Johannesburg, South Africa | Member Since 2009
Somewhere in the past I have listened to the abridged versions of Trudi Canavan's "Age of Five." I couldn't resist buying the unabridged audio-books.
Personally I prefer the fantasy universe of the "Age of Five" beyond that of the Canavan's Magician's guild and its offspring. That said, if you like those books, "Priestess of the White" will not be altogether alien. By now I think I can safely say that Canavan likes the idea of magical healing. The good guys in her books are always healers. The lead character is a woman that discovers her own strength and has an open-minded approach towards a seemingly "forbidden" sexual relationship with a man. Furthermore, like all other Canavan books, war is eminent or looming.
So why do I give four stars? Because, I think that the "Age of Five" trilogy is definitely better than her "Spy Traitor" trilogy. It doesn't get entangled into literary devices that makes the book almost completely predictable. Furthermore it relaxing.
I am not sure which is the best, the abridged or the unabridged version of "Priestess of the White." While Samantha Bond has an extraordinary voice with which she brings Canavan's universe to life in the abridged version of the book, Sarah Douglas can also be credited with a lot of talent. (All three books in the unabridged version is read by her, while it is not the case with the abridged versions.)
Story-wise, I didn't feel that I missed much by listening to the abridged version over against the unabridged one. Yet, I thoroughly enjoyed revisiting the world Canavan has created.
"Priestess of the White" is a good story that is quite enjoyable and much better that Canavan's "Spy Traitor" trilogy. I suspect that you might find a lot of the author herself in Auraya, the lead character, and that is probably why it is a success.
It sets the stage for an enjoyable adventure in which no one seems to be who they are or know who they will be in future...
Prof. Ronald Hendel, is professor of Hebrew Bible and Jewish Studies at the University of California. He is another heavyweight academic contributing to the biography series "Lives of Great Religious Books" published by Princeton University Press.
Like John J Collins' "The Dead Sea Scrolls, A Biography" the book is divided into seven chapters: 1. 'The Genesis of Genesis'; 2. 'The Rise of the Figural Sense'; 3. 'Apocalyptic Secrets'; 4. 'Platonic Worlds'; 5. 'Between the Figure and the Real'; 6. 'Genesis and Science: From the Beginning to Fundamentalism'; 7. 'Modern Times' and an Afterword: 'Stories of Our Alley.'
Be forewarned that this book is not a commentary or a devotional. Hendel discusses the 'life' and what he calls 'the afterlife' of the book, i.e. he places the book and its origin in an historical context as far as possible and discusses how it was read and understood over the centuries.
He specifically focus on those parts of Genesis which had a great influence on how people perceived their own situations. The creation stories, the story of Noah and the blessings of Isaac are some focus points. I really enjoyed his explanation of prof. Arbunck (not sure of the spellings) literary analysis of Abraham who wanted to sacrifice his son Isaac.
He sees the history of interpreting Genesis as one of going from reading it literally to a figurative understanding of the text back to a literal understanding. He discusses the interpretative universe of the Septuagint; Philo, the Jewish philosopher from Alexandra and Paul and the gnostic writers in chapters 2 to 5, then he brings it back to the real, discussing how Martin Luther interpreted Genesis as well as Baruch Spinoza. He also discusses the interesting role it played in the abolition of slavery. He gives a thorough debunking of Fundamentalism by putting it in its historical context and showing that it has more in common with modernity than it wants to admit. He ends up with the great divide that the new insistence of reading Genesis literally has brought between the reader and the text. The reader has become a outsider to the world of the text, but can come to a new appreciation of it as literature. It is part of the stories of our alley (Western Civilisation) although it might not help us to fight against power mongers and dictators as it had in the past.
Mark Moseley started of much better with his reading of this book, than with John J Collins' "The Dead Sea Scrolls, A Biography" but towards the end his staccato breathing style made it difficult to listen. I actually had to rewind and re-listen when he pronounced certain German phrases to try to understand what he was saying. I suspect he doesn't know German. Fortunately these were limited. (Most of what I have said in the previous review about his interpretative reading still stands.)
I think this was a very difficult book to write. I think Prof. Hendel did a good job of it, but I wondered at times if he didn't try to catch too many fish with a too small net. Either the book should have been longer or the subject-matter more limited. There was also a very North American take on the interpretation of Genesis, ignoring much of the rest of the world, in other words, the book's audience seems to be Americans.
