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Download Timothy; or, Notes of an Abject Reptile Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Timothy; or, Notes of an Abject Reptile Audiobook, by Verlyn Klinkenborg Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (206 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Verlyn Klinkenborg Narrator: Josephine Bailey Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: July 2006 ISBN: 9781400172559
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Few writers have attempted to explore the natural history of a particular animal by adopting the animal’s own sensibility. But Verlyn Klinkenborg—with his deeply empathetic relation to the world around him—has done just that, and done it brilliantly, in Timothy; or Notes of an Abject Reptile.

This is the story of a tortoise whose real life was observed by the eighteenth-century English curate Gilbert White, author of The Natural History of Selborne. For thirteen years, Timothy lived in White’s garden—making an occasional appearance in his journals. Now Klinkenborg gives the tortoise an unforgettable voice and powers of observation as keen as those of any bipedal naturalist. The happy result: Timothy regales us with an account of a gracefully paced (no unseemly hurry!) eight-day adventure outside the gate (How do I escape from that nimble-tongued, fleet-footed race? … Walk through the holes in their attention) and entertains us with shrewd observations about the curious habits and habitations of humanity. To humans, Timothy says with doleful understanding, in and out are matters of life and death. Not to me. Warm earth waits just beneath me … The humans’ own heat keeps them from sensing it.

Wry and wise, unexpectedly moving, and enchanting at every—careful—turn, Timothy will surprise and delight readers of all ages.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “A work of both speculative naturalism and speculative biography.”

    Los Angeles Times

  • “Natural history at its best: thoughtful, meditative, and even magical.”

    Bookmarks Magazine

  • “A gorgeous hybrid of naturalist observation, novelistic invention and philosophical meditation…This is a wholly unexpected and astonishing book.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Listener Opinions

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Magila | 2/20/2014

    " disclosure: i listened to the book. i got about a fifth of the way through. it's interesting, but i cannot get over the reader. a british angela lansbury reads it. timothy, the story of a tortoise dude, given voice by a snooty sounding lady. can't do it. imagine for a moment nemo, children's favorite clown fish, having the voice of dolly parton. it's distracting, and it makes me like the book less. it might deserve a 3 in reality, but for now it's getting put to the side with a 1... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Steve | 2/3/2014

    " Written from a tortoise's point of view, this books is both really entertaining along with relaxing. One of the best summer reads. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Liz | 1/17/2014

    " The formal language style made this a tough read for me but it was interesting and educational - a displaced tortoise's story from it's (his) point of view. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tanya Gerald | 1/6/2014

    " Beautiful writing from a tortoise perspective. Some great observations. A little slow for me (duh, it is a tortoise!) "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Meg | 12/23/2013

    " Not much going on here. The slow and stilted notes of a tortoise living in the 1700s. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Roberta | 12/21/2013

    " I absolutely loved this book. It was very different from what I usually read. The language was poetic. A very nice book for the late spring when everything is burgeoning and ready to open. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Katharine Holden | 12/9/2013

    " Beautifully written. Important things are said in a hidden sort of a way. I was surprised to find this small book about a tortoise to be a great commentary on humankind. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 ali | 11/26/2013

    " the language was great. the book was sssssssssslllllllllooooooooowwwwwwwwwwwww "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Joshua | 8/15/2013

    " What an odd, charming, rambling, little book. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Annie | 12/18/2012

    " Meh. I rarely stop reading a book after I start it. Even though this was a short book, I had to stop around page 50 or so. There was no momentum, it was just plain boring! I love the book cover though. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Janet | 10/27/2012

    " If you ever wondered what life with Gilbert White of The Natural History of Selborne felt like to the tortoise he wrote about, this is for you. For starters, Timothy is actually female. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tom Lawson | 10/11/2012

    " A tortoise-eye account of an 18th century English botanist and his obsessions. Surprising and quite brilliant "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Anne | 10/2/2012

    " based on a true story, but told from the tortoise's point of view. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Terye | 8/7/2012

    " This was an interesting read, but i can't say i was completely satisfied with it. There was some interesting observations, but a bit slow, and no action really to speak of. I will, however, curtail what i speak with to animals, as evidently they can be very judgemental. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Alice Paterra | 6/19/2012

    " Beautiful, gentle book about the life of a turtle named Timothy who lives in an English garden How he came to be there and what he does. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Stacie | 5/8/2012

    " It's well-written but kind of strange and a bit boring. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sara | 2/3/2012

    " Very good, rather sad. I take care of an iguana. I like the non-mammalian viewpoint. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mimi | 12/13/2011

    " Told from the POV of a long-lived tortoise brought from the Mediterranean region to live in the garden of an English cleric. "His" observations of humans vs. animals are spot on! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Maryann | 3/6/2011

    " I couldn't finish this one. I am a huge tortoise fan but even that fact couldn't get me through another page. Just awful. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mimi | 2/10/2011

    " Told from the POV of a long-lived tortoise brought from the Mediterranean region to live in the garden of an English cleric. "His" observations of humans vs. animals are spot on! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Meg | 10/28/2010

    " Not much going on here. The slow and stilted notes of a tortoise living in the 1700s. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Stacie | 4/6/2009

    " It's well-written but kind of strange and a bit boring. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Roberta | 1/15/2009

    " I absolutely loved this book. It was very different from what I usually read. The language was poetic. A very nice book for the late spring when everything is burgeoning and ready to open. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Liz | 10/27/2008

    " The formal language style made this a tough read for me but it was interesting and educational - a displaced tortoise's story from it's (his) point of view. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Steve | 9/16/2008

    " Written from a tortoise's point of view, this books is both really entertaining along with relaxing. One of the best summer reads. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sarah | 9/13/2008

    " a kidnapped tortoise's musings on solitude, humanity and mortality. can't go wrong. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Patty | 9/10/2008

    " A beautiful book written with a funny, harsh, and in the end excruciatingly poignant assessment of the human condition by way of our relationship with nature. This is not at all a frivolous book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Claire | 8/17/2008

    " I was extremely inspired by this tortoise. This is a tortoise who knows how to live. "

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About the Author
Author Verlyn Klinkenborg

Verlyn Klinkenborg is a former member of the editorial board of the New York Times. He currently teaches creative writing at Yale Universeity. He has taught literature and creative writing at Fordham University, St. Olaf College, Bennington College, and Harvard University. Klinkenborg is the author of Making Hay, The Last Fine Time, and The Rural Life. He lives on a small farm in upstate New York.

About the Narrator

Josephine Bailey’s impeccable narrations include the British classics Jane Eyre and The Secret Garden. She has also used her subtly nuanced style to enliven historical fiction and light romances. She has won nine AudioFile Earphones Awards and been a finalist for the prestigious Audie Award.