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Stensvaag

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robert said:
I quailed at my first 40 hour book (The Company), but found it quite manageable. It just takes getting into and if the book is worthwhile, sucks you in. I just finished Churchill at 37:00+ hours.
Are "The Company" and "Churchill" worth it? Being a big fan of monster books, I actually purchased "The Company" but then never really got into it; I have been tempted by Churchill (the Jenkins' version?) for more than a year now.
 

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Re: Churchill and The Company

I thought "The Company" was. Probably not on "Churchill." It is primarily a political biography in contrast to, say, Samuel Adams where one gets a real taste of the complete man. I was relieved to be able to listen to Churchill at faster speed. The reviewer I quote and refer to in my blog and post on the book cites as better another one volume Churchill biography that I can't find in audio.

One thing I didn't cite in my post or blog about Churchill were things like a reference to Churchill keeping the Duke of Windsor from returning to UK from Spain during WWII and Churchill's admonishing him to not express opinions different from Parliament or the PM. Never identified him as the former King Edward (I think this is the case) nor gave the reason for keeping him out of UK or expressing any opnions that the Duke of Windsor had that may have been damaging to the cause. This is also one of the few times I have felt at a disadvantage on audio vs print. That is, Jenkins does not put years in all his dates. I think if reading from paper, one could glance back and figure out the year. Not a waste of time, but probably not a good choice since each of us has a limited time to listen with so many good books to listen to.

I have got to find the exact quote in "Shadow of the Wind" that the world is full of good writers -- what it needs are more good readers.
 
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4* All Fishermen are Liars, Linda Greenlaw

From the author of the delightful Lobster Chronicles, we have rousing afternoon of fishermen stories told in a seaside bar, in a lively narration by the author (real-life character in The Perfect Storm). Holds together well. Fun, short, and interesting. Would be a great auto trip audio. Available OverDrive or CDs only.
 

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More sources on Author interviews and Book Reviews

New York Times Author Interviews and Readings (free subscription required) Index by author to audio readings of their works or presentations as well as links to reviews of their books. Just found this great source.

Book Browse Excerpts, reviews, author interviews & more

Book Sense, Independent Book Sellers Site Best Sellers (actual sales unlike NYT shipment count), reviews, book picks, etc.

Book Reporter , same as above

Reading Group Guides.com 1750 reading group guides available plus how tos and suggestions for book Groups.

New York Times Book Page (free subscription required) Links to reviews, Editors' Choice, Paperback Row, Reading Group Picks, The 10 Best Books of 2004, 100 Notable Books of the Year, Children's Books, Featured Authors, Audio Readings


Road Trip America Unlike other links in this post, exclusively audio books.
 

CJNeverWinter

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Richard K. Morgan - Altered Carbon

its a very good listen. especially if you like Sci-Fi. Takeshi Kovacs is a former Envoy, a specially trained soldier/investigator who is sent to Earth from another planet to investigate the death of Laurens Bancroft, a multi-century old aristocrat.

this book suits not only sci-fi fans but fans of detective novels. the book has a good pace and a very good reader who does a very good job at creating different voices with accents for the different characters in the book.
 

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Even More Audio Sources of Author Interviews and Book Reviews

NPR Books, a newly inaugurated podcast described as "NPR book reviews, news and author interviews -- for people who love to read. The best of Morining Edition, All Things Considered, and other award-winning NPR programs." Link is to the iTunes podcast listing (this appears to work even if your iTMS is set to Australia :) ), but you can also access this from the NPR Books Web Page. The web page allows you to browse the items covered in the podcast. There's also a RealPlayer audio stream with additional content on the featured item at the top of the web page.

BookTV is C-Span's web site collection of non-fiction programs of books and author inteviews. They maintain streaming Real Player video archives for Encore Booknotes, their author interviews, and for their series on History, Public Lives, In Depth, and After Words, which focus on selected books.

