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Bookthrower

UK
  • 9
  • reviews
  • 15
  • helpful votes
  • 10
  • ratings
  • Holding

  • By: Graham Norton
  • Narrated by: Graham Norton
  • Length: 7 hrs and 26 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,956
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,781
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,777

Graham Norton's masterful debut is an intelligently crafted story of love, secrets and loss. The remote Irish village of Duneen has known little drama, and yet its inhabitants are troubled. Sergeant PJ Collins hasn't always been this overweight; mother of two Brid Riordan hasn't always been an alcoholic; and elegant Evelyn Ross hasn't always felt that her life was a total waste.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A classic tale of love and loss

  • By Panda on 13-11-16

Excellent performance, interesting characters

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

Reviewed: 25-03-17

This book, giving a picture of life in rural Ireland, read with a genuine Irish accent, adapted appropriately to different characters, is very enjoyable. It's good (usually)when authors read their own work , because they know what they mean so can express it accordingly. The characters, in this novel are all interesting and believable, and mostly sympathetic and likeable, and I became very engaged with their stories. My only reservation is that it seems to be a detective/mystery /crime story, but the mystery isn't all that mysterious. I guessed most of the explanation for the bodies that were found by about halfway through, though not all the details relating to them. My attention was held by wanting to know what happened to the living people..
Graham Norton's performance of his own work is excellent. .

  • My History

  • By: Antonia Fraser
  • Narrated by: Penelope Wilton
  • Length: 10 hrs and 22 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 11
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 10

Antonia Fraser's memoir describes growing up in the 1930s and 1940s but its real concern is with her growing love of history. The fascination began as a child when her evacuation at the beginning of the war to an Elizabethan manor house became an inspiration for historical imaginings - and developed into an enduring passion; as she writes, 'for me, the study of History has always been an essential part of the enjoyment of life'.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Disappointingly superficial

  • By Bookthrower on 26-02-15

Disappointingly superficial

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

Reviewed: 26-02-15

This was quite an interesting description of life in the fifties for the daughter of a noble and in many ways privileged (private schools, Oxford education, connections to influential people, presentation at court ) but relatively impoverished family.If you're interested in who met whom and descriptions of well-known people, it will probably appeal to you. But to me the most interesting aspect of biographies is the insight they provide into the psychology of the subject. How does the person's background/ upbringing affect their subsequent life? I was hoping to discover how the daughter of prominent Catholic and socialist parents, and a keen Catholic convert herself, came to marry a conservative MP,later divorce him after having a protracted extramarital affair with the non-catholic Harold Pinter and marry the latter.Surely this must have caused some tensions in the family. I realise the story is subtitled "A Memoir of Growing Up", so I couldn't really expect it to cover the author's adult life, but still, I think their could have been more allusion to how family values and relationships were to affect the future.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • The Luminaries

  • By: Eleanor Catton
  • Narrated by: Mark Meadows
  • Length: 29 hrs and 15 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,395
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 1,271
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,266

It is 1866 and Walter Moody has come to make his fortune upon the New Zealand goldfields. On arrival, he stumbles across a tense gathering of 12 local men, who have met in secret to discuss a series of unsolved crimes. A wealthy man has vanished, a whore has tried to end her life, and an enormous fortune has been discovered in the home of a luckless drunk. Moody is soon drawn into the mystery: a network of fates and fortunes that is as complex and exquisitely patterned as the night sky.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Beautifully written, but slower than a snail

  • By Avril Sawers on 02-11-13

Ambitious as Middlemarch but without the skill

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

Reviewed: 25-08-14

This book reminds me of George Eliot's Middlemarch in its attempt to describe a whole community and how it interacts, and in the author's interposing of comments about human nature or philosophical observations on life. But whereas Eliot's characters have roundness and depth and come to life, those in The Luminaries are so cardboard I have trouble remembering which is which,so that at each turn of plot I have to work out who this is happening to and how it is likely to affect him or her. (Her is easier as there are only two females).This makes it very hard to empathise with the characters and care about what happens to them. I am only about half-way through, but I'm not sure I'll make it to the end.
To continue the comparison,where Eliot's authorial observations are apposite, insightful, and have a ring of truth, those in The Luminaries are unconvincing and tedious.
The performance is very good, and the narrator's skilful delivery of a variety of accents does
help to distinguish some individuals from the amorphous mass of masculinity (without it I would be really lost.)
I cannot begin to understand why this novel won the Booker Prize. But then, I only got through half of Wolf Hall before boredom overcame me, so perhaps I just don't have the intellectual stamina to cope with Booker Prize material.

  • Tiny Sunbirds Far Away

  • By: Christie Watson
  • Narrated by: Adjoa Andoh
  • Length: 12 hrs and 22 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 159
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 147
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 145

Blessing and her brother Ezikiel adore their larger-than-life father, their glamorous mother and their comfortable life in Lagos. But all that changes when their father leaves them for another woman. Their mother is fired from her job at the Royal Imperial Hotel - only married women can work there - and soon they have to quit their air-conditioned apartment to go and live with their grandparents in a compound in the Niger Delta. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Beautifully words and narration

  • By Georgeia on 01-08-12

A beautiful story, beautifully told

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

Reviewed: 20-05-14

This is a moving story full of colourful, interesting characters, and evocative description.It gives an insight into what life can be like for people in a country beset by conflict of culture, religion, wealth and poverty, and exploitation by multinational companies.It is beautifully written, and beautifully told. The narrator is outstanding: she puts just the right expression into every sentence and uses a variety of accents with equal skill, providing just the right voice to suit each character.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Philomena

  • By: Martin Sixsmith
  • Narrated by: John Curless
  • Length: 15 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 364
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 330
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 336

Falling pregnant as a teenager in 1952, Philomena Lee was sent to the convent in Co. Tipperary to be looked after as a fallen woman. She cared for her baby for three years until the Church took him and sold him, like countless others, to America for adoption. She spent the next 50 years secretly searching for him, unaware that he was searching for her from across the Atlantic.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Glory Be!!!

  • By mollyeyre on 18-07-14

Good Book,Wrong Title

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

Reviewed: 20-05-14

This is a sad but gripping true story of love, loss,betrayal and healing.Very well narrated.
But if you've seen the film you may think this is Philomena's story (as the film is, mostly),
It isn't: it concentrates much more on the life of her son and to some extent, his adoptive sister. This actually made it more interesting to me, as the film largely skimmed over Anthony's life,But the title is misleading.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Uncle Tom's Cabin

  • Life Among the Lowly
  • By: Harriet Beecher Stowe
  • Narrated by: Mary Sarah
  • Length: 15 hrs and 23 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 22
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 18
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 17

Uncle Tom's Cabin was the best-selling novel of the 19th century and the second best-selling book of that century, following the Bible. It is credited with helping fuel the abolitionist cause in the 1850s. In 1855, three years after it was published, it was called "the most popular novel of our day." A thrilling and important piece of American literature!

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Brilliant story, poor narration

  • By Bookthrower on 22-02-14

Brilliant story, poor narration

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

Reviewed: 22-02-14

Would you try another book written by Harriet Beecher Stowe or narrated by Mary Sarah?

I'd read another book by the author, but will definitely avoid this narrator in future.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Uncle Tom's Cabin?

There were many, some memorable because of the terrible tragedy of them,others for the heroism of the characters. Many of these scenes were based on true events.

How could the performance have been better?

Although the narrator has a good voice and used an appropriate accent, the performance was jerky, the expression often didn't match the meaning, and many words were mispronounced.I got the impression that the narrator had not practised before she made the recording.

Did Uncle Tom's Cabin inspire you to do anything?

It brought home to me the horrors of slavery, and it also helped me understand some of the complicated reasons why this abuse of human beings persisted and was so difficult to end.It inspires me to think about what abuses still continue today, to which I may be turning a blind eye and which I may feel more comfortable to leave unchallenged, in the way that many basically good people allowed slavery to continue unchallenged.

Any additional comments?

The author must have been courageous to write this famous book, and I understand it had a profound effect on the history of the United States.The narration unfortunately does not do it justice.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Mansfield Park

  • By: Jane Austen
  • Narrated by: Juliet Stevenson
  • Length: 16 hrs and 50 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 391
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 315
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 313

At the tender age of 10, Fanny Price is 'adopted' by her rich relations and is removed from the poverty of her home in Portsmouth to the opulence of Mansfield Park. The transplantation is not a happy one. Dependent, helpless, neglected and forgotten, Fanny struggles to come to terms with her new life until, tested almost to the limits of endurance, she assumes her righful role...

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A reluctant Janeite not reluctant any more.

  • By Colin Davey on 20-11-16

Better than some more expensive versions

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

Reviewed: 25-08-13

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

I would recommend this very highly. Jane Austen's characterisation and dialogue are, as always, brilliant, and seem to be particularly effective when read aloud.Since reading circles were a common social activity in J.A.'s time, perhaps she intended this. Juliet Stevenson does full justice to the text. She uses different voices for different characters, which bring out their character beautifully, yet sound quite natural. I am pleasantly surprised, because this is one of the cheapest versions of Mansfield Park, and yet it must be one of the best (I haven't tried the others, but other people's reviews seem to indicate some are not as good).

What other book might you compare Mansfield Park to, and why?

Just as good as Jane Austen's other novels.

Which character – as performed by Juliet Stevenson – was your favourite?

Lady Bertram -I can just picture her laid out on the chaise longue,so outrageously self-absorbed and indolent that she becomes comic..

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

Yes, but I rationed myself, so I would have it to look forward to.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Snow Child

  • By: Eowyn Ivey
  • Narrated by: Debra Monk
  • Length: 10 hrs and 49 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 354
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 230
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 233

A bewitching tale of heartbreak and hope set in 1920s Alaska. Jack and Mabel have staked everything on making a fresh start for themselves in a homestead 'at the world's edge' in the raw Alaska wilderness. But as the days grow shorter, Jack is losing his battle to clear the land, and Mabel can no longer contain her grief for the baby she lost many years before. The evening the first snow falls, their mood unaccountably changes.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A lovely haunting story with gentle narration

  • By S. Bradshaw on 06-03-12

A enthralling account of a couple's relationship

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 25-07-12

I don't understand how anyone can find this novel slow or dull. I found it riveting: the fascinating account of a married couple's relationship and how they cope with farming in harsh conditions, and childlessness.It is at once a very convincing description of human life and characters, on the other it could be read as a fairy tale, perhaps symbolising women's need for children and at the same time, the sacrifice of herself and her freedom a woman must make in order to bear them. It is also beautiful and poetic, as several reviewers have mentioned.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

The Secret Intensity of Everyday Life cover art
  • The Secret Intensity of Everyday Life

  • By: William Nicholson
  • Narrated by: Adjoa Andoh
  • Length: 12 hrs and 11 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 16
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 7
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 7

No one is perfectly happy, but when are we happy enough? Laura is a happily married mother of two until an ex-lover contacts her. Suddenly passion and excitement are rekindled, but how much happiness has she a right to expect, and what about the pain she would cause to achieve it? Unknown to Laura, several others in her Sussex village are also living with their own unresolved crises, where every decision they take has an impact on those around them.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Makes everyday life interesting...

  • By Di S on 23-12-12

The Secret Intensity of Everyday Life

Overall
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 21-05-12

It's a very good novel, but my problem was with the narration. The narrator has a pleasant voice, and when she's just telling the story , it's fine. But she tries to change her voice to fit each character, and with most of the male characters, it doesn't work. The women's and children's voices are okay, but the men's sound exaggerated, distorted, or odd. The vicar sounds like a sterotyped parody of a vicar, and the Scottish school teacher sounds like he's permanently trying to seduce somebody (except when he just sounds as if he's spitting.) I found this very off-putting.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful