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Grant

Arlington, VA, United States
  • 16
  • reviews
  • 108
  • helpful votes
  • 17
  • ratings
  • The Prisoner of Heaven

  • A Novel
  • By: Carlos Ruiz Zafon
  • Narrated by: Peter Kenny
  • Length: 7 hrs and 21 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 479
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 418
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 421

Internationally acclaimed New York Times best-selling author Carlos Ruiz Zafon takes us into a dark, gothic Barcelona and creates a rich, labyrinthine tale of love, literature, passion, and revenge in which the heroes of The Shadow of the Wind and The Angel's Game must contend with a nemesis that threatens to destroy them. Barcelona, 1957. It is Christmas, and Daniel Sempere and his wife, Bea, have much to celebrate. They have a beautiful new baby son named Julian, and their close friend Fermin Romero de Torres is about to be wed.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Brings together the stories from previous 2 books

  • By MissSusie66 on 07-17-12

Answers questions poses more. I’m still hooked on series

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

Reviewed: 12-10-18

Not as strong as Shadow of the Wind or Angels Game but holds its own and moves the arc forward. Preferred the character voices in Shadow, and shifting to a very different Fermín was a bit of a jolt. Not everyone’s cup of tea but in his strong points Zafón bears comparison to dickens and Balzac.

  • 2001

  • A Space Odyssey
  • By: Arthur C. Clarke
  • Narrated by: Dick Hill
  • Length: 6 hrs and 42 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,786
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,049
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,061

It has been 40 years since the publication of this classic science-fiction novel that changed the way we look at the stars and ourselves. From the savannas of Africa at the dawn of mankind to the rings of Saturn as man adventures to the outer rim of our solar system, 2001: A Space Odyssey is a journey unlike any other.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Excellent Narration - Great Book

  • By Venu on 07-04-09

Thin story absent visual splendor of movie

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

Reviewed: 11-25-18

I wondered what the book would be like -- whether it would be better or worse than the film, as the perennial question goes. The book does explain a lot more than the movie does. But that really does not improve things. Without the air of mystery and mysticism, the fully explained story seems rather banal. The film pads out the thinness of the plot by sheer visual and musical splendor. In all fairness, some of its freshness and novelty may have been stolen by the rush of science fiction that have followed its issuance. Glad I read it, I guess, but can't see any reason why I would ever revisit it. The book about how the film was made might actually be more interesting than either the film or the book.

  • Twain’s Feast

  • By: Audible Originals
  • Narrated by: Nick Offerman
  • Length: 4 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 7,114
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,550
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 6,522

Mark Twain, beloved American writer, performer, and humorist, was a self-proclaimed glutton. With the help of a chef and some friends, Nick Offerman presents the story of Twain’s life through the lens of eight of Mark Twain’s favorite foods.

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • Audible Recycling

  • By Greg Hill on 11-17-18

A feast of tangents

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

Reviewed: 11-25-18

A bit of a jumble. It shoots off in all sorts of directions and is sometimes difficult to follow, like hearing the soundtrack of a film and lacking the visual clues. The idea of having a diverse group of commentators around the table is set up but then barely utilized and ultimately abandoned. The menu as organizing device is also not followed very carefully; in fact, there is very little organization at all. The phrase “pot luck” comes to mind. If you are willing to take pot luck as to what this list of menu items might inspire, it can be somewhat enjoyable. Occasionally the segments are off topic, self-indulgent or preachy. Time given to the young "audible producers" to expound their individual views was generally not well spent; everyone has opinions, and without any apparent reason to give particular credibility to theirs, why bother?

Another review asserts that this title amounts to materials prepared as a pilot for an unmade television series that have been hastily repackaged as resale as an audio production. I can't say whether that is true, but it certainly fits and explains what I heard.

  • Killing Commendatore

  • A Novel
  • By: Haruki Murakami, Philip Gabriel - translator, Ted Goossen - translator
  • Narrated by: Kirby Heyborne
  • Length: 28 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 617
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 584
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 579

In Killing Commendatore, a 30-something portrait painter in Tokyo is abandoned by his wife and finds himself holed up in the mountain home of a famous artist, Tomohiko Amada. When he discovers a previously unseen painting in the attic, he unintentionally opens a circle of mysterious circumstances. To close it, he must complete a journey that involves a mysterious ringing bell, a two-foot-high physical manifestation of an Idea, a dapper businessman who lives across the valley, a precocious 13-year-old girl, a Nazi assassination attempt during World War II in Vienna.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A Masterpiece and A Good Novel To Start

  • By Elif Kaya on 10-18-18

A lesser work by a master

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

Reviewed: 11-25-18

Lacks the freshness and power of Wind Up Bird or Kafka in the Shore. The similarities to earlier works in terms of characters, plotting and circumstances pile up to a distracting degree and it begins to feel like a bit like a retread and a rehash. When the supernatural elements intruded into the earlier works, the impact was uncanny, unsettling and frightening; in this book, they sometimes felt clumsy and unintentionally comic, like a poor episode of Star Trek. Admittedly it held my interest but having read it once I doubt I will ever listen to it again. I have read Bird and Kafka many times.

  • Stephen Fry’s Victorian Secrets

  • An Audible Original
  • By: John Woolf, Nick Baker
  • Narrated by: Stephen Fry
  • Length: 7 hrs and 33 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 10,385
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9,541
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 9,500

On the surface, the Victorian age is one of propriety, industry, prudishness and piety. But scratch the surface and you’ll find scandal, sadism, sex, madness, malice and murder. Presented by Stephen Fry, this series delves deep into a period of time we think we know, to discover an altogether darker reality. The stories we’re told offer a different perspective on an era which underwent massive social change. As education, trade, technology and culture blossomed, why was there an undercurrent of the ‘forbidden’ festering beneath Victorian society? 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Part history lesson, part audio documentary.

  • By brian on 11-01-18

Interesting but a bit overproduced

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

Reviewed: 11-04-18

Interesting take on less well known aspects of Victorian life. The writing skips around a bit more than necessary or helpful and they go way overboard on music and sound effects, as if they do not trust the material to stand on its own. It could, and would probably be better served with less add ons.

61 of 72 people found this review helpful

  • The Sun Also Rises

  • By: Ernest Hemingway
  • Narrated by: William Hurt
  • Length: 7 hrs and 46 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 3,418
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,828
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 2,828

The Sun Also Rises is one of Ernest Hemingway's masterpieces and a classic example of his spare but powerful style. A poignant look at the disillusionment and angst of the post-World War I generation, the story introduces two of Hemingway's most unforgettable characters: Jake Barnes and Lady Brett Ashley. Follow the flamboyant Brett and the hapless Jake as they journey from the wild nightlife of the 1920s Paris to the brutal bullfighting rings of Spain with a motley group of expatriates.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Disappointed with narration

  • By Mary Jo Ignoffo on 04-17-15

Poor audio quality and editing

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

Reviewed: 04-03-17

Whether it is the narrator or the audio engineering, it was sometimes hard to understand the words. Some of that is explained, perhaps, by most of the characters being drunk most of the time. The chapter headings were immediately clipped to the final word of the preceding chapter without even a tiny pause, a small but jarring fault.

The text is interesting for its literary techniques but the characters may not engage your empathy unless alcoholism is somehow compelling or revelatory. Self-involved, self-pitying, sometimes casually cruel people -- all made worse by a stunning amount of booze. Not Hemingway's best work.

  • The Mysteries of Udolpho

  • By: Ann Radcliffe
  • Narrated by: Karen Cass
  • Length: 30 hrs and 17 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 36
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 33
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 33

The virtuous and loving Emily, the young protagonist, finds herself in the care of her aunt following the death of her father. Her aunt promptly marries the villain Montoni, a cruel and calculating man whose scheming leads him to lock both women in the dark and winding castle of Udolpho. Will they survive to tell of its terrors?

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • WARNING! BAD ACCENT ALERT!

  • By Kerry Maxwell on 09-15-16

Dull, wordy, plodding

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

Reviewed: 09-20-16

Full disclosure -- I have only listened to about a third of the book so far, but I may never finish it. The first 7 hours or so have been dull and slow and swimming in elegant but pointless verbiage. This is a gasbag of a book. I actually burst out laughing at one point -- the word 'blather' came to mind. For the love of God, get on with it! What is this all about and why should I care?

On the plus side, if you enjoy florid descriptions of nature, this is the book for you. If you love descriptions of other people appreciating nature and rhapsodizing to each other about it at great length, you have found Nirvana. Aficionados of stilted dialog will also be gratified. Apparently the gothic part of the book is coming, and with it some signs of life, but I don't think I will be along for the ride.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Devils

  • By: Fyodor Dostoevsky
  • Narrated by: George Guidall
  • Length: 28 hrs and 3 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 229
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 213
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 213

Exiled to four years in Siberia, but hailed by the end of his life as a saint, prophet, and genius, Fyodor Dostoevsky holds an exalted place among the best of the great Russian authors. One of Dostoevsky’s five major novels, Devils follows the travails of a small provincial town beset by a band of modish radicals - and in so doing presents a devastating depiction of life and politics in late 19th-century Imperial Russia.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Excellent translation and narration

  • By Lawrence on 09-06-13

Difficult to follow and ultimately not worth it

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

Reviewed: 11-29-14

I felt pretty cocky when I cued up this book. With several Russian classics under my listening belt, I felt confident about my ability to handle the mystifying naming (patronymics, nicknames, titles), to tolerate snatches of untranslated French, and to go the distance with a lengthy text. Then it all fell apart. I repeatedly lost the thread, could not keep the characters and their backstories apart, or understand the historical, philosophical and political undertones. After a while, I really did not care. Although this is supposedly a political novel and various characters represent various movements or philosophies, the politics did not register, and the characters seem simply vicious or stupid.

Maybe it is all clearer to someone with a background in the history of the era or a strong background in political philosophy. It definitely does not feel universal in the way that it speaks strongly to the reader even if they have no background in the period and the issues.

Crime and Punishment gripped me from page 1. Brothers K was slower and more uneven, but still compelling. But I now think I understand why a modern bookstore offers many copies and translations of each of these books, while Devils has at most one or two.

3 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • The Blood of Heaven

  • By: Kent Wascom
  • Narrated by: Brian Holsopple
  • Length: 15 hrs and 32 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars 22
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars 17
  • Story
    2.5 out of 5 stars 18

The Blood of Heaven is the story of Angel Woolsack, a preacher’s son, who flees the hardscrabble life of his itinerant father, falls in with a charismatic highwayman, then settles with his adopted brothers on the rough frontier of West Florida, where American settlers are carving their place out of lands held by the Spaniards and the French.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Elegant prose but a brutal squalid yarn

  • By Grant on 11-29-14

Elegant prose but a brutal squalid yarn

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

Reviewed: 11-29-14

The prose style is lush -- perhaps overgrown to some tastes -- but the story is unrelentingly grim: squalid conditions, unsympathetic characters, lots of violence. You must be in the mood for a meditation on the darker sides of life to follow this one to the end. Solid narration.

  • Tyndale

  • The Man Who Gave God an English Voice
  • By: David Teems
  • Narrated by: Simon Vance
  • Length: 9 hrs and 47 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 99
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 93
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 88

The English Bible was born in defiance, in exile, in flight, and in a form of exodus, the very elements that empowered William Tyndale to bring the English scripture to the common citizen. Being “a stranger in a strange land,” the very homesickness he struggled with gave life to the words of Jesus, Paul, and to the wandering Moses. Tyndale’s efforts ultimately cost him his life, but his contribution to English spirituality is measureless. Even five centuries after his death at the stake, Tyndale’s presence looms wherever English is spoken.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Unsung Hero of the English Language

  • By Jen on 08-22-12

Fascinating subject, wonderful reading

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

Reviewed: 10-19-14

I don't remember what led me to select this title, but it turned out to be an unexpected gem, and I replay portions of the book often. The text tells the sparsely documented facts of Tyndale's extraordinary life, but also discusses his enormous and largely unsung impact on English language and literature and speculates about the psychology that drove the man. The author meanders a bit in his search for illuminating parallels -- Walt Whitman and Thomas Wolfe are drawn in at one point -- and that might alienate a listener or two or fail to convince, but that is a quibble. A great choice for people interested in language, history or spirituality. Oh, and the reading is lush and fabulous -- like caramel or hot buttered toast for the ears.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful