I couldn't stop listening. Although I'm not a science buff and didn't understand much about science, I enjoyed Stephenson's rich and detailed portrayal of a bygone era - and one that is the backdrop of much historical fiction. I loved the way he played with time by depicting his character Daniel Waterhouse backward and forward - as a young man destined for the new world and an old man going back to the old world. By ordinary standards, Waterhouse is brilliant; by the standards of his peers (Isaac Newton, Godfrey Leibniz) he is ordinary. Having just finished listening to "The Three Musketeers" and Captain Blood," this novel fit right in - about the same time and with many of the same political figures. It is worth mentioning that Quicksilver is the "prestory" to other novels in the cycle, not entirely an independent novel in its own right. Stephenson is a great storyteller and has a wonderful sense of humor. Narrator Simon Prebble is excellent - as usual. I'm completely hooked.
"Morality Play" has a provocative premise: what happens when a medieval acting troupe has the audacity to abandon telling the age-old, church-sanctioned stories and, instead, create its own play from a sensational current event and the “lives of the people.” Because the narrator rushes through this reading with breathless urgency, half-whispering and mumbling the words, it's difficult to understand and annoying to try to follow it. I wanted to be intrigued by it, but I was just confused.
If you liked the classic movie, you'll enjoy this book, if only to discover how faithful Carol Reed reproduced Graham Greene's classic for the screen. About the only difference is the ending (which I think the movie did better). Narrator Martin Jarvis is excellent, as usual.
This is a rare audiobook - this tale of a little-known episode from history, expertly written by Vicki Croke and masterfully performed by Simon Prebble. I've listened to hundreds of audiobooks, and not one in 10 is as good as "Elephant Company."
Although the title is misleading (the war doesn't enter the picture until the last third of the book), "Elephant Company" is, nevertheless, a fascinating account of one man's extraordinary relationship with the working elephants of Burma. It's an audiobook I couldn't stop listening to and one that I hated to see come to an end.
"Shadow of the Moon" is strictly for fans of melodramatic romance novels. It is not a great story: it is, in fact, completely overwritten by an author who never uses one word when she can use 20, who can't introduce so much as a minor, fleeting character without providing their pointless back stories, who repeats herself over and over. You can skip chapters three at a time without missing a thing. As a book reader, the narrator is O.K., but she she accentuates its flaws by failing to bring it vibrantly to life.
Spider-zombies take over a small American town in a comic novel that feels like it was conceived and written by a 14-year-old boy. The story is the stuff of every B-grade science fiction movie, but it's poorly conceived and poorly delivered, with too many scenes that are over-written and too much humor that relies on vulgarity rather than the author's cleverness. It's 14 hours long - it could have been four. After about one hour, listening became sheer torture. I just couldn't get through it. If I could give it zero stars, I would.
This romance novel for men is unoriginal and lacking suspense. Perhaps it's a testament to our jaded times that the graphic sex is tedious, the espionage lacks suspense, and the gruesome murder fails to shock or surprise. The unrealistic, tidy ending is a joke. The author seems to want to be Graham Greene but ends up being Barbara Cartland. I like the narrator, which is why I stuck with it until the end.
I've been in love with Walker Percy's "Lancelot" since reading it in college more than 30 years ago. It's a great story and in many ways changed my life. This audiobook reading was a disappointment. The narrator works hard at capturing Lancelot's Louisiana-Southern accent but misses the nuances of his very Southern sardonic humor and brings no gravity to his philosophical musings, which are the foundation for the startling ending. What we get is truly a babbling tale, told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. I still hope that some day a great reader will come along to give this book the treatment it deserves.
Sensational, syrupy romance involving a French nobleman of middling importance and a tubercular courtesan. This book isn't that long, but you can fast forward 20 minutes at a time and not miss a thing.
In this cheap trick of a mystery novel, Edmund Crispin distracts his audience scene after trivial scene that kill time and fill space while doing nothing to advance the plot. Information is deliberately withheld so the “detective,” who operates on “intuition,” can appear to be as brilliant as he keeps telling us he is by revealing all in the grand finale. Instead of clues dropped the way, there’s a long, unsatisfying explanation at the end. (Actually, any number of explanations could have been devised to explain why any of the characters could be the murderer.) The characters are such clichéd personalities that they could have been called the Director, the Big Star, the Budding Starlet, the Talentless Jezebel, etc., with one being indistinguishable from the other. Having never before heard of Crispin, I had hoped to discover a new treasure, but now I understand why he is not mentioned in the pantheon of great mystery writers of the 20th century.
Once upon a time, "Trustee from the Toolroom" might have been classified as juvenile fiction. It's a straightforward adventure story, competently delivered, with manufactured drama, contrived solutions, and no real surprises as the plot steadily unfolds. The likable characters and this author's obvious faith in the goodness of human nature provide enjoyable entertainment in the absence of any real wisdom, deep insight, or challenging message.
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