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Charmaine

I have a DLitt and Phil Degree which must imply a level of discernment? I just clocked over at 60. The significance is that I have read a whole lot of books. I'm now revisiting some of my all time favourites - and enjoying some first time round books. Books are my friends. Audible is JUST AMAZING - takes me back to pre -TV days, with my ear pressed to a crackly transistor radio - but now SO MUCH better and more 'classy' from a Kindle!

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa | Member Since 2012

16
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 27 reviews
  • 50 ratings
  • 267 titles in library
  • 27 purchased in 2014
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FOLLOWERS
4

  • Taken

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Robert Crais
    • Narrated By William Roberts
    Overall
    (13)
    Performance
    (13)
    Story
    (13)

    When the police tell a wealthy industrialist that her missing son has faked his own kidnapping, she hires Elvis Cole and Joe Pike - and Cole soon determines that it was no fake. The boy and his secret girlfriend have been taken, and are now lost in the gray and changing world of the professional border kidnappers who prey not only on innocent victims, but on each other - buying, selling, and stealing victims like commodities.

    Sharon says: "Be prepared to move around in time"
    "For a different audience - not for me"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book was not for me. I persisted with it because of the person who had recommended it in the first place. I found it tedious, boring, repetitive. The characters were cardboard, one dimensional and uninteresting. I related to and connected with none of them. I couldn't have cared less about their plight in the smelly house, their injuries, the danger they were in or the fact that they may never be rescued. In fact I hoped their misery would end sooner rather than later so that I would be spared more hours of listening to the whinging and whining. Why did I persist when there are so many books out there to enjoy?I guess in that sick way I experienced the pain of the characters

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Chapman Report

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Irving Wallace
    • Narrated By Robert Armin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (8)
    Performance
    (7)
    Story
    (6)

    Based on the Kinsey reports, in which Dr. Alfred Kinsey conducted interviews with thousands of men and women on their sexual habits, Irving Wallace's blockbuster novel The Chapman Report concerns the interviewing of a number of society ladies from a community in California known only as "The Briars". These interviews, intended to extract data for a book on the sexual habits of married women, lead the listener on a trail through the lives and loves of several very different women, and the men in their lives.

    Charmaine says: "Long, complicated, yet worth a second listen"
    "Long, complicated, yet worth a second listen"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    There is something captivating about this book. It is long, layered and somehow complex. Although I finished it, I have it noted for a definite round 2. I feel I missed a lot. I wasn't as focused and attentive as I should have been. This book deserved more than I gave it. The Kinsey subject material is compelling, the interaction of researchers and participants is interesting. It is not a 'light' listen. Be ready to study this book....

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The White Tiger

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By Aravind Adiga
    • Narrated By Bindya Solanki
    Overall
    (78)
    Performance
    (29)
    Story
    (29)

    Balram Halwai is the White Tiger - the smartest boy in his village. Too poor to finish school, he has to work in a teashop until the day a rich man hires him as a chauffeur, and takes him to live in Delhi. The city is a revelation. Balram becomes aware of immense wealth all around him, and realizes the only way he can become part of it is by murdering his master. The White Tiger presents a raw and unromanticized India, both thrilling and shocking.

    EM says: "Brilliant"
    "A Rags to Riches entertaining read"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I enjoyed this. Always good to read about the poor, the grubby, the disadvantaged, the unfortunate who rise above their sad stations, their desperate circumstances and finally enjoy the good life. It was particularly good that our hero escaped sleeping with the cockroaches - and the fact that he enriched himself by taking out his benefactor seemed perfectly all right. One had to wonder whether he was a better person as the disadvantaged groveler or the opportunistic advantaged.....

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By Alexandra Fuller
    • Narrated By Bianca Amato
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (315)
    Performance
    (269)
    Story
    (273)

    Alexandra Fuller won worldwide attention, popular acclaim, and critical accolades for her memoir of her childhood in Africa, Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight. This engaging follow-up explores Fuller’s parents’ childhoods and charts the trajectories of their lives through all the British couple’s experiences in war-torn Africa. With the same sharply etched narrative that has earned the author such immense praise, Fuller expands on and offers new insights into her family’s remarkable trials and successes.

    Janet Tarasovic says: "Great by both ear and eye"
    "Disappointing after Don't Let's Go to the Dogs.."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This was the highly recommended book... When I did my research I decided to start with Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight, which maybe spoilt this experience for me. There is a fair amount of repetition which is not really a problem. What didn't work for me was a narrator who sounded about a hundred years old - and whose pregnant pauses made me think that my iPad had run out of battery. I drifted off to sleep whilst listening - and did not feel too inclined to rewind. It got better as I got into it - but combining events with characterization in The Dogs worked better for me than the focus on Mum who became annoying as she drifted in and out of functionality. Maybe this was a therapeutic experience for Alexandra Fuller - for me it was tedious putting up with a 'spoilt' self indulgent woman who deserved more empathy in the Dogs than in this book which was too much about her - and too little about how she weighed down the family members who incomprehensibly seemed to stand by and put up with her.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight: An African Childhood

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Alexandra Fuller
    • Narrated By Lisette Lecat
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (435)
    Performance
    (185)
    Story
    (187)

    Alexandra Fuller tells the idiosyncratic story of her life growing up white in rural Rhodesia as it was becoming Zimbabwe. The daughter of hardworking, yet strikingly unconventional English-bred immigrants, Alexandra arrives in Africa at the tender age of two. She moves through life with a hardy resilience, even as a bloody war approaches. Narrator Lisette Lecat reads this remarkable memoir of a family clinging to a harsh landscape and the dying tenets of colonialism.

    Cynthia says: "Captivating"
    "History from a personal perspective"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    What a great story teller - and what fabulous insight and perspective into the liberation (really) of Rhodesia. What stands out for me is how the loan for the farm simply changed names in the bond holders books. The struggling farmers remained struggling farmers. I think this book has clairvoyant significance for South Africans - as we see our rich and powerful leaders getting richer greedier and more powerful whilst the informal settlements squalor and desperation of the ordinary people grows exponentially. And yet it is the poorest who enable the corruption - leaving the ordinary person no option but to flee. Perhaps why there are millions of Zimbabweans in SA. Where to from here Ms Fuller?

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Here on Earth

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Alice Hoffman
    • Narrated By Susan Ericksen
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (46)
    Performance
    (31)
    Story
    (33)

    March Murray, along with her 15-year-old daughter, Gwen, returns to the small Massachusetts town where she grew up to attend the funeral of Judith Dale, the beloved housekeeper who raised her. After nearly 20 years of living in California, March is thrust into the world of her past.

    L. Calder says: "The magical realm of Alice Hoffman"
    "Authentic well written and engaging"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Authentic characters with depth and a story that reveals the fatal attractions that people experience. The added dimensions of connections with animals enrich the read. Makes one question why good is apparently so boring and bad so appealing. The patterns within patterns and repeated patterns speak to the inevitability of the human condition

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Alone in Berlin

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By Hans Fallada, Michael Hofmann (translator)
    • Narrated By John Telfer
    Overall
    (13)
    Performance
    (12)
    Story
    (12)

    Berlin, 1940. The city is paralysed by fear. But one man refuses to be scared.Otto, an ordinary German living in a shabby apartment block, tries to stay out of trouble under Nazi rule. But when he discovers his only son has been killed fighting at the front he's shocked into an extraordinary act of resistance, and starts to drop anonymous postcards attacking Hitler across the city. If caught, he will be executed.

    smaller says: "so very well written!!"
    "A LONG HARD STRUGGLE"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I persisted, I hoped, I was disappointed. I'm amazed that so little in the way of a story could have stretched into so many HOURS of words. Maybe that was the point - to show the helpless hopelessness of people influenced by power hungry governments. If so this book succeeded. I'm not sure that I needed to devote such a large chunk of my life to this slow, tedious, journey to death, death and more death. My single laugh was when our heroine was asked how many men she had slept with before marrying Otto....83 she said. Why so many she was asked. Because that is all there were........

    As for the performance, the narration was good. However, when we are doing Berlin, Germany, the war shouldn't we be doing German accents rather than dreary English ones. The fact that we have German accented and German names kind of jars with the flat English rendition.

    This book will not make it onto the list of re-reads before I die. Never again Thanks

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Witness

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Nora Roberts
    • Narrated By Julia Whelan
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (7620)
    Performance
    (6638)
    Story
    (6630)

    Daughter of a cold, controlling mother and an anonymous donor, studious, obedient Elizabeth finally let loose one night, drinking too much at a nightclub and allowing a strange man’s seductive Russian accent to lure her to a house on Lake Shore Drive. The events that followed changed her life forever. Twelve years later, the woman now known as Abigail Lowery lives alone on the outskirts of a small town in the Ozarks. A freelance programmer, she works at home designing sophisticated security systems.

    Amazon Customer says: "A great book"
    "CHICK LITTY AND EVER SO SWEET"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I enjoyed this book. It is 'light', yet offers some up to the minute and interesting themes. i liked Catherine as the product of a desirable donor, the concept of a calculating, cold, unemotional mother unable to 'bond' with her offspring and the rather mechanical, intelligent characterisation. The great IT expertise and fantastic hacking ability of our heroine was quite believeable. Even the weakness of the witness protection scheme was credible. I was surprised that I enjoyed this book. I found Survivor in Death by Nora Roberts going as JB Robb over the top. I imagined that this would be equally unbearable. However, it was OK with a 'lived happily ever after' ending. Sweet.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Scapegoat

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By Daphne du Maurier
    • Narrated By Paul Shelley
    Overall
    (73)
    Performance
    (67)
    Story
    (67)

    All he ever did in life was watch people, never partake in their happiness or pain. No family, no ties, no entanglements, no friends, nothing infinitely precious. But where John’s life was drearily detached, Jean’s was over-encumbered by the ties John lacked - a warring family, an ailing business, a sordid past. When they came face to face, Jean could not resist the opportunity to escape the trials of his messy existence. John, driven into the deception, faces the horror of his altar-ego’s careless cruelty as he is drawn helplessly into a web of lies - and of love.

    Darryl says: "Yet to be disappointed by DuMaurier"
    "THE UNBELIEVABLE IS BELIEVABLE"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It seems impossible that an author could make one believe that a 'doppelganger' could so easily assume the role of another. How does an imposter play the role of father, brother and son, sign papers and so quickly 'know' the detail and history of a whole family? Ask du Maurier... This book could be viewed as bordering on science fiction. But no...the writing skill of this accomplished author makes the whole absurd situation quite believable. The work of a true master spoils the reader - makes one wish she was still alive and writing - to spare one from the modern cardboard characters in unbelievable, absurd situations...This was my second time around with The Scapegoat. I read it 40 years ago - enjoyed it as much now as then. And the narration was EXCELLENT. Vale!

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • My Cousin Rachel

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Daphne du Maurier
    • Narrated By Jonathan Pryce
    Overall
    (219)
    Performance
    (131)
    Story
    (133)

    Ambrose Ashley, Philip's cousin, guardian, and god, married Rachel in Italy and died there. Jealous of his marriage and grief-stricken by his death, Philip prepares to meet his cousin's widow with hatred in his heart.

    Diane says: "The best audio book I ever listened to"
    "UNDERSTATED BRILLIANT BELIEVABLE"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Something about the contrasts in du Maurier's novels appeals to me. This book is a thriller - without the overstated, exagerrated, intense, pacey dramatics and climaxes of modern writing. In Rebecca the characters develop, they take shape, they mature, they are believable and rounded. At the same time the plot develops through innuendo, implication and suggestion. Just wonderful! One can imagine these people and these events in one's own backyard. The writing style is beautiful - refreshingly cliche free - limited to the 'essential'. Every sentence has a purpose, every paragraph conveys meaning. I think this is why Daphne du Maurier is so worthwhile. There's Rebecca, The Scapegoat - equally brilliant!.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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