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Berkeley, CA, United States | Member Since 2007

  • 3 reviews
  • 8 ratings
  • 0 titles in library
  • 31 purchased in 2014

  • One Hundred Years of Solitude

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By Gabriel García Márquez
    • Narrated By John Lee

    One of the 20th century's enduring works, One Hundred Years of Solitude is a widely beloved and acclaimed novel known throughout the world and the ultimate achievement in a Nobel Prize-winning career. The novel tells the story of the rise and fall of the mythical town of Macondo through the history of the Buendía family. Rich and brilliant, it is a chronicle of life, death, and the tragicomedy of humankind. In the beautiful, ridiculous, and tawdry story of the Buendía family, one sees all of humanity, just as in the history, myths, growth, and decay of Macondo, one sees all of Latin America.

    Melinda says: "What in the heck happened?????"
    "Wonderfully Rich Novel, Beautifully Performed If"

    Some books, like Joyce’s Ulysses, gain immeasurably from audio readings but paradoxically can be frustrating to listeners because of the density of detail, number of characters and the bewildering nonlinear narrative flow.

    I think 100 Years falls into this category. Fortunately, I discovered an approach that helped me a lot. I first simply listened to a chapter, then read the SparkNotes and/or Cliff Notes chapter summary available free online (referring to the character lists as necessary) and then re-listened to the same chapter. I found my comprehension and enjoyment of the book increased dramatically.

    It also increased my appreciation of John Lee’s approach. He reads the English translation with a rhythmic lilt, which usually I associate with poetry, not prose. But it gives the book an “epic” feel as if you were listening to the Bible or Homer or Dante being read. I initially found this strange and irritating but grew to appreciate how it created a dreamlike, hallucinatory quality.

    18 of 20 people found this review helpful
  • Our Oriental Heritage: The Story of Civilization, Volume 1

    • UNABRIDGED (50 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Will Durant
    • Narrated By Robin Field

    The first volume of Will Durant's Pulitzer Prize-winning series, Our Oriental Heritage: The Story of Civilization, Volume I chronicles the early history of Egypt, the Middle East, and Asia.

    Michael says: "Wonderful"
    "Living, Breathing History"

    Two caveats. This first volume was written in the 1930’s so some of its information is inevitably dated. Secondly, this book is really more about giving the Eastern context necessary for understanding Western civilization than a comprehensive guide to Eastern civilization.

    That being said, it is a beautifully written history, alive with detail, with generous amounts of quoted literature giving the testimony and mindset of the people who lived through these times. One thing I like about Durant’s approach is that while he is always lively and opinionated, he doesn’t create strawmen. He is always sure to present the best case for differing points of view. It would be nice to see more of that quality in these polarized times.

    This was thoroughly enjoyable to listen to.

    12 of 12 people found this review helpful
  • The Brothers Karamazov

    • UNABRIDGED (36 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Fyodor Dostoyevsky
    • Narrated By Constantine Gregory

    Fyodor Dostoyevsky is a titanic figure among the world’s great authors, and The Brothers Karamazov is often hailed as his finest novel. A masterpiece on many levels, it transcends the boundaries of a gripping murder mystery to become a moving account of the battle between love and hate, faith and despair, compassion and cruelty, good and evil.

    James says: "Finally an Audible Karamazov that's Great"
    "Extraordinary Reading of an Extraordinary Book"

    I acquired this from Audible when it was briefly available in July but for some reason disappeared until now. I'm glad it is available again for other listeners to enjoy. Constantine Gregory does a superb job of conveying the richness of this book. I used to think of Brothers as just a dark and pessimistic work. While Gregory does justice to those qualities when present, he also brings out warmth, humor, and suspense, qualities which I never really focused on when I read the novel before. He also manages to make the long philosophical passages engaging and not monotonous. Highly recommended.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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