LISTENER

Margaret

San Francisco, CA USA
  • 114
  • reviews
  • 2,185
  • helpful votes
  • 150
  • ratings
  • Fools and Mortals

  • A Novel
  • By: Bernard Cornwell
  • Narrated by: Thomas Judd
  • Length: 10 hrs and 28 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 273
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 255
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 255

In the heart of Elizabethan England, Richard Shakespeare dreams of a glittering career in one of the London playhouses, a world dominated by his older brother, William. But he is a penniless actor, making ends meet through a combination of a beautiful face, petty theft, and a silver tongue. As William's star rises, Richard's onetime gratitude is souring, and he is sorely tempted to abandon family loyalty.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • TRULY astounding narration!

  • By Clayton on 01-14-18

What if your elder brother was a genius?

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

Reviewed: 08-07-18

I'm a Bernard Cornwell fan, but this was slightly different than his sagas and chronicles. It's a stand alone novel told from the point of view of Richard Shakespeare, Will's younger brother who has come to London to act. This has not gone over well with his older brother as Richard is the better looking of the two--though many believe Will has a way with words. Also, interesting to me, was how the novel focuses on the writing of Midsummer's Night Dream and Romeo and Juliet, the two plays that mark the transition from "sturdy Elizabethan playwright, one among many" to "the immortal bard". And to this day no one knows why or how the genius of Shakespeare was made to blossom at that time. Only that it did, which makes Fools and Mortals even more interesting. Bravo!

  • Get Well Soon

  • History’s Worst Plagues and the Heroes Who Fought Them
  • By: Jennifer Wright
  • Narrated by: Gabra Zackman
  • Length: 7 hrs and 44 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,577
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,212
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,193

In 1518, in a small town in Alsace, Frau Troffea began dancing and didn't stop. She danced until she was carried away six days later, and soon 34 more villagers joined her. Then more. In a month more than 400 people had been stricken by the mysterious dancing plague. In late-19th-century England an eccentric gentleman founded the No Nose Club in his gracious townhome - a social club for those who had lost their noses, and other body parts, to the plague of syphilis for which there was then no cure.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Didn't know syphilis could be so fascinating.

  • By Carrie Arnold on 02-09-17

The Fun Continues...

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

Reviewed: 03-15-18

I enjoyed Jennifer Wright's sense of fun in her last book, It Ended Badly. Yet, I was a bit apprehensive about downloading a book about plagues. I needn't have worried. She's funny. She's a historian. Get Well Soon is the natural result.

I'm now a fan. What's next? I'll follow wherever she goes...

Recommend!

  • West Cork

  • By: Sam Bungey, Jennifer Forde
  • Narrated by: Sam Bungey, Jennifer Forde
  • Length: 7 hrs and 50 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 22,200
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 19,829
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 19,826

This much we do know: Sophie Toscan du Plantier was murdered days before Christmas in 1996, her broken body discovered at the edge of her property near the town of Schull in West Cork, Ireland. The rest remains a mystery. Gripping, yet ever elusive, join the real-life hunt for answers in the year’s first not-to-be-missed, true-crime series.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • ENTERTAINING AND THOUGHT-PROVOKING

  • By Ann on 02-13-18

Podcast format: True Crime Genre

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

Reviewed: 03-03-18

Well, this was an impulse download--largely because I wanted to listen to Irish accents. It delivered so much more. What is absolutely known is that Sophie Toscan du Plantier was viciously murdered outside her home in Ireland in the final hours of December 23, 1996. Everything else depends on who you believe and I found myself switching sides multiple times.

Recommend.

  • The History of Ancient Egypt

  • By: Bob Brier, The Great Courses
  • Narrated by: Bob Brier
  • Length: 24 hrs and 25 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 2,415
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,253
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 2,248

Ancient Egyptian civilization is so grand our minds sometimes have difficulty adjusting to it. It lasted 3,000 years, longer than any other on the planet. Its Great Pyramid of Cheops was the tallest building in the world until well into the 19th century and remains the only Ancient Wonder still standing. And it was the most technologically advanced of the ancient civilizations, with the medical knowledge that made Egyptian physicians the most famous in the world.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Incomprehensibly complete

  • By Nassir on 07-09-13

Sold me!

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

Reviewed: 02-25-18

I admit that I wasn't fascinated with Egyptology when I downloaded this. But wow, the enthusiasm that Dr. Brier brings to his lectures hooked and held me. Well done! And now I am actually interested... totoal slam dunk.

Highly recommend.

  • Saturday the Rabbi Went Hungry

  • By: Harry Kemelman
  • Narrated by: George Guidall
  • Length: 7 hrs and 23 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 208
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 193
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 191

As Rabbi Small and his temple congregation solemnly prepare for Yom Kippur, a non-practicing member is found dead behind the wheel of his car - in his own garage. The police call the death an accident, and the insurance company insists that it’s suicide. But Miriam, Rabbi Small’s wife, believes the mishap could only be cold-blooded murder. With his congregants splitting over the possible cause, the young rabbi must discover the truth, or forfeit all hope for peace in the temple.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great book and the narration is the BEST!

  • By Kathi on 02-21-14

Dated, but bearable

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

Reviewed: 12-04-17

I enjoyed the entire series, most of which I got from the local library, but they didn't have a copy of this one, so I downloaded it. I kept expecting the rabbi to change, but he didn't. The part I enjoyed most was learning about the various customers of Judaism and the logic of the Talmudic scholar. The one caveat I want to append to my overall positive rating is that the book is pretty dated: the language, the societal conflicts, the stereotypes are all very specific to the mid-twentieth century. If that doesn't bother you, read on; this is a clever cozy series. If it does, move on, it will drive you bonkers.

Recommend with caveat

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Unraveling Oliver

  • A Novel
  • By: Liz Nugent
  • Narrated by: Sam O'Mahony
  • Length: 6 hrs and 50 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 238
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 222
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 220

Oliver Ryan, handsome, charismatic, and successful, has long been married to his devoted wife, Alice. Together they write and illustrate award-winning children's books; their life together is one of enviable privilege and ease - until, one evening after a delightful dinner, Oliver delivers a blow to Alice that renders her unconscious and subsequently beats her into a coma.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Wow!!!!

  • By felicia jones on 09-21-17

Like an 80's Freudian novel...

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

Reviewed: 08-27-17

The plot was powered by insane coincidences, which I guessed early on and hoped that wasn't where the book was going, but it did -- in order to explain to us exactly why Oliver did evil. Reminded me strongly of the way novels were structured in the 1980s. But the telling was good enough to hold my attention and I kept listening to hear how the Barney/Eugene story ended.

This struck me as a first try at writing a book. Publishers ultimately reject it, but the writing is good enough for the writer to receive some encouragement, so he or she goes back to the drawing board and the next novel ends up getting published and off to the races we go. The first manuscript ends up buried out back under the apple tree which is exactly where Unraveling Oliver belonged.

I didn't return it because I listened all the way through--so keep my credit. But I won't download/buy another book by Liz Nugent which is exactly why it's a bad idea to publish weak material as an introduction to readers/listeners. Win the battle, lose the war.

Skip this one.

7 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • The Butterfly Effect with Jon Ronson

  • By: Jon Ronson
  • Narrated by: Jon Ronson
  • Length: 3 hrs and 25 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 12,200
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 10,977
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 10,976

[Contains explicit content] Hear the story of what happened when the tech industry gave the world what it wanted: free porn. Lives were mangled. Fortunes were made. All for your pleasure. Follow writer and narrator Jon Ronson as he uncovers our web of desire.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Pros and Cons of free porn.

  • By ShaSha (Lover of Audiobooks!) on 08-11-17

Thanks but no thanks...

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

Reviewed: 07-31-17

I find Jon Ronson's delivery creepy. It bothered me listening to the Psychopath Test, a book I ended up liking, so I tried to ignore the ick and get into the Butterfly Effect. Failed. His voice evokes the same feeling I get when a perv on the train is heavy breathing into my ear from behind my shoulder and that's when Ronson's not writing about online porn. Moving on...

7 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • People Who Eat Darkness

  • The True Story of a Young Woman Who Vanished from the Streets of Tokyo - and the Evil That Swallowed Her Up
  • By: Richard Lloyd Parry
  • Narrated by: Simon Vance
  • Length: 13 hrs and 8 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 2,090
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,895
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,900

Lucie Blackman - tall, blond, 21 years old - stepped out into the vastness of Tokyo in the summer of 2000 and disappeared. The following winter, her dismembered remains were found buried in a seaside cave. The seven months in between had seen a massive search for the missing girl involving Japanese policemen, British private detectives, and Lucie’s desperate but bitterly divided parents. Had Lucie been abducted by a religious cult or snatched by human traffickers? Who was the mysterious man she had gone to meet? And what did her work as a hostess in the notorious Roppongi district of Tokyo really involve?

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • This is the audiobook against I rate all others.

  • By El_Ron on 03-08-13

Did the Trick

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

Reviewed: 07-28-17

Nothing has been holding my attention lately, but this absolutely did!

Richard Parry lived the case of Lucie Blackman, a young British woman who was killed while working as a hostess in Tokyo (and no, that doesn't mean hooker, who knew..) Parry was a journalist based in Japan. He explores the exotic Rappongi district (red light district) of Tokyo and the different club cultures, the foreign girls who work there and their customers--mostly Japanese salary men, and one serial rapist and killer who ended Lucie's life. He also handles the pain and trauma of Lucie's family delicately. He doesn't pretend they're saints, but he refuses to judge when he hasn't walked a mile in their shoes.

One of the best that I've heard in this genre. Recommend.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • The Fact of a Body

  • A Murder and a Memoir
  • By: Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich
  • Narrated by: Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich
  • Length: 10 hrs and 38 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 619
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 576
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 575

Before Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich begins a summer job at a law firm in Louisiana, working to help defend men accused of murder, she thinks her position is clear. The child of two lawyers, she is staunchly anti-death penalty. But the moment convicted murderer Ricky Langley's face flashes on the screen as she reviews old tapes - the moment she hears him speak of his crimes - she is overcome with the feeling of wanting him to die. Shocked by her reaction, she digs deeper and deeper into the case.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Memoir of Molestation

  • By Margaret on 05-22-17

Memoir of Molestation

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

Reviewed: 05-22-17

Let me start by saying that the writing style of the author was so deliberately erudite and MFA-ish that it distracted me from the stories she had to tell. There was never a tree, but always a steady oak against the yellow palette of the autumn sky. Not a filing cabinet, a white metal filing cabinet with each dent lovingly deliniated. Exhausting to listen to after a while.

Further, the reader is treated to a specific example of each feeling--a buzzing in my head, pressure in my chest, my limbs tingled--to such an extent--seemed like almost every page--that I started to get fed up and long for a simple declarative, "I felt," but it was not to be. I think people who like Elizabeth Gilbert's writing will find this memoir right in the sweet spot, but I found it hard to decide how I felt with all the overly descriptive, wordy explanations of the author's feelings. It seemed like a very expensive education (name drop: Harvard) was substituted for authenticity.

There's another rule that someone should add to MFA curriculums that would have helped me greatly with this one: leave room for the reader.

103 of 109 people found this review helpful

  • It Ended Badly

  • Thirteen of the Worst Breakups in History
  • By: Jennifer Wright
  • Narrated by: Hillary Huber
  • Length: 8 hrs and 8 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 488
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 448
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 445

Spanning eras and cultures from ancient Rome to medieval England to 1950s Hollywood, Jennifer Wright's It Ended Badly guides you through the worst of the worst in historically bad breakups. In the throes of heartbreak, Emperor Nero had just about everyone he ever loved - from his old tutor to most of his friends - put to death. Oscar Wilde's lover, whom he went to jail for, abandoned him when faced with being cut off financially from his wealthy family.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Depends on what you're looking for

  • By newyorkaise on 09-04-17

Terrific Fun

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

Reviewed: 04-24-17

From the eunuch forced up to cross dress as the Roman empress (who'd just been executed) through Henry II jailing Eleanor of Aquitaine to the knife in the back that broke Oscar Wilde's heart--whether he ever admitted it or not--this book was great listening. Kind of "themed history" where it was easy to see, regardless of how our hearts are broken, we are certainly not alone and definitely not the worst case ever. (Porus, the eunuch gets my vote--geez!) Easy listen; ideal for a stopping and starting listen like for long commutes. Will definitely look for more by Jennifer Wright. Recommend.

22 of 23 people found this review helpful