The first encounter I had with Paradise Lost was when I read Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials Trilogy (which included quotations from Paradise LostThe first encounter I had with Paradise Lost was when I read Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials Trilogy (which included quotations from Paradise Lost). That was years ago and somehow the quotations always made me want to read Paradise Lost. It took me years to actually read it (I listened to the audiobooks of His Dark Materials in mid-2007, so it actually took me five years). It was the right decision to wait and not read Paradise Lost instantly. My five-year-younger self wouldn’t have appreciated it and I’m not even certain I would have finished it in 2007. I now listened to the LibriVox group audiobook and found my thoughts sometimes straying from listening to my next riding lesson or how to re-order my bookshelf. I probably would have had more problems with straying thoughts would I have actually read it as opposed to listen to the narration (my mind has decided as it has to concentrate on law-related reading the whole day, it may take the freedom to take a break when it doesn’t enjoy my “entertainment reading”.) But that doesn’t mean that I didn’t enjoy listening to the audiobook. As usual I’m surprised by the quality of the narrators at LibriVox. Except for the first track (the narrator used some distorted voices that hurt my ears) I didn’t have any problems with sound quality and the narrators all did a decent job. Paradise Lost is one of those classics that one should have read at least once and I’m glad I did so. I might even listen to the audiobook (or try myself at actually reading it) again at one time (though not in the too near future). ...more
In Heart of Darkness the story’s narrator has to travel up the Congo River to find the mysterious Mr. Kurz, who has gained dominance over a tribe of iIn Heart of Darkness the story’s narrator has to travel up the Congo River to find the mysterious Mr. Kurz, who has gained dominance over a tribe of indigenous people but is terminally ill. I both enjoyed the story and the narrator. However, considering that I listened to this yesterday when I didn’t feel too well and drifted off to sleep one or two times in-between, I’m certain I missed some of the numerous layers of this story. This is a pity considering how rich this story is in terms of narrative techniques and layers. Thus I will probably make this a re-read (and really read is that time) one of those days to capture all of the nuances of the story. I can heartily recommend this story. ...more
Ethan Frome has to struggle to make a living of his farm. In addition to this he also has to take care of a wife who doesn’t have a pleasant characterEthan Frome has to struggle to make a living of his farm. In addition to this he also has to take care of a wife who doesn’t have a pleasant character and needs constant care because of an illness. But then his wife’s cousin arrives and his live seems to take a better turn.
This is a really sad story that made me cry in the end. The sad thing about it wasn’t that the characters were having a hard time and suffering emotionally, but the fact that it was so real. These things happen and somehow the author conveyed this without many words (the books is relatively short) but very impressively. A book very recommendable for all who look for a short read that reaches to an emotional level. People who expect a book to always be funny and make them laugh should probably choose another book.
A quick note on my edition: I listened to the audiobook narrated by Scott Brick. I already knew him from former narrations (especially those written by Orson Scott Card) and really liked him them. This time, although he didn’t do a bad job as such, I found it rather difficult to focus on his narration, so a bit of the beginning escaped me. I might have to reasses Scott Brick as a narrator. Perhaps his voice only works well in conjunction with others (the other books he narrated were multi-narrator productions). ...more
Gradually I seem to be developing a liking for (auto)biographies/memoirs. Previously I always avoided those because I feared that they would bore me tGradually I seem to be developing a liking for (auto)biographies/memoirs. Previously I always avoided those because I feared that they would bore me too easily. With Chapters from My Autobiography by Mark Twain, I’ve read four autobiographies in the recent past. This book and John Steinbeck’s Travels with Charley certainly convinced me how much fun autobiographies can be. Mark Twain has a way of presenting the facts in a funny way. I especially liked how he frequently cited from his daughter Susi’s biography of him. Those thow narrations (Twain’s own dictation and Susi’s biography of him) are combined to give a unique picture of the author. Once again I listened to the free audiobook from LibriVox, read by John Greenman. He knows how to give Twain his due and I think I wouldn’t have liked the book so much had I not listened to this narration. This is the second book by Mark Twain read by John Greenman I’ve enjoyed (the first was Twain’s retelling of the story of Joan of Arc) and Greenman has become my “voice of Twain” by now. He has done other Twain books as well and I’ll be certain to listen to those as well....more
Since my first experience with Mark Twain I always look forward to read another of his books (especially listen to the Librivox narration by John GreeSince my first experience with Mark Twain I always look forward to read another of his books (especially listen to the Librivox narration by John Greenman). I can’t be entirely sure if it is the narrator of the author who makes me chuckle occasionally; I’m convinced it is a combination of the two. I wasn’t disappointed by “A Conneticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court”. The book tells the story of an American from Mark Twain’s time who one day woke up in 6th century England, among King Arthur’s knights. He doesn’t believe it at first, but soon has to accept that he is stranded in the far past and has to cope with it. His adventures are simply hilarious. They include a confrontation with the famous Merlin, a stroll through the country with King Arthur (disguised as a peasant) meeting his lowly subjects and taking on an army of several thousand knights with a force of … 45 men. Of course some of his future knowledge helps our hero in his adventures. This story is not to be taken too seriously. But if you enjoy a chuckle now and then I’d certainly recommend it. ...more
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is nothing more and nothing less than the story of a young boy’s childhood/youth. It doesn’t have a large plot (althoughThe Adventures of Tom Sawyer is nothing more and nothing less than the story of a young boy’s childhood/youth. It doesn’t have a large plot (although there are some elements in the story that span from the beginning to the end). Instead it details the everyday life of Tom Sawyer, his little woes and pleasures and what pranks he played. As with the previous Mark Twain books I read, I thoroughly enjoyed The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. His way of telling a story makes even the most everyday occurrences to something special and the book repeatedly made me smile. I listened again to the narration by John Greenman (which is available for free at LibriVox.org) and found that this wonderful story was improved by such a great narrator....more
The influence of school often makes you prevent to read classics in later life (at least the first few years after having left school). But when I stuThe influence of school often makes you prevent to read classics in later life (at least the first few years after having left school). But when I stumbled over this audiobook version in our local library, I decided to give Wuthering Heights a try.
I didn't have any particular expectations for it, because I didn't know much of its content beforehand. Actually I've only ever heard it mentioned a few times before.
Once I started the listening I soon discovered that I was curious to know what happened next, which quite surprised me, because in my experience so far classics tended to be boring. But perhaps it was just the fact that I didn't need to read every line several times and get additional meaning out of it and could simply listen to it for my own amusement.
The only problem I had with the audiobook version was that some passages were difficult to understand, because the voice of the female narrator, although generally OK, was a bit high-pitched in some passages and hurt my ears....more
In the last few weeks I read quite a few classics that I found to be of only average quality; meaning classics that I think everybody should read at lIn the last few weeks I read quite a few classics that I found to be of only average quality; meaning classics that I think everybody should read at least once because they have a deeper meaning, but which I probably won’t read/listen to again in the near future. I was prepared for another of those average classics, until I began to listen to the Dracula audiobook. This is one of those classics that can be counted in the category “provides entertainment”, even after more than 200 years this story of six people trying to destroy an ancient evil remains a gripping tale. Now I see why Dracula is widely considered as the prototype of the vampire/horror novel (although Stoker didn’t invent the vampire as such) and even today often cited/taken as the basis for new adaptations of the topic....more
The Picture of Dorian Gray is one of those classics of which I've heard often lately, but which I didn't have to read for school and so far haven't reThe Picture of Dorian Gray is one of those classics of which I've heard often lately, but which I didn't have to read for school and so far haven't read at all. It is also one of those book that I intended to read for quite some time. So I simply had to get it when audible offered it for free as part of their whispersync-for-voice promotion. My first impression of the book was that it might belong to the average book and that I might quickly tire of it. However, this impression was quickly replaced (if I can remember correctly sometime during the second or third chapter) by a feeling that this is really a very good book. It shows the depths of the human soul and how a “nice person” can be changed for the worse when making the false choices and being flattered one time too many. This certainly belongs to the books that everyone should read at least once. The audiobook is also quite good. I liked the narrator immensely and can recommend that as well....more