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Calliope

ratings
172
REVIEWS
170
FOLLOWING
1
FOLLOWERS
5
HELPFUL VOTES
234

  • Lord Arthur Savile's Crime & Other Stories

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Oscar Wilde
    • Narrated By Derek Jacobi
    Overall
    (8)
    Performance
    (7)
    Story
    (8)

    "Lord Arthur Savile's Crime" is a masterpiece of polished cynicism in which poison, explosive clocks, and finally murder forerun married bliss. Also included are: "The Canterville Ghost", "The Model Millionaire", "The Young King", "The Fisherman and His Soul", "The Happy Prince", "The Devoted Friend", and "The Portrait of Mr. W. H." These eight stories were produced in the heyday of Wilde's career.

    Calliope says: "good title story, but fairy tales are just OK"
    "good title story, but fairy tales are just OK"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    There are 2 styles of Oscar Wilde stories here - the satirical scenes of British society that most people know from his famous plays, and fairy tales that were purportedly written for children. The children's fairy tales seem more heavily moralized that the fairy tales written by Hans Christian Anderson or Grimm, but that might just be my memory because these are fresher in my mind. In fact, both types of stories carry the same types of satirical messages of society, but one is dressed up in fantasy characters.

    I remain a huge Wilde fan, but his fairy tales are not among my favourite of his works.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Lock In (Narrated by Amber Benson)

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs)
    • By John Scalzi
    • Narrated By Amber Benson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (747)
    Performance
    (660)
    Story
    (681)

    Not too long from today, a new, highly contagious virus makes its way across the globe. Most who get sick experience nothing worse than flu, fever, and headaches. But for the unlucky one percent - and nearly five million souls in the United States alone - the disease causes "Lock In": Victims fully awake and aware, but unable to move or respond to stimulus. The disease affects young, old, rich, poor, people of every color and creed. The world changes to meet the challenge.

    Anthony says: "Love Amber's Narration"
    "Good story, but badly written"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a good crime story written in a nicely set up future society, but the actual writing - the nuts and bolts of sentence structure and word choice - was pretty bad. I almost gave up on it because of the quality of the writing style (mostly the "he said/she said/I said stage directions), but my sister encouraged me to continue. I'm glad I did, because the story got better, but I still never did got used to the bad writing.

    Amber Benson did a really good job of narrating, and I was glad I found this recording because I'd passed over this title before when I saw Wil Wheaton as the narrator (don't like his narration skills at all). The whole gender-neutral or gender switch situation is pretty much a gimmick, though, and too much was made of it. Listen to the samples and pick the narrator you prefer, and don't worry about whether or not Chris is truly male or female.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • And Then There Were None

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Agatha Christie
    • Narrated By Dan Stevens
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (424)
    Performance
    (383)
    Story
    (388)

    Ten strangers are lured to an isolated island mansion off the Devon coast by a mysterious "U.N. Owen". At dinner a recorded message accuses each of them in turn of having a guilty secret, and by the end of the night one of the guests is dead. Stranded by a violent storm, and haunted by a nursery rhyme counting down one by one...one by one they begin to die. Who among them is the killer? And will any of them survive?

    Jill Johnston says: "One of the best Christie books"
    "Wonderful story, wonderful narration"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a classic story line and one of Agatha Christie's most famous, but I have never had a chance to enjoy it until now. Strangers all lured to an island house for a weekend, only to discover that they are all targeted for past misdeeds and are being picked off one by one by an unknown murderer. They face not only the fear of being murdered, but the paranoia when they realize that no one else is on the island, and so one of them is the murderer. Who to trust, and how to stay alive?

    A fabulous story, not to be missed.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Q is for Quarry: A Kinsey Millhone Mystery

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Sue Grafton
    • Narrated By Judy Kaye
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (476)
    Performance
    (153)
    Story
    (150)

    Sue Grafton is back with her quirky, quintessentially cool detective Kinsey Millhone. Two retired detectives bring a quandary to Kinsey: identify the victim in a cold case murder. When she takes on the quest, it turns into a high-risk hunt for a killer.

    Kindle Customer says: "Always A Great Simple Listen"
    "Couldn't maintain my interest, and lousy narration"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I am disappointed, because I have enjoyed reading several Kinsey Millhone books in the past, but I don't remember the long and dry descriptions of scenes. I just kept drifting off - the pacing was wrong and it just couldn't maintain my focus. To give Sue Grafton her due, it may have been because of the pacing and narration of Judy Kaye......This audiobook really has pretty bad narration. I can't figure out why so many people in California small towns have strong southern accents, and everyone sounds like they're in need of a drink of water to quench their dry throat. The bad narration could also be responsible for the bad pacing and overall drag of the story, because I don't ever remember that being a problem when I read Grafton's books.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Saturday the Rabbi Went Hungry

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Harry Kemelman
    • Narrated By George Guidall
    Overall
    (35)
    Performance
    (33)
    Story
    (33)

    As Rabbi Small and his temple congregation solemnly prepare for Yom Kippur, a non-practicing member is found dead behind the wheel of his car - in his own garage. The police call the death an accident, and the insurance company insists that it’s suicide. But Miriam, Rabbi Small’s wife, believes the mishap could only be cold-blooded murder. With his congregants splitting over the possible cause, the young rabbi must discover the truth, or forfeit all hope for peace in the temple.

    Kathi says: "Great book and the narration is the BEST!"
    "the series is getting better........"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'm liking this series more with each book......this is a better mystery than the last and involves a little more character development too. The back-and-forth arguing that is often used as a cliche of old Jewish men was well portrayed and added a bit of humour as well. It's dated, but still kind of comforting, like watching an old episode of Murder She Wrote.

    The narration is terrific, as expected. George Guidall is one of my favourite narrators, and he doesn't disappoint here.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Barbara Demick
    • Narrated By Karen White
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1740)
    Performance
    (1137)
    Story
    (1144)

    Barbara Demick's Nothing to Envy follows the lives of six North Koreans over fifteen years - a chaotic period that saw the death of Kim Il-sung and the unchallenged rise to power of his son, Kim Jong-il, and the devastation of a far-ranging famine that killed one-fifth of the population. Taking us into a landscape never before seen, Demick brings to life what it means to be an average Korean citizen, living under the most repressive totalitarian regime today.

    Gohar says: "The man who wants to be GOD"
    "Fascinating!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a fascinating book that nicely weaves together the history of Korea and the creation of North Korea, with the stories of 6 defectors from North Korea who were interviewed in their new home of South Korea. Not just the stories of their defections, but of their lives in North Korea for decades before that......what their lives were like in the North Korea of Kim Il-sung and, later, Kim Jong-il. The book was published in 2009, a few years before the current leader, Kim Jong-un took control, though he is mentioned as Kim Jong-il's son. What really makes the book interesting is that it's a look at the lives of these average people (factory workers, students, teachers, farmers, etc) inside what is the most secretive and unknown country on earth. Their families, their homes, their jobs, the totality of how their entire existence was created, maintained, and shaped by the whims of the current leader. The continued existence of the repressive regimes well into the 22nd century remains a fascinating mystery.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Professor and the Madman

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Simon Winchester
    • Narrated By Simon Winchester
    Overall
    (1729)
    Performance
    (897)
    Story
    (908)

    Part history, part true-crime, and entirely entertaining, listen to the story of how the behemoth Oxford English Dictionary was made. You'll hang on every word as you discover that the dictionary's greatest contributor was also an insane murderer working from the confines of an asylum.

    Jerry says: "Perfect example of a quality audible book."
    "Interesting, but a bit didactic"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is both the story of Dr. Minor, a military doctor suffering from a lifetime of mental illness, and the story of the creation of the Oxford English Dictionary. It was interesting to find out what a great contribution individuals made to the book (the largest contributions were made by Minor), as well as the how it took almost 70 years to publish completely. I also hadn't realized that is was originally published in stages, from A on through the alphabet, as it was compiled.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • 'Towards Zero' and 'Ordeal by Innocence'

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Agatha Christie
    • Narrated By Hugh Fraser
    Overall
    (101)
    Performance
    (90)
    Story
    (88)

    Towards Zero: What is the connection among a failed suicide attempt, a wrongful accusation of theft against a schoolgirl, and the romantic life of a famous tennis player? To the casual observer, apparently nothing. But when a house party gathers at Gull’s Point, the seaside home of an elderly widow, earlier events come to a dramatic head. Ordeal By Innocence: According to the courts, Jacko Argyle bludgeoned his mother to death with a poker. The sentence was life imprisonment.

    Kathy says: "Towards Zero - terrific!"
    "both enjoyable "reads""
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    These are two Agatha Christie novels I hadn't ever heard of, but I enjoyed them both and, as always, Hugh Fraser's narration is terrific. I can always count on Christie and Fraser to deliver enjoyable adventures with good characters for a really good listening experience.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Various Haunts of Men: Simon Serrailler 1

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Susan Hill
    • Narrated By Steven Pacey
    Overall
    (62)
    Performance
    (41)
    Story
    (41)

    A woman vanishes in the fog up on "the Hill", an area locally known for its tranquillity and peace. The police are not alarmed; people usually disappear for their own reasons. But when a young girl, an old man, and even a dog disappear, no one can deny that something untoward is happening in this quiet cathedral town.

    Roxalanne says: "From the thoughts of the murderer...."
    "I wish someone had warned me........"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I had really been looking forward to this one, but I wish someone had warned me about the milquetoast characters, the cliches, and the ridiculous emotions of the protagonist. This is like an attempt by a love-sick 14 year old school girl to write a script for an long episode of Criminal Minds. The protagonist is a Detective Sergeant - well placed in the police department - but she has no concerns about having a crush on her boss and mentally gushes like a teenager (she didn't want to delete a voicemail message so she could keep a recording of his voice). Of course, she is sure she will be the one woman who can turn him from his history of bad relationships so he will become a man of emotional substance and fidelity. When confronted with a suspect in her home, she asks politely for her cell phone that he had taken ("could you give that back please") and thinks about escaping to run and shout manically into the night for the police, apparently forgetting that she IS the police and should have better resources than that. I thought her an embarrassment to the police force, not just to female detectives.

    There seemed to be an awful lot of emphasis on physical appearance and superficial surroundings, with frequent descriptions of everything from bodies and hairstyles, to food and decor. One detective was repeatedly referred to as being unattractive (I think the phrase "his monkey face" was used several times), while a victim was almost never mentioned without reference to her either being overweight or having acne. Is that what we''re supposed to focus on about these people? Is that supposed to make the more "real",interesting, or sympathetic? It makes me roll my eyes in exasperation. Then add in the occasional conversation on the glories of motherhood or the wonders of small-town living, and it gets even more juvenile, in my opinion.

    The villain in cliched, the setting is cliched, the doctor is cliched, and the depiction of the police is either sexist or comically inept. I'd recommend you take a pass.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Good Earth

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Pearl S. Buck
    • Narrated By Anthony Heald
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2217)
    Performance
    (1338)
    Story
    (1353)

    This Pulitzer Prize-winning classic tells the poignant tale of a Chinese farmer and his family in old agrarian China. The humble Wang Lung glories in the soil he works, nurturing the land as it nurtures him and his family. Nearby, the nobles of the House of Hwang consider themselves above the land and its workers; but they will soon meet their own downfall. The working people riot, breaking into the homes of the rich and forcing them to flee. When Wang Lung shows mercy to one noble and is rewarded, he begins to rise in the world, even as the House of Hwang falls.

    SHEILA says: "The Good Earth"
    "The more things change, the more they remain......"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Even though this book was written over 80 years ago, there are certain underlying themes, dreams, and events that remain true today.......the more things change, the more they remain the same.

    A man of humble beginnings raises a family and rises in wealth and power, only to watch his sons abandon the family business when he grows older and longs for nothing more than peace in his home. The family business is owning land and farming, the home includes not just a wife and children, but a concubine and servants, and there are other particulars specific to the time and place (rural China early 1900s), but it's all still about recognizable hopes and dreams.

    Yes, the pacing is slow, but I'm pretty sure life was slow in rural China in the early 1900s, so that's appropriate. It helps to set the tone and feeling for Wang Lung's life and times. Yes, there are prejudices on class and gender lines, but that's also appropriate for the times. This was a slow, subtle road that was, in the end, ultimately very worthwhile.

    The narration was wonderful. This is the second audiobook I've heard by Anthony Heald, and he's done a great job each time.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Invasion of the Body Snatchers

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Jack Finney
    • Narrated By Kristoffer Tabori
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (343)
    Performance
    (173)
    Story
    (174)

    On a quiet fall evening in the small, peaceful town of Mill Valley, California, Dr. Miles Bennell discovers an insidious, horrifying plot. Silently, subtly, almost imperceptibly, alien life-forms are taking over the bodies and minds of his neighbors, his friends, his family, the woman he loves, and the world as he knows it.

    Jenna says: "Warning!"
    "Not what I expected, more sociological than horror"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I have seen two of the movie versions of this book, and still there was an element to it that I didn't expect........Even though the author always claimed he had no political message in the book, I definitely heard more of it in the book than I ever saw in the movies.

    This version is more psychological horror and suspense than it is about a physical monstrosity - the "pod people" are physical duplicates, not any abhorrent visualized mess. They are not filled with inhuman rage, they don't eat living flesh, they don't make blood sacrifices. Visually it's a creepily calm but otherwise normal-looking situation. But, what Finney seems to mention again and again, the "pod people" (for lack of a better term) seem devoid of the human emotions, including the emotions that make people want to improve and change things. The real fear of changing is that the changed become stagnant emotionally and psychologically, doing only what is necessary but nothing that is desired since - without emotions - nothing is desired.

    To me, that's more than a "good read" as Finney said was his goal, that's a small-p political statement about the state of humanity.

    Yes, it's a sci fi thriller with good pacing, heroic characters, and a ticking clock of impending doom. But it's more than that, and not really what I'd expected.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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