just a pinch of curiosity will get you in the door, and William Rosen will take you the rest of the way.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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