Archive for the ‘audiobooks’ Category

Is everybody jolly out there?  Well, if not, I’m here to give you some ideas how to spend your time off from work.

  1. Go to a movie.  Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is the big one out there that you may have trouble getting tickets to.  Order them online if necessary.  I haven’t had time to check this one out yet, but I probably will in the next few days.  Chris Pratt’s Passengers is also out, but with a big ol’ Rotten Tomatoes splat (31% – yikes!) I’m not sure if I’ll put out the coin for that one or just wait for it to show up for rent online.  If anybody’s seen it feel free to let me know how it is by posting a comment.
  2. Watch Sherlock series 4.  This will premiere on the BBC and PBS on January 1 with the next two episodes on subsequent Sundays.  The last episode, The Final Problem, will also be shown in certain theaters.  See my previous post for more info.
  3. Do some charitable work and/or donate to your favorite cause.
  4. Catch up on Lethal Weapon.  Episodes are available for free online.
  5. Play with the furkids.  You got the felines and canines and any other animals in your lives presents, right?  Mine are getting a some-assembly-required new cat tree.  Cross your fingers I get this one put together before I have to go back to work.  I have 10 days.
  6. Rewatch all the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit films.  That’ll take you a while.  Be sure to get up and stretch once in a while.
  7. Write down your New Year’s Resolutions.  Then put them in an envelope, tear them in half, and throw them away.  Seriously, who needs the pressure?
  8. Watch all the old Sherlock Holmes films with Basil Rathbone.  There were 14 of them.  Personally I’d skip the ones where they’re chasing Nazis (outside of the first two they were all in what was then present day.  No, BBC’s Sherlock wasn’t the first to do that).
  9. Listen to all 26 episodes of BBC radio’s Cabin Pressure.  With Benedict Cumberbatch and a crew of very funny people (including Anthony Head in some later episodes), it’s my go-to comedy series when I need a laugh.  You can order the CD’s or an Audible version on Amazon.

Everyone have a very happy whatever-you’re-celebrating, and hug the furkids for me!

#Sherlock #CabinPressure #LethalWeapon #StarWars

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Yes, you read that right.  Benedict Cumberbatch, who can alternately be a Serious Actor (The Imitation Game, Hamlet), perfectly deliver some very funny lines (Cabin Pressure), play a superhero (Doctor Strange), or a consulting detective (Sherlock) — all with equal ease — will now be The Grinch.

According to Deadline, Benny will be voicing the character in a new animated version of How The Grinch Stole Christmas by Illumination Entertainment, house of The Minions.  The movie will be released on November 10th, 2017.  Of course, his little boy Christopher might just be old enough by then to enjoy it, although maybe a little confused about why his dad’s voice is attached to an ugly green creature in a Santa suit.

Benedict has done quite a bit of voice and radio work in the past.  If you haven’t checked out Cabin Pressure, it’s one of the funniest things I’ve ever heard.  And of course, he was the voice of Agent Classified in The Penguins of Madagascar as well as the dragon Smaug and The Necromancer in The Hobbit films.  He’s done the audio tapes for Casanova, voiced young Rumpole for the Rumpole of the Bailey radio shows, and even read some recent Sherlock Holmes stories, among other things.  All of these are worth checking out, as well as his other early voiceover work.

#BenedictCumberbatch #TheGrinch

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The sixth and final season of Downton Abbey is over on PBS.  Barring any (rumored) film becoming a reality, it seems we have to leave the Crawley family behind.

So what’s a Downton fan to watch now?

Well, creator Julian Fellowes is working on a new period series, The Gilded Age, for NBC.  That series will start filming this year.  It’s set in New York in the 1880’s, according to Radio Times.

He also has a novel, Belgravia, that will be released online in 11 installments.  Sign up here.  The first episode will appear in April and will be available in both text and audio, with an option to download each episode to an app.

Here’s Fellowes doing an introduction to the project:

Fellowes also adapted Anthony Trollope‘s novel for Doctor Thorne, which just premiered last night on ITV.  No word on whether this will be coming the US, though.  (BTW, it was beaten in the ratings by Tom Hiddleston’s The Night Manager on BBC.)

On PBS’s Masterpiece Downton’s slot will be taken by a replay of Mercy Street, set in a hospital during the Civil War.

#DowntonAbbey #MercyStreet #JulianFellowes #BelgraviaNovel #DoctorThorne

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NPR’s award-winning podcast Serial, a spinoff of This American Life, will be getting a second and third series.  One will air this fall and the other in the spring of 2016.

Serial_via_bbc_dot_comSerial has been a surprise hit for NPR, with over 60 million downloads.  It was the first podcast to win the prestigious Peabody Award.  The first series consists of 12 episodes and follows co-producer and host Sarah Koenig and others as they review the case against Adnan Syed, convicted in the 1999 murder of Hae Min Lee, 18, his ex-girlfriend.  Syed has maintained he is innocent since his conviction in February of 2000.  He is serving a life sentence.

The 12-episode series ran from October 3, 2014 to December 18th.  You can stream it from various podcast outlets (including iTunes) and on Serial’s official website.  You can download it as an MP3 also.  If you have hearing issues and would rather read transcripts of the episodes, Google “Serial transcripts” and the links to the audio translations on Reddit will pop up.

In February of this year Syed won the right to an appeal on the basis that his defense attorney never sought a plea deal for him.  It could also be argued she didn’t present as effective a case as she could have, and in fact she was disbarred for various offenses both related and not related to the Syed case.  The attorney died several years ago.

There’s no word yet on the stories being used for the second and third series.

Image via bbc.com


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I read Gone Girl sometime last year, before I saw the movie.  The success of that book and film by Gillian Flynn have spawned thrillers in a similar style.  Two of them are The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins, and The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson.

I reviewed Gone Girl last September here.  While I had a few quibbles about it, it’s the superior of these three.  The plot and the twists and turns it took seem to have taken quite a bit of ingenuity to work out and so it’s one of those books that are hard to put down (once you get past the first half).

The Girl On The Train and The Kind Worth Killing both borrow the method of trading characters as the “writers” of each chapter.  Whereas Amy and Nick traded telling the story from their respective points of view in Gone Girl, both of the other books use the same idea.

Here’s the synopsis of The Girl On The Train from Goodreads.com:

Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. “Jess and Jason,” she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.

And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel offers what she knows to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in what happens next, as well as in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?

Here’s the synopsis of The Kind Worth Killing, also from Goodreads:

On a late flight from London to Boston, Ted Severson meets the stunning and mysterious Lily Kintner. Over one too many martinis, the two strangers play a game, one in which they begin revealing more and more intimate details about themselves. Ted talks about his wife, Miranda–how his marriage has gone stale, how a week ago he caught her in a serious betrayal. . . . Maybe they were a mismatch from the start, he the rich businessman, she the beautiful artist. But what begins as playful banter between Ted and Lily takes a swift turn when Ted claims, half-seriously, that he would like to kill his wife for what she’s done. Then Lily surprises him by saying that she’d like to help. After all, everyone dies, what difference does it make if a few bad apples get pushed along a little sooner than life intended?


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BBC Radio 4’s hilarious comedy Cabin Pressure had its final episode in January, and while all us fans are sad that it’s over, we can revisit MJN Air, GERTI and the crew over and over again now that they’re giving us a box set!

The show revolves around a one-jet airline and the places they fly to, or as the BBC synopsis says, it’s a “sitcom about an airline for whom no job is too small but many, many jobs are too difficult.”CabinPressure_boxset

The show stars Benedict Cumberbatch as Captain Martin Crieff, Roger Allam as First Officer Douglas Richardson, Stephanie Cole as MJN’s owner Carolyn Knapp-Shappey, and John Finnemore as Carolyn’s son Arthur.  Finnemore also wrote the series.  There were some great guest stars, and several episodes featured Anthony Head (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) as Carolyn’s boyfriend.

All the episodes from A-Z (Abu Dhabi to Zurich) will be included, along with the Christmas special and several bonus features, including a 32-page booklet.  The bonus features are described here on Finnemore’s website.  My favorite episode, btw, is Ipswich.

The set will be released in the U.S. in April but it just became available in the U.K.  If you want to preorder the link for Amazon.com is here, and the link to buy it now on Amazon.co.uk is here.  Or if you live in the U.S. you could just order it from the U.K. site.  It will take a while to get here, but I’m sure it would make it before April!  And yes, if you want to download it instead of dealing with physical CD’s, you can do that, but I doubt the the booklet and special features would be available to download, so be careful what you’re buying if those are important to you.

You might wonder why Cumberbatch was on a radio show, but in fact he has done quite a bit of radio, as well as recording audiobooks.  While I was looking on Amazon I discovered that he has recorded a series of mysteries called Benedict Cumberbatch Reads Thrilling Stories of the Railway that was released last year.  These are written by Victor L. Whitechurch.  Previously Benedict read a series called Sherlock Holmes: The Rediscovered Railway Mysteries and Other Stories, which were written by John Taylor.  If you poke around you’ll find Benedict recordings out there for everything from the audiobook to Casanova to Jane Austen.

Be aware, though, that Benedict loves doing voices, so he usually doesn’t just read the material in his own, but creates different voices for each character.  Some people like that, and some don’t.  Just FYI.

#BenedictCumberbatch #CabinPressure

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