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Hilary

Member Since 2009

4
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 10 reviews
  • 35 ratings
  • 318 titles in library
  • 34 purchased in 2014
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  • The Lemon Table

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Julian Barnes
    • Narrated By Timothy West, Prunella Scales
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (29)
    Performance
    (25)
    Story
    (25)

    In a collection that is wise, funny, clever and moving, Julian Barnes has created characters whose passions and longings are made all the stronger by the knowledge that, for them, time is almost at an end.

    Cariola says: "A Real Downer"
    "Banal, petty characters mocked by author."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Really, no fun at all. Too bad, because I dearly love Prunella Scales. She is one of the very best readers. Barnes just comes off as mean-spirited to come up with these miserable creatures and then make fools of them in narrative.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Burning Bridges Tour

    • ORIGINAL (41 mins)
    • By Maria Bamford
    • Narrated By Maria Bamford
    Overall
    (40)
    Performance
    (29)
    Story
    (27)

    Maria Bamford speaks in many voices. No, She is not an impressionist, unless you count the stellar impression of her mom. Maria feels her high-pitched voice does not command respect, as a result, she has taken on many voices to help her tell her wickedly funny jokes. Decidedly off-beat, Maria has a wide-eyed innocence that comes shining through on this, her debut recording.

    Joseph says: "Wicked Funny!"
    "Funniest human being alive."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about The Burning Bridges Tour?

    One of the very best things about 2013 was my discovery of Maria Bamford. I have listened to this recording more times than will sound sane. She is just so smart and freaky. I don't know what else to say. Except don't listen will eating alone. You might choke, and then there would be no one to deliver the heimlich maneuver, which would turn something funny into something tragic.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Call the Midwife: A Memoir of Birth, Joy, and Hard Times

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Jennifer Worth
    • Narrated By Nicola Barber
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1700)
    Performance
    (1516)
    Story
    (1530)

    At the age of 22, Jennifer Worth left her comfortable home to move into a convent and become a midwife in postwar London’s East End slums. The colorful characters she met while delivering babies all over London - from the plucky, warm-hearted nuns with whom she lived to the woman with 24 children who couldn't speak English to the prostitutes and dockers of the city’s seedier side - illuminate a fascinating time in history.

    Kathy says: "This is one I didn't want to put down!"
    "The James Herriot of East End midwifery."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Where does Call the Midwife rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    An absolute revelation to me, all of it. The history of the East End and of midwifery in England. The stories about the workhouses were harrowing. And all of it told with great good humor and humility. The characterizations are delightful and the vignettes often profound. So much better than the television adaptation, which was tidied up and made much more conventional and far less affecting.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Oryx and Crake

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Margaret Atwood
    • Narrated By Campbell Scott
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1963)
    Performance
    (1103)
    Story
    (1116)

    As the story opens, Snowman is sleeping in a tree, mourning the loss of his beloved Oryx and his best friend Crake, and slowly starving to death. How did everything fall apart so quickly? Why is he left with nothing but his haunting memories? Alone except for the green-eyed Children of Crake, he explores the answers to these questions in the double journey he takes - into his own past, and back to Crake's high-tech bubble-dome, where the Paradice Project unfolded and the world came to grief.

    Doug says: "Very Scary Stuff"
    "Dystopic future beautifully rendered."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about Oryx and Crake?

    Margaret Atwood is one of our greatest living writers. I believed this even before I listened to the Oryx and Crake trilogy, but these works strengthened my conviction. The narrator of Oryx and Crake is profoundly alienated, which makes this the darkest of the three, but there is also a great deal of sly humor. And a whole lot of very fine writing. The future world Atwood creates draws on the currents and proclivities of your own times, taking them to logical extremes. The result is deeply unsettling.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The History of Love

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Nicole Krauss
    • Narrated By George Guidall, Barbara Caruso, Julia Gibson, and others
    Overall
    (1037)
    Performance
    (374)
    Story
    (388)

    Nicole Krauss' first novel, Man Walks Into a Room, was shortlisted for the Los Angeles Times Book Award and her short fiction has been collected in Best American Short Stories. Now The History of Love proves Krauss is among our finest and freshest literary voices.

    KLBrookline says: "Beautiful story, beautifully written."
    "Too precious by half."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you try another book from Nicole Krauss and/or the narrators?

    Everything was so self-consciously "sparkling" and "magical." Each sentence devised to wring from the reader an "aren't you clever." Krauss does the writer's equivalent of mugging for the camera.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Catherine, Called Birdy

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Karen Cushman
    • Narrated By Jenny Sterlin
    Overall
    (40)
    Performance
    (23)
    Story
    (25)

    In 1290, her 14th year, Catherine begins a diary that quickly fills with the irrepressible joys and frustrations of her days. Always looking for ways to avoid drudging hours of embroidery, Birdy fills her time with pranks, celebrations of feast days, and local gossip. Wriggling out of her father's plans to find a prosperous husband for her proves to be Birdy's greatest challenge.

