This is my third Great Courses lecture series, and it was as amazing as the other two. I especially enjoyed Professor Guelzo's enthusiasm, which was contagious, but I give high marks to all three. They did a great job of breaking the series at logical points, which makes it possible to break off listening for a bit while you go read or listen to something less weighty, then come back and pick it up, no problem. I really feel, after listening to this series, that I have a more well-rounded grasp on American history, more than just the cold dates and facts. The various eras and the individuals who left their marks really came alive for me. I'm so glad that Audible and The Great Courses have teamed up! And now off to find another new favorite.
The story needs no improvement, but the narration is terrible. It really needs a different reader.
There are many elements at play in this story. First, it's a 'revised history' paranormal. Although the author never comes out and says so, the story clearly takes place on earth and in North America. But things have developed differently, with the 'others' or paranormal beings as we would call them, being the first and most dominant species. So there's some fun in recognizing the locations and in wrapping your mind around the way things are different. In this version of earth, humans are the outsiders, and the others are neither good nor bad. They are true to their nature, and their nature is predatory. The author is always very clear about that - no sparkly vampires or werewolves here. And yet, I was firmly on their side every time. They find humans useful and are willing to tolerate them provided the boundaries are understood.
Humans are not portrayed as all evil, either. Yes, the antagonists are human here, but we are introduced to several human characters, chiefly on the police force, who respect the others and understand why things are they way they are. These characters are, in turn, respected by the others. You get the impression that the two sides could make a heck of a good team when their interests are aligned.
I've read the printed copy, and it's a favorite story. I can't wait until the next one in the series comes out. I enjoyed it so much that I bought this audio version within just a month or so of reading the book. I was left disappointed. This is a story with strong paranormal and horror elements, but Alexandra Harris does not do it justice. Her voice, inflection, etc. made it sound like she was narrating a children's book. She would probably be a very good narrator for children's books, as her voice does put me in mind of a kindergarten teacher, but she's not right for this book. As much as I would like to encourage others to read this excellent book, I would also discourage anyone from making this audio version your first introduction.
I wouldn't cut anything. The pacing is very good, and each scene was drawn for a reason.
James Marsters. I didn't feel like I was just listening to him read; he brings the characters to life and really nails Harry Dresden. I could see the story taking place in my mind's eye. It's a great book anyway, filled with so many twists and turns; but Marsters reads it perfectly.
He's not just reading, he's really acting out the parts.
Harry's irreverant attitude often makes me laugh. He's the Indiana Jones of the wizarding world.
I've read all the books in the Harry Dresden series and am a huge fan. I'm not a big paranormal fan. I detest sparkly vampires and the modern tendency to romanticize legendary evil creatures. What makes Butcher's books different is the homage he pays to the origins of these myths and legends. He writes them they way there are meant to be. And he ties it together with Harry Dresden, the world's most sarcastic and trouble-prone wizard. For a wizard, he's very human! Added to that, I think Butcher has created one of the best ever series arcs. Any of these books can stand alone, but read - or listened to - in order and it feels seamless.
I'm a great reader so I never consider the audio to be better, but I will say that I think it does justice to the book.
Good Omens. Nation. What they have in common with Small Gods is Pratchett's take on modern culture, the way he turns things on their heads and makes you look at things differently.
Hard to choose just one. I did especially enjoy his Didactus, but he does them all justice.
Is the world round, or isn't it?
This book is chock full of all the delightful things Pratchett brings to any story: quirky characters that are somehow so much like people you know and a slyly irreverant but never cruel humor being just two of them. Pratchett isn't just a fantasy author, he's a brilliant satirist who uses the fantasy genre to poke fun at the way we see the world. He makes you think.
Burr does a really excellent job of portraying Agnes, and captures the pacing of the story perfectly.
Without a doubt my favorite scene was when the bridge shows up.
This is a hard one for me to answer, because I read the story before I listened to it. I do feel she did justice to some of the trickier parts, such as the Agnes' inner dialogue.
Both! Of the 3 that Crusie and Mayer wrote together, this is by far my favorite.
In this book you get the fabulous bantering dialogue that Jennifer Crusie does better than almost anyone, but it's the contrast/compliment of the quirky Agnes and the solid, stoic Shane as written by Bob Mayer that makes this book so perfect.
The thing about this book is that it drags a little. And there's really very little of Hercule Poirot in it. Hugh Frasier is very good. His Poirot is almost indistinguishable from David Suchet's, probably from all those years playing opposite each other in the movies.
Not that I would dare to think I could improve on Christie, but in this instance I felt it could have moved a lot faster, and I felt that the central character - who was not actually Poirot, so calling it a Hercules Poirot mystery is misleading - was not as worldy as he was supposed to be. In fact, he felt rather flat. I just didn't care what happened with him.
It's Pratchett at his best, with all the quirky characters and deft wordplay, plus the superb Stephen Briggs reading it. Listen again? I've listened too many times to count!
He does them all so well ... he IS Sam Vimes, but he brings all of them to life so well. I really think he was born to read these books.
ah, no. Not a criticism of the audio; I always find the print better.
I really enjoyed that it jumps into the story fairly quickly. Some of Marsh's books take too long on the backstory and character development.
I've enjoyed Saxon's readings before. He's very good with the pacing and characterizations. If I had a criticism here, it would be that his Troy doesn't quite match the one in my head as I've heard her after many years of reading Ngaio Marsh. But that's an individual thing.
This is just one of my favorite Agatha Christie's. It has everything that makes her books so enjoyable, the wonderful eccentric British characters, the astute character observations, a well plotted story. There's a reason why her books have stood the test of time. In this case, Stephanie Cole does a marvelous job of bringing Miss Marple to life.
I just adore Miss Marple. Something about this little old lady no one pays attention to, but she's so astute, a much better observer than all the "smarter" people around her.
I've enjoyed Stephanie Cole's performances before, but this was the first time I've listened to her read, and it was wonderful. She brought all the characters to life, but more importantly it was a well-paced reading.
When the various police authorities have gathered with Miss Marple in the hotel and she keeps pulling rabbits out of the hat, surprising them with all the things she's noticed and discovered about the various guests and hotel employees.
In Nation, Pratchett dispenses with his usual Disc World plots and give us instead a This World plot from our not very distant past with, of course, a typical Pratchett-esque twist. Taking history on a slightly different course to emphasize a point, Pratchett does that which he does so very well - makes us look at ourselves a little differently. He does so with a great deal of wit and humor, giving us heroes and heroines to root for, and a cadre of supporting characters to completely charm us. And just maybe, if we aren't careful, we might end up learning something.
Read most excellently by Stephen Briggs, this is an audiobook for anyone who likes a good adventure yarn.
Briggs does an excellent job of narrating. It's clear that he is enjoying the story just as much as the listener, and he really brings all the characters to life. It's like listening to the best ever bedtime story-teller.
Mau's epiphany on the water, when he realizes that however flawed the gods of his world have proven to be, they serve a purpose.
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