LISTENER

S. Weaver

NJ United States
  • 25
  • reviews
  • 109
  • helpful votes
  • 463
  • ratings
  • The Narrow Road to the Deep North

  • By: Richard Flanagan
  • Narrated by: David Atlas
  • Length: 14 hrs and 59 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,353
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 1,215
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,215

>In the despair of a Japanese POW camp on the Thailand - Burma Death Railway in 1943, Australian surgeon Dorrigo Evans is haunted by his love affair with his uncle's young wife two years earlier. His life is a daily struggle to save the men under his command from starvation, from cholera, from pitiless beatings - until he receives a letter that will change him forever.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Exquisite

  • By Lee Chemel on 10-25-14

well, that's 15 hours I'll never get back

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

Reviewed: 06-01-16

I liked the narrator! But the book was pretty awful, I can't imagine why it won the Booker Prize. I am of course familiar with books that do not follow a clear chronology but rather jump about in an individual's life to give an impressionistic picture of the whole life and to let its events, experiences, and character unfold in interesting ways. But the technique did not succeed here. Indeed, the principal character faded out for a long section of the book, as did plot elements associated with him, and when the focus came back to him, he was a different person: not different from the person he was before these events during the war, but different from the person before, during, and after the war as described before this long dreary section during the war. I think we were supposed to find him complex and profound, but I thought him merely unlikable. He appeared to me to be a closet misogynist, his "one great love" being a cover for ceaseless disrespect and dislike of women. Books like this tempt me to write my own, because I'm pretty sure that I could sound sufficiently alienated to have people regard my fiction as deeply literary.

  • Slade House

  • A Novel
  • By: David Mitchell
  • Narrated by: Thomas Judd, Tania Rodrigues
  • Length: 6 hrs and 54 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 908
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 840
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 836

Down the road from a working-class British pub, along the brick wall of a narrow alley, if the conditions are exactly right, you'll find the entrance to Slade House. A stranger will greet you by name and invite you inside. At first, you won't want to leave. Later, you'll find that you can't. Every nine years, the house's residents - an odd brother and sister - extend a unique invitation to someone who's different or lonely: a precocious teenager, a recently divorced policeman, a shy college student. But what really goes on inside Slade House? For those who find out, it's already too late....

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Gotta love David Mitchell

  • By S. Weaver on 12-06-15

Gotta love David Mitchell

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

Reviewed: 12-06-15

I'm no fan of ghost stories or paranormal stuff, and the book freaked me out enough that I couldn't drive on the freeway while listening to it. If this sounds like a two-star review, well, it would be, but this is David Mitchell, people! He's just a fabulous writer, best I've encountered in the last ten years or more. I'm eagerly awaiting the end of his paranormal phase--hoping there will be one.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • The Bone Clocks

  • By: David Mitchell
  • Narrated by: Jessica Ball, Leon Williams, Colin Mace, and others
  • Length: 24 hrs and 30 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 3,168
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,837
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 2,849

Following a scalding row with her mother, 15-year-old Holly Sykes slams the door on her old life. But Holly is no typical teenage runaway: A sensitive child once contacted by voices she knew only as "the radio people," Holly is a lightning rod for psychic phenomena. Now, as she wanders deeper into the English countryside, visions and coincidences reorder her reality until they assume the aura of a nightmare brought to life.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • I HEAR EVERY WRINKLE IN EVERY WORD

