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Brit in Asheville

ASHEVILLE, NC, United States
  • 11
  • reviews
  • 3
  • helpful votes
  • 26
  • ratings
  • A Little Life

  • A Novel
  • By: Hanya Yanagihara
  • Narrated by: Oliver Wyman
  • Length: 32 hrs and 51 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,576
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7,961
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 7,968

When four classmates from a small Massachusetts college move to New York to make their way, they're broke, adrift, and buoyed only by their friendship and ambition. There is kind, handsome Willem, an aspiring actor; JB, a quick-witted, sometimes cruel Brooklyn-born painter seeking entry to the art world; Malcolm, a frustrated architect at a prominent firm; and withdrawn, brilliant, enigmatic Jude, who serves as their center of gravity.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • I had to call in SAD to work

  • By Angela on 10-17-15

beautifully written but rather a downer

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-06-16

Any additional comments?

As so many reviewers noted, this is a little and tragic life. The life of Jude, the central character, who was abused as a child, physically and sexually. The details slowly emerge through the book of his tormentors and the often hard-to-believe-this-could-actually-happen (except we know it does) events. Because of childhood, Jude suffers enormous pain and disabilities. But worse, is the unfolding of his mental state and the anguish he experiences as result of these experiences. We watch helplessy as his mental anguish intensifies and he causes himself further pain and suffering.
I gave the book only 4 stars because of its unrelenting sense of doom - there is hardly a light hearted moment to relax in. It is disturbing and I was not always in the mood to face feeling desperation over Jude's condition. True, there are wonderful relationships to enjoy when Jude is an adult - with his adopted parents, with his lover, with his doctor, with his friends in general and with his mentor at work. They are so solid and giving and Jude is bathed in such amazing support and unconditional love, that it was at times as hard for me to relate to this aspect of his life, as it was to relate to his childhood.
Jude's three college friends feature in varying degrees throughout the book and I also found it implausible that each goes on to achieve hugely successful careers. Especially given that two of them are in the arts/theatre world. They are not just good at their work but go on to achieve fame and fortune - what are the odds - all four of them superstars?
No matter what faults I had with the story, there is no doubting the expertise of Yanagihara's writing. Exquisite details and powerful descriptions of people and events certainly kept me hooked throughout.

  • Gone with the Wind

  • By: Margaret Mitchell
  • Narrated by: Linda Stephens
  • Length: 49 hrs and 7 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,091
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 6,618
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 6,644

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Literature, Margaret Mitchell's great novel of the South is one of the most popular books ever written. Within six months of its publication in 1936, Gone With the Wind had sold a million copies. To date, it has been translated into 25 languages, and more than 28 million copies have been sold. Here are the characters that have become symbols of passion and desire....

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • not to miss audible experience

  • By dallas on 12-08-09

fifty hours but never a dull moment!

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-10-15

Any additional comments?

I had seen the movie but years and years ago and I frankly couldn't remember all the twists and turns. I enjoyed immensely learning so much about the South, the civil war (being British I did not learn about it in school), slavery and the role of women in society during this era. I found the characters compelling and the journey that the reader takes - through romances, deaths, poverty, extravagance, deceit, honor - engrossing. The narrator managed wonderful accents and had great acting skill. But what has lingered with me the most is the ending - it is such a real life ending. So often novels end with that fictional all's well with the world. This did not. Scarlet got some of what she had hungered for and lost so much more. Rhett true to character gave up the ghost of loving her and moved on. It was a stunning ending but it was so beleivable and refreshing. It's a long long book - 50 hours - but such a great experience.

  • The Good House

  • A Novel
  • By: Ann Leary
  • Narrated by: Mary Beth Hurt
  • Length: 10 hrs and 12 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,227
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,964
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,952

The Good House tells the story of Hildy Good, who lives in a small town on Boston's North Shore. Hildy is a successful real-estate broker, good neighbor, mother, and grandmother. She's also a raging alcoholic. Hildy's family held an intervention for her about a year before this story takes place - "if they invite you over for dinner, and it’s not a major holiday," she advises "run for your life" - and now she feels lonely and unjustly persecuted. She has also fooled herself into thinking that moderation is the key.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • What a great book, Hildy is a great character!

  • By Rhonda Morrison on 01-31-13

at times makes you wince; at times makes you laugh

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 02-19-15

Any additional comments?

I don't know if I want to congratulate the author the narrator more. They both did an excellent job. I found it painful listening to Hildy's "jackpot" moments - moments when the drinking was most definitely not social nor moderate. But I found her gutsy and saucy personality likeable and funny and her description of life in this small New England town and its cast of characters residents thoroughly entertaining. For a book that has no murder mystery element, it was a real page turner.

  • Me Before You

  • A Novel
  • By: Jojo Moyes
  • Narrated by: Susan Lyons, Anna Bentink, Steven Crossley, and others
  • Length: 14 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 30,041
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 26,707
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 26,657

Louisa Clark is an ordinary girl living an exceedingly ordinary life - steady boyfriend, close family - who has never been farther afield than her tiny village. She takes a badly needed job working for ex-Master of the Universe Will Traynor, who is wheelchair bound after an accident. Will has always lived a huge life - big deals, extreme sports, worldwide travel - and now he's pretty sure he cannot live the way he is. Will is acerbic, moody, bossy - but Lou refuses to treat him with kid gloves, and soon his happiness means more to her than she expected.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A Journey Into the Unknown

  • By Pamela Harvey on 01-13-13

will be a great movie!

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-14-14

Any additional comments?

A story of a quadriplegic man who lived his pre-injury life in the fast lane and his sweet, carefree but not very adventurous or ambitious caregiver. Set in England, I was drawn to read this because it is so familiar to me - being British - the description of the local castle and its tea rooms and the conversations the family has etc etc. I had a trip down memory lane and thoroughly enjoyed it.
The story was a warm somewhat predictable one but kudos to the author for keeping the reader in suspense about the direction the quadriplegic main character will choose until the last chapter. Funny and warm and sad and at times thought provoking - this is not high brow literature but its an enjoyable read and the narration was excellent.

  • The Paris Wife

  • A Novel
  • By: Paula McLain
  • Narrated by: Carrington MacDuffie
  • Length: 11 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 3,340
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 2,594
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 2,603

Chicago, 1920: Hadley Richardson is a quiet 28eight-year-old who has all but given up on love and happiness—until she meets Ernest Hemingway and her life changes forever. Following a whirlwind courtship and wedding, the pair set sail for Paris, where they become the golden couple in a lively and volatile group—the fabled “Lost Generation”—that includes Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, and F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald.

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • Narration Issues

  • By Sara on 10-06-15

Wine women and song = page after page

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-16-14

Any additional comments?

The story of Hemmingway as told through the voice of his first wife, Hadley. I felt I was going to learn a lot about a great American author whom I knew little about and whose work I was not very familiar with. I learned Hemingway is not a likeable man - A womanizer to the point where he expected his wife to move in with him and his lover and enjoy the 'conveniences' of the threesome. An alcoholic - every event every day is described in terms of the drink that accompanied it - champagne breakfasts, absinthe with friends etc etc. I reserve judgement on his novels as I am about to start The sun also rises.
The Paris Wife limps along from one scene to the next showing Hemingway indulging in wine, women and song. We move from one town to the next to explore which women he was lusting after and which drinks he was partaking of. I marveled at the patience of his wife, grew irritated at him and his faults, and wished the book would come to an end.

  • Bring Up the Bodies

  • A Novel
  • By: Hilary Mantel
  • Narrated by: Simon Vance
  • Length: 14 hrs and 35 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,255
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,963
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,979

Though he battled for seven years to marry her, Henry is disenchanted with Anne Boleyn. She has failed to give him a son and her sharp intelligence and audacious will alienate his old friends and the noble families of England. When the discarded Katherine dies in exile from the court, Anne stands starkly exposed, the focus of gossip and malice. At a word from Henry, Thomas Cromwell is ready to bring her down.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Perfection in story and the telling

  • By Ry Young on 09-18-12

disappointing

Overall
1 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
1 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-23-13

Any additional comments?

I read reviews of this and with great anticipation bought the book - couldn't wait to delve into these pages - Mantel is lauded as a wonderful writer and this period of history has always been fascinating to me. I admit, it was disappointing. Extra stars to Vance who told the story masterfully and has a wonderful voice. But Mantel's style wasn't music to my ears. I found some of the descriptions of court politics tedious and the numerous characters - apart from the key players - hard to keep separate. Especially irritating was this use of the pronoun 'he' followed by the name 'Cromwell'. What an awkward construction! Why not use simply 'Cromwell', unless the use of 'he' is clear who it refers to?

I am a great fan of historical fiction and was hoping to discover a new favourite author - but it's back to Ken Follett for me!

  • Fall of Giants

  • The Century Trilogy, Book 1
  • By: Ken Follett
  • Narrated by: John Lee
  • Length: 30 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 14,997
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 11,058
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 11,032

Ken Follett's World Without End was a global phenomenon, a work of grand historical sweep beloved by millions of readers and acclaimed by critics. Fall of Giants is his magnificent new historical epic. The first novel in The Century Trilogy, it follows the fates of five interrelated families - American, German, Russian, English, and Welsh - as they move through the world-shaking dramas of the First World War, the Russian Revolution, and the struggle for women's suffrage.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Ken Follett and John Lee / Audible's Dream Team

  • By Keith on 11-07-10

Another amazing accomplishment for Follett

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 04-22-13

Any additional comments?

