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Merlin

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  • Two on a Tower

  • By: Thomas Hardy
  • Narrated by: Michael Kitchen
  • Length: 9 hrs and 49 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 98
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 67
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 66

Two on a Tower is Hardy's ninth novel and contains perhaps his most complete use of the theme of love across the class and age divide, to beautifully depict Hardy's reverence for science and astronomy. The unhappily married Lady Constantine breaks all the rules of social etiquette when she falls in love with young Swithin St. Cleeve, an astronomer and her social inferior. Despite their differences that society deems unacceptable, together, from an astronomical observatory, the lovers 'sweep the heavens'.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Old fashined love story

  • By Kisha on 09-01-09

A long way below Hardys best

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

Reviewed: 02-19-19

I know all of Hardy's great novels well. This is the first of his "lesser" novels that I've listened to. Frankly, it was rather dull-definitely lesser. Neither the characters nor the plot are particularly interesting, and some elements in the story are rather preposterous. It's not in the same league as books like The Woodlanders or Tess.

  • The Return of the Native

  • By: Thomas Hardy
  • Narrated by: Nadia May
  • Length: 14 hrs and 6 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 51
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 21
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 20

Set in Egdon Heath, a wild tract of country in the southwest of England, this is a masterpiece of dramatic tension. Clym Yeobright, a diamond merchant in Paris, returns to his home in Egdon, where he falls passionately in love with the sensuous, free-spirited Eustacia Vye. She, while in a brief state of infatuation, marries him, hoping he will take her away to a more exciting life in Paris. But Eustacia's dreams of escape are not to be realized.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Are we all natives?

  • By erssmith on 04-15-17

One of Hardy's finest novels

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

Reviewed: 02-14-19

I studied this book 40 years ago in school. I remembered the basic story and the characters, but there was still great deal of detail and marvelous writing that I could enjoy as if for the first time. It's a great novel. The narrator is very good, but I do have one slight criticism: she makes the rustics sound more like working class Northerners than West Country folk. But this didn't bother me unduly.

  • Far from the Madding Crowd

  • By: Thomas Hardy
  • Narrated by: John Lee
  • Length: 13 hrs and 47 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 128
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 90
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 92

Gabriel Oak is only one of three suitors for the hand of the beautiful and spirited Bathsheba Everdene. He must compete with the dashing young soldier Sergeant Troy and the respectable, middle-aged Farmer Boldwood. And while their fates depend upon the choice Bathsheba makes, she discovers the terrible consequences of an inconstant heart.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Another Classic!

  • By 🇺🇸🌸DARA on 06-07-13

Hardy at his best

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

Reviewed: 02-05-19

Hardy's first truly great novel is less grim than some of his later works. Listening to this again, having read it many years ago, I was struck by how much humor is woven into the text: e.g. in the early exchanges between Bathsheba and Gabriel. The novel is beautifully plotted–always one of Hardy's strengths–and excellently read.

  • Hardy: The Mayor of Casterbridge

  • By: Thomas Hardy
  • Narrated by: Anton Lesser
  • Length: 12 hrs and 19 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 110
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 89
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 87

Michael Henchard, drunk at a country fair, sells his wife and baby daughter for five guineas. The following day, in despair and remorse, he forswears alcohol and sets out to redeem himself. In time, he becomes a respected merchant and eventually the mayor of the town. But Fate is not to be so easily appeased, and Henchard finds his past actions resonate through and destroy his plans for the future.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Superb

  • By Tad Davis on 12-17-10

Classic Hardy - a great novel

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

Reviewed: 01-27-19

I studied this novel in school 45 years ago. Although I remembered the basic story and some details, the novel and the writing is so rich that I could have been reading it for the first time. The story is excruciatingly tragic, and possibly Hardy could be criticized here, as in some of his other novels, for a certain amount of gratuitous sadness. Even so, it's one of the great novels of the 19th century. The narrator, Aton Lesser, is, as always, superb.

  • The Woodlanders

  • By: Thomas Hardy
  • Narrated by: Samuel West
  • Length: 14 hrs and 16 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 160
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 113
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 113

Set in the Dorset landscape familiar to Hardy novels, The Woodlanders concerns the fortunes of Giles Winterborne, whose love for the well-do-do Grace Melbury is challenged by the arrival of a dashing and dissolute doctor, Edred Fitzpiers. When the mysterious Mrs Charmond further complicates the romantic entanglements, marital choice and class mobility become inextricably linked.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Thomas Hardy lesser known work

  • By Molly Aultz on 06-12-08

One of the great novels of the 19th century

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

Reviewed: 01-21-19

This is one of Hardy's finest novels–which means it is very fine indeed. The narration by Samuel West is just perfect. His measured approach captures the pace of old country life and of Hardy's ruminations. There is so much to relish here: the descriptions of nature; the subtle psychology; the excellent cast of characters. One virtue of the book that I especially noticed (and I've read it twice before, a long time ago) was the excellent plotting.

