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Kirsty

  • 17
  • reviews
  • 8
  • helpful votes
  • 27
  • ratings
  • Pleasure Bound

  • Victorian Sex Rebels and the New Eroticism
  • By: Deborah Lutz
  • Narrated by: Cat Gould
  • Length: 10 hrs and 21 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars 1
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars 1
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars 1

A smart, provocative account of the erotic current running just beneath the surface of a stuffy and stifling Victorian London.

In 1860s London, two loosely overlapping groups of bohemians - the Cannibal Club and the Aesthetes - challenged the buttoned-up Victorian propriety to promote erotic freedom and expression. Sensually attuned and politically radical, they were among the most influential thinkers and artists of the day, from Richard Burton to Dante Gabriel Rossetti and William Morris.

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • Maybe an OK book, but ruined by the sound

  • By Kirsty on 31-12-2018

Maybe an OK book, but ruined by the sound

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

Reviewed: 31-12-2018

I purchased this book sometime ago but couldn't remember why I did not persevere with it. After viewing the wonderful Love and Desire exhibition at NGA, I tried again. Maybe there was something wrong with the audio engineering, but in places it sounds as if the reader has read every individual word out of context and then the narrative has been spliced together. To my ears, it is completely unlistenable. I don't like to blame the narrator, it seems much more to be a technical or editing issue. And I have deleted it, and downloaded it again to make sure it was not a fault in the original download. Very very disappointing.

  • The Spy and the Traitor

  • By: Ben MacIntyre
  • Narrated by: Ben Macintyre
  • Length: 14 hrs and 32 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 99
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 96
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 94

On a warm July evening in 1985, a middle-aged man stood on the pavement of a busy avenue in the heart of Moscow, holding a plastic carrier bag. In his grey suit and tie, he looked like any other Soviet citizen. The bag alone was mildly conspicuous, printed with the red logo of Safeway, the British supermarket. The man was a spy. A senior KGB officer, for more than a decade he had supplied his British spymasters with a stream of priceless secrets from deep within the Soviet intelligence machine. No spy had done more to damage the KGB. The Safeway bag was a signal: to activate his escape plan to be smuggled out of Soviet Russia.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Another cracking spy yarn, and this one is true!

  • By Kirsty on 31-12-2018

Another cracking spy yarn, and this one is true!

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

Reviewed: 31-12-2018

I dimly remember a news story about this man but I won't relate it - no spoilers in this review! Suffice it to say, this is a tale of conviction, persistence, incredible courage, patience and determination. The author narrates his story brilliantly, and has pieced it together without access to any official documentation, presumably relying on the memories of main characters and bit players alike. Those of us who lived through the 80s owe the subject an enormous debt of gratitude, for keeping his head when all around were losing theirs, intent on dangerous oneupmanship in the nuclear stakes. Thank you.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • The Road to Little Dribbling

  • More Notes From a Small Island
  • By: Bill Bryson
  • Narrated by: Nathan Osgood
  • Length: 13 hrs and 56 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 133
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 127
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 126

Twenty years ago Bill Bryson went on a trip around Britain to celebrate the green and kindly island that had become his adopted country. The hilarious book that resulted, Notes from a Small Island, was taken to the nation’s heart and became the best-selling travel book ever and was voted in a BBC poll the book that best represents Britain. Now, to mark the 20th anniversary of that modern classic, Bryson makes a brand-new journey around Britain to see what has changed.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Typical Bryson

  • By Jan on 22-10-2015

Missing Bill himself, and William Roberts

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

Reviewed: 13-11-2018

I enjoyed the book, as I have all of Mr Bryson's, but was sad about the narration. I jist feel Mr Osgood does not have the lightness of touch and self deprecation of those books read by Nr Roberts, or by the author himself. The text is up to the usual standard, and the criticisms, observations, and praises are well articulated, but the voice is querulous at times and too heavy handed, if a voice can be that.

  • A Spy Named Orphan

  • The Enigma of Donald Maclean
  • By: Roland Philipps
  • Narrated by: Jonathan Keeble
  • Length: 15 hrs and 11 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 3
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 2
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 2

A gripping tale of betrayal and counterbetrayal that tells the story of the most enigmatic member of the Cambridge spy ring - Donald Maclean. Donald Maclean was a star diplomat, an establishment insider and a keeper of some of the West's greatest secrets. He was also a Russian spy, driven by passionately held beliefs, whose betrayal and defection to Moscow reverberated for decades. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Best book I have listened to in a while.

  • By Kirsty on 12-05-2018

Best book I have listened to in a while.

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

Reviewed: 12-05-2018

Well wriien and well read. Great insight into a man who was much more than merely a 'traitor'. His struggles with alcohol and anger, his anxiety to be true to an ideology he believed could lead to world peace, his flight, his later years supporting dissidents are all laid before us with understanding by the author. On the other hand, the inefficiencies and shortcomings of the establishment were breathtaking, or was it just that MacLean's charisma and Kilby's machinations oufoxed them all. A fascinating study of, and guide to, diplomacy in the middle years of the 20th century.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Anno Dracula 1899

  • And Other Stories
  • By: Kim Newman
  • Narrated by: William Gaminara
  • Length: 12 hrs and 25 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 1
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 1
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1

A brand-new collection of chilling stories by master of horror Kim Newman, in which Jack the Ripper still stalks the streets, Frankenstein's monster rises from the Arctic ice, and the terrifying legacy of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde haunts fog-shrouded London. This volume also includes a brand-new exclusive Anno Dracula story, 'Yokai Town: Anno Dracula 1899', which sets the scene for the forthcoming novel Anno Dracula 1999: Daikaiju.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Delightful mix of new and old stories

  • By Kirsty on 14-04-2018

Delightful mix of new and old stories

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

Reviewed: 14-04-2018

Narrator captured the ghoulish humour and energy of Newman's pastiches, with good accents and differences between characters.

  • Not the Impossible Faith

  • By: Richard Carrier
  • Narrated by: Richard Carrier
  • Length: 12 hrs and 49 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 5
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 5
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 5

Written with occasional humor and an easy style, and thoroughly referenced, with many entertaining "gotcha!" moments, Not the Impossible Faith is a must-listen for anyone interested in the origins of Christianity. Richard Carrier, PhD, is an expert in the history of the ancient world and a critic of Christian attempts to distort history in defense of their faith.

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • The worst book in my collection

  • By Kirsty on 02-04-2018

The worst book in my collection

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

Reviewed: 02-04-2018

A polemic which is not worth a listen, and which should come with a warning: this is one seriously angry author. Very disappointing.

  • Hillbilly Elegy

  • A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis
  • By: J. D. Vance
  • Narrated by: J. D. Vance
  • Length: 6 hrs and 49 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 241
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 219
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 219

Hillbilly Elegy is a passionate and personal analysis of a culture in crisis - that of white working-class Americans. The decline of this group, a demographic of our country that has been slowly disintegrating over 40 years, has been reported on with growing frequency and alarm but has never before been written about as searingly from the inside. J. D. Vance tells the true story of what a social, regional, and class decline feels like when you were born with it hung around your neck.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • An excellent read

  • By AndrewH on 28-06-2017

Honest (I hope), raw and oassionate

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

Reviewed: 20-09-2017

Apart from taking major exception to his view that the US is the greatest country on earth, I enjoyed hearing about one man's very personal struggle against the hand dealt him through accident of birth, and his ability to make a life beyond bad teeth, poor diet, failed relationships and unemployment.
His views on welfare are contentious but understandable, like when he dislikes that his taxes are allowing the person receiving welfare to buy the steak he can't afford. He doesn't seem to reflect that in parallel, the vastly reduced fees he paid for Yale Law because of low parental income would have been unavailable to a person whose parents earned a bit more, enough to make their child ineligible to receive the subsidy, but not enough to afford to pay the high tuition fees.
He writes that he has come to terms with his relatives, both the ones who nurtured him and the ones who failed him in the worst possible way. The breakdown of family life through generations is truly appalling.
I look forward to hearing in the future what steps he is taking to help fix the community he so obviously values but which is so obviously broken.

  • Attention All Shipping

  • By: Charlie Connelly
  • Narrated by: David Thorpe
  • Length: 13 hrs and 31 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 1
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 1

The Shipping Forecast is a curious peace of broadcasting: at once impenetrably baffling yet at the same time reassuringly familiar. But where are these places, and what secrets do they conceal? Charlie Connelly sets off on a journey round the forecast to find out, unearthing the history and culture behind one of Britain's best-loved broadcasting institutions.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A terrific yarn

  • By Kirsty on 09-05-2017

A terrific yarn

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

Reviewed: 09-05-2017

One of my all-time favourite audiobooks. A frequent re-listen, thank you Charlie and David for writing / reading this. I feel I am with you every step of the journey, drinking in every pint, I mean sight, the tough bits and the magical bits.

  • The Tudors

  • The Complete Story of England's Most Notorious Dynasty
  • By: G. J. Meyer
  • Narrated by: Robin Sachs
  • Length: 24 hrs and 34 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6

For the first time in decades, here, in a single volume, is a fresh look at the fabled Tudor dynasty, comprising some of the most enigmatic figures ever to rule a country. Acclaimed historian G. J. Meyer reveals the flesh-and-bone reality in all its wild excess.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Objective it is not

  • By Kirsty on 31-05-2016

Objective it is not

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

Reviewed: 31-05-2016

Having listened to the author's book on The Borgias where he said at the beginning it was not the book he expected to write, ie he doesn't think they are as evil as painted, I was forewarned that his view of the Tudor dynasty could be interesting.
He comes down very firmly on the opposite view of the Tudors and can't imagine why they are still thought to be good monarchs. Just to complete the picture, he has an obvious soft spot for Mary, or Bloody Mary as many of us know her, while he really can't stand Henry VIII and Elizabeth. I prefer a less partisan approach.

The other problem I have is a personal one only - he is upfront about using secondary sources. I prefer published historians to have done at least some of the research from primary sources.

Oh, and by the way, are the poor really impotent? I would have thought indigent was the right word, otherwise there might not be too many of them in successive generations

  • A Wicked Company

  • The Forgotten Radicalism of the European Enlightenment
  • By: Philipp Blom
  • Narrated by: James Patrick Cronin
  • Length: 14 hrs and 32 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 2
  • Performance
    2.5 out of 5 stars 2
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 2

The flourishing of radical philosophy in Baron Thierry Holbach’s Paris salon from the 1750s to the 1770s stands as a seminal event in Western history. Holbach’s house was an international epicenter of revolutionary ideas and intellectual daring, bringing together such original minds as Denis Diderot, Laurence Sterne, David Hume, Adam Smith, Ferdinando Galiani, Horace Walpole, Benjamin Franklin, Guillaume Raynal, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau. In A Wicked Company, acclaimed historian Philipp Blom retraces the fortunes of this exceptional group of friends.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Excellent Review and Rescue of the Radical Enlightenment

  • By Kirsty on 11-12-2015

Excellent Review and Rescue of the Radical Enlightenment

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

Reviewed: 11-12-2015

Whereas the reputations of Voltaire and Rousseau are established in the development of Western thought, Diderot and Holbach are relatively obscure. In a well organised and eloquent book, Blom addresses and seeks to rectify this anomaly. Like his hero Diderot, Blom combines reason and passion in his writing.
The reader is clear but i wonder why no one with good French and preferably German was available.