LOL that someone described Follett and Lee, the narrator, as the Dream Team. That's it in a nutshell. I read (listened) to Follett's Pillars of the Earth and marvelled at how he took an era and wove together such remarkable human interest stories with a text book of historical facts. He did the same with Fall of Giants. Incredible detail about the war and life at the time, but presented in such an easy to digest fashion, following the interwoven lives of aristocracy in Europe, miners from Wales.and assorted characters in the US. It is a long read (listen) but it is captivating and interesting from start to finish. Follett and Lee have managed double-handedly (does such a word exist?) to make me a convert of historical fiction.

  • The Great Gatsby

  • By: F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • Narrated by: Tim Robbins
  • Length: 5 hrs and 44 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,702
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 1,071
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,084

The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald's portrait of the Jazz Age in all its decadence and excess, is, as editor Maxwell Perkins praised it in 1924, "a wonder". It remains one of the most widely read, translated, admired, imitated, and studied 20th-century works of American fiction.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Something you won't fall asleep to...

  • By Mrs. Jewell on 01-18-05

a slow and monotonous story

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 04-22-13

Any additional comments?

Did Tim Robbins, an actor I admire, read this book so incredibly slowly because it is short and he wanted to spin it out to 5 hours? Did he use the same monotone voice for almost all the characters because he forgot his acting skills? And why did he talk so quietly into the microphone that I had to turn the volume way up to catch it all?
I know this book is a classic and I never read it growing up so felt it was time to see what the hype was all about. I still don't know but I do look forward to seeing the movie and perhaps - contrary to the usual scenario - I will enjoy the movie more than the book.

  • The Kitchen House

  • A Novel
  • By: Kathleen Grissom
  • Narrated by: Orlagh Cassidy, Bahni Turpin
  • Length: 12 hrs and 55 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 11,504
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9,074
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9,064

Orphaned while onboard ship from Ireland, seven-year-old Lavinia arrives on the steps of a tobacco plantation where she is to live and work with the slaves of the kitchen house. Under the care of Belle, the master's illegitimate daughter, Lavinia becomes deeply bonded to her adopted family, though she is set apart from them by her white skin. Eventually, Lavinia is accepted into the world of the big house, where the master is absent and the mistress battles opium addiction.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • This is a must!

  • By AB on 09-04-10

Historical fiction great read

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 02-23-13

If you could sum up The Kitchen House in three words, what would they be?

Great historical fiction

Any additional comments?

I learned so much about this era and the lives of the slaves on plantations in the south. Fascinating, sad and at times appalling. There were a lot of characters in the story - every female character seems to have a new baby every other chapter and it was a bit hard to keep everyone straight ! But I realized you only need to keep the relationships of the main characters in order - who fathered whom -.
The ending is bitter sweet and our heroine Lavinia doesnt end up with her all ducks in a row - happy marriage, beautiful children and wonderful home. So for that I was grateful as the story took on a more realistic tone. There is tragedy, there is heartache, decisions and actions go wrong. But you don;t drown in the misery of the lives of slaves - you learn how family can be comprised of people who arent biologically related and that these bonds can withstand many tests.
Really enjoyed the Irish narrator, Cassidty, who brought the character of the small irish immigrant girl, Lavinia, to life.

  • 11-22-63

  • A Novel
  • By: Stephen King
  • Narrated by: Craig Wasson
  • Length: 30 hrs and 44 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 44,810
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 40,655
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 40,581

On November 22, 1963, three shots rang out in Dallas, President Kennedy died, and the world changed. What if you could change it back? In this brilliantly conceived tour de force, Stephen King - who has absorbed the social, political, and popular culture of his generation more imaginatively and thoroughly than any other writer - takes listeners on an incredible journey into the past and the possibility of altering it.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • I Owe Stephen King An Apology

  • By Kelly on 04-16-12

thoroughly enjoyable

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 01-18-13

What made the experience of listening to 11-22-63 the most enjoyable?

I am not a big fan of time travel stories. When I hit the 'purchase' button I thought I was buying a book which explored what happened that day and why - a historical fiction perhaps. So I was surprised to discover the concept was about stepping back in time, changing the past and the ramifications of that. I found it fascinating. the tale has a perfect blend of romance, historical fact telling, adventure, character development and suspense. All beautifully told by Craig Watson.

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

yes, but impossible given its length. however - a great book for a long plane journey or train ride.