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Expat Sidekick

  • 8
  • reviews
  • 15
  • helpful votes
  • 19
  • ratings
  • Watership Down

  • By: Richard Adams
  • Narrated by: Ralph Cosham
  • Length: 15 hrs and 53 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7,773
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,676
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,697

Fiver could sense danger. Something terrible was going to happen to the warren; he felt sure of it. They had to leave immediately. So begins a long and perilous journey of survival for a small band of rabbits. As the rabbits skirt danger at every turn, we become acquainted with the band, its humorous characters, and its compelling culture, complete with its own folk history and mythos.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Still one of the best!

  • By Bapário on 12-05-10

The Robin Hood of Rabbits Read Perfectly

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

Reviewed: 10-19-16

Heard this narrator read Richard Adams' Plague Dogs and so appreciated his skill in pacing, voices and accents.

When I realized he also read this book that I had read many years ago and seen the animation, I was eager to hear it. I have listened twice so far ....

  • Oil!

  • By: Upton Sinclair
  • Narrated by: Grover Gardner
  • Length: 19 hrs and 47 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 574
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 388
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 396

As he did so masterfully in The Jungle, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Upton Sinclair interweaves social criticism with human tragedy to create an unforgettable portrait of Southern California's early oil industry. Enraged by the oil scandals of the Harding administration in the 1920s, Sinclair tells a gripping tale of avarice, corruption, and class warfare, featuring a cavalcade of characters, including senators, oil magnates, Hollywood film starlets, and a crusading evangelist.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • an outstanding book

  • By Gregory on 05-18-08

Steady, fictionalized history of oil shenanigans

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

Reviewed: 11-13-14

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

I was expecting more of the slap of The Jungle. Oil! took a long time to get moving. That said, it opened up a historical moment that I hadn't looked at, having stopped at Texas Tea of "The Beverly Hillbillies."
Not a gripping tale, but a steady narrative to accompany a steady task like painting the house ...

How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

The central character, Bunny, seemed to me to be more of a narrative tool than a character. Like a Dickensian Oliver, he is held by kid gloves above the dirt and drama of the rise of the oil industry.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Memories of the Storm

  • By: Marcia Willett
  • Narrated by: June Barrie
  • Length: 9 hrs and 20 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2

Clio is staying with her aunt, Hester, at Bridge House on the edge of Exmoor. A beautiful house, it is the scene of many happy childhood memories. But Clio has no idea that it was the setting for a terrible incident after the Second World War.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Complex, compassionate look at a WW2 POW survivor

  • By Expat Sidekick on 11-13-14

Complex, compassionate look at a WW2 POW survivor

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

Reviewed: 11-13-14

Where does Memories of the Storm rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

I am a Marcia Willett fan. I trust her to show me lives I might otherwise shrink from, and to encourage me to deepen my compassion. Her multi-chronological, multi-generational stories are carefully and illuminatingly told. This one ranks in my top three, along with The Children's Hour and The Birdcage.

What other book might you compare Memories of the Storm to and why?

Along with The Railway Man, this book could be used to open up discussion about PTSD and family life in the Post WW2.

What does June Barrie bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

June Barrie's nuanced narration tunes our ear to the rhythms and subtleties of the dialogue of other times. These may otherwise have lain flat on the page or seemed cliched.

  • The Woodcutter

  • By: Kate Danley
  • Narrated by: Sarah Coomes
  • Length: 7 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 852
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 756
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 757

Deep within the Wood, a young woman lies dead. Not a mark on her body. No trace of her murderer. Only her chipped glass slippers hint at her identity. The Woodcutter, keeper of the peace between the Twelve Kingdoms of Man and the Realm of the Faerie, must find the maiden’s killer before others share her fate. Guided by the wind and aided by three charmed axes won from the River God, the Woodcutter begins his hunt, searching for clues in the whispering dominions of the enchanted unknown. But quickly he finds that one murdered maiden is not the only nefarious mystery afoot....

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Fantasy for fairy tale lovers

  • By A. Sines on 03-25-15

Intriguing shift of folktales into Crime-Fantasy

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

Reviewed: 11-13-14

Where does The Woodcutter rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Ranks right up there due to the perfect match between the story and the narration by Sarah Coomes. We set high standards for those who tell fairytales to adults, and this narrator exceeds them.

Any additional comments?

Delaney lights up images from the folktales and fairy tales we have heard, then moves us to the viewpoints of different characters than the heroes, all the while weaving an overarching narrative that is disturbing and redemptive.

