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Old 02-22-2021, 01:19 PM   #3061
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I listened to They Went Left by Monica Hesse, narrated by Caitlin Davies. Focusing on a young concentration camp survivor's search for her younger brother, the novel is set in the aftermath of WWII as people try to come to terms with lives lost and torn apart, and to create new connections.

This sad but hopeful book is one of SYNC's freebies this summer.
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Old 02-26-2021, 09:18 AM   #3062
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Last night, I finished debut novel: A Gentleman's Murder by Christopher Huang, set among a club for war veterans only in 1924 London. Very well researched, and I'd be interested in a sequel, but the book itself didn't really draw me in, mildly disappointing. Solid narration.
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Old 02-26-2021, 12:30 PM   #3063
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I did land on Murakami's Killing Commendatore. The going was slow, partly because it's not written to be a page-turner, and partly because a couple of excellent video games came out this past month

It was weirdly constructed like a supernatural horror novel, but the emotional tone was low-key longing (like, not even urgent longing) and concern for others (but again, not urgent, like "I'll help as much as I can, but I don't want to get too involved"). Like some of his older stuff, the plot and characters cross the line from magical realism into fantasy/horror territory, but bring along the sensibilities of magical realism, where more often you see authors do the exact opposite. Japanese cultural identity was a pretty strong theme, but I would say the book was mostly about different ways of making peace with the unclosable distance in even the most intimate relationships.

I picked something more or less at random from my unread Audible 2 for 1 buys, and ended up with Monster Hunter International, which I've barely started but is shaping up to be some very pulpy action movie style urban fantasy.
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Old 02-26-2021, 07:59 PM   #3064
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Along with three other audiobooks, I'm currently reading Johannes Cabal: The Necromancer (Johannes Cabal, Book 1) by Jonathan L. Howard (audiobook read by Christopher Cazenove). I had no idea I'd be enjoying this one so much. The author has a vivid imagination, is a great story teller, and the narrator is perfectly matched to the book.
A most enjoyable book, and I greatly look forward to reading the sequels.

Tonight I'll start Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle, an Audible PLUS audiobook read by Stephen Fry. I had just bought The Complete Sherlock Holmes: The Heirloom Collection by Arthur Conan Doyle read by Simon Vance when I learned of that free (to Audible Plus members) edition. I read the two volume William S. Baring-Gould's Annotated Sherlock Holmes around 50 years ago, so this will be my second time through the canon.

I'm also listening to Jane Austin's Emma (read by Anna Bentinck), The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera (read by Richmond Hoxie), and a sci-fi tale, This World is Taboo by Murray Leinster (read by Mark F. Smith).

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Old 02-26-2021, 08:46 PM   #3065
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Finished The Hobbit by J R R Tolkien and narrated by Andy Serkis and narrated by Andy Serkis. Totally wonderful! I highly recommend!

One comment though - I have hearing loss/tinnitus and had just a little trouble with his lower voice. If this is an issue for you, you can play slightly faster which raises pitch or play louder. I chose louder. My hearing aid got fixed today, so that solved the whole problem as Audible bluetooths from my phone to hearing aid.

Moving on to McNally's Caper by Lawrence Sanders and narrated by Victor Bevine, book 4 in the Archy McNally cozy series. Love the series and Bevine is outstanding as a narrator. These books read almost like a interactive journal, 1st person, so he gets a lot of Archie's attitude in there.
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Old 02-26-2021, 09:01 PM   #3066
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Finished The Hobbit by J R R Tolkien and narrated by Andy Serkis and narrated by Andy Serkis. Totally wonderful! I highly recommend!...
I read that one, and it was a lot of fun. You deserve a reward for posting that. Here it is:
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Old 02-28-2021, 07:10 AM   #3067
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Finished The Hobbit by J R R Tolkien and narrated by Andy Serkis and narrated by Andy Serkis. Totally wonderful! I highly recommend!

One comment though - I have hearing loss/tinnitus and had just a little trouble with his lower voice. If this is an issue for you, you can play slightly faster which raises pitch or play louder. I chose louder. My hearing aid got fixed today, so that solved the whole problem as Audible bluetooths from my phone to hearing aid.

Moving on to McNally's Caper by Lawrence Sanders and narrated by Victor Bevine, book 4 in the Archy McNally cozy series. Love the series and Bevine is outstanding as a narrator. These books read almost like a interactive journal, 1st person, so he gets a lot of Archie's attitude in there.
Thanks for the recommendation. Just picked up the book, so I'll see how I like it.

Listened to the first half hour and love it! He has an incredibly expressive voice. Unless I'm mistaken, he uses the tune from the movie when he sings the Misty Mountains song.

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Old 03-06-2021, 11:30 AM   #3068
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Been working on Ruth Ware's The Death of Mrs. Westaway for a while. The story itself is okay, but it's really long - can't believe there are several hours left! Imogen Church's narration is a definite plus in motivating myself here!
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Old 03-06-2021, 11:55 PM   #3069
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That video was great!
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Old 03-09-2021, 09:56 AM   #3070
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I’m also listening to The End of the Ancient Word by Ferdinand Lot, read by Charlton Griffin, a prolific narrator of works about the classic world. It’s interesting but admittedly something of a slog. Griffin’s rather fruity delivery doesn’t do anything to enliven a stolid text.
Whew! Finally finished. By the end, I’d bumped the speed up to 2X, just to get it done.

