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Hamburgerpatty

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The Seeker meets a Searcher ...

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

Reviewed: 20-07-19

One of the great joys of S G MacLean's novels in addition to the fine plotting and characterisations and pace and the occasional space in which the listener can draw breath are the observations, characters, descritpions found in the laybys. Before I listened to The Bear Pit I had never heard of Searchers before. Crumbs. A suitable job for a suitable (type of) woman. And buried deep in the narration lies a brief reminder to us in the second decade of the 21st century that while we might not agree with a holder's politcs, it does not follow that we need necessarily to despise the holder of those 'disagreeable' politics.

The narrator conveys the characters' stations in life superbly well.

Although I still pine for Alexander Seaton and therefore for a continuation of her other historical crime series, I eagerly look forward to the Seeker's fifth adventure. There's such an intriguing ending to The Bear Pit.

1 person found this helpful

Some of the biggest rogues were gentlemen ...

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

Reviewed: 11-07-19

...and some of the biggest gentlemen were rogues.

This audiobook was a delightful, amusing and sometime eyebrowing raising romp through stories of scamps, scoundrels, saviours, and 'stand-up' men and women in Old and not so Old Oregon. I'd enjoyed the author's Wicked Portland as an audiobook and was thrilled to be introduced to such an amazing cast of characters of both genders. Men certainly don't have the copyright on knavery and skullduggery.

Sometimes you might think that when it comes to narrating a book, it's wise not to let the author near it. I'm glad Fiinn J D John read the book. He is a superb reader with a great sense of pace and pausing and a lightness of voice. I'm still laughing days after I finished book.

Please sir, can we have some more?!?

Ahhh they left out the best quip

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

Reviewed: 24-08-18

I know its been said many times, many ways but the village cricket scene has to be one of the funniest passages ever written about cricket. For those of you who switch off when TMS comes on Radio 4 or wonder even what people see in the game you could do worse that spend some time wrapped in Macdonell's wonderul prose. However wonderful the passage and prose are, I still switch off TMS on Radio 4. That passage did help explain some of cricket's attractions and its part in social cohesion in an English village. Worth the listen.

Perhaps other aspects of the novel are now dated, though some of his insights to human behaviour are timeless and funny. I found it an aggreable listen and liklely listen to it again.

Martn Jarvis did a sublime job of reading and handling accents. Even Donald Camerons father.

With any 'abridged' volume there are likely to be readers who are going to be a bit disappointed. I'm one. My favourite observation ended up on the cutting room floor. For the record In the pillbox Donald Cameron asked the Welshmen: 'Why do the English always laugh when Aberdeen is mentioned?' Ah, yes a question to which there is no answer.

An everyday story of HR (Human Remains) folk

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

Reviewed: 27-01-18

This Could Hurt is well-observed novel of office relations - their hopes, desperations, fears, ambitions, boredom - at a time of downturn in a corportate NYC.

We get to follow the lives of five characters who all have their 'dead sheep in a farmer's field' moment. How do they react to the feeling and evidence of balance sheets that the firm they work for might be headed down the pan. And them with it.

So many issues were explored or hinted at or caused me to think about. How do we define friendship? Can you have friends at work? Do we work to live or live to work? Is the ladder of your life up against the right wall? Or is it a matter of wrong ladder, wrong wall? Is there a right wall? Is there a perfect job? Is there a perfect mate? A perfect house? A perfect car? A perfect number of children? Is everything a vanity and striving after the wind? Was Ellery worth the aggro, the broken health, the broken hearts, the broken dreams, the broken trust, the broken intrinsic values, the broken human relationships. Is the brass ring of the corner office worth all the clinging to the wreckage, the backstabbing, the loss of self?

I thought story wandered about a bit, the ending not satisfactory - but then that might have been part of the author's intent. No contract is ever truly a done deal. T's are left uncrossed; i's undotted.

All the narrators were very good.

Worth the listen and I'm certainly glad the author tackled that cinderella department of corporate America HR so effectively.

Is that how X is pronounced, I've often thought Y

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

Reviewed: 20-01-18

With due acknowledgement to Samuel Johnson I was reminded of his observation that much could be made of a Scot if he be caught young. There were some interesting obits. I 'met' some new folk and resolved to get reconnect with JM Barrie.

I found it was a worthwhile listen EXCEPT for some of the pronunciations. I gave up at althogether at Douglas-Home though the narrator's stab at the surname Geddes was so painful I skipped that chapter. Pity. Sir Patrick Geddes (two syllables) was one talented chiel.

Proof Positive - you can judge a book by its cover

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

Reviewed: 10-12-17

Yes, I 'fess up. It was the car which swung it for me. Classic 1950s ???Pontiac??. I couldn't tell if there was a split windowscreen or not. Ah, the publishers had me at the hood ornament. I had no idea what a Risk Pool was. However I had listened to one Richard Russo. But for the sake of the car I thought I would have a go.

From the opening bars I was hooked. The novel was driven by its characters. I felt that all of them - either major or minor - were drawn with love and empathy. Even the more unsavoury ones. I felt that this novel must have been a hymn of praise to people of the author's childhood - from the rock solid bar owners, to their patrons who skipped out on paying their bar bills, to lawyers and cops, rich and old.

And the observations of human behaviour - brilliant. As I type this I think about one bar fly in particular who had an odd way of slinking out on his bar bill, there was a pool game with teenage boys and yes that's is how teenage boys would caper round the pool table and early on in the novel there was a fishing trip which I think was central to the novel.

Great story, great listen (even with the narrator audibly swallowing a drink) and the ending just tied it neatly together in just a few words.

I hope someone out there in radioland will be able to tell me which classic car is on the cover.

Much could have been made of this novel if . . .

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

Reviewed: 26-11-17

. . . it had had the wire brush of a fearless copy editor who could spot a touch of author's indulgence at fifty paces.

The novel while entertaining was not a great 'read'. I'd echo the comments made by others that it was overwritten. There was far too much repetition. The epilogue had to my listening ear the feeling of haste and let's just get the darn thing finished. For despite the wordiness and 'oh really's? and one or two raised eyebrows on my part - I did persevere to the end.

I picked the book because of the World's Fair setting but was disappointed that so little of the action took place there.

The most memorable and to my mind thought-provoking scene in the book was not the action at the Fair, but the scene in the Welfare office and the confrontration between the struggling married woman and the Clerk fuly armed with the sledge hammer of policies and forrm filling. 'Dressed in a brief authority' was that Clerk and although government policies stated that married woman needed to provide lots of information at the end of their encounter - a good thing happened.

If it was a school report - could do better. I would perhaps recommend it to others but only as a summer read.

Not just an ordinary boy and his dog story

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

Reviewed: 09-07-17

What did you like most about Ribsy?

What did I like most? Cleary's observations of and understanding of the world of a scruffy canine - the way they run (scissoring their legs) , scratch fleas, view the world and above all SMELL the world. And the Uh Oh moment on which the subsequent drama hinges and what happens when the world tilts for a dog. It isn't all ha ha hee hee. I've not encountered this book for many many decades and there is much in it to delight young readers and teach adults; and much in it to delight adults and teach young readers.

What other book might you compare Ribsy to, and why?

I think Beverly Cleary and many of her novels would compare favourably with RIchmal Crompton. It's the observation of small and minor detail in a child's and dog's life which was described so well in Ribsy. The school classroom, the lunch bags, the walk to school.

Which character – as performed by Neil Patrick Harris – was your favourite?

He brought Ribsy to life.

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

When Ribsy was on the fire escape.

Any additional comments?

Please sir could we have some more of Beverly Cleary novels especially from her earlier career: Otis Spofford, Ellen Tebbits, Henry and Beezus, Emily's Runaway Imagination. To name a few.

1 person found this helpful

Hogarth Shakespeare: The hits just keep on comin'

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

Reviewed: 29-06-17

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

I thought the setting was inspired. Beyond mere superlatives and watery qualifiers. The organised chaos of the school playground. Take me home mama. The hierarchies of boys - the fast changing relationships of girls. Climbing frames and kickball. Jump ropes and double dutch. Who can twirl; who can jump. Who's in - who's out. Kid world to the fore. Adult world as background. Kudos to Tracy Chevalier and kudos to Prentice Onayemi for keeping it real. I laughed and cried the whole time I listened owing to the book's setting. I'm going to do it. I'll shove in a superlative. Genius.

Any additional comments?

Every book published in the Hogarth Shakespeare series has been memorable and for all the right reasons. Character,challenges, setting, pace, resolution, a ha moments, fun, 'good words' and above all - soul satisfying. I could go on. For me New Boy surpassed the others for its setting and young characters. Someone picked a inspirational narrator.

For the editors of the series it is my profound hope that Julius Caesar - which has one of the greatest boardroom scenes in all literature (Act IV scene I) - will also be adapted.

1 person found this helpful

A daddy or chips decision

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

Reviewed: 17-04-17

Would you try another book written by EuroTalk or narrated by Jamie Stuart?

Na na min.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

I couldn't hear the narrator because of the background music. I mean come on. In the name of the wee man. What was that music about? The daddy or chips decision was do I struggle with the words because I sure as anything did want to listen to music. The production demanded we do one or other. And the music went on and on and on and on. It was dire. And the narration was nothing to write home about. And was not inspiring. I didn't last very long. I checked to see if the music ever stopped or the narration got any better. Neither occurrence happened. IMO the greater sin by a wide wide wide margin was the music.

You didn’t love this book--but did it have any redeeming qualities?

No no no no. If it is was reissued WITHOUT music and with a more engaging narrator or narration I might tempered to take it again once more from the top. Music and sound effects in audiobooks just don't do it for me.

Any additional comments?

All Audible titles should have a sound effects/music warning. There are some here out in audio land who only like the spoken word and resent music or sound effects destroying the effects of the spoken word. So like a Government Health Warning I feel we should be warned about the presence of music and sound effects. And so save our money. In the title under discussion music clarted the whole run of the narration. Unbelievable.