Knock, Ireland
  • 4
  • reviews
  • 19
  • helpful votes
  • 91
  • ratings
  • Don Quixote

  • By: Miguel de Cervantes, Tobias Smollett (translator)
  • Narrated by: Robert Whitfield
  • Length: 36 hrs and 42 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 29
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 12
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 13

Don Quixote, the world's first novel and by far the best-known book in Spanish literature, was originally intended by Cervantes as a satire on traditional popular ballads, yet he also parodied the romances of chivalry. By happy coincidence he produced one of the most entertaining adventure stories of all time and, in Don Quixote and his faithful squire, Sancho Panza, two of the greatest characters in fiction.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Much stranger than I thought

  • By Anthony on 26-09-06

A long listen, but an utterly worthwhile one

5 out of 5 stars
5 out of 5 stars
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-07-14

Where does Don Quixote rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

I would rank Don Quixote highly among the other audiobooks to which I have listened. While the story at time goes off on massive tangents, the characters and their classic encounters make this an essential listen. The story has a bit of everything; it is by turns a comedy, a romance, an adventure, a drama, and ultimately a poignant tale of friendship. This translation, by Tobias Smollett, is written in a robust and lyrical style. I felt this suited the narrative, though I understand it may not be to everyone's taste.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Sancho Panza. The only real choices here are Sancho or Don Quixote himself, and of the two, Sacho is by far the better character. He is the real heart and soul of the story.

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

I have never listened to Robert Whitfield before but I was most impressed with his performance. I loved the voices he gave to the main characters and his performance was delivered with great energy and wit.

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

It's as big as the bible, so no! However - and this isn't a criticism of the audiobook, but of the book in general - there are vast sections of text which could be lost and it would only benefit the novel.

Any additional comments?

Overall, this is a great book, and deserving of its place in literary history. However, there is no denying that it is far too long in places. For this reason I have only given it four stars for story, as it really did try my patience at time. However, once you get past that, you are in for a real treat.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Dragons of Autumn Twilight

  • Dragonlance: Chronicles, Book 1
  • By: Margaret Weis, Tracy Hickman
  • Narrated by: Paul Boehmer
  • Length: 20 hrs
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 210
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 191
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 191

Lifelong friends, they went their separate ways. Now they are together again, though each holds secrets from the others in his heart. They speak of a world shadowed with rumors of war. They speak of tales of strange monsters, creatures of myth, creatures of legend. They do not speak of their secrets. Not then. Not until a chance encounter with a beautiful, sorrowful woman, who bears a magical crystal staff, draws the companions deeper into the shadows, forever changing their lives and shaping the fate of the world.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Great story but there are issues with narration

  • By Sean on 03-12-13

A fun story that brought back many memories

3 out of 5 stars
3 out of 5 stars
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 04-12-13

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

That headline probably tells you all you need to know about how to approach this review. Myself and this book have a past so my feelings towards it are cradled in the warm glow of nostalgia. To my delight, it held up well, though it certainly has many flaws. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a breezy fantasy romp. It doesn't demand too much from the reader, but it delivers a fun world with strong characters, great action, and a nice smattering of humour to leaven the heavier dramatic elements. At times it is all too clear that the narrative was constructed from Dungeons & Dragons game modules, but there is more than enough merit in the story to make it worthwhile.

What other book might you compare Dragons of Autumn Twilight to, and why?

Magician by Raymond E. Feist. The works of David Eddings. Lord of The Rings. I would compare it to the former two as I discovered them all at the same point in my life. I went from one series to the other and they made wonderful companion pieces. I compare it to the latter as all fantasy inevitably comes back to Tolkien.

What three words best describe Paul Boehmer’s voice?

Clear. Warm. Posh.

Could you see Dragons of Autumn Twilight being made into a movie or a TV series? Who would the stars be?

