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Ottawa, ON, Canada | Member Since 2005


  • Under Milk Wood (Dramatised)

    • ORIGINAL (1 hr and 41 mins)
    • By Dylan Thomas
    • Narrated By Richard Burton

    A classic BBC Radio full-cast production of Dylan Thomas' poetic play for voices starring Richard Burton as the narrator. To begin at the beginning: it is spring, moonless night in the small town, starless and bible-black.... When Richard Burton breathed the opening words of 'Under Milk Wood' into a microphone, broadcasting history was made.

    w says: "Thrilling voice, classic 20th-century poetry/prose"
    "Thrilling voice, classic 20th-century poetry/prose"

    I was thrilled to find Under Milkwood; I've loved its sly ribald barbs, and to hear Richard Burton's declamation and Welsh accent was a treat. This production with its multiple actors is also easier to follow than Dylan Thomas's own solo performance.

    Like so many celebrities today, Thomas died in his late 30's, from the combination of alcohol and narcotics from a Dr. Feelgood who neglected Thomas's pneumonia during a New York performance tour of Under Milkwood.
    Thomas's radio-play is a poetic masterpiece from the mid-20th century, literally meant to be spoken aloud, and now to be 're-wound' to enjoy the wordplay.
    It is a stream-of-consciousness eavesdropping on the dreams, secrets and gossip of a night and day in a entire Welsh village, petty vices and great passions peeking through their conservative veneer. And who among us on such a night has not been stirred by spring 'like a spoon', or dreamt of their lover, 'whacking-thighed and piping hot'.
    'And Lily Smalls is up to Nogood Boyo in the wash-house.'
    'And Cherry Owen, sober as Sunday as he is every day of the week, goes off happy as Saturday to get drunk as a deacon as he does every night. 'I always say she's got two husbands,' Cherry Owen says, 'one drunk and one sober. And Mrs Cherry simply says, 'And aren't I a lucky woman? Because I love them both.''

    Over lunch, the schoolmaster researches how to poison his wife, pretending to the read 'Lives of the Great Saints'. His intended victim sniffs, "I saw you talking to a saint this morning. Saint Polly Garter. She was martyred again last night. Mrs Organ Morgan saw her with Mr Waldo."
    "But it is not his name that Polly Garter whispers as she lies under the oak and loves him back. Six feet deep that name sings in the cold earth."

    Dated, yes, but an often overlooked classic, read by one of the greatest British poetic actors, with today's technology: a treat indeed. For less than $10, one of these characters will make you laugh or cry.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Dead In the Family: Sookie Stackhouse Southern Vampire Mystery #10

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Charlaine Harris
    • Narrated By Johanna Parker

    Finally settled with Viking vampire Eric, Sookie finds normalcy just as chaos surrounds her. Sookie’s former lover Bill, her boss Sam, and even Eric are struggling with family problems. Then things get really interesting when the werewolves tell Sookie an ominous presence is lurking.

    BRANDON says: "Harris or FanFic?"
    "Weak; waiting for the next."

    A weak bridge from the last action-packed novel.

    Sookie, an under-educated telepath heroine, craves normality, peace, and good sex with her vampire sheriff, the Viking Erik. But sometimes she gets brave enough to help her friends, including ex-lover Bill [this time with an e-mail instead of her body] and for you to cheer for her battling with the undead, physically and politically. I suppose the narrator's southern drawl portrays this conflict, but either she or her producer should learn that 'Niall' is pronounced 'kneel', not 'NYE L', 'Brendon' is 'BRENdun', not 'BRENN-DAWWNN', 'Alexei' is 'AlEXye', not 'L.x.A.'. The middle of the book bogs into the domesticity Sookie craves.
    Even the action climaxes appear foreshortened and 'clanging'.

    We're left waiting for the next in the series.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Farewell, My Lovely

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Raymond Chandler
    • Narrated By Elliott Gould

    Philip Marlowe navigates the underworld of the Los Angeles gambling circuit while investigating the disappearance of a beautiful nightclub girl. Written at the height of the author's creative career, this novel, with its crooked cops, ex-cons and deadly, seductive women, is a masterpiece of the genre Chandler is credited with creating. "Farewell, My Lovely" is Raymond Chandler's second novel featuring his archetypal private eye.

    Krzysztof says: "good quality, no complains"
    "Beautifully written, badly read"

    Raymond Chandler is a gorgeous writer, whose prose outshines the mystery it describes.
    But Elliot Gould is a poor choice of narrator: a college man from California like Marlowe wouldn't pronounce 'yoomer' for 'humour' and 'yooj' for 'huge,' which grate as much as the inherent racism of the time.
    But the rest of the story plays as well now as it did 70 years ago: Chandler's rugged Robin Hood PI, Philip Marlowe, meets a huge, scarred, ex-boxer looking for the red-headed girl he hasn't seen since being framed and jailed eight years ago. Marlowe decides to help him and asks around before being hired to help get some stolen jewels back: as always, Marlowe need the money.
    But it goes wrong, Marlowe is sapped and his client is killed. An armed redhead comes to his rescue. Or does she?

    Love, revenge, integrity, greed, repartee, in prose like "a blonde. A blonde to make a bishop kick a hole in a stained glass window."

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Lost Symbol

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Dan Brown
    • Narrated By Paul Michael

    Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon is summoned to deliver an evening lecture in the U.S. Capitol. Within minutes of his arrival, the night takes a bizarre turn. A disturbing object is discovered in the Capitol Building. The object is an ancient invitation, meant to usher its recipient into a long-lost world of hidden esoteric wisdom. And when Langdon's mentor is kidnapped, Langdon's only hope of saving him is to accept this invitation and follow wherever it leads him.

    MJ Meyerson says: "Awful!"
    "eye-rollingly bad: avoid"

    An entire day's worth of eye-rolling pseudoscience, conspiracy-theory piffle and huge errors that punch holes in his tissue of a plot [no spoilers, but Brown should have consulted an endocrinologist and a pathologist]. Its only slight positive is the double-edged sword of its repetitiveness, tailor-made to be an audiobook since each of almost 200 chapters repeats plot points in case you forgot or couldn't hear the previous ones. Irking deus ex machina, cardboard female characters, predictable 'surprises' directly from other movies and yawn-worthy ending. I admire the narrator for not permitting his opinion of the material creep into his voice; now *that's* acting.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Lover Enshrined: The Black Dagger Brotherhood, Book 6

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By J.R. Ward
    • Narrated By Jim Frangione

    In Lover Enshrined, a member of the Black Dagger Brotherhood must make a decision that could save - or spell doom for - his race of vampires. Phury knows his share of pain, but can the Primale of the Chosen experience love as well?

    Book Worm says: "Really Love These Books!"
    "Save your time and money"

    Save your time and money, go read Jim Butcher.
    Couldn't get through this 'born to serve' claptrap, so if the last two-thirds of the book somehow make up for the sadism and sexism of the first part, someone else will have to tell me. I want my time and money back!

    3 of 10 people found this review helpful
  • The Mystery of Edwin Drood

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Charles Dickens
    • Narrated By George Hagan
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Written in 1890, the story is a murder mystery in which Edwin Drood is supposedly murdered. The novel investigated the characters in a distinctly Dickensian manner from the suspicious and tormented Jasper to the Reverend Crisparkle to Princess Puffer, the enigmatic Datchery and finally the gravedigger and his obnoxious but perceptive boy assistant. But who is the murderer? We will never know.

    w says: "Avoid! Get another narrator."
    "Avoid! Get another narrator."

    I do enjoy unabridged Dickens read by Brits, but the narrator is truly dreadful, although likely the producer is more to blame for not forcing the voice actor to do more takes. The stuttering and stammering get increasingly annoying and more frequent as it goes along.
    One of the lowest quality narrations I've heard here. Content excellent as always from Dickens, so I'm willing to try another version.
    Avoid this one, even if the price is tempting.

    8 of 10 people found this review helpful
  • Of Human Bondage, Volume 1

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By W. Somerset Maugham
    • Narrated By Charlton Griffin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Of Human Bondage is one of the greatest novels of modern times, and it is certainly Maugham's greatest achievement. It was published in 1914, when Maugham was at the height of his creative powers. The story concerns Philip Carey, afflicted at birth with a club foot, and his passionate search for truth in a cruel world. We follow his growth to manhood, his educational progress, his first loves, and the wrenching tragedies and disappointments that life has in store for him.

    John says: "Men Only"
    "on sale only, or read the book"

    I agree with the previous reviewer that the narrator is a disappointment, but I also blame the director, who let slip a substantial number of clanging mispronunciations: 'clo' for 'Chloe' [clo ee] and 'fasTEEDEEous' for 'fasTIDious'.
    All child and female voices sound exactly alike, like an elderly man doing a querulous lisping Cockney [even the Scottish office boy] or a falsetto bordering on the misogynous. Annoying, and takes one out of the story.

    'Of Human Bondage' is another compelling classic work with a contemporary feel despite being written almost a century ago, which alone is reason enough to buy Volume II, but wait until they're on sale, or read the book yourself.

    8 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • Running in the Family

    • ABRIDGED (2 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Michael Ondaatje
    • Narrated By Michael Ondaatje

    In the late 1970s, Michael Ondaatje, author of The English Patient, returned to his native island of Sri Lanka. Recording his journey through the drug-like heat and intoxicating fragrances of that "pendant off the ear of India," Ondaatje simultaneously retraces the baroque mythology of his Dutch-Ceylonese family.

    Mary says: "Disappointing"
    "Sri Lanka by the author"

    Michael Ondaatje has written some heartbreakingly beautiful poetry [The Cinnamon Peeler's Wife] and prose [In the Skin of a Lion, which I think is superior to his better-known 'The English Patient'], and his autobiography is fascinating. I'm loathe to purchase abridgements, but what a treat to hear the author's soft yet rivetting narration of the story of his family with facts laced with magic.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Wintersmith: Discworld Book 35, (Discworld Childrens Book 4)

    • ABRIDGED (4 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By Terry Pratchett
    • Narrated By Tony Robinson

    Tiffany Aching is a trainee witch now working for the seriously scary Miss Treason. But when Tiffany witnesses the Dark Dance, the crossover from summer to winter, she does what no one has ever done before: she leaps into the dance. And into the oldest story there is. She draws the attention of the Wintersmith himself....As Tiffany-shaped snowflakes hammer down on the land, can Tiffany deal with the consequences of her actions?

    w says: "Wait for the unabridged version"
    "Wait for the unabridged version"

    Another good Pratchett, the third in the Tiffany Aching series with the six-inch high, kilt-wearing, tattooed fighting Pictsies.
    This time Tiffany is fighting but falling a bit in love with Winter, as the Wee Free Men help Prince Roland race to rescue Summer, and in true Pratchett absurdism, there is also a tartan-wearing sentient cheese, Horace.
    I *love* Pratchett and his melding of old Celtic folklore, as well as the expressive reading of Tony Robinson, but the abridgment misses some salient plot points.
    So, OK for an abridged version, but wait for the unabridged.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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