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Deborah Wyman

  • 13
  • reviews
  • 23
  • helpful votes
  • 14
  • ratings
  • No Such Thing as Society

  • A History of Britain in the 1980s
  • By: Andy McSmith
  • Narrated by: David Holt
  • Length: 15 hrs and 23 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 254
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 158
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 158

The 1980s was the revolutionary decade of the 20th century. From the Falklands war and the miners' strike to Bobby Sands and the Guildford Four, from Diana and the New Romantics to Live Aid and the 'big bang', from the Rubik's cube to the ZX Spectrum, McSmith's brilliant narrative account uncovers the truth behind the decade that changed Britain forever - politically, economically and culturally.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • So close and yet so far

  • By Emma on 08-09-11

Entertaining and Educating

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

Reviewed: 15-11-14

What did you like most about No Such Thing as Society?

This was both a nostalgic look back on the 80's (which was my childhood years) and also an intelligent insight into the politics and major events of the time. Being a child of the 80's I didn't always understand the politics or why things happened the way they did, therefore I enjoyed looking back on those years with adult eyes and a deeper understanding of events that were happening. I absorbed a lot of information and was actually shocked by how much we have changed as a society within such a short space of time.

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

No. The reader was excellent.

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

Yes, it was definitely a book which I would have liked to have read in one sitting if possible. I was hooked from start to finish and zipped through it very quickly.

Any additional comments?

I definitely recommend this to anyone who lived through this decade or even if you are intrigued by the events of the time; fashion, music, and culture is particularly portrayed well.

  • The Wolf of Wall Street

  • By: Jordan Belfort
  • Narrated by: Eric Meyers
  • Length: 20 hrs and 20 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,195
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,082
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,088

Stock market multimillionaire at 26, federal convict at 36, he partied like a rock star, lived like a king, and barely survived his rise and fall as an American entrepreneurial icon. By day he made thousands of dollars a minute. By night he spent it as fast as he could, on drugs, sex, and international globe-trotting.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Narration is Brilliant

  • By Deborah on 24-01-14

Mixed feelings

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

Reviewed: 15-11-14

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

On listening to the first few chapters of the book I thought it was going to be excellent and quickly became hooked as I wanted to know how the story would unfold. Unfortunately by the middle of the book I began to stop caring. There is only so much sex, drugs, narcissism and misogyny that you can hear before it becomes tedious and same old. I almost stopped listening. At this point I didn't like any of the characters and really couldn't care less - none of them were particularly likeable. Even his long suffering wife began to grate on my nerves. However, I am glad I persevered to the end as I could see the entire point of the daily sex/drugs/greed was meant to be how the character was living life - from excitement to being a slave to his lifestyle. The ending of the book is very good and I momentarily felt moved and finally understood what the moral of the story was. Unfortunately it took far to long to get me to a stage where I actually cared.

How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

The 'ending' of the story needed to be told slightly sooner as I nearly gave up wondering what the point of the story was. I also felt some of the events could have been cut shorter - there were a few moments where I nearly gave up as it became a little long winded and same old (sex, drugs, swearing, greed). It was like 'OK I get the picture'.

Which scene did you most enjoy?

The beginning of the story is good and very well written, it draws you in and is probably what kept me going to the end.

Do you think The Wolf of Wall Street needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

Possibly. I would not buy a follow up book but for those who really enjoyed it they may be curious as to how Jordon rebuilt his life.

Any additional comments?

This is an interesting real life tale which I think questions the ability that money and power has to destroy lives; how quickly greed can consume us; and how some people know the cost of everything but the price of nothing. It is a book that I liked yet became bored with in equal measures but it did leave me reflecting on how a man can have everything and lose it all and how addiction quickly takes control. His justifications for his behaviour where very interesting from a psychological point of view. It was honest insight into the mind and reasoning of a narcissist and addict.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Bring Up the Bodies

  • By: Hilary Mantel
  • Narrated by: Simon Vance
  • Length: 14 hrs and 33 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,920
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,371
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,371

By 1535 Thomas Cromwell, the blacksmith's son, is far from his humble origins. Chief Minister to Henry VIII, his fortunes have risen with those of Anne Boleyn, Henry’s second wife, for whose sake Henry has broken with Rome and created his own church. In Bring Up the Bodies, Hilary Mantel explores one of the most mystifying and frightening episodes in English history: the destruction of Anne Boleyn.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Superb

  • By Maddy on 02-06-12

Good - but not perfect

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

Reviewed: 21-10-14

Who was your favorite character and why?

This would be Thomas Cromwell. He is an interesting character, certainly not likeable, but clever and ambitious.