In the spirit of constant renewal of oral narrative, the author skillfully draws us into the battle between good and evil by activating connections between folktales, crime and substance abuse. While The Golden Compass places Dust at the centre of its sci-fantasy, Delaney deepens the narrative by re-appropriating pixie dust as the substance of harvesting and abuse.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • The Gallery of Vanished Husbands

  • By: Natasha Solomon
  • Narrated by: Karen Cass
  • Length: 11 hrs and 19 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 16
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 15
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 14

When Juliet Montague's husband disappears, so does she. As far as the conservative Jewish community in which she lives is concerned, she is invisible. She does her best to conform to their rules, but then on her thirtieth birthday she does something unexpected. Instead of the fridge she has scrimped for, she impulsively spends her savings on a portrait of herself.It is the first in a series of portraits that punctuate Juliet's adult life as she joins London's lively post-war art scene and proves to be an astute spotter of talent.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Wondering What It Was About

  • By Martha on 10-10-13

Best for those with a vivid visual imagination

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

Reviewed: 11-13-14

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

To my artist friends, I know that Solomons' words will blossom into images, primed by paintings named in chapter headings.

What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

The story moves between quite distinct visual genres; including a detailed interior and portrait focus: a kaleidoscope of British Sixties happenings: Arts and Crafts in the deep woods: and a sparse Hopper-esque America. The plot itself is secondary, and toward the perfunctory.

  • News from Tartary

  • By: Peter Fleming
  • Narrated by: Richard Mitchley
  • Length: 11 hrs and 45 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 18
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 17
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 17

For most travellers, and all merchants, the road from China to India lies as it has lain for centuries, through Singkiang along that ancient Silk Road which is the most romantic and culturally the most important trade route in the history of the world. In 1935 Peter Fleming set out to travel that route, from Peking to Kashmir. It was a journey which swept him and his companion 3500 miles across the roof of the world. It took them seven months to complete the journey.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Time travel back to 1935 and do it tough

  • By Expat Sidekick on 03-20-13

Time travel back to 1935 and do it tough

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

Reviewed: 03-20-13

Would you listen to News from Tartary again? Why?

What a slog... I felt each elbow in my back as we squeezed into the back of the lorry from Xian. I was thirsty from the dryness of the plateau and riding with the prince was another test of endurance, And then we got to the squalor and distress of the camels and horses from oasis to oasis on the way to Kashgar. I am still emptying the sand out of my ipod. Then the blood splattered on me as they pierced the noses of the horses on the pass over to India ... Peter Fleming's concern for the plight of the animals, his growing contempt for the dishonesty of the local "guides", and his generous praise of his traveling companion all brought to vivid life this moment in history.

What other book might you compare News from Tartary to and why?

Colin Thubron's Shadow of the Silk Road travels some of the same route in 2003 and is a fabulous listen, also full of back stories.

What does Richard Mitchley bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Accent that anchors the point of view, and great pacing that deftly moved me from event to event.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Persuasion

  • By: Jane Austen
  • Narrated by: Greta Scacchi
  • Length: 8 hrs and 13 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 378
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 200
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 200

Persuasion, Jane Austen's last novel, is a tale of love and marriage told with irony and insight. Anne Elliot and Captain Wentworth have met and seperated years before. Their reunion, after the passage or irrecoverable years of their youth, forces a recognition of the false values that drove them apart.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Really lovely . . .

  • By Patricia S. on 05-20-07

A work of art

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 01-09-08

Greta Scacchi reading Jane Austen is a perfect pairing. Scacchi reads with such subtelty of voice tones and timing that each nuance of Austen's word choice becomes a tapestry stitch in silk. Austen's words were so clearly written to be read aloud, but Scacchi uses them to captivate her listeners into a story that is a slower, much more autumnal love story than Emma or Pride and Prejudice, and without her art, might feel muted instead of delicate.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Holy Cow!

  • An Indian Adventure
  • By: Sarah Macdonald
  • Narrated by: Kate Hosking
  • Length: 10 hrs and 26 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 798
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 335
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 338

After backpacking her way around India, Sarah Macdonald decides she hates the country with a passion. When a beggar at the airport reads her palm and insists she will one day return, and for love, she screams "Never!" and gives the country, and him, the finger.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Inspiring and witty

  • By Meredith on 08-09-05

Great Cow Tales

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 01-09-08

I was given this before moving to Delhi, and am so grateful that Sarah MacDonald is both a great journalist and a greatly entertaining writer. This account of her relationship with India is well crafted and full of information that takes on depth and interest the longer I am here. It is also brilliantly read by an Australian woman who performs a great variety of other accents to bring the narrative to life.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful