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Jim Hall

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Member Since 2013

17
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 11 reviews
  • 49 ratings
  • 143 titles in library
  • 80 purchased in 2014
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  • The Wind in the Willows

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Kenneth Grahame
    • Narrated By Ralph Cosham
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (241)
    Performance
    (142)
    Story
    (149)

    These are the exploits of Toad and the efforts of his friends, Ratty, Mole, Badger, and Otter, to control the rascal.

    Jennifer says: "perfect"
    "Gentle pleasures"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you like best about this story?

    I had seen the Disney cartoon version of The Wind in the Willows years ago, but had never read the book. The idyllic settings and rather lyrical prose, coupled with a charming cast of characters, make this a very enjoyable story.


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

    Listening to Mr. Cosham is like hearing a favorite uncle tell a story (a Welsh uncle, actually; I can't help but remember his wonderful performance of How Green was My Valley). The voices he gives to each character are unique enough to be recognizable without being over the top, and his narration is very easy to listen to.


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

    Many of the parts of the story dealing with Mr. Toad are very funny.


    Any additional comments?

    This rendition of The Wind in the Willows makes it obvious why this novel is a classic.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • King Solomon's Mines

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By Henry Rider Haggard
    • Narrated By Simon Prebble
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (162)
    Performance
    (152)
    Story
    (148)

    One of the bestselling novels of the 19th century, King Solomon's Mines has inspired dozens of adventure stories, including Edgar Rice Burroughs's Tarzan books and the Indiana Jones movies. Vivid and enormously action-packed, Henry Rider Haggard's tale of danger and discovery continues to shock and thrill, as it has since it was first presented to the public and heralded as "the most amazing book ever written."

    BJ says: "Purchase the Kindle book for free"
    "A surprise"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    King Solomon's Mines was a surprise to me -- I really enjoyed it, much more than I expected.

    It helps to remember that this novel was the first of its kind; Henry Rider Haggard actually invented the “Lost World” genre. So while King Solomon's Mines is dated in its glorification of big game hunting (ewww) and general attitudes towards native cultures (although not, I would point out, towards individual natives), it’s still a rollicking good story. What I did not expect from a novel written in 1885 was how funny it is in places. As such, the protagonist/narrator, Alan Quartermaine, is the direct literary forebear of Indiana Jones. For the most part, it's great fun.

    Simon Prebble was not a surprise, however; his narration was excellent, as always.

    11 of 14 people found this review helpful
  • Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue: The Untold Story of English

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By John McWhorter
    • Narrated By John McWhorter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1286)
    Performance
    (998)
    Story
    (994)

    A survey of the quirks and quandaries of the English language, focusing on our strange and wonderful grammar. Why do we say "I am reading a catalog" instead of "I read a catalog"? Why do we say "do" at all? Is the way we speak a reflection of our cultural values? Delving into these provocative topics and more, Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue distills hundreds of years of fascinating lore into one lively history.

    Cookie says: "Oh the joy!"
    "I did not expect quite so much quibbling"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Based on the title, I thought this sounded like a linguistic overview of the history of English – for the non-linguist, I hoped. However, it was definitely not that.

    Instead, it was really a rather protracted presentation of one side of what is apparently an ongoing argument among linguists, about the grammatical influence of Celtic languages, the Vikings’ influence, etc. As such, much of it was rather repetitive, and frankly, it was mildly interesting at best.

    I was sorely tempted to give up at several points, even though it was only five hours and change in length. I did stick with it, only because John McWhorter is an excellent narrator for this long-winded argument.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Little Men

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Louisa May Alcott
    • Narrated By Justine Eyre
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (32)
    Performance
    (24)
    Story
    (26)

    Little Men brilliantly extends the March family saga begun in Louisa May Alcott's classic Little Women. Jo---now married to the good-natured Professor Bhaer and with sons of her own---has become the unflappable matron of an extended family at Plumfield, a school that the Bhaers have founded with Aunt March's legacy. Jo's rambunctious youngsters grow up in an atmosphere full of high spirits and misadventure---a world enlivened by Alcott's unique powers of observation and sympathy.

    Jim Hall says: "It's not "Little Women," but it's still a classic"
    "It's not "Little Women," but it's still a classic"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It’s not really fair to compare "Little Men" unfavorably to "Little Women," just because they're both by the same author, but I can’t help it. "Little Men" is hardly a novel – it’s really just a series of vignettes from the lives of Jo, the professor, and the boys (and a couple of girls) at Plumfield, their school; it really has no plot to speak of. "Little Women" didn’t have much of a plot, but it certainly had more than this sequel.

    That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy "Little Men." I really did. It’s quaint, and the stories are very nice, if a little twee. I had never read it before, and I'm glad I listened to it. Mostly, though, I found it disappointing that the rowdy tomboy, the adventuresome Jo whom I liked so much in "Little Women" would grow up to be as she is depicted in "Little Men," having sublimated her own ambitions and become so completely domesticated. Essentially, Jo turned into her sister Meg, and I wasn’t very happy about that.

    The narration is good overall, although the youngest children’s voices seemed too babyish. I enjoyed the other characterizations.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Little Women

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Louisa May Alcott
    • Narrated By C. M. Hébert
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (121)
    Performance
    (69)
    Story
    (75)

    This favorite book for children, based on the author's own youthful experiences, describes the family life of the Marches in a small New England community. Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy are raised in genteel poverty by their loving mother, Marmee, while their father serves as a chaplain during the Civil War. The story explores their domestic adventures, their attempts to increase the family's income, their friendship with the neighboring Laurence family, and their later love affairs and destinies as women.

