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Sharon

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
  • 12
  • reviews
  • 24
  • helpful votes
  • 119
  • ratings
  • Big Magic

  • Creative Living Beyond Fear
  • By: Elizabeth Gilbert
  • Narrated by: Elizabeth Gilbert
  • Length: 5 hrs and 6 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,040
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,807
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,796

Listeners of all ages and walks of life have drawn inspiration from Elizabeth Gilbert's books for years. Now this beloved author shares her wisdom and unique understanding of creativity, shattering the perceptions of mystery and suffering that surround the process - and showing us all just how easy it can be. By sharing stories from her own life as well as from her friends and the people who have inspired her, Elizabeth Gilbert challenges us to embrace our curiosity....

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Inspiring listen

  • By Red Nell on 28-09-15

Magic Indeed

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

Reviewed: 08-02-18

Inspiring and chock-full of wisdom. Gilbert is a down-to-earth, warm and oh so human guide to the creative life. Should be required reading for anyone working in any field of the arts and I will be recommending it to my writing students. Ms Gilbert reads her book extremely well.

  • History of Wolves

  • By: Emily Fridlund
  • Narrated by: Caitlin Thorburn
  • Length: 8 hrs and 44 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 119
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 113
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 113

Even a lone wolf wants to belong.... Fourteen-year-old Linda lives with her parents in an ex-commune beside a lake in the beautiful, austere backwoods of Northern Minnesota. The other girls at school call Linda 'Freak' or 'Commie'. Her parents mostly leave her to her own devices whilst the other inhabitants have grown up and moved on. So when the perfect family - mother, father and their little boy, Paul - move into the cabin across the lake, Linda insinuates her way into the family's orbit.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • An absorbing novel, with hidden depths.

  • By bookylady on 10-10-17

Good but Bloopers

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

Reviewed: 12-10-17

I found this dark coming-of-age story extremely compelling and it has more emotional resonance for me than anything else on the Booker shortlist this year. Caitlin Thorburn read very well, although the voice was a little teenagy for a woman in her 30's as Madeline is when she narrates the story.

What annoyed me though were the bloopers, when a word was misread and became non-sensical in the context of the sentence - there were quite a few and they were majorly jarring and pulled me out of the story each time. How hard would it be to stop the recording and rerecord that section and get it right? This is a question for all publishers of audiobooks.

10 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • The Underground Railroad

  • By: Colson Whitehead
  • Narrated by: Bahni Turpin
  • Length: 10 hrs and 43 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 664
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 609
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 605

Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. All the slaves lead a hellish existence, but Cora has it worse than most; she is an outcast even among her fellow Africans, and she is approaching womanhood, where it is clear even greater pain awaits. When Caesar, a slave recently arrived from Virginia, tells her about the Underground Railroad, they take the perilous decision to escape to the North.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A spellbinding, heartbreaking tale of slavery.

  • By bookylady on 13-06-17

Harrowing Story of Slavery and its Aftermath

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

Reviewed: 20-08-17

Would you consider the audio edition of The Underground Railroad to be better than the print version?

The audio version is excellent but I would not have managed to follow the novel without the book in my hand at the same time - it's very complex and dense with detail.

What other book might you compare The Underground Railroad to, and why?


Mohsin Hamid's East West with its metaphor of "doors" which nicely parallels the "underground railway".

Have you listened to any of Bahni Turpin’s other performances? How does this one compare?

No but would certainly e very happy to hear her narrate other stories. She handled the different voices very well indeed and was a pleasure to listen to.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

There were some deeply horrifying moments - such as the slow torturing to death of the slave Anthony after he has tried to run away. the scene that moved me most comes near the end when we learn what has happened to Cora's mother, Mabel.

Any additional comments?

Just finished this novel and still trying to work out my feelings about it. On the one hand I found it moving and deeply shocking; it opened my eyes to the reality of slavery and its legacy in a way that nothing else I've read on the subject ever has. On the other, I am still scratching my head over why the author needed the device of the fantasy version of the "underground railway" and wonder if the novel would have managed without this artifice, which certainly made me trust his storytelling rather less (because what else is invented rather than historical fact?). I admired Cora's strength and resilience and, for the most part this is a page-turner because we are absolutely rooting for her to escape, find safety and build a life for herself. The plot doesn't always advance choronlogically and there are detours into the lives of other characters which help build up an even richer, more detailed picture of the effects of slavery.

Exit West
    
    
        By:
        












    





    





    
        
            
            
                
            
        
        Mohsin Hamid
    
    


    
    
        Narrated by:
        












    





    





    
        
            
            
                
            
        
        Ashley Kumar
    
    


    
    Length: 4 hrs and 26 mins
    131 ratings
    Overall 4.0
  • Exit West

  • By: Mohsin Hamid
  • Narrated by: Ashley Kumar
  • Length: 4 hrs and 26 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 131
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 120
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 119

Nadia and Saeed are two ordinary young people attempting to do an extraordinary thing - to fall in love - in a world turned upside down. Theirs will be a love story but also a story about how we live now and how we might live tomorrow, of a world in crisis and two human beings travelling through it. Civil war has come to the city which Nadia and Saeed call home. Before long they will need to leave their motherland behind - when the streets are no longer useable and the unknown is safer than the known. They will join the great outpouring of people fleeing a collapsing city.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Interesting, but lacked sparkle.

  • By bookylady on 23-10-17

Refugee Blues

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

Reviewed: 09-08-17

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

Escape, magical, pain.

What did you like best about this story?

Timely novel about migration and being a refugee. A couple fall in love in an unnamed middle-eastern city as war breaks about around them. They realise they must escape and hear about "doors" they can move through to safety in other parts of the world. Novel becomes increasingly surreal - it seems like the whole of humanity is able to shift though these warps of time and space. Loved the gentle tone of the book despite the horror of war. The first part of the novel was strongest for me as we got to know Nadia and Saaed but towards the end it seemed to lose its way.

What about Ashley Kumar’s performance did you like?

His voice suited the text - gentle, well-modulated voice.

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

There are doors for refugees to escape the horror of war ...

  • A Wild Swan: And Other Tales

  • By: Michael Cunningham
  • Narrated by: Lili Taylor, Billy Hough
  • Length: 2 hrs and 56 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6

Here are the moments that our fairy tales forgot or deliberately concealed, reimagined by one of the most gifted storytellers of his generation, the Pulitzer Prize winning author of The Hours. Rarely have our bedtime stories been this dark, this perverse, or this true. The beast stands ahead of you in line at the convenience store, buying smokes and a Slim Jim, his devouring smile aimed at the cashier. A malformed little man with a knack for minor acts of wizardry goes to disastrous lengths to procure a child.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Bringing Fairy Tales Alive

  • By Sharon on 17-03-17

Bringing Fairy Tales Alive

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

Reviewed: 17-03-17

Would you consider the audio edition of A Wild Swan: And Other Tales to be better than the print version?

The print version has illustrations and it would be such a shame to miss these. But the stories are easy to follow on audio and it definitely adds another dimension.

What was one of the most memorable moments of A Wild Swan: And Other Tales?

I loved the retelling of Rumpelstiltskin. Cunningham really inhabits the psyche of the character and makes him entirely credible.We really feel sympathy for this deformed man who just wants to have a child to love.

What does Lili Taylor and Billy Hough bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

The wonderful rhythm of the language.

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

Once Upon a (Not-So) Happily Ever After

  • The Essex Serpent

  • By: Sarah Perry
  • Narrated by: Juanita McMahon
  • Length: 14 hrs and 45 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 979
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 908
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 910

London 1893: When Cora Seaborne and her son Francis reach Essex, rumours spread from further up the estuary that the mythical Essex Serpent, once said to roam the marshes claiming lives, has returned to the coastal parish of Aldwinter. Cora, a keen amateur naturalist is enthralled, convinced that it may be a previously undiscovered species. As she sets out on its trail she meets William Ransome, Aldwinter's vicar.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • An Authentic Voice

  • By Christina on 20-09-16

Disappointing

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

Reviewed: 28-02-17

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

No, I'd tell them to avoid it.

Sadly - because I hate not to finish a book and to waste money (I bought both Kindle and audio version) - I've packed this in a little under halfway through. The characters are dull and so little happens. The prose is overwrought. The Audio version is nicely read though.

What could Sarah Perry have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

Had the bloody serpent eat all the characters!

Have you listened to any of Juanita McMahon’s other performances? How does this one compare?

I haven't but she does a great job with the different voices. Very nice voice quality.

If this book were a film would you go see it?

No. But I might watch it on TV so I could fall asleep in front of it.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • The Bell Jar

  • By: Sylvia Plath
  • Narrated by: Maggie Gyllenhaal
  • Length: 7 hrs and 24 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 904
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 835
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 835

Read by the critically acclaimed actress Maggie Gyllenhaal. When Esther Greenwood wins an internship at a New York fashion magazine in 1953, she is elated, believing she will finally realise her dream to become a writer. But in between the cocktail parties and piles of manuscripts, Esther's life begins to slide out of control. She finds herself spiralling into depression and eventually a suicide attempt as she grapples with difficult relationships and a society which refuses to take women's aspirations seriously.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • THIS IS NOT UNABRIDGED

  • By Bryony on 09-09-15

A Harrowing Classic

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

Reviewed: 01-08-16

What did you like most about The Bell Jar?

The honesty of the writing - my heart went out to this girl. Her depression and treatment was so well described - and while the character is not terribly likeable, I felt a great deal of sympathy for her. The writing is extremely good.

What other book might you compare The Bell Jar to, and why?

Kay Redfield Jamison "An Unquiet Mind & William Styron "Darkness Visible" both brilliant memoirs about depression.

Which scene did you most enjoy?

Is enjoy the right word for any part of this book? - it's so painful.

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

A journey through depression.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Pier Falls

  • By: Mark Haddon
  • Narrated by: Clare Corbett, Daniel Weyman
  • Length: 9 hrs and 7 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 61
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 54
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 55

An expedition to Mars goes terribly wrong. A seaside pier collapses. A 30-stone man is confined to his living room. One woman is abandoned on a tiny island in the middle of the ocean. Another woman is saved from drowning. Two boys discover a gun in a shoebox. A group of explorers find a cave of unimaginable size deep in the Amazon jungle. A man shoots a stranger in the chest on Christmas Eve.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Powerful, desolate, depressing

  • By Derrick on 16-05-16

An exceptionally good collection

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

Reviewed: 01-08-16

If you could sum up The Pier Falls in three words, what would they be?

Completely gripping stories

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No. But each story is best read in a sitting.

Any additional comments?

'Bunny' and 'The Gun' were my favourite stories - the latter one of my favourite stories full stop.

  • The Heart Goes Last

  • By: Margaret Atwood
  • Narrated by: Cassandra Campbell, Mark Deakins
  • Length: 12 hrs and 13 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 601
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 554
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 556

Margaret Atwood puts the human heart to the ultimate test in an utterly brilliant new novel that is as visionary as The Handmaid's Tale and as richly imagined as The Blind Assassin. Stan and Charmaine are a married couple trying to stay afloat in the midst of an economic and social collapse. Job loss has forced them to live in their car, leaving them vulnerable to roving gangs. They desperately need to turn their situation around - and fast.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Good but Atwood has done better

  • By Reena Kumar on 22-04-16

Confused by this.

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

Reviewed: 08-05-16

If you could sum up The Heart Goes Last in three words, what would they be?

Dystopian Shakespearian comedy.

What did you like best about this story?

Atwood's wicked sense of humour and her ability to keep the story moving.

What about Cassandra Campbell and Mark Deakins ’s performance did you like?

Both read extremely well, Campbell was a suitably ditsy Charmaine.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The scene where Charmaine administers a lethal injection to Stan. Very well done.

Any additional comments?

I really don't know what to think of this book ... I enjoyed it because the writing is so damn good and the plot is deftly handled, but I feel not a little confused by it.

The novel starts off as dystopian fiction - a young couple, Charmaine and Stan are forced to lose their house and jobs and live in their carwhen the banks crash, with the ever present danger of violence. So when they are confronted with the possibility of entering the privately owned community of Consilience where jobs and houses are guaranteed, they understandably go for it, even though they will spend alternate months apart, inside a rather cushy prison (Positron) where she knits teddy bears and he rears chicken. The other months sees them back in their house, and the community is stuck in a pseudo-1950's time-warp. Sexual boredom kicks in and soon both Stan and Charmaine are fantasising about their "alternates" (the occupants of the house while they are spending their month in prison).

Things get slowly more sinister as they learn more about what is going on in the prison (including the bumping off of unwanted prisoners via fatal injection and the harvesting of organs). And then the book nose-dives towards total ridiculousness with sex-bots, Elvis impersonators and a Marilyn Munro who can only feel sexual desire for a knitted rabbit. The novel is .... like 1984 and The Stepford Wives meets The Wilt Alternative and a Shakespearian comedy.

Not a single character is believable or likeable. The only glimmer of light at the end for me is the thought that one day Stan might actually take the hedge trimmer to the simpering Charmaine's throat. (These were characters I was rooting at the beginning, so what happened?)

I think Atwood was having a lot of fun writing this. I hope so because she really deserves it. But it feels like something that was improvised on the fly and not really thought through.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • The Green Road

  • By: Anne Enright
  • Narrated by: Caroline Lennon
  • Length: 9 hrs and 38 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 224
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 191
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 194

A darkly glinting novel set on Ireland’s Atlantic coast, The Green Road is a story of fracture and family, selfishness and compassion - a book about the gaps in the human heart and how we learn to fill them. The children of Rosaleen Madigan leave the west of Ireland for lives they never could have imagined in Dublin, New York and various third-world towns. In her early old age, their difficult, wonderful mother announces that she’s decided to sell the house and divide the proceeds.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Another Family Gathering

  • By Sharon on 23-08-15

Another Family Gathering

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

Reviewed: 23-08-15

Would you consider the audio edition of The Green Road to be better than the print version?

I enjoyed both together and the audiobook added significantly to my enjoyment of the book. However, the writing is so richly detailed that i would be scared I would miss something without the print book in my hand.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Green Road?

I loved every page of it, but especially loved the stories of matriach Rosaleen's four children after they leave home. Was most moved by the story of burned out aid worker Emmet and the dog which enters his life, courtesy of his girlfriend, Alice.

What about Caroline Lennon’s performance did you like?

It was so nice to hear it read in an Irish accent, and her voice brought out the poetry of the language. She dramatised the dialogue very well, and brought alive the individual voices.

(She was a little bit fast though and someone should tell her how to pronounce Aceh!)

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

No matter how old you get, you never escape your need for your mother's approval.

Any additional comments?

I really loved this book and thought it so much better than Enright's earlier novel The Gathering. I hope it will be at least shortlisted for the Booker in 2015.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful