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Julia

I listen to a lot of audiobooks.

Member Since 2008

ratings
53
REVIEWS
25
FOLLOWING
9
FOLLOWERS
4
HELPFUL VOTES
77

  • 1Q84

    • UNABRIDGED (46 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By Haruki Murakami, Jay Rubin (translator), Philip Gabriel (translator)
    • Narrated By Allison Hiroto, Marc Vietor, Mark Boyett
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3991)
    Performance
    (3489)
    Story
    (3456)

    The year is 1984 and the city is Tokyo.

    A young woman named Aomame follows a taxi driver's enigmatic suggestion and begins to notice puzzling discrepancies in the world around her. She has entered, she realizes, a parallel existence, which she calls 1Q84 - "Q" is for "question mark". A world that bears a question....

    Dr. says: "Slow, Strange, and (ultimately) Satisfying"
    "Just not working for me"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    1Q84 is the second book I've listened to in a month that has two "star crossed" lovers who's love is so powerful it alters the world in some sort of supernatural way, The Night Circus being the second book. I feel like if the author is going to build a story around powerful love, there needs to be something that makes me understand it other than just saying what it is. The two lovers, Aoemame and Tengo hold hands briefly when they are ten, after which she moves away. We join the story when they are both in their 30's and both are having empty and unfulfilled lives, feeling that their hand holding was the most pure true love they ever had. Sorry...maybe things like this do happen, but for this story I need more development.

    Other problems include the supernatural elements. What the heck? I totally don't get what their function is in this story. Seems useless other than to add mystique.

    The book was building toward a finish with what I thought was going to be a resolution with the two lovers, and then in the last third of the book (Act 3?), Murakami introduces a NEW character, a private detective to puzzle out the murder of an important character. This simply does not work and was of absolutely no interest to me as a reader because I had just spent the previous 2/3 of the book reading about what took place! Maybe Murakami wanted to write a mystery thriller. If so, he should have started there and nixed the previous 2/3s of the book. ugh

    I also agree with the other reviews about the constant repeating and reviewing - does Murakami think the readers are not paying attention and needs things to be explained over and over?

    The narration was also a problem. Allison Hiroto has a baby like quality to her voice that is very distracting. She reads very clearly, however the baby voice grated on me. I also thought some of the dialog she read was a bit flat. The male narrators were fine but not stellar.

    Overall, this book did not work. It has some interesting elements but seems to be mostly a mass of information and character development with not enough focus to make it work.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Medieval World

    • ORIGINAL (18 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Dorsey Armstrong
    Overall
    (86)
    Performance
    (79)
    Story
    (81)

    Far from being a time of darkness, the Middle Ages was an essential period in the grand narrative of Western history. But what was it like to actually live in those extraordinary times? Now you can find out.These 36 lectures provide a different perspective on the society and culture of the Middle Ages: one that entrenches you in the daily human experience of living during this underappreciated era.

    Dr. Cosens-Hellstrom says: "Excellent introduction to Medieval History!"
    "Great Overview"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Where does The Medieval World rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    I enjoyed this audio lecture more than others. The first few chapters are a bit difficult to keep up with since there are so many family relationships. However, once past that, the rest of the lectures are presented in an easy to follow format and well presented by Professor Armstrong. A great series. I listened to it twice!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Greece and Rome: An Integrated History of the Ancient Mediterranean

    • ORIGINAL (18 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Robert Garland
    Overall
    (53)
    Performance
    (49)
    Story
    (46)

    Integrated approaches to teaching Greek and Roman history are a rarity in academia. Most scholars are historians of either Greek or Roman history and perform research solely in that specific field, an approach that author and award-winning Professor Robert Garland considers questionable.In these 36 passionate lectures, he provides and impressive and rare opportunity to understand the two dominant cultures of the ancient Mediterranean world in relation to one another-a relationship that has virtually no parallel in world history.

    Julia says: "Totally Fascinating"
    "Totally Fascinating"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    Apart from Professor Garland's jerky manner of speech, which grew on me, this audiobook series is absolutely fascinating. I appreciated the integrated history of Greece and Rome from all angles, including other groups like the Etruscans and some mention of other tribes and the Egyptians. I had a fuzzy picture of what these cultures were like and how they fit together, but did not understand the big picture until I listened to these excellent and well researched lectures. The biggest aspect I appreciate by Professor Garland is his storytelling ability and charm. I love how he organizes the courses. Highly recommended for history fans!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancient World

    • ORIGINAL (24 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Robert Garland
    Overall
    (919)
    Performance
    (826)
    Story
    (816)

    Look beyond the abstract dates and figures, kings and queens, and battles and wars that make up so many historical accounts. Over the course of 48 richly detailed lectures, Professor Garland covers the breadth and depth of human history from the perspective of the so-called ordinary people, from its earliest beginnings through the Middle Ages.

    Mark says: "Tantalizing time trip"
    "Amazing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    I was so stunned by this course I listened to all of the lectures twice! The course lectures are well researched, enjoyable, and absolutely fascinating. I feel so fortunate to be living in the age of showers, antibiotics, and anesthesia!

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Food: A Cultural Culinary History

    • ORIGINAL (18 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Ken Albala
    Overall
    (150)
    Performance
    (134)
    Story
    (130)

    Eating is an indispensable human activity. As a result, whether we realize it or not, the drive to obtain food has been a major catalyst across all of history, from prehistoric times to the present. Epicure Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin said it best: "Gastronomy governs the whole life of man."

    SamanthaG says: "Very interesting course"
    "disorganized"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    I returned this book because I found it scattered, difficult to follow and disorganized. The author is enthusiastic, which is great, however in his enthusiasm he tends to talk quickly and wander. Terrible.

    4 of 11 people found this review helpful
  • Under the Jolly Roger: Bloody Jack #3

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By L. A. Meyer
    • Narrated By Katherine Kellgren
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (612)
    Performance
    (361)
    Story
    (355)

    In the third book of the "Bloody Jack" series, unlikely heroine Jacky Faber, a pirate at heart, returns to the sea in a truly swashbuckling tale filled with good humour, wit, and courage. After leaving the Lawson Peabody School for Young Girls in Boston--under dire circumstances, of course - Jacky boards a whaling ship bound for London, where she hopes to find her beloved Jaimy. But things don't go as planned, and she is off on a wild misadventure at sea.

    Eileen says: "Best book in the series (so far!)"
    "The Return of the Motherly Female Lead"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    I miss the character from the first book. Sure, it is natural and also good to have an interesting character progression. I always appreciate that. However, the author chose to move Bloody Jack into a ridiculous motherly role on the ship that is laughable, sad, and most unfortunately boring and predictable. What I had thought was going to be a fun series about an interesting young woman turned into a bland story that I've read zillions of times in various forms. Ho hum.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Winter of the World: The Century Trilogy, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (31 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Ken Follett
    • Narrated By John Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4734)
    Performance
    (3985)
    Story
    (3996)

    Winter of the World picks up right where the first book left off, as its five interrelated families - American, German, Russian, English, Welsh - enter a time of enormous social, political, and economic turmoil, beginning with the rise of the Third Reich, through the Spanish Civil War and the great dramas of World War II, up to the explosions of the American and Soviet atomic bombs. As always with Ken Follett, the historical background is brilliantly researched and rendered, the action fast-moving, the characters rich in nuance and emotion.

    Tim says: "Brilliant Sequel"
    "characters not as compelling as the first book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    Unfortunately I am going to return this book. I found it a disappointment. Ken Follett's characters in his WW1 book, book 1 in this series, The Fall of Giants, were introduced in a way that was well written, enjoyable, rich and engaging, leaving me wanting to find out what happens next.

    In this second book with WW2 as the backdrop, we are left with the children of those original characters, except this time barely any ramping up at all before jumping into their story arcs. I was left feeling very unattached them all, not caring one bit about what happened to any of them. I basically yearned to know more about their parents and felt cheated by the direction of the book. I also found the sex in the book way too over the top. At times I felt like I was reading soft core porn.

    Too bad. Even so, based on the reviews and the success of Fall of Giants, I'm going to listen to the Pillars of the Earth next.

    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
    (4529)
    Performance
    (4074)
    Story
    (4156)

    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!"
    "The singing got to me"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    This book is certainly a classic. However, now that I've listened to about half of the audiobook I remember that when I originally read it, I would often skip over the singing, finding it a bit much.

    I actually think the best variation of this classic is the extended edition of the movies. The audio version is just annoying.

    6 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • Wicked Plants: The Weed That Killed Lincoln's Mother and Other Botanical Atrocities

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Amy Stewart
    • Narrated By Coleen Marlo
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (113)
    Performance
    (97)
    Story
    (93)

    Beware! The sordid lives of plants behaving badly. A tree that sheds poison daggers; a glistening red seed that stops the heart; a shrub that causes paralysis; a vine that strangles; and a leaf that triggered a war. Amy Stewart, best-selling author of Flower Confidential, takes on over two hundred of Mother Nature's most appalling creations in an A to Z of plants that kill, maim, intoxicate, and otherwise offend.

    Julia says: "For the Casual Nerd"
    "For the Casual Nerd"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    This is an enjoyable book for those who also like to read tidbits of trivia, in this case about poisonous plants. I listened to this while I ran on the treadmill during my workout. Lots of neat stuff to learn about without being too weighed down with specific scientific speak. For the casual nerd who doesn't necessarily have to be into plants.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The Magicians: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Lev Grossman
    • Narrated By Mark Bramhall
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2609)
    Performance
    (1880)
    Story
    (1888)

    Quentin Coldwater is brilliant but miserable. A senior in high school, he's still secretly preoccupied with a series of fantasy novels he read as a child, set in a magical land called Fillory. Imagine his surprise when he finds himself unexpectedly admitted to a very secret, very exclusive college of magic in upstate New York, where he receives a thorough and rigorous education in the craft of modern sorcery.

    Ki says: "Not an average book"
    "Whiny teenagers with a "furry" twist"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    I had no problems with the narration. I did have problems with the content of the book. I found the main character and supporting characters to be whiny teenagers, depressed and unmotivated who also seemed more adult than their ages. Also, if you are into "furry" sex, this is the book for you. Bizarre.

    I agree with all of the negative reviews here. Wish I had trusted them before I bought this and found out for myself!


    Would you ever listen to anything by Lev Grossman again?

    no


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • How the Irish Saved Civilization

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs)
    • By Thomas Cahill
    • Narrated By Donal Donnelly
    Overall
    (350)
    Performance
    (104)
    Story
    (98)

    Thanks to Thomas Cahill, the pivotal era called the "dark ages" is brought back to vibrant life, its personages portrayed in all their seemingly contemporary humanity, its issues simply and compellingly spelled out. How the Irish Saved Civilization will change forever the way we look at our past, and ourselves.

    P says: "Fascinating book"
    "Narrator has Marbles in his Mouth?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about How the Irish Saved Civilization?

    I love this book and have read it before. I thought I would download it to listen to while I'm at work since I enjoyed it so much. The narrator is awful. He reads with a strange slowness and sounds like he has marbles in his mouth, or something...I keep picture him foaming at the mouth. yuk.

    Have Derek Jacobi read this and I'll buy it again.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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