Professor Dyer's lectures on bacteria are incredibly gripping, well put together, and full of fascinating information. It is obvious to me, a fellow academic (though in History, not in any hard science), that she is presenting the very basic, watered-down version here, but it's quite enough for a non-specialist. There were only a few places where I hungered for more information and really wished that she hadn't cut out some of the more challenging details. Overall, this is a wonderful series of lectures that will make you think about and look at bacteria--and even yourself--in a whole new way. I also really like her voice. I purchased the other Modern Scholar lecture series she did, "The Basics of Genetics," and am looking forward to listening to it.
While this is not my favorite Toni Morrison book, there is something awfully special about getting to listen to an author read her own work for you. Morrison pours such heart and soul into her literature that I knew her reading would be heartfelt, and she did not disappoint.
I am a professor of history and generally love a good history lecture. I gave this a really good shot and listened to 9/10 of it, but couldn't even manage to finish. Granted, I do not specialize in medieval Europe and may not be as fascinated by that time and place as another listener, but in general I found the lectures to be very similar to one another, and rather devoid of information on how the crusades changed history. I was looking for something more engaging. At the end of some of the lectures a member of the audience asks a question; the questions are generally very interesting, and Professor Madden's responses are usually lacking in detail and somewhat perfunctory. Moreover, a picky point but one worth mentioning is that Professor Madden's voice is somewhat monotone.
I don't normally go for this type of novel, but the narrator Timothy Dalton has a luscious voice and tremendous skill. His narration of every character's part--regardless of sex or age--is flawless. Moreover, his deep and honey-toned voice made it impossible for me to stop listening. Black's writing is also very engaging, though I do think that this book is best enjoyed as an audiobook, when the skills of both men enhance one another. I've purchased the other two books in the series and am sure that I will enjoy them all.
Although I disagree with this BBC radio production's underlying assumption that modern medicine is purely a product of Western--chiefly English and Scottish, with a bit of French, Italian, and Prussian/German--culture, one cannot deny the superlative quality of BBC productions overall, and this one both written and narrated by Andrew Cunningham, with additional help from other talented narrators, is engaging, informative, extremely well mastered, comical and delightful. For teachers, these radio-length segments would make a perfect addition to the classroom. One small criticism is that some narrators, obviously from the UK, make embarrassing attempts to read in a US accent, but these moments are short enough that they do not detract from the overall quality of the performance and simply add to its humor.
I am overly picky and give this book 4 stars if only for its redundant subtitle (the revolutionary *and* new...). The overall story could have stood further edits, and if you don't understand a lot of neuroscience some sections may leave you in the dust, but this is well worth a listen if you are at all interested in exercise and recent scientific discoveries about its multiple benefits. I did find the story very engaging, and the narration is quite good.
If you have a strong stomach and intense interest in scientific and medical topics, as I do, you will surely love this book. Shelly Frasier is one of my favorite narrators--I find her voice very pleasant and soothing, and her intonation engaging--and Mary Roach's story is the fascinating result of very compelling research.
This book is a brilliant mixture of fact and fiction, which the author Hatcher explains in his very frank preface, making it an award-winning history of the Black Death in Europe. Drawing from the unprecedentedly thorough archival records of a single county in England, this book will not tell you much about the 14th century plague anywhere else, but it does a remarkable job of describing it in medieval England. The narration is also very pleasant. Listeners who are not history geeks may find some of the story tiresome, overly detailed, or somewhat confusing, as Hatcher aimed to reconstruct medieval English village life as well as the plague's effects on it, but for a historian like myself this is a superb audio book.
This is a star performance from Elijah Wood, turning Twain's classic into a superbly delightful experience. Audio books are best enjoyed with good narration, and this one is exquisite. Wood reads all of the characters' voices and does a stunning job of creating the sensation of different voices (while also being a more smooth process than that of some audiobooks, which have different narrators jump in to say a few words or one line at a time). I cannot imagine this audio book disappointing anyone!
I did not read this book nor did I see the movie, but I would not be surprised to learn that the readers were the actresses who played these same parts in the film. They read like Oscar-winning actresses, each and every one of them, and their performance makes this audio book a true pleasure through and through. The story is also very engaging and wraps you into the world of southern whites and blacks so that you feel compassion for people on both sides of the racial divide. Unlike The Secret Life of Bees, which as a white person I would describe as a white person's feel-good book about southern racism, Stockett does not mince words or try to wash over the most personally and psychologically damaging parts of racism, yet she also brilliantly illustrates the love and compassion that also exists between southern whites and blacks despite their impossibly horrible social situation, winning her book a place alongside Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin (which implicated self-righteous northern whites in the evils of slavery). Overall, I believe that as an audio book this is an outstanding performance worthy of the best rating, and that it must far surpass the experience of simply reading the book or even watching the movie, which is per force abridged.
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