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James Dawson (Woodland Hills, CA United States)

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Gormenghast (Gormenghast Trilogy)
Gormenghast (Gormenghast Trilogy)
by Mervyn Peake
Edition: Audio CD
Price: £78.46

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magnificent Performance by Robert Whitfield, 30 April 2011
Every other reviewer here to date has written only about the wonderful "Gormenghast" print novel, not about this specific Blackstone Audiobook version. I have all three of the Blackstone Audiobooks in the Gormenghast series (this title, "Titus Groan" and "Titus Alone") on CD, and I am pleased to report that reader Robert Whitfield does an absolutely magnificent job of not merely reading the books, but performing them.

Whitfield's readings are thoroughly entertaining, and the individual "voices" he gives to the characters are positively inspired -- from the stately baritone drawl of headmaster Bellgrove to the fidgety desperation of Irma Prunesquallor to the "we are not amused" Countess Gertrude to the obsequious, ambitious and evil Steerpike -- I could go on and on. Whitfield seems to take real delight in giving voice to Peake's words, savoring every richly ornamented sentence.

The only "caveat" for Peake purists is that all three Blackstone audiobooks, although they were produced in 2000, used the old Ballantine Books editions of the novels as their source material, not the "restored" texts that later appeared from Overlook Press and other publishers. Fortunately, any "restorations" that were made to "Titus Groan" and "Gormenghast" were extremely minor; only the third book, "Titus Alone," had significant alterations and additions (including entire restored chapters that did not appear in the Ballantine version).

(Note: The "restored text" audiobook version of "Titus Alone," produced by Isis Audio Books, is read by Edmund Dehn, whose delivery is not nearly as energetic, imaginative and textured as that of Robert Whitfield on the Blackstone version. Which means buyers face the odd choice of hearing a better performance but not getting the entire book by going with the Blackstone version, or hearing the full text from a less lively reader on the Isis version. Heck, just do what I did and buy both -- it's only money!)

While the Blackstone "Gormenghast" is not exactly inexpensive, rest assured that you will not be disappointed with the product. Reader Robert Whitfield is a true treasure.

Welcome to the Pleasuredome
Welcome to the Pleasuredome
Offered by dlar193076
Price: £9.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Album, Misprinted Track Listing, 20 Nov 2003
I bought this 2000 UK ZTT digipack reissue of this classic album even though I already had the original 1984 US ZTT/Island CD and the mid-1990s US ZTT/Universal version. And all three versions are different! This 2000 edition (catalog number ZTT157CD) has both more and less than the previous incarnations.
On the "more" side, it includes the original "B" sides of the "Relax" and "Two Tribes" singles as bonus tracks. "One September Monday" and "One February Friday" are interviews with band members over musical backing. Both fall in the category of "best appreciated by FGTH collectors," but are nice to have.
On the "less" side, the track listing printed on the digipack and inside the booklet is incorrect. Although listed as track number eight, "Born to Run" does not actually appear anywhere on this version of the album. Other tracks do not appear in their printed order. Also, the version of "Two Tribes" on this version is the short (3:24) version that was on the ZTT/Universal edition, NOT the 9:07 extended mix that was heard on the original 1984 CD. Also missing: "The Last Voice," as well as "Happy Hi" (the track that replaced "San Jose" on the 1984 CD).
I didn't notice any sound-quality difference between this and earlier incarnations of the album -- they're all great. Definitely one of the best albums of the 1980s!

Harry Potter Hardback Box Set: Four Volumes
Harry Potter Hardback Box Set: Four Volumes
by J.K. Rowling
Edition: Hardcover

29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly Preferred Over American Editions of These Books!, 23 Dec 2001
I enjoyed the first two Harry Potter books so much that I knew I was hooked. I wanted to read the next two books in their original (British) versions. (I had the American editions of the first two volumes.) When I saw's great price on the four-volume hardback box set, I ordered immediately.
THESE BOOKS ARE WONDERFUL! The British versions have much, much nicer covers; I like the fact that the dustjacket art is printed on the hard covers of the actual books, "schoolbook style." Text-wise, a few words here and there are changed for American readers ("tank" instead of "cistern"), and I personally enjoy encountering the original Britishisms (such as "gormless") instead of the American "translations."
THE MOST IMPORTANT DIFFERENCE BETWEEN UK AND US EDITIONS: The US editions of the books have small black-and-white illustrations at the beginning of each chapter which usually give away important plot points and completely ruin the suspense of what is going to happen. What a terrible idea! I prefer no illustrations at all, UK-edition-style.
The one drawback to the British editions is that they are not printed on paper that is as good as the US editions (although the UK books' paper quality is vastly improved by book four). The first book's paper is worse than the paper used in most paperbacks; a real disappointment, quality wise. But the stories are so good you won't care!

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