All the tracks except for Edgar Allen Poe's "Annabel Lee" and "The Raven" sound pretty good. These are fantastic stories made even creepier and more memorable by their poetic format.
However, and this is a big 'however,' the audio on the two Poe tracks is really bad. The speaker's voice has echo added to it, and the effect is not good, partly because of the low bitrate, even in format 4. Those two tracks are a total loss.
Ms. Gilbert reads this book with a premium on the enunciation of each word, with cohesiveness suffering badly. She's like a prancing pony; dancing all around the words and hitting the individual words with accuracy, but the sentences themselves (not to mention paragraphs) suffer from herky-jerky, over-enunciated discontinuity. Because of her untargeted verbal thrashings, she occasionally runs out of breath toward the end of the sentence! What now, young pony?
It's like listening to a 10th-grader who's asked to read an unfamiliar passage for a speech audition. I'm going to have to buy the book, because listening to this audiobook is just not working.
This book is critical. Hansen is one of the foremost extra-planetary climate scientists in the world, and his warnings of a possible runaway greenhouse effect on Earth are astounding in their implications.
However, the narrator is oh-so-monotone. Drone. Bemoan. I do not condone. Be careful listening to this in the car, where you might fall asleep! Listen to the sample extract above for quick confirmation of this aural drudgery.
This creative commons book is best read, and not listened to. The narrator is not bad overall - his voice has clarity, maturity, warmth and character - but he inserts strange-sounding pauses here and there, which is distracting. You can tell when he's reached the end of a particular line, but not the end of the sentence, which introduces discordance into the listening experience.
Sorry, but this narrator.... has no clue of..... when to stop and start sentences some sentences....... are run-on sentences but.... most are chopped short. It's like listening to a computer-read book. A really good computer voice, but no rhythm or feeling at all.
Obviously, this is annoying and makes for a bad listen.
Also, some of the vocabulary is a little over her head it seems - she had a couple of mispronunciations and awkward phrasings....
i do concur with the other reviews, but i felt like commenting on the narration:
keen tries to dramatize every single sentence. as i was listening to chapter one, i was thinking: "hmmmm, by the tone of his voice, and the amount of melodrama, we're reaching the climax of the book already."
Then i realized having a "climax" in a non-fiction book is unusual, and i also realized that every sentence thereafter was similarly narrated.
This book is a broad overview of the many challenges facing the world population today and how those challenges relate to one another. Also, prescriptive measures for correcting problems are outlined, with reference to gathered data, along with procedures for implementation and cost assessment.
This book is extremely important, and I highly recommend it for its scope, depth, optimism, and academically rigorous claims and arguments.
I can't stand listening to Patrick Lawlor's nasal whine for more than two minutes. His voice has no depth and no character at all. It's really horrible that such a great book has been chosen to be narrated by such an awful narrator.
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