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Rochelle

Dunedin, New Zealand | Member Since 2010

52
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 56 reviews
  • 151 ratings
  • 551 titles in library
  • 111 purchased in 2014
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
4

  • Useless Beauty

    • UNABRIDGED (46 mins)
    • By Guy de Maupassant
    • Narrated By Walter Zimmerman
    Overall
    (24)
    Performance
    (10)
    Story
    (10)

    Guy de Maupassant is considered one of the fathers of the modern short story. In this Useless Beauty ( L'Inutile Beauté ) a woman who is being kept at home by a jealous husband as a "trophy," finally reaches her limit to the astonishment of her husband.

    Michael says: "Almost Great Maupassant Short"
    "Audio quality is sub-par"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Check the audio quality before you download this book. It's a bit tinny & some people may find that frustrating.

    For that though it is a clever story & for the price I enjoyed it a great deal. Normally below average sound quality would annoy me but I knew the story was only going to last 45 minutes so I wouldn't be stuck listening to it for days, and it's very cheap.

    Haven't come across Guy de Maupassant before & would try his stories again.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Leaving the Atocha Station

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Ben Lerner
    • Narrated By Ben Lerner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (43)
    Performance
    (36)
    Story
    (35)

    Adam Gordon is a brilliant, if highly unreliable, young American poet on a prestigious fellowship in Madrid, struggling to establish his sense of self and his relationship to art. Instead of following the dictates of his fellowship, Adam's 'research' becomes a meditation on the possibility of the genuine in the arts and beyond: are his relationships with the people he meets in Spain as fraudulent as he fears his poems are? Is poetry an essential art form, or merely a screen for the reader's projections?

    Gayle says: "Captured the Challenge of second language"
    "Insightful, beautiful"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I loved this book & I’m not sure why. I think part of it is the language (the author is a poet), the other part is how believable the main character is as a human being.

    Adam has a serious case of imposter syndrome, and his way of dealing with this is sometimes to lie, try to look or sound mysterious (I'm not sure how well that actually works for him), or pop anxiety pills. His lies are painful not least because he’s absolute rubbish at remembering that he lied at all. He’s terrified the people around him will see him as a fraud. He’s uncomfortable, we’re uncomfortable but the people around him in the book seem to be completely fine with it all, although he ascribes to them a higher wisdom than is likely. He thinks he's a fraud as a person & as a poet & neither of these seem likely. He certainly puts too much meaning in to his interactions with others & overthinks things.

    A lot of this book is us spending time in Adam's head. His perspective is definitely warped though so we see some things he doesn't. He's a painful character (in the sense of cringeworthy) but he's incredibly human & like cellophane - at times we see right through.

    The narration is excellent. Initially I was bothered by the monotone of the author's voice, the flattened affect, but getting further into the book this is the perfect voice for Adam.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Where Angels Fear to Tread

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By E. M. Forster
    • Narrated By Edward Petherbridge
    Overall
    (28)
    Performance
    (21)
    Story
    (20)

    English widow Lilia causes a scandal by marrying Gino, a highly unsuitable Italian 12 years her junior. But when her relatives are confronted by the beauty of Italy and the charm of Gino, they are forced to examine their own narrow lives.

    Kimberly says: "Classic Forster"
    "Sound distortion ruins excellent performance"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is the best narration of this book, however in the last few minutes of chapter 2 the sound is occasionally but repeatedly significantly distorted.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Radiance of Tomorrow: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Ishmael Beah
    • Narrated By Dion Graham
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (34)
    Performance
    (29)
    Story
    (30)

    At the center of Radiance of Tomorrow are Benjamin and Bockarie, two longtime friends who return to their hometown, Imperi, after the civil war. The village is in ruins, the ground covered in bones. As more villagers begin to come back, Benjamin and Bockarie try to forge a new community by taking up their former posts as teachers, but they're beset by obstacles: a scarcity of food; a rash of murders, thievery, rape, and retaliation; and the depredations of a foreign mining company intent on sullying the town's water supply and blocking its paths with electric wires.

    Rochelle says: "A dark story, beautifully told"
    "A dark story, beautifully told"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Ishmael Beah has an excellent "voice". If Radiance of Tomorrow is an example of contemporary Sierra Leone literature I look forward to discovering more.