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

Very well narrated and easy to listen to.

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

Not really. I didn't feel particularly moved.

Any additional comments?

This is a good book and I would recommend it. Hilary Mantel is a good writer and does lead the imagination. Although generally well researched and keeping within the framework of historical events, there were some bizarre moments that spoiled the story. However, I definitely got a feel as to what kind of man Mantel believed Cromwell to be and I think she expressed that well - I think I agree with her.

  • The Children of Henry VIII

  • By: Alison Weir
  • Narrated by: Simon Prebble
  • Length: 15 hrs and 43 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 94
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 78
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 76

New York Times best-selling author Alison Weir is one of the most popular chroniclers of British and European royal history. In this fascinating book she sheds light on the scheming, backstabbing and brutality that plagued England after Henry VIII’s death. Filled with remarkable and sometimes shocking details, The Children of Henry VIII is an arresting narrative that brings the past to life and infuses it with all the flair of a riveting novel.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Excellent Book, Misleading Title

  • By Olivier on 27-09-12

I liked it

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

Reviewed: 21-10-14

What made the experience of listening to The Children of Henry VIII the most enjoyable?

Having read this book in book form (and enjoying it very much) I decided to get an audio version so I could re-read whilst doing other things. I'm glad I did because I was able to absorb the information much easier this way.

What other book might you compare The Children of Henry VIII to, and why?

Alison Weir is a good writer and I do feel she is a 'historian' as well as a historical fiction writer. I would compare her writing to that of Antionia Fraser - non-academic and light story telling. This is often what I want from a history book, sometimes I want to know every minute detail and other times I want to be entertained using facts along with story telling. This book falls into the latter - which is great.

Which character – as performed by Simon Prebble – was your favourite?

Elizabeth would be my favourite character in this book.

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

No. Like other history books I liked to listen to this in small chunks to absorb the information.

Any additional comments?

Definitely get this book if you don't want anything too 'dry'. It is story-telling, easy to listen to, entertaining and informative at the same time.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • The Tudors

  • The Complete Story of England's Most Notorious Dynasty
  • By: G. J. Meyer
  • Narrated by: Robin Sachs
  • Length: 24 hrs and 34 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 60
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 49
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 49

For the first time in decades, here, in a single volume, is a fresh look at the fabled Tudor dynasty, comprising some of the most enigmatic figures ever to rule a country. Acclaimed historian G. J. Meyer reveals the flesh-and-bone reality in all its wild excess.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • One of the best on Tudor history

  • By Deborah Wyman on 21-10-14

One of the best on Tudor history

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

Reviewed: 21-10-14

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

This is one of the best books I have listened to or read on The Tudors. I know there is no such thing as an unbiased historical account but I really felt the author attempted balance and neutrality. I also enjoyed the fact that Henry VII was included in the story as he often gets forgotten about. I thought this was particularly well told and fascinating start to the Tudor era.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Without even thinking..it is Henry VIII followed by Elizabeth. Their stories are without doubt fascinating and hugely dramatic.

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

The reader was particularly professional and easy to listen to.

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

No. I wanted to listen to this book little and often to absorb the information and think about the historical characters and events.

Any additional comments?

If you are looking for a book on the Tudor era I would highly recommend this above others. The research is in depth and no stone goes unturned. In my opinion one to listen to many times as there is so much information it is impossible to absorb it all in one read.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • The Time Traveller's Guide to Elizabethan England

  • By: Ian Mortimer
  • Narrated by: Mike Grady
  • Length: 17 hrs and 59 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 529
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 376
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 372

What was it actually like to live in Elizabethan England? If you could travel to the past and walk the streets of London in the 1590s, where would you stay? What would you eat? What would you wear? Would you really have a sense of it being a glorious age? And if so, how would that glory sit alongside the vagrants, diseases, violence, sexism and famine of the time? In this book Ian Mortimer answers the key questions that a visitor to late 16th-century England would ask.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Almost but not quite

  • By Portia on 17-04-12

Simplistic yet interesting

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

Reviewed: 21-10-14

What did you like most about The Time Traveller's Guide to Elizabethan England?

I liked this book as it focused on the ordinary lives of people at the time; how they lived day to day life, how they thought and viewed the world.

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

Very well narrated, definitely ignited my imagination.

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

No. It is a book on facts regarding the period of the time. It is meant to read as a 'guide' and therefore very little emotional content.

Any additional comments?

This is a 'light' read. It would be perfect for younger listeners as it is easy to follow and no complicated terminology or pretentiousness. At the same time it is not patronising or simplified.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Bertie: A Life of Edward VII

  • By: Jane Ridley
  • Narrated by: Carole Boyd
  • Length: 22 hrs and 35 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 112
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 97
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 95

Entertaining and different, this is an enjoyable study of a flawed yet characterful Prince of Wales seen through the eyes of the women in his life. Edward Vll, who gave his name to the Edwardian Age and died in 1911, was King of England for the final 10 years of his life. He was 59 when at last he came to the throne. Known as Bertie, the eldest son of Victoria and Albert, he was bullied by both his parents.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Excellent narration

  • By Knucklebones on 17-02-13

Interesting and unexpected

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

Reviewed: 21-10-14

What did you like most about Bertie: A Life of Edward VII?

I didn't know much about Edward VII but felt well informed after listening to this book. He certainly lived life to the full and there is not a boring moment here.

What did you like best about this story?

Bertie's life was a real life drama with more than a hint of eccentricity.

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

The performance was excellent.

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

No. As with other biographies I have read I wanted to listen to it in small sections so I can absorb the information and think about the person's life.

Any additional comments?

Definitely give this a go if you want a fascinating biography. One of the more interesting monarchs in my opinion.

  • A History of Britain: Volume 1

  • By: Simon Schama
  • Narrated by: Stephen Thorne
  • Length: 15 hrs and 43 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 626
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 542
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 538

The story of Britain from the earliest settlements in 3000BC to the death of Elizabeth I in 1603. To look back at the past is to understand the present. In this vivid account of over 4,000 years of British history, Simon Schama takes us on an epic journey which encompasses the very beginnings of the nation's identity, when the first settlers landed on Orkney. From the successes and failures of the monarchy to the daily life of a Roman soldier stationed on Hadrian's Wall, Schama gives a vivid, fascinating account of the many different stories and struggles that lie behind the growth of our island nation.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Well written but hard to manage as an audiobook

  • By Roderic on 23-01-14

Better than the TV series

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

Reviewed: 21-10-14

What did you like most about A History of Britain: Volume 1?

I was hesitent to buy the audio version as I already own the DVDs from Simon Schama's TV series. However, I was very impressed at how much extra information there is here.

What other book might you compare A History of Britain: Volume 1 to, and why?

No comparison.

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

Very well narrated.

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

It was fascinating. I particularly enjoy the way in which he chooses to write about ordinary people as well as monarchs and important figures of the time.

Any additional comments?

Excellent series and one to listen to over and over again.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • When You Are Engulfed in Flames

  • By: David Sedaris
  • Narrated by: David Sedaris
  • Length: 9 hrs and 3 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 640
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 490
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 486

Taking in the parasitic worm that once lived in his mother-in-law's leg, an encounter with a dingo and the purchase of a human skeleton, and culminating in a brilliant account of his attempt to quit smoking - in Tokyo - David Sedaris' sixth story collection is a fresh masterpiece of comic writing.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Utterly wonderful!

  • By Shirley on 01-11-08

Funny and clever

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

Reviewed: 21-10-14

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

Definitely. If you want something that will make you chuckle and think about the absurdities of life this is it.

Who was your favorite character and why?

David Sedaris writes about his own life and experiences. He writes about the people he meets and the funny things they say and do. They are people we have all come across but he writes it perfectly, both poignant and funny.

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

David Sedaris is the only person who could read his books. His voice adds authenticity and the way he tells the story is as funny as the story itself.

Any additional comments?

Highly recommend this audiobook if you want something light and thought provoking at the same time.

  • Marie Antoinette

  • By: Antonia Fraser
  • Narrated by: Eleanor Bron
  • Length: 20 hrs and 18 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 104
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 81
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 80

Marie Antoinette's dramatic life-story continues to arouse mixed emotions. To many people, she is still 'la reine mechante', whose extravagance and frivolity helped to bring down the French monarchy; her indifference to popular suffering epitomised by the (apocryphal) words: 'let them eat cake'. Others are equally passionate in her defence: to them, she is a victim of misogyny.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Spectacular.

  • By Binky on 17-12-14

Fascinating book

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

Reviewed: 21-10-14

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

Yes absolutely. It is a very sympathetic account of MA but non the less facscinating and well researched.

What did you like best about this story?

It flowed well and the description of MA and court life were well written, feeding the imagination as you listen. Not a boring moment.

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

Very well narrated, Eleanor Bron's voice is a lot like Antonia Fraser's which I liked as I felt the author was reading the story.

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

Yes. A very emotional story from start to finish. I felt a lot of empathy towards MA, another story of a female scape goat and how money does not bring lasting happiness.

Any additional comments?

Would highly recommend.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful