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james d. thomas

  • 15
  • reviews
  • 79
  • helpful votes
  • 69
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  • Black Swan Green

  • By: David Mitchell
  • Narrated by: Kirby Heyborne
  • Length: 13 hrs and 8 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 636
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 400
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 402

From award-winning writer David Mitchell comes a sinewy, meditative novel of boyhood on the cusp of adulthood and the old on the cusp of the new. Black Swan Green tracks a single year in what is, for 13-year-old Jason Taylor, the sleepiest village in muddiest Worcestershire in dying Cold War England, 1982. But the 13 chapters, each a short story in its own right, create an exquisitely observed world that is anything but sleepy.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great intro to Mitchell's world: Black Swan Green

  • By Leslie on 11-09-14

Masterful Novel; Masterful Performance

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

Reviewed: 04-30-18

What made the experience of listening to Black Swan Green the most enjoyable?

Exceptionally believable reading of a modern classic novel. One of those times when everything works perfectly: the book itself and the narration. Rereading the book now is indelibly intertwined with Heyborne's narrative.

  • The Serpent of Venice

  • A Novel
  • By: Christopher Moore
  • Narrated by: Euan Morton
  • Length: 10 hrs and 34 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,469
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,252
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,248

Venice, a really long time ago: Three prominent Venetians await their most loathsome and foul dinner guest, the erstwhile envoy from Britain who also happens to be a favorite of the Doge: The rascal-Fool Pocket. This trio of cunning plotters have lured Pocket to a dark dungeon, promising a spirited evening. Their invitation is, of course, bogus. These scoundrels have something far less amusing planned for the man who has consistently foiled their quest for power and wealth. But this Fool is no fool.…

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Shakespear, E.A. Poe, and Pocket the Fool

  • By Sires on 05-11-14

Almost As Good....

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

Reviewed: 06-16-14

...as "Fool" and "Sacre Bleu." Christopher Moore has (finally) found his ideal narrator in Euan Morton. The novel itself is a sort-of followup to "Fool" and features the same narrator, this time playing with Othello, the Merchant and Marco Polo. As usual with Moore, this is a wild ride through history (and Shakespeare) and very, very funny, although a bit too much plot sometimes overwhelms the characters. Morton's reading, however, takes full advantage of the material: witty, vulgar, farcical. I have read the book once and listened to the audio twice; Morton is brilliant. I only wish Morton had read earlier Moore novels, but hope their audio partnership continues.

  • The Luminaries

  • By: Eleanor Catton
  • Narrated by: Mark Meadows
  • Length: 29 hrs and 15 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 1,991
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 1,727
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 1,759

It is 1866 and Walter Moody has come to make his fortune upon the New Zealand goldfields. On arrival, he stumbles across a tense gathering of 12 local men, who have met in secret to discuss a series of unsolved crimes. A wealthy man has vanished, a whore has tried to end her life, and an enormous fortune has been discovered in the home of a luckless drunk. Moody is soon drawn into the mystery: a network of fates and fortunes that is as complex and exquisitely patterned as the night sky.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Not So Luminous

  • By Mel on 11-10-13

Best of the Year

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

Reviewed: 10-28-13

(At least so far). The book itself is epic, haunting and beautiful, filled with fascinating characters. The audio narration is surprisingly good considering the range of dialects, accents and ethnicities portrayed. Happily the narrator never loses focus from the suspenseful, convoluted and complex plot. I have read the novel twice now, and the audio is a worthy addition. Fast, fresh and funny. A memorable wallow in the "old west" of New Zealand.

6 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • The Song of Achilles

  • A Novel
  • By: Madeline Miller
  • Narrated by: Frazer Douglas
  • Length: 11 hrs and 15 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,720
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,117
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,096

Greece in the age of heroes. Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to the kingdom of Phthia to be raised in the shadow of King Peleus and his golden son, Achilles. “The best of all the Greeks”—strong, beautiful, and the child of a goddess—Achilles is everything the shamed Patroclus is not. Yet despite their differences, the boys become steadfast companions. Their bond deepens as they grow into young men and become skilled in the arts of war and medicine—much to the displeasure and the fury of Achilles’ mother, Thetis, a cruel sea goddess with a hatred of mortals.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Wasn't Expecting to Like It- BOY! was I wrong!!

  • By susan on 06-11-14

Surprisingly suspenseful!

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

Reviewed: 11-30-12

A genuinely beautiful novel, reasonably well-read. The familiarity of the story never diminishes the suspense; the writing is evocative of time and place. Characters are well-developed and believable throughout. The performance by Frazer Douglas is always more than acceptable, but never quite memorable. As others have pointed out--both in reviews of the book and the audio--the last paragraph is unfortunate and diminishes the effectiveness of the narrative. Overall however an excellent audiobook and highly recommended.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • The Woman Who Died a Lot

  • A Thursday Next Novel, Book 7
  • By: Jasper Fforde
  • Narrated by: Emily Gray
  • Length: 10 hrs and 58 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 624
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 562
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 565

Jasper Fforde's delightfully zany Thursday Next series shows no signs of slowing down with its seventh entry, The Woman Who Died a Lot. Despite being semihappily semi-retired from SpecOps, Thursday accepts the head librarian position at the Swindon library. But soon threats from a supreme Deity, a mnemonomorph, and the nefarious Goliath corporation press Thursday back into active duty.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great continuation of the Thursday Next series

  • By Lenny on 10-29-12

Excellent Series Addition

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

Reviewed: 10-29-12

The Thursday Next series continues, as mind-boggling, entertaining and thought-provoking as always. Emily Gray's reading again makes the most outlandish situations seems perfectly reasonable. The humor is both timely and timeless. I loved reading the book and love the audio edition too; I have already listened to it a second time. As usual with Fforde's fiction the prose is so full of jokes, puns and references that it is almost impossible to catch everything the first time, especially when the reader/listener gets caught up in the plot. Essential for fans of the series.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Sacre Bleu

  • A Comedy d'Art
  • By: Christopher Moore
  • Narrated by: Euan Morton
  • Length: 11 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 2,194
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,952
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,961

In July 1890, Vincent van Gogh went into a cornfield and shot himself. Or did he? Why would an artist at the height of his creative powers attempt to take his life... and then walk a mile to a doctor's house for help? Who was the crooked little "color man" Vincent had claimed was stalking him across France? And why had the painter recently become deathly afraid of a certain shade of blue? These are just a few of the questions confronting Vincent's friends who vow to discover the truth of van Gogh's untimely death.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Is Nothing is Sacre'?

  • By Mel on 05-07-12

Euan Morton Rocks!

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

Reviewed: 05-31-12

What did you love best about Sacre Bleu?

I almost didn't buy this: the sample somehow sounded odd, with Euan Morton's Scottish background not working with the material. After listening to his reading of "Fool" a couple of times, I decided to give it a try. It is wonderful! After a couple of minutes, the performance seems perfectly natural; characterizations are spot-on and the "music" in the prose is enhanced with Morton's exceptional reading. Book itself is not-quite-but-close to Moore's best but the overall impact of the audio is even greater than the book itself.

  • Fool

  • A Novel
  • By: Christopher Moore
  • Narrated by: Euan Morton
  • Length: 8 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,845
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,547
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,570

Pocket has been Lear's cherished fool for years. So naturally Pocket is at his brainless, elderly liege's side when Lear demands that his kids swear to him their undying love and devotion. Of course Goneril and Regan are only too happy to brownnose Dad. But Cordelia believes that her father's request is kind of...well...stupid, and her blunt honesty ends up costing her her rightful share of the kingdom and earns her a banishment to boot.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Mr Moore does it again.

  • By Michael on 02-17-09

As Good As It Gets

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

Reviewed: 05-31-12

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

The novel itself is excellent--fresh, funny, clever. And the reading brings out every bit of humor, character and historic life. I suspect that if Shakespeare were alive today it would be both pleased and impressed: "King Lear" never had it so good. Euan Morton makes a perfect narrator, taking full advantage of his theater, musical comedy and singing background. I have already listened to it three times and look forward to the next.

  • An American Spy

  • By: Olen Steinhauer
  • Narrated by: David Pittu
  • Length: 13 hrs and 33 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 334
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 278
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 279

With only a handful of “tourists” - CIA-trained assassins - left, Weaver would like to move on and use this as an opportunity to regain a normal life, a life focused on his family. His former boss in the CIA, Alan Drummond, can’t let it go. When Alan uses one of Milo’s compromised aliases to travel to London and then disappears, calling all kinds of attention to his actions, Milo can’t help but go in search of him. Worse still, it's beginning to look as if Tourism's enemies are gearing up for a final, fatal blow.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Very complicated

  • By Joanne on 03-25-12

Excellent Addition to the Weaver series

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

Reviewed: 03-16-12

What other book might you compare An American Spy to and why?

This is the third in the series and picks up right after

What about David Pittu’s performance did you like?

Mr. Pittu's accents are subtle enough to never get in the way of comprehension but still provide a good feel for the nationality of the characters. He never misses the humor or irony inherent in the text.

Any additional comments?

All three Weaver novels are timely, suspenseful and witty. They are not necessarily an

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • The Leopard

  • By: Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa
  • Narrated by: David Horovitch
  • Length: 9 hrs and 2 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 392
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 310
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 315

Elegiac, bittersweet and profoundly moving, The Leopard chronicles the turbulent transformation of the Risorgimento, in the period of Italian Unification. The waning feudal authority of the elegant and stately Prince of Salina is pitted against the materialistic cunning of Don Calogero, in Tomasi's magnificently descriptive memorial to a dying age.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • "one of the great lonely books"

  • By beatrice on 06-18-10

Brilliant novel well-served by the audio

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

Reviewed: 12-26-11

What other book might you compare The Leopard to and why?

Like the best historic novels (

Any additional comments?

If you have read the book or have seen the classic film adaptation, this is an excellent evocation of the material. If you are not familiar with it, however, I am not sure this is the best place to begin.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Asta's Book

  • By: Barbara Vine
  • Narrated by: Harriet Walter
  • Length: 14 hrs and 15 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 138
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 107
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 108

It is 1905. Asta and her husband, Rasmus, have come to East London from Denmark with their two little boys. With Rasmus constantly away on business, Asta keeps loneliness and isolation at bay by writing a diary. These diaries, published over 70 years later, reveal themselves to be more than a mere journal. For they seem to hold the key to an unsolved murder and to the mystery of a missing child. It falls to Asta's granddaughter, Ann, to unearth the buried secrets of nearly a century before.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Brilliant Reading of a Classic Novel

  • By james d. thomas on 08-26-11

Brilliant Reading of a Classic Novel

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-26-11

Originally published in the US as "Anna's Book" this Ruth Rendell novel provides an exceptional portrait of three generations of woman in London from 1905 until the mid-sixties. Deservedly a modern classic, the reading perfectly matches and enhances the text. Ms Walter subtly differentiates each of the three women and finds every moment of humor, frustration and suspense as the diaries are used to solve a sixty year old mystery. Leisurely paced this is a novel more about character than event and an extraordinary listening experience.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful