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Arbutus

ratings
47
REVIEWS
8
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
0
HELPFUL VOTES
2

  • Beethoven's Piano Sonatas

    • ORIGINAL (18 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Robert Greenberg
    Overall
    (28)
    Performance
    (27)
    Story
    (26)

    A revolutionary man living in a revolutionary time, Beethoven used the piano as his personal musical laboratory. The piano sonata became, more than any other genre of music, a place where he could experiment with harmony, motivic development, the contextual use of form, and, most important, his developing view of music as a self-expressive art.Beethoven's 32 piano sonatas include some of his most popular works as well as some of his most experimental.

    Jeffrey F. Rector says: "Entertaining and educational."
    "Too much talk, too little music"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    I wanted to hear the music and then about how it worked. Instead I got a lots of talk from someone who is full of himself and likes to hear himself talk.


    What was most disappointing about The Great Courses’s story?

    Greenberg's annoying attempts to be funny and to use silly metaphors to try to explain the music. He sounded like he has spent too many years trying to appeal to uninterested undergraduates. He talked down to his audience and did not explain the music. I finally quit listening.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Professor Robert Greenberg’s performances?

    Definitely not.


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

    Disappointment. And annoyance that I spent the money and did not get value.


    Any additional comments?

    I will not purchase any Great Courses again as this one is such a dud.

    0 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The Pickwick Papers

    • UNABRIDGED (32 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Charles Dickens
    • Narrated By David Timson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (55)
    Performance
    (49)
    Story
    (50)

    The Pickwick Papers, Dickens’s first novel, is a delightful romp through the pre-Reform Bill England of 1827. Samuel Pickwick and the rest of the Pickwickians are some of the most memorable of all Dickens’s creations, and it is a joy to hear of their adventures in search of "interesting scenes and characters", and the repeated efforts of the quick-witted Sam Weller to rescue them all from disaster.

    Darwin8u says: "Watch Dickens Emerge from a Literary Chrysalis"
    "Favourite Dickens"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    If you could sum up The Pickwick Papers in three words, what would they be?

    Funny, thoughtful, timeless.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The wonderfully realized Dickensian characters.


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

    He depicted each character distinctly.


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

    I loved it for its sympathetic view of human foibles. I have listened twice and will listen again in the future.


    Any additional comments?

    This is a feel good book for when you want something that is intelligent and well written, but not dark and sad.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Tenant of Wildfell Hall

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Anne Bronte
    • Narrated By Frederick Davidson, Nadia May
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (150)
    Performance
    (78)
    Story
    (78)

    Just as Anne had to use a male pseudonym in order to publish, Helen Graham, the novel's protagonist and a battered wife, must assume an alias in order to gain freedom from her suffering. With her young child, Helen takes up residence at Wildfell Hall, shrouding her past in secrecy, yet earning the attentions of a young, unmarried country gentlemen.

    Joseph R says: "What if Darcy had gone over to the Dark Side?"
    "Now there is a bad marriage!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to The Tenant of Wildfell Hall again? Why?

    No, once was enough. The story puts your teeth on edge, but it was fascinating to read another of the Bronte sisters' novels.


    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    The most interesting was the frank depiction of debauchery in a marriage, and what that did to all those involved. But it was a case, of "why does she stick around" that can be irritating - you want to give her a shake and tell her to move on from the loser!


    Have you listened to any of Frederick Davidson and Nadia May ’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Both performers are excellent and they did a very good job in this case.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Don Quixote

    • UNABRIDGED (36 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Miguel de Cervantes, Tobias Smollett (translator)
    • Narrated By Robert Whitfield
    Overall
    (586)
    Performance
    (216)
    Story
    (210)

    Don Quixote, the world's first novel and by far the best-known book in Spanish literature, was originally intended by Cervantes as a satire on traditional popular ballads, yet he also parodied the romances of chivalry. By happy coincidence he produced one of the most entertaining adventure stories of all time and, in Don Quixote and his faithful squire, Sancho Panza, two of the greatest characters in fiction.

    James says: "Excellent"
    "Listen only if you need to know the story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What would have made Don Quixote better?

    It is a classic and of its time. If I was a literature student and needed to know the story, this would be an easy way to get the story. But right now, it is turgid.


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    Probably a good mystery, as after this I am ready for some snappy plot development and characters speaking in modern speech.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    I missed reading this when studying comparative literature, and always wanted to add it to my canon. So, that is done. But I missed Moby Dick as well, and I don't think that I am going there!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Paris: The Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (38 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Edward Rutherfurd
    • Narrated By Jean Gilpin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (308)
    Performance
    (274)
    Story
    (273)

    Internationally best-selling author Edward Rutherfurd has enchanted millions of readers with his sweeping, multigenerational dramas that illuminate the great achievements and travails throughout history. In this breathtaking saga of love, war, art, and intrigue, Rutherfurd has set his sights on the most magnificent city in the world: Paris. Moving back and forth in time across centuries, the story unfolds through intimate and vivid tales of self-discovery, divided loyalties, passion, and long-kept secrets of characters both fictional and real, all set against the backdrop of the glorious city.

    Kathi says: "Rutherfurd's "Paris"--C'est très bien!"
    "Great moments in the history of Paris in one novel"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you like best about Paris? What did you like least?

    The novel gave me the entire history of Paris in accessible form. It was easy to listen.However, the plots and characters were clearly contrived to just happen to be in situ at every conceivable historical moment - from the Revolution to Impressionism. The characters were wooden and the writing style clunky.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Edward Rutherfurd again?

    I might because I like really long novels to listen to while I quilt and knit. But the bad writing turns me off, so not soon.


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Jean Gilpin?

    Jean Gilpin sounded stilted, although the french pronunciation was excellent. I would have preferred Simon Vance, Malcolm Hillgartner, or Elizabeth Peters for example.


    Any additional comments?

    Rutherfurd packed it all in, but it sounded like he took a history outline from an encyclopedia and built a novel around it. He is definitely NOT as skilled an historical autor as Patrick O'Brian

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Little Dorrit

    • UNABRIDGED (35 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Charles Dickens
    • Narrated By Anton Lesser
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (180)
    Performance
    (96)
    Story
    (91)

    William Dorrit has been a resident of the Marshalsea debtors prison for so many years that he has gained the nickname "The Father of the Marshalsea". However, his suffering is eased by his close bond with youngest daughter Amy, or "Little Dorrit". The dashing Arthur Clennam, returning to London after many years in China, enters their lives and the Dorrits' fortunes begin to rise and fall. A biting satirical work on the shortcomings of 19th century government and society.

    Michael says: "a melody of genius writer & compelling reader"
    "Charles Dickens: a wonderful audio experience"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Where does Little Dorrit rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    An excellent listening experience. Good performance and of course inimitable Dickens characters.


    What other book might you compare Little Dorrit to and why?

    Bleak House, Our Mutual Friend. If you love Dickens, and long well written novels, then Little Dorrit is great, although not as moving as David Copperfield.


    Which character – as performed by Anton Lesser – was your favorite?

    Mr. Dorrit, the father, was particularly well realized by both the author and the performer.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Quicksilver: Book One of The Baroque Cycle

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Neal Stephenson
    • Narrated By Simon Prebble, Kevin Pariseau, Neal Stephenson
    Overall
    (1611)
    Performance
    (883)
    Story
    (908)

    In which Daniel Waterhouse, fearless thinker and courageous Puritan, pursues knowledge in the company of the greatest minds of Baroque-era Europe -- in a chaotic world where reason wars with the bloody ambitions of the mighty, and where catastrophe, natural or otherwise, can alter the political landscape overnight.

    David says: "Be aware of what you're getting into"
    "The Scientific Revolution in a novel"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Where does Quicksilver rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Quicksilver appeals to me because of its subject matter: the history of the Scientific Revolution in Britain, Europe and the American colonies around 1650 to 1750. Stephenson writes a "good yarn" with interesting characters that are well developed, but he is not a literary author. I would rate Quicksilver much better than some mediocre mysteries that I have listened to, but it is not up to the level of audiobooks of Charles Dickens or Tolstoy, or Samuel Pepys diary.


    What other book might you compare Quicksilver to and why?

    Neal Stephenson's books are great to both read and listen to. Quicksilver is not as entertaining as Reamde or Cryptomonicon, but it is a "must" for any Stephenson fan. There are characters and themes that repeat in Cryptomonicon. Quicksilver is for readers who are interested in mathematics and science, the history of both, and generally have inquisitive minds


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

    I like a narrator to not intrude on the story. If I notice the narrator, then there is a problem. I did not notice in this case, so do not know if I have heard other books by him - that is a good thing!


    If you could take any character from Quicksilver out to dinner, who would it be and why?

    Isaac Newton is very well realized here. Stephenson creates an amusing, complex and often infuriating character and does a good job of answering the question: "What is genius and how is it manifested?"


    Any additional comments?

    I am listening to Quicksilver for a second time before I go on with the second book in the Baroque Cycle. There is so much to take it, that I need to repeat to make sure that I get it all. And it is definitely worth listening to again, as are all of Stephenson's books - which makes them good value.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Cryptonomicon

    • UNABRIDGED (42 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Neal Stephenson
    • Narrated By William Dufris
    Overall
    (2003)
    Performance
    (1361)
    Story
    (1381)

    Neal Stephenson hacks into the secret histories of nations and the private obsessions of men, decrypting with dazzling virtuosity the forces that shaped this century.

    flaos says: "Finally Audible"
    "Math, Action, History! - All great stuff."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to Cryptonomicon the most enjoyable?

    Subject matter fascinating: Alan Turing and the origin of computers via cryptography during WW II, Douglas MacArthur and the war in the Phiilppines, modern day Internet commerce. Written in an engaging style with well drawn characters and amusing dialogue.

    Neal Stephenson is a math/computer geek and his books are full of that stuff, which I like although it makes them guy lit vs chic lit.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The characters and their relationships really come alive. The plot is great too.


    What about William Dufris’s performance did you like?

    The reader keeps a good pace, has a voice with suits the subject matter, and keeps the dialogue believable and fun to listen to.


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

    The scenes of tunnelling to hide gold during WW II are amazing.


    Any additional comments?

    I will listen to this several times over, as there is so much to get out of it each time.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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