Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Uninvited

The Uninvited, by Dorothy MacArdle

A little-- or a lot-- of background & related info before I get to the book:

I've wanted to read The Uninvited ever since seeing it mentioned in one of Barbara Michaels' books.  (I love it when authors mention other author's works in their books!)  However, it seems to be out of print.  There's a play script available-- something based on the novel-- but I preferred to read the original novel.  The only copies of the original story I could immediately find were used, and the sellers were asking (what I considered to be) ridiculous prices.  Fortunately, I located an audio version, and even better, it's offered free of charge! 

Forgotten Classics is a weekly podcast produced by Julie D., who selects and reads books aloud, a chapter or so at a time.  Usually, these are classics of literature that may have fallen by the wayside or otherwise been overlooked in favor of the famous classics, but sometimes she obtains special permission to read more recently published books.

Julie has a very pleasant, clear voice, and if you didn't know better, you'd think you were listening to a professionally produced audiobook.  (Actually, this one was in many ways superior to some of the professional audiobooks I've heard.)  She chats a little at the beginning and ending of each weekly segment, which may not be to someone's liking if s/he wants an audiobook (as opposed to podcast) experience, but it's not repetitive, mindless chatter (which is the bulk of some podcasts, imho), and Julie has such a soothing "radio-style" speaking voice that it's easy to listen to her, and during the course of listening to The Uninvited, I felt that I got to know her a little, which was nice.  Also, she recommends other podcasts as part of the chatty segments.  I've already found a few other promising sources of entertainment through those recommendation-- so thank you for that, too, Julie (if you ever see this)!

Oh, and I thought I'd mention that I listened to this podcast on my Kindle.  I like having my current audio book in the same place as my current e-book(s)-- and not having to wear earbuds (unless I need to plug them in to avoid disturbing someone else in the room)-- and the fact that the Kindle holds my place in an audio file perfectly, every time (more on that below).

If you have a Kindle but don't know how to listen to audio books on it, it's very easy.  I think some people are under the misapprehension that you can only listen to audiobooks from Audible, but that's not the case.  (Not with the Kindle Keyboard / K3, at least-- the only model I know about.  I suspect that other Kindle models work similarly, though.)  When you have the Kindle hooked up to the computer, simply drag / copy and paste the audio files (in mp3 format) into the "Audible" folder.  That's it.  Each file should show up in your Kindle's table of contents / Home screen.  You'll need to find and start each file manually, so this method works best with files of a reasonable length.  (You don't want to have to start a new file every few minutes-- very disruptive.)  I like to put all related files into a single collection so that I can easily find the next one when I want it. 

One idiosyncrasy I've noticed about listening to audiobooks on the Kindle is that I really must be careful about how I turn off the Kindle.  A while ago, I was having problems with the Kindle forgetting my place and putting me back at the beginning of a file when I turned it on again, which was annoying, to say the least.  I finally figured out how to prevent that from happening, though I'm still not sure why it happens.  If you have the same problem, try this:

When you listen to an audiobook for a while, the Kindle will eventually go to the screensaver, but continue to play your audiobook.  To reactivate the screen (and be able to pause the audiobook), simply slide the power switch as you would to turn it on.  When the screen comes back on (or if it never went to the screensaver at all), pause your book (using the cursor button).  Then-- and this is the important part!-- hit the "Home" button before you turn the Kindle back off.

As long as I do that, the Kindle saves my spot.  Otherwise, it doesn't remember where I was.  Now, if you want to read an e-book after listening to the audiobook, you needn't turn the Kindle off, then back on again to access the e-book.  Just go the Home screen, find your e-book, and commence reading as usual.  They key for saving your spot in audio files seems to be (for my Kindle, at least) to go to the Home screen after listening to the audiobook.

Ok, now back to my typical format!

Blurb (from Book Review Digest):
A beautiful old English house, situated on the Devon cliffs, is reputed to be haunted. Roderick Fitzgerald, a London journalist, and his sister, buy the house, and convert it into a thing of beauty. Almost immediately psychic manifestations occur which grow stronger after every visit of the lovely Stella, who was born in the house, and whose mother has died there.
My Reaction:

It was as advertised-- an enjoyable old-fashioned ghost story.  I didn't find much of it very scary, but then again, I didn't listen to it in a scary atmosphere.  However, there were a few definitely creepy, edge-of-your-seat moments.  By the time I got to the big resolution, I'd already figured out the mystery (as most readers do, perhaps), but I still found it an interesting story.  I'd certainly be interested in reading (or listening to) similar books (and am always on the look-out for a good old-fashioned creepy story).

More Specifics:
--  The original title was Uneasy Freehold.  I'm not sure which title I prefer.  Uneasy Freehold is more distinct... unique... but The Uninvited is so ominous. 

--  I'm proud to say that I actually figured out the mystery of "Lily"/ "li li" almost immediately.  (g)  But it was clever.  The parallels in Roderick's play, on the other hand, never occurred to me.

--  I don't have many specific comments, apparently, because I don't take notes on audio books.