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Gretchen SLP

Sacramento, California
  • 298
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  • 304
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  • Sense and Sensibility

  • By: Jane Austen
  • Narrated by: Rosamund Pike
  • Length: 11 hrs and 25 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 500
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 461
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 460

In this Audible Exclusive production, Academy Award® nominee Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl) narrates one of Jane Austen’s most beloved works, Sense and Sensibility. In this timeless tale of misguided romance and heartbreak, two teenage heroines must overcome the pitfalls of Georgian England’s high society in order to achieve the love and happiness they seek. The admiration that Pike has for Austen’s work is shown clearly through this passionate delivery of Austen’s first published novel.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A lovely listen, Jane + Rosamund = Perfection

  • By Amazon Customer on 08-21-18

Stellar Performance Elevates Austen’s Work

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

Reviewed: 10-09-18

I almost didn’t purchase this book, because, despite being a diehard Austen fan, I’ve never liked Sense and Sensibility very much. But Rosamund Pike is a FANTASTIC narrator, and brings out all the humor and delights that even the most careful reader might otherwise miss. This is a must-hear, even better than her incredible performance of Pride and Prejudice. If she narrates Emma, Persuasion, and Mansfield Park, I will eagerly buy them all. Grade: A+

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Emma

  • An Audible Original Drama
  • By: Jane Austen, Anna Lea - adaptation
  • Narrated by: Emma Thompson, Joanne Froggatt, Isabella Inchbald, and others
  • Length: 8 hrs and 21 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,262
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,779
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,738

This Audible Original production of Jane Austen’s Emma is narrated by Emma Thompson (Academy Award, Golden Globe, Emmy and BAFTA winner, Love Actually, Harry Potter, Sense and Sensibility), with a full supporting cast including Joanne Froggatt (Downton Abbey, Liar), Morgana Robinson (The Windsors, Walliams & Friend, Morgana Robinson's the Agency), Aisling Loftus (Mr Selfridge, War & Peace), Joseph Millson (Casino Royale, The Sarah Jane Adventures), Alexa Davies (Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again) and rising star Isabella Inchbald as our eponymous heroine.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • ticking sound in background annoying

  • By mary on 09-09-18

Disappointing Dramatization 🎭

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

Reviewed: 09-30-18

This was actually one of the most unpleasant surprises I’ve had in listening to an Audible production. While unlike some other reviewers I was not overly distracted by the sound effects (which seemed typical of a radio play), I couldn’t help but notice almost instantly that this is a substandard adaptation of a beloved classic due to its subpar script, narration, acting and direction. Fellow reviewer Nerico922 hits the nail on the head when she observes that, shocking as this is to admit, and contrary to all expectations, even the normally brilliant Emma Thompson (whom one would expect to have a thorough understanding of Austen’s tone) turns in an abysmal performance as narrator. She over-emotes and overexaggerates most of her lines, while simultaneously sapping most of the humor and liveliness from the text. The script and the direction may be partially (but cannot be entirely) to blame. Almost ALL other actors are also disastrously miscast; Mr. Elton speaks so slowly, pompously and stupidly that it’s not credible that anyone would ever have sought him out as an eligible bachelor. His performance (which is almost indistinguishable from that of Mr. Woodhouse or that of Mr. John Knightley) strips all humor from the text. The carriage surprise proposal scene, which ought to be hilarious, is just painful to listen to. Mrs. Elton likewise speaks too slowly and seriously and is completely unfunny. Emma is just okay. Jane Fairfax sounds too young, and almost indistinguishable from several other female characters (e.g., Mrs. Weston, who also sounds too young). Mr. Knightley lacks all maturity and emotion. Harriet Churchill, unbelievably, speaks too intelligently and rationally. Frank Churchill comes closest to being appropriately cast.

Still, it’s Austen, and I know and love the story well, so I finished the whole thing. Though it wasn’t so dreadful that I would return it, I’m not sure I’ll listen again. I recommend purchasing the undramatized version narrated by Juliet Stevenson instead of this one.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows

  • A Novel
  • By: Balli Kaur Jaswal
  • Narrated by: Meera Syal
  • Length: 10 hrs and 34 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,133
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,964
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,954

Nikki lives in cosmopolitan West London, where she tends bar at the local pub. The daughter of Indian immigrants, she's spent most of her 20-odd years distancing herself from the traditional Sikh community of her childhood, preferring a more independent (that is, Western) life. When her father's death leaves the family financially strapped, Nikki, a law school dropout, impulsively takes a job teaching a "creative writing" course at the community center in the beating heart of London's close-knit Punjabi community.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A Story about Stories

  • By kurdis teed on 04-02-18

A Good Read

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

Reviewed: 09-20-18

This was a fun read, and I’m glad I noticed it and picked it up. I would recommend it to anyone looking for an entertaining book without anything dense, heavy or demanding. This isn’t great literature, but it’s educational as well as enjoyable. I learned a lot about Punjabi culture and the Sikh religion, which was an unexpected benefit. I also loved the mystery central to one of the storylines, about the unexplained deaths of three young women in the Sikh community, one of them in particular very close to two of the characters. I am a sucker for a suspenseful page-turner. The one thing that didn’t ring fully true to me was the hyperfocus on sex among the widows. Being middle-aged myself, and having had a lot of female friends who are middle-aged, postmenopausal or senior, it didn’t seem likely that sex would be ALL these women thought about and all they wanted to talk about or write about. For one thing, many of these women had been married off by their families as prepubescent children, some as young as ten years old, to much older men they didn’t know, much less love, so their earliest sexual encounters had been essentially horribly traumatic rapes. It hasn’t been my experience that survivors of childhood sexual abuse have the kind of gleeful, giggling, girlish obsession with sexual passion and sensual delights that these characters demonstrate. Also: Was there really nothing more these women would have been dying to say, once they were in a protected environment where it was safe to relate their feelings about their lives, their pasts, their families, their community, and their hopes and dreams? I thought it would have been a more realistic novel, as well as a more rich and enlightening novel, if there had been.

Grade: B or B+
Bechdel Test: Pass.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • An Evening with Dick Cavett at the 92nd Street Y

  • By: Dick Cavett
  • Narrated by: Eddy Friedfeld
  • Length: 1 hr and 59 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 35
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 29
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 29

When Dick Cavett became a talk show host in 1969, his keen intellect and unique wit infused the format with a new style. Cavett offered a forum for controversial opinions and issues ranging from women's liberation to Vietnam. The Dick Cavett Show also became a late-night home for top rock bands and such comedy legends as Groucho Marx, Jack Benny, George Burns, Bob Hope, Sid Caesar, and Lucille Ball.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Entertaining but a little disjointed

  • By Gretchen SLP on 09-19-18

Entertaining but a little disjointed

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

Reviewed: 09-19-18

Hmm. It’s hard to rate this one. I enjoyed it, but anyone not already a fan of Cavett and/or the 92nd Street Y series may find it too crazily disjointed to follow. I liked the clips of Cavett’s standup comedy act and of some of his best interviews with actors, musicians and other celebrities. I didn’t like the way an overly relaxed and apparently now somewhat forgetful Cavett often starts a story, realizes he’s left an important detail out of the setup, backtracks to a previous part of the story or slightly different topic, and ends up eventually recalling the punchline to the original story only way later (when he’s in the middle of a different anecdote), if at all.

Still, Cavett is funny and interesting (and still hilariously haughty, as when he busts the interviewer for pronouncing primer, as in a beginner book, with a long i, explaining that “primmer” means an early reader, while “PRY-mer” is paint). I did enjoy the interview and will likely listen again.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Brief Encounters

  • Conversations, Magic Moments, and Assorted Hijinks
  • By: Dick Cavett
  • Narrated by: Dick Cavett
  • Length: 8 hrs and 9 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 185
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 173
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 172

Dick Cavett is back, sharing his reflections and reminiscences about Hollywood legends, American cultural icons, and the absurdities of everyday life. In Brief Encounters, the legendary talk show host Dick Cavett introduces us to the fascinating characters who have crossed his path, from James Gandolfini and John Lennon to Mel Brooks and Nora Ephron, enhancing our appreciation of their talent, their personalities, and their places in the pantheon.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Thoroughly Enjoyable

  • By Gretchen SLP on 09-12-18

Thoroughly Enjoyable

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

Reviewed: 09-12-18

Though I grew up thinking of Dick Cavett as an insufferably pompous, self-aggrandizing bore, and though that opinion was later confirmed (in spades) when I listened to his appalling 92nd Street Y interview with Martin Short, listening to Talk Show and now Brief Encounters has made me an improbable, late-in-life Cavett fan. I am really going to miss his voice and his (sometimes myopic, but always interesting) opinions and his (almost always very interesting) stories. If he still writes a column in the Times, I’d love to hear/read his columns from and about our current lamentable political era. I found this book (which, like Talk Show, is a compilation of his NYT columns) to be as good as Talk Show, and sometimes better. His final stories, about dealing with alcoholic friends and colleagues and about nightmares, were my favorites, and the very last anecdote, about the time he (nightmarishly) found himself lost in rural China with no language skills, no guide, and no means of rejoining his wife on their riverboat cruise, was unforgettable. I’m still thinking about it and describing the incident to skeptical friends and family. I now dearly wish that his first book, Cavett, was available on Audible.

Grade: A-

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Bad Dreams and Other Stories

  • By: Tessa Hadley
  • Narrated by: Emma Gregory
  • Length: 5 hrs and 50 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 34
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 33
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 32

Two sisters quarrel over an inheritance and a new baby; a child awake in the night explores the familiar rooms of her home, made strange by the darkness; a housekeeper caring for a helpless old man uncovers secrets from his past. The first steps into a turning point and a new life are made so easily and carelessly: Each of these stories illuminates a crucial moment of transition, often imperceptible to the protagonist.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Small Objects, Big Insights

  • By Cariola on 07-15-17

An Abduction and Flight will stay with me 📖 📚

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

Reviewed: 09-11-18

I usually cannot stay interested in a book of short stories, but this book is an exception. Tessa Hadley is a true master of the form, and each story is so completely absorbing and so surprising (Hadley never takes the plot in the direction the reader expects) that you’ll be eager for the next one immediately after finishing the last. I especially enjoyed the first story, An Abduction, and one of the last stories, Flight, both of which, like the best short stories of F. Scott Fitzgerald or Shirley Jackson or Flannery O’Connor, will stay with me. The narrator is good, but I also enjoyed reading the Kindle print version, which helped me catch details I missed on first listening.

Grade: A+
Bechdel test: Pass.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The X-Files: Stolen Lives

  • By: Joe Harris, Chris Carter, Dirk Maggs - adaptation
  • Narrated by: David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson, Mitch Pileggi, and others
  • Length: 3 hrs and 42 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,708
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,575
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,576

Out of the ashes of the Syndicate, a new, more powerful threat has emerged. Resurrected members of this fallen group - now shadows of their former selves - seemingly bend to the will of someone, or something, with unmatched abilities and an unknown purpose. As those believed to be enemies become unlikely allies and trusted friends turn into terrifying foes, FBI agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully become unknowing participants in a deadly game of deception and retribution.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • As much as the show

  • By S. Reese on 11-02-17

Still fun

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

Reviewed: 08-21-18

I admit that this is just cheesy, campy fluff, but it’s fun. Sometimes it’s nice to have something playing that you don’t have to listen carefully to, really care about, or think about too much. Look no further than this series. Although I didn’t like this as well as the last one due to a more disjointed and difficult to follow story, it was still fun, with occasional laugh-out-loud moments. Love that the original players are back, playing their original characters. I’ll probably get the next installment in the series whenever it’s available.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Talk Show

  • By: Dick Cavett
  • Narrated by: Dick Cavett
  • Length: 9 hrs
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 233
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 181
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 179

For years, Dick Cavett played host to the nation’s most famous personalities on his late-night talk show. In this humorous and evocative book, we get to hear Cavett's best tales, as he recounts great moments with the legendary entertainers who crossed his path and offers his own trenchant commentary on contemporary American culture and politics.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Pretend he's not being pretentious, & you'll enjoy

  • By Janet on 05-12-11

Worth It Despite Author’s Haughty Pretentiousness

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

Reviewed: 08-13-18

Like previous reviewers Janet and Anthony, I’ve had an instinctive aversion to Dick Cavett ever since childhood due to what (even to my youthful, inexperienced eye) appeared to be his incredibly inflated ego and pompous, name-dropping, wittier-than-thou style. That didn’t prevent this from being at least a four-star listen for me, however, because so many of the tales (of Cavett’s own experiences, many with authors, actors, musicians and other celebrities) are so interesting. I actually bought the Kindle version of the book too, just so I could keep reading even when listening would have been inconvenient. But listening was its own pleasure because Cavett has great comic timing and reads so smoothly it’s as if he’s just ad-libbing. This could almost have been a five-star listen across the board, except for a few unfortunate facts:

1.) This is a compilation of Cavett’s NYT columns from about 2007-2011; it’s not a new work.

2.) As other reviewers have noted, inclusion of columns related to a particular political campaign dramatically shorten the shelf-life of a book. No one still cares about (even if they still dimly remember) any particular speech delivered by John McCain or Sarah Palin, or by Hillary Clinton when she was running against Obama for the Democratic nomination. All of the political columns and columns relating to one specific, relatively minor current event should have been omitted from this collection. Ditto the column that is solely devoted to raving about how The Sopranos represents the zenith of television and how Cavett feels sorry for anyone who doesn’t recognize this.

3.) If you’re going to be an overt grammar snob, at least bother to be correct! I noticed at least one instance of misuse of the word “incidence” to mean incident or instance, as in “there were several incidences” of something, and occasional other errors of grammar, syntax and usage. Even as an English teacher married to an English professor, I wouldn’t normally care, but... Mr. Cavett, if you’re going to throw stones, maybe move out of your glass house first.

4.) Cavett often uses the most roundabout, wordy-for-the-sake-of-being-wordy language possible when the sentence would have been 10x clearer, simpler and more effective if written in straightforward prose. For example, a heart attack becomes, in Cavettspeak, “acute discomfort in the cardiac region.” (This from a man who faults physicians for “euphemizing” cancer as CA, clearly unaware that this is just medical shorthand like any other, eg HTN/hypertension, ABO/antibiotic, Pt/patient, or PNA/pneumonia.) A typical example of a Cavett sentence run amok: Instead of just saying “Younger readers may need to Google Walter Winchell to understand this story,” Cavett writes, “Readers who’ve achieved a number of years toward the minimal end of the age scale might feel the need of a dose of Wikipedia upon hearing the moniker Walter Winchell.”

Verdict: A-

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves

  • By: Karen Joy Fowler
  • Narrated by: Orlagh Cassidy
  • Length: 8 hrs and 57 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,443
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 1,302
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,304

Meet the Cooke family: Mother and Dad, brother Lowell, sister Fern, and our narrator, Rosemary, who begins her story in the middle. She has her reasons. "I spent the first eighteen years of my life defined by this one fact: that I was raised with a chimpanzee," she tells us. "It's never going to be the first thing I share with someone. I tell you Fern was a chimp and already you aren't thinking of her as my sister. But until Fern's expulsion, I'd scarcely known a moment alone. She was my twin, my funhouse mirror, my whirlwind other half, and I loved her as a sister."

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • This was totally worth the credit.

  • By Amber on 10-04-13

Best for YA Readers 🐒 🐒🐵🐵🐱🐀🐀🦍

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

Reviewed: 08-10-18

I really, really liked this book at the start, and predicted I would love it. By halfway through the book, I liked it okay. By the final chapters, I was speed-reading only so I could say I finished (it was our book club selection). The incompletely drawn characters never fully came to life; the story was simplistic and disjointed (many, many chapters in the middle had no point, and could have easily been omitted); the writing style was a strange combination of immature and didactic (verging on preachy); and there were no twists after the predictable reveals concerning the fates of the protagonist’s brother and (alleged) sister. Also, books focusing almost exclusively on the main character’s childhood and young adulthood are almost NEVER done so well that they are interesting to adults. This book is no Advenures of Huckleberry Finn or To Kill A Mockingbird, and this author is light-years away from being another Mark Twain or Harper Lee. All in all, I can say that teenagers and young adults might love it, but I wouldn’t recommend it for serious adult readers, unless you have a special interest in animal rights issues or just need a light, mildly amusing read.

Grade: C+
Bechdel test: Pass

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • You Think It, I'll Say It

  • Stories
  • By: Curtis Sittenfeld
  • Narrated by: Emily Rankin, Mark Deakins
  • Length: 7 hrs and 5 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 452
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 394
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 395

Throughout the 10 stories in You Think It, I'll Say It, Sittenfeld upends assumptions about class, relationships, and gender roles in a nation that feels both adrift and viscerally divided. With moving insight and uncanny precision, Curtis Sittenfeld pinpoints the questionable decisions, missed connections, and sometimes extraordinary coincidences that make up a life. Indeed, she writes what we're all thinking - if only we could express it with the wit of a master satirist, the storytelling gifts of an old-fashioned raconteur, and the vision of an American original.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Like Potato Chips, You Can’t Read Just One

  • By Gretchen SLP on 08-04-18

Like Potato Chips, You Can’t Read Just One

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

Reviewed: 08-04-18

I usually dislike and avoid short stories, so this book (which I happened upon only thanks to Reese Witherspoon’s book club) came as a total surprise. This was literally the first book of short stories I have found to be addictive and a true page-turner. I finished it only days after starting it, and felt compelled to buy the Kindle version also, just to increase my opportunities to read it. In themes, tone and content, it comes closest to Sam the Cat, by Matthew Klam (who, I noticed, the author thanks in the Acknowledgments section at the end of the book). In fact, the review title I kept imagining while reading/listening was The Thinking Woman’s Sam the Cat. The stories written from the point of view of a man are just as good as those with female protagonists, however, and the first story is by no means the best; these stories get better as they go along. My favorites were two near the very end: The Prairie Wife and Do-Over. I disagree with the reviewer who said that these characters are all loathesome, damaged, unlikeable people. I found them to be extremely varied, like human beings generally; ALL types of people are represented here, and many of the stories are uplifting, laugh-out-loud funny, or both. The fact that some stories explicitly take place during the Trump era was an unexpected bonus for me,

Grade: A. Bechdel test: Pass.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful