LISTENER

Barbara Bergmann

Claremont, CA
  • 6
  • reviews
  • 8
  • helpful votes
  • 10
  • ratings
  • The Source

  • A Novel
  • By: James A. Michener
  • Narrated by: Larry McKeever
  • Length: 54 hrs and 32 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 877
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 776
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 778

In the grand storytelling style that is his signature, James Michener sweeps us back through time to the very beginnings of the Jewish faith, thousands of years ago. Through the predecessors of four modern men and women, we experience the entire colorful history of the Jews, including the life of the early Hebrews and their persecutions, the impact of Christianity, the Crusades, and the Spanish Inquisition, all the way to the founding of present-day Israel and the Middle East conflict.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Unlistenable

  • By GGS Engineering on 09-11-15

Terrible narration! Sounds like a robot!

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

Reviewed: 10-30-15

What did you like best about The Source? What did you like least?

It is researched well, as all of Michener's books are.

Could you see The Source being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

Could be a good TV mini series.

Any additional comments?

The narrator reads like a robot. I actually turned UP the speed in an effort to make it sound a little more natural. That helped a little, but I couldn't stick with it after listening to so many gifted actors read books.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Paying Guests

  • By: Sarah Waters
  • Narrated by: Juliet Stevenson
  • Length: 21 hrs and 29 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 2,562
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,322
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 2,330

It is 1922, and London is tense. Ex-servicemen are disillusioned; the out-of-work and the hungry are demanding change. And in South London, in a genteel Camberwell villa, a large silent house now bereft of brothers, husband, and even servants, life is about to be transformed, as impoverished widow Mrs. Wray and her spinster daughter, Frances, are obliged to take in lodgers.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Tedious

  • By Loretta R. Cooper on 10-14-14

A story of gripping suspense

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

Reviewed: 06-24-15

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Paying Guests?

A complex story: suspenseful, sexy, and poignant.

Which character – as performed by Juliet Stevenson – was your favorite?

Stevenson is such a gifted actress and Waters such a gifted writer that each character is fully drawn and memorable.

Any additional comments?

Surely no author could be better served than having the brilliant Juliet Stevenson perform the work.

  • QB VII

  • By: Leon Uris
  • Narrated by: John Lee
  • Length: 13 hrs and 30 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 563
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 510
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 511

In Queen's Bench Courtroom Number Seven, famous author Abraham Cady stands trial. In his book The Holocaust - born of the terrible revelation that the Jadwiga Concentration camp was the site of his family's extermination - Cady shook the consciousness of the human race. He also named eminent surgeon Sir Adam Kelno as one of Jadwiga's most sadistic inmate/doctors. Kelno has denied this and brought furious charges. Now unfolds Leon Uris' riveting courtroom drama - one of the great fictional trials of the century.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • An Important Revisit to a Dark Era

  • By Craig on 06-01-14

Riveting story!

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

Reviewed: 05-31-15

What made the experience of listening to QB VII the most enjoyable?

QB VII is the fictionalized account of the real libel trial that took place in the High Courts of London after the publication of Exodus by Leon Uris. Following the annals of a history we now are all too familiar with, this is a fascinating, heartbreaking, and completely gripping tale. Although the main character, Abraham Cady, gets unbearably preachy at the end of the story, this is Uris' best book.

What aspect of John Lee’s performance would you have changed?

The narrator, John Lee, is clearly an actor, rather than just a reader. I would say that he is a good actor. He reads with appropriate emphasis and emotion and uses a range of national accents to portray European characters. Normally I give kudos to voice actors who try to infuse real personality into their characterizations, but Lee's accents are uneven and one in particular (Abe Cady's Virginia accent) was so terrible that it distracted from the story. People from the state of Virginia have soft, understated "Southern" accent but Lee made everyone in the Cady family sound like hillbillies. It would have been far less distracting if he had not attempted that bizarre accent. Most of the characters spoke with a Polish accent and this usually worked--EXCEPT when he forgot to switch gears and a British barrister came out sounding like he was from Krakow.

Any additional comments?

