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Alan

ratings
58
REVIEWS
7
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
0
HELPFUL VOTES
6

  • The Odyssey

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Homer (translated by Robert Fagles)
    • Narrated By Ian McKellen
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (664)
    Performance
    (487)
    Story
    (481)

    McGrath-Muniz says: "Beautiful recording marred by audio problems!"
    "Some chapter starts/audio issues"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    The 4 star rating in this case is only for the 2005 Penguin Audio audiobook edition of Robert Fagles' 1996 translation of Homer's The Odyssey. This is not a reflection on Fagles' translation or Ian McKellen's narration which are both 5 stars. The lower rating is only due to a few chapter/verse timing issues and the occasional distraction due to the ambience of different recording sessions combined into one audiobook. The recording is from the pre-digital download era and the audio chapters are based on approximate 30 minute timings (1 side of a cassette tape?), regardless of the actual Homeric verses. So the 24 Chapter starts are only occasionally equal to the beginnings of the 24 Verses of the Odyssey. This may or may not be a distraction for some. It is probably not a major issue if you are following along with a print edition.
    One segment, Chapters 9 to 12 in the audiobook, middle of Verse 10 to the end of Verse 12 in Homer, has a significant audio issue. The speed of McKellen's reading drops to a deep bass voice at a seemingly slowed down audiospeed, as if the tape slowed down or McKellen was suffering from a serious cold on the day of the recording. This is enormously distracting when compared to the sound of the voice before and after this segment. Again, this is not a deal breaker but listeners should at least be forewarned of this fault.
    The audiobook also excludes Bernard Knox's introduction that is available in the Penguin print edition.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Mrs. Hemingway

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By Naomi Wood
    • Narrated By Kate Reading
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (11)
    Performance
    (10)
    Story
    (9)

    Summer, 1926. Ernest Hemingway and his wife, Hadley, take refuge from the blazing heat of Paris in a villa in the south of France. They swim and play bridge, and drink gin with abandon. But wherever they go they are accompanied by the glamorous and irrepressible Fife. Fife is Hadley's best friend. She is also Ernest's lover. Hadley is the first Mrs. Hemingway, but neither she nor Fife will be the last. Each Mrs. Hemingway thought their love would last forever; each one was wrong.

    Gayle says: "Terrible narration."
    "The Paris, Key West, Spanish and Idaho Wives"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Naomi Wood singlehandedly leaps over the competition with a sequel to The Paris Wife (which was by Paula McLain) that also covers the other wives of Ernest Hemingway although in a shorter format by dedicating roughly ¼ of the book each to Hadley Richardson, Pauline Pfeiffer, Martha Gellhorn and Mary Welsh.

    The book is told in succeeding first-person accounts by each of the women, usually at the time of the end of each of their marriages (in Mary Welsh's case after Hemingway's passing) with flashbacks to earlier happier times. Naomi Wood does a great job at capturing the main character of each woman and Kate Reading does an equally fine job at narrating for each of them. Martha Gellhorn comes across as perhaps a bit softer toned than she was reputed to be in real life and Mary Welsh's section is light on the difficulties of the final years, but that just leaves room for future historical fiction accounts. There is at least one completely fictional character that is used to slightly tie the 4 stories together - a book collector / profiteer named Harry Cuzzemano makes cameo appearances throughout while seeking rare Hemingway editions or manuscripts. Perhaps this is a commentary on the greater Hemingway industry which seems to be never ending with the ongoing publication of 20 volumes of letters and new "restored" editions of each of the writer's own works being slowly released as well (A Farewell to Arms & A Moveable Feast so far, and The Sun Also Rises this summer 2014).

    There does now seem to be a whole new burgeoning genre of Hemingway inspired historical fiction, whether it is macho stuff like Dan Simmons "The Crook Factory" or the more romance inclined Erika Robuck's "Hemingway's Girl" (where 2nd wife Pauline Pfeiffer plays a large role). As a Hemingway nut I can only say the more the merrier.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Profiler's Daughter: Sky Stone, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By P. M. Steffen
    • Narrated By Gabrielle de Cuir
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1019)
    Performance
    (908)
    Story
    (912)

    The Profiler's Daughter is a psychologically haunting thriller that combines murder mystery, love triangle, and family intrigue in one satisfying page burner. Sky Stone was born into the wealth and privilege of Boston's oldest Brahmin family but chooses instead to follow in the footsteps of her deceased father, legendary FBI profiler Monk Stone. In the chilly morning hours before the Boston Marathon, when a beautiful university student is found strangled and mutilated, her body left at the base of Heartbreak Hill, Sky returns from self-imposed exile to investigate.

    Irene L. Culkeen says: "What a great find"
    "Overwrought narration very tiresome to listen to"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This one just wasn't for me but I did finish it.
    I listened to the audiobook edition and a lot of the problem was the narrator who over-exaggerated the accents of various characters making them all unlikeable. The narration was performed in an overly dramatized way that was simply tiresome to listen to for extended periods. The audiobook edition is almost 20 hours long, but the story content didn't seem to merit that length.
    The story was dragged out and didn't really grab hold until about halfway through when a prime suspect became evident. There was some excitement during a sideshow investigation trip to Texas and then at the very end.
    I'll admit that I was taken in by the promo for this one that promised a protagonist of the calibre of Lisbeth Salander (of the Girl With The Dragon Tattoo series) and Arkady Renko (of the Gorky Park Soviet & Post-Soviet Russia series). Sky Stone was nowhere near as interesting or compelling as the kick-ass aspy character of Salander or the solitary moral detective vs. a totalitarian realm of Renko. So don't be taken in by that sort of promo like I was.
    This might be ok for those who like a drawn out book, but the thrills were few and far between.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Benjamin Button and Tales of the Jazz Age

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By F. Scott Fitzgerald
    • Narrated By Alan Munro
    Overall
    (15)
    Performance
    (14)
    Story
    (15)

    This audiobook collection contains some of Fitzgerald’s best stories from the Roaring '20s. Included on the audio are the classics "The Jelly-Bean", "The Camel's Back", "May Day", "Porcelain and Pink", "The Diamond as Big as The Ritz", "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button", "Tarquin of Cheapside", "O Russet Witch!", "The Lees of Happiness", "Mr. Icky", and "Jemina".

    okay comics says: "Sorry, but this is the worst narrated audiobook!"
    "You get what you pay for."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    I'm not a big fan of F. Scott Fitzgerald's short fiction so I originally purchased this to help me get through reading a print copy. I did manage to finish both the Penguin Classics paperback edition (which includes both of Fitzgerald's 1st and 2nd short story collections "Flappers and Philosophers" and "Tales of the Jazz Age") and this audiobook edition which includes only the 2nd book.


    Has Benjamin Button and Tales of the Jazz Age turned you off from other books in this genre?

    I'm still interested to read and/or listen to the rest of F. Scott Fitzgerald for my general reading knowledge, but not with any particular enthusiasm.


    What didn’t you like about Alan Munro’s performance?

    The performance was quite stiff with very little attempt to give a voice performance. The stories "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" and "O Russet Witch!" were some of the few exceptions with their minimal efforts at elderly voices. None of the other stories had a very dramatized reading. I noticed that a reference to Oscar Wilde's "The Ballad of Reading Gaol" was pronounced as "The Ballad of Reading Goal" i.e. as in football goal, so obviously no research was done to learn that "gaol" is an antiquated spelling of the word "jail".


    Was Benjamin Button and Tales of the Jazz Age worth the listening time?

    At $1.95 for the member's price, this is definitely a bargain for a 10+ hour book. You get what you pay for though.


    Any additional comments?

    I noticed that, compared to the print edition, the sentence "It's very white of you." is censored to say "It's very nice of you." in the "O Russet Witch!" story. That seemed a bit odd in a book where the whole racist Shangri-La story of "The Diamond as Big as the Ritz" is included verbatim.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Innocent: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By David Baldacci
    • Narrated By Ron McLarty, Orlagh Cassidy
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3815)
    Performance
    (3204)
    Story
    (3228)

    Will Robie may have just made the first - and last - mistake of his career.... It begins with a hit gone wrong. Robie is dispatched to eliminate a target unusually close to home in Washington, D.C. But something about this mission doesn't seem right to Robie, and he does the unthinkable: He refuses to kill. Now, Robie becomes a target himself and must escape from his own people.

    Fleeing the scene, Robie crosses paths with a wayward teenage girl, a 14-year-old runaway from a foster home. But she isn't an ordinary runaway....

    andrea says: "I Hope There's a Sequel!!"
    "A compelling listen but w irritating sound effects"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    Would recommend to fans of Vince Flynn's Mitch Rapp series as Will Robie is a similar character


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

    I'll just say that because this adheres to Roger Ebert's Law of the Economy of Characters the ending was predictable to a great degree. Sometimes it is actually enjoyable though when you can predict the ending so some may not see this as a fault.


    What about Ron McLarty and Orlagh Cassidy ’s performance did you like?

    The actual voice performances by the two narrators were fine. The recording ambiance around the voices changed periodically which was a bit distracting. The use of sound effects and electro-music during the action scenes was especially distracting, though you learn to tune it out.


    Was The Innocent: A Novel worth the listening time?

    Even though it was predictable, I still found it a compelling listen and finished it only a few days.


    Any additional comments?

    I'll certainly listen to the 2nd Will Robie book "The Hit" expected in 2013.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • In Our Time

    • ABRIDGED (3 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Ernest Hemingway
    • Narrated By Stacy Keach
    Overall
    (27)
    Performance
    (12)
    Story
    (14)

    In Our Time contains several early Hemingway classics, including the famous Nick Adams stories "Indian Camp", "The Doctor and the Doctor's Wife", "The Three Day Blow", and "The Battler", and introduces listeners to the hallmarks of the Hemingway style: a lean, tough prose, enlivened by an ear for the colloquial and an eye for the realistic that suggests, through the simplest of statements, a sense of moral value and a clarity of heart.

    Alan says: "Unabridged reading by Stacy Keach"
    "Unabridged reading by Stacy Keach"
    Overall

    This is a great reading by Stacy Keach of Hemingway's first book. Audible is listing this as Abridged (as of March 2011, they may correct it later) but it is actually complete with all of the 16 short stories and the 16 vignettes as in the printed Scribner editions.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • So Cold the River

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Michael Koryta
    • Narrated By Robert Petkoff
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (435)
    Performance
    (210)
    Story
    (212)

    It started with a documentary. The beautiful Alyssa Bradford approaches Eric Shaw to unearth the life story of her father-in-law, Campbell Bradford, a 95-year-old billionaire whose childhood is wrapped in mystery. Eric grabs the job, even though the only clues to Bradford's past are his hometown and an antique water bottle he's kept his entire life. In Bradford's hometown, Eric discovers an extraordinary past.

    Vicki says: "Incredible!"
    "Terrific reader of a terrific book"
    Overall

    This psychic cinematographer turned hallucinogenic detective story was a total treat. A burnt out ex-Hollywood film-maker Eric Shaw is down on his luck and back home in Chicago making slide-show movies for funeral/memorial tributes. He has a mostly un-tapped psychic instinct that draws rich society woman Alyssa Bradford to hire him to do a film about her mysterious father-in-law Campbell Bradford and her only clue is that he was from the resort towns of French Lick and West Baden in Indiana and she gives Shaw an antique bottle of the local mineral water called Pluto Water which has an unnatural ability to stay freezing cold at whatever outside temperature. When Shaw sneaks a drink and finds his instinctive psychic abilities enhanced into seeing characters who are no longer alive the story is kick-started and you cannot stop reading/listening to it. Narrator Robert Petkoff is just terrific at handling several character voices lending each of them a distinctive identifiable sound. Highly recommended!

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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