I was in the mood for some Christmas short stories so I picked up this book.
I really liked some of them: "The Gift of the Magi" and "The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle" (Sherlock Holmes) are old favorites that I will never get tired of and anyone with a heart would love "Susie's letter from Santa" it is just beautiful.
I had never heard "The Fir Tree" by Hans Christian Andersen and I really, really liked it. Bittersweet in true HCA style and amazingly memorable.
I found the rest of the book (basically the second half) a bit dry, hum-drum and what is the point. "Christmas in Poganuc," "How Santa Claus Came to Simpson's Bar" and "Christmas at Thompson Hall" all seemed to drone on and on with little point (not that Christmas stories need to have a point) but they were just a bit boring.
So, for $5 (member price) the first half is great. The second half... not really worth my time.
I am a political junkie and the US Constitution is particularly interesting and important to me. I feel very strongly that the Bill of Rights is an important part of what defines the US democracy so I was thrilled to see a series of lectures about the first amendment.
Professor Finn clearly knows his material very well and has a good sense of humor.
With that said, he tries to cover too much material in the amount of time allotted for each lecture. As a result, he ends up raising an important question or issue, citing the case and the decision and reading (some times at length) from the court's decision & the Justice's opinions.
What he does not do, but would have made this a five star listen, is to take some time to "decode" the extremely thick, legal comments made by the judges into "plain English." I would have liked to hear him say something like, "so, what Justice so and so is stating is that Free Speech can be restrict if and when."
I found myself rewinding a lot because the material is so densely packed. Worth checking out if you like to listen hard and pay attention to your books (or lectures). Do not buy it if you want to space out and absorb.
I picked up Volume One right before Halloween, largely because I saw that he did a Lovecraft story in it and I was immediately enthralled.
First of all, Doug Bradley is a gifted narrator, he does an amazing job and really keeps you glued to the storyline.
What's more, Renegade Arts does a terrific job enhancing the story with mood music, sound effects and the like.
What makes volume six superior to the others (in my opinion) are two things: The content and the guest narrator.
It starts with "The Pit and the Pendulum" which is a classic in its own right (although not my favorite Poe story).
The second story, "The Mark of the Beast" is remarkably well told, with an interesting story line that is interesting in and of itself but even more so if you take the time to listen to Bradley's introduction so you can understand it and put it in historical context.
What really sold me were the third and fourth stories, "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" and "The Rats in the Walls" as well as the guest narrator, Robert Englund (who narrates "An Occurrence."
With regard to Englund, I was a bit skeptical because I like Bradley so much but I can tell you that the selection of Englund was perfect for this piece which is not only compelling but haunting and really makes you think. The plot and story are remarkably simple but the telling will leave you thinking about it for days. I will not spoil it for you but buy it and listen for yourself!
As I alluded at the beginning of this review, I adore Lovecraft and "The Rats" is an absolute masterpiece. Lovecraft's mastery and use of language are enough to make this a first rate story. It is the kind worth listening to just to absorb his dense, masterful prose.
Buy it, you will not be disappointed!
I admit it, I am a bit of a geek when it comes to social studies, particularly history, politics and economics. I am absolutely fascinated with the ways that humans interact with each other. In fact, I have often thought about going back to school to study economics.
Professor Salemi clearly understands the material, inside and out. What's more, he presents the material in a way which is not only clear but compelling and interesting. He is able to speak at a level which is accessible without being condescending.
I listen to a lot of spoken material (I am in the middle of two other audiobooks now and I subscribe to several podcasts). I find myself rationing this one because I like it so much that I want to save it for a time when I can really enjoy it.
My only critique (and the reason why I gave four stars for story) is that some of the material is very basic and information that I have known a long time. As I said, I am a bit of a geek with social studies. For me, it is a good review. If you are unfamiliar with money and banking, it is good that Professor Salemi outlines the basics.
Two thumbs up!
I am a big US History buff and care deeply about US political history and history of the US Constitution & Bill of Rights.
This book is written in a way that is approachable and interesting. The author gives the listener enough background and information to understand the players and issues without becoming dry. The account of the debates that went into creating the US Constitution are a must listen if you are a US history buff, a political junky or just someone who cares deeply about the Bill of Rights.
Before I listened to this book, I knew a fair amount about the revolutionary generation and the formation of the fledgling United States but I knew almost nothing about the efforts and issues that went into transforming the US Government from the Articles of Confederation to the US Constitution.
The only reason why I did not give the story five stars is that I felt like the early part of the book gives a lot of lead-up and background about the two main characters that, while potentially interesting, did not really help me better understand the issues and debates.
A poignant story that rings true. Even though it is set in an American of the past Century, Steinbeck's words about the plight of the powerless remains gut-wrenching.
The narrator does a nice job of telling the story and handles the voices very well.
The only reason I did not give five stars for performance is that there is a short harmonica riff between chapters which gets really old after about three chapters.
Well worth the listen!
Starship Troopers is one of my "desert island" books. I have read the paperback copy at least a half a dozen times. While I do not agree with Heinlein's politics, he raises some very interesting ideas.
More importantly, the story is very well written and well crafted.
The other reviewers who critiqued the reader missed the point. This story is told in the first person. The reader tells the story in a first person voice and that is very well acted.
Two thumps up.
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