This hefty book really works as an audio book. It provided me with hours of involved listening.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Word Child

  • By: Iris Murdoch
  • Narrated by: Simon Prebble
  • Length: 15 hrs and 59 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 30
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 29
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 29

Hilary Burde was a rising star in academia until a tragic accident plunged him and his mentor and rival, Gunnar Jopling, into two decades of depression and guilt. Hilary, unable to overcome his pain, abandoned his promising career for an unfulfilling job as a civil servant. But at age 41, Hilary crosses paths again with Gunnar - initiating a series of events that will change their lives forever.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A vortex

  • By Montcalm on 01-31-17

Gifted writing about an unredeemable soul

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

Reviewed: 01-03-15

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

I listened to all 14 hrs. of this audio book because of its glittering prose and insight into the complexities of humanhood, but mostly I hoped that something redeemable might surface in the central character. But alas, there was something so inherently "off" in Hilary Burde's very being that neither deprived childhood nor tragic accident could excuse the lens of cruel distain through which his relationships with others are filtered. His unbridled narcissism is that of the sociopath. He reels through his life in a toxic cloud of self-pity, poised to smash and destroy with clenched fists or poison tongue. This unattractive protagonist left me with a bad taste in my mouth at the first line but Murdoch is such an intuitive and gifted writer that I persevered in the withering hope of some sort of epiphany rising like a Phoenix in the final pages. Indeed there was a small glimmer of such but it was too little, too late. I no longer cared. Having spent 14 hours with a bully I was just glad it was over.

What about Simon Prebble’s performance did you like?

I listen to a lot of audiobooks and Simon Prebble is one of the most gifted readers I have encountered. His performance kept me engaged long after I lost interest in the central character.

Could you see Word Child being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?


2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • War and Remembrance

  • By: Herman Wouk
  • Narrated by: Kevin Pariseau
  • Length: 56 hrs and 3 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,352
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 3,889
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,872

Herman Wouk's sweeping epic of World War II, which begins with The Winds of War and continues here in War and Remembrance, stands as the crowning achievement of one of America's most celebrated storytellers. Like no other books about the war, Wouk's spellbinding narrative captures the tide of global events - and all the drama, romance, heroism, and tragedy of World War II - as it immerses us in the lives of a single American family drawn into the very center of the war's maelstrom.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • What can I say that hasn't already been said??

  • By aaron on 01-31-12

Awesomely ambitious, enormously successful!

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

Reviewed: 07-25-14

Would you consider the audio edition of War and Remembrance to be better than the print version?

Apples and oranges. I read both volumes of this work some years ago and was so impressed that I was drawn to listen to the audio versions on long walks. Both formats have their advantages.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Pamela Tudsbury. I just liked the way Wouk wrote her: plucky, humorous and willing to trust her heart. She had great valor. Pug was a bit of a stick and for much of the story his perspective was one of black and white, while Pam's was far more tinged with shades and color. It was nice to watch him evolve. He was a good man and a wise one. It was not preposterous for Pam to love him so deeply.

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

This is the most gifted reader I have experienced. These two volumes are more that 2,000 pages of dense narrative involving a multitude of characters, real and fictional. Pariseau can pitch his voice or change his inflection to create a distinct sense of each individual, keeping track of a character's voice throughout thousands of pages. I have a good ear and there was only one small place where I was aware that he failed to use a particular voice (Aaron Jastrow's). Pariseau even sings well! This is a really gifted actor! The only suggestion I would make is he should watch out for egregious mispronunciations, e.g. coup de GRASS for coup de gras (should sound like 'gra') or Jan when it should have been pronounced 'Yawn'. Picky points considering the Herculean task he undertook.

Any additional comments?

This series represents a very important piece of historical literature. I am in awe of Herman Wouk.

  • The Winds of War

  • By: Herman Wouk
  • Narrated by: Kevin Pariseau
  • Length: 45 hrs and 48 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,023
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,326
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,329

Herman Wouk's sweeping epic of World War II stands as the crowning achievement of one of America's most celebrated storytellers. Like no other books about the war, Wouk's spellbinding narrative captures the tide of global events - and all the drama, romance, heroism, and tragedy of World War II - as it immerses us in the lives of a single American family drawn into the very center of the war's maelstrom.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A Masterpiece

  • By Robert on 05-24-13

A classic by gifted writer of historical fiction

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

Reviewed: 05-25-14

If you could sum up The Winds of War in three words, what would they be?

Riveting. Provocative. Informative.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Pug Henry

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

Excellent reader who inflects characterizations very well.

Who was the most memorable character of The Winds of War and why?

Natalie and Aaron Jastrow because of their headstrong stupidity and arrogance.

Any additional comments?

By weaving varying philosophical perspectives and historical analysis throughout his fictional narrative Wouk provides a complex interpretation of WWII. Excellent!