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Turangalila

Long Island, NY, USA
  • 6
  • reviews
  • 10
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  • 45
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  • Rumpole and the Angel of Death

  • By: Sir John Mortimer
  • Narrated by: Bill Wallis
  • Length: 10 hrs and 8 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 35
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 35
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 33

In this collection of Rumpole stories the comic, courageous, and corpulent 'great defender of muddled and sinful humanity' is joined by a winning cast of villains and victims in tales whose wry humour and sparkling wit deftly send up the legal system. In Rumpole and the Angel of Death our hero achieves resounding triumphs over the forces of prejudice and mean-mindedness. Rumpole and the Way through the Woods involves Rumpole in the world of hunters and the hunted, animal rights and human wrongs.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Rumpole at his best

  • By Mary on 10-05-13

A little darker Rumpole

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

Reviewed: 11-30-16

Another excellent collection featuring the wonderful characterizations of Bill Wallis. The stories have a somewhat darker caste than some earlier collections. Rumpole, never one with a rosy view of humanity, is faced with such issues as kidnap, terrorism, Alzheimer's, and euthanasia.
The highlight (and one of Mortimer's all-time bests) is surely "Hilda's Story", where She Who Must Be Obeyed emerges in her own words to show herself every bit her husband's equal, both in shrewdness and in curmudgeonly charm.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Rumpole on Trial

  • By: John Mortimer
  • Narrated by: Timothy West
  • Length: 8 hrs and 4 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 75
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 62
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 60

In this work Horace Rumpole returns to delight us with seven new cases. We find our hero jousting with the Devil, being wooed by a beautiful violin player, and even up before the Disciplinary Tribunal of the Bar Council.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Rumpole on Trial

  • By David Share on 12-17-10

Some of the best stories

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

Reviewed: 11-29-16

Timothy West does excellently, though I wish Bill Wallis's incomparable characterization was available for all the Rumpole books. If the half-dozen I've tried, though, this is probably the strongest set of stories. Funny and full of Mortimer's keen (if jaundiced) observation of humans and their foibles.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Farewell My Lovely

  • By: Raymond Chandler
  • Narrated by: Ray Porter
  • Length: 7 hrs and 47 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,563
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,438
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,436

Eight years ago Moose Malloy and cute little redhead Velma were getting married - until someone framed Malloy for armed robbery. Now his stretch is up and he wants Velma back. PI Philip Marlow meets Malloy one hot day in Hollywood and, out of the generosity of his jaded heart, agrees to help him. Dragged from one smoky bar to another, Marlowe's search for Velma turns up plenty of dangerous gangsters with a nasty habit of shooting first and talking later.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A Fond Farewell

  • By Ian C Robertson on 10-21-15

Virtuosity and racism

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

Reviewed: 10-02-15

First of all, there is certainly plenty of casual racism here. It's not particularly vicious, and Chandler's view of all the various non-whites he portrays seems no more jaded then his view of people in general. But the language he and his characters use is still pretty offensive to our ears.

His language is also often stunningly beautiful. The man could flat write, and sometimes he seems to be just showing off, reveling in his own virtuosity. And why not?

Ray Porter handles the purple prose clearly and with good pace, and he brings the right amount of world weariness to Philip Marlowe, without overdoing it. The story keeps you guessing without being earth shattering, and the characters are stock enough at first glance, but each has enough of a third dimension to bring this book several cuts above the simple genre piece it first seems.

The star of the show, however, is Chandler and his gorgeous writing, which will leave you never looking at a bug in an office building quite the same way again.

  • A Short History of Nearly Everything

  • By: Bill Bryson
  • Narrated by: Richard Matthews
  • Length: 18 hrs and 13 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 18,369
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 13,097
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 13,051

Bill Bryson has been an enormously popular author both for his travel books and for his books on the English language. Now, this beloved comic genius turns his attention to science. Although he doesn't know anything about the subject (at first), he is eager to learn, and takes information that he gets from the world's leading experts and explains it to us in a way that makes it exciting and relevant.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Fascinating; Perfect for Adult ADHD

  • By Sean on 05-13-04

Breezy and Brillant

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

Reviewed: 07-13-13

How did we get here? Where is here exactly? And for that matter what are we? Bill Bryson takes up these questions and leads us on a tour of science and the history of science – from particle physics to astronomy and cosmology, through chemistry, geology, biology and much else besides. He is so endlessly engaging and entertaining that it's easy to overlook how much one is learning amid all the compelling human stories of scientists famous and unknown, professionals and amateurs, but all brilliant and endearingly (or infuriatingly) quirky and weird.

Richard Matthews, posh English accent aside, does wonderful work in capturing Bryson's breezy, conversational tone, even in exploring the densest thickets of atomic structure, rock chemistry, ocean salinity, etc etc etc.

The themes that emerge through all of this are just how little we still know, and above all just how accidental, fragile, and tenuous life (especially human life) is, and how much our ignorance and carelessness as a species threaten our very existence. Bryson enumerates the many threats we can't control – volcanoes, earthquakes, meteors – while eloquently appealing for us to come to terms with those we can.

  • The Power Broker

  • Robert Moses and the Fall of New York
  • By: Robert A. Caro
  • Narrated by: Robertson Dean
  • Length: 66 hrs and 9 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,892
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 1,692
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 1,703

Everywhere acknowledged as a modern American classic, winner of the Pulitzer Prize, and chosen by the Modern Library as one of the hundred greatest books of the 20th century, The Power Broker is a galvanizing biography revealing not only the saga of one man's incredible accumulation of power, but the story of the shaping (and mis-shaping) of New York in the 20th century.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A spectacular history of New York City

  • By Paul on 01-01-13

Every LI'er (NY'er/American) should know this book

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

Reviewed: 07-13-13

I was born on Long Island in the year after Nelson Rockefeller finally brought to an end Robert Moses' decades of almost unfathomable power. I grew up in the landscape and society he did so much to create: amid his roads and his parks, and the suburban sprawl and ennui they made possible (indeed inevitable). My forbears were the poor Irish who came over to work for the rich Barons whom he fought, defeated, and later allied with. My family's upward mobility was won largely through the construction trades that his projects bankrolled and shaped. Hecksher State Park, Jones Beach, the Southern State Parkway, the Long Island Expressway, the Long Island Railroad that he nearly killed – these shaped my youth; they helped shape me, and millions of others of my generation and our successors.

I never quite understood how and why my society came to be this way until I finally tackled Caro's masterful biography cum history. I'd tried and failed before to read it, but it wasn't until I tried this wonderful audio version that I was able to absorb the whole of it. Robertson Dean's reading is a bit deliberate at times – I was grateful for Audible's Narration Speed feature, and listened to much of it at 1.25 times normal – but he does wonderful work in navigating Caro's sometimes dense prose, especially in the long exegeses of urban planning, legal niceties, economics, natural history, engineering, and on and on, which are crucial to understanding Moses' methods and impact.

Not that Caro neglects the human element. Indeed, the character portraits of figures like Fiorello LaGuardia, Joseph Papp, the dogged reporters who did so much to cut Moses' image down to size in the '50s and '60s, and especially of the criminally neglected Al Smith, are each worth the price of admission.

He's equally thorough and insightful in his portrayal of the wider society: the elites who Moses fought and later controlled, the neighborhoods he ended up destroying, and especially the press he played like a cheap fiddle (the New York Times especially does not come out of this book smelling too rosy).

I only wish Caro had come back to this subject in succeeding decades and brought his intrepid scholarship and insight to the history of post-Moses era; but he chose instead to spend the next 40+ years on LBJ. After experiencing this amazing more-than-biography, I look forward to tackling that even larger opus, probably with Audible's help.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Vienna 1814

  • How the Conquerors of Napoleon Made Love, War, and Peace
  • By: David King
  • Narrated by: Mel Foster
  • Length: 14 hrs and 9 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 113
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 64
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 64

The Napoleonic Wars had torn Europe apart, and the peace conference of 1814 was to be held in the continent's grandest city: Vienna. Everyone had an agenda in the postwar world, and spy networks, bitter hatreds, illicit affairs, and tangled alliances ensued.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Very good

  • By Adam on 09-29-11

Entertaining and informative

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

Reviewed: 07-13-13

First: yes, the narrator really should just not bother trying to pronounce the German and French names and words - he only embarrasses himself. I happened to find his hapless attempts more amusing than annoying however, and in between he does a fine job of conveying Mr. King's engaging portrait of the brilliant, quirky, and deeply flawed people who did so much to shape European and, by extension, world history for the decades and centuries to follow.

This is the kind of history I find most informative, and certainly most fun. Metternich, Czar Alexander, Talleyrand and the rest at the Congress of Vienna were in the long run fighting a losing battle against the ideas and legal structures that Napoleon had carried from France to the rest of the continent, and against the industrial and economic changes spreading inexorably south and east from Manchester, Leeds and Liverpool; but as crucial as these broader social and economic trends are, history is also shaped by individual humans, and King brings many of the most influential to life in this engaging look at one eventful (and often weird) year at a turning point in 19th Century history.

He efficiently provides just enough of the broader context while focusing on the lives of these elites: their petty squabbles, their endless parties and conspicuous consumption, their love affairs, their mutual spying and intrigues, and the diplomatic maneuverings and power plays that ended up shaping the post-Napoleonic era.

Amid all the fun, I found myself periodically having to remind myself that these people wined and dined and danced on the back of the brutal exploitation of 80-90% of the population; and that their casual horse-trading at elegant salons often doomed entire societies (notably the Poles). But for good or ill, this is how history was (and still is) made, and King – largely through their own words in letters, diaries and diplomatic dispatches – gives us a compelling look at the people who made it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful