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Beautiful and poignant

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

Reviewed: 2019-04-22

During WWII, Captain Charles Ryder’s company encamped at a mansion, Brideshead and memories came flooding back to him. He recalled his friendship years ago with Sebastian Flyte, how he grew close to the Flyte family and how he came to see up close and personal their varying struggles in the Catholic faith.

Charles’s friendship with Sebastian is just the start to the story. A sweet and beautiful start, but the story moves on quite quickly, with unexpected twists. Evelyn Waugh skillfully portrayed how different members of the Flyte family express their Catholic faith differently, which becomes a central theme in the subsequent part of the book. The language is lyrical.

I remember Jeremy Irons as the dreamy Charles Ryder in the BBC series nearly 40 years ago. It’s lovely hearing his voice as the narrator. His voice is mesmerising.

One episode in the future of To Kill a Mockingbird

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

Reviewed: 2019-04-22

I enjoyed the story despite some of the negative reviews.

I would describe it (simplistically) as one key life-changing episode in the Finch household, many years after the events in To Kill a Mockingbird. Although it is just one episode, I feel that the story has deep takeaways, and makes one reflects on our own values and self-preservation instincts. I wish there was more to it, because Harper Lee surely has more reflections in her to offer. But it is what it is; it’s just one episode. Which perhaps is just why this novel leaves a sense of disappointment - disappointment that Harper Lee had not gone further in her writings to explore / expound deeper, but not (at least for me) disappointment in this story.

Funny and fast-paced story

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

Reviewed: 2019-04-22

Another Wil Wheaton narration of a John Scalzi novel. Another hit. About a tenth into the book, I decided I will go get the other John Scalzi / Wil Wheaton audio books...

I love the novel, crazy ideas in this book. I love the inter-stellar diplomacy and cross-(alien)cultural differences that the story rides on. And I love the fast conversations and snappy narration. Very engaging and readable.



A lovely story well-narrated

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

Reviewed: 2019-03-29

Thandie Newton is an amazing reader. Her accents of the servants are truly marvelous.

I should admit that I did not find the story especially gripping, which may be why it took me over two months to drift through it. It is slow moving, with long conversations, and to me does not really have a high point. Still, it’s worth a read.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Aging - perspective of a gay

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

Reviewed: 2019-01-22

This is a story about Arthur Less, a middle-aged homosexual whose long-time lover had just left him for another. Arthur wanted an excuse to miss the wedding of his former lover, and to do so he accepted invites to travel to several cities around the world. In his travels, he encountered people and chanced upon adventures (and misadventures), while recalling highs and lows of his life up to that point.

Many of the sentences in the book are skillfully constructed and clever. A situation or person might be painted with a series of deft or wry touches. This unhurried story-telling style perhaps mirrors Arthur’s fuzzy logic of navigating life and places. Each chapter is more or less standalone, and there isn’t really a build-up. One might be able to miss chunks in the middle without losing the storyline.

Overall it’s a good read. Many of the wry observations sprinkled through the book are gems. I find the one about book reviews downright delectable, and savoured it: “... every author can taste the poison another has slipped into his punch...etc” (but I won’t reveal more).

But in all honesty I cannot say that I take to Arthur, sweet and endearing as he was. I find him somewhat passive - just going along with whatever that came his way. The singular action which he took decisively was to travel during his ex’s wedding, and even for that the opportunity was presented to him by mere coincidence. I also wonder how he could face it all with such an even-keel acceptance. Compare him with Maurice (title character in Maurice by E.M. Forster) and one might see similarities, and deep differences.

The narrator did a good job. At times it felt like listening to the voice in Arthur’s head

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

Ray Bradbury classic

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

Reviewed: 2019-01-12

This is a series of short stories of events on Mars, including how the first explorers came and developments later. Together they tell the story of mankind’s destiny. In all the stories, Ray Bradbury wrote with a poetic touch. Each of the stories is different - magical, surreal, gothic, and even one which is comic.

Most haunting for me is Night Meeting, about a chance meeting between an earth man and a Martian on a lonely road. I was listening to it while driving across miles and miles of empty country roads in winter, and it gave me goosebumps all over. But oh so beautiful...

Mark Boyett is a great narrator.

cover art

Nostalgic Memories of Kenya of a time passed

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

Reviewed: 2018-12-26

Out Of Africa is Karen Blixen’s autobiography of her time in Kenya. Isak Dinesen was her pseudonym. During the early part of the twentieth century, she grew coffee in the Ngong Hills and had natives including the Kikuyus and Somalis on her staff. She saw and did things with a down-to-earth pragmatism, even as she experienced the beauty, people and animals of Africa. Her accounts do not come across as emotional or sentimental. Through her straightforward accounts of actual events, stranger-than-fiction encounters, funny vignettes and poignant moments, she took us back in time to a different age altogether. Shadows on the Grass was written years after she left Kenya.

I picked this audiobook during my trip in Nairobi. Had it not been for this trip, I might indeed have given this book a miss. I had mistakenly thought this would be a romance novel (because I imagined that must have been the theme of the 1985 Academy Award winning movie by the same title, starring Meryl Streep and Robert Redford). But I was pleasantly surprised that it was about the people, animals and events in Kenya surrounding the writer. I loved it that I could put a historic “face” to actual names of people and places that I saw in Nairobi - names like the Kikuyus, Ngong Hills, Naivasha etc in the book - all the more precious because so much have changed in the intervening decades.

For me, one recount stands out in Out Of Africa and again in Shadows On The Grass - that of her head manservant, Farah (a Somali from Somaliland) and his people. It provides a very different insight from what we read in today’s news about Somalia / Somaliland. A timely reminder that the “mainstream” media cannot represent everything.

A word about the narrator Susan Lyons - she is good! I was hoping to hear a Danish voice (or at least a Nordic or North European voice), which Susan’s was not. But her clear and crisp reading, introspective and quietly strong, with her magical rendition of the African names, is reminiscent of the strength and quality of Karen Blixen herself. I was deeply charmed by her voice by the end of the audiobook. I wish Amazon / Audible could provide more info about the narrators.

Good pace sci-fi detective story

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

Reviewed: 2018-12-13

It’s great to see Chris, the Threep FBI agent, again. Overall a good story, though not as good as Locked In.

To fully understand about Haydens, Threeps and Integrators, it’s best to have read Locked In first. There are explanations in this story, but not in as great details as in Locked In.

Wil Wheaton’s reading is amazing. I especially enjoyed his reading of the fast-paced conversations between Chris and others, such as in the scenes when they played “good cop bad cop”.

A feel-good classic

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

Reviewed: 2018-12-13

There’s magic in the simplicity of this story - how Mary and Colin were each transformed in different ways.

Julie Christie’s reading brought the to live, especially with her Yorkshire accent of many of the characters.

Light entertainment

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

Reviewed: 2018-10-07

This is relatively light - suitable for the times when you just don’t want anything mind boggling. The plot is quite straightforward. Three final year students of a for-profit law school dropped out of school, and trawled the corridors of the court house and hospitals, offering their “legal” services. Their target was people charged for DUI, and tort cases. But their good luck soon ran out.