Don Quixote

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Overview

Don Quixote is a middle-aged gentleman from the region of La Mancha in central Spain. Obsessed with the chivalrous ideals touted in the many books he has read, he decides to take up his lance and sword to defend the helpless and destroy the wicked. After a first failed adventure, he sets out on a second one with a somewhat befuddled laborer named Sancho Panza, whom he has persuaded to accompany him.

In many works, the experiences of a man like Don Quixote would probably appear tragic. He's repeatedly beaten, chased away, lied to, and misunderstood. But in the hands of Miguel de Cervantes, these events are comic.

An abridged version of the adventures of an eccentric country gentleman and his faithful companion who set out as knight and squire of old to right wrongs and punish evil.

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Editorial Reviews

Thomas Mann
What a monument is this book! How its creative genius, critical, free, and human, soars above its age!
Fyodor Dostoyevsky
A more profound and powerful work than this is not to be met with...The final and greatest utterance of the human mind.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge
The highest creation of genius has been achieved by Shakespeare and Cervantes, almost alone.
Children's Literature - Kathleen Karr
Brits Martin Jenkins and Chris Riddell have obviously had a marvelous time with this "retelling" of Cervantes' classic, early seventeenth century picaresque novel. Still, it cannot have been easy condensing the original nine hundred-odd pages into the fast paced three-hundred-plus here offered. Riddell's exquisite page-by-page illustrations (very fine pen-and-ink sketches that literally fly off the pages, interspersed with occasional full-page and double-spread color paintings) must have been tough calls, too, given the popular impressions of the story's major characters and events inscribed in the contemporary brain by recent years of touring productions of the musical Man of la Mancha. The end result gives one the feeling of a graphic novel wrapped around an especially lucid batch of copy—all beautifully designed and produced. That said, the volume is also a pretty nifty way to introduce a fresh generation or two of young readers to knight errants and squires and the chivalric code Cervantes so brilliantly satirized. Reviewer: Kathleen Karr
From the Publisher

"[Harrison's] language captures the style of the original.... Ambrus's artwork is well suited to the story; he captures the personalities of both knight and squire without reducing them to caricatures."--School Library Journal

"Children will find this a fast-paced, readable introduction to Cervantes' novel."--Booklist

From Barnes & Noble
This classic book, published in 1605, is the first and greatest of all modern novels & an adventure tale that brings to life two of literature's most beloved characters, Don Quixote & Sancho Panza. A timeless and rewarding reading experience.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781400139019
  • Publisher: Tantor Media, Inc.
  • Publication date: 11/1/2008
  • Format: CD
  • Edition description: Library - Unabridged CD
  • Product dimensions: 7.60 (w) x 7.20 (h) x 2.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Miguel de Cervantes (1547–1616) was a Spanish novelist, playwright, and poet, best known as the creator of Don Quixote, the most famous figure in Spanish literature.

A highly respected and enthusiastic audiobook narrator, David Case specialized in creating unique and interesting character voices.

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Read an Excerpt

The Life of Cervantes

Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra was at once the glory and reproach of Spain; for, if his admirable genius and heroic spirit conduced to the honour of his country, the distress and obscurity which attended his old age, as effectually redounded to her disgrace. Had he lived amidst Gothic darkness and barbarity, where no records were used, and letters altogether unknown, we might have expected to derive from tradition, a number of particulars relating to the family and fortune of a man so remarkably admired even in his own time. But, one would imagine pains had been taken to throw a veil of oblivion over the personal concerns of this excellent author. No inquiry hath, as yet, been able to ascertain the place of his nativity;1 and, although in his works he has declared himself a gentleman by birth, no house has hitherto laid claim to such an illustrious descendant.

One author* says he was born at Esquivias; but, offers no argument in support of his assertion: and probably the conjecture was founded upon the encomiums which Cervantes himself bestows on that place, to which he gives the epithet of Renowned, in his preface to Persiles and Sigismunda.2 Others affirm he first drew breath in Lucena, grounding their opinion upon a vague tradition which there prevails: and a third* set take it for granted that he was a native of Seville, because there are families in that city known by the names of Cervantes and Saavedra; and our author mentions his having, in his early youth, seen plays acted by Lope Rueda, who was a Sevilian. These, indeed, are presumptions that deserve some regard, tho', far from implying certain information, they scarce even amount to probableconjecture: nay, these very circumstances seem to disprove the supposition; for, had he been actually descended from those families, they would, in all likelihood, have preserved some memorials of his birth, which Don Nicholas Antonio would have recorded, in speaking of his fellow-citizen. All these pretensions are now generally set aside in favour of Madrid, which claims the honour of having produced Cervantes, and builds her title on an expression? in his Voyage to Parnassus, which, in my opinion, is altogether equivocal and inconclusive.

In the midst of such undecided contention, if I may be allowed to hazard a conjecture, I would suppose that there was something mysterious in his extraction, which he had no inclination to explain, and that his family had domestic reasons for maintaining the like reserve. Without admitting some such motive, we can hardly account for his silence on a subject that would have afforded him an opportunity to indulge that self-respect which he so honestly displays in the course of his writings. Unless we conclude that he was instigated to renounce all connexion with his kindred and allies, by some contempt'ous flight, mortifying repulse, or real injury he had sustained; a supposition which, I own, is not at all improbable, considering the jealous sensibility of the Spaniards in general, and the warmth of resentment peculiar to our author, which glows through his productions, unrestrained by all the fears of poverty, and all the maxims of old age and experience.


From the Hardcover edition.

Copyright 2001 by Miguel de Cervantes
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Table of Contents

Introduction vii
Further Reading xxiii
Translating Don Quixote xxv
Acknowledgments xxxiii
Chronology xxxv
A Note on the Text xxxix
The Ingenious Hidalgo Don Quixote de la Mancha 1
Notes 983
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First Chapter

Don Quixote

Part One of the Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha

Chapter One

Which describes the condition and profession of the famous gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha

Somewhere in La Mancha, in a place whose name I do not care to remember, a gentleman lived not long ago, one of those who has a lance and ancient shield on a shelf and keeps a skinny nag and a greyhound for racing. An occasional stew, beef more often than lamb, hash most nights, eggs and abstinence on Saturdays, lentils on Fridays, sometimes squab as a treat on Sundays -- these consumed three-fourths of his income. The rest went for a light woolen tunic and velvet breeches and hose of the same material for feast days, while weekdays were honored with dun-colored coarse cloth. He had a housekeeper past forty, a niece not yet twenty, and a man-of-all-work who did everything from saddling the horse to pruning the trees. Our gentleman was approximately fifty years old; his complexion was weathered, his flesh scrawny, his face gaunt, and he was a very early riser and a great lover of the hunt. Some claim that his family name was Quixada, or Quexada, for there is a certain amount of disagreement among the authors who write of this matter, although reliable conjecture seems to indicate that his name was Quexana. But this does not matter very much to our story; in its telling there is absolutely no deviation from the truth.

And so, let it be said that this aforementioned gentleman spent his times of leisure -- which meant most of the year -- reading books of chivalry with so much devotion and enthusiasm that he forgot almost completely about the hunt and even about the administration of his estate; and in his rash curiosity and folly he went so far as to sell acres of arable land in order to buy books of chivalry to read, and he brought as many of them as he could into his house; and he thought none was as fine as those composed by the worthy Feliciano de Silva, because the clarity of his prose and complexity of his language seemed to him more valuable than pearls, in particular when he read the declarations and missives of love, where he would often find written: The reason for the unreason to which my reason turns so weakens my reason that with reason I complain of thy beauty. And also when he read: ... the heavens on high divinely heighten thy divinity with the stars and make thee deserving of the deserts thy greatness deserves.

With these words and phrases the poor gentleman lost his mind, and he spent sleepless nights trying to understand them and extract their meaning, which Aristotle himself, if he came back to life for only that purpose, would not have been able to decipher or understand. Our gentleman was not very happy with the wounds that Don Belianís gave and received, because he imagined that no matter how great the physicians and surgeons who cured him, he would still have his face and entire body covered with scars and marks. But, even so, he praised the author for having concluded his book with the promise of unending adventure, and he often felt the desire to take up his pen and give it the conclusion promised there; and no doubt he would have done so, and even published it, if other greater and more persistent thoughts had not prevented him from doing so. He often had discussions with the village priest -- who was a learned man, a graduate of Sigüenza -- regarding who had been the greater knight, Palmerín of England or Amadís of Gaul; but Master Nicolás, the village barber, said that none was the equal of the Knight of Phoebus, and if any could be compared to him, it was Don Galaor, the brother of Amadís of Gaul, because he was moderate in everything: a knight who was not affected, not as weepy as his brother, and incomparable in questions of courage.

In short, our gentleman became so caught up in reading that he spent his nights reading from dusk till dawn and his days reading from sunrise to sunset, and so with too little sleep and too much reading his brains dried up, causing him to lose his mind. His fantasy filled with everything he had read in his books, enchantments as well as combats, battles, challenges, wounds, courtings, loves, torments, and other impossible foolishness, and he became so convinced in his imagination of the truth of all the countless grandiloquent and false inventions he read that for him no history in the world was truer. He would say that El Cid Ruy Díaz4 had been a very good knight but could not compare to Amadís, the Knight of the Blazing Sword, who with a single backstroke cut two ferocious and colossal giants in half. He was fonder of Bernardo del Carpio because at Roncesvalles he had killed the enchanted Roland by availing himself of the tactic of Hercules when he crushed Antaeus, the son of Earth, in his arms. He spoke highly of the giant Morgante because, although he belonged to the race of giants, all of them haughty and lacking in courtesy, he alone was amiable and well-behaved. But, more than any of the others, he admired Reinaldos de Montalbán, above all when he saw him emerge from his castle and rob anyone he met, and when he crossed the sea and stole the idol of Mohammed made all of gold, as recounted in his history. He would have traded his housekeeper, and even his niece, for the chance to strike a blow at the traitor Guenelon.

The truth is that when his mind was completely gone, he had the strangest thought any lunatic in the world ever had, which was that it seemed reasonable and necessary to him, both for the sake of his honor and as a service to the nation ...

Don Quixote. Copyright © by Miguel Cervantes. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Foreword

1. Don Quixote is often called the first modern novel. Do you agree? Why or why not?

2. Many critics have interpreted Don Quixote as a sustained exploration of madness. How is madness represented in the novel?

3. Italian literary critic Giovanni Papini famously argued in the early 1920s that "by virtue of [the power of Cervantes's genius] the shade of Don Quixote has succeeded in deceiving us. We have been led to think that his life was full of deception in the sense that he was himself deceived by carnivorous men, decadent times, and impossible books. His life was indeed full of deception, but he was himself the deceiver, and we of the succeeding generations have been the ones deceived." Papini suggests that generations of critics have idolized Quixote, held him up as a "martyr of pure, militant, and derided Christianity," when in fact the character is vain and proud, thinks only of earthly glory, and aspires to material conquests. He was not, Papini claims, mad at all, but merely pretended to be. What is your opinion of this argument?

4. Critics have debated the question of whether Cervantes's intention in Don Quixote was to ridicule the chivalric romances-which typically featured knights accomplishing the most impossible things-that were so popular in the Middle Ages. Northrop Frye, for instance, writes that "with every beating he gets, [Don Quixote's] dignity grows on us, and we realize how genuinely faithful he is to the code of chivalry. He is courteous, gentle, chaste, generous (except that he has no money), intelligent and cultured within the limits of his obsession, and, of course, courageous. Not only was the code of chivalry areal code that helped to hold a real civilization together, but these are real virtues, and would be if chivalry had never existed." Do you think the book repudiates chivalry?

5. In his 1935 book Don Quixote: An Introduction to Psychology, leading Spanish literary expert Salvador de Madariaga refers to what he calls the "sanchification" of Don Quixote and the "quixotification" of Sancho. How does each character affect the other?

6. Lionel Trilling once claimed that "All prose fiction is a variation of the theme of Don Quixote: . . . the problem of appearance and reality." Discuss.

7. The names of the main characters in the novel are not stable: for example, Don Quixote is variously called Quixada, Quesana, Quixana, Quixote, Jigote, Knight of the Mournful Countenance, and Knight of the Lions; Sancho's wife is known as Juana Guti?rrez, Mari Guti?rrez, Teresa Cascajo, Teresa Panza or Teresa Sancho, Teresaina, and Teresona. What is the significance of the change of name and why are the characters so concerned with coming up with etymologies (most of which are wrong) for explaining how another character has come to have a particular name?

8. Many readers have been disturbed by the fact that Don Quixote recovers his sanity before dying, instead of venturing forth again, as Sancho would have him do. How do you feel about his regaining his sanity? What do you think is the significance of it?




From the Trade Paperback edition.
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Reading Group Guide

"Don Quixote is practically unthinkable as a living being," said novelist Milan Kundera. "And yet, in our memory, what character is more alive?"

Widely regarded as the world's first modern novel, Don Quixote chronicles the famous picaresque adventures of the noble knight-errant Don Quixote de La Mancha and his faithful squire, Sancho Panza, as they travel through sixteenth-century Spain. This Modern Library edition presents the acclaimed Samuel Putnam translation of the epic tale, complete with notes, variant readings, and an Introduction by the translator.

The debt owed to Cervantes by literature is immense. From Milan Kundera: "Cervantes is the founder of the Modern Era. . . . The novelist need answer to no one but Cervantes." Lionel Trilling observed: "It can be said that all prose fiction is a variation on the theme of Don Quixote." Vladmir Nabokov wrote: "Don Quixote is greater today than he was in Cervantes's womb. [He] looms so wonderfully above the skyline of literature, a gaunt giant on a lean nag, that the book lives and will live through [his] sheer vitality. . . . He stands for everything that is gentle, forlorn, pure, unselfish, and gallant. The parody has become a paragon." And V. S. Pritchett observed: "Don Quixote begins as a province, turns into Spain, and ends as a universe. . . . The true spell of Cervantes is that he is a natural magician in pure story-telling."
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Customer Reviews

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 84 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2011

    Not the Edith Grossman translation

    I think the translation is great, but it is not the Edith Grossman translation as stated in the Publisher's comments. This translation is by John Ormsby.

    5 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 11, 2011

    NOt so much

    it only had book one!

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 24, 2004

    Don Quixote- A timeless epic

    Don Quixote definitely backs up the claim that Miguel de Cervantes is the best author in the history of Spanish literature. In Don Quixote, Cervantes wonderfully illustrates the idea of romanticism and chivalry by narrating the tale of an old knight. This novel highlights the idea that we all wish we could be knights. We all wish we could fight evil and protect goodness. Don Quixote is persecuted because, unlike the rest of the world, he actually pursues his fantastic dreams of knight-errantry. He decides to go out into the world to do what he thinks is right, and to achieve a little infamy. He acquires a squire named Sancho, and together they have some outlandish adventures. Don Quixote battles with sheep, attacks innocent barbers, and fights with a few evildoers. Don Quixote does some evil things himself, but in his mind, he is the champion for the oppressed. He always maintains that he is in the right, and he always seems happy with this role as hero. Eventually he is forced to resign from fighting evil by Samson the scholar. Samson defeats him in battle, and Don Quixote relinquishes his position as savior of all things good. He seems to experience a catharsis at the end of the novel, when he signs his will 'Alonzo Quijada' instead of 'Don Quixote de la Mancha'. This event hints at the idea that he knew all along what he was doing. He seems to realize that he was not a hero, and that his dreams were crushed. He was wrong though to think he was not a famous knight errant, and it is a shame he died in such a state of mind. It just goes to show that most famous people never become famous in their lifetime, only after they die do they receive the glory they deserve. Even though Don Quixote was a fictional character, that does not mean that he should not receive the same respect as any dead hero. He may not have saved any damsels in distress, or slain any dragons, or killed any wizards; but he did inspire romance in the hearts of readers around the world for almost five centuries. He goes back to La Mancha and dies a sad, unsatisfying death. This is where the novel itself creates some irony. Don Quixote wanted to become a knight, one who is written about in tales of chivalry. What better way to achieve this limelight than to be the main character in a novel that is arguably the best piece of Spanish Literature ever written. Through all of his misadventures and all of his criticisms, he is not so crazy when you think about it. He does become the most famous knight in the world. He does inspire others to follow in his footsteps. Don Quixote de la Mancha could be considered a hero after all, in fact one of the greatest romantic heroes. Cervantes wrote Don Quixote as a satire to the books of chivalry of that time period, but it turned out to be much more than a satire. It turned out to be a novel symbolic of romance and chivalry, the opposite of Cervantes' intention. Now, people who have this same dedication to romance, chivalry, and the fight against evil are described as Quixotic, a testament to an eternal novel, Don Quixote.

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 10, 2013

    Typos

    There are too many typos which make this unreadable.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 6, 2004

    Deserves one hundred stars

    This novel is towering, an absolute powerhouse. It is also one of the funniest books I have ever read. There are not many books I would have the desire to read again but this is one of them, only for the sheer enjoyment of it. Don Quixote is one of the most original characters ever set on paper. He and Sancho are just hysterically funny. You will enjoy every minute of this novel. If you don't read it, you are missing out.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 5, 2001

    DQ: The latest translation

    Absolutely brilliant translation - the only one that has overcome the difficulties of the language and has bothered to and very succesfully transferred Cervantes' wit to our modern-day sense of humour and fun. Very highly recommended if interested in the English version.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 11, 2011

    yuck

    horrible typos ignore the people, if any, thaat say it is good. impossible to read.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 15, 2006

    Worthy of its reputation

    A pleasurable book to read,this translation of DON QUIXOTE made the story easy to understand, and for every reason it stands up to its reputaion as the best-loved novel. Confronting the conventions of Spanish society at his time some four hundred years ago, the author wittily and funnily exposes the folies of the time through the adventures , stories and misfortunes of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza.In a broader sense it is the forerunner off other situations where individuals, communities or systems live a complete lie.This is truely an amazing book, one that you won't want to put down once you have started.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 31, 2013

    Fuu

    Fuu





















    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 26, 2012

    wonderful classic

    This is one of those classics that is a must read.

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  • Posted January 4, 2012

    Don Quixote 5 Stars, Barnes and Noble 0 Stars

    1) This book was advertised with the wrong translator.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2009

    Hilarious book - good storytelling

    Don Quixote is a wonderfully funny book about an old man whose brain has dried up because of such immersion in medieval fairytales and is determined to spend the rest of his life as the knight he has dubbed himself. He and his best friend, Sancho Panza, who is not quite as crazy as the protagonist,go out and save the world from what the audience might think is a harmless thing, but is a threat to humanity to Don Quixote.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 28, 2003

    Colorfully Written...perfect!

    This book stands out as a very comical and colorful book with some very unique characters and plenty of twists. I just fell in love with Don Quixote and his somewhat silly squire, Sancho Panza. The book itself was extremely well-translated and easy to read. Though I am sure some twists in the book are a little hard to believe (people finding lost loves and brothers in the period of an hour) I think this book most surely keeps readers to the very end! Most novels around this time seem to focus on the fighting rather than the plot, but this encorperates it all very nicely. I loved it, I recommmend it for all age groups; it won't take more than a week to read if you stick with it! :)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 16, 2002

    Tuesday morning of October 15, 2002

    What I enjoyed about this book is that being a fictional story about a person's life, rather than most books which are more heavily oriented in plot, this book follows the true figure of life. There are characters that we meet, as colorful as two grapes that splash against lime. They enter, they are felt, and then they leave. These character are never heard from again. Such is one of the qualities of life. I appreciated that about the book. I also appreciate how Cervantes handles his comedic techniques. Comedy being truly funny if it is taken seriously by the commedian, Cervantes' characters perform the most absurd actions with complete sincerity and determination. They paint their house with honey as casually as we paint ours with paint. There are too many works that become puppets to an audience because they are there to please, and therefore their characters come accross at times as not complete people but instead as merely a means to an end. While these kind of works can please for a minute, they cannot last for a day. Cervantes demonstrates an immense respect for the intellectual capacities of his readers by simply presenting his characters as who they are. They live their lives for themselves, their actions are for themselves and they are not puppets, and it just happens that their lives are entertaining. These are just some random thoughts on the book. Also, as I did not know that the book was divided into two parts before i read it. I found that the second part of the story made more of a profound effect on me. By not including side stories such as the Captive's Story or The Tale of Ill-Advised Curiosity as in the first part, Cervantes focuses more on the inner workings of his two heroes. In the first part we see their shapes, but in the second part we see their substance. In general, though, i find that there is a balance in this, therefore I cannot complain about either part. I would not have liked one part if not for the other, you might say.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 26, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 1, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 18, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 1, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 10, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 27, 2010

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