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Mark

Oslo, Norway | Member Since 2009

9
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 9 reviews
  • 66 ratings
  • 540 titles in library
  • 66 purchased in 2014
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  • The Lathe of Heaven

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Ursula K. Le Guin
    • Narrated By Susan O'Malley
    Overall
    (313)
    Performance
    (103)
    Story
    (111)

    George Orr's dreams do change the world. He is the only one who knows it...he and the power-mad psychiatrist who is forcing George to dream a new reality - a better reality that is free from war, disease, overpopulation, and all human misery. But for every man-made dream of utopia, there is a terrifying, unforeseeable consequence...

    Mubarak says: "Excellent Book, Bad Reader"
    "One of her best!"
    Overall

    Here Le Guin plays with wild fantasy and manages to comment on society, people, psychology, relations, power etc. etc. And all in a relatively light humorous tone. It is also very well read! My wife, who normally does not like to much fantasy, also loved this one.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Learn Italian - Survival Phrases Italian, Volume 1: Lessons 1-30

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Innovative Language Learning
    • Narrated By Cinzia Guerriero
    Overall
    (48)
    Performance
    (32)
    Story
    (26)

    Start speaking Italian in minutes, and grasp the language, culture and customs in just minutes more with Survival Phrases - Italian, a completely new way to learn Basic Italian fast! Survival Phrases - Italian will have you speaking with proper pronunciation from the very first lesson and prepare you with cultural insight, travel tips and other information to utterly shock and amaze your friends and family, travel companions and people you meet along the way.

    Kat says: "Great Quick Learn for travel"
    "OK to refresh your Italian?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    I found this useful to rather fast refresh the little Italian I know. Knowing some it is a bit slow here and there, but combining normal speech, slowly pronouncing an breaking down in syllables is very good for understanding and pronunciation. Explanations are mostly good and well distributed through the lessons, words, some grammar etc.

    If you know some Italian, some breakdowns of the more simple words are repeated to often, and it's completely unnecessary to explain buena fortuna in every lesson! But one just uses these "pauses" to repeat the last sentences etc.

    The English is rather amusing here and there both what is said and the pronunciation, but it's not an English course! And you learn well pronounced Italian.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Learn Italian - Survival Phrases Italian, Volume 2: Lessons 31-60

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Innovative Language Learning
    • Narrated By Cinzia Guerriero
    Overall
    (18)
    Performance
    (12)
    Story
    (10)

    Start speaking Italian in minutes, and grasp the language, culture and customs in just minutes more with Survival Phrases - Italian, a completely new way to learn Basic Italian fast! Survival Phrases - Italian will have you speaking with proper pronunciation from the very first lesson and prepare you with cultural insight, travel tips and other information to utterly shock and amaze your friends and family, travel companions and people you meet along the way.

    Mark says: "OK to refresh your Italian?"
    "OK to refresh your Italian?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you be willing to try another book from Innovative Language Learning? Why or why not?

    Yes, i will follow the rest and hopefully relearn and improve my Italian a lot.


    Any additional comments?

    I found this useful to rather fast refresh the little Italian I know. Knowing some it is a bit slow here and there, but combining normal speech, slowly pronouncing an breaking down in syllables is very good for understanding and pronunciation. Explanations are mostly good and well distributed through the lessons, words, some grammar etc.

    If you know some Italian, some breakdowns of the more simple words are repeated to often, and it's completely unnecessary to explain buena fortuna in every lesson! But one just uses these "pauses" to repeat the last sentences etc.

    The English is rather amusing here and there both what is said and the pronunciation, but it's not an English course! And you learn well pronounced Italian.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Rush Hour Italian

    • ORIGINAL (2 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Howard Beckerman
    • Narrated By Howard Beckerman
    Overall
    (24)
    Performance
    (6)
    Story
    (5)

    Sing your way to a new language, anytime, anywhere! The new enhanced edition of Rush Hour Italian includes two audio programs, a bonus music-only version of favorite Rush Hour songs, and a free downloadable word game (see www.berlitzbooks.com for link). Original music and catchy songs help you remember everyday words, phrases, and sentences, and the exciting storyline keeps you involved. Fun to use alone or with your family!

    Erin says: "Don't waste your time"
    "To fast and questionable pedagogy"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    Maybe a quick repetition for someone more fluent in Italian? But then maybe to basic?


    Would you recommend Rush Hour Italian to your friends? Why or why not?

    It's cheap and you pick up some phrases, so maybe? But I'd rather recommend other courses available through Audible.


    Would you listen to another book narrated by Howard Beckerman?

    OK?


    Any additional comments?

    There is to much English dialog here. It is meant as a background, but is unnecessary and gives no Italian knowledge. Much of the Italian is presented to fast. Italian has a lot of small words, de, da, di del, della, chi, che, ch'e, mi, ti, il, le, lo etc, and in fast dialog it's easy to miss what you hear. This also is the case with longer words with more difficult pronunciation. Repetitions a bit slower with presentation of the words and meanings had been better than wasting time speaking English.
    I'm unsure that hearing Italian sung, increases the speed of learning.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Persimmon Tree

    • UNABRIDGED (27 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Bryce Courtenay
    • Narrated By Humphrey Bower
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1702)
    Performance
    (1258)
    Story
    (1248)

    The Persimmon Tree opens in Indonesia in 1942 on the cusp of Japanese invasion and the evacuation of Batavia (Jakarta) by the Dutch. Seventeen-year-old Nicholas Duncan is on holiday there, in pursuit of an exotic butterfly known as the Magpie Crow. It's an uncertain, dangerous time to be in Indonesia, and Nick's options of getting out are fast dwindling. Amidst the fear and chaos he falls in love with Anna, the beautiful daughter of a Dutch acquaintance, and she nicknames him 'Mr Butterfly'.

    Corinne says: "An excellent sequel"
    "Hopeless chauvenist basic story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    I'm a bit surprised that nobody commented on what to me was the main story here. The love of the two young people that meet and are separated in the beginning.
    While the female is captured an abused through the war and therefore a ruined wreck that feels no one can love her anymore, the male main character has an exciting varied experience, taking what he can get from any women that comes in his path (they often throw themselves after him). And all the time he supposedly is upholding the female heroine as the only and perfect love for him.....
    And he rescues her and brings her back to life, heroically overlooking her years as a sexual plaything, while his sexual history is a complete non topic. Tragically outdated view of male an female sexuality and roles.
    There is no excuse that this was as it was back then. It is presented as just how it should be, without a comment. I generally have problems with books that seem to be partly the male authors juvenile wet dreams. It just ruins any story however well written otherwise.
    I only gave this two stars since history and Australia interest me, but if what the book covers on these topics is just as untrustworthy, there isn't much left and it only deserves one.
    I listened through hoping for some ending where the main male character might grow a bit morally and otherwise. Since the book was well written, I hoped for an ending that could mend some of the hopeless parts. But it didn't and I threw the audio book out.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Mao: The Unknown Story

    • UNABRIDGED (32 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Jung Chang, Jon Halliday
    • Narrated By Di Langford
    Overall
    (56)
    Performance
    (25)
    Story
    (27)

    Based on a decade of research, and on interviews with many of Mao's close circle in China who have never talked before - and with virtually everyone outside China who had significant dealings with him - this is the most authoritative life of Mao ever written. It is full of startling revelations, exploding the myth of the Long March, and showing a completely unknown Mao.

    Mark says: "A revenge?"
    "A revenge?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    As others have pointed out the clearly biased negative descriptions of MAO in this book are not believable and also illogical. Some people think that to convince others about a dictators terrible personality and life, you must only present negatives. The problem is that with any life experience most people know life is not black and white. And also to achieve something most often a person has to have some qualities to achieve it.
    Hitler could not have come to power without any talents, if only a strange destructive charisma. Most agree he had other talents even an extraordinary strategic intelligence, which luckily was overridden by his megalomania as the war developed, so he lost.
    In this book we are meant to believe, that a stupid, friendless, sadistic and destr5uctive person without any talents of organisation, leadership, military tactics and a total lack of economic understanding, whose every move turns into failures, tricked everybody else? And though everyone tried to oust him, and did several times, he lured himself back in and took power and control over the worlds largest country?
    The odd thing is that this book makes most of the other communists leaders into heroes in comparison, like Deng who after Mao lead modern china to what it is to day: a despotic capitalist dictatorship that even beats the US in death sentences. No democracy, no freedom of speech, no respect for human rights, workers rights etc. etc.
    And no documentation: Letter to a friend, in the report etc. no, names, no dates, no references. Still is a secret is often mentioned, but how the authors have uncovered them is not explained.
    I was hoping to read how a struggle for freedom against poverty, etc. went wrong....
    I just gave up, and warn others.


    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Alchemyst: The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Michael Scott
    • Narrated By Denis O'Hare
    Overall
    (2371)
    Performance
    (1232)
    Story
    (1255)

    Nicholas Flamel was born in Paris on September 28, 1330. Nearly 700 years later, he is acknowledged as the greatest alchemist of his day. It is said that he discovered the secret of eternal life. The records show that he died in 1418. But his tomb is empty. The legend: Nicholas Flamel lives, but only because he has been making the elixir of life for centuries. And Sophie and Josh Newman are about to find themselves in the middle of the greatest legend of all time.

    Allison says: "High Fantasty in a modern world setting"
    "Disapointed, but hangin in..."
    Overall

    This series disappointed me. It was advertised as something better then Harry Potter, well, although HP is a bit childish for adults especially the first books, they grow up with the characters. Of course I did not expect something like HP, that would have been really bad, but I guess I expected some of the some humour and playing around with our world.
    In HP the characters aren't really deep and get as personal as in other SF like Ursula Le Guin or The Hobbit etc., but here they are really flat... The story is pang and go. So if you just like action OK for you. But this books is here we go, then fight, then barely make it, run, fight again, wow the bad guy has potent weapons, barely get out of it etc. like a computer game.
    Still there must be some qualities since I also bought the second book.....

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Suldrun’s Garden: Lyonesse: Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Jack Vance
    • Narrated By Kevin T. Collins
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (100)
    Performance
    (57)
    Story
    (56)

    The Elder Isles, located in what is now the Bay of Biscay off the coast of Old Gaul, are made up of 10 contending kingdoms, all vying with each other for control. At the centre of much of the intrigue is Casmir, the ruthless and ambitious king of Lyonnesse. His beautiful but otherworldly daughter, Suldrun, is part of his plans. He intends to cement an alliance or two by marrying her well. But Suldrun is as determined as he and defies him.

    J. Renton says: "Starts slow,,,gets really fun later on"
    "Tedious and the most interesteing character dies"
    Overall

    Although I enjoyed parts of this book, as others point out, towards the end, I found it a compilation of fairy tales and role playing plots. The early death of one of the characters I hoped for an interesting development, was rather unbelievable, and I never really found the characters coming alive. Well read.
    For now I won't listen to any more of the series.

    2 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • Voices: Annals of the Western Shore, Book Two

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By Ursula K. Le Guin
    • Narrated By Melanie Martinez
    Overall
    (86)
    Performance
    (31)
    Story
    (31)

    Voices stars the people of Ansul, a town of scholars and traders conquered by the marauding Alds 17 years ago. When poet Orrec arrives in town, however, the people begin to garner the courage to rebel against their overlords.

    Mark says: "A bit disapointed"
    "A bit disapointed"
    Overall

    Though as always there are qualitys in Le Guins work, this was a bit disapointing. It might be that Martinez, whom I believe has a god reading voice, overdoes the sweet, mystic tone in her voice and therefore makes this story more a romance than it actually is.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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