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Philip

Upper Hutt, New Zealand | Member Since 2011

14
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 11 reviews
  • 11 ratings
  • 313 titles in library
  • 41 purchased in 2014
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  • The Life & Times of the Thunderbolt Kid

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Bill Bryson
    • Narrated By Bill Bryson
    Overall
    (189)
    Performance
    (92)
    Story
    (92)

    Bill Bryson's hilarious memoir of growing up in middle America in the Fifties, complete, unabridged and read by the author. Born in 1951 in the middle of the United States, Des Moines, Iowa, Bill Bryson is perfectly positioned to mine his memories of a totally all-American childhood for 24 carat memoir gold.

    Robin says: "I just loved it!"
    "A fun read."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to The Life & Times of the Thunderbolt Kid the most enjoyable?

    The irony of Bryson's memory as always. Despite a US upbringing it found resonances in my own UK boyhood.


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    I had no complaints. Some actors might have made it even funnier.


    What three words best describe Bill Bryson’s voice?

    Funny, observant, ironic.


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

    No but nothing to do with the book only my time.


    Any additional comments?

    Classic Bryson. Adults probably like this more than kids. Mine thought it was 'rude' which makes them seem a lot more naive than I was at their age (14/15).

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Adventure of English: The Biography of a Language

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Melvyn Bragg
    • Narrated By Robert Powell
    Overall
    (1953)
    Performance
    (744)
    Story
    (760)

    This is the remarkable story of the English language; from its beginnings as a minor guttural Germanic dialect to its position today as a truly established global language. The Adventure of English is not only an enthralling story of power, religion, and trade, but also the story of people, and how their lives continue to change the extraordinary language that is English.

    Amazon Customer says: "Many Of Course monments"
    "A most original idea for a biography...."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about The Adventure of English?

    This was quite a departure from Melvin Braggs novels; unexpectedly a refreshing change. It made me marvel at our language and how it had evolved - in a rather Darwinian way. Now I do understand a lot more than I did about the curious anomalies we have acquired in our language and why it is so impossibly 'irregular'. Very well researched (from my lay point of view anyway).


    What other book might you compare The Adventure of English to and why?

    I cannot think of any I have read like this.


    What about Robert Powell’s performance did you like?

    Truly wonderful. Quite impressed by his ability to convey this complex language within its historical context - especially his convincing attempts at old English. One wonders how much Direction from Bragg was given.


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

    No extreme ones but then it was a field I knew nothing about so I found it enlightening and educational. I could not stop listening. That is always my marker for a good book.


    Any additional comments?

    No. Well worth the read especially if you are interested in linguistics or just want to know where our language came from and how it evolved to modern times.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Leopard

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa
    • Narrated By David Horovitch
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (168)
    Performance
    (107)
    Story
    (107)

    Elegiac, bittersweet and profoundly moving, The Leopard chronicles the turbulent transformation of the Risorgimento, in the period of Italian Unification. The waning feudal authority of the elegant and stately Prince of Salina is pitted against the materialistic cunning of Don Calogero, in Tomasi's magnificently descriptive memorial to a dying age.

    beatrice says: ""one of the great lonely books""
    "Humour tenderness and theatre"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to The Leopard again? Why?

    It had such a rich classical feel with humor and tragedy.


    Would you recommend The Leopard to your friends? Why or why not?

    Some of them. Those who like the 'Classics'. Here we re-live our own lives, emotions and realise not much has happened in literature in hundreds of years.


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

    No. But his rendition of this novel was indeed a most wonderful performance. Rich and textured. A delight to hear his characterisation and his sympathy to the culture of long ago in Southern Italy.


    Who was the most memorable character of The Leopard and why?

    I cannot recall her name as it is a while since I read this. But the the lady who recognised she had never been aware of the affection of her beloved. Very Shakespearean.


    Any additional comments?

    No I need to read this over and over again. Short enough to do so. However, I am listening to more than 10 x more than I used read - and enjoying Audible.com so much so that I am not exactly free to do this!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Killing Lincoln: The Shocking Assassination That Changed America Forever

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Bill O'Reilly, Martin Dugard
    • Narrated By Bill O'Reilly
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3866)
    Performance
    (3444)
    Story
    (3463)

    The anchor of The O'Reilly Factor recounts one of the most dramatic stories in American history—how one gunshot changed the country forever. In the spring of 1865, the bloody saga of America's Civil War finally comes to an end after a series of increasingly harrowing battles. President Abraham Lincoln's generous terms for Robert E. Lee's surrender are devised to fulfill Lincoln's dream of healing a divided nation. But one man and his band of murderous accomplices are not appeased....

    Daniel says: "History Made Interesting"
    "Fascinating story of a man ahead of his time"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about Killing Lincoln?

    Surprisingly Bill O'Reilly's enthusiasm for his text. One got a sense of tragedy for all the characters that were involved in this extremely brutal and messy affair. Difficult to envisage the brutality of the world at this time without such biographies or to understand the primitive nature of both politics and medicine. These conspiracies continue but one really hopes we have more consideration for mankind (which involves both the good and the bad in this a story). Then there was Kennedy. They did a better detective job with Lincoln's Assassination than his.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Killing Lincoln?

    The moment of assassination and the wind up of what happened to everyone.


    What do you think the narrator could have done better?

    Nothing. Maybe a bit journalistic but despite this he kept me enthralled by the evolving story - as a BRIT (in NZ) - much of which I did not know.


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

    If only.... but it was one I could not wait to get back to.


    Any additional comments?

    No, a great read. Worth every cent (penny!).

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • Chronicles: Volume One

    • ABRIDGED (5 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Bob Dylan
    • Narrated By Sean Penn
    Overall
    (408)
    Performance
    (119)
    Story
    (122)

    Bob Dylan's Chronicles: Volume One explores the critical junctions in his life and career. Through Dylan's eyes and open mind, we see Greenwich Village, circa 1961, when he first arrives in Manhattan. Dylan's New York is a magical city of possibilities: smoky, nightlong parties; literary awakenings; transient loves and unbreakable friendships. Elegiac observations are punctuated by jabs of memories, penetrating and tough.

    Gerry A. Brown says: "Positively 4th Street"
    "More Chronic than Chronicles unfortunately......."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What would have made Chronicles better?

    Although potentially interesting material I found it rather unexciting rendition of Dylan's life. One hopes it was more than his pursuit of a musical career, considering his great contribution to the scene over many decades. Maybe this medium is not his best and he best communicates through his lyrics and songs. Sean Penn sounded a bit Dylanish but I might have preferred to have listened to Dylan's undeciferable drawl than his. He did not really 'lift' the story as much as I would have hoped. A missed opportunity.


    Has Chronicles turned you off from other books in this genre?

    No. Keith Richards book was very interesting.


    What three words best describe Sean Penn’s voice?

    Lack of enthusiasm


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Disappointment


    Any additional comments?

    I suspect I will still listen to Chronicles 2 etc. but I hope his later years are a bit more enlightening.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany

    • UNABRIDGED (57 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By William L. Shirer
    • Narrated By Grover Gardner
    Overall
    (3395)
    Performance
    (2441)
    Story
    (2449)

    Since its publication in 1960, William L. Shirer’s monumental study of Hitler’s German empire has been widely acclaimed as the definitive record of the 20th century’s blackest hours. The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich offers an unparalleled and thrillingly told examination of how Adolf Hitler nearly succeeded in conquering the world. With millions of copies in print around the globe, it has attained the status of a vital and enduring classic.

    G. House Sr. says: "A Tale of Momumental Evil, Stupidity and Hatred"
    "I learned so much from this book...."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    This is a biography which deserves accolade. This seems both balanced and human - drawing from many sources from both sides of the divide. The narrative lays bare the man that symbolizes all that is evil - his strengths and weaknesses. Yet in this man there are fleeting moments of humanity and a vision too unbelievable to imagine of anyone living at that time in the Western world. And his henchmen? How could he dominate and influence these to the extent that he did. How could man have such hatred of fellow man? Hilter was a man steeped in a philosophy that could not be spoken, and he did everything he could to achieve his aims with no sense of what was fair or legal. How a man from so humble origins came thus requires a book like this to string things together. Although only one historical version, a mean feet for the author and the (almost) 'in period' narrator who's diction takes me back to the 50s and 60s. A great listen. I could not stop listening and now I am sorry it has ended. A true classic. I could never have read it.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich?

    The death of Hitler


    Which character – as performed by Grover Gardner – was your favorite?

    Many characters.


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

    Many things.


    Any additional comments?

    Amazing story

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Snuff: Discworld, Book 39

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Terry Pratchett
    • Narrated By Stephen Briggs
    Overall
    (343)
    Performance
    (307)
    Story
    (310)

    It is a truth universally acknowledged that a policeman taking a holiday would barely have had time to open his suitcase before he finds his first corpse. And Commander Sam Vimes of the Ankh-Morpork City Watch is on holiday in the pleasant and innocent countryside, but not for him a mere body in the wardrobe. There are many, many bodies and an ancient crime more terrible than murder. He is out of his jurisdiction, out of his depth, out of bacon sandwiches, and occasionally snookered and out of his mind, but never out of guile. They say that in the end all sins are forgiven.

    phillip says: "An eye popper of a title to google - "Snuff"!"
    "A breast kids book with interest for any adult"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    If you could sum up Snuff: Discworld, Book 33 in three words, what would they be?

    Great characterization, comedy and wonderful read.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Snuff: Discworld, Book 33?

    Many dialogues.


    What about Stephen Briggs’s performance did you like?

    A classic. Absolutely compulsive to listen to his wonderful accents and characterization.


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

    Nah


    Any additional comments?

    My 13 year old son (who hates reading) LOVED this book.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage

    • UNABRIDGED (1 hr and 18 mins)
    • By Ann Patchett
    • Narrated By Ann Patchett
    Overall
    (3053)
    Performance
    (2530)
    Story
    (2544)

    We are excited to present our members with a gift that is truly unique: an original essay, available exclusively here at Audible, written and voiced by best-selling author – and fellow listener – Ann Patchett. This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage is a very real love story, and one that is much more about the journey than the destination.

    Lee says: "Was this our holiday present?"
    "An interesting perspective of a real marriage"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage again? Why?

    Yes. It tells a real story which resonates to many who have been in relationships and had unrealistic expectations.


    What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

    I just accepted it.


    What didn’t you like about Ann Patchett’s performance?

    Her sincerity and honesty (if it is true)


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

    Yes.


    Any additional comments?

    She encouraged me to read Lolita again! And I agree with her.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Lolita

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Vladimir Nabokov
    • Narrated By Jeremy Irons
    Overall
    (91)
    Performance
    (61)
    Story
    (59)

    Savagely funny and hauntingly sad, Lolita is Nabokov's most famous and controversial novel. It is the story of tortured college professor Humbert Humbert and his dangerous obsession with honey-skinned schoolgirl Dolores Haze.

    Jefferson says: "Disturbingly Wonderful"
    "Narration raising an authors game?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    A wonderful book of great literary significance read by a remarkable narrator/actor. I was never once doubting of the central character who's complex personality was admirably portrayed by Irons.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    The central character.


    What does Jeremy Irons bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    A remarkable rendition of this classic work. A huge talented narration perhaps equal to this great piece of writing. Like Shakespeare performed by the National Theatre. It amply raises this book by making it accessible to many who may have struggled because of its complexity, in addition to the authors intended confusion of reality and paranoia of the mentally insane...or was he?.


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

    Lolita is a classic, a narrative that crosses the social line but never alienates its reader because of it.


    Any additional comments?

    Great literature, great rendition. Irons nailed it!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Jacqueline Kennedy: Historic Conversations on Life with John F. Kennedy

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Caroline Kennedy (foreword), Michael Beschloss (introduction)
    • Narrated By Jacqueline Kennedy, Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., Caroline Kennedy, and others
    Overall
    (462)
    Performance
    (372)
    Story
    (369)

    In 1964, Jacqueline Kennedy recorded seven historic interviews about her life with John F. Kennedy. Now, decades later, these conversations can be heard in this digitally remastered eight-and-a-half-hour audio program. This audiobook includes the foreword written and read by Caroline Kennedy; introduction written and read by historian Michael Beschloss and the photos from the hardcover book, as well as complete annotations from Michael Beschloss, both in downloadable PDF format.

    Tim says: "Fascinating Listen"
    "A piece of history"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to Jacqueline Kennedy: Historic Conversations on Life with John F. Kennedy again? Why?

    Yes. I had little or no sense of her accent or personality. I was a little surprised by her grasp of affairs of the day, and her love for her husband. Quite touching.


    What was most disappointing about Caroline Kennedy (foreword) and Michael Beschloss (introduction) ’s story?

    Not disappointing but not very inspiring.


    How could the performance have been better?

    Less background noise but maybe this is part of the history.


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

    Several moments. I was touched by her love for her husband and family. JFK was a remarkable man (I was only 13 when he was assassinated) and I await his own tapes which were recently released from the Archives.


    Any additional comments?

    No.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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