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laurie

I have edited 38 national best sellers and had a writing fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

ratings
73
REVIEWS
48
FOLLOWING
2
FOLLOWERS
20
HELPFUL VOTES
76

  • Resurrection

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Leo Tolstoy
    • Narrated By Neville Jason
    Overall
    (27)
    Performance
    (23)
    Story
    (24)

    When Prince Dmitri Nekhludov is called for jury duty on a murder case, he little knows how the experience will change his life. Faced with the accused, a prostitute, he recognizes Katusha, the young girl he seduced and abandoned many years before, and realizes his responsibility for the life of degradation she has been forced to lead. His determination to make amends leads him into the darkest reaches of the Tsarist prison system, and to the beginning of his spiritual regeneration.

    laurie says: "Characters as the Author's Mouthpiece"
    "Characters as the Author's Mouthpiece"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    As a book editor, I ask my clients not to use their characters to speak for them but to allow the characters to speak for themselves. I don't believe this is the case in Resurrection. Tolstoy wants to address the Russian "justice" and penal systems, and although he dramatizes the unfolding action, at its core, the dialogue and narrative are more obviously coming straight from the author than I prefer. The setup is interesting: a wealthy juror finds that the accused murderer is a young woman who lived in his aunts' house and whom he loved and betrayed many years before. Believing his betrayal resulted in her ruination and ultimately brought her to this sorry fate, he takes responsibility and follows her to Siberia, where she is imprisoned. This nobleman's thoughts and dialogue were, in my opinion, not distanced enough from what Tolstoy believed, and I was always aware of the author's presence. I think the author should be invisible to the readers rather than the characters' puppeteer.

    I did, however, respect Tolstoy's stance and his taking on his huge and terrible issue that was so unfair and prevalent in his country.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Pickwick Papers

    • UNABRIDGED (30 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Charles Dickens
    • Narrated By Simon Prebble
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (146)
    Performance
    (87)
    Story
    (88)

    The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club (commonly known as The Pickwick Papers) is the first novel by Charles Dickens. The book became the first real publishing phenomenon, with bootleg copies, theatrical performances, Sam Weller joke books and other merchandise.

    Roxalanne says: "Excellent"
    "Cute until It Bores"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I selected The Pickwick Papers because Simon Prebble was born to narrate audiobooks, and he does not disappoint. He brings every character to life by creating the perfect voice, accent, cadence, and intonation.

    The Pickwick Papers is a long book, nearly 31 hours' listening time, and was written for serialization. The story is pure fluff, mildly amusing and mostly pleasant. The book offers several continuing characters and plot threads, and the story floats along a gentle stream. For me, it never generated a high level of interest. Probably the original serialization format had a lot to do with its success. Taken all in one piece as an audiobook, the novel and the characters became tiresome, like sucking on confectioners sugar, and I chose to opt for something else.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Picture of Dorian Gray

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Oscar Wilde
    • Narrated By Simon Prebble
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (703)
    Performance
    (586)
    Story
    (602)

    Oscar Wilde brings his enormous gifts for astute social observation and sparkling prose to The Picture of Dorian Gray, the dreamlike story of a young man who sells his soul for eternal youth and beauty. This dandy, who remains forever unchanged---petulant, hedonistic, vain, and amoral---while a painting of him ages and grows increasingly hideous with the years, has been horrifying and enchanting readers for more than 100 years.

    Daniel says: "Beautifully written, brilliantly read."
    "Oh, this narrator!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    At times while listening to this novel, I was astonished to realize that only one individual was reading it. Simon Prebble creates so many distinct voices, one might think several men and women are huddling around the microphone, and they call their ensemble "Simon Prebble." Bravo.

    I suppose most people dive into this book already knowing what it's about, so the narrator's talent is especially important. The plot holds few surprises, so it's the performance that delights.

    I also guess that most of Audible's subscribers are familiar with Oscar Wilde, his sexual preferences, and where they landed him because of where he lived and when. He was, I think, very courageous for including so many overt references in his book to homosexuality and the tragic end suffered by the men due to shame and the fear of being outed. (Excuse my use of that modern term in reference to this book. It worked better than "exposed.")

    A few of the plot developments were easy to guess in advance, but that did not lessen my enjoyment. Sir Henry's worldview is interesting and thought provoking, and he is a solid, consistent character to whom Prebble gives voice.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Beautiful Boy: A Father's Journey through His Son's Meth Addiction

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By David Sheff
    • Narrated By Anthony Heald
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (616)
    Performance
    (241)
    Story
    (240)

    David Sheff's story is a first: a teenager's addiction from the parent's point of view, a real-time chronicle of the shocking descent into substance abuse and the gradual emergence into hope.

    Before meth, Sheff's son, Nic, was a varsity athlete, honor student, and award-winning journalist. After meth, he was a trembling wraith who stole money from his eight-year-old brother and lived on the streets. With haunting candor, Sheff traces the first warning signs, the attempts at rehabilitation, and, at last, the way past addiction. He shows us that, whatever an addict's fate, the rest of the family must care for one another, too, lest they become addicted to addiction.

    Book and Movie Lover says: "Painful and honest account"
    "A Perfect Book Perfectly Narrated"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I have no personal experience with this book's subject matter. I am not an addict, and I don't have any addicts in my family or circle of friends. I chose not to have children. But I found this book so compelling, honest, raw, and magnificently written, I didn't want to stop listening to it.

    My sister, who has four children, said to me when one of her daughters was diagnosed with a serious illness, "You cannot know what this is like for me. You're not a parent." Granted. But Sheff's book gave me a much better insight into parenthood than I ever had and ever thought I would have--the intense love and cell-deep connection, the worry and anguish.

    The narrator is amazing--one of the best (if not the best) I have heard.

    I cannot recommend this book highly enough.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Lone Survivor: The Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing and the Lost Heroes of SEAL Team 10

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Marcus Luttrell, Patrick Robinson
    • Narrated By Kevin Collins
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3119)
    Performance
    (2854)
    Story
    (2863)

    Four US Navy SEALS departed one clear night in early July, 2005 for the mountainous Afghanistan-Pakistan border for a reconnaissance mission. Their task was to document the activity of an al Qaeda leader rumored to have a small army in a Taliban stronghold. Five days later, only one of those Navy SEALS made it out alive. This is the story of the only survivor of Operation Redwing, SEAL team leader Marcus Luttrell, and the extraordinary firefight that led to the largest loss of life in American Navy SEAL history.

    Mike says: "Enthralling and authentic story of valor in combat"
    "Unlikely Book for Me to Love . . . but I Did"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I read No Easy Day, about the raid on Bin Laden's compound. I'm guessing a lot of people not ordinarily drawn to SEAL missions or military memoirs did. Of course I found that event fascinating, but what drew me to trying another SEAL book was details of their training to become members of this elite group. The training takes up a huge section of the book, which was what I was looking for. So many strong, driven patriots couldn't handle it, and I understand why. The ones who complete the training are just about superhuman.

    Then the book goes on to talk about missions, and the heartbreaking account of Operation Redwing had me riveted. So many times the hand of God must have intervened, like placing Marcus's rifle within reach after an explosion blows him across and down a mountainside, like his landing upside-down in a hole after another blast, so the enemies couldn't spot him, and so on.

    I found the narrator to be perfect. I totally believed him and his accent and inflection . . . except when he pronounced "either" as "eye-ther" instead of "ee-ther." When you get to know Marcus, a good ol' boy from Texas, you are pretty darned sure he would not say "eye-ther." I'm surprised no one caught that.

    That's nit-picking. Sorry. The book is great. Go for it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • On the Road: 50th Anniversary Edition

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Jack Kerouac
    • Narrated By Will Patton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (786)
    Performance
    (549)
    Story
    (552)

    Few novels have had as profound an impact on American culture as On the Road. Pulsating with the rhythms of 1950s underground America, jazz, sex, illicit drugs, and the mystery and promise of the open road, Kerouac's classic novel of freedom and longing defined what it meant to be "beat" and has inspired generations of writers, musicians, artists, poets, and seekers who cite their discovery of the book as the event that "set them free".

    Guillermo says: "My Favorite Narration and a Wonderful Book"
    "Fasten Your Seatbelts"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Oh, man, what a gorgeous book. And if I could give Will Patton a hundred stars for his performance, I'd do it. Pretend I did. He nailed the personalities with his delivery, and when he spoke for the manic Dean, Patton read at 110 miles per hour with inflection and didn't miss a beat. Brilliant.

    The writing is astonishing. Kerouac can create a unique living, breathing character in two sentences.

    The only thing I knew about Kerouac is that he "spoke for the Beat Generation." For decades hat description held me back from reading this book. Don't let that happen to you. Jump on it and take a wild ride.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Outlander

    • UNABRIDGED (33 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Diana Gabaldon
    • Narrated By Davina Porter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (20464)
    Performance
    (14437)
    Story
    (14336)

    Why we think it’s a great listen: An all-time Audible favorite that mixes historic fiction, adventure, and romance with one of the most fascinating literary devices: time travel. Outlander introduces an exhilarating world of heroism and breathtaking thrills as one woman is torn between past and present, passion and love. In 1945, former combat nurse Claire Randall returns from World War II and joins her husband for a second honeymoon. But their blissful reunion is shattered....

    Lulu says: "The Reason for the Existence of Audio Books"
    "How Stupid Can a Heroine Be?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I got through part one, which was pretty good, and then a quarter of part two, when the heroine turned into an idiot, and I couldn't stand it anymore.

    The romance genre depends upon tension between the lovers, and much of the strife is based on misunderstandings. I get that. But the heroine's thought processes, perceptions, attitude, and behavior were maddening and in some cases inexcusable. When I couldn't sympathize with her anymore, when I didn't care what happened to her, I knew it was time to exchange this book for another.

    Kudos to the narrator. She was fabulous.

    6 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • Empire of Liberty: A History of the Early Republic

    • UNABRIDGED (30 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Gordon S. Wood
    • Narrated By Robert Fass
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (549)
    Performance
    (327)
    Story
    (323)

    In Empire of Liberty, one of America's most esteemed historians, Gordon S. Wood, offers a brilliant account of the early American Republic, ranging from 1789 and the beginning of the national government to the end of the War of 1812. As Wood reveals, the period was marked by tumultuous change in all aspects of American life - in politics, society, economy, and culture.

    Joseph says: "Excellent historical writing"
    "Brilliant Pilots Flying by the Seat of Their Pants"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Remarkable, really, how our Forefathers, having no template but knowing what they didn't like about how they were being governed, created the foundation of our United States.Their forethought was astonishing. They got just about everything right . . . except abolishing slavery, and of course that is a huge "except." I did not know, however, that the general belief was that slavery would soon come to a natural end because of the influx of so many workers from Europe. The invention of the cotton gin changed all that by making possible the quick processing of a type of cotton that had been unprofitable.

    This fascinating book, though, is largely about the ripple effect liberty, democracy, and equality had on people's mindset--how they conceptualized themselves, sprang to newfound opportunities, worshiped, and interacted. It was in many ways with innocent, celebratory wonderment.

    This book is part of the Oxford Series of American History, and I will listen to all the volumes, I am sure. I learned so much, and I felt awe and gratitude for what these brilliant minds created.

    As for the narrator, Robert Fass did not miss a beat. He read at a good clip but with proper rhythm and inflection. He did a superb job.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Truman

    • UNABRIDGED (54 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By David McCullough
    • Narrated By Nelson Runger
    Overall
    (458)
    Performance
    (400)
    Story
    (406)

    Hailed by critics as an American masterpiece, David McCullough's sweeping biography of Harry S. Truman captured the heart of the nation. The life and times of the 33rd president of the United States, Truman provides a deeply moving look at an extraordinary, singular American.

    Edith says: "Fascinating"
    "Well, now I know. . . ."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Over the years I had heard many people say that Truman did not have to approve dropping the atomic bombs, that the Japanese had already lost their war. I heard people speculate that Truman had given the go-ahead just to show Stalin that the US had the capabilities or that the US had put so much money and effort into the Manhattan Project, the bomb was like a runaway train, and Truman couldn't stop it. McCullough explains that the Japanese mindset was to die rather than surrender, and they would have kept fighting to the last man, woman, and child. In the book, one Japanese woman was given an awl and told to stab an enemy soldier if it came to that. Truman believed that an invasion of Japan would have cost the US a quarter of a million dead and wounded, and he was not going to allow that to happen. I believe that, and, well, now I know.

    I found amazing that Truman had succeeded in very little in life and was suddenly thrust into the presidency at one of the most critical points in our history. He met with FDR only three times between his election to the vice presidency and his swearing in as president.

    Reading about Stalin's disregard for Eastern European countries' sovereignty also provides a historical basis for Putin's behavior now. It's happened before, it's happening now, and it will probably happen again.

    I recommend this book. McCullough and Runger are an unbeatable combination.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Angela's Ashes

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Frank McCourt
    • Narrated By Frank McCourt
    Overall
    (2753)
    Performance
    (1517)
    Story
    (1521)

    Why we think it’s a great listen: There’s no gentle way to put this – Frank McCourt’s performance of Angela’s Ashes is just better than the Pulitzer Prize-winning book. Frank McCourt shares his sometimes heartwarming, sometimes heartbreaking story of growing up poor, Irish, and Catholic in the Pulitzer Prize-winning memoir Angela's Ashes.

    Karen says: "A classic book *and* a classic audiobook"
    "Without question the best memoir ever"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I have never read a more amazing memoir. McCourt can rip your heart out in one paragraph and make you laugh out loud in the next. This heartbreaking story of poverty in America, then Ireland opens readers' eyes to how a young, innocent boy perceives his piteous life of hunger, prejudice, and loss as perfectly normal. The family struggles to survive, but the loving father's alcoholism and eventual desertion reduces the mother to humiliation and begging and the children to shame and theft. Siblings die; siblings survive. Harsh, judgmental relatives refuse to help. Frank and his brothers make their way in a skewed world where Catholicism causes more guilt and misery than offers comfort.

    So where's the humor? you may ask. Everywhere in their world where the abnormal is normal.

    I cannot recommend this book highly enough. That the author narrates the story of his own life makes it all the more touching.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Irish History for Dummies

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Mike Cronin
    • Narrated By Patrick Moy
    Overall
    (13)
    Performance
    (12)
    Story
    (11)

    Putting history into a perspective, Irish History for Dummies is an engaging, entertaining and educational trip through time, packing in equal parts fun and facts, providing listeners with a riveting history of this ancient land. The history of Ireland has shaped the world far beyond its borders. And few stories have a greater need for a balanced and light-hearted telling than the complex and often controversial saga of Ireland and her people.

    laurie says: "I Don't Know How the Irish Managed to Endure"
    "I Don't Know How the Irish Managed to Endure"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I purchased this book to prepare for a vacation in Ireland. Knowing little about Irish history except the relatively recent tragic events in Northern Ireland, I was stunned to read how much the Irish endured mainly at the hands of the English. For centuries, into modern times, the Irish suffered prejudice, religious persecution, exploitation, injustice, poverty, illness, and cruelty as a result of England's superior military strength, unstoppable aggression, and insatiable greed.

    Now I can't wait to take my trip and meet my hosts, whom other travelers have described as hospitable, warm, and generous. This is a great tribute to their strength and faith.

    The narrator did a wonderful job. He read beautifully. He had an Irish accent (that would seem obvious, but Johnny Depp, with an American accent, read Keith Richards's autobiography--a choice I'll never understand). Although the facts of the country's history are grim, for some reason the book came across as very interesting rather than depressing and painful. The content struck me as thorough and complete.

    I highly recommend this book.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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