I have seen it made into a movie; an awful animated one! Watch it at your peril. However, I think that in the right hands it could make a great film.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • A Tale of Two Cities

  • By: Charles Dickens
  • Narrated by: Martin Jarvis
  • Length: 14 hrs and 18 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 814
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 626
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 632

'It was the best of times, it was the worst of times'; so the recording begins and ends with some of Dickens's best-known words, and between those lines is every Briton's view of the worst excesses of the French Revolution. Set in London and Paris before and during the French Revolution, the audiobook tells the story of a French doctor who is imprisoned for 18 years in the Bastille in Paris. Upon his release, he moves to London with his daughter, Lucie, whom he had never met.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • The best of books, the best of readers

  • By Mr David Newton on 17-11-07

A reading that truly does the text justice.

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-04-13

One of the main reasons I listen to audio books is to reacquaint myself with novels I have read in the past. I loves books, not just for the stories they contain, but because they are books. I love the feel and the smell of the paper. I love the sense of anticipation of what the next page turn will bring.

But there are so many good books out there, and so little time. I won’t be on this Earth long enough to read all I want to read even once, let alone to re-read any of it! To do so would be at the exclusion of some other great story.

However some books demand re-reading, and that is where audio books have found their place in my life. Now, as I walk, drive, prepare dinner, do my ironing etc. I can re-visit some of the worlds greatest literature, and what better example of such a story than A Tale of Two Cities?

This is a remarkable book. The story is meticulously constructed and the world is described with Dickens’ trademark poetic attention to detail. It also suffers from the usual flaw in Dickens’ work, in that the characters are what E.M. Forster describes as being ‘flat’ and not ‘round’. However the story unfolds with such confident style and momentum that you are breathlessly swept along to the books immortal closing lines.

The text of A Tale of Two Cities speaks for itself. However, when Martin Jarvis speaks it, the story comes alive in a whole new way. He breathes such a distinct voice into each character that at times I was sure there was more than one person reading. He doesn't just read the story, he becomes it. During the storming of the Bastille I was so overwhelmed that I had to stop in the middle of the street, and I stood there enraptured until the siege had ended.

While I would always recommend just reading an actual book, especially if it is your first encounter with a story, this Martin Jarvis rendition of A Tale of Two Cities is definitely worth your time and money. Unquestionably five stars.

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • I, Partridge: We Need to Talk About Alan

  • By: Alan Partridge
  • Narrated by: Alan Partridge
  • Length: 6 hrs and 56 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,875
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 4,448
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,437

Journalist, presenter, broadcaster, husband, father, vigorous all-rounder – Alan Partridge – a man with a fascinating past and an amazing future. Gregarious and popular, yet Alan’s never happier than when relaxing in his own five-bedroom, south-built house with three acres of land and access to a private stream. But who is this mysterious enigma? Alan Gordon Partridge is the best – and best-loved – radio presenter in the region. Born into a changing world of rationing, Teddy Boys, apes in space and the launch of ITV, Alan’s broadcasting career began as chief DJ of Radio Smile....

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • You get what you pay for

  • By Ico on 06-10-11

The audio book betters the printed text.

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 27-12-12

I have one piece of advice with regards this audio book; don't listen to it on public transport as you will inevitably draw perturbed glances from fellow commuters when you erupt into spontaneous laughter. This book is hilarious, made all the more so because it is read by Mr Partridge himself. Alan pronounces every word with self-aggrandising relish as he regales us with his most worthy of life stories.

This book perfectly apes the self-important style of so many autobiographies as Alan strives to add excitement and significance to his mediocre successes. I think this is one of the rare occasions where the audio book is actually better than the printed text. It is Alan Partridge's story told by Alan Partridge, as only he can tell it. This is exactly how the author (that is to say, authors) intended it to sound.

Steve Coogan executes a flawless reading. This character must be like an old pair of boots to him at this stage and he effortlessly delivers a classic comedy performance. This story stands up there with the very best of the TV series as Coogan squeezes every drop of comedy out of Alan’s middle-class self-deluded glory.

The one downside to the audio book is that some of the footnotes from the text appear to be missing. It's a small concession however. If you are going to experience this story, then the audio book is certainly the best format to choose.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful