Tag Archive: classics



Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Harry Potter, #4)Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Another reread. I needed something while waiting for my next Outlander read. I figured with all the stress of my cataract surgery, I needed something in the fantasy realm.

I did enjoy the book, but I kept remembering the ending and hated reliving it. I don’t think I would have been a good candidate to read this as a kid.

Besides the ending, I had a hard time with this whole series is the lack of good fleshed-out female characters. Hermoine was okay, but there weren’t enough good girls or women. It was very male-heavy.

I may be reading the next one and making it to the series’ end, but it will not be soon.

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Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Harry Potter, #2)Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is my second reading of the series. I noticed I haven’t changed my star rating. I’m still only giving it three stars. Jim Dale is part of the reason for this rating. His voice is suitable for all the males in the book but is horrid with the females. I do feel the grumpiness of Professor Minerva McGonagall and the hyper-energy of Hermoine. But for the most part, Mister Dale’s females sound demeaning and whiny.

But things I love about the book are the basilisk and the phoenix. These are two very fantastic beasts. Oh, and I love the idea of a diary that talks to you from someone else. I don’t like the Tom Riddle part or Voldemort parts, but I suppose we need the bad guy. I did like getting to know Tom’s back story.

When I read the tome about a decade ago, I thought it was a slower slog. This book was over quickly. And for these stressful days having something I know and enjoy, helps the sleep come faster at night.

I’ve already started book three. And I remember how each book gets darker. Maybe by the end, I won’t use these as bedtime books.

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Les MisérablesLes Misérables by Victor Hugo
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Frederick Davidson (Narrator) made this an easier ‘read’ than my last try, the unabridged paperback copy in the 80s. He made the French words sound proper, though I wouldn’t know if they were true French; still, it was far better than my inner voice trying to pronounce them out. He did a great job with different male characters. On the other hand, he did children and female characters appallingly. This book could have used two narrators, a female actress for the children and women, and, sure, Frederick Davidson for the men.

The first time I read it was my intro to all things Les Miserables. I have since learned to play and sing all the music and have watched every version of the story possible. So this listen brought with it layers of meanings and music. At one point, I even put on Pandora on the Les Miserable channel. But it was distracting because it was out of order.

This read also brought a world perspective far different from the 80s. A pandemic and financial life that seems to rival any Victor Hugo had seen and portrayed makes this far less sad. Not everyone has it bad in the book, and the same now. Those with money don’t do so badly, but the majority work hard for low wages and low respect. And we have an illness that threatens the lives of everyone, especially the poor.

Still, I think everyone should read this. Someday I would like to have actual French literacy and a true understanding of France post-Napoleon.

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Kristin Lavransdatter (Kristin Lavransdatter, #1-3)Kristin Lavransdatter by Sigrid Undset
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was the longest book I think I have ever read. It was agony. I’m glad I listened to it on Audible.

I’m sorry. I know a lot of people absolutely loved this book. Okay, it is three books in one. But it just seemed to go on and on. It was like living in that miserable time when misogynic religion ruled everyone’s life.

Still, I did like the main character and watching her make up her mind about life. I must have liked it as I couldn’t stop reading it even though I wanted to quit. The whole time I was reading, was it a month? All I could think about was trying to write a decent review. So let me lead you to a review that says what I felt better than I can. Read Rachel’s Review.

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The StandThe Stand by Stephen King
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow. Why am I finding myself reading/listening to such long books lately? Maybe because I don’t have to carry them around? Maybe because at least something in my life feels secure and always there? I don’t know. But this fits that bill. I will once again have to lower my reading goal to accommodate this new penchant of mine.

What a fun book! I wish I would have read it before I ever watched, much less owned, the DVD series. I saw Molly Ringwold and the rest of the cast playing in my mind as I listened. But for the most part, that didn’t interfere with the character development. Except for Harold. But I guess back when the show filmed it would have been hard to put a minor character actor through the process of losing a lot of weight while dealing with the travel with his team. I hope the new one gives us a more true-to-book Harold.

Grover Gardner, the narrator of this book, should be given all the awards he has. He was able to portray most of the characters that kept them separated in my mind as we went along. I didn’t feel the aversion of the female characters in the way I often do with male narrators. There is usually a feeling the male is making fun of the female. I do think we should just start hiring both male and female, and possibly children actors for the appropriate characters. But that is my own opinion of that.

What was fun for me was I had the book reading to me in the living room. My husband or my son, or brother would walk in and start listening with me. They all seemed to enjoy it from the point I was listening to when they felt the need to find other tasks for their day. My son became most involved. He’s in his forties and is well acquainted with the show—an excellent way to bond with others.

I read The Dome quite a while ago and King’s book about writing. Both books were fantastic, and I think by the end of The Stand, I have to admit to becoming a fan. I love how he keeps the reader involved. He makes you feel you are in the story almost always.

Some parts of the story involved a bit of the Bible and brought in demons and prophets. It felt right for the time it was written, but I wonder if we needed that. I believe that the good and evil, and I don’t think that is our position to judge who is or isn’t, will die or live, not accordingly but just chance or biological, genetic predispositions. I think that a person might have some bad luck shouldn’t make them drawn to the demon. I don’t quite know how to say that. It is worth the thought process the book takes you through, but I wonder if it could be without the demon? I think caring people might flock into teams, and those who are just looking for advantage regardless of others’ needs might find themselves in a herd situation. But again, it played out as King’s story and not offensive.

As I got into the story from the first chapter, I found King’s research quite evident. Had everyone read The Stand, we might have been more ready for our own Captain Trips. A cautionary tale all should read and glean what they can. It seems like a book two could help us figure out the next steps.

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Anne of Green Gables UnabridgedAnne of Green Gables Unabridged by Lucy Maud Montgomery
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I couldn’t find this version on GoodReads, and so had to add my own. This one: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B083DYJB1X/…

is whispersynched with this version: https://www.amazon.com/Anne-Green-Gab…

I had just finished listening to an Audible and just wanted to hear it again.

Beth Kesler was the narrator I got to hear. I think she did an excellent job sorting through all the characters.

I had just finished watching Anne With An E and wanted to see the differences. Here is the YouTube link. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S5qJX…

The differences are the original story didn’t have the modern takes about gay rights or bigotry of any kind. I like it when shows or books do bring in these topics. But not in an older classic like this. I think it is vital that we all see how it was and, if need be, have the discussion in class or with parents about how we could have improved the lives of others or adapt the old kindnesses to today.

I do think that the narrator caught the Chatty Cathy of Anne in this version. I highly recommend it. I will be reading/listening to other versions as I don’t want to leave these characters yet.

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Mary Poppins: 80th Anniversary CollectionMary Poppins: 80th Anniversary Collection by P.L. Travers
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When I was in fifth grade, I was a library regular. I would check out the limit of ten books at a time. Mary Poppins was a series I got into and read all of them. I never had seen Julie Andrews version. We weren’t allowed to go to movies in my family. Maybe that’s the reason I am so into movies now?

Anyway, I wasn’t a fan of the illustrations, still don’t care for them. I got irritated with Michael getting so much attention. I felt that this read through, too.

Something that I noticed that I don’t remember my childhood thoughts on. How prideful Mary Poppins was, and how grumpy/bossy she was. But now that it’s been a couple days since I finished this quartet of books I think I’m glad she was that way. She didn’t feel she needed to tell the family when she’d be leaving. She rarely admitted to the kids about her friends or her habits with them. It was like she had her own life apart from the wards of her job. I think she shows women and girls that they don’t have to tell everything and they can be independent.

Since I read these four books in a row using text-to-speech, I didn’t notice where one book ended and another began–except when she left and said she wasn’t coming back–but then she came back.

I don’t remember finding the adventures tedious as a child. But as an adult, I see they are far too similar and I lost interest sometimes.

Particular to this version, the Audible available as whispersynch to this book was just for the first book. Most folks would probably read on without a problem. I need the text-to-speech to take over and it was hard to make my Fire understand that. The good news was that I called Amazon and they made it all good. I had loved the Audible narration. I just didn’t have the money to get the rest of the books at that time. They let me remove it and then my text-to-speech with the British voice that always sounds like Julie Andrews got me through the rest of the books.

Now I feel ready to watch the new Mary Poppins movie.

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The Christmas HirelingsThe Christmas Hirelings by Mary Elizabeth Braddon
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Yawn. Another gruff old rich guy who finds love. Bah Humbug!

The narrator, Richard Armitage, did a marvelous job of acting/reading this. It made a nice bedtime story. But mostly I was irritated that the story was about the mean guy finding love and not the children or their mother who worked so hard at making life loving and kind. Even the guy who instituted the children as hirelings would have made a better story. The rich old codger made me worry about the little girl he was so fascinated by. Sure it was ‘innocent’ still it was shudder-inducing for me.

Still, for a freebie from Audible, I guess I shouldn’t complain–much.

If you love the Dicken’s Carol garbage, you’ll love this.

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Wives and DaughtersWives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

As I just wrote on the Kindle version on GoodReads, I found the text-to-speech didn’t work for me. I had an Audible credit sitting there when my friend recommended this book so I pick this up. The Kindle and the Audible didn’t synch up so I gave up trying to read while listening and just listened.

The story didn’t grab me as much as the narrator’s voice and her ability to characterize the whole story. It took me a longer time than books usually take but I felt I needed to soak Nadia May’s storytelling in. She was fantastic. I could see the story as if I were watching it in a movie. It might make a fun movie.

Since this was the Victorian British Isles, the history of women shows. It shows how far we’ve come and yet how far we need to go until there would be real equality. Even the title represents the ownership of fathers and husbands. Yet it is a good example that young women today should read and take their time to soak in why many modern women are still not happy with our positions in life.

Still, just as a story it is fun. Often I would get bored with it and then Nadia May’s voice and excitement would pull me back in. I’m glad I read it. Give it a try.

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The Screwtape LettersThe Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Ralph Cosham was the narrator of the edition I was able to obtain from the Overdrive library. I know it can’t be very interesting reading letters. There were no characters to play or give variety to the story. So I can’t say if he was good at what he did or not. I just found it BORING! Like a guy reading letters.

I read this a million years ago as a teen/young adult. I can sincerely say that it was the C.S. Lewis books that gave me my healthy agonistic views. They still stand, so those of you that praise the man really haven’t read his fiction. These were on my mother’s approved list along with Pilgrim’s Progress. The sci-fi was excellent. And are there, like all sci-fi, to make a person think. This book was clever in its format of letters to tell the advice, though from a negative viewpoint. This may be the Cobert Report of its time. I understand sarcasm but I find it the least effective way to prove a point. I think I liked it more as a young person. Now I just couldn’t get into it or find anything redeeming. Now I was just bored, clever negative letters aside. And it was overwhelmingly male.

It is, on the other hand, a bit of a depiction of World War II and the men who fought it in, like my dad. Much reflected tales he told of his own journeys in war. How easy it is to forget the lessons we learned as children when faced with constant death and killing.

It’s worth the read. Just not a second time.

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