(P)2006 Trout Lake Media
"... there are times when silence is a poem." - John Fowles, the Magus ^(;,;)^
I rarely read books twice, but I already feel the need to come sit by the shores of this book again and again. Expansive and infinitely quotable, Walden is one of those books that shakes not just the ground you are standing on, but seems to shake the Sun as well. Certainly there are parts of this book that are unrealistic, a little bit crankish, and even a little too self-aware. However, it is also beautiful, magnificent, and compelling in Thoreau's desire to see man seek the greater, more compelling wilderness within.
With only 1 minute of the preview available and with a couple 1 star reviews I was a little hesitant to buy this version. But with the Summer Sale a book like this for under $5 was too tempting to resist. So I bought it and I am very glad I did.
Firstly I could not tell you if the narrator embodies Thoreau's nature or persona. Nor could anyone else for that matter. He died in 1862. It is silly to say what they were.
Furthermore, I don't hear the choppiness, blank verse type reading mentioned. Neither have I yet noticed any mispronunciations or repeats. That doesn't mean there aren't any, it just means that it is not riddled with them.
What I do hear is a very natural way of telling a story. For the first time listening to an audiobook I feel like I am in a room with the author who is telling me the story instead of line being read from a book. It is this conversational interpretation that makes this reading so intimate, so natural, so engaging. And isn't that the feeling one should get by listening to Walden? For me it works. Highly recommended.
I found the reading choppy, read as though the text were arranged in blank verse, such that the reader had to break the flow of the reading every so many syllables, regardless of whatever punctuation marks or grammatical context were provided by the author. There were also a couple of repetitions and a number of mispronunciations. All this did not stop me from enjoying the reading, it is such a great book.
Great, inspiring book, but the narration was rife with mispronunciations, which was pretty annoying.
The narration is simply terrible to say the very least!
The narrator pauses after every 5 or 6 words, when he should be flowing, producing a very choppy read; he mispronounces words; he re-reads in an attempt to correct himself and emphasises content at the wrong times.
I cannot comment objectively on the content itself, as the substandard narration is so overwhelming that everything else falls by the wayside.
I stopped halfway through as I just could not stand listening to more!!!
While Thoreau's writings fascinate me, the narrator in this case is a very poor match for the content. I simply can't get through the book because the narrators pensive pace, tone, and anxious inflection simply transforms what is meant to be peacefully, contemplative content into a delivery that does not complement Thoreau's nature/persona well at all.
Retired to mountains of California. Sell on eBay as Prsilla. No TV. Volunteer in wildlife rehab. Knit, sew or embroider while listening.
This narrator just might be trying to sound like Thoreau himself back in those days. I would rather hear smooth, standard modern English. I am educated and grew up in California with some travel experience -- and I was saying, "Huh???" every few minutes in trying to listen to this. Then it became a game. Then I lost count. And I laid aside the notebook with the list, but it was a long list! I wanted to put the reading to CD's along with the text for my ESL student to follow. I could not do that with Alec Sand's reading. Sand has a way of chopping off Thoreau's long sentences into little chunks that sound sort of cute or backwoods. If this is his "take" on Thoreau, I don't like it. Sorry!
Walden was a book I had wanted to experience since I fell in love with "My Side of the Mountain" in grade school. While its opening chapters lived up to the book's hype as an American classic, as Thoreau's tale went on I found the author to be a self-absorbed, self-righteous bigot, a squatter who gave to credence to the rights of others, and an all-out boor. If you want to know what it is like to go out to the woods and live deep, either do it yourself or read the aforementioned novel by Jean George.
I agree with everything Walden has to teach and enjoyed the narration (other reviewers did not). If you ever want to know how dull another person's mind is, literally stepping inside for the full journey, then this could be for you. The prose is refined in parts, but hard going which may be the reward in its self for listening.
I will listen again at a later date, but at this point 5 hrs in I'm stuck.
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