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Bookish-Em

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  • Les Liaisons Dangereuses

  • Read by the Cast of the Stage Play
  • By: Choderlos de Laclos
  • Narrated by: Dominic West, Janet McTeer, Una Stubbs, and others
  • Length: 2 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 309
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 273
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 270

From the sumptuous private drawing rooms of 18th-century Paris to the decadent estates and chateaus of the French countryside, La Marquise de Merteuil and Le Vicomte de Valmont hatch a long-distance plan of vengeance and seduction. Valmont is determined to conquer the famously pious Madame de Tourvel, whose husband is abroad on business. However, Merteuil has other plans.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A timeless tale of lust and revenge

  • By Ms. D. A. O'neil on 05-02-16

Deliciously wicked dramatisation

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

Reviewed: 23-02-16

This dramatisation from the cast of the Donmar production is worth listening to for Janet McTeer alone. Her Marquise de Merteuil was incredible. Sensual, scathing, scandalous. If you are new to Laclos, this is a great place to start. I read an English translation many years ago and loved it, but this version brought it to life for me. It has left me wanting to read the original, and i'll be purchasing it after finishing the review (yes, i'm THAT enthused).

It seems to me that Laclos' work has a real modern relevance. We live in a society in which a person is still judged on their sexual self. Whether that be the sexual preference they claim, how they go about their romantic/sexual lives, or how their sexuality is displayed to others. People still talk of 'conquest' over another, if not always using that specific word, the idea is the same. We have online sites for showcasing clips of sexual acts unknowingly filmed, for revenge porn, for rating the attractiveness and 'easiness' of others. 'Slut' and 'whore' are judgment terms that still have real power. Perhaps the men reading this will correct me if i'm wrong, but I don't think there are words used with the same derision for male behaviour, even 'manwhore' and 'male slut' are not without positive connotations, part of male banter. This has been my experience of male-female heterosexual relations, and I wonder how these themes are played out within the homosexual or trans communities. Without a doubt, external, societal judgment is still evident.

For this reason, the most significant character has always been, for me, La Marquise de Merteuil. Valmont, the rake, the seducer, the ruiner of women is a male character so often done, before and since, as to be stereotypical. La Marquise, on the other hand, demands to be his equal, or even better: in manipulation, in deceit, in pursuit of pleasure. She makes precisely this point. His machinations, his successes, are all the more easy because of his gender, and the resulting freedoms it accords him.

In any case, I love this format in literature. Private letters dispatched at cross purposes allows for an intriguing and amusing insight into character; what they say to one person and hide from another, virtuous and indignant here, debauched and desirous there. An excellent reflection of the multitude of selves we all hold.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Between the World and Me

  • By: Ta-Nehisi Coates
  • Narrated by: Ta-Nehisi Coates
  • Length: 3 hrs and 35 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 281
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 257
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 252

"This is your country, this is your world, this is your body, and you must find some way to live within the all of it." In a profound work that pivots from the biggest questions about American history and ideals to the most intimate concerns of a father for his son, Ta-Nehisi Coates offers a powerful new framework for understanding our nation's history and current crisis. Americans have built an empire on the idea of "race", a falsehood that damages us all but falls most heavily on the bodies of black women and men.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Everyone should read this book

  • By Martin Robson on 19-08-15

Incredible, emotional, real

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

Reviewed: 07-02-16

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

It felt like an incredible privilege to hear this man's words in his own voice. The truth of his experiences passed from his lips to my ears, enhancing the harsh reality of his world. The physicality of racism, the loss of control over your own body, hit me like a real blow. I have felt that way a few times as a woman, I cannot imagine it informing my whole life and restricting my choices.

This other world, so very different from my own, may have seemed to me like the 'evil past' if not for the evidence in front of my eyes every day. Not only in the news stories from the US, but those from the UK that say black boys are more likely to end up in prison than in a top university. And in the experience of my sister, who still gets stares and comments from strangers because she is white and her partner is black.

My thanks to Ta-Nehisi Coates for allowing me this opportunity, to be given this insight into another person's mind, and the possibility of a greater understanding.

  • Gut

  • By: Giulia Enders
  • Narrated by: Katy Sobey
  • Length: 7 hrs and 26 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,470
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,305
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,296

The key to living a happier, healthier life is inside us. Our gut is almost as important to us as our brain or our heart, yet we know very little about how it works. In Gut, Giulia Enders shows that rather than the utilitarian and - let's be honest - somewhat embarrassing body part we imagine it to be, it is one of the most complex, important, and even miraculous parts of our anatomy.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • I have to redress the balance

  • By David J James on 13-03-16

Highly recommended

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

Reviewed: 10-01-16

If you could sum up Gut in three words, what would they be?

Informative, entertaining, essential.

What about Katy Sobey’s performance did you like?

Written for the layperson, it is informative and funny, but without the added benefit of an amazing narrator (who is able to get the tone just right), it may have seemed a little bit silly. Another reviewer noted the abundance of exclamation marks- in the text, that might be annoying, but when read aloud by Katy Sobey, the jokes and wry exclamations seem just right.

Any additional comments?

The content was interesting and entertaining, both educational and practical. Despite my background in healthcare and personal experience with an irksome gut, there was lots here I didn't know and tips I could put into practice. This is not just a boring run through of the mouth-anus journey, Enders uses up-to-date research to show how scientists are finding out more and more about how the gut can affect the body in surprising ways. From how having a baby by caesarean section can leave the child more prone to asthma, to the links between certain gut flora and depression, risk taking, and suicide, this book is a trove of fascinating information. It also has a section on what your poo should look like. In other words, it has it all.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful