I read the stories when I was a kid, and they are just as good as I remembered them. The reader is good too. Unfortunately the best available sound quality is really scratchy and staticky, which is why I'm giving the book only 3 stars.
Really good in so many ways. Well written; language and dialogue ring true; the main characters are very well developed and the myriad of secondary characters far more carefully developed than in many books. Strongly feminist and class-conscious (in fact the only objection I have to it is that the protagonists' views and behavior are a little unrealistically modern on those subjects...but that's fine if you know what to expect). Although the series is named William Monk, the female protagonist, Hester Latterly, does most of the detecting in this book. Davina Porter does a great job narrating.
This is a fun paranormal romance series. I like the characters a lot. They're a little stereotyped in this book (but in ways that work for me) but they are better fleshed out in later books.
I'm writing this review to add a dissenting voice to the complaints about Gilbert's voice for Bones. I actually find his voice very sexy and it's one of the main reasons I bought book 2 of the series after finishing book 1.
For calibration purposes, I've lived in the US all my life and don't know enough about non-American accents to be jarred by bad ones. Bones's accent sounds semi-English and semi-Australian to me, which fits with his background.
This information in this book includes an overview of modern physics, the history of CERN and the Large Hadron Collider, and specifics of some of the physics problems being studied at CERN. It reads like a compilation of essays written for different publications, so there is some repetition. Some essays are harder to follow and more information-dense than others. All of them are well written.
I'm a lay person, and this is the first book I've read on some of the concepts of modern physics. I learned a lot. But the narrator, Byron Wagner, read too fast for me to follow the more technical chapters.
Collection of essays from Tyson's column in Natural History magazine, about physics, astronomy, and the history of science. There's a lot of repetition among the essays. The essays vary in the level of knowledge needed to follow them, but most are fairly basic. Toward the end of the book Tyson wanders off into commentary about religion, culture, and politics. I was quite amused by his ranting about the scientific inaccuracies of movies, but I found his comments on religion vs. science sadly simplistic, even though I share many of his opinions on the subject.
I would have given this book three stars for the material alone, but I added a star because Dion Graham's narration added tremendously to my enjoyment of the material. It's really impressive to hear a science book being narrated with a wide range of emotion. I know a number of reviewers didn't like the narration, but learning about science is exciting for me, and I like it when the narration complements that.
The story was engaging and the narrator did a good job, although he fell into certain modern American speech patterns more often than I would have preferred, given that it is a historical novel set in Barcelona.
Piano music appears behind key scenes. The music itself is lovely (and apparently composed by the author of the book himself -- quite a multi-talented person, I guess). But I find it very unpleasant to try to listen to music and words at the same time, so I really didn't like the musical interludes and wished they'd been left out of the audiobook. Your mileage may vary.
I'm very fussy about narrators in general and female narrators in particular. Jennifer Wiltsie is one of the best narrators I've come across. This is a really challenging book to narrate, with dozens of different characters of all ages and nationalities (oh, and some of them are machines). She does a superb job.
The book is a lot of fun, very smart, covering a wide range of topics in a futuristic setting.
My one complaint about the book is that it introduces lots of characters only to drop them - you never find out what happened with them after a certain point.
Narrated by the author. His narration is slow and somewhat quirky, but I came to like it.
My favorite chapters were:
"A Fleet of One" and "A Fleet of One - II" about a guy who owns a chemical tanker.
"Tight-Assed River" about small boats that push strings of barges ("longer than the Titanic") up and down the Illinois River
"Out in the Sort" about the travels of live lobsters sold by a Nova Scotia company, Clearwater Seafoods (which may make you not want to eat lobster at Asian buffets any more) and the sorting facility at the UPS Worldport facility in Louisville, KY
"Coal Train" about 19,000 ton coal-laden trains more than a mile long and the Union Pacific engineers, conductors, and dispatchers who get them where they're going (the dispatchers sometimes quit the job and go into air traffic controlling, because it is easier).
There are also chapters about a ship-handling course that uses scale models, and a canoe trip; those are good too but they didn't fascinate me.
This review is of the whole Consummate Holmes Canon collection.
I wanted the whole collection of stories in chronological order on audio and this is the only collection I found with a narrator I could stand. (I don't like Covell.) I'm not pleased that the volumes don't correspond to the published collections (e.g., Vol 3 has stories from The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes), but at least the stories are in order.
If you don't mind some recording-quality oddities, it's a serviceable narration. Davies does a good job with multiple character voices.
There are some quirks to the recording.
The rhythm of the narration is oddly choppy, often without sufficient natural pauses. (I think this version was produced from another version with sound effects - the last story of volume 9 has the sound effects. Chopping out the sound effects could have chopped out the speech pauses.)
In some cases female-range voices are produced by speeding up the narration, but this was done inconsistently, so there are occasional sections where a female voice sounds like something out of Alvin & The Chipmunks.
One can hear modern traffic noises in the background occasionally.
I can't say enough good things about "A Scanner Darkly" or about Giamatti's narration. Note that this story is pretty hard going. If you want a less sad and heavy introduction to Dick, try the "Minority Report" short story collection.
Crowley develops his stories slowly with lots of detail and writes beautifully. His writing and ideas are meant to be savored and pondered. If you like the idea of listening to a 15 hour and 29 minute narrative poem, with another poem inside it, then you might well like this book.
Crowley narrates the book himself, in a flat middle-American voice, with a quirky, slightly self-conscious manner. The narration worked for me. I found his voice easy to listen to, and his reading gave me more insight into what his artistic intentions are. But the narration isn't going to please everybody.
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