Tag Archives: audio reviews

Audio Reviews Spotlight: Macbeth

Adam Boretz -- August 27th, 2012
The latest batch of PW’saudio reviews is in print and online. And that means it’s time for our monthly Audio Reviews Spotlight.Let’s start with the fiction side with Alan Cumming’s interpretation of Shakespeare’s Macbeth. The audiobook — which is based on his live, one-man show — is available from Simon & Schuster.

See below for our Starred Review, and don’t forget to check out all of PW’s latest audio reviews RIGHT HERE.

 

Macbeth
William Shakespeare, read by Alan Cumming. Simon & Schuster Audio, unabridged, 2 CDs, 2 hrs., $14.99 ISBN 978-1-4423-5593-4

 Shakespeare’s tragedy about the ill-fated thane of Cawdor is brought to life via this one-man interpretation from Alan Cumming. Motivated by his scheming wife, Macbeth lusts for and then takes power, which leads to regicide and his own undoing. Building upon his performance in the audio edition of A.J. Hartley and David Hewson’s Macbeth: A Novel, Cumming executes a captivating solo performance of this classic play. With an authentic Scottish accent, Cumming ably embodies Lord Macbeth. He shifts from character to character seamlessly, capturing the tone, attitude, and emphasis of each, while providing an increasing intensity that conveys the reprehensible, irreparable nature of the title character’s actions. In addition to embracing the various characters, Cumming’s powerful performance even elevates the play’s stage directions, which–rather than feeling like crude interruptions to the dialogue–slip in smoothly like the knife used to slay King Duncan. (July)
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Monthly Starred Review Roundup: July 2012

Adam Boretz -- August 9th, 2012

Here at Listen Up, people are always asking us for audiobook recommendations. And while we love discussing the latest releases and upcoming titles, we decided to go straight to the source: PW’s Audiobook Reviews — and the latest titles to earn Starred Reviews.

And so, for your consideration, we bring you our new Monthly Starred Review Roundup. Just click the link for the corresponding review.

Nonfiction
 Top of the Rock: Inside the Rise and Fall of Must See TV
Warren Littlefield with T.R. Pearson, read by Bob Balaban. Random House Audio, unabridged, seven CDs, 9 hrs., $40 ISBN 978-0-449-00941-3

Me the People: One Man’s Selfless Quest to Rewrite the Constitution of the United States
Kevin Bleyer, read by the author. Random House Audio, unabridged, 10 CDs, 12 hrs., $40 ISBN 978-0-449-00913-0

YA Fiction
 The Schernoff Discoveries
Gary Paulsen, read by MacLeod Andrews. Brilliance Audio, unabridged, two CDs, 2.25 hrs., $14.99 ISBN 978-1-4558-0814-4

Fiction
 Guilt by Degrees
Marcia Clark, read by January LaVoy. Hachette Audio, unabridged, 11 CDs, 12.5 hrs., $29.98 ISBN 978-1-61113-390-5

 They Eat Puppies, Don’t They?
Christopher Buckley, read by Robert Petkoff. Hachette Audio, unabridged, 10 CDs, 10.75 hrs., $29.98 ISBN 978-1-61113-426-1

Sparkling Cyanide
Agatha Christie, read by a full cast. AudioGO, library edition, unabridged, two CDs, 1.5 hrs., $24.95 ISBN 978-0-7927-8912-3

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Audio Reviews Spotlight: Me the People

Adam Boretz -- August 2nd, 2012

Today, our Audio Reviews Spotlight shines on the nonfiction side and Kevin Bleyer’s Me the People: One Man’s Selfless Quest to Rewrite the Constitution of the United States. The audiobook is narrated by Bleyer — a writer for The Daily Show — and available from Random House Audio.

Our Starred Review is below, and don’t forget to check out all of the latest audio reviews from PW RIGHT HERE.

Me the People: One Man’s Selfless Quest to Rewrite the Constitution of the United States
Kevin Bleyer, read by the author. Random House Audio, unabridged, 10 CDs, 12 hrs., $40 ISBN 978-0-449-00913-0

 An Emmy Award–winning writer for The Daily Show, Kevin Bleyer does the unthinkable and rewrites the United States Constitution in his sharp and intensely witty latest effort that shows listeners just how out of date the American system of government is and what can be done to get with the times. Turning in a skillful and hilarious performance, Bleyer never fails to antagonize both left and right as he cuts into modern government and its officials. Bleyer’s tone is sharp and cynical, but to his credit, he never sounds angry or confrontational. His approach is from a comedic perspective, but — luckily for listeners — he also has an important message: America is out of touch with itself. An endlessly enjoyable listening experience. A Random House hardcover. (May)
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Audio Reviews Spotlight: Let’s Pretend This Never Happened

Adam Boretz -- June 15th, 2012

Taking a peek at the nonfiction side, our Audio Reviews Spotlight shines on Jenny Lawson’s Let’s Pretend This Never Happened: (A Mostly True Memoir). The audiobook is narrated by The Bloggess herself and available from Penguin Audio.

Here’s our Starred Review — and don’t forget to check out THIS LINK for an audio excerpt and THIS LINK for all of PW’s audiobook reviews.

Let’s Pretend This Never Happened:  (A Mostly True Memoir)
Jenny Lawson, read by the author. Penguin Audio, unabridged, seven CDs, 8.5 hrs., $39.95 ISBN 978-1-61176-085-9

In this sarcastic and sidesplitting memoir, blogger and journalist Jenny Lawson—famous for her persona, the Bloggess—describes her childhood in Wall, Tex., her experiences with marriage and motherhood, and how she became a mature adult (sort of). Lawson fans will love listening to the author recounting her life in her own voice, from getting her arm stuck up a cow’s vagina to her first acid trip and misinterpretation of her husband’s marriage proposal as a murder attempt. Listeners unfamiliar with Lawson’s style may grow tired of her profanity and, at times, over-the-top attempts at derisive humor, but even her biggest critics will find themselves giggling when her taxidermist father throws a bobcat into her future husband’s lap. From the start (and the title), Lawson admits to embellishing details of her life, but her West Texas accent adds a sweet authenticity to her tall tales. She also touches on serious topics, such as her series of miscarriages and severe anxiety disorder, softening her delivery to fit the material. And Lawson knows her material so well that her performance seems more like a standup than traditional narration, making this audiobook both entertaining and engaging. A Putnam/Amy Einhorn hardcover. (Apr.)
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Audio Reviews Spotlight: What Einstein Told His Cook: Kitchen Science Explained

Adam Boretz -- May 3rd, 2012

Today in Audio Reviews Spotlight, we head over to the nonfiction side and Robert L. Wolke’s What Einstein Told His Cook: Kitchen Science Explained, narrated by Sean Runnette and available from Tantor Media.

Our Starred Review is below, and don’t forget to check out THIS LINK for an audio excerpt and all of this month’s audio reviews from PW.

What Einstein Told His Cook: Kitchen Science Explained
Robert L. Wolke, read by Sean Runnette. Tantor Media, unabridged, eight CDs, 9.5 hrs., $44.99 ISBN 978-1-4526-0636-1

Chemistry professor emeritus and award-winning food columnist Wolke offers a reference guide to the science of food, everything from the truth about raw sugar and cream of tartar to how microwaves and “instant-read” thermometers actually function, explaining it all in a clear, accessible, and fun fashion. Sean Runnette turns in a subtle, winning performance in this audio edition, capturing the spirit of the text—his reading both informs and entertains—and delivering friendly, clear, and steady narration. Additionally, Runnette is restrained and wry—and vaguely reminiscent of Niles Crane from TV’s Frasier—nailing the book’s many moments of humor. This delightful audiobook—which includes a PDF with more than 30 recipes from the author’s wife, Marlene Parrish—is a must for foodies and science fans. A W.W. Norton paperback. (Feb.)

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Audio Reviews Spotlight: Trouble On His Wings

Adam Boretz -- April 4th, 2012

Let’s take a look at the fiction side today, with a little pulp fiction and L. Ron Hubbard’s Trouble on His Wings.

The audiobook is available from Galaxy and is narrated by a full cast in the style of an old-time radio drama. Check out our Starred Review below and THIS LINK for all this month’s audio reviews from PW.

Trouble on His Wings
L. Ron Hubbard, read by a full cast. Galaxy Audio, unabridged, two CDs, 2 hrs., $9.95 ISBN 978-1-59212-308-7

Hubbard’s pulp novel charts the adventures of hotheaded and heroic Johnny Brice; his dame, Jinx; and his buddy Irish. After Brice—on assignment covering a burning ship at sea for the newsreels—pulls Jinx out of the water, the trio begins gallivanting around the world (from Idaho to Asia) constantly getting in and out of trouble. Performed with great verve in the style of a classic radio play, this full cast recording incorporates realistic sound effects and mood music. While each cast member turns in a stellar performance—especially Jennifer Aspen as the troubled and spunky Jinx—the narration of R.F. Daley steals the show. He reads in a tone that is both excited and vaguely amused—a perfect combination given the pure pulpiness of Hubbard’s text. Listeners in search of an audiobook that’s both fun and fast-paced will be delighted. A Galaxy paperback. (Mar.)
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Audio Reviews Spotlight: The Tao of Pooh

Adam Boretz -- April 2nd, 2012

This month, we start off by shining our reviews spotlight on the nonfiction side and audio edition of Benjamin Hoff’s classic The Tao of Pooh.

The audiobook is narrated by the incomparable Simon Vance and available from Tantor Media.

Check out PW’s Starred Review below and all of this month’s audio reviews RIGHT HERE.

The Tao of Pooh
Benjamin Hoff, read by Simon Vance. Tantor Media, unabridged, three CDs, 3 hrs., $19.99 ISBN 978-1-4526-0617-0 

Hoff’s classic introduction to religion places A.A. Milne’s Winnie-the-Pooh characters in fictional scenarios to explore the ideas behind Taoism, bringing Western familiarity to an Eastern philosophy that might seem, at a cursory glance, a bit difficult to grasp. Hoff draws clear parallels between Milne’s characters and the central tenants of Taoism. For instance, he describes how “the Eeyore attitude gets in the way of wisdom and happiness and prevents any sort of real accomplishment in life.” Narrator Simon Vance demonstrates his great range, shifting easily from didactic sections of the book to fictional narrative and imbuing Milne’s characters with distinct voices. His Pooh captures the essence of the famous bear, and Vance deftly juggles multiple characters and dialogue with ease. This audio edition, due in large part to Vance’s performance, is surprisingly engaging and accessible. (Jan.)
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Audio Reviews Spotlight: Then Again

Adam Boretz -- March 6th, 2012

As we take a look at our latest batch of audio reviews, it’s time to highlight the nonfiction side, this time with the audio edition of Diane Keaton’s Then Again. The audiobook is narrated by the author and available from Random House Audio. Check out our Starred Review (below), THIS LINK for an audio excerpt, and all of this month’s audio reviews from PW RIGHT HERE.

Then Again
Diane Keaton, read by the author. Random House Audio, unabridged, seven CDs, 8 hrs., $35 ISBN 978-0-307-93401-7

This audio production of Keaton’s memoir delivers something you won’t get in the print edition: Diane Keaton herself. As a narrator, Keaton’s personality, talent, and vulnerability shine through—whether she is describing heartbreak (take that, Al Pacino), revealing a never-before-disclosed struggle with an eating disorder, or acting goofy and showcasing her famously funny side. Keaton’s delivery is conversational throughout, and listeners will feel as if they’re sitting around the kitchen table swapping stories with the Hollywood legend. Most significantly, the performance captures the tenderness of Keaton’s relationship with her mother, Dorothy Keaton Hall. This audio weaves Hall’s journal entries, by turns joyous and painful, with Keaton’s memories from her childhood and adult life. Entertaining and a must for fans. A Random House hardcover. (Nov.)
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Audio Reviews Spotlight: Jeeves & Wooster

Adam Boretz -- February 27th, 2012

This month our Audio Fiction Reviews Spotlight shines on radio dramas and the works of P.G. Wodehouse.

And for that, we bring you our Starred Review (see below) of Jeeves & Wooster: The Collected Radio Dramas from AudioGO.  And don’t forget to check out all of PW’s latest audio reviews HERE.

Jeeves & Wooster: The Collected Radio Dramas
P.G. Wodehouse, read by a full cast. AudioGO, unabridged, 17 CDs, 17 hrs., $124.95 ISBN 978-1-4084-2679-1

This collection of six full-cast radio dramas about the misadventures of Bertie Wooster and his gentleman’s personal gentleman, Reginald Jeeves, is a delightful, entertaining, and hilarious listen. Each of the installments—The Inimitable Jeeves, Right Ho, Jeeves, The Code of the Woosters, Stiff Upper Lip, Jeeves, Jeeves and the Feudal Spirit, and Jeeves: Joy in the Morning—is chock-full of classic Wodehouse ingredients: angry aunts, broken engagements, conniving friends, overbearing fiancées, unimaginable imbroglios, wild schemes, and madcap antics. Michael Hordern and Richard Briers deliver unforgettable performances: Horden’s spot-on rendition of the brilliant Jeeves is appropriately refined and demure, while Briers’s portrayal of Wooster captures the character’s flighty, bumbling, and good-natured essence. The supporting cast is equally skilled, bringing to life everyone from Aunt Agatha and Madeline Bassett to Honoria Glossop and Gussie Fink-Nottle. Fans of Wodehouse will be absolutely delighted. (Jan.)
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Audio Reviews Spotlight: From Pearl Harbor to Calvary

Adam Boretz -- February 8th, 2012

This week our reviews spotlight shines on the nonfiction side: the audio edition of From Pearl Harbor to Calvary: The Story of the Lead Pilot of the Pearl Harbor Attack and His Conversion to Christianity. The audiobook is available from christianaudio and narrated by Karl Choi. Our Starred Review is below and don’t forget to check out all this month’s audio reviews HERE.

From Pearl Harbor to Calvary: The Story of the Lead Pilot of the Pearl Harbor Attack and His Conversion to Christianity
Mitsuo Fuchida, read by Karl Choi. Christianaudio, unabridged, two CDs, 2.5 hrs., $5.98 ISBN 978-1-61045-239-7
Fuchida—a former captain in the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service—tells an epic tale of war and religion, and how the two eventually lead him to a career as a Christian preacher in the United States after WWII. His story is indeed an incredible one: Fuchida led the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. But following the war, he “surrendered his heart to Jesus Christ” and transformed himself from “a soldier of pain to a soldier of love.” Karl Choi offers winning narration, rich in depth and nuance, that is so convincing it blurs the line between author and narrator. A compulsive listening experience that is as short as it is sweet. An eChristian paperback. (Sept.)
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