    The book has the feel of a folk tale & is conveyed perfectly in audiobook format. By this I don't mean it is a "simple" story, but the telling conveys something of the culture of the characters in the book. The style of the writing adds depth to the story being told.

    If you've read Ishmael Beah's memoir "A Long Way Gone" his novel will seem a lot more personal than many standard works of fiction. If you haven't read his memoir you probably ought to. Regardless, Radiance of Tomorrow stands alone as an incredible work.

    The narration is superb. Overall a remarkable book.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Collector

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 1 min)
    • By John Fowles
    • Narrated By James Wilby
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (74)
    Performance
    (63)
    Story
    (67)

    Withdrawn, uneducated and unloved, Frederick collects butterflies and takes photographs. He is obsessed with a beautiful stranger, the art student Miranda. When he wins the pools he buys a remote Sussex house and calmly abducts Miranda, believing she will grow to love him in time. Alone and desperate, Miranda must struggle to overcome her own prejudices and contempt if she is understand her captor, and so gain her freedom.

    Sharon says: "Masterful narration"
    "Creepy!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The story starts out creepy & stays that way right until the end. John Fowles has done a brilliant job of creating these characters, particularly Frederick, who seems as though he ought to be as harmless as the butterflies he collects - but who is anything but.

    "Gripping" would be a good adjective for this one. It is a remarkably well written story, my favourite so far of the Fowles books available on the Audible book store. It's compelling from beginning to end.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Minimalists: Essential Essays

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By Joshua Fields Millburn, Ryan Nicodemus
    • Narrated By Simon Whistler
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (12)
    Performance
    (9)
    Story
    (9)

    At age 30, Joshua and Ryan both left their six-figure corporate jobs to pursue more meaningful lives. Minimalism: Essential Essays highlights essays from the first nine months of their journey into minimalism. Minimalism: Essential Essays is an edited collection of 29 of The Minimalists' favorite essays about living a more meaningful life with less stuff. This collection also contains a special forward by Joshua and Ryan, as well as two bonus essays you can't find anywhere else: "Dealing with Overwhelm" and "Focus On What's Important."

    Rochelle says: "Amateur self-help"
    "Amateur self-help"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Listen to the sample before choosing this book. The narrator has a pompous, sing-song tone that sounds like he's got auto-tune permanently switched on.

    If only the narrator was the worst thing about this book.

    The book sounds like a poorly written blog converted into a book - which it is. The authors ought to have practised minimalism in their writing, with particular regard to their sentence structure. They use the most amount of words to convey the least meaning.

    One of the authors notes he hopes we won't think the advice is "banal platitudes". The choice of term is apt because that's exactly what the book contains. It is superficial & the writing demonstrates a lack of self awareness. It's negative, patronising, judgemental & evangelical.

    Several years ago I read about minimalism in an engaging & inspiring blog (not by these authors). I bought this book hoping to find that again & was disappointed.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Lucky: A Memoir

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Alice Sebold
    • Narrated By Alice Sebold
    Overall
    (340)
    Performance
    (116)
    Story
    (113)

    In a memoir hailed for its searing candor and wit, Alice Sebold (The Lovely Bones) reveals how her life was utterly transformed when, as an 18-year-old college freshman, she was brutally raped and beaten in a park near campus. "A rueful, razor-sharp memoir," raves Vogue, "funnier than you'd think was possible. Sebold tells what it's like to go through a particular kind of nightmare in order to tell what it's like - slowly, boldly, triumphantly - to heal."

    Samantha says: "Very raw"
    "A frank account of rape"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I had to pause to come up for breath several times in the first few minutes of this book. But once started there was no way to put it down. I have a great deal of respect for Alice Sebold for being able to share this part of her story in such a frank manner.

    Despite having described what happened to her many times to officials and friends the immediacy is replicated here in such a way that it winds you.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Levels of Life

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Julian Barnes
    • Narrated By Julian Barnes
    Overall
    (48)
    Performance
    (40)
    Story
    (40)

    'You put together two things that have not been put together before. And the world is changed...' Julian Barnes's new book is about ballooning, photography, love and grief; about putting two things, and two people, together, and about tearing them apart. One of the judges who awarded him the 2011 Man Booker Prize described him as 'an unparalleled magus of the heart'. This book confirms that opinion.

    Rochelle says: "Stunning essay on grief"
    "Stunning essay on grief"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A beautifully written tribute to the grief Julian Barnes feels over the death of his wife. The thoughts he shares are keen. He is eloquent on the loss we fear most.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • When the Stars Fall to Earth: A Novel of Africa

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Rebecca Tinsley
    • Narrated By Holly Villaire
    Overall
    (71)
    Performance
    (65)
    Story
    (67)

    When the Stars Fall to Earth is the story of five young Darfuris trying to make sense of their changing world in a time of war. Their lives come together in a tale of love and loss, self-reliance and courage, fear and violence. They overcome the ultimate challenge: to become proud survivors with a future rather than defeated victims, despite the tragedy enveloping them.

    P. Burdge says: "International Disgrace: Our Disinterest in Darfur"
    "Disappointing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I really wanted to read this to learn more about the situation in Darfur. I enjoy supplementing news & non-fiction with fiction stories as they can provide wonderful perspective when the author has spent time in the country as Rebecca Tinsley has.

    This was listed under literature, which it certainly isn't. The language used to tell the story seems childlike - not simple in a good way. In fact sometimes there is too much.

    I felt unable to relate to any of the characters, or to feel anything for them. All I felt was annoyance with the author for having done such a poor job of telling their story. Her characters deserved better from her.

    The issues the book is dealing with are incredibly important & need to be told. But this is not the author for the job. For good examples I'd suggested Katherine Boo (non-fiction), Khaled Hosseini and Anthony Marra.

    The sound quality of the recording was fine. The voices chosen for the characters were not great. Some of the voices sounded so unrealistic it made connecting with the character even harder. It distracted even further from the poor writing. From both a story & narrative perspective it felt like listening to a children's book.

    Overall this was a particular letdown as I am not aware of any other fiction based around the issues in Darfur. This is it & it doesn't live up to expectations.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • A Passage to India

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By E. M. Forster
    • Narrated By Sam Dastor
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (324)
    Performance
    (208)
    Story
    (206)

    Dr Aziz is a young Muslim physician in the British Indian town of Chandrapore. One evening he comes across an English woman, Mrs Moore, in the courtyard of a local mosque; she and her younger travelling companion Adela are disappointed by claustrophobic British colonial culture and wish to see something of the 'real' India. But when Aziz kindly offers to take them on a tour of the Marabar caves, the trip results in a shocking accusation that throws Chandrapore into a fever of racial tension.

    Diane says: "Extraordinary!!"
    "Poor sound quality"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    There is a problem with the sound quality on this version of the book. It begins in chapter 2 & is very intrusive. I'd advise bypassing this version until Audible can get a quality recording.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Heft

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Liz Moore
    • Narrated By Kirby Heyborne, Keith Szarabajka
    Overall
    (1800)
    Performance
    (1628)
    Story
    (1632)

    Forrmer academic Arthur Opp weighs 550 pounds and hasn’t left his rambling Brooklyn home in a decade. Twenty miles away in Yonkers, seventeen-year-old Kel Keller navigates life as the poor kid in a rich school and pins his hopes on what seems like a promising baseball career - if he can untangle himself from his family drama.

    Kathy says: "I couldn't stop listening"
    "Extraordinarily touching"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The publisher's description of the story did little to inspire me to read this book, I picked it up on sale & was blown away.

    Arthur is on first meeting, not terribly likeable. I could pity him, but there is a sense of dishonesty because he is dishonest. He doesn't like who he is & is unwilling to let others know what his life is, to the point of putting on a shirt & tie to answer the door to the grocery delivery man so he can pretend he has been working all day, while in reality he is housebound, completely alone & does little more than eat and watch daytime television.

    We begin to see through him though & what follows is a deeply moving story of loneliness.

    Kel, the popular athletic teenager is equally lonely & his story is heartbreaking from the beginning as he does his best to care for his alcoholic mother without any outside support.

    The two stories are told in parallel until their connection becomes apparent.

    Some audio books I find I can become involved in doing something else while listening. In the case of this book I didn't want to. I found I quickly became emotionally invested in the stories of the two main characters (and the other characters also).

    My only regret is that I didn't pick this book up earlier. It is absolutely a wonderful read.

    The narration is spot on.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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