Taiji-cho, Japan | Member Since 2010
Rob Inglis is the perfect narrator for this story. I just wish the book wasn't sold in six separate parts - very (and unnecessarily) pricey. But I bought and enjoyed all six anyway - the story is too well written, and Rob Inglis does too good a job reading it, to stop after the first one.
I have the Howard Pyle version, which is fine - a classic for sure, but a little on the wordy side and a bit dry for my 7-year-old daughter. I thought this shorter version would be more accessible for her. It's exciting - Sean Bean's narration and the soundtrack make it a good listen. But I'm glad I previewed it before playing it for my daughter. I'm no prude, but I don't want my young daughter to hear about the Lancelot, Arthur, Guinevere love triangle just yet. In this version, Lancelot spends the night with Guinevere while she's married to Arthur, and they're accused of being lovers. Also, Arthur and Lancelot both father sons resulting form bizarre encounters with women who trick them. I've read many versions of the Arthurian legend (from Marion Zimmer Bradley, etc.), so it's not like I was unaware of these events and character connections. I just didn't expect them to come up in a version supposedly for young children. I think I'll wait a few years before exposing my daughter to these complex adult themes.
When I was in my early 20s and ready to set off for 2 years as a Peace Corps volunteer in West Africa, I asked friends and family to recommend books I might take along with me, and an aunt who knew me well recommended this one. Unfortunately I didn't bring it along, and I didn't get around to reading it until now, nearly 20 years later. So glad I finally did. What a beautifully written memoir! And what a fine example of an intelligent, thoughtful girl's journey of self-discovery. The descriptions of 1940s life in the Australian outback are vivid and fascinating, and the taste of life in Sydney during the author's adolescent years and young adulthood are equally interesting. Barbara Caruso's narration is superb, as usual.
The only thing that prevented me from giving this audiobook 5 stars is that the recording quality is not great - you can hear echos, and that can be annoying. But at least they're echos of Nadia May's excellent narration! I read this novel quite a while ago and thought I'd reread it - so glad I chose the Nadia May narration! She reads the entire novel as though she's as absorbed in the story as possible, which in turn causes the listener to be as absorbed as possible. This is much appreciated when the novel is this long! Of course Tolstoy's writing is excellent, so that, too, draws one in. I still feel the same way I did 15 years ago when I first read this classic: Why isn't the title "Levin" instead? Even with Nadia May's talented voice to animate her, Anna failed to captivate me as a character compared to the self-analytical, soul-searching Levin. Regardless, "Anna Karenina" remains one of my favorite books, and I certainly am glad to have found an audio version to adore as well!
If you're a Harry Potter fan, then you'll understand when I say that reading "The Casual Vacancy" is like reading a novel set entirely in Little Whinging. If you haven't read the Potter books, suffice it to say that throughout this listen I felt as if I were driving by a tragic car wreck...and just couldn't look away. The characters are real and flawed. The story is dark and raw. The plot twists kept me guessing. I didn't particularly love any of the characters, and yet I was drawn to them, and I wanted to know how things would turn out for them. But there was no relief from the meanness and pettiness of ordinary life in a small town like one finds in the Potter books, no Hagrid or Dumbledore popping in to whisk us away to the world of magic and adventure. Not that I was expecting that. I knew what I was getting myself into. But I couldn't help wishing for such a thing throughout the listen. Still, I resonated with the social commentary, and I found J. K. Rowling's writing to be just as satisfying as I always have. The narration was highly enjoyable. Tom Hollander did a great job of portraying each character with a distinct voice.
I watched as a kid. I had the toy brownstone and plastic characters. Now I'm a teacher and a mother of a bicultural child, and I have my daughter watch "Sesame Street Old School" videos (episodes from the late 60s and 70s - the ones I grew up on). I've long had a vague awareness that Sesame Street was/is a groundbreaking, well-researched show, but now that I've listened to this audiobook I have a much better understanding of what went into creating it. It's heartwarming to hear about how committed the originators were to achieving their vision. Other reviewers have complained about Caroll Spinney's narration, but for me hearing him tell a story that's so close to his own heart made the experience more meaningful.
If you want something racy AND literary, this audiobook is satisfying on both counts, due in large part to the excellent narration by Veronika Hyks.
I tried to read this book once or twice over the years and just couldn't get into it. I have vague recollections of not resonating with Dorothea, and giving up when she considers marrying Casaubon. But, due to Nadia May's perfect reading, I now consider this novel to be one of my favorites. There was something about May's inflection that helped me to really understand and admire Dorothea, not to mention several other characters with whom I had hitherto been unable to sympathize. In an attempt to avoid giving anything away, I will resist the urge to copy and paste the last paragraph of the novel here, but suffice it to say that I think making it to the last paragraph would make reading this tome worthwhile even if it din't contain all of its other myriad charms. I will definitely be reading more George Eliot (and listening to more Nadia May) in the future.
His Last Bow (short stories, published 1908-1913, 1917)
The Adventure of Wisteria Lodge
The Adventure of the Cardboard Box*(see below)
The Adventure of the Red Circle
The Adventure of the Bruce-Partington Plans
The Adventure of the Dying Detective
The Adventure of Lady Frances Carfax
The Adventure of the Devil's Foot
His Last Bow (told in the third person)
The Valley of Fear (Serialized novel published 1914-1915)
The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes (short stories, published 1921-1927)
The Adventure of the The Illustrious Client
The Adventure of the Blanched Soldier (Holmes narrates)
The Adventure of the Mazarin Stone (told in the third person)
The Adventure of the Three Gables
The Adventure of the Sussex Vampire
The Adventure of the Three Garridebs
The Problem of Thor Bridge
The Adventure of the Creeping Man
The Adventure of the Lion's Man (Holmes narrates)
The Adventure of the Veiled Lodger
The Adventure of Shoscombe Old Place
The Adventure of the Retired Colourman
*(The Adventure of the Cardboard Box chronologically appears in the canon in The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes - circa 1892-1893 - but, for some reason, appears in this Volume 3 audiobook.)
The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes (short stories, published in The Strand as additional episodes of The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, between December, 1892 and November, 1893):
The Adventure of Silver Blaze
(The Adventure of The Cardboard Box) *(see below)
The Adventure of The Yellow Face
The Adventure of The Stockbroker's Clerk
The Adventure of The "Gloria Scott"
The Adventure of The Musgrave Ritual
The Adventure of The Reigate Squires
The Adventure of The Crooked Man
The Adventure of The Resident Patient *(see below)
The Adventure of The Greek Interpreter
The Adventure of The Naval Treaty
The Adventure of The Final Problem
*(I almost titled this review: "The Curious Case of The Switched Introductions" because The Adventure of the Cardboard Box, which is listed in the order it appears above in my physical book of Holmes stories, is absent from this audiobook, but the introduction to Cardboard Box suddenly pops up in the middle of the introduction to The Adventure of The Resident Patient. Very curious! I assume that, for whatever reason, it was decided that Cardboard Box wouldn't appear on this audiobook, but that the part of the introduction that shows how Holmes can deduce someone's thoughts from observing their facial expressions shouldn't be left out, so that section of the Cardboard box introduction was added to the Resident Patient introduction. Incidentally, what comes from this is that the scene changes from being a hot day in August to a windy day in October, so it can be confusing because one minute Watson is telling us that his service in India trained him to stand heat better than cold, and the next he's bundling up against the chilly night air.)
The Return of Sherlock Holmes (short stories, published in The Strand between October, 1903 and January, 1905):
The Adventure of The Empty House
The Adventure of The Norwood Builder
The Adventure of The Dancing Men
The Adventure of The Solitary Cyclist
The Adventure of The Priory School
The Adventure of Black Peter
The Adventure of Charles Augustus Milverton
The Adventure of The Six Napoleons
The Adventure of The Three Students
The Adventure of The Golden Pince-Nez
The Adventure of The Missing Three-Quarter
The Adventure of The Abbey Grange
The Adventure of The Second Stain
The Hound of The Baskervilles (novel, published in The Strand between August, 1901 and April, 1902)
(Chronologically "The Hound" appears before the stories of "The Return" in the canon, but I can see why it appears last on the audiobook, as one tends to want to hear of Holmes' return from his fate in The Final Problem right away.)
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