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moriond

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Audible Format 5

robert said:
Format 5???????????? What????? I haven't recently downloaded a book. Does audible now have a higher kbps format?
Wasn't format 5 used only on the SONY IC recorder?
 

arsolot

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Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell

I highly recommend Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell.

It is actually six novellas, each set in a different place in the world, and at a different time in history. It starts off in the early 1800s on a ship in the South Pacific, then moves to 1930s Belgium, then to the 1970s in a fictional California city, then to the present day in London. After that, the novel is set in the future, in the near future in Korea, and then it is set in Hawaii in the distant future.

But, note that each of the novellas is told in parts: 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 are all only partially finished, but novella 6 is told in full. Then, after the 6th novella, the rest of the novellas are finished, but in the reverse order of 5, 4, 3, 2 and then finally 1.

Each of the six novellas are narrated by different readers, all of whom are excellent.

Besides the interesting structure of Cloud Atlas, the book is extremely well-written. Each of the six novellas have a different genre and each are each written in a different style. For instance, the novella set in the 1970s in a fictional California city is a John Grisham-like thriller, with very short, numbered chapters. This novella is a little bit of a spoof of that genre.

Mitchell almost creates his own language in the 5th and 6th novellas, especially in the last one.

Again, I highly recommend this one.
 

Diejws

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VegasRobb said:
I'm hoping House of Leaves or something by China Mieville gets put on audible soon.
I'd be interested in seeing how House of Leaves put in audio form would turn out. I have the book and have read most of it, but I think I'd buy the audio version too if it turned out well.
 

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5-* Gilgamesh: A New English Version (U) An unknown poet wrote this, the world's oldest known epic poem. (2 hours for story; 2 hours for interpretation and explanation by the editor.) Superbly narrated by George Guidall in what is undoubtedly the way most received the story in its time. Uniquely and appropriately audio. The narrative pace translates beautifully to an easy-to-listen-to story (publisher's notes say that earlier translations are stiff and academic). Fun and Enlightening -- not to worry if poetry puts you off -- this story flows beautifully. The interpretations and explanations of the editor, Stephen Mitchell, are worthwhile. I question his easy-to-ignore comparisons to very current events that can only be judged appropriately in the lens of history and speculations on a homoerotic relationship between the two main characters. Very worthwhile.

4++*Wickett’s Remedy Written and narrated by Myla Goldberg 10:57. Ratings: Audible 4* 3 reviews; Amazon 4* 10 reviews -- Some don’t like the margin notes. Historic Fiction set in the midst of the devastating 1918 flu epidemic, Goldberg makes it come alive with realistic characters and an intriguing narration cast and sound effects that inserts the “voices” that appear in the margins of the printed edition of the book (Some reviewers object to the margin notes). Goldberg weaves an excellent story of invented characters participating in actual happenings. Goldberg's lead character Lydia displays courage, independence, and strength. This "Southie" of Boston moves beautifully through the novel as she struggles with the limitations of her background and the tough hand of cards which she is dealt.

4+*The Kalahari Typing School for Men: More from the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency (U) 6:53 Alexander McCall Smith. Delightful, fun, and light sequel in the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series. Ranks well above his Tears of the Giraffe.

4* Saving Fish from Drowning by Amy Tan. OverDrive only. 17:38. Amazon readers rate 3* with very mixed reviews. Admittedly not as good as other Tan books, nonetheless a very enjoyable book. Based on a true event, it is an engrossing read until the wrap up stage. I felt the wrap up was not equal to the rest of the book. The editorial reviews give away entirely too much of the plot. Tan mixes in a bit of Accidental Tourist humor and irony. Her characters are all too believable. Impossible listening at faster speed.

Current listen: A Bend in The River by V.S. Naipaul. 5* Audible.com listener ranking. Also avail OverDrive. Very good so far.

New Audible site:
Appears that you now have to have bought the audio from audible to rank and write a review of an audio book at audible.com and that you must write a review to rank.
 
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robert

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5* A Bend in the River by VS Naipaul

10:41UA. Narrated by Simon Vance. 5* audible.com; 4.5* Amazon.com 54 reviews. Available audible.com, OverDrive. Listens very well at faster speed.

Naipaul is author of 25 books and winner of Nobel Prize for literature.

New York Times Book Review (link you may wish to visit after you listen to the book)
In …”A Bend in the River," Naipaul struggles with the ordeals and absurdities of living in new "third world" countries. He is free of any romantic moonshine about the moral charms of primitives or the glories of blood-stained dictators. Nor does he show a trace of Western condescension or nostalgia for colonialism. He is a tough-spirited writer, undeluded about the sleaziness of much contemporary history and not especially hopeful about its consequences.
… set in an unnamed East African country, a bit perhaps like Uganda, but finally Naipaul's own turf. Independence has been won, civil war concluded. "The Big Man," president for life, rules by rhetoric, guile, sorcery and a strong helping of terror. …
At the novel's center is Salim, a Muslim of Indian family … rutted in traditionalism. Both the narrative voice and dominant consciousness, Salim is a decent fellow, impressionable, thoughtful, not at all intellectual. … "Our way of life," Salim tells himself about the Indian settlement in Africa, "was antiquated and almost at an end." He is an outsider, watching with the outsider's nervousness.
The country, presumably Salim's too, has now entered modern history, or at least a coarse parody of it. ...
Complex and beautifully written fiction. Deep insight into the thoughts and feelings of, and impact upon, the ordinary colonial and native peoples of a now “free” African country.

An apparently knowledgeable amazon.com reviewer says "The novel is set in the city of Kisangani, on the Congo River in Congo (formerly the Zaire river in Zaire)..."

For a lengthy and informative NYT interview and article about V.S. Naipaul click here
 
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robert

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4.4*I'm Not Scared (UA) 6:10 by Niccolo Ammaniti Narrator: Paul Boehmer Audible Customer Rating: 4*. Amazon.com ratings: 4* 35 reviews – predominately good, but mixed, ratings. R movie -- Italian with subtitles -- released 2004 and now on DVD (which is excellent and powerful). Reads well at faster speed.
BookBrowse (A BB 2003 Favorite Book) says, “In this immensely powerful, lyrical and skillfully narrated novel, set in southern Italy, nine year-old Michele discovers a secret so momentous, so terrible, that he daren’t tell anyone about it.” The adult voice (don’t forget that to understand the full implications of an abrupt ending) of Michele brings everything alive and, in the end, Michele acts with outstanding courage. Combines loss of innocence, coming of age and gripping story line. Some classify as thriller. I found it more literary in the To Kill a Mockingbird tradition.

I suppose you will be able to believe that an "I Am Not Scared" audible.com search comes up with zero results but "I'm Not Scared" does.

4*Rising Tide: The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 and How It Changed America by John M. Barry, Narrator: Barry Grizzard. Audio avail only in Abridged version: 4:48. Listens well at faster speed. Audible Customer Rating: 4.2* Non-Fiction.
The title says it all. All includes social, racial, economic, engineering, power, vision, poor decision making, politicizing and engineering, vision and absence thereof, all the consequences and glimpses of what might have been (when blacks are forced labor on the levees, and in Greenville in one instance the blacks successfully argued for a volunteer effort that worked for a while), the making of Herbert Hoover and expansion of government into relief. In the aftermath of Katrina, it all comes alive with deja vou. The paper back is 528 pages and it is difficult to know what the abridged audio version leaves out, but it appears to seamlessly capture the important elements of the book. My son, whose literary tastes I respect, found the full book became tedious after a while.
For fun, see the amazon.com review of this book by William A. Percy, Professor of History, UMass Boston -- a descendant bearing the name of one of the key characters in this book. In the interest of full disclosure, he should have told of his offer of a $10,000 bounty for the outing of major political figures.
 
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robert

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I'm Not Scared

Just watched the movie. It is powerful and quite true to the book. Only a few liberties taken. Parallels and reinforces the powerful story line of the book. The movie is more of a thriller than is the book. Italian with English subtitles and the version I rented would not play other than envelope picture. 101 minutes.
 

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4++*1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus

by Charles C. Mann Narrator: Peter Johnson 11:16 Audible Rating 4*
What the Critics Say:
"Johnson renders this thoroughly researched, well-written history of early North and South American Indian populations in a strong, clear voice, with excellent intonation. His diction is almost too perfect." (Publishers Weekly)
"Mann's 1491 vividly compels us to re-examine how we teach the ancient history of the Americas and how we live with the environmental consequences of colonization." (Washington Post Book World)
Publisher's Summary: ...takes us on an enthralling journey of scientific exploration. We learn that the Indian development of modern corn was one of the most complex feats of genetic engineering ever performed. That the Great Plains are a third smaller today than they were in 1700 because the Indians who maintained them by burning died. And that the Amazon rain forest may be largely a human artifact. Compelling and eye-opening...
 

SGW

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I recently enjoyed "S is for Silence" by Sue Grafton, a character driven mystery that's a little different from some of her others. It involves flashbacks and third person narration as well as the first person investigation by private detective Kinsey Milhone.
 

robert

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5* The Stranger (3:27 Unabridged), by Albert Camus Narrator: Jonathan Davis
“… one of the most widely read novels in the world, with millions of copies sold. It stands as perhaps the greatest existentialist tale ever conceived, and is certainly one of the most important and influential books ever produced.” – Publisher’s Summary.
In 1957, at the age of 44, Camus received the Nobel Prize for Literature and died in an auto accident two years later. He is remembered for his existential ideas which he and his contemporaries question man’s very existence. They viewed life as largely meaningless, hopeless, and absurd and that nothing that man did on earth made a difference. These existential ideas are clearly developed in the character of Mersault.-- PinkMonkey.com
Intriguing and thought provoking fiction. Billed as the first “American English” translation. Somewhat reminiscent of Crime and Punishment.

4.5* Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything (6:30 Unabridged) Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner. Narrator: Stephen J. Dubner
Controversial and popular book, but whatever you think of the authors’ conclusions it will alter your viewpoint and acceptance of face-value explanations. Fascinating non-fiction.

4.5*The Rape of Nanking (8:09UA)Author: Iris Chang Narrator: Anna Fields Non-fiction.
In 1937, in the capital of China, one of the most brutal massacres of wartime barbarity occurred. The Japanese army looted and burned and systematically raped, tortured and murdered more than 300,000 Chinese civilians. The Rape of Nanking tells the story from three perspectives: Japanese soldiers who performed it; of the Chinese civilians who endured it; and a group of Europeans and Americans who were able to create a safety zone that saved almost 300,000 Chinese. Led by a German Nazi, the "Oskar Schindler of China" who worked tirelessly to save the innocent from slaughter. From Publisher’s Notes.
Amazing story of cruelty and bravery. Insight into China was going communist which meant the free world was courting a Japan which has never been held accountable.

Following CD’s were given to me in abridged version. Only Team of Rivals is not available unabridged (no version). All available from audible.com.

4*The Coffee Trader (5:30 Abridged) by David Liss, narrated by Graeme Malcolm
Fun historic fiction of mid 17th Century Amsterdam. Intrigue, wheeling and dealing, futures, puts, calls, attempted corner of the coffee market in this setting give insight into a fictional historic world that was well ahead of its times. UA is 12:27. Is a page-turner.

5*Team of Rivals : The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln (9:26 Abridged. UA not avail) Author: Doris Kearns Goodwin Narrator: Richard Thomas
Billed as the biography of Lincoln and his three rivals for the 1860 Republican presidential nomination whom he brilliantly and effectively incorporated into his cabinet. Lincoln easily overshadows the lesser, though strong, characters. Terrific insight into Lincoln, his cabinet, the awful times of the Civil War, and the political and personal skills Lincoln used to preserve the union and win the war in the face of incompetent Union generals. Well written and narrated. Did not seem to suffer from being abridged. The man comes alive in the way a great president should.