  • By Jim "The Impatient" on 12-30-16

a masterful writer, an uneven narration

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

Reviewed: 11-13-14

I sort of worship at the altar of David Mitchell, so of course I loved this book. He is simply a masterful writer. And the narrators were all quite good. But the narration was nevertheless a major problem for me. The character around whom the book is structured is Holly Sykes, who we meet in her own voice in the first and last decades of her life. In the other episodes, someone else's story is told, though Holly Sykes is always a character in their stories. It makes sense to have different narrators for different episodes, since many of the stories are told by other characters. The problem is that Holly absolutely comes alive in the first episode: beautifully narrated and wonderfully written. In all the later episodes, she is incredibly flat. I kept looking for some sign of her individuality and her humanity, but really never saw it. So either David Mitchell has not successfully drawn an engaging portrait of Holly through the various decades of her life (quite possible), or I just couldn't get past the fact that when Holly talked in all the later episodes, she had a different voice and thus was not herself, making it difficult for me to connect her to the girl I met in the first episode. So now, after having invested many many hours in listening to the audiobook, I have to buy the book and read it if I want to decide whether or not David Mitchell really is all that. A lot is at stake here! I've been telling everyone I know that he's the best writer of his generation in the English language, and if he's written a crappy central character, I have to stop saying that! Or else he has to let me edit his next novel before it goes to press. Everybody needs an editor or twelve or twenty.

30 of 33 people found this review helpful

  • Bird in Hand

  • By: Christina Baker Kline
  • Narrated by: Alison Larkin
  • Length: 9 hrs and 7 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars 71
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 47
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars 49

It was an accident. It was dark, it was raining, Alison had only had two drinks. And the other car ran the stop sign. But Alison finds herself trapped under the crushing weight of grief and guilt, feeling increasingly estranged from her husband, Charlie, who has his own burdens. He's in a job he doesn't love so that Alison can stay at home with the kids (and why isn't she more grateful for that?); he has a house in the suburbs and a long commute to and from the city.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Wordy, Contemplative, Sad

  • By Debbie on 02-26-15

how a narrator can ruin a book

Overall
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-09-10

The book had its moments, good and bad. But I never could decide if it was the book that was frustrating me, or merely the narrator, who was simply ghastly. Her voice was grating, especially when she tried to read children's voices. Worse still, when she read grown women's voices, they talked like children too, which was beyond annoying. The southern accents blew in and out, not at all consistent. I kept trying to hear through the narrator to get the author's voice, an exhausting and completely unrewarding task when you're just trying to get a small slice of entertainment and/or insight in your day.

4 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • The 19th Wife

  • A Novel
  • By: David Ebershoff
  • Narrated by: Kimberly Farr, Rebecca Lowman, Arthur Morey
  • Length: 18 hrs and 59 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 757
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 478
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 477

It is 1875, and Ann Eliza Young has recently separated from her powerful husband, Brigham Young, prophet and leader of the Mormon Church. Expelled and an outcast, Ann Eliza embarks on a crusade to end polygamy in the United States. A rich account of a family's polygamous history is revealed, including how a young woman became a plural wife.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Good history, a little confusing

  • By Kimberly on 01-08-10

Fantastic!

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 04-30-10

How good was this? Really, really good! Ebershoff is a wonderful writer who absolutely gets inside the head of a wide range of characters. If you're looking for a romping fast read, this might not be for you, but the interweaving of the two stories--one from the early days of the LDS, one in the present, involving a splinter group of the LDS--is well done and keeps you coming back to see what develops. The historical detail is beautiful, and Ebershoff balances religious tolerance and sound moral judgment admirably well.

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Traveling with Pomegranates

  • A Mother-Daughter Story
  • By: Sue Monk Kidd, Ann Kidd Taylor
  • Narrated by: Sue Monk Kidd
  • Length: 8 hrs and 58 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 214
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 156
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 154

In this intimate dual memoir, she and her daughter, Ann, offer distinct perspectives as a 50-something and a 20-something, each on a quest to redefine herself and to rediscover each other. Between 1998 and 2000, Sue and Ann travel throughout Greece and France. Sue, coming to grips with aging, caught in a creative vacuum, longing to reconnect with her grown daughter, struggles to enlarge a vision of swarming bees into a novel.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Laughter and tears

  • By Lisa on 11-21-09

OK, not great

Overall
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 04-30-10

I am a huge lover of all things Greek, and I had read Sue Monk Kidd's _Dance of the Dissident Daughter_ (actually assigned it to a class) and found it very intriguing. And as a 50-something woman with young daughters, it all seemed like the perfect read was about to come my way. But honestly, it as too navel-gazing for my tastes. I don't know what it would be like going around in the world waiting for signs and portents meant just for you, but to me it just seems narcissistic. Oddly, I found the daughter's story far more compelling than the mom's.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • The Anthologist

  • A Novel
  • By: Nicholson Baker
  • Narrated by: Nicholson Baker
  • Length: 6 hrs and 48 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 58
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 36
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 36

The Anthologist follows Paul Chowder - a once-in-a-while-published kind of poet who is writing the introduction to a new anthology of poetry. He's having a hard time getting started because his career is floundering; his girlfriend, Roz, has recently left him; and he is thinking about the great poets throughout history who have suffered far worse and deserve to feel sorry for themselves.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Because I Read Traveling Sprinkler First...

  • By Douglas on 07-20-16

quirky but wonderful

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 04-30-10

I can imagine that this wouldn't be everyone's cup of tea, but it was mine. Really delightful. Slow pace, but involving and thoughtful.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • The Museum of Innocence

  • By: Orhan Pamuk, Maureen Freely (translator)
  • Narrated by: John Lee
  • Length: 20 hrs and 32 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 197
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 130
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 131

Kemal, scion of one of the city's wealthiest families, is about to become engaged to Sibel, daughter of another prominent family, when he encounters Füsun, a beautiful shopgirl and a distant relation. Once the long-lost cousins violate the code of virginity, a rift begins to open between Kemal and the world of the Westernized Istanbul bourgeosie - a world, as he lovingly describes it, with opulent parties and clubs, society gossip, picnics, and mansions on the Bosphorus, infused with the melancholy of decay.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • one of the very best I've ever heard

  • By Rebecca Lindroos on 03-06-10

a remarkable achievement

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-29-10

The main character is not likable, and I never could decide whether or not Pamuk wanted us to like him, which is part of what made the book so hypnotic. It's rare that you get a beautifully drawn character that sits on a razor edge of moral culpability without easily tumbling to either side. I think that's what I liked most.

And of course . . . there was John Lee. He is amazing. I listen to books just because he's the narrator. He somehow manages to avoid sounding pedantic when trying to get accents and pronunciations just so, which is a tricky thing to do.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • The Hour I First Believed

  • A Novel
  • By: Wally Lamb
  • Narrated by: George Guidall
  • Length: 25 hrs and 9 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 906
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 580
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 583

When high-school teacher Caelum Quirk and his wife, Maureen, move to Littleton, Colorado, they both get jobs at Columbine High School. In April 1999, while Caelum is away, Maureen finds herself in the library at Columbine, cowering in a cabinet and expecting to be killed. Miraculously, she survives. But when Caelum and Maureen flee to an illusion of safety on the Quirk family's Connecticut farm, they discover that the effects of chaos are not easily put right.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • excellent all around yarn

  • By G. on 01-10-09

puhleeze . . .

Overall
1 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 01-22-10

I stuck with this book all the way through, but it really was a 1950s Queen-for-a-Day sobfest. Oddly, it didn't succeed in getting me to sob along with his characters, even though I'm a pretty light touch, probably because the characters weren't very well drawn. We know he CAN create good characters, because he has in other books and because there were several secondary characters in this book that were compelling. But the main characters either never jelled, or maybe I just never liked them. By the end, I was happy to see them suffer because I was tired of them and wanted them to go away.

1 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

  • By: Mark Haddon
  • Narrated by: Jeff Woodman
  • Length: 6 hrs and 6 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 10,748
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7,867
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7,887

Fifteen-year-old Christopher Boone has Asperger's Syndrome, a condition similar to autism. He doesn't like to be touched or meet new people, he cannot make small talk, and he hates the colors brown and yellow. He is a math whiz with a very logical brain who loves solving puzzles that have definite answers.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • An Unexpected Gift.

  • By Amanda on 12-07-11

fabulous

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 12-20-07

Such a great book! Everyone is so believable, and so flawed, yet so sympathetic. The author is terrific at bringing the reader inside the head of someone who experiences his world so differently from the rest of us.