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A beautiful, essential book - highly recommended!

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

Reviewed: 09-01-20

Kate Clanchy is a wonderful, tender writer and narrator, and this collection of stories about a life dedicated to education and literature, and some of the children's stories as well, is one of the most moving things I've ever read/listened to. It's not so much a book about teaching or poetry (although they are both strongly well woven throughout) as a book about human connection, about families and how we should all think about how we contribute to the communities around us. It's an absolutely beautiful book, I'm so glad it exists and I know I will listen, and re-listen, to it many times. Don't hesitate!!

Completely brilliant. Very funny and very poignant

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

Reviewed: 30-08-17

Would you consider the audio edition of How Not to Be a Boy to be better than the print version?

This is brilliantly narrated by Webb himself, and you get SO much from autobiographies narrated by the author. When the author happens to be Robert Webb, you get a gold-standard, addictive audiobook that you'll immediately try to make everyone else on the planet listen to as well. He delivers the funnies to perfection, but his economy on the more emotional and poignant passages is almost unbearably moving. I feel like cheering and clapping.

What did you like best about this story?

It's completely satisfying if you're a fan of Robert Webb as a comedian, or just like amusing books in general. It's VERY funny throughout and the humour is smart and stylish. But there are passages and observations that are described so movingly by the author, the emotion will pin you to the spot.

Which character – as performed by Robert Webb – was your favourite?

The way the author commits all the members of his family to the page is just lovely, flawed and human though they are. But it's the author/narrator himself who you really root for. I have so much respect for the way he's laid himself bare in writing this book, and am hugely impressed by his wit. I was a fan before, but now I'm die-hard.

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

YES and then I'd go back to the beginning and start again, in the same sitting.

Any additional comments?

It's achingly brilliant, I can't recommend it highly enough!

25 people found this helpful

Just brilliant! Warm, witty and touching

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

Reviewed: 19-08-17

I'd never read or listened to any of Maeve Binchy's books before, and within ten minutes of starting to listen I knew I would adore her writing, and was kicking myself for not giving her a try sooner!

Circle of Friends was a fantastic book to start off with, a lovely warm story of friendships, small town life and teenage rights of passage. The friendship between characters Benny and Eve was so true to life and genuine, and the narrator is very talented at voicing the entire cast of characters vividly.

I couldn't be more gushing with praise for Circle of Friends! If you're looking to immerse yourself in a warm friendly world with great characters you'll find yourself rooting for, and a story that doesn't skimp on drama and emotion, then look no further.

Impossible not to love this book! I can't wait to start another Maeve Binchy.

SUPERB, insightful and addictive - a must listen

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

Reviewed: 15-11-16

In the wake of this new Brexit and Trump reality, I've been looking for books, documentaries and articles to try and understand more about all the viewpoints and reasons for voting either way, regardless of which side of the fence I personally fall - my overwhelming sense is one of a deep lack of communication and consideration between any one part of society and the others.

This audiobook delivers insight and sensitivity in SPADES and I'm so glad I listened. The story of JD Vance's upbringing, childhood community and transition into adulthood is generously and unflinchingly told, and interwoven with just enough detail on the wider political and socioeconomic history of "rust belt" America. The overall impression is of an almost dynastic family saga all the more affecting for being true - I think Anne Tyler must have a long lost nephew from Kentucky, if I were JD Vance I'd be demanding a DNA test!

Most of all, it's a really compelling listen and I wasn't expecting to enjoy it so thoroughly as I did! Top quality both in the writing and the narration. It can be touch and go when authors narrate their own audio, but Vance does an exceptional job.

A very timely book which deserves all its accolades. Don't hesitate!

7 people found this helpful

So beautiful - don't hesitate, listen right now!!

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

Reviewed: 05-09-16

I loved Wild so I sought out any other books by Cheryl Strayed and I'm so glad I did! Her writing is extraordinarily touching and yet light. I was so moved by the stories of the people who wrote to the Dear Sugar column, and equally by Cheryl's replies. She's a spectacular writer, I couldn't stop listening, I finished the whole book in two days. So so beautiful, I urge you to listen to this right away, and then all her other books too. Strayed will be among your new favourite authors for sure.

Thank god for Susan Calman and this book!! Just excellent!

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

Reviewed: 01-06-16

Calman is clever, cunning and devious - she's snuck so much sage advice and comfort into every cranny of this book that while I was chuckling away listening to this very funny book about her life, with every chapter I was also reassured beyond measure about what goes on mine and my family's and loved ones' heads.

Her narration is brilliant too, warm and confiding.

Thank god for this audiobook! Don't hesitate to download and listen!

21 people found this helpful

LOVED THIS BOOK - essential for all humans!

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

Reviewed: 28-07-15

Bridget Christie is incredibly astute and also incredibly funny. I couldn't have loved this book, her as an author or her amazing narration more. Am hitting the "play again" button, I've got a feeling I'll listen to this over and over!! Don't hesitate, download this now.

1 person found this helpful

Another fantastic book from Mark Rashid

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

Reviewed: 22-07-15

If you could sum up A Good Horse Is Never a Bad Color in three words, what would they be?

Inspiring, wise, warm

What other book might you compare A Good Horse Is Never a Bad Color to, and why?

Horses Never Lie

What about Mike Chamberlain’s performance did you like?

The narrator's performance was OK, and I definitely prefer him to some of the other narrators of Mark Rashids books, but he was a tiny bit stilted. It didn't detract from enjoying the book, or the quality of the content, however a more skilled narrator could have made this one of those magical audiobooks that you feel empty when they're over.

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

Yes absolutely! I do with all Mark Rashid's books. I always finish them within a day or two, and then immediately want to run out and spend time with horses!

Any additional comments?

With this book in particular, you hear a lot of stories about the Old Man who started off MR's own journey with horses. The author mentions the Old Man a few times, but always briefly, in his previous books, but you know that if he ever went into detail about the Old Man it could potentially be something really special, and this book lives up to all that promise and more. A really special and personal book from MR, it can't fail to touch you as well as teach you. I'll be listening to it again and again.

1 person found this helpful

Gorgeous, witty, warm book (and author/narrator)

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

Reviewed: 23-12-13

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

Gorgeous, witty, warm. HILARIOUS, actually.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Love, Nina?

The book is lots of little incidences; funny, dry, bittersweet, ironic, presented as letters to the author's sister, so it's hard to chose one from the hundreds of lovely, chuckley, sniggery anecdotes. One of my favourite recurring episodes though is when Nina describes goings on at Thames Polytechnic to Mary-Kay, the mother of the family she is a nanny for, and Mary-Kay's reactions. Always a mixture in varying proportions of the shocking, hilarious and banal - and Mary-Kay's responses are glorious. Because the stories take the form of letters to NS's sister, her tone is so personal, candid and familiar that I feel like I was sitting at the table with them for years myself.

Which scene did you most enjoy?

Anything where she describes what she cooks for the family she works for, the conspiratorial tone is heightened even more here and her role at that time (and how she copes with it) are in sharp relief: caring, naive, clever, inventive.

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

When Mary-Kay offers for Nina to move back into No. 55, and Nina accepts - it lasted all of 30 seconds within the actual audiobook, but it forms a tiny explosion of joy and acceptance so much so that you realise the author's relationship with Mary-Kay before this point was always leading up to this. Such a British little blip of poignancy and warm-and-fuzziness.

Any additional comments?

Definitely, definitely, buy and listen to this, as your very next audiobook. Nina Stibbe is a tremendous author and narrator, and this is one of those books that is so hilarious and brilliant that afterwards you'll know it will be difficult to top it, and your next listen could only hope to be a disappointment in comparison. YOU. WILL. LOVE. THIS. BOOK. I promise.

8 people found this helpful

Full of surprises, funny and charming

Overall
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 13-04-13

You think you know what you're getting with David Mitchell from his acting and TV-show persona. This book both backs that up, and reveals so much about the author that surprises and enlightens, that you wonder why the fuller picture of the man isn't the one he presents to the world. I'm a sucker for any tales of heartbreak, so I adored those episodes, and they're written so well (as is the rest of the book) by someone clearly very very clever indeed. One star deducted however for referring to Jimmy Savile (clearly pre-scandal) which was an uncharacteristic lapse into trying to get easy laughs, which a lot of celeb autobiogs have opted for recently as a fun topic of nostalgic ridicule, and they've all had their come-uppance with the news stories breaking last year. Just one sentence, but it will make you wince!