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.
Not only is this story arrestingly beautiful, both narrators (who play the main character in his youth and old age) are outstanding. I absolutely loved this book!
As I said for the second volume of Frank McCourt's memoir, 'Tis, this book is incredibly moving, blatantly honest, and delightful to the last drop. Not only do you get the joy of hearing an author read his own book, but this particular author has the gift of the voice as well as of the pen, and adds even more emotion to his narration.
This audiobook is truly phenomenal. I listened to it on a long international flight (both ways, I think) and simply could not stop. The story is fascinating, is told in an emotionally engaged manner, and the narrator's voice is very sweet. I was so hooked that I checked out the TV show online but discovered to my disappointment that the audiobook had allowed me to create more compelling characters than the TV producers did (though I do not mean by this to insult the actresses). The book is just so full of details that post-war Britain and its poor families come fully alive.
There is nothing better than hearing an author read his (or her) own book, and Frank McCourt's performance is truly wonderful. At times solemn and at times jolly, the story unfolds with shocking honesty and tenderness. This audio book is truly delightful!
Professor Heller does a fabulous job with this series of 24 lectures, all of which I found very engaging and easy to understand. There are one or two lectures that get deep into the neurology of sleep, but he clearly has experience teaching college students and knows how to make material understandable. He also is very passionate about his research and the possibilities of improving quality of life through better sleep science and popular information about sleep, and as a fellow professor I appreciate that energy. If you are at all interested in sleep science, or you or your loved ones have any issues with sleep, this is a must!
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.
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.
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.
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