    Kenneth says: "A very good reading of a classic"
    "Excellent performance of a classic"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I really enjoyed this edition, which features WhisperSync; I read part of it, and listened to most of it during my commute. It's a classic story, of course, which has spawned several movie versions, but I had never read it before. It’s a very old fashioned novel, with a wonderful cast of characters. Some readers will find it overly moralistic, but Miss Alcott is an excellent storyteller, and she very clearly presents the lack of opportunities women faced at that time, during and after the Civil War. Ms. Hebert's narration is excellent.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Pollyanna

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Eleanor H. Porter
    • Narrated By Rebecca Burns
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (69)
    Performance
    (37)
    Story
    (37)

    Pollyanna, an expert at her favorite "Glad Game" of always looking at the bright side in her numerous trials, is one of the most popular and enduring characters in all of children's literature.

    Joseph R says: "Redefining Pollyanna"
    "Old-fashioned, but excellent"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Pollyanna is a very, very old-fashioned novel, but it's very well done. It’s very similar to the Disney movie, although not identical. This version was extremely well narrated, too. I loved it!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Cricket on the Hearth

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Charles Dickens
    • Narrated By Jim Dale
    Overall
    (3097)
    Performance
    (2607)
    Story
    (2638)

    The holidays are upon us, and this year Audible is very happy to present to our members one of Charles Dickens’ most popular Christmas stories, The Cricket on the Hearth. This holiday classic (original subtitle: “A Fairy Tale of Home”) tells the innocent, picturesque, and charming story of a poor family and their would-be guardian angel; in short, a delightful vision of Victorian Christmas. As always, a great story calls for a great voice, so we’ve brought in legendary actor and record-breaking Audie and Grammy award-winning narrator Jim Dale (The Night Circus). Happy holidays and happy listening!

    Benedict says: "One of the best stories about Men and Women ..."
    "Dickens & Dale - who needs more?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The plot of The Cricket on the Hearth lacks the amazing creativity of Dickens' A Christmas Carol, and is a little contrived, but it’s still Charles Dickens, master of characterizations, and grand master of the English language. Overall, the story is very, very good, and Jim Dale, an astonishingly good narrator, helps it along a lot. I’m very sure I enjoyed this more because I listened to Mr. Dale's performance instead of reading it.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Ransom of Red Chief

    • UNABRIDGED (42 mins)
    • By O. Henry
    • Narrated By B.J. Harrison
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (16)
    Performance
    (14)
    Story
    (14)

    In the first tale, we follow two workmen on an intriguing journey to Coney Island, where the heartsick and disgruntled Tobin has his palm read. Who knew that palmistry could be so unpredictable? Secondly, a tale of kidnapping gone awry. A little boy, self proclaimed "Red Chief", is taken from his home, and has so much fun he never wants to go back, much to the chagrin of the kidnappers.

    Jim Hall says: "Two O. Henry stories"
    "Two O. Henry stories"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Besides The Ransom of Red Chief -- one of the best-known stories by O. Henry (The Gift of the Magi is another) -- this title also includes Tobin's Palm. Both are amusing, well-written, and extremely well narrated by Mr. Harrison. I enjoyed them both, probably more than if I had simply read the stories.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Holiday Classics by O. Henry

    • UNABRIDGED (49 mins)
    • By O. Henry
    • Narrated By Katherine Kellgren, Oliver Wyman, Jonathan Davis
    Overall
    (3)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (2)

    When it comes to the holidays, no story captures the true spirit of giving like O. Henry’s classic "The Gift of the Magi". And in celebration of the season, Audie Award® winners Katherine Kellgren, Oliver Wyman, and Jonathan Davis bring to life this timeless Christmas tale, plus two more of O. Henry’s holiday gems: "The Cop and the Anthem" and "The Last Leaf".

    Jim Hall says: "Three well-narrated classic tales"
    "Three well-narrated classic tales"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This title includes three stories by O.Henry: The Gift of the Magi, The Cop and the Anthem, and The Last Leaf. The Gift of the Magi is familiar, of course. The other two stories are less well known, but are still well written – one is amusing, the other heartwarming – and I very much enjoyed them. The narration by all three readers was excellent.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Lewis Carroll
    • Narrated By Michael Page
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (545)
    Performance
    (324)
    Story
    (335)

    First published in 1865, these endearing tales of an imaginative child's dream world by Lewis Carroll, pen name for Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, are written with charming simplicity. While delighting children with a heroine who represents their own thoughts and feelings about growing up, the tale is appreciated by adults as a gentle satire on education, politics, literature, and Victorian life in general.

    Steve says: "Awesome!!!!!"
    "Wildly inventive, classic wordplay"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a very old piece of writing, so the style is old fashioned, and I'm very sure it helped me to listen to this story as opposed to reading it. There were a few places where it would momentarily seem to drag on a bit, but then a new situation with new characters would come along and rescue it.

    Lewis Carroll was amazingly clever when it came to the use of words, and both Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass contain numerous instances of truly classic quotable dialogue, particularly with Humpty Dumpty.

    Mr. Page appears to be endlessly inventive when it comes to voice characterizations; it was possible to distinguish between the White Queen and the Red Queen, for instance. He was an excellent choice to narrate.

    I’m very glad I finally “read” these classics. I loved them!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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