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Denny R.

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Alarming portrait of world's most powerful man

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

Reviewed: 18-11-2020

Bob Woodward brings the same incisive thorough & scrupulous approach to this study of Donald Trump as he did to his character study of Hillary Clinton. Neither Clinton nor Trump are attractive people, both lie easily & often, both have employed military force disastrously & both love money almost as much as power. The narration is smooth & clear and the voice is really pleasant. There are no theatrics in the narration or the text. Woodward's interviews with Trump, sometimes by phone, others in person, are lessons in polite but no nonsense questioning. There is no simpering, showing off or belligerence; Woodward is respectful & has done a heroic amount of research. The result is fascinating, shocking & surprising as Trump shows unexpected sides to his behaviour. One of the best audio books ever on political figures.

Tired shock horror that bores

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

Reviewed: 07-10-2020

Years ago I studied neo-gothic literature & discovered some very entertaining novels. A few, like Frankenstein, were complex stories and psychologically intriguing as well as beautifully written. Dracula deals in shock horror but the melodrama palled quickly as the writing & character development are somewhat turgid. After a few chapters I stopped caring who would be the next victim and wished it behind me.

A masterful novel read superbly by Timothy West

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

Reviewed: 06-07-2020

This gentle funny account of a kindly prelate in 19thC England could have been a saccharine affair in the hands of Dickens, but while Septimus Harding is generous and self-sacrificing to a fault, Trollope introduces some bemusement at Harding's willingness to sacrifice his comfort & income for no real gain. Most of the old men in the home are dead, those remaining have only a few years left. In a short time the home will be empty and the beautiful garden neglected. Trollope celebrates the benign, graceful & civilised. Timothy West's narration perfectly captures the essence of each character.

Narrator unsuitable for Wodeshouse

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

Reviewed: 14-06-2020

Woodhouse's stories are among the funniest portrayals of life among the British well-to-do and the narrator needs to have the upper class accent & light delivery to convey Bertie Wooster's amiable but clueless nature & Jeeves' stately demeanor. The narrator has a curious mid-Atlantic accent and he plods along with the merest hint of colour or humour. Hugh Laurie would be a perfect narrator; his performance in Three Men in a Boat is gloriously funny. B J Harrison is not gloriously funny, or winning, merely colourless.

High expectations not fulfilled

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

Reviewed: 21-05-2020

Given Michelle Obama's achievements as a highly successful corporate lawyer, an intelligent, gracious & compassionate - & tactful - First Lady, I thought her account of living in the White House for eight years would be rivetting. It was interesting at times, but engrossing no. I found her voice didn't have enough colour to draw me in although she sounded warmer talking about her daughters. Obviously, Michelle wasn't ever going to tell all about her husband's colleagues, his opponents and their often bizarre claims but her memoir reveals times of enormous stress and sleepless nights. This though, didn't provide enough colour & depth to stir my interest further.

A gorgeous, funny tale told by Hugh Laurie.

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

Reviewed: 06-07-2017

Jerome K Jerome's wonderfully funny tale of three men and a dog going on a river holiday is rendered perfectly by Hugh Laurie. He captures the deluded optimism, the ineptness and the trials of three friends who have scant idea of what they are doing. I could listen to this beloved classic over and over.

Dreary pedestrian yarn

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

Reviewed: 01-07-2017

The first two chapters, albeit short, of this crime novel simply repeat the protagonist's hurt and fury using the same mundane expressions. And mundane describes the story from therein. The language and characterisations are cliched and the plot such as it is, suggests Peter James was bored witless trying to animate the 13th volume in the series. There are loads more crime writers producing sharply observed, sophisticated thrillers to be bothered with this commonplace effort. The narrator is good although he occasionally over-emphasised words or phrases that distracted from the flow.

Clear-eyed, funny Steinbeck's travels through a past America

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

Reviewed: 04-06-2017

Slow to develop, Steinbeck's wry, unsentimental account of his road trip across America reveals some of the glories, quirks and conflicts he encountered fifty or more years ago in post-war USA. His descriptions of his beloved canine companion Charlie and his specially equipped truck, so overloaded that the springs sagged are gorgeously funny. The light hearted tone gradually darkens as he moves into regions where segregation is fiercely resisted and Jews are often reviled. The America Steinbeck encounters is starting to thrive but the racial tensions are great.

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Fry's magical performance

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

Reviewed: 04-06-2017

Conan Doyle wrote several stories about the preternaturally clever sleuth Sherlock Holmes and some are still highly engaging. Some however, are long-winded and lose momentum and sometimes credibility halfway through. Stephen Fry's reading is enchanting and he switches voices so convincingly and seamlessly. I cannot imagine any other actor now narrating these intriguing, clever and occasionally tedious stories.

Brittle, charmless story

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

Reviewed: 02-06-2017

I adore a number of Hilary Mantel's books - Wolf Hall, Bring up the Bodies, A Place of Greater Safety and her enchanting memoir Giving Up the Ghost - but some are like sucking lemons. A Change of Climate is one. The brisk remote tone and the story itself I found alienating and tiresome. There was nothing that persuaded me to keep with it: no fascinating, well developed characters, no intimacy. Brittle and dull.