LISTENER

Portia

Lichfield, United Kingdom
  • 15
  • reviews
  • 103
  • helpful votes
  • 47
  • ratings
  • Buddhist Meditation: The Breath

  • The Mindfulness of Breathing
  • By: Vessantara
  • Narrated by: Vessantara
  • Length: 3 hrs and 30 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 1
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 1
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 1

The Mindfulness of Breathing meditation has been practised in the Buddhist tradition for 2,500 years. It is now widely used not just among Buddhists but increasingly in the secular world as the basis of mindfulness training, and in other contexts such as yoga and, in recent times, stress and pain management. After all, as the author and teacher Vessantara observes: ‘The breath is always with us, necessary to our very existence, though it is often goes unnoticed. Yet giving it attention can transform our lives.' In The Breath, Vessantara, who has been meditating on the breath for over 40 years, writes engagingly for both newcomers and those with some experience. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A clear introduction to a timeless practice

  • By Portia on 18-12-18

A clear introduction to a timeless practice

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

Reviewed: 18-12-18

There’s a lot of books and recordings on offer these days on mindfulness, but not everyone knows it comes out of the Buddhist tradition. I loved this pithy but packed introduction to meditating with the breath and I like the fact this is a book written by someone with a lifetime of practice to back up what they are saying, that I can have confidence in. I already own the book, so it’s a real delight to now have it read by the author himself, and be able to listen and then try out the suggestions.

  • The Housekeeper's Tale

  • The Women Who Really Ran the English Country House
  • By: Tessa Boase
  • Narrated by: Tessa Boase
  • Length: 11 hrs and 36 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 78
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 69
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 69

The Housekeeper's Tale reveals the personal sacrifices, bitter disputes and driving ambition that shaped these women's careers. Using secret diaries, unpublished letters, and the neglected service archives of our stately homes, Tessa Boase tells the extraordinary stories of five working women who ran some of Britain's most prominent households.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Gripping stories, compulsive listening

  • By Dora on 22-02-17

More speculation than fact

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

Reviewed: 21-09-18

Lots of scene-setting, which may be needed to get across the periods described, but this seems to highlight the paucity of actual historical material. I wanted to like this book, but the speculative nature of how the people must have felt started to wear thin after a while. A good idea, but the material let it down. Nicely presented but failed to engage this listener.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

Blood of Dragons cover art
  • Blood of Dragons

  • The Rain Wild Chronicles 4
  • By: Robin Hobb
  • Narrated by: Anne Flosnik
  • Length: 16 hrs and 9 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 286
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 262
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 261

Dragon blood and scales, dragon liver and eyes and teeth. All required ingredients for medicines with near-miraculous healing powers. The legendary blue dragon Tintaglia is dying of wounds inflicted by hunters sent by the Duke of Chalced, who meanwhile preserves his dwindling life by consuming the blood of the dragon’s poet Selden Vestrit.

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • the best story ever murdered

  • By John Irwin on 03-07-13

Sorry Ms Flosnik

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

Reviewed: 10-07-15

Love Robin Hobb stories, and whilst the dragon keeper series isn't as strong as her others it's still good stuff.
But sadly Ms Flosnik sounds like a female dalek, at least she does on my iPhone. Such a distracting disappointment. I assume it's the recording settings of the production rather than her - but I won't be downloading other stories with this narrator- a pity as she is narrating other Robin Hobb books.

  • A Game of Thrones

  • Book 1 of A Song of Ice and Fire
  • By: George R. R. Martin
  • Narrated by: Roy Dotrice
  • Length: 33 hrs and 45 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 11,922
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 10,065
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 10,077

The complete, unabridged audiobook of A Game of Thrones. HBO’s hit series A Game of Thrones is based on George R. R. Martin’s internationally best-selling series A Song of Ice and Fire, the greatest fantasy epic of the modern age. A Game of Thrones is the first volume in the series. Summers span decades. Winter can last a lifetime. And the struggle for the Iron Throne has begun.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A truly brilliant fantasy novel

  • By Qasim on 16-09-11

Disappointing

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

Reviewed: 26-04-15

What did you like best about A Game of Thrones (Part One)? What did you like least?

I started reading the series before it exploded onto the TV. Full marks for the story then - it must be good if I want to hear it too! I'm not going spoil your fun by revealing the story - its a great tale, well written and compelling, fantastic characters.
Buy the book.
Sadly the narrator's wheezing style and. hesitant. delivery. weighs the story down. I can't help feeling sorry for him as he labours along ... will he manage all the books ... Or expire first?

Who might you have cast as narrator instead of Roy Dotrice?

Patrick Stewart

12 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • Winter King

  • The Dawn of Tudor England
  • By: Thomas Penn
  • Narrated by: Simon Vance
  • Length: 14 hrs and 34 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 153
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 105
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 103

A fresh look at the endlessly fascinating Tudors - the dramatic and overlooked story of Henry VII and his founding of the Tudor Dynasty - filled with spies, plots, counter-plots, and an uneasy royal succession to Henry VIII. Near the turn of the sixteenth century, England had been ravaged for decades by conspiracy and civil war. Henry Tudor clambered to the top of the heap, a fugitive with a flimsy claim to England’s crown who managed to win the throne and stay on it for 24 years.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Winter King

  • By Mrs. on 24-06-12

Dodgy geezer steals throne and bleeds country dry

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

Reviewed: 22-05-14

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

Great stuff ... Illuminated Henry VII very well. Good style, easy and informative listen. Great narration. Finished it in a few days, just didnt want to stop.
Yup, recommended.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Hard done by princess? Evil vizier tax-men? His ol' mum? His hero in the waiting son? The perfidious foreigners? Underrated outsider in rags to riches real-life story?
Got it all, really :)

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • The Flame of Islam

  • By: Harold Lamb
  • Narrated by: Charlton Griffin
  • Length: 17 hrs and 7 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 8
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 5
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 4

A history of the Crusades. Out of the chaos of Muslim tribal warfare and regional animosity arose a military genius such as Islam had never known: Saladin. Uniting the sultanates of Cairo and Damascus, Saladin created a single powerful state. Luring the crusaders into an ill-considered confrontation, he destroyed their army at the Battle of Hattin in 1187, leaving the few remaining crusaders clinging perilously to a series of towns and forts along the Levantine coast. Into this desperate situation stepped the most formidable warrior of the age, Richard the Lion-Hearted.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • History delivered like a Tolkein novel

  • By Portia on 27-01-14

History delivered like a Tolkein novel

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

Reviewed: 27-01-14

What did you like most about The Flame of Islam?

I had to concentrate with this book - not a complaint! I feel much more informed. It does what it says on the tin.. Took a while to realise the odd writing style and language was because the book was written in the 1930s. The style is reminiscent of the epic style of Tolkein, and contains imaginative scene setting sections that are almost poetic amongst the historic facts.
Once I decided to go with the quirks they were charming.

What about Charlton Griffin’s performance did you like?

Great declaiming performance fitted the book style well

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

Good grief no! Your head would explode.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • A Brief History of the Vikings

  • Brief Histories
  • By: Jonathan Clements
  • Narrated by: Mark Meadows
  • Length: 8 hrs and 53 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 65
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 59
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 58

Between the eighth and eleventh centuries, the Vikings surged from their Scandinavian homeland to trade, raid and invade along the coasts of Europe. Their influence and expeditions extended from Newfoundland to Baghdad, their battles were as far-flung as Africa and the Arctic. But were they great seafarers or desperate outcasts, noble heathens or oafish pirates, the last pagans or the first of the modern Europeans?

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Not narrated by Mark Meadows

  • By Portia on 26-01-14

Not narrated by Mark Meadows

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

Reviewed: 26-01-14

Would you try another book written by Jonathan Clements or narrated by Mark Meadows?

Bought this partially because I like history, but overwhelmingly because I thoroughly enjoyed Mark Meadows reading another 'A Brief History ...' book on Victorian Britain. Very disappointed when the narrator announced a different name.
Not good, audible.
The narration is fine however - but not as good as I expected. If you are expecting the excellent Mr Meadows, be prepared.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Down Under

  • By: Bill Bryson
  • Narrated by: William Roberts
  • Length: 12 hrs and 8 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,014
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 823
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 817

Australia has more things that can kill you than anywhere else. Nevertheless, Bill Bryson journeyed to the country and promptly fell in love with it. The people are cheerful, their cities are clean, the beer is cold, and the sun nearly always shines.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Hilarious

  • By Lynette Morris on 24-12-12

Bill's high standard not fully met

Overall
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 24-12-12

This is a great book. For many travel writers, observers and commentators it would be one of their best. Unfortunately Bill sets a high standard, which in this case he just misses. It's still a great book and worth adding to your Bryson collection. After all, who would want to miss Bill Bryson vs. a continent full of the worlds deadliest animals?

  • A History of the World

  • By: Andrew Marr
  • Narrated by: Andrew Marr, David Timson
  • Length: 26 hrs and 28 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,641
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,126
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,126

From the earliest civilizations to the 21st century: a global journey through human history, published alongside a landmark BBC One television series. Our understanding of world history is changing, as new discoveries are made on all the continents and old prejudices are being challenged. In this truly global journey, Andrew Marr revisits some of the traditional epic stories, from classical Greece and Rome to the rise of Napoleon, but surrounds them with less familiar material, from Peru to the Ukraine, China to the Caribbean.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Awsome, educational and epic work

  • By Adisha on 30-10-12

Better than the TV series

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 24-12-12

Not of the same quality as Andrew Marr's British history but an enjoyable romp through world history with a few 'well I never knew that' moments. His interest in modern politics means the book gets more involved towards the end. Thoroughly enjoyable, and the narrator does a fine job.

21 of 22 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 536
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 382
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 378

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

Almost but not quite

Overall
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 17-04-12

I read the earlier Time Traveller's Guide to Medieval England in good old fashioned paperback and enjoyed it . So it was an easy choice to pick this on the track record of the earlier book. I wish I'd stuck to paperback again.TTG to Elizabethan England is not a bad book, however it doesn't work as an audiobook as well as many other books. The narration is fine and clear but the book suffers from too many facts and figures, lists and statistics. In print these work, but as the spoken word they serve to bog down the book and break up flow and imagination. A pity . Perhaps this is a (to my preference) rare example of a book that would honestly be improved for audio by being abridged.

45 of 45 people found this review helpful