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Karen

Vancouver, BC, Canada
  • 27
  • reviews
  • 97
  • helpful votes
  • 190
  • ratings
  • The Help

  • By: Kathryn Stockett
  • Narrated by: Jenna Lamia, Bahni Turpin, Octavia Spencer, and others
  • Length: 18 hrs and 16 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 38,206
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 24,055
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 24,070

In pitch-perfect voices, Kathryn Stockett creates three extraordinary women whose determination to start a movement of their own forever changes a town, and the way women - mothers, daughters, caregivers, friends - view one another. A deeply moving novel filled with poignancy, humor, and hope, The Help is a timeless and universal story about the lines we abide by, and the ones we don't.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • What a great surprise!

  • By Jan on 12-02-09

WONDERFUL

Overall
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-09-10

This is beautifully written and beautifully read. The characters stand out, even some relatively minor one. My only complaint? I just didn't believe the ending. I feel like the author lost her nerve. Or some publisher made her pretty it up, as has happened to so many authors going back to Dickens.
No plot spoilers here, but my parents were both from the deep south, and I was born in Florida in 1955. I was in elementary school, in Montgomery Alabama. When it was announced that Bobby Kennedy had died, the middle school and high school students in the building next door ran cheering from the doors, as the black janitor lowered the flag.

NO WAY would ALL the outcomes, personal and communal, have been this benign.

BUT THE BOOK IS STILL a brilliant exposition of a place and time. I had goosebumps at various dialectical expressions, and boy oh boy were some of my Alabama relatives close cousins to some of these characters. Well worth reading.

Summerland
    A Novel
    
        By:
        












    





    





    
        
            
            
                
            
        
        Michael Chabon
    
    


    
    
        Narrated by:
        












    





    





    
        
            
            
                
            
        
        Michael Chabon
    
    


    
    Length: 14 hrs and 54 mins
    214 ratings
    Overall 3.7
  • Summerland

  • A Novel
  • By: Michael Chabon
  • Narrated by: Michael Chabon
  • Length: 14 hrs and 54 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 214
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 87
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 90

It's summer, and the Clam Island fairies, or "ferishers," as the North American Fair Folk call themselves, are in grave peril. War is coming, another battle in an ancient conflict, a struggle against the Fell Smith and his power of Anti-life. He and his host of demon engineers, kobolds, and warriors have sought to destroy the fairies since time began. When the Clam Island band sends for a champion, they get an 11-year-old boy named Ethan Feld.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Unforgettable characters!

  • By A Reader on 03-24-07

Inventive, but not his best

Overall
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 10-30-10

On the plus side, I usually don't enjoy authors reading their own books, but MC is great! He embodies the different characters beautifully. Less happy, however, is the sense I walked away with that this was pretty slap-dash, over all, as if Mr Chabon just dashed it off. Just because a world is fantastical does not mean that it must lack coherence. This one needed a really good edit, or three.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Psmith in the City

  • By: P. G. Wodehouse
  • Narrated by: Frederick Davidson
  • Length: 5 hrs and 32 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 31
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 17
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 16

"Work," said Psmith, with simple dignity. "I am now a member of the staff of this bank. Its interests are my interests. Psmith, the individual, ceases to exist, and there springs into being Psmith, the cog in the wheel of the New Asiatic Bank; Psmith, the link in the bank's chain; Psmith, the Worker. "I shall not spare myself," he proceeded earnestly. "I shall toil with all the accumulated energy of one who, up till now, has only known what work is like from hearsay."

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Brings the smile no matter in what mood you are

  • By Dad 4 Son on 07-20-18

Such a dilemma

Overall
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 09-01-10

It's such a dilemma. Jonathan Cecil does a far better job reading the PSmith books, but the Frederick Davidson recordings have much better sound quality. Davidson presents PSmith as if he is essentially a wordier Bertie Wooster. His tone is all snide-ness and knowing. But PSmith is a far more intelligent, and a far FROM hapless, creature. He is stylish, to be sure, and somewhat affected, but more-than-perfectly competent. Cecil nails the tone, and in his various readings, makes each of the two characters clear, and different. I'm going back to the Cecil.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • The Mandelbaum Gate

  • By: Muriel Spark
  • Narrated by: Frederick Davidson
  • Length: 12 hrs and 5 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 22
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 17
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 17

The Mandelbaum Gate divides the conflict-torn realm of Jerusalem, separating Israel from Jordan. Barbara Vaughn, a stubborn young English woman and half-Jewish Catholic convert, insists upon crossing the divide in order to rendezvous with her fiancé, in spite of the very real danger. Her quest sets off a series of bizarre situations and adventures, set against the backdrop of the Eichmann trial of 1961.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Spark Sparks!!

  • By Karen on 08-19-10

Spark Sparks!!

