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AUDIO REVIEWS: Light, fun reading

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By Friday, Aug 10, 2018 Arts & Entertainment

The selections this week are light, breezy, and humorous.

Texts from Jane Eyre: And Other Conversations with Your Favorite Literary Characters
Mallory Ortberg; read by Amy Landon and Zach Villa
Tantor Audio; two CDs; two hours and 30 minutes; $19.99/www.audible.com download; $13.99

This is the perfect gift for the avid reader in your life. Author Ortberg takes characters from classical literature and updates them with much humor. Scarlett O’Hara, Oliver Twist, Sherlock Homes, Odysseus, Harry Potter and Nancy Drew are all grist for the humor mill. Landon and Villa play this for laughs. They whine, cajole, tease and generally add to the overall hilarity of this audiobook. Ortberg is smart and literary; parody seems second nature to her. Great for quick jaunts to the store, but keep it because this is one you will play again. Grade: A  

Car Talk Classics: No Factory Recalls. So Far.
Tom Magliozzi, Ray Magliozzi; read by the authors
HighBridge Audio; reviewed download only; www.audible.com; $20.97

Original programming for “Car Talk” may have ended in 2012, but Tom and Ray Magliozzi, known also as “Click and Clack, the Tappet Brothers” can still be heard in syndication and through audiobooks. The four hour-long episodes date from 1997, 2003, 2008 and 2014.  The funny and irreverent brothers deal with noxious fumes from the heater, a goat rescuer whose four-legged friends are climbing on his girlfriend’s car, driving with broken bones, and even driving with a knitter in the passenger seat. Funny and timeless, these never go out of date because the Magliozzis always put a personal spin on their advice. Grade: A

The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend
Katarina Bivald; read by Fiona Hardingham and Lorelei King
Random House Audio; 10 CDs; 12 hours; $45/www.audible.com download; $31.50

Single and lonely Sara Lindqvist works in a bookstore and has an online friendship with another book-loving lady in Broken Wheel, Iowa. Accepting an invitation to visit, the shy Scandinavian arrives just in time for Amy’s funeral. The townsfolk, a quirky bunch, embrace this Swedish fish out of water and Sara finds purpose and love amid Amy’s many books. You can see where the story is headed, but the journey is sweet and appealing. Hardingham, with her endearing British accent, reads the bulk of the tale, while King narrates Amy’s letters to Sara. Hardingham breathes more life into her sections, but her American accents are problematic. Grade: A-minus

Alexander Hamilton – A Short Biography: 30 Minute Book Series
Doug West; read by Gregory Diehl
Audible Audio Edition; 45 minutes; www.audible.com; $3.95

Disappointing at best, this is a great idea whose execution is amateurish and painful on the ears. The idea of history lessons that the entire family can enjoy is brilliant. Hamilton, the first Secretary of the Treasury, had a fascinating life that is laid out informatively and entertainingly without becoming pedantic. The narration, however, is grating. Diehl mispronounces words, stumbles over the text and offers uneven pacing. He sounds very unsure of himself, which makes for an uncomfortable listen. Look for others in the series, but best leave this on the shelf. Grade: C

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