5* A Short History of Nearly Everything (5:39 Abridged) by Bill Bryson, narrated by the author. Barely tolerable at faster listen.
Bryson tackles everything from the big bang to the rise of civilization with comprehensible and interesting explanations of complex scientific principles and discoveries. Clear, entertaining, engaging.
 
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robert

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4.5* True History of the Kelly Gang by Peter Carey

4.5* True History of the Kelly Gang (13:57, incl 45 minute author interview. Unabridged) Author: Peter Carey Narrator: Gianfranco Negroponte Audible, NetLibrary. 2001 Booker Prize winner
This “invented history” book about Australia’s Billy the Kid is a rip-roaring, fun book that opens a picture window into Australia’s cultural past. It provides insight into how corrupt and cruel police create an environment in which subjected groups of people (in this case, the Irish, who are judged to lie below cattle and above only the natives)or individuals can be propelled along an almost involuntary path of self-destruction.

I strongly recommend that you listen to the author interview before you listen to the book. The author begins the book with the final taking of Ned Kelly, so you will not spoil the story line by listening to the interview. Great perspective that partly helps distinguish the “invented history” (NYT’s book review description) from fact. The interview is the last 45 minutes of this audio.
You will love this deficient character and admire the people of Australia.

David, have you read it and have an opinion?
 

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5*Night, by Elie Wiesel, new English translation by Marion Wiesel

5*Night (4:20 Unabridged) Author: Elie Wiesel Narrator: George Guidall. audible.com and NetLibrary. New English Translation by Marion Wiesel from the French version of 1958. Current best seller and (because of?) Oprah’s Jan 2006 book club selection. Memoir* of the author’s harrowing experiences of barely surving the holocaust in the brutal concentration camps. Audio includes Wiesel’s Noble Peace Price acceptance speech, his preface (strangely at the end) for this new version, followed by the preface of the original French version. 40 minutes of the audio for the latter three. A powerful account that will burn into your mind.
*Wiesel affirms, in the face of past erroneous references to this work as a novel, that work is not fiction.
 
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laughinggravy

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I really can't remember if I've said this already - but the Philip Pullman 'His Dark Materials' triology is brilliant and the author, and the other readers, just fantastic. I was really sad to come to an end and intend to carry the first book on the iPod just to hear them all again from time to time and maybe re start the books. It was unforgettable.
A
 

jemm

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laughinggravy said:
[I was really sad to come to an end and intend to carry the first book on the iPod just to hear them all again from time to time
I do exactly that! They are such great stories and I don't realy care if they are meant for children. They keep me interested thinking about the world he has created. Definitely get a second recommendation from me. :)
 

moriond

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Author Interview podcasts and sites; VidLits

The Lannan Foundation sponsors an annual series of Readings & Conversations that they've begun to release as podcasts. Authors, essayists, poets, and various men and women of letters read and discuss their works. Recent programs mix current season speakers, such as A. S. Byatt (author of Possession), with speakers from earlier seasons, such as poet Seamus Heaney (also known for his recent translation of Beowulf). See the Lannan Foundation podcasts web page for a description of current offerings.

The Audio Archives of the Lannan Foundation were originally described in an earlier post about author interview sites that appeared in this thread, and includes KCRW's Bookworm interviews in RealAudio streaming format.

A fun production that arose in reaction to Myla Goldberg's Bookworm Interview for Bee Season (recommended and discussed in this forum) is this VidLit titled Craziest. The site gives links to the audio alone, but the action is really in the macromedia flash movie. This is the old version of the flash movie (with a song track by Annie Lennox that disappeared from the main VidLit site some time over the last year and a half.)

And I wanted to add the:
to the list of author inteview sites. Elie Wiesel's comments, for example, can be sampled after listening to Night. All BBC interviews are in streaming audio format.

Previous author interview listings are:

 

jubjub75

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In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

I wanted to read this before watching Capote (the movie), and was excited to see this on Audible. Both the story and narration are amazing, and I'd highly recommend this to anyone.

On Beauty by Zadie Smith

This book was ridiculously tedious and I had to force myself to get through it. The strange part is that I really liked the characters, but couldn't stand what they were doing. The narration was also a bit slow, but bumping the speed up to Fast helped a bit.
 

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4+*"God Don't Like Ugly" by Mary Monroe. Audible and Net Library. Story of young girl growing up gripped in overshadowing sexual abuse. The author envelopes the principal character in warmth and personality so that the book is not a downer.
NetLibrary version has (even after two downloads) small gaps of a few words each scattered throughout the audio book. Annoying, but not impossible, as usually able to guess that the two or three words ommitted.

4+*"At the Villa of Reduced Circumstances" by Alexander McCall Smith. Audible & NetLibrary. Fun, as usual with Smith. Short, light, and perfect for road trip.

3+*"The Tender Bar" by JR Moehringer. NetLibrary and Audible. This Pulitzer Prize winning journalist proves that writing skills do not necessarily cross over from one medium to another. Long, and mostly pointless, story of coming of age without a father in economically difficult situation. Principal character, and narrator, is strongly influenced by the men of his Uncle's bar to the point of his apparent subsequent and unadmitted alcoholism. One would wish for a story of triumph rather than merely dogged and inconsistent perserverance. Don't waste your time.

5*"The Johnstown Flood" David McCullough does his usual thorough job of conveying history in an interesting and informative fashion. It is almost like being there.

5+*"The Island at the Center of the World: The Epic Story of Dutch Manhattan" Audible non-fiction. By Russell Shorto Narrator: L.J. Ganser. Written from accounts discovered only forty years ago and only recently translated, Shorto makes Dutch Manhattan come alive and demonstrates how much we owe to the liberalism of the Netherlands helped create the soul of our country. A must for a New Yorker or those who love NYC.

5*"Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close" Audible and NetLibrary. Jonathan Safran Foer ("Everything is Illuminated") has another great book to his credit. A nine-year old boy and his mother come to grips with the loss of father/husband in 9-11 as the boy searches for his father in Foer's clever setting -- which interweaves the story of the boys paternal grandparents . Even though this is fiction, the last couple of hours will bring tears to your eyes. The nine year old is way too clever and smart for nine, so suspend credulity or, since this is fiction, make him 12 or 13. You will fall in love with him. The printed book apparently has unique features that are necessarily absent in the audio version.

4.4*"Marley and Me" (audible A only) There are a couple of journalists who write good books and this is one of them (Carl Hiassen, another). John Grogan writes of his loopy retriever and his family. A good-chuckle must for animal lovers. I was glad for abridged version.

4+*"Skinny Dip" A and U audible. Carl Hiassen has the usual villians and innocents in South Florida and the chase is on. Fun and very light. Great road trip book.

5*"The Iliad" by Homer. Now available with "The Odyssey" for one book credit from Audible. This classic is fun if you research it first. The poem is best listened to with full knowledge of the story line and characters. Google it or go to Spark Notes on line for both.

4.7*"Siddhartha" Learn Out Loud free download for March and Audible.
Publisher's Summary:
This compelling spiritual quest by Hermann Hesse, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1946, is considered one of the most important works of 20th century fiction. Siddhartha's search for enlightenment leads him to the river of life itself. On his journey he learns from many teachers: the ascetic Samanas, the all-knowing Gotama the Buddha, Kamala the lovely courtesan, and Vasudeva the simple ferryman. Unwilling to accept the wisdom of others, Siddhartha comes to an understanding of himself and his place in the universe, finally achieving the enlightened state of mind in which he can say to his lifelong friend: "The world, Govinda, is perfect at every moment."
5*"A Bend in the River" Audible.
Publisher's Summary
In this incandescent novel, V.S. Naipaul takes us deeply into the life of one man, an Indian who, uprooted by the bloody tides of Third World history, has come to live in an isolated town at the bend of a great river in a newly independent African nation. Naipaul gives us the most convincing and disturbing vision yet of what happens in a place caught between the dangerously alluring modern world and its own tenacious past and traditions.

