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  • 83
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  • 88
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  • Anne of Green Gables

  • By: Lucy Maud Montgomery
  • Narrated by: Rachel McAdams
  • Length: 9 hrs and 22 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 6,765
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 6,248
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 6,224

With all of the pluck and charm of its eponymous young hero, Rachel McAdams ( The Notebook, Spotlight, Midnight in Paris) delivers a spectacular reading of Montgomery's beloved bildungsroman. In moments both funny and bittersweet, McAdams' voice is imbued with the spark that has made Anne a much-loved symbol of individualism and cheer for over a century.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • The story was great, McAdams not so much

  • By R. Evans on 06-17-17

Anne *is* too chatty

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

Reviewed: 12-02-18

Anne really is tedious to listen to, she goes on and on, often about stuff that is pretty boring, like dresses. It is hard for me to gauge how girls would enjoy this book - if it were not a free gift I would not have selected it. I’d say that it has some good messages for girls: ambition is good, excelling in school is good, and girls should never feel they need to dumb themselves down, which, sadly, is still a common phenomenon. Some issues are quite passé - who these days would think that young women should not go to college? I wish Montgomery did not make geometry Anne’s weak subject. Though in the end, she did well, but it just seems so stereotypical. But for the time, there was certainly a good message for girls, and yet it is a shame that Montgomery could not have come up with a more creative solution to Anne’s dilemma at the end (which I don’t want to reveal).
I also find it odd that Anne is referred to as a “little girl” when in our society I think a girl older than about 7 would take offense at that. I was not at all impressed with the narration. I would have expected far better of an actor. Most of the time she reads it rather drearily, like it is a chore to get through it.

  • Gather ‘Round the Sound

  • Holiday Stories from Beloved Authors and Great Performers Across the Globe
  • By: Paulo Coelho, Yvonne Morrison, Charles Dickens
  • Narrated by: Angele Masters, Daniel Frances Berenson, Magda Szubanski, and others
  • Length: 1 hr and 12 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars 5,535
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 4,865
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars 4,863

2017 has been a monumental year for Audible, having just celebrated our 20th anniversary, a milestone that would have never been possible without our wonderful and loyal listeners. One of our major commitments is bringing new and diverse audio experiences to our members, so this year, as our gift to you, we pulled together a collection that reflects a little bit of everything we’ve been up to recently.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Holidays

  • By ZOE R on 12-12-17

A waste of my time, even though it was a gift

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

Reviewed: 11-25-18

This was a free holiday gift that I just got around to listening to (I think a year later). It was a waste of my time. Even the Dickens story - and I love Dickens - was rather weak.

  • King Coal

  • A Novel
  • By: Upton Sinclair
  • Narrated by: Grover Gardner
  • Length: 12 hrs and 11 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 35
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 32
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 32

Based on the 1914 and 1915 Colorado coal strikes, King Coal describes the abhorrent conditions faced by workers in the western United States' coal mining industry during the 1910s. The story follows Hal Warner, a rich man looking to get a better view of the lives of commoners. It is a tale of struggle, threats, and violence, of hardened men and the advocacy for workers' rights. In this business, the road to unionization is a rocky one.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A little preachy

  • By Enzo G. on 08-02-18

So relevant today, still - workers must unite!

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

Reviewed: 11-25-18

This is a superbly told and superbly narrated story that evokes all the evils of uncontrolled capitalism, the corruption in government it brings, the exploitation of workers, and the challenges of those who wish to demand their rights. It is worth reading up a bit of background, or, perhaps even listening to the postscript first, so that you know that Sinclair is not exaggerating. Coal mining is still an industry that is dangerous, harmful to us all (though this book does not at all touch on the environmental problems), and yet big industrial giants influence the continuation of this method of providing energy. (Today’s lead article in The New York Times is “The World Needs to Quit Coal. Why is it so Hard?”). You can read an article entitled “Mining for Meaning: Reflections on Upton Sinclair's King Coal and Tawni O'Dell's Sister Mine” and see that coal-mining, 100 years after the publication of Sinclair’s book is still a problematic industry. As is the problem of workers without strong unions (or without unions at all). Whether it is the way service workers in fast-food restaurants are paid and treated, so that the companies can avoid providing them with health insurance, or the conditions and pay of workers in Amazon warehouses, there is still great need for more workers’ rights. And, like then, it is the Republican Party that is most opposed, such as their opposition to raising the minimum wage. The gap between the super-wealthy and the poor is an issue today, as it was then. I fear that this book will be “preaching to the choir”, that those who need to be touched by it most (the Koch brothers come to mind) will not read it, and even if they did, would not be moved to change their path. But read it and be inspired! The narration is excellent.

  • Tabula Rasa

  • Roman Empire Series, Book 6
  • By: Ruth Downie
  • Narrated by: Simon Vance
  • Length: 10 hrs and 19 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 451
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 403
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 402

The medicus Ruso and his wife, Tilla, are back in the borderlands of Britannia, this time helping to tend the builders of Hadrian's Great Wall. Having been forced to move off their land, the Britons are distinctly on edge. Then Ruso's recently arrived clerk, Candidus, goes missing. A native boy thinks he sees a body being hidden inside the wall's half-finished stonework, and a worrying rumor begins to spread. When soldiers ransack the nearby farms looking for Candidus, Tilla's tentative friendship with a local family turns to anger and disappointment.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A Pleasure to Read

  • By Jean on 09-17-16

These books are my self-care treat

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

Reviewed: 11-15-18

These books are like my “candy” treat. I listen to other books that I enjoy, but are often heavier (I tend to go for classics and serious literaary stuff) and then I”ll listen to one of these, like a special treat for myself (I can’t eat any carb-loaded treats for medical reasons). I love the characters, I love Simon Vance’s reading, and the Roman Empire setting is loads of fun. Start with the first one, of course, and go in order. But remember - there are only eight so far and you don’t want the pleasure to end too quickly, do you?

  • The Novels of Charles Dickens: An Introduction by David Timson to Hard Times

  • By: David Timson
  • Length: 25 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 36
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 29
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars 28

David Timson talks about Charles Dickens, much loved for his great contribution to classic English Literature.

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • No Book Included

  • By Anonymous User on 11-12-18

For the price (free) - of interest to Dickens fans

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

Reviewed: 11-03-18

I didn’t yet read (or listen to) Hard Times and it is on my wishlist. This was interesting as an introduction, and we got to hear samples of a different reader - Anton Lesser - which were quite good, so that you could consider this a promotion for that edition of Hard Times (but pay attention - there is an abridged and an unabridged, which is what any Dickens fan would go for). If you are a Dickens fan, sure, why not listen to this?

  • Mary Barton

  • A Tale of Manchester Life
  • By: Elizabeth Gaskell
  • Narrated by: Juliet Stevenson
  • Length: 16 hrs and 17 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 339
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 299
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 296

When her father assassinates Henry Carson, his employer's son and Mary's admirer, suspicion falls on Mary's second admirer, Jem, a fellow worker. Mary has to prove her lover's innocence without incriminating her own father.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Narration as Brilliant Performance Art

  • By Amazon Customer on 09-14-10

Excellent depiction of social conditions

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

Reviewed: 10-25-18

This book is excellent for its depiction of the working conditions in the textile factories of Manchester in the 19th century. Sadly, much of this is still relevant today, if not in Manchester, then in other companies that employ underpaid workers with few benefits or a safety net in case of illness or economic downturn. During the time that I was listening to this book, I also saw the film Young Karl Marx (also highly recommended), and the two complement each other. Though one of the characters (Mary’s father) is somewhat of an activist, he is one of the working poor (when he can work at all), and you can truly see how such people need capable leaders who can fight for the cause of the working poor, exploited by the factory owners. Characters in the book express these problems, but not enough, and too much Christian forgiveness and belief that “if only people followed the Gospel everything would be fine” get in the way of the power that the book could have. (The super rich today, many of whom support political parties that claim to have Christian values, do not concern themselves with the welfare of their workers.) The other “theme” of the book - Mary’s relationships with young men - has too much focus, in my opinion, but maybe that is what Gaskell felt people want to read. The book had the potential of being a British - and earlier - example of literature along the lines of Upton Sinclair’s work, but was not as powerful, and, as I said, too “Christian”, resulting in Mary being a daughter like Little Dorrit - daughters who seem to love and forgive their fathers no matter what they do (I don’t want to spoil it for you), as if that is the ideal woman. I had trouble with Little Dorrit’s character, and I have trouble with Mary’s character. Similarly, the idea that a woman is responsible in any way for any bad results of jealous rages between two men who want her is troubling. Ultimately, a perpetrator, if there be one, is the one who is guilty. The end of the book also has too much of a “Christian forgiveness” theme. Some crimes cannot be forgiven and should not be. When you finish listening to the book, read Maimonides’ The Guide for the Perplexed Part III, XLI on the precepts of the 6th class, as he calls them. Though I am not in favor of a death penalty, he presents a view that is certainly different from the ending of Mary Barton, and is certainly worthy of discussion.
Juliet Stevenson did an excellent job reading. Her accents were great, though sometimes the male voices were not very convincing.

  • Semper Fidelis

  • A Novel of the Roman Empire
  • By: Ruth Downie
  • Narrated by: Simon Vance
  • Length: 9 hrs and 42 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 610
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 548
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 540

As mysterious injuries, and even deaths, begin to appear in the medical ledgers, it's clear that all is not well amongst the native recruits to Britannia's imperial army. Is the much-decorated centurion Geminus preying on his weaker soldiers? And could this be related to the appearance of Emperor Hadrian? Bound by his sense of duty and ill-advised curiosity, Ruso begins to ask questions nobody wants to hear. Meanwhile his barbarian wife Tilla is finding out some of the answers....

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Hadrian is here!

  • By Margaret on 05-13-13

Why doesn’t the BBC make a series based on these?!

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

Reviewed: 10-11-18

I think the “Medicus” books would make a wonderful series! I love them, and just think of the costuming, the period sets, using actual archeological sites with some clever effects. Something like the Doctor Blake Mysteries set 2000 years ago. How could this not be a success? Anyway, in the meantime I’ll have to use my imagination and enjoy Simon Vance’s wonderful readings of these books. Mind you, if anyone did make a series, I’d first read the books and then see how the film version matches up to what I imagined. These are absolutely delightful books. But I can’t imagine you reading the reviews of this volume and not already being a fan. And if you are not yet a fan, start with the first in the series. And have a great time!

  • Barnaby Rudge

  • By: Charles Dickens
  • Narrated by: Simon Vance
  • Length: 24 hrs and 2 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 188
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 139
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 140

In a case of mistaken identification, Barnaby Rudge, a pale half-wit with long red hair who dresses all in green and carries a large raven on his back, is arrested as the leader of a mob of anti-Catholic rioters. He is condemned to death on the gallows, but an upright locksmith named Gabriel Varden comes to his aid.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Overlong but under-rated Dickens

  • By David on 08-14-09

Become a Dickens fan first, then listen to this

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

Reviewed: 10-05-18

There is much of value in this book - the depiction of the Gordon Riots, in particular, is of interest and importance. There are aspects of these riots - violence against a minority instigated by inciteful talk by important people and carried out by the riffraff (and a naive Barnaby Rudge of the title) - that are, sadly, too relevant today. One can understand from these riots how easily it is to rile up a crowd to commit a pogrom in the name of religion with hatred towards others of another religion for no real reason. Unfortunately, Dickens devotes too much of the book to building the stories of the various characters, and much of those stories seem superfluous. In fact, it is not even clear what value the title character, Barnaby Rudge, adds to the main point of the story. He is a “simple” person, often called an “idiot”, of limited intellect, with a devoted mother. Her husband is a fugitive murderer. These three characters (and Grip the raven) could have been omitted, and all that surrounds them (Stagg, Rudge Sr.’s accomplice) without detracting much from what to me are the more interesting aspects of the story. Haredale could be Emma’s ward without the whole additional complications of those characters, and the animosity between Haredale and Chester would be intact, relevant to the story because Haredale (and Emma) are Catholic while Chester (and his son, who loves Emma) are Protestant, but it is a deeper animosity, and I was left puzzled about the actual source of Chester’s treachery. That he is a villain is clear, but why? As always, Dickens’ language and writing is superb, and much of this book is excellent. Simon Vance’s reading is, also as always, superb. If you are a Dickens fan, you ought to listen to this book to familiarize yourself with all his works, and be left with much to contemplate (and many analyses of this book to consider if you agree or not). But if you are not yet a Dickens fan, it is best to start with some of his other books.

  • The Black Tulip

  • By: Alexandre Dumas
  • Narrated by: Rosalyn Landor
  • Length: 8 hrs and 5 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 26
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 14
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 13

The novel, a deceptively simple story, is set in Holland in 1672 during the amazing tulipmania of the 17th century that brought wealth to some and ruin to many. The story weaves the historical events surrounding the brutal murder of John de Witte and his brother Cornelius into a tale of romantic love. The novel is also a political allegory in which Dumas makes his case against tyranny and puts all his energies into creating a symbol of justice and tolerance: the fateful tulipa negra.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Superb performance of a good story

  • By DFK on 09-14-18

Superb performance of a good story

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

Reviewed: 09-14-18

The story is good, with a different setting - both time and place - from the other Dumas books I’m familiar with. The plot line was good, though as the story progressed the end was predictable. The characters are well-developed, and brought to life so much more by Rosalyn Landor’s superb reading. It is rare to find a woman who can do the male voices so well. This narrator did an amazing job of it and I wish that she narrated more books aside from the romances she does, which are not my usual fare. Actually, this is a romance, too, but I would say that is not the main point of the story.

  • Out of Africa

  • By: Isak Dineson
  • Narrated by: Julie Harris
  • Length: 2 hrs and 57 mins
  • Abridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,008
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 906
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 906

Danish countess Karen Blixon, known as Isak Dineson, ran a coffee plantation in Kenya in the years when Africa remained a romantic and formidable continent to most Europeans. Out of Africa is her account of her life there, with stories of her respectful relationships with the Masai, Kikuyu, and Somali natives who work on her land; the European friends who visit her; and the imposing permanence of the wild, high land itself.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • I did not expect to enjoy this

  • By Tyler Tanner on 10-08-14

Spotty quality recording; Colonial Africa

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

Reviewed: 09-06-18

Out of Africa has lovely language and is a sweet depiction of one white woman’s experience as a coffee farmer in colonial Africa. The depiction of the natives, the “squatters”, etc. is all very paternalistic, from the perspective of a kind-hearted colonialist. Though we heard some questions of who really owns the land, this problem is not the focus of the book nor the narrator’s problem. I don’t want to write any spoilers, so I’ll leave it at that. It’s a pleasant enough listen, and the narration is good (though I would have thought that she ought to pronounce “the” with a long e before a vowel and found that annoying), but the recording itself is quite spotty. You can too easily tell when she stopped and restarted recording. I bought this as a daily special, so it was worth the small amount that I paid.