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Conrad Halling

Conrad Halling

Somerville, MA | Member Since 2008

  • 10 reviews
  • 334 ratings
  • 517 titles in library
  • 14 purchased in 2015

  • Dimension X: Nightfall (Dramatized)

    • ORIGINAL (29 mins)
    • By Isaac Asimov

    On a world where nighttime only comes every 2,500 years, what happens when darkness is about to fall? Based on Isaac Asimov's classic story, this episode of Dimension X originally aired on September 29, 1951.

    Conrad Halling says: "Pretty Good Adaptation"
    "Pretty Good Adaptation"

    ???Nightfall,??? by Isaac Asimov, is one of the greatest science fiction short stories ever written. The premise is, what happens on a planet where total darkness occurs once every two thousand years? This adaptation is pretty good, if you don't mind old-fashioned radio acting. This is worth more than $0.95 (or $0.66 for members).

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • One for the Money: A Stephanie Plum Novel, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Janet Evanovich
    • Narrated By C. J. Critt
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    You’ve lost your job as a department store lingerie buyer, your car’s been repossessed, and most of your furniture and small appliances have been sold off to pay last month’s rent. Now the rent is due again. And you live in New Jersey. What do you do? If you’re Stephanie Plum, you become a bounty hunter. But not just a nickel-and-dime bounty hunter; you go after the big money. That means a cop gone bad. And not just any cop. She goes after Joe Morelli, a disgraced former vice cop who is also the man that took her virginity....

    Burns says: "Liked the story but not the narrator"
    "Funny Book; Good Narration"
    Would you consider the audio edition of One for the Money to be better than the print version?

    I can't say, because I haven't read the print book.

    Who was your favorite character and why?

    My favorite character, of course, was Stephanie Plum. She's plucky, raunchy, honest, and hilarious.

    What does C. J. Critt bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    C. J. Critt's narration brought the conversations to life. Her interpretation of the various characters was understated but sufficient to tell them apart. Women can't imitate men's voices convincingly, and C. J. Critt didn't try, but I could still understand immediately who was speaking.

    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    The story was interesting enough that, if I'd had the time, I could have listened to it all in one sitting. Life intervenes, however, so I listened in two-hour chunks.

    Any additional comments?

    This is the first Stephanie Plum novel by Janet Evanovich. I enjoyed listening to it, and I plan to continue with the series.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Investigating the Human Genome: Insights into Human Variation and Disease Susceptibility

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Moyra Smith
    • Narrated By Karen White
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Leading medical genetics scholar Moyra Smith reviews current prospects and progress in medical genetics and genomics, arising from the growth of gene mapping and human genome sequencing. She addresses recent investigations into human origins, migrations, and diversity; psychiatric diseases; Alzheimer's, Parkinsonism, and ALS; protein misfolding; gene-environment interactions; mRNA; epigenetics; and much more.

    Conrad Halling says: "Written for Experts in Human Genomics"
    "Written for Experts in Human Genomics"

    I expected this book to be aimed at the scientifically aware public, but instead this book seems to be written for genomics researchers. People without training in molecular biology will find this book difficult to understand.

    Unfortunately, this book is not very good even for genomics researchers. Although the information is up to date, it is presented without much organization, background, or context, and the author makes heavy use of scientific jargon without much explanation.

    The narrator, Karen White, tries hard, but her delivery is halting, she mispronounces some words (e.g., kilobase, polymerase, etiology), and she sounds as if she doesn't understand what she's reading.

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • Norwegian Wood

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Haruki Murakami
    • Narrated By James Yaegashi
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Toru, a quiet and preternaturally serious young college student in Tokyo, is devoted to Naoko, a beautiful and introspective young woman, but their mutual passion is marked by the tragic death of their best friend years before. Toru begins to adapt to campus life and the loneliness and isolation he faces there, but Naoko finds the pressures and responsibilities of life unbearable.

    Louise says: "Lots of Fun"
    "Good Story But Poorly Read"

    According to the epilogue, Norwegian Wood made Haruki Murakami so famous that he had to flee Japan for a time to avoid what he considered excessive adulation. This is a novel that appeals to college students since it dwells on things about which college students obsess: Love, suicide, drinking, sex, mental health, music, and the inconsistent and often hypocritical behavior of their fellow students.

    Unfortunately, James Yaegashi's narration almost spoiled the book for me. He is careful to correctly pronounce all Japanese names, which is a big plus. But he reads too slowly, with many long pauses between sentences, and much of the reading is flat and expressionless. I had to listen at 2x speed to sustain my ability to follow the story. I think Yaegashi's voice was perfect for the central character, Toru, but he failed to create plausible voices for the female characters, using a creaky voice that made the women sound elderly.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • A Fall of Moondust

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Arthur C. Clarke
    • Narrated By Oliver Wyman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Time is running out for the passengers and crew of the tourist cruiser Selene, incarcerated in a sea of choking lunar dust. On the surface, her rescuers find their resources stretched to the limit by the mercilessly unpredictable conditions of a totally alien environment. A brilliantly imagined story of human ingenuity and survival, A Fall of Moondust is a tour-de-force of psychological suspense and sustained dramatic tension by the field's foremost author.

    J. Rhoderick says: "A quick, fun read that entertains as it teaches"
    "Interesting But Dated"

    Clarke clearly did a lot of research before writing this novel, and his writing is intelligent and well-organized. As usual with Clarke's novels, the emphasis is on technology, not people, and the characters are cardboard cutouts with no real personalities.

    Much of the novel is out of date. We know now that there are not seas of dust on the Moon. Sexism is overt, and the purpose of women in the book is seemingly only to serve men. All scientists and engineers in the book are men. This reflects the cultural attitudes of the early 1960s (as reflected in the "Mad Men" television series).

    As another reviewer commented, Clarke completely missed the development of computers and other electronic devices. I was amused by one scene in which the passengers of the stranded vessel gather together their reading materials, which include a couple of paperback novels and a newspaper. No one is carrying a Kindle-like or iPod-like device for reading or listening to books.

    Despite these flaws, the story is still entertaining as Clarke moves logically through the consequences of the sinking of a boat-like vessel under several meters of dust and the difficulties of finding the vessel and rescuing the passengers.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Creature from Beyond Infinity

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Henry Kuttner
    • Narrated By Jim Roberts

    This story branches off into two tracks. The first begins thousands of years ago, when an alien ship from a doomed world, seeking a planet to colonize, crashes on earth. There is only one survivor, and it becomes his mission to find an intelligence on Earth - or in Earth's future - equal to his own. To do this, he puts himself into a suspended animation and makes jumps forward in history, at each stop looking for the most intelligent human of that time.

    Emanuel says: "good and easy listen"
    "Avoid This One"

    This is a weird book. The story wanders around, with no real character development. Some of the science is pretty good (for 1940), and some is horribly bad. Unfortunately, Jim Roberts reads this book like a grocery list. It's a good cure for insomnia, but not very interesting.

    0 of 16 people found this review helpful
  • The Road

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Cormac McCarthy
    • Narrated By Tom Stechschulte
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    America is a barren landscape of smoldering ashes, devoid of life except for those people still struggling to scratch out some type of existence. Amidst this destruction, a father and his young son walk, always toward the coast, but with no real understanding that circumstances will improve once they arrive. Still, they persevere, and their relationship comes to represent goodness in a world of utter devastation.

    Steven says: "Spellbinding"
    "A Harrowing Experience"

    This book was so difficult to listen to, so gloomy, so depressing, so stressful, that it took me ten months to finish listening to it. Still, it was well worth it.

    1 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • The Diamond Age

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Neal Stephenson
    • Narrated By Jennifer Wiltsie
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Neal Stephenson, "the hottest science fiction writer in America", takes science fiction to dazzling new levels. The Diamond Age is a stunning tale; set in 21st-century Shanghai, it is the story of what happens what a state-of-the-art interactive device falls into the hands of a street urchin named Nell. Her life, and the entire future of humanity, is about to be decoded and reprogrammed.

    Tango says: "The rock could use a bit more polishing"
    "A Brilliant But Flawed Diamond"

    The first 3/4 of The Diamond Age is brilliant, but Stephenson couldn't sustain the story, and the story crashes to a dissatisfying end. Jennifer Wiltsie's narration is excellent, especially given the number of voices she has to sustain.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Little Dorrit

    • UNABRIDGED (35 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Charles Dickens
    • Narrated By Anton Lesser
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    William Dorrit has been a resident of the Marshalsea debtors prison for so many years that he has gained the nickname "The Father of the Marshalsea". However, his suffering is eased by his close bond with youngest daughter Amy, or "Little Dorrit". The dashing Arthur Clennam, returning to London after many years in China, enters their lives and the Dorrits' fortunes begin to rise and fall. A biting satirical work on the shortcomings of 19th century government and society.

    Michael says: "a melody of genius writer & compelling reader"
    "Not Dickens's Best But Beautifully Read"

    I was disappointed with Little Dorrit; the book is not nearly as good as Bleak House or Our Mutual Friend. Dickens's writing is always at its weakest with his tiresomely good female characters. The plot is preposterous and a little dull.

    Anton Lesser's performance is outstanding. He brings all the characters to life in their own voices and mannerisms; it's worth the price of the audiobook to hear his interpretation of Flora Finching.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • The Drunkard's Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Leonard Mlodinow
    • Narrated By Sean Pratt

    In this irreverent and illuminating audiobook, acclaimed writer and scientist Leonard Mlodinow shows us how randomness, chance, and probability reveal a tremendous amount about our daily lives, and how we misunderstand the significance of everything from a casual conversation to a major financial setback. As a result, successes and failures in life are often attributed to clear and obvious causes, when in actuality they are more profoundly influenced by chance.

    Joshua Kim says: "Very Very Smart"
    "Fascinating Book; Poor Performance"

    "The Drunkard's Walk" is a fascinating book about randomness and the role it plays in our lives. I have a good background in statistics, but Mlodinow tells many interesting stories that I hadn't heard before. I rate the book five stars for content.

    Unfortunately, the reading performance is poor. The reader, Sean Pratt, gives a halting performance, with far too many pauses in the middle of sentences. It's as if Pratt is trying to think about the content while he's reading, but the content is too much for his brain. If Pratt had read complete sentences without pausing, the book might have been only six hours long instead of eight. It's this poor performance that makes me rate the book at two stars.

    I recommend that you buy and read this book for yourself.

    5 of 7 people found this review helpful

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