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I enjoy historical fiction and classics, mainly, but am always up for a good mystery.

Chatham, Ontario, Canada

  • 4 reviews
  • 16 ratings
  • 115 titles in library
  • 1 purchased in 2015

  • Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Gregory Maguire
    • Narrated By John McDonough
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Heralded as an instant classic of fantasy literature, Maguire has written a wonderfully imaginative retelling of The Wizard of Oz told from the Wicked Witch's point of view. More than just a fairy tale for adults, Wicked is a meditation on the nature of good and evil.

    Kathleen says: "It's not easy being green"
    "And now you know... the rest of the story!"
    What did you love best about Wicked?

    What I loved best about Wicked was the main character, Elphaba. Gregory Maguire gave a very unique view of this Wicked Witch of the West, allowing readers to understand where she came from and the reasons for her actions, as well as her tragic demise. It definitely took her a while to become comfortable in her own skin... being green, and all!

    What did you like best about this story?

    Gregory Maguire created back-stories for each of the characters in the Wizard of Oz, leading you to see the story in a whole new (adult) light. His brilliant use of foreshadowing really added to both Wicked AND the Wizard of Oz.

    What about John McDonough’s performance did you like?

    John McDonough aptly portrayed each of the characters:You could always identify which character was speaking by the change in vocal timbre and pitch. My favourite was his portrayal of Elphaba, as she came across as a crass character, who often snapped at people but still had her soft spots.

    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    I preferred to put time between my listenings, as I liked to take time to compare the plot from the Wizard of Oz to Wicked.

    Any additional comments?

    John McDonough's voice has a soft, relaxing quality about it that was very pleasant to the ear. Unfortunately, it meant that it was very easy to let my mind wander, leading me to have to rewind often to make sure I didn't miss anything!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Help

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Kathryn Stockett
    • Narrated By Jenna Lamia, Bahni Turpin, Octavia Spencer, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Why we think it’s a great listen: The most celebrated performance in all of Audible’s history, The Help has nearly 2,000 5-star reviews from your fellow listeners. We hear the print book’s not bad, either. In pitch-perfect voices, Kathryn Stockett creates three extraordinary women whose determination to start a movement of their own forever changes a town, and the way women - mothers, daughters, caregivers, friends - view one another.

    Jan says: "What a great surprise!"
    "Struggling for equality in Mississippi"
    Where does The Help rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    By far, this has to have been the best audiobook I've listened to, yet. The voice talent really made the characters shine and made you feel like you were in the sunny south.

    What other book might you compare The Help to and why?

    Part of me wishes to compare "The Help" to "Gone with the Wind". Both books give a glimpse into the historical lives of black women in the United States, and brings to light the progression from servitude to freedom and equality.

    Another part of me wishes to compare it to "The Book of Negroes", as both books highlight the struggles of black women in history and the steps taken to improve lives and become equals.

    Which character – as performed by the narrators – was your favorite?

    My favourite character was Minny Jackson: The narrator brought this character to life, and made you see her strength and stubbornness, but also her fear. Minny's love of cooking really came to the forefront in the narration, too--and made me drool! Her struggle between what she knew was right, and what was proper, was very evident, too--life as a black maid in a white household in Mississippi couldn't have been easy in the 1960s, especially for a woman who liked to be outspoken.

    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    If only I had had the time to listen to this book in one sitting. It was a really gripping story told in such a way as to really keep your attention. The author also used many humorous devices to really bring the story alive.

    Any additional comments?

    You must listen. Really. The sooner, the better.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Handmaid's Tale

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs)
    • By Margaret Atwood
    • Narrated By Claire Danes
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead, serving in the household of the enigmatic Commander and his bitter wife. She may go out once a day to markets whose signs are now pictures because women are not allowed to read. She must pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, for in a time of declining birthrates her value lies in her fertility, and failure means exile to the dangerously polluted Colonies. Offred can remember a time when she lived with her husband and daughter and had a job, before she lost even her own name....

    Emily - Audible says: "My Top Pick for 2012"
    "Another view of Dystopia"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Handmaid's Tale to be better than the print version?

    On one hand, I would say the audio edition of The Handmaid's Tale is better, as you get to hear the lack of inflection in Offred's voice, who is obviously suppressed by Gileadian society, as she recounts her tale. On the other hand, this lack of inflection affects your interpretation of the text.

    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Handmaid's Tale?

    The Commander's surprise outing for Offred was the most memorable moment for me. This outing lead Offred to see what changes had been imposed in another area of Gilead, as she had visited the locale in Pre-Gileadian times. It allowed her to reflect on all that had changed, and also helped her to learn more about some people from her past.

    What does Claire Danes bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Claire Dane's tone of voice drives home the fact that she has been suppressed and isn't allowed to feel or have opinions. She is meant only to be a reproductive unit, to do her job, and remain meek and subservient.

    If you could rename The Handmaid's Tale, what would you call it?

    Honestly, I think the name is perfect. Perhaps, it could be called: "A Handmaid of Gilead", or "The Baby Machines".

    Any additional comments?

    I found "The Handmaid's Tale" to be very thought-provoking. It made me thankful for the role of women in our society, the less-distinct lines between social classes in our society and the freedom we have to be with the person we love. It was also scary to realise that our society could easily slip into such a system.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Rip-Off!

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By John Scalzi, Jack Campbell, Mike Resnick, and others
    • Narrated By Wil Wheaton, Scott Brick, Christian Rummel, and others

    In Rip-Off!, 13 of today’s best and most honored writers of speculative fiction face a challenge even they would be hard-pressed to conceive: Pick your favorite opening line from a classic piece of fiction (or even non-fiction) - then use it as the first sentence of an entirely original short story.

    Julie W. Capell says: "When is a rip-off not a rip-off?"
    "Rip-Off? No--Good Value!"
    What did you love best about Rip-Off!?

    Rip-Off was a eclectic collection of stories written by Sci-Fi writers that each began with their author's own favourite first line of a book. The variety offered in the book really appealed to me.

    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Sophia in "Every Fuzzy Beast of the Earth, Every Pink Fowl of the Air" by Tad Williams was my favourite character. Unfortunately, if I shared my reasoning, I'd be spoiling the story!

    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    It was a perfect book to listen to if you only have short times free--I found I needed a lot of time to reflect on what I'd listened to in each story.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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