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-19-10

Superb Spark book. Early-ish in her career, so not quite so grim as her later ones. Each character, large or small, drawn with clarity and interest, and all set against the background of the Arab-Israeli conflict, and the Eichmann trial in Jerusalem. A bit of a spy mystery thrown in as well. Not to mention crime. Such an amazing accomplishment. The narration is perfect, too.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

The Story of Edgar Sawtelle
    
    
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        David Wroblewski
    
    


    
    
        Narrated by:
        












    





    





    
        
            
            
                
            
        
        Richard Poe
    
    


    
    Length: 21 hrs and 45 mins
    3,120 ratings
    Overall 3.8
  • The Story of Edgar Sawtelle

  • By: David Wroblewski
  • Narrated by: Richard Poe
  • Length: 21 hrs and 45 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 3,120
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 1,001
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,006

Born mute, speaking only in sign, Edgar Sawtelle leads an idyllic life with his parents and an unusual breed of dogs on their farm in remote northern Wisconsin. But when tragedy strikes the Sawtelle family, Edgar flees to the surrounding wilderness. He comes of age in the wild, fighting for his survival and that of the three yearling dogs who follow him.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Just OK

  • By Ella on 10-22-08

Almost all the way there

Overall
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-15-10

Stunning narration by Richard Poe. Restrained but not unemotional. The book lags in places, speeds up the wrong way in others--pacing in fact is the only major issue. But the unusual characters and mythic nature of the story more than make up for the flaws. One strong edit and this could have been a five-star!

  • The Narrow Road to the Interior and Hojoki

  • By: Matsuo Basho, Kamo no Chomei
  • Narrated by: Togo Igawa
  • Length: 2 hrs and 5 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 37
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 26
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 26

The Narrow Road to the Interior and Hojoki are two of the best-loved works of their kind; famous for their beautiful, delicate verse and subtle insight into the human condition. It has been said of The Narrow Road that 'it was as if the very soul of Japan had itself written it'. It takes the form of a travel diary, and traces the poet's journey from Edo (modern-day Tokyo) to the northern interior.

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • Second story unintelligible

  • By Karen on 02-23-10

Second story unintelligible

Overall
1 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 02-23-10

The first story in this collection is beautifully translated and narrated. However the narrator for the second story has such a heavy accent and the recording quality is so poor that the piece is
VERY difficult to understand.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

Jeeves and the Tie that Binds
    
    
        By:
        












    





    





    
        
            
            
                
            
        
        P. G. Wodehouse
    
    


    
    
        Narrated by:
        












    





    





    
        
            
            
                
            
        
        Frederick Davidson
    
    


    
    Length: 5 hrs and 26 mins
    33 ratings
    Overall 4.5
  • Jeeves and the Tie that Binds

  • By: P. G. Wodehouse
  • Narrated by: Frederick Davidson
  • Length: 5 hrs and 26 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 33
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 9

Jeeves belongs to a club for butlers in London's fashionable West End, and one of the rules there is that every member must contribute to the club book everything about the fellow he is working for, the idea being that such information will help those seeking new employment. Some dull employers are given only a few lines in the club book, but Jeeves has penned 18 pages about his employer, Bertie Wooster. And Bertie, quite understandably, is perturbed.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Wodehouse started repeating himself

  • By connie on 10-18-09

Not the best Wooster and Jeeves

Overall
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-13-09

Clearly, by this point in the franchise, Wodehouse was getting tired. The plot is even more than usually derivative, and nothing new really happens.
Some lovely moments, but not essential.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

  • By: Junot Diaz
  • Narrated by: Jonathan Davis, Staci Snell
  • Length: 16 hrs
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 4,444
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,940
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 2,958

Things have never been easy for Oscar, a sweet but disastrously overweight, lovesick Dominican ghetto nerd. Oscar dreams of becoming the Dominican J. R. R. Tolkien and, most of all, of finding love. But he may never get what he wants, thanks to the Fuku: the curse that has haunted Oscar's family for generations, dooming them to prison, torture, tragic accidents, and, above all, ill-starred love. Oscar, still waiting for his first kiss, is just its most recent victim.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Fabulous listen

  • By Kathleen on 04-26-08

Wild story beautifully read

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-05-09

Profane, shocking, strange, but once I settled in, very moving.

Olive Kitteridge
    
    
        By:
        












    





    





    
        
            
            
                
            
        
        Elizabeth Strout
    
    


    
    
        Narrated by:
        












    





    





    
        
            
            
                
            
        
        Sandra Burr
    
    


    
    Length: 10 hrs and 36 mins
    2,607 ratings
    Overall 4.0
  • Olive Kitteridge

  • By: Elizabeth Strout
  • Narrated by: Sandra Burr
  • Length: 10 hrs and 36 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 2,607
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 1,956
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,952

At times stern, at other times patient, at times perceptive, at other times in sad denial, Olive Kitteridge, a retired schoolteacher, deplores the changes in her little town and in the world at large, but she doesn't always recognize the changes in those around her.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Interweaving Short Stories Make a Good Novel

  • By Sara on 07-21-14

Compelling

Overall
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-29-09

These stories are bleak, but compelling. I completely believed in every character, young or old, male or female.
The reading is utterly suitable.
There were a few loose ends, a result, perhaps of the structure, but the book is worth it even if you only listen to the final story.

  • The Hours

  • By: Michael Cunningham
  • Narrated by: Michael Cunningham
  • Length: 6 hrs and 15 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 366
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 218
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 218

The Hours is the story of three women: Clarissa Vaughan, Laura Brown, and Virginia Woolf. By the end of the novel, the stories intertwine in remarkable ways, and finally come together in an act of subtle and haunting grace.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Very literary, intentionally slight plot

  • By Steve on 12-02-03

good story, bad reader

Overall
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-20-09

Authors should almost NEVER read their own fiction. I couldn't distinguish the characters during dialogue, and in general was unimpressed with the reading as a whole.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful