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Margaret

DURHAM, NC, United States | Member Since 2011

10
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 4 reviews
  • 7 ratings
  • 83 titles in library
  • 6 purchased in 2014
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  • Fairy Tales of Oscar Wilde: In Aid of the Royal Theatrical Fund

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Oscar Wilde
    • Narrated By Judi Dench, Jeremy Irons, Joanna Lumley, and others
    Overall
    (95)
    Performance
    (73)
    Story
    (74)

    Here is a collection of the Oscar Wilde's famous fairy tales, read by a cast of leading British actors. Additional narrators include Geoffrey Palmer O.B.E., Sir Donald Sinden, and Elaine Stritch. Music: 'Reverie De Sebastian' by Steve Davies.

    Jefferson says: "Poignant Modern Fairy Tales Wonderfully Read"
    "Subversive and thought provoking"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    These stories are sometimes difficult to listen to, particularly as we are socialized these days to expect a happy ending from our entertainment. However, if you stick with it through a few, they act as somewhat of a mental palette cleanser, and help provide a fresh perspective on other stories and events.


    8 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • Machiavelli in Context

    • ORIGINAL (12 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor William R. Cook
    Overall
    (16)
    Performance
    (14)
    Story
    (14)

    Mention the name Niccolò Machiavelli and you might unleash a powerful response-even among people who have never read a word of his writing. The word "Machiavellian" conjures up images of an indistinct figure quietly making his way through the darkest corridors of power; a cold-blooded political liar; or a coolly practical leader - amoral at best - willing to do whatever is necessary in a world governed not by ideas of right or wrong, but by solutions dictated by realpolitik.

    Saud says: "Profound"
    "Great series, just not for my purposes"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I have a dilemma when evaluating the Machiavelli in Context series: the content is fantastic, but the delivery verges into repetitive. I've found this problem to be endemic in The Great Courses books that I've bought; the lecturer tells you something interesting, then rephrases it several times, with decreasing levels of subtlety.

    I listen to audio books when I run, to help the miles go by faster, and really wanted to love Machiavelli in Context. I've gotten a lot out of the book, so hopefully I'll have time to finish the lecture series. In the meanwhile, the pace is just too slow.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • King Lear: Shakespeare Appreciated: (Unabridged, Dramatised, Commentary Options)

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By William Shakespeare, Mike Reeves, Phil Viner
    • Narrated By Joan Walker, Terrence Hardiman, Lucy Robinson
    Overall
    (70)
    Performance
    (40)
    Story
    (38)

    Experience King Lear as a powerful full-cast drama with entertaining and enlightening commentary that explains what's what and who's who as the plot unfolds. To help you get the most out of Shakespeare, the narrator offers historical insights and background information, so you can enjoy the jokes, appreciate the references, and get a real sense of Shakespeare's world.

    fred says: "Love the format, like the piece"
    "Very Satisfying to have the extra context"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I was initially worried that the "Shakespeare appreciated" series would dumb the play down. However, after listening to their production of King Lear, I am very enthusiastic about the project. I especially appreciate that the guide doesn't stick to only explaining archaic terminology, but also notes many of the more subtle themes that run through the play and describes how specific passages advance these undercurrents. The addition then-contemporary references and allusions to then-topical events and scandals is a nice touch.

    The guide's relatively frequent interjections and scene analysis was helpful even beyond their informative content, as they made it much easier to follow which characters are active in a given scene. Otherwise, you have to remember fairly subtle voice differentiations - difficult if you are listening to the play in moderate intervals.

    I appreciate that the file seems to have both annotated and non-annotated readings.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Becoming: Anna Strong, Vampire, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Jeanne C. Stein
    • Narrated By Dina Pearlman
    Overall
    (725)
    Performance
    (431)
    Story
    (433)

    Anna Strong is trained for anything-until she's attacked one night, only to awaken in a dark world that exists between the living and the dead. Here, Anna struggles with her love for the two men who inhabit the realms of each: Max, a human DEA agent, and Avery, a Night Watcher who joins Anna in pursuit of the vampire who changed her life. Now, as her two worlds collide, fate plunges Anna into the ultimate battle between good and evil - where survival is not just for the living.

    Karen says: "Another new take on vampires and the paranormal."
    "Aggressively ok"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    The book is fine- which is the problem. It is an essentially mediocre urban fantasy novel in the currently-trendy vampire/kick-ass female protagonist subgenre.

    The protagonist is fine to listen to, but nothing really sets her apart as particularly compelling to follow and the plot does also suffer from the tendency for her problems to magically resolve themselves. Not quite Deus-ex-Machina level (well, except for one instance), but the type of situation - sadly prevalent in this sub-genre - in which a weaker protagonist magically vanquishes the (much stronger) opponent of the moment...because she just sort of wanted it badly.


    Would you be willing to try another book from Jeanne C. Stein? Why or why not?

    I might continue reading/listening to see if the series to see if there is anything interesting that builds after the introductory book. There are almost ten books in the series, so that should give Stein enough room to reveal a multi-layered environment. Although, one narrative tic that makes me wonder if this will ever happen is that the protagonist evidenced almost no curiosity about being dragged from a normal life into a supernatural word that she claimed not to have known about at all.


    Did Dina Pearlman do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

    Pearlman was adequate. She did differentiate the characters, but I have certainly listened to more gifted performers.

    One particularly irritating aspect of her performance is her tendency to emphasize the word


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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