The Nobel Prize in Literature 2001:
The Nobel Prize in Literature for 2001 is awarded to the British writer, born in Trinidad, V.S. Naipaul

“for having united perceptive narrative and incorruptible scrutiny in works that compel us to see the presence of suppressed histories”.
4.5*"Higher: A Historic Race to the Sky and the Making of a City" Audible and by Niel Bascomb Story of the skyscraper race of NYC in the Twenties and Thirties. Fun and informative non-fiction.
 
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robert

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5++*"March" by Geraldine Brooks

(Audible -U) Winner last week of the 2006 Pulitzer Prize for fiction, this is a superb book. Beautifully written narrative with a story line and plot that carry the listener eagerly along. It is a sit-in-the-garage-to-finish-the-chapter kind of audio. The story of a Union Army chaplain (a character drawn from "Little Women") and his quest. A love story, chronicle of the horrors of the Civil War, and dignity in the face of brutal mistreatment.

Neither South or North is idolized in this remarkable book. We natives of the south cannot expect gentle or glorified treatment of "our side" and northerner's will be distressed by the then-contemporary attitudes expressed in the book.

Richard Easton, the narrator, comes across as perfectly as I have heard at accelerated speed.

The 13 minute afterword is a real plus for this audio. The author discusses sources and how and why she built the story the way she did.
 

moriond

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robert said:
5*"Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close" Audible and NetLibrary. Jonathan Safran Foer ("Everything is Illuminated") has another great book to his credit. A nine-year old boy and his mother come to grips with the loss of father/husband in 9-11 as the boy searches for his father in Foer's clever setting -- which interweaves the story of the boys paternal grandparents . Even though this is fiction, the last couple of hours will bring tears to your eyes. The nine year old is way too clever and smart for nine, so suspend credulity or, since this is fiction, make him 12 or 13. You will fall in love with him. The printed book apparently has unique features that are necessarily absent in the audio version.
There is a rather funny video interview with Jonathan Safran Foer talking about this novel at the Houghton-Mifflin publisher's site. The site also gives a reader's guide to this book. And Foer was also interviewed on KCRW's Bookworm (the May 19, 2005 podcast) about this book.

robert said:
5*"The Iliad" by Homer. Now available with "The Odyssey" for one book credit from Audible. This classic is fun if you research it first. The poem is best listened to with full knowledge of the story line and characters. Google it or go to Spark Notes on line for both.
This Audible version is John Lescault Commuter's Library reading of the Samuel Butler translation. I believe that NetLibrary offers the Recorded Book reading by George Guidall of the Robert Fitzgerald translation that Vance recommends in the Good audiobook narrators thread. Derek Jacobi reads the Robert F agles translation of the Iliad for Penguin Highbridge. All of these are good choices; I prefer George Guidall's reading.

robert said:
5*"A Bend in the River" Audible.
This excellent reading by Simon Vance for Blackstone Audiobooks is also available through OverDrive.
 

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5*Wee Free Men by Terry Prachett

If you loved Wicked and Son of a Witch, you will love Wee Free Men. It is safer than Gregory Maguire for younger listeners if you are among those thinking they don't already know everything there is to know about the birds and bees.

A delightful nine year old girl uses wit, intelligence, and guile to rescue her brother and the baron's son from the wicked queen who rules the land of dreams. Clever and well written. Great for intergenerational family listening.

In the middle of a major project and behind on reviews, postings, and answering moriond. Fortunately I find time for jogging and attendant listening every day, but I now know more about Excel than I ever wanted to.

Cheers all.
 
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