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GERALD

Calgary, AB, Canada | Member Since 2009

17
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 10 reviews
  • 13 ratings
  • 1 titles in library
  • 1 purchased in 2014
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  • Saving Fish from Drowning

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Amy Tan
    • Narrated By Amy Tan
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (301)
    Performance
    (83)
    Story
    (85)

    Twelve American tourists join an art expedition that begins in the Himalayan foothills of China - dubbed the true Shangri-La - and heads south into the jungles of Burma. But after the mysterious death of their tour leader, the carefully laid plans fall apart, and disharmony breaks out among the pleasure-seekers.

    bulldoglady says: "one of my favorites"
    "A struggle to get through"
    Overall

    I almost gave up a couple of times, but my miserly ways got the best of me and I managed to finish it. The biggest problem with this book is the reader. I thought that having the author read her own work would be a plus instead of a minus, but it all comes down to competence. If you want a good audio book you need a skilled and experienced reader. A good reader brings life and believability to the story. They have to be able to create multiple personalities, both male and female, with different voices and different accents. Ms Tan unfortunately does not have this talent. She's especially bad at doing the male voices (no surprise). The story itself is also pretty bizarre and hard to get into. At the end of it all I found that I was glad I finished it, but it would have been so much better with a professional reader.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Les Misérables: Translated by Julie Rose

    • UNABRIDGED (60 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Victor Hugo, Julie Rose (translator)
    • Narrated By George Guidall
    Overall
    (881)
    Performance
    (752)
    Story
    (760)

    One of the great classics of world literature and the inspiration for the most beloved stage musical of all time, Les Misérables is legendary author Victor Hugo’s masterpiece. This extraordinary English version by renowned translator Julie Rose captures all the majesty and brilliance of Hugo’s work. Here is the timeless story of the quintessential hunted man—Jean Valjean—and the injustices, violence, and social inequalities that torment him.

    Darwin8u says: "!"
    "Fatally Flawed"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    There's probably a great book buried somewhere here, but it's impossible to find. I've never seen such a bloated overwrought mass of verbiage in my life. This novel is in serious need of editing, and I mean brutal trimming.

    I cannot understand the reasoning behind the endless meanderings that take place in the story. For example, at one point the two protagonists are forced to take refuge in a convent. Fair enough. At this point the author goes into an extended discourse on the history of the convent, where it originated, it's ties to other religious orders, it's leaders, its rites, practices, and so many extraneous details so as to numb your senses and make your eyes glaze over. And it's all completely irrelevant to the story. COMPLETELY! And it's not a brief sidebar, it goes on for about an hour (at least it seemed that long to me).

    The author does this over and over, taking pains to explain details that have absolutely no bearing on the story. If any of these details were in some way entertaining then I guess you could justify it... but they simply aren't that interesting. They are monumentally boring.

    I did manage to finish the book, but it was a chore rather than a pleasure. I was just too stubborn to admit it was a waste of money (and time invested).

    Do yourself a favor and avoid this, or perhaps try an abridged version. I tend to avoid abridged versions, but this book may be the exception. It needs to be trimmed by at least one third, and maybe one half.

    It is a shame, because you can see that he is a great author, some of the passages are simply brilliant. This truly could have been a great novel. It just isn't.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Fellowship of the Ring: Book One in The Lord of the Rings Trilogy

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By J. R. R. Tolkien
    • Narrated By Rob Inglis
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4337)
    Performance
    (3896)
    Story
    (3974)

    The Fellowship of the Ring, the first volume in the trilogy, tells of the fateful power of the One Ring. It begins a magnificent tale of adventure that will plunge the members of the Fellowship of the Ring into a perilous quest and set the stage for the ultimate clash between the powers of good and evil.

    Ellen says: "At last - The Definitive Recording!"
    "Doesn't translate well to audio"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I loved the Lord of the Rings as a book. I've read it well over 10 times. (closer to 20). What I didn't realize until I heard it read out loud was how much of it I skipped over while reading. I never particularly liked "The Hobbit". I thought it was clearly a children's book, and I dismissed it as such. I found that listening to the first book of the Rings trilogy was that it was very much in the same vein. Tolkien clearly evolved as a writer during the writing of the Rings trilogy, and the 1st part of the trilogy starts out very much a children's book. It has a number of silly children's songs that are quite frankly embarrassing to listen to. While reading them you have the option of course to simply skip them, but while listening to it you are forced to listen to pretty pathetic renditions of what are pretty stupid songs (the word inane comes to mind). It's hard to blame the reader too much, after all is he supposed to compose the music himself? What you get is the same melody (if you can call it that) repeated interminably for every song. It makes you want to shoot him just to shut him up.

    Eventually I just gave up listening to it. It was spoiling the good memories of the book that I've had all my life. This is one book that is better read than listened to.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Tale of Two Cities

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Charles Dickens
    • Narrated By Martin Jarvis
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (587)
    Performance
    (223)
    Story
    (234)

    "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times"; "It is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known"; so the novel begins and ends with some of Dicken's best-known words, and between the two is every Briton's view of the worst excesses of the French Revolution.

    K. Hicks says: "A Rediscovery of an Old Friend"
    "It was the worst of Dickens"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Just for context, I love Charles Dickens. I just hate this novel. It shows Dickens at his worst, which is when he uses his novels to preach at his readers. This novel is so heavy handed and over the top that it can't be taken seriously. His characters are so one dimensional that they are totally unbelievable. This is a constant weakness in Dickens' work, his heroes and heroines are so pure and virtuous that they border on becoming caricatures. In this work, this weakness is pronounced and coupled with the prolonged bombastic discourses that Dickens engages in on political and social issues creates a fatal combination.
    I couldn't finish this audiobook, although I have read the novel to completion. I found myself forcing myself to listen to it, just to get my money's worth. Eventually I gave up, listening to an audiobook should be a pleasure and not a penance. Try another of Dickens' novels, for he is a truly great writer... just try to avoid him when he climbs on his soapbox. (try The Pickwick Papers for a real treat.. a bit slow starting but a joy to be savored slowly)

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Our Mutual Friend

    • UNABRIDGED (36 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Charles Dickens
    • Narrated By David Timson
    Overall
    (477)
    Performance
    (220)
    Story
    (211)

    A mysterious boatman on the Thames, a drowned heir, a dustman and his wife, and a host of other Dickens characters populate this novel of relationships between the classes, money, greed, and love. The 58 characters are presented with remarkable clarity by David Timson.

    A. Millard says: "A Masterpiece"
    "One of Dicken's best books I've yet heard"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Although this isn't his best novel, it certainly translates well into the audible book format. The narrator should win some sort of award for his reading of this book. It's not just a reading, it's a one man show. He breathes life into each character, the accents are truly incredible. At some point you might fear that he might go too far, and detract from the integrity of the novel.. but he manages to keep it under control. The book itself suffers from Dicken's usual flaws, his tendency to hyperbole and over sentimentality. His lead characters are always too one dimensional, the 'good' characters are almost saintly, and as such unbelievable. But I'm still one of his biggest fans, his writing is wonderful, even if he sometimes strays into occasional silliness and pontification.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • It

    • UNABRIDGED (44 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Stephen King
    • Narrated By Steven Weber
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4407)
    Performance
    (3142)
    Story
    (3168)

    They were just kids when they stumbled upon the horror of their hometown. Now, as adults, none of them can withstand the force that has drawn them all back to Derry, Maine, to face the nightmare without end, and the evil without a name.

    Parola138 says: "I thought I was desensitized"
    "Not King's Best"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I read this book many years ago, and I don't remember too much about it except that I had an overall negative impression of it. I was a big Stephen King fan at the time, and it was probably the only book of his that I didn't like. So these many years later, I thought I'd give it a second chance in the audible format.

    At first I was very pleasantly surprised, I found the first half of the book to be superb. But alas, it wasn't to last. Somewhere along the line, Mr King seems to lose his way almost entirely. It almost seems as if he was being paid by the word, for he indulges in seemingly endless expositions of meaningless details. Scenes and dialogues are repeated over and over, until you just want to hit a fast forward button and get on with it. With a little editing this could be a great book, but as it stands, its probably one of his worst efforts (of his 'classic' period.. I don't even count his latest works, and those 'dark tower' abominations) The narrator is quite good, but some of the dialogue is quite offensive (racist, profane etc) and although you can't blame him for reading what is written, I found some of it a bit hard to stomach.

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

    • UNABRIDGED (30 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Charles Dickens
    • Narrated By Simon Prebble
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (134)
    Performance
    (75)
    Story
    (75)

    The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club (commonly known as The Pickwick Papers) is the first novel by Charles Dickens. The book became the first real publishing phenomenon, with bootleg copies, theatrical performances, Sam Weller joke books and other merchandise.

    Roxalanne says: "Excellent"
    "My favorite Dickens Book Comes to Life"
    Overall

    I would recommend this book to anyone, with one condition... Don't give up on it too soon. This book starts very slowly. It was Dickens first book I believe, and it starts out in a very stuffy formal mode. It purports to be a documentation of the activities of the "Pickwick" club (hence the name the Pickwick Papers). The story takes a while to get going, and I'm afraid many might not have the patience to see it through. Once it gets going, you don't ever want it to end. The narration is first rate as well. Sometimes you find yourself mesmerized by the sheer beauty of the writing of the author, and the magnificent reading of the narrator. It also contains some of the most endearing characters that Dickens ever created. It will make you laugh, it will make you cry, its wonderful.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Haunted

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Chuck Palahniuk
    • Narrated By Scott Brick, Marc Cashman, Erik Davies, and others
    Overall
    (626)
    Performance
    (246)
    Story
    (252)

    Haunted by Chuck Palahniuk is a novel made up of stories: 23 of them, to be precise. Twenty-three of the most horrifying, hilarious, mind-blowing, stomach-churning tales you'll ever encounter, sometimes all at once. They are told by people who have answered an ad headlined "Writers' Retreat: Abandon Your Life for Three Months", and who are led to believe that here they will leave behind all the distractions of "real life" that are keeping them from creating the masterpiece that is in them.

    Dominique says: "True Horror -- Not for the faint of heart, stomach"
    "Ghastly"
    Overall

    Idiotic rubbish. If your IQ is larger than your shoe size give this a pass. The book itself is so bad that no narrator could save it. The first story is actually the best (not that I made it all the way through). The author has a vivid imagination, and I wasn't put off by the graphic depictions of deviant behaviour, I was put off by the almost palpable stupidity of the stories. Eventually I gave up listening to it, it just wasn't worth it.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Dracula

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Bram Stoker
    • Narrated By full cast
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (24)
    Performance
    (16)
    Story
    (15)

    Perhaps the most famous vampire story of all time, and the most popular, Dracula is recreated in its entirety in this unabridged audio program. The story of Dracula has been retold and recreated many times in film and on the stage in the last 100 years. Yet, it is essentially a Victorian saga, an awesome tale of a thrillingly bloodthirsty vampire whose nocturnal atrocities embody the dark underside of an outwardly moralistic age.

    Steve says: "Excellent!!!!!!"
    "Excellent Audio book"
    Overall

    First of all, I found the way the book itself is written to be clumsy and contrived. It is entirely composed of supposed excerpts from diaries and journals written by each of the characters in the book. The premise that each character would create and maintain journals with such detailed descriptions, complete with dialogue is absurd. However, the story itself is compelling, and the audio presentation is superb. It doesn't have one narrator, it has an entire cast, like a radio play. One of the drawbacks of audio books is often the narrator fails to create distinct and believable voices for the characters, especially those of the opposite sex. The way this book is read, by a multitude of talented readers, you can easily identify with each as a 'real' person.

    I found it to be a delightful listen. You really do get wrapped up in the story, even though Hollywood has butchered it beyond recognition. I would say that it was probably the best audio presentation of a book that I've come across so far.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The Talisman

    • UNABRIDGED (28 hrs)
    • By Stephen King, Peter Straub
    • Narrated By Frank Muller
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3544)
    Performance
    (1602)
    Story
    (1610)

    On a brisk autumn day, a 13-year-old boy stands on the shores of the gray Atlantic, near a silent amusement park and a fading ocean resort called the Alhambra. The past has driven Jack Sawyer here: His father is gone, his mother is dying, and the world no longer makes sense. But for Jack everything is about to change. For he has been chosen to make a journey back across America - and into another realm. One of the most influential and heralded works of fantasy ever written, The Talisman is an extraordinary novel of loyalty, awakening, terror, and mystery.

    Swad says: "Still Good"
    "Flawed but enjoyable"
    Overall

    The Talisman was one of my favorite Stephen King books (I don't quite understand how 2 people are listed as authors, does one type with his left hand while the other types with the right? but I digress...) The story is interesting, the characters are diverse (love em and hate em) and the narration is quite well done. At first I didn't like the narrator's manner but I got used to it and overall I found him to be a plus overall. The major problem with the story is one that is common to many books, the ending. It seems to drag on forever and tries too hard to cover too much ground. That is a minor quibble however. Stephen King's books seem to lend themselves well to the audio format. He is a master storyteller above all, and it's enjoyable to hear his works read.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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