  • Educated

  • A Memoir
  • By: Tara Westover
  • Narrated by: Julia Whelan
  • Length: 12 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 35,780
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 32,445
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 32,297

Tara Westover was 17 the first time she set foot in a classroom. Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, she prepared for the end of the world by stockpiling home-canned peaches. In the summer she stewed herbs for her mother, a midwife and healer, and in the winter she salvaged in her father's junkyard. Her father forbade hospitals, so Tara never saw a doctor or nurse. Gashes and concussions, even burns from explosions, were all treated at home with herbalism. Then, lacking any formal education, Tara began to educate herself. Her quest for knowledge transformed her.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Disturbing

  • By Brian Angevine on 05-30-18

Interesting, but rather drawn out

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

Reviewed: 01-14-19

This memoir offers a fascinating glimpse into a particular subculture–a rural Mormon family out West who distrust everything about the government, and buy into crazy conspiracy theories. They are both absurdly reckless about their own health and safety, and often abusive to the narrator. Sometimes it's hard not to be irritated by the author's apparent naiveté. The book would be better if was one third shorter.

  • Warlight

  • A Novel
  • By: Michael Ondaatje
  • Narrated by: Steve West
  • Length: 8 hrs and 36 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,039
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 956
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 955

In a narrative as beguiling and mysterious as memory itself - shadowed and luminous at once - we follow the story of 14-year-old Nathaniel, and his older sister, Rachel. In 1945, just after World War II, they stay behind in London when their parents move to Singapore, leaving them in the care of a mysterious figure named The Moth. They suspect he might be a criminal, and they grow both more convinced and less concerned as they come to know his eccentric crew of friends: men and women joined by a shared history of unspecified service during the war.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • BRILLIANT

  • By Linda on 06-03-18

Rather flat, without much emotional charge

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

Reviewed: 01-14-19

Ondaatje is obviously an accomplished writer. But this novel seemed strangely flat. The first part is set during WWII, the second part after the war. The mystery is why the narrator's parents have apparently abandoned him to the care of some rather odd characters. But it's not that big a mystery. For me, there was a strange lack of energy about the whole novel.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Gone Girl

  • A Novel
  • By: Gillian Flynn
  • Narrated by: Julia Whelan, Kirby Heyborne
  • Length: 19 hrs and 11 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 49,563
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 44,132
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 44,223

It is Nick and Amy Dunne's fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick's clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn't doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media - as well as Amy's fiercely doting parents - the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he's definitely bitter - but is he really a killer?

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Demented, twisted, sick and I loved it!

  • By Theodore on 01-20-13

Great fun. Very engaging

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

Reviewed: 01-14-19

This is an audio page-turner. Clever plot. Good characters. Decent writing. Sometimes a little coy, perhaps, because of the peculiar demands of the plot.

  • The Overstory

  • By: Richard Powers
  • Narrated by: Suzanne Toren
  • Length: 22 hrs and 58 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 871
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 796
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 797

The Overstory unfolds in concentric rings of interlocking fable that range from antebellum New York to the late 20th-century Timber Wars of the Pacific Northwest and beyond. An air force loadmaster in the Vietnam War is shot out of the sky, then saved by falling into a banyan. An artist inherits 100 years of photographic portraits, all of the same doomed American chestnut. A hard-partying undergraduate in the late 1980s electrocutes herself, dies, and is sent back into life by creatures of air and light. A hearing- and speech-impaired scientist discovers that trees are communicating with one another.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Astonishingly powerful writing.

  • By Alexandria on 04-18-18

Powerful, ambitious, intelligent

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

Reviewed: 01-14-19

This is an impressive novel. I wasn't all that keen on the first quarter of it. Here you get several parallel narratives, some of them moving quickly over a couple of generations. A lot of characters that you've just got to know gt killed off. But eventually the novel settles down and the parallel stories come together. The unifying theme is trees. The author lays some of the science and philosophy of trees on a bit thick at times. But the intelligence behind the writing is formidable. The writing is excellent. Powers has wonderful descriptive powers. The narrator is excellent.

  • There There

  • A Novel
  • By: Tommy Orange
  • Narrated by: Darrell Dennis, Shaun Taylor-Corbett, Alma Ceurvo, and others
  • Length: 8 hrs
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,993
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,801
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,787

Jacquie Red Feather is newly sober and trying to make it back to the family she left behind in shame. Dene Oxendene is pulling his life back together after his uncle's death and has come to work at the powwow to honor his uncle's memory. Opal Viola Victoria Bear Shield has come to watch her nephew Orvil, who has taught himself traditional Indian dance through YouTube videos and will perform in public for the very first time. There will be glorious communion and a spectacle of sacred tradition and pageantry. And there will be sacrifice, and heroism, and loss.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Highly recommend.

  • By Rachel Subido on 07-09-18

Interesting, but flawed as a novel

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

Reviewed: 01-14-19

I found the portrait of Native American life and culture around Oakland interesting since I don't know much about this. The presentation of the the sorts of problems the characters face is sobering. At the same time, I had several criticisms of the novel
1. The parallel narratives weren't all that well integrated. I didn't feel the author had complete control of his material in this respect.
2. Some of the writing was decidedly pedestrian. Perhaps the endless repetition of "___ says" in the dialogues was deliberate. But it certainly became tiresome.
3. The dramatic ending was poorly written. I found it quite confusing as to just what was happening and why.
4. Without giving too much sway, in this novel some people get shot. Every time, instead of feeling pain, or cursing, or feeling afraid, they invariably go into a sort o tranquil trance. I found this implausible.
3. The representation of these lives and the culture they belong to was unrelievedly grim. There seemed to be very little joy or humor. There seem to be a higher than average number of alcoholics, drug addicts, petty criminals, abusive fathers, neglectful mothers, etc.. I suspect that if the book had been written by someone who was not Native American it would have been criticized heavily for negative stereotyping.