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Honora

Washington, DC
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  • 13
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  • 28
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  • Renaissance Woman

  • The Life of Vittoria Colonna
  • By: Ramie Targoff
  • Narrated by: Justine Eyre
  • Length: 10 hrs and 42 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 3
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars 1
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1

Ramie Targoff's Renaissance Woman tells of the most remarkable woman of the Italian Renaissance: Vittoria Colonna, Marchesa of Pescara. Vittoria has long been celebrated by scholars of Michelangelo as the artist's best friend - the two of them exchanged beautiful letters, poems, and works of art that bear witness to their intimacy - but she also had close ties to Charles V, Pope Clement VII and Pope Paul III, Pietro Bembo, Baldassare Castiglione, Pietro Aretino, Queen Marguerite de Navarre, Reginald Pole, and Isabella d'Este, among others.

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • Couldn’t listen to the book due to narrator

  • By Honora on 09-10-18

Couldn’t listen to the book due to narrator

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

Reviewed: 09-10-18

Ms Eyre cannot read a sentence without sounding distressed, plaintive, or overwrought. She sounds like Gidget writing in her diary. Bizarre treatment of the material. This is not a dramatic, interpretative reading opportunity. Can’t stand her vocal fries and making one syllable words two syllables with a little cry. Such annoying.vocal tics - “ri-ver-uh”
And odd word emphasis as if she has no understanding of the sentence. Too much emoting.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • The Jewels of Paradise

  • By: Donna Leon
  • Narrated by: Cassandra Campbell
  • Length: 8 hrs and 50 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 116
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 100
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars 98

Caterina Pellegrini is a native Venetian, and like so many of them, she’s had to leave home to pursue her career elsewhere, mostly abroad. With a doctorate in baroque opera from Vienna, she lands in Birmingham, England, as a research fellow and assistant professor. Birmingham, however, is no Venice, so when she gets word of a position back home, Caterina jumps at the opportunity. The job is an unusual one.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • A "mystery" of a different sort, . .

  • By Ruth on 10-14-12

A long road to a hasty ending

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

Reviewed: 07-04-18

I know it's a mystery novel but this for me had too many red herrings, too many tangential plots and was not a credible story at all. One irritation was the main character who is supposed to be an academic researcher yet she draws a completely ridiculous conclusion from the "lack of response" to a letter written more than 200 years ago. She presumes that there was no reply because one isn't found in the trunk. What? Neither good detective work nor sound research. She also wonders if the composer she is researching "would have been honored to know me"? Not likely. How egocentric! After meandering down one rabbit hole after another, Leon seems to have been as bored with her story as this reader, as uncertain as to how she is going to bring this all together and suddenly within a few pages concludes with a completely implausible, silly,Da Vinci code ending.

Also, the narrator used a bizarre, gratingly fake "Italian" accent. This affectation along with that of making one syllable works into two - I bailed out of the audio book and switched to reading the hard copy.

  • The Mysterious Etruscans

  • By: Steven L. Tuck, The Great Courses
  • Narrated by: Steven L. Tuck
  • Length: 12 hrs and 42 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 255
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 224
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 225

How much do you know about the Etruscans? Many people, even those who are fascinated by ancient history, are less familiar with this intriguing culture than with the history of Greece and Rome - but the story of the Etruscans is equally captivating and far more important than you may have known. This ancient civilization prospered in the region of modern-day Tuscany, maintaining extensive trade networks, building impressive fortified cities, making exquisite art, and creating a culture that, while deeply connected to the Greeks and Romans, had striking contrasts.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Does What it Can with Limited Material

  • By Christopher on 02-22-16

Didn't get very far in this.

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

Reviewed: 07-10-17

What was most disappointing about The Great Courses’s story?

I was really looking forward to this course. I've always been fascinated by the Etruscans and have been to many cities founded by them. First, Tuck lost me when he said Florence was an Etruscan city. It is not. Fiesole is but not Florence.
Then the speaking style of the Professor is grating, his info. irritatingly personal and irrelevant. I guess he's trying to be funny but if I were grading a student paper with this content I would say "Weak beginning. Your reader doesn't care how many folksy people you asked about the Etruscans. Get to the content without boring or patronizing your audience." I can't imagine anyone who doesn't know anything about the Etruscans listening to this course. What is the point of telling the listener how many people at the grocery didn't know who the Etruscans were?

How could the performance have been better?

Some actual content that was organized and presumed a modicum of intelligence on the part of the listener.

Any additional comments?

I am sorry to be so blunt but this was a real disappointment. It seems GC is going for a more folksy, chatty, personal style that seems so inappropriate and grating. As if actual content must be introduced slowly or listeners will be too intimidated by ideas.

One the other hand, I loved Elizabeth Vandiver's The Aeneid. Content rich. Fast moving. Wish GC had more like it but unfortunately, this newer, folksy, chatty, beginnings and strange interludes seem forced which makes me suspect it is a new direction the company is imposing on instructors. Anti-intellectualism comes to GC.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Catherine De Medici

  • By: Leonie Frieda
  • Narrated by: Anna Massey
  • Length: 6 hrs and 39 mins
  • Abridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 137
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 102
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 104

Leonie Frieda has returned to original sources and re-read the thousands of letters left by Catherine de Medici. There has not been a biography in English of Catherine for many years, and she believes that the time has come to show her as one of the most influential women in 16th-century Europe.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • An outstanding performance of an excellent book

  • By Zaubermond on 05-24-11

Didn't realize it was abridged. Love Anne Massey.

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

Reviewed: 06-22-17

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

Yes but I would have preferred the unabridged version which I ended up reading.

Which character – as performed by Anna Massey – was your favorite?

Anne Massey is a great narrator all around.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Analysis and Critique: How to Engage and Write about Anything

  • By: Dorsey Armstrong, The Great Courses
  • Narrated by: Dorsey Armstrong
  • Length: 12 hrs and 4 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 679
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 574
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 567

Tap into the power of effective writing by developing the fundamental critical and analytical skills that transform your writing from "good" to "great." Regardless of your subject, goal, or occasion, these skills will help you organize your thoughts into a coherent piece, make a persuasive argument rooted in facts, and make responsible use of research materials.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • None of my professors has ever been this helpful!

  • By R. Hays on 03-01-15

Wish she would take her own advice

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

Reviewed: 06-21-17

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

Prof Armstrong's examples of her points are very weak and isolated. Jonathan Swift's A Model Proposal over the course of three lectures? Why not use contemporary examples as well? It as if Swift and Thoreau are the only persuasive writers of any era. Prof. Armstrong also - and rightfully - says the writer must draw the link between evidence presented to how it supports the argument, yet so often she reads a passage and does not explain how it supports her point. "See?" Finally, lecture 8 is completely self indulgent and ironic. She has made the point that one should be succinct and not flood the reader with personal examples and extraneous details. Then we have to listen to her tedious, redundant, over-explicated, 17 examples of every remark, riff on coffee with interjections about her being from Seattle, loving coffee...for nearly a THIRD of the lecture! Yes, I get the point but the whole 10 minutes could have been edited to one. "Me and my grande skinny vanilla latte. See, I've got the terminology down." Welcome to the '80's.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Analysis and Critique: How to Engage and Write about Anything?

See above. Not at all succinct and she does not use enough relevant examples. She just rattles on saying the same thing over and over again. Rather than saying what not to do - as in her endless, pointless monologue on her coffee she could have used examples whichillustrated her point rather than mocking commercials or telling the listener bad (and seemingly only tangentially related) examples. Oddly enough, she seems unable to develop her points effectively. She just tells, not shows.

Any additional comments?

The series would have been so much more effective if she did more showing and far less telling, especially when it seems she keeps make statements and reiterating them. Too much Paine, Thoreau, Swift - using the same quotes without effective amplification. Just talking. I do know that she likes to talk about coffee. I got that. It felt as if she had 4 hours of material and needed to stretch it to 24 lectures. The four hours of useful material got lost in the redundant, but not amplifying, filler. It also felt hastily put together. The lack of varied examples. The reliance on the very particular examples of Paine, Thoreau & Swift. It would have been far more effective if she could have looked a little more broadly. Listening, it would seem that "in the 18th and 19th Centuries" should have been added to the course title. But even then, too narrow.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful