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White Eagle

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  • 48
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  • 14
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  • Ulysses

  • By: James Joyce
  • Narrated by: Jim Norton
  • Length: 27 hrs and 16 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 476
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 337
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 334

Ulysses is regarded by many as the single most important novel of the 20th century. It tells the story of one day in Dublin, June 16th 1904, largely through the eyes of Stephen Dedalus (Joyce's alter ego from Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man) and Leopold Bloom, an advertising salesman. Both begin a normal day, and both set off on a journey around the streets of Dublin, which eventually brings them into contact with one another.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Amazing

  • By Richard on 02-04-12

Wonderful book, brilliantly read.

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

Reviewed: 02-12-13

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

It helped that I'd read this book previously and had done some study on how it has been interpreted. Once you have a grounding you really appreciate the full force of its brilliance.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Bloom: an outsider, cuckold and under-dog, but persistent and dogged, he wins through in the end.

What does Jim Norton bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

Jim Norton's (and Marcella Reardon) reading adds immensely to an appreciation. Wonderful characterisation, pace, humour, accents and invective. It is difficult to imagine it will ever be bettered.

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

The last section as Molly describes why she married and has stuck with Bloom. But almost every chapter has some brilliant passage.

Any additional comments?

If you've never read it before do at least skim the basics of the story first so you appreciate the basic structure - and then plunge in and enjoy and imbibe the language and scatological humour. Every reading will bring out more subtleties and enjoyment. This really is one of those books worth coming back to. I will certainly be returning to this reading!

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Swann's Way

  • By: Marcel Proust
  • Narrated by: Neville Jason
  • Length: 21 hrs and 33 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 86
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 71
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 70

Swann’s Way is the first of seven volumes in Remembrance of Things Past. It sets the scene with the narrator’s memories being famously provoked by the taste of that little cake, the madeleine, accompanied by a cup of lime-flowered tea. It is an unmatched portrait of fin-de-siècle France.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Life, A User's Manual

  • By Antti on 11-08-13

Unparalleled reading of a great book

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

Reviewed: 02-12-13

If you could sum up Swann's Way in three words, what would they be?

Memory and time.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Swann - fascinating to see his character develop over the course of the book and how his relationship with Odette turns out.

Which scene did you most enjoy?

It would be invidious to choose. The book needs to be taken as a whole (and as part of the overall series). It is not just about "scenes", but interpretations and re-interpretations and linkages and philosophical and social musings.

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

A long book (and series) so pacing is important. Audio allowed me to race (relatively speaking) through the whole series as I could listen while walking, on trains etc.

Any additional comments?

It deserves its high reputation. Some, but relatively few, longeurs once you accept the way the book unfolds and get into the flow which becomes addictive. The central themes are as relevant now as when written. I was not sure how I would take to Neville Jason after hearing the free taster. He rapidly grew on me and gives what I think is an outstanding, nuanced performance, with appropriate characterisation. Clear and warm diction, easy to understand and follow as complex, long sentences were worked through with sufficient forward momentum. His voice is now Marcel Proust for me!

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • The Master and Margarita

  • By: Mikhail Bulgakov
  • Narrated by: Julian Rhind-Tutt
  • Length: 16 hrs and 52 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 488
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 402
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 401

The Devil comes to Moscow, but he isn't all bad; Pontius Pilate sentences a charismatic leader to his death, but yearns for redemption; and a writer tries to destroy his greatest tale, but discovers that manuscripts don't burn. Multi-layered and entrancing, blending sharp satire with glorious fantasy, The Master and Margarita is ceaselessly inventive and profoundly moving. In its imaginative freedom and raising of eternal human concerns, it is one of the world's great novels.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Splendid

  • By Sydney on 19-11-09

Outstanding reading of a quirky classic

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

Reviewed: 02-12-13

Would you listen to The Master and Margarita again? Why?

A enjoyable surreal, bizarre and comic story. God and the devil, human foibles, love, greed, good vs evil in 30s Moscow - and the Jerusalem of Jesus Christ. Julian R-T gives an outstanding, clear and well characterised reading. For me he made some of the weird antics believable, chilling and comic (sometimes combined). A book worth a second reading particularly after digesting some research on the context of the book's production and how it has been interpreted. Like all great books it can be read on many levels.

Which scene did you most enjoy?

Reading the book for the first time I was not quite sure what to expect, although I had some knowledge of the periods in which it was set. I was therefore quite shocked at the outset when certain violent events involving a prediction actually happened (I won't say more as this would be a spoiler). Woland's ball was also a marvellous set piece.

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

Quite a long book so pacing is important.

Any additional comments?

A quirky, comic read. Chilling in places, with serious undertones. Outstanding performance by Julian R-T.

  • The Great Ideas of Philosophy, 2nd Edition

  • By: Daniel N. Robinson, The Great Courses
  • Narrated by: Daniel N. Robinson
  • Length: 30 hrs and 11 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 168
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 153
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 146

Grasp the important ideas that have served as the backbone of philosophy across the ages with this extraordinary 60-lecture series. This is your opportunity to explore the enormous range of philosophical perspectives and ponder the most important and enduring of human questions-without spending your life poring over dense philosophical texts.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Well presented introduction to philosophy

  • By White Eagle on 02-12-13

Well presented introduction to philosophy

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

Reviewed: 02-12-13

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

The book covers philosophy from the start of civilisation to modern times - with some thematic discussions at the end. It is largely focused on western ideas, although there were passing references to eastern thought, particularly early on. So a really good overall introduction, best supplemented with supporting reading. It tackles some difficult concepts and does, at times, require work from the listener (ie. full concentration and time to digest ideas): I repeated some parts 2 or 3 times to get the full meaning. Overall very stimulating and largely enjoyable.

What about Professor Daniel N. Robinson’s performance did you like?

The American lecturer had a pleasant and warm tone, clearly and naturally spoken, with a few endearing tics such as saying "do you see?" at the end of some particularly complex example or explanation - or to emphasise a point. As the lectures developed it was interesting to build a picture of his personal perspectives - on some challenging issues, which is not to say that arguments were not presented in the round.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

These lectures were stimulating and had the impact of returning me to other books to further develop my understanding.

Any additional comments?

There was a lot crammed in - most of the major figures of philosophy are touched on. Also a focus on some ideas not normally treated as "philosophical" eg. USA constitution and Freud. An excellent initial overview.

21 of 22 people found this review helpful

  • The Magus

  • By: John Fowles
  • Narrated by: Nicholas Boulton
  • Length: 26 hrs and 19 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 341
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 298
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 299

John Fowles’s The Magus was a literary landmark of the 1960s. Nicholas Urfe goes to a Greek island to teach at a private school and becomes enmeshed in curious happenings at the home of a mysterious Greek recluse, Maurice Conchis. Are these events, involving attractive young English sisters, just psychological games, or an elaborate joke, or more? Reality shifts as the story unfolds. The Magus reflected the issues of the 1960s perfectly, and it continues to create tension and concern today.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Great reading by Nicholas Boulton

  • By White Eagle on 30-06-13

Great reading by Nicholas Boulton

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

Reviewed: 30-06-13

What made the experience of listening to The Magus the most enjoyable?

Form and content perfectly matched. A great reading from Nicholas Boulton of a very enjoyable and thought provoking book.

I am now 50 and have not revisited this novel (one of my favourites in my earlier years) in detail since I last read it in my 20's. It was still a riveting read, although - perhaps with maturity - I now see more of the things that don't quite work or seem dated. Overall, still electrifying with a strong propulisve narrative drive allied to a consideration of how to approach life and love.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Almost all the characters were interesting in some way, even if some worked far better than others.

What about Nicholas Boulton’s performance did you like?

I thought Nicholas Boulton's reading was absolutely outstanding - and that is what has driven me to this review - he deserves the credit. He pitched Nicolas Urfe's voice exactly how I imagined it: cynical and not entirely likeable, yet still eliciting a degree of sympathy with the listener. The supporting voices: various greeks, germans, women as well as men were also very well presented and clearly distinguishable - without turning them into caricatures. The pace and inflection of the reading was even, but varied where necessary in a nuanced and subtle way to underline and represent emotions.

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

I wouldn't. It's already been tried with Michael Caine and although watchable could not really represent the ideas Fowles was bringing out in the novel.

13 of 13 people found this review helpful