A few more podcast book sources for Pete that I will delete after he picks them up for the podcast sticky; top level entries appear in the iTunes podcast lists: P.S. Shouldn't that podcast list include Alex Wilson's Spoken Alexandria project offerings, now that they are separated out from his paid (at very modest price) Telltale Weekly pieces? These are also available for subscription through iTunes, and include a variety of pieces from short stories (e.g. Araby from James Joyce's The Dubliners) to poetry (Kubla Khan by Coleridge).
 
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CJNeverWinter

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Richard K. Morgan - Broken Angels

This is the sequel to Altered Carbon, featuring Takeshi Kovacs as the main character once again.

Unlike Altered Carbon, Broken Angels is almost a straight up sci-fi novel. There is not much in the way of a detective story in Broken Angels.

Kovacs leads a team of mercenaries to claim an alien spacecraft for a corporation which is paying him multi-millions of dollars to claim the spacecraft for them. To claim the space craft the team has to survive deadly radiation, nano technology that has been unleashed to kill, and Kovacs former military battalion.

Broken Angels is a lot more faster paced than Altered Carbon. The characters are well thought out. The narrator who is that same from Altered Carbon once again did an excellent job with different voices and accents for each character.
 

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Myla Goldberg (Bee Season & Wickett's Remedy) Lecture

Myla Goldberg lectured in captivating and entertaining fashion tonight at Agnes Scott [Women’s] College where she was the visiting author for the freshman class assigned English reading selection of her book Bee Season (NetLibrary only). The movie version is to be released Nov 11. Goldberg discussed writing in general, Bee Season, and her newest book, which revolves around the 1918 flu pandemic, Wickett's Remedy: A Novel (UA at Audible, 10:57) Average Customer Rating: 4 (based on 5 votes. Short Description: In a multidimensional, intricately wrought narrative, Myla Goldberg leads us back to Boston in the early part of the twentieth century and into two completely captivating worlds....

Notable lecture quotes: “Each character [in Bee Season] is trying to escape the banality of every day life and it is about what it takes to become your own person in the world. In the end, Eliza becomes herself, says this is not my quest, she says no, this is not really her goal.” The latter was in response to a student expressing dismay about possible interpretations of the ending. Goldberg said that the reader owns fiction, and encouraged the student to put whatever interpretation on the ending that she wanted. In regard to Wickett’s Remedy, she responded to the question about how to read the integral notes in the margin as a second story and that the reader owned the story and could read it however the reader preferred. I learned that Goldberg’s audio narration intersperses the margin notes into the audio version in “different voices.” Goldberg’s narration of Bee Season is superb and I gather Wickett’s Remedy is also well-done. I will put it high on my next read list.
 

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5*The Human Stain (UA, Audible.com 14:30) Philip Roth

5* The Human Stain (UA, Audible.com 14:30) Author: Philip Roth Narrators: Arliss Howard, Debra Winger Average Customer Rating: 4.04 ( based on 129 vote(s) ) Publisher’s Summary: In 1998, the year in which America is whipped into a frenzy of prurience by the impeachment of a president, and in a small New England town, an aging classics professor, Coleman Silk, is forced to retire when his colleagues decree that he is a racist. The charge is a lie, but the real truth about Silk would have astonished his most virulent accuser.

Caution: After finding the audio version of Roth’s Pulitzer Prize winning American Pastoral disappointing, I read The Human Stain in print. Finding Roth’s character defining prose long and tedious, it was easy to fast read those portions in print. Having thusly enjoyed The Human Stain, I may return to an American Pastoral print version to see if the same reading technique improves it for me. Roth’s thorough character development is both a strength and weakness.
 

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5*Wicked and Son of a Witch by Gregory Maguire

5*Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the Westby Gregory Maguire, Audio CD only, 20 hours. Excellently narrated by John McDonough. An adult fantasy book with “… both idealism and cynicism in its discussion of social, religious, educational, and political issues present in Oz, and … in our day and time. The idealism is whimsical and engaging; the cynicism is biting. Sometimes the earthy language seems appropriate and adds to the sense of place; sometimes the four-letter words and sexual explicitness [but never graphic] distract from the charm of the tale. The multiple threads to the plot proceed … It is for good readers who like satire, and love exceedingly imaginative and clever fantasy.” Judy Sokoll, Fairfax County Public Library, VA – School Library Journal. Somewhat Tolkien-like in its appeal and complexity. Number 7 NYT Paperback Best Seller List.


5*Son of a Witch by Gregory Maguire, moderately well narrated by author. UA audible.com, 14:16. Average Customer Rating: 3.6 ( based on 11 votes). Maguire returns to the land of Oz. "Masterfully imaginative....Ten years after Wicked (which is still on Broadway [Tony Award winning]), fans will once again be clicking their heels with wonderment." (Publishers Weekly) "A tale that adroitly mixes drama, humor, and political satire into a well-knit examination of good and evil." (Library Journal). Number 9 NYT hardback bestseller list.

An interview with Gregory Maguire is included in the Son of a Witch audible version. Audible also offers the Gregory Maguire interview in a separate and free download. Maguire says that imploring letters from young girls prompted him to write the sequel.

Recommend listening to Wicked prior to Son of a Witch. Wicked is not available at audible.com, NetLibrary or OverDrive, so I bought a CD audiobook version.
Offering the following for resale on Amazon.com, each includes a CD burned with both m4b iPod bookmarking and mp3 files (CDs and cassette tapes are pristine):
- Wicked Unabridged CD set, including m4b and mp3 files burned on DVD $24.95 SOLD 11-11-05
http://s1.amazon.com/exec/varzea/ts/exchange-glance/Y03Y4047711Y1822565
- Atlas Shrugged Abridged cassette tape set, including m4b and mp3 files burned on CD $7.98
http://s1.amazon.com/exec/varzea/ts/exchange-glance/Y03Y5433537Y1565003
- The Broker, Abridged CD set, including m4b and mp3 files burned on CD $9.95
http://s1.amazon.com/exec/varzea/ts/exchange-glance/Y01Y0047351Y4075326
- Skinny Dip, Abridged CD set, including m4b and mp3 files burned on CD $8.98
http://s1.amazon.com/exec/varzea/ts/exchange-glance/Y03Y1216610Y1841122

Amazon.com offers CD mp3 versions of Wicked and Atlas Shrugged and is a source of inexpensive used CDs and cassette tapes for many audio books. Click on "see all editions" link while in book.

Edit, 11-15-05: No longer see mp3 version of Wicked and Atlas Shrugged, but The Fountainhead UA mp3 CD is there for $35 new or $35 in the new and used section direct from Blackstone Audio. Also offerred at at prices up to $73. Don't see any reason why one couldn't buy this very popular and expensive audio book for $35 new, and reoffer at nearly the same price on amazon used and new with added inducement of including an iPod/mp3 ready CD or DVD. See post (here) on reselling at amazon.
 
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robert

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5*The March: A Novel (UA, audible.com, 11:00) by E.L. Doctorow

5*The March: A Novel (UA, audible.com, 11:00) by E.L. Doctorow. Narrator: Joe Morton.
Average Customer Rating: 4.4 (based on 9 votes) Historic fiction about Sherman’s great destructive and war-winning march through Georgia and the Carolinas during the Civil War. National Book Award Finalist, Fiction, 2005. "In this powerful novel, Doctorow gets deep inside the pillage, cruelty and destruction, as well as the care and burgeoning love that sprung up in their wake.... On reaching the novel's last pages, the reader feels wonder that this nation was ever able to heal after so brutal, and personal, a conflict." (Publishers Weekly)
"Epic in scope, unsparing yet tender, The March captures the brutal truth that war is fought and suffered by individual men, women, and children…" (National Book Award judges' citation).

Selected books by E. L. Doctorow:
Ragtime (1975)
World's Fair (1985)
Billy Bathgate (1989)
The Waterworks (1994)
City of God (2000)
The March (2005)
 

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The Kalahari Typing School for Men by Alexander MCall Smith

4+*The Kalahari Typing School for Men: More from the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency (UA 6:53, audible, NetLibrary) Author: Alexander McCall Smith. Beautifully narrated by Lisette Lecat.

Clever, fun, and light. Perfect road-trip audio for family or couple. As good as No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency.

Publisher’s Summary: International best-selling author Alexander McCall Smith delivers another delightful tale from his critically acclaimed No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series.
Precious Ramotswe's comfortable existence as the only detective in Botswana is suddenly rattled when the Satisfaction Guaranteed Detective Agency opens, and its brochure proclaims, "Don't take any chances! Entrust your enquiries to a MAN!" As if the development isn't enough, Mma Ramotswe has also taken on two difficult cases, one of which hits close to home. But with wisdom on her side, Mma Ramotswe figures to crack both cases and upstage her competition.
 

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The Wee Free Men (Unabridged) by Terry Pratchett

The Wee Free Men (Unabridged Audible.com)
Author: Terry Pratchett
Narrator: Stephen Briggs
Unabridged Fiction
Audio Length: 7 hours and 10 min.
4.8 stars, 93 reviews

Breaking my self-imposed rules of commenting only on books I have read and not engaging in name dropping:

This book is highly recommended by my friend Marsha Norman (1993 Pulitzer Prize winner for 'Night, Mother and playright for The Color Purple) who said "btw - if you have any young girl listeners on your list - my daughter (age 13) and I absolutely loved WEE FREE MEN, by Terry Pratchett. The reader, Simon Briggs, is nothing short of genius, doing all the Scottish voices. I laughed out loud, a lot. We've just bought the next book in the series, A Hat Full of Sky, and are planning to listen to it..." There is a similar statement in a review at audible.com in which the girl listening is 9 years old.

Publisher's Summary: "Armed only with a frying pan and her common sense, Tiffany Aching, a young [9 years old] witch-to-be, is all that stands between the monsters of Fairyland and the warm, green Chalk country that is her home..."

I have read or heard that listening to a book with a child is almost as good as reading to a child. Both have substantial positive influence on children. I would bet that an influential and loved adult demonstrating interest in reading a good book is more important than book content.
 
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robert

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Bee Season by Myla Goldberg
Wicked by Gregory Maguire
To be added to Audible 11-22.
 

robert

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The Island at the Center of the World (Non-fiction)

4+*The Island at the Center of the World: The Epic Story of Dutch Manhattan (Unabridged) by Russell Shorto Narrator: L.J. Ganser
14:56 min.
Average Customer Rating: 4.07, based on 14 votes
Adapted from Publishers descripton: After decades of painstaking translation, 12,000 pages discovered Nearly 40 years ago by a New York State Library archivist from the original Dutch colony on Manhattan became the primary source for this breathtaking history of early New York.
Before there were 13 colonies, there was New Netherland. Founded by the Dutch, this tiny community ... supported a staggering array of Norwegians, Germans, Italians, free and slave Africans, Jews, Bohemians, Mohawk Indians, and more. Surrounded by intolerant Puritans, New Netherland took its cues from Amsterdam, Europe's most liberal city. Inevitably the Dutch and the English clashed, and a new nation was born.
This well told and previously unhearalded history makes for fascinating listening. Quite a change from the anglo-centric history we all learned.
 

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Balzac & the Little Chinese Seamstress

Saw the movie today (Chinese with subtitles) and was reminded by this pretty much true-to-the-book movie of how very much I enjoyed the book. Movie is condensed by necessity, of course, but each is excellent.

5+*Balzac & the Little Chinese Seamstress UA Dai Sijie. During Cultural Revolution, narrator & best friend exiled to the countryside for "re-education," find their meager distractions are a violin, the daughter of local tailor, & forbidden stash of classic literature. Surprise ending elevates the seamstress' importance.
 

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4+* Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

Lolita (Unabridged) by Vladimir Nabokov and Narrated by Jeremy Irons 11:30 Release Date: 04-26-2005
Average Customer Rating: 4.83 (audible.com based on 12 votes) and 4.5 (amazon.com based on 423 reviews).
Short Description: When it was published in 1955, Lolita immediately became a cause celebre because of the freedom and sophistication with which it handled the unusual erotic predilections of its protagonist

My appetite for this unusual book was whetted by references to it in Reading Lolita in Tehran and its appearance on several "best books ever" lists. Moriond pointed me to this recent version with its excellent narration by Jeremy Irons (listens well at faster speed). There are a dozen or so more than noticeable annoying small audio gaps in the last 1:10 of part 1 and the first hour of part 2. I have reported these to audible.com and hope that you will not have them. (I re-downloaded and found the gaps remained present when playing on iTunes and on iPod nano.)

There is no graphic description of raw sex. I could not describe it better than the following:

FreeBookNotes.com-Sparks Notes Themes, Motifs & Symbols
Nabokov revered words and believed that the proper language could elevate any material to the level of art. In Lolita, language effectively triumphs over shocking content and gives it shades of beauty that perhaps it does not deserve. Lolita is filled with sordid subjects, including rape, murder, pedophilia, and incest. However, Humbert Humbert, in telling his story, uses puns, literary allusions, and repeating linguistic patterns to render this dark tale in an enchanting form. In this way, Humbert seduces his readers as fully and slyly as he seduces Lolita herself. Words are his power, and he uses them to distract, confuse, and charm. He is a pedophile and a murderer, but he builds up elaborate defenses and explanations for his actions, and his language shields him from judgment. With Lolita, Nabokov’s ultimate achievement may be that he forces readers to be complicit in Humbert’s crimes. In order to uncover the actual story of pedophilia, rape, and murder within the text, readers have to immerse themselves in Humbert’s words and their shadowy meanings—and thus they must enter Humbert’s mind. By engaging so closely with Humbert’s linguistic trickery, readers cannot hold him at a far enough distance to see him for the man he truly is.
Suggest that after your listen, your going to FreeBookNotes.com-Sparks Notes Themes, Motifs & Symbols and read the entire page for insight into the book.
 

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5*The Hours, UA 6:19. Author Michael Cunningham narrates

Winner 1999 Pulitzer Fiction and PEN/Faulkner Awards. Made into a movie. 4*, 510 reviews amazon. Audible 3+* Three parallel stories about three women:
Virginia Woolf is recuperating from one of her bouts of depression with her husband in a London suburb, and beginning to write Mrs. Dalloway.
Clarissa Vaughan and her beloved friend, Richard Brown, who is dying with AIDs. Clarissa is honoring Richard with a party because of his distinguished poetry award. It simplifies listening if you realize Brown has nicknamed Clarissa Mrs. Dalloway.
Laura Brown, who lives in a 1950's Los Angeles suburb and begins to feel the ever tightening constraints of a perfect family and home and the tugs of her constant need to read (she is reading all of Virginia Woolf’s books).
The novel nicely pulls the stories together in the end.
It is a little confusing on audio, but a quick look at the Spark Note Character List will help keep the story straight
 
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robert

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Audible to fix The March, Part 1 missing 7 minutes.

from audible.com
Dear Robert,

We have been made aware that 'The March (Unabridged)' is incomplete in Formats 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5.

Specifically, there are 7 minutes missing from the end of Part I.
We are currently working to add the missing audio and will let you know when it has been fixed.
Audio Production Team
audible.com
One has to respect their tracking down the problem and notifiying customers who have purchased the book.

Format 5???????????? What????? I haven't recently downloaded a book. Does audible now have a higher kbps format?

Robert
 
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