And now I’m listening to two lighter works: Balzac’s Cousin Bette read by Kate Reading, which is very pleasant. It’s been a revelation to me how well 19th century novels work as audiobooks. I’m also listening to Overture to Death by Ngaio Marsh, read by the peerless Nadia May. It had been decades since I’d read any of the Roderick Alleyn books, and this my second in a short stretch. They’re perfect for the purpose, something to listen to in bed, but I can’t say I’ve been won over. The books in fact are highly entertaining in the set-up, but once the insufferable Alleyn shows up, they slow down to a crawl. I dislike him. I don’t need to like a protagonist, but it’s an issue when the character is written to be wonderful and not a louse but I don’t see him that way. At least this one, set in the Golden Age era of the 1930s, is easier to take than the first one. I expect 1930s’ era English cozies to be classist, but it grates when it’s the 1950s as in the first book I tried.

For the record:

The End of the Ancient World - Audible
Cousin Bette - Hoopla
Overture to Death - OverDrive

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Old 03-09-2021, 10:13 AM   #3071
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I loved Kate Reading's Cousin Bette! The 1971 six-part video adaptation featuring a young Helen Mirren as Valerie should be available at YouTube.
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Old 03-09-2021, 10:33 AM   #3072
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I loved Kate Reading's Cousin Bette!
Where do you think I found it? Thank you.

As an aside, as part of the case for Hoopla, the only narration available to me on OverDrive was by someone I’d never heard of. The OD app is better than the Hoopla app, but not better enough to override a good narration.
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Old 03-09-2021, 07:35 PM   #3073
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I finished up Monster Hunter International. I did not realize reading Correia's Black Sword books that he was a Sad Puppy ringleader, but it's unavoidable in this one, where the premise is basically, "What if Blackwater hunted vampires in Alabama?" That said, it's not like the book is a manifesto - aside from ubiquitous gun fetishism, political statements are infrequent. If you can accept that the entire cast is operating in an opaque bubble where the Dunning-Kruger Effect is a palpable force, it's still a 3-star horror-action romp, and the insularity itself is sometimes unintentionally entertaining.

I'm seriously contemplating getting around to Battle Ground and Peace Talks, with maybe a reread or two earlier in the Dresden series, but once again I said, "Nah," and picked something random out of my sale buys. I landed on S.M. Stirling's Dies the Fire, not realizing it's a sort of companion series to the Nantucket books, which were tremendously satisfying. It does mean I'm doubling up on apocalypses, as I'm reading Kim Stanley Robinson's Ministry for the Future with my eyeballs.
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Old 03-10-2021, 08:46 AM   #3074
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I finished up Monster Hunter International. I did not realize reading Correia's Black Sword books that he was a Sad Puppy ringleader, but it's unavoidable in this one, where the premise is basically, "What if Blackwater hunted vampires in Alabama?" That said, it's not like the book is a manifesto - aside from ubiquitous gun fetishism, political statements are infrequent. If you can accept that the entire cast is operating in an opaque bubble where the Dunning-Kruger Effect is a palpable force, it's still a 3-star horror-action romp, and the insularity itself is sometimes unintentionally entertaining.

I'm seriously contemplating getting around to Battle Ground and Peace Talks, with maybe a reread or two earlier in the Dresden series, but once again I said, "Nah," and picked something random out of my sale buys. I landed on S.M. Stirling's Dies the Fire, not realizing it's a sort of companion series to the Nantucket books, which were tremendously satisfying. It does mean I'm doubling up on apocalypses, as I'm reading Kim Stanley Robinson's Ministry for the Future with my eyeballs.
Monster Hunters International is one of my favorite books. I really liked the audiobook narrated by Oliver Wyman, IMPO one of the better narrators. Yea, if you were offended by the whole brouhaha over the sad puppies, you probably don't want to read the book. The book is very tongue in cheek, doesn't take itself seriously and has a lot of fun with gun nerds and the various stereotypes.

I didn't know that Dies the Fire was a companion series for the Nantucket books. I really liked the Nantucket series, but I had given up on Stirling and his fascination with psychotic villains. IMPO, he needs a co-author to moderate his worse excesses. Let us know how you like it, if you would.
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Old 03-10-2021, 05:44 PM   #3075
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I had given up on Stirling and his fascination with psychotic villains
Yeah, I'm pretty sure that character has been introduced, and I groaned a bit recognizing the super-Hitler trope from Nantucket. The premise of Dies the Fire is that the same moment in 1998 that Nantucket disappeared, electricity and combustion (including gunpowder) stopped working everywhere else, the combination of which strongly suggests some kind of alien test or experiment, but I doubt we'll get an explanation. That said, the non-Hitler characters are great, and Stirling's exploration of the scenario is compelling so far even if he stays well clear of "mind blowing" possibilities.

As for Correia, reading more of his work and learning of his role in Sad Puppies did shed some new light on that fiasco and the likely role of the Dunning Kruger Effect in driving the whole thing (particularly given MHI's semi-autobiographical "We swear he's super smart!" protagonist), but going any farther in that direction takes us into verboten P&R territory. Everything I've read from him so far is solid 3-star pulp, perfectly entertaining, but the idea that it deserves awards in addition to the massive licensing deals (Monster Hunter is a hugely successful video game franchise) is delusional.

Agreed that Oliver Wyman did a great job with the material. The narrator for Dies the Fire is solid overall, but has some odd pronunciations, including RAY-shun for ration or rationing, which comes up often in the early going.
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