Never be without a audio book

George Eliot’s Brave Piece of Literature

Daniel Deronda, a George Eliot novel, is a downloadable audiobook as well as a DVD. It is a complex story about the way English society, in the 1860’s, viewed anti-semiticism. It portrays, in a romantic way, the Zionist movement and the richness of the Judaic heritage. And, true to the George Eliot style, it is a woman’s search for who she really is. Through the weaving of a multitude of characters; social themes such as women’s’ rights, differences in social classes, marriages of convenience, concealed heritage, and illegitimate children are addressed in this brave piece of literature for it‘s time.

The story centers around three main characters; Gwendolen Harleth, Daniel Deronda, and Mirah Lapidoth. Gwendolen Harleth, a spoiled and beautiful girl, is from an upper class family. When the family falls on hard financial times she consents to marry the known scoundrel and soulless aristocrat, Mallinger Grandcourt, for his money.

Daniel Deronda

Daniel Deronda was adopted by an English gentleman at an early age. He is a sensitive compassionate young man who has never been told of his true parentage. Because of his lack of roots, he is unsure of his place in the world, and always appears to be searching for a purpose in life.

Mirah Lapidoth, a young Jewish singer, was taken by her father from her mother and brother. She escapes to search for her long-lost family in London but finding it too difficult she tries to drown herself. Daniel rescues her and decides to help find her family which leads him to finding out information of his true heritage.

The characters of this novel are well developed and deep but by far the most memorable one is Mallinger Grandcourt played by Hugh Bonneville. Oozing with wickedness, Mallinger Grandcourt, needs to prove to himself he can marry and completely control a beautiful woman. By a huge contrast we know Hugh Bonneville acting the role of a failed stockbroker in Notting Hill staring Hugh Grant. In Notting Hill his sweetness and acting subtleties made me take notice of him and in awe of his diverse acting abilities as the wicked Mallinger Grandcourt.

Daniel Deronda as a novel is detailed and heavy to read, demanding close attention. I suggest listening to the audiobook or see the movie, it is an unforgettable story.

George Eliot, who wrote Daniel Deronda, was actually the pen name Mary Marian Evans used so her writing would be taken seriously and she would not be seen as just a writer of romance. She lead a scandalous life for the times; living in an open-marriage with philosopher and critic George Henry Lewes and having three of his children. She also had several other children with other men. George Eliot is a leading English writer well-known for her clarity of thought and style. Her most famous work is Middlemarch; Daniel Deronda was her last novel published in 1876

Naida May or Wanda McCaddon narrates this lengthy unabridged version of Daniel Deronda. Naida May is only one of the many names Wanda McCaddon uses in the 500 audiobooks she has narrated. Impressive! Along with narrating audiobooks she has also been a newspaper reporter, stage and film actress, and a university professor.


July 20, 2008 Posted by | Classic Literature | , | Leave a comment

James and the Giant Peach

James and the Giant Peach is a colorful downloadable audiobook by kid-friendly author Roald Dahl. In the beginning it is a sad story and a bit dark but soon becomes fun and silly with a sense of wonderment and suspense. Like Harry Potter there is something about a story where the life of a child is so wretched that it cries out to be rescued to a world of fantasy and magic.

James lived happily with a great mom and dad; a very normal life. Sadly both his mother and father were eaten by a mad rhino and he was forced to go the live with his two horrible aunts. These aunts underfeed him, made him do all the chores and yelled at him for everything. Then this old man offers James a bag of neon green crocodile tongues which he accidentally spills on his aunts’ withered peach tree. Little does James know that this old tree produces a single peach which grows, and grows, and grows! The night James noticed this huge peach he discovers a hidden tunnel into the center and makes friends with the huge talking bugs that live there. They all embark on an exciting trip heading to America on their enormous peach leaving his two wicked aunts behind.

James and the Giant Peach

Roald Dahl wrote many classics and is remembered best for his children‘s fiction, writing in a way that never talked down to them. This book will stimulate your child’s imagination with a desire to learn new words, feel they are in the story and friends with the characters. Along with James and the Giant Peach he wrote the classic Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Both are good audio books but in my opinion James and the Giant Peach is great for children and adults where Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is enjoyed by children.

Jeremy Irons is the narrator of this version of James and the Giant Peach. Did you know that he is the voice of “Scar” in the memorable Disney movie The Lion King. In The Lion King Jeremy Irons sings the song “Be Prepared” with Whoopi Goldberg, Cheech Marin, and Jim Cummings. He is a well know English film, television and stage actor of over 60 productions, has directed over 70 production and is a multiple award winner. When I think of Jeremy Irons in film, Brideshead Revisited come to mind and is also the narrator of the audio series of the same name. In a more recent film, Eragon, Jeremy plays a former dragon rider, Brom, mentoring Eragon with ageless wisdom.

July 9, 2008 Posted by | Children (and Adults too) | , , , , | 2 Comments