    Hilary says: "Corpus bones! What a great heroine."
    "Corpus bones! What a great heroine."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Really great historical fiction for anybody, but if you are a feminist parent looking for good books for you children, I don't think you could do better than Karen Cushman's work. The medieval heroine of this one is esp. hilarious: "Now my father, the toad, conspires to sell me like a cheese to some lack-wit seeking a wife. . . Corpus bones! He comes to dine with us in two days' time. I plan to cross my eyes and drool in my meat." Narrator Jenny Sterlin really does Catherine justice: Plays her straight, which makes for great comedy.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Well and the Mine

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By Gin Phillips
    • Narrated By T. J. Kenneally, Margaret Nichols
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (17)
    Performance
    (3)
    Story
    (3)

    In 1931 in Carbon Hill, a small Alabama coal-mining town, nine-year-old Tess Moore watches a woman shove the cover off the family well and toss in a baby without a word. For the Moore family, focused on helping anyone in need during the Great Depression, the apparent murder forces them to face the darker side of their community and question the motivations of family and friends.

    Jean Tribble says: "Uplifting Depression Era Novel"
    "A swing and a miss"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I would dearly love for someone to write a really good historical novel about Alabama coals towns of the early twentieth century. I've read interviews with folks who lived in these towns and worked in the mines, and their stories are often gripping--the efforts to organize that were met with brutality and injustice, the unbelievably difficult and dangerous work, the enormous love that the people of the towns felt for one another and their community. By comparison, The Well and the Mine is pretty tepid stuff. It also fails to leave this time and take the reader to another. The Moore family is a contemporary white middle-class family plopped into a historical setting. They have the values and attitudes applauded by our time. Albert Moore is a miner, yet manages to own land and buy his momma a house. So few miners were able to own homes or land, at least not in their young lives. Their wages were too poor and too inconsistent, especially in the Depression years. That the Moore family does a bit of farming on the side is nothing out of the ordinary. Most miners kept a garden and a milch cow. Ultimately, The Well and the Mine is didactic and a bit preachy. Reads like young adult fiction.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Ava's Man

    • ABRIDGED (6 hrs)
    • By Rick Bragg
    • Narrated By Rick Bragg
    Overall
    (206)
    Performance
    (46)
    Story
    (45)

    Journalist Rick Bragg has built a soaring monument to the grandfather he never knew, and in the process created a powerfully intimate piece of American history as it was experienced by the working people of the deep South, a glorious record of a life of character, tenacity and indomitable joy, and an unforgettable tribute to a vanishing culture.

    Kate says: "Deeply moving"
    "Bragg reading his own work = great big treat"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Rick Bragg delves into his family history, mostly to find out about his maternal grandfather, Charlie Bundrum, who he never met and no one in the family would talk much about. Bragg interviewed family members and then interlaced their memories to make Ava's Man. You actually learn much more about the Bundrum side of Bragg's family than you did in All Over But the Shoutin', which is about the author's mother (although it is substantially about the author's career in journalism). Great familial and regional lore. Sentence-to-sentence, Bragg just gets better with each book. And it is so marvelous to have Bragg read. When books have a Southern setting, the readers are generally not Southerners and feel they must try on a "Southern accent," which always ends up sounding like Foghorn Leghorn. Very distasteful. Great writing and fantastic reading.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Wolf Hall

    • UNABRIDGED (24 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Hilary Mantel
    • Narrated By Simon Slater
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2103)
    Performance
    (1354)
    Story
    (1362)

    In the ruthless arena of King Henry VIII's court, only one man dares to gamble his life to win the king's favor and ascend to the heights of political powerEngland in the 1520s is a heartbeat from disaster. If the king dies without a male heir, the country could be destroyed by civil war. Henry VIII wants to annul his marriage of twenty years, and marry Anne Boleyn.

    Bronwyn Soell says: "One of the finest audiobooks I have heard"
    "Inept performance of a magnificent book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Yes, Wolf Hall is historical fiction; it is also extremely witty. Sadly, the narrator, Simon Slater, is such a poor reader that he misses the humor entirely. He marches through the narrative with little understanding, and the characters sound very much the same. Cromwell he gives a kind of ill-natured growl, which is very much at odds with how is character is drawn and with the clever remarks he exchanges. And the rest of the characters Slater gives a priggish simper, including Cardinal Wolsey. I actually stopped listening and picked up the book instead. Would be great if someone capable decided to take on the book, Steve Hodson would be ideal. Derrick Jacobi also comes to mind, of course, but he almost always records abridged versions.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Brother Cadfael's Penance

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Ellis Peters
    • Narrated By Stephen Thorne
    Overall
    (157)
    Performance
    (71)
    Story
    (72)

    Brother Cadfael searches for his own endangered son, and in so doing, forsakes his order and boldly defies his abbot. What he finds challenges his soul. It is autumn 1145, and the battle rages between Empress Maud and her cousin Stephen for the throne of England. One who previously had been among Empress Maud's greatest champions, Sir Philip FitzRobert, has turned coat and imprisoned thirty knights and squires who stayed loyal to the empress.

    C. Telfair says: "Long Live Cadfael"
    "Beautiful end to the Cadfael series."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Have you listened to any of Stephen Thorne’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Stephen Thorne is my chosen reader for the Cadfael books. I would probably prefer Derek Jacobi, but he only does abridged readings. And really, Thorne gives an excellent performance, nuanced and intelligent. He gives the listener an excellent sense of each character as an individual. He does justice to Peters' lovely prose.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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