Aurora, IL United States | Member Since 2009
I love Rumpole read by Leo McKern and this is almost as good as any, and is very entertaining to listen to. Fun story, brilliantly written and narrated, good to listen to over and over.
This is an excellent entry in the Hornblower nautical series set during the Napoleonic Wars. Hornblower has been promoted to Lieutenant and is serving under a sadistic captain. It's a grim start that goes on too long, but then the story line shifts to sea and land action in the Caribbean, and the action and writing are first rate. Lts. Hornblower and Bush become friends, and there are other interesting character developments, too. A very strong book in the Forester - Hornblower series, and no can beat Patrick Macnee for his expert narration.
Cassandra, 17, writes in her journal of her oddball 20th century family living in an old English castle house that is connected to a remnant of a 600 year-old castle.
The family has no money, no jobs or income, not even towels or electricity, yet they sit around all day making Big Decisions such as whether or not to sip cocoa or tea that day. For excitement they argue as to whether men look better in beards or not.
The patriarch of the family wrote a book once, but now just reads mysteries and does crosswords 24x7 in candlelight in his gatehouse room. Topaz, 29, his second wife, is a former artist's model who likes to take nude walks in the moonlight (but modestly wearing her boots, of course), and for some reason seems worried about losing her prize of a husband. Older sister, Rose, 21, sits around all day doing absolutely nothing except looking beautiful/enchanting/ravishing. A yardhand, Stephen, seems to be the sole character with a heart and a working income, but he is looked down as inferior by the layabout sisters and is not considered to be a marriageable prospect. There is periodic excitement in the house like when the librarian stops by with new books (hooray!!!) or the vicar drops in for a chat. Occasionally there is tremendous drama as when Cassandra takes the wrong purse to a restaurant and can't pay for her dinner.
While sitting around doing nothing all day the sisters like to fantasize wondering what might happen if two rich eligible young bachelors might accidentally appear on their doorstep. And, then ..
You'll hear Great Thoughts like, "Getting a trousseau is such hard work," and you'll encounter activities all readers can relate to such as swimming in a moat. And, there's a ridiculously unbelievable comic scene involving a fur coat mistaken for a live bear. Added to the melange of ennui and inertia is the author's pretentiousness, with 17 year-old Cassandra making references throughout her journal to Jane Austen, the Bronte sisters, Leo Tolstoy, great poets, and other classic authors. The dogs in the book are Abelard and Heloise. Pretentious, moi?
I will say, though, that although the characters and plot are boring, and the story line (will the man I love love me?), the author does occasionally put together a nicely written passage describing scenery or moonlight. And, in terms of the reader, Jenny Agutter is outstanding -- too bad her talents are wasted on this tripe. The problem with audio books is that when you encounter a book as vapid as this, you can't skim along any faster than the book reads.
I recommend this book to a) people looking for Prince Charming, b) those who need a Jane Austen-lite fix, and c) men in solitary confinement with absolutely nothing else to do. 12 hours of listening to vacuous people doing absolutely nothing except trying to understand and catch the opposite sex is a bit too much excitement for this reader.
PS. If you think I might not enjoy this genre, I love the books by Jane Austen, and Charlotte and Emily Bronte.
And, now, please pour me my cup of chamomile..
Not the strongest entry in the "canon," but an enjoyable mystery set along the ocean around Bayport. Two of Frank and Joe's best buds go missing and the Hardy Boys try to locate them while finding linkages with a bank heist crime that their father is trying to solve. Entertaining sleuthing goes on and even if it's not the most exciting or exotic of the series, it is still very entertaining and relaxing to listen to, especially if you, like I, grew up reading every volume in the series. Bill Irwin does an excellent job reading and speaking as each of the characters, and there are just enough sound effects and a soundtrack to add some atmosphere.
This incorporates some of Henny Youngman's life story with his joke telling. I normally love Henny Youngman stuff. I bought it for the jokes, and they are a little lamer than usual, and the "live" audience sounds like the undead barely coming back to life. I need to look for a Youngman recording that does better justice to his joke-telling.
I can't believe this is the same plot and same characters as another Paul Temple story with a different title that I heard a couple years ago, so I've paid for it twice. This time it is read by one narrator rather than dramatized by a cast, and it is set in Algiers instead of Cairo -- but it's the same story and the same sinister characters. Buyer beware. The reader does a good job, though,
I didn't find the story very interesting or compelling and the narrator reads it at lightning speed, about 3 times as fast as necessary. The true measure of a book is whether I'd buy it again and I would definitely not buy this. The reading is so frenetic it makes me very jumpy and it is not at all a relaxing and enjoyable experience listening to this. Very disappointing.
I don't know what there is about "As Time Goes By" but I am a fan of the TV show and I very much enjoy listening to these 6 shows on audio. The acting is first-rate and the story lines are cute and warm. I hope they bring more of the episodes to audio listening, as they are so enjoyable and relaxing.
I learned a lot about the influence of beer, wine, distilled spirits, coffee, tea and cola shaping societies and historical events since the early civilizations. In fact, I am listening to this book for the 3rd time there is so much to learn from it. However, some histories are entertaining and others are more like dry encyclopedia articles and this is the latter. It is serious throughout in language and tone. There are many fascinating things to be learned, though, and these do come through. The reading style is just very direct and matter-of-fact, clean and clear with no distractions, but just as dry in tone as is the book. The 6 major units seem to get more interesting as the book advances, but that is perhaps because the more recent the history the more I am familiar with it already or that I can relate to it better.
Anyway, this book contains lots of fascinating information; in particular I think of the chapters on coffee and how coffee houses were so prevalent in the Arab world in the last millennium and also their importance in the flow of information and the debates on human rights and revolutionary movements in western Europe in the past several centuries.
Definitely worthwhile listening.
I read "A Pint of Plain" before listening to the audio version. The book seems disjointed, and jumps back and forth in the author's description of Ireland's pub and drinking culture and history, but ultimately is an enjoyable and informative read. The audio version, however, seems much less successful due to the reading style of the narrator, which I found very annoying.
The book has some humor but nowhere near the wit of "McCarthy's Bar," "'Round Ireland With a Fridge," "A Course Called Ireland," or "Pint-Sized Ireland." Yet the narrator treats it as a comic masterpiece. Every fact is delivered as a punch line, way over the top over-acting. Too bad it wasn't read with the honesty of Edward Enfield's reading of "Freewheeling Through Ireland."
"A Pint of Plain" is definitely one case of read the book rather than listen to it
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