I suspect that listener's will either like the book or hate it, find in enlightening or maybe blasphemous, interesting or offensive. I disagreed to a certain extend with the afterword, but found much value in the ways that Genesis has been understood in the past. It gives an important overview of the influence of the first book of the Bible on the human mind over many a century.
[As this is an Afrikaans collection of some of the Brothers Grimm's fairy tales, I shall write the review in Afrikaans followed by an English translation]
Die Mooiste Sprokies van Grimm is 'n keur deur Marita van der Vyver, bekende Afrikaanse skrywer, uit die Grimm-broers se skatkis. Sy het nie net van die mooiste stories gekies nie, maar hulle in lekkerluister Afrikaans aangetrek, sonder om hulle oorspronklike strekking te skaad.
Ek het lekker geluister en beveel die boek ten sterkste aan. Die produksie is nie net van hoogstaande gehalte nie, die voorlesers Susanne Beyers, Roeline Daneel en Deirdre Wolhuter bring die sprankel in die stories besonder goed na vore.
Uiteindelik is daar goeie Afrikaanse luisterboeke op Audible beskikbaar. Ek hoop hulle word net meer en meer.
[Die Most beautiful Stories of Grimm is a choice from the Grimm-brothers treasure trove by Marita van der Vyver, a well-known Afrikaans writer. She didn't only choose the most beautiful stories, she also clothed them in Afrikaans that is very enjoyable to listen to. This she did without changing the original spirit of the stories.
I enjoyed listening to this book and I heartily recommend it. The production is of a very high quality. The interpretative readers, Susanne Beyers, Roeline Daneel en Deirdre Wolhuter, brings the stories' sparkle very effectively to the front.
At long last! Now there is some excellent Afrikaans audio books available on Audible. I hope it will increase significantly.]
This is the third instalment in the "Outlander" series. By this time I've gotten used to Clare's favourite swear word "Jesus H Rooseveldt Christ" and James Alexander Fraser is also swearing much more than he previously did.
The book's title "Voyager" suits it well. Clare journeys back through the stone circles to her beloved, but their daughter, Briana, stays behind. She is reunited with the love of her life, Jamie, but it is twenty years since the battle of Collodin and he might not be the same person he used to be. In the end of this book, Jamie and Clare find themselves in the New World, ready to begin a new life together.
Stripped bare, there is no doubt that "Voyager" is a love story with a lot of sex. It is not SciFi and should not be classified as such.
The third book in the series has a certain predictability to it. When Clare read the erotic pirate novels at hospital, you knew that she would be at sea at some stage doing you-know-what with Jamie. The late 1900's from which she travels back in time to Jamie mirrors the earlier time. On the one hand this creates continuity within the story but by now it has become predictable.
Her use of misdirection kept me wondering at times, but once too often it just suspended the final outcome. She uses a lot of contrasts, Clare the doctor versus the possibility that she might be a witch, the different times, Jamie versus prof. Randall, the Old World versus the New World etc. Yet, I was wondering it Diana Gabaldon wasn't loosing her way with this story a little bit. It felt a bit as if it is just dragging on and on.
If it wasn't for Davina Porter's superb reading, I might not have persisted with the book.
While the book is technically brilliantly executed it has become a bit too mechanical for me. It is time to let the "Outlander" series rest for a bit. Maybe I will listen to the next book much much later...
Have you read "Asterix and the Falling Sky"? Uderzo's drawings of Asterix and his friends are some of the best, but the story reaches a new low point. I am not sure if this is really the case with "Unseen Academicals" but it is really not one of Pratchett's best. There are individual episodes of brilliance in the book. You are also left with the feeling that this is supposed to be (partly al least) THE parody on the Harry Potter-series. Yet, it felt if the storyline lacked some of the Pratchett brilliance I have come to know and love.
Stephen Briggs, almost like always, does a superb job in the reading of the book. I think he brings the game of foot-the-ball sufficiently to life. If I have to choose between reading the book or listening to his interpretation, I would prefer his interpretative reading by far.
Like "Asterix and the Falling Sky" this book is definitely a must for Discworld die-hard fans. You are also guaranteed a chuckle or two, if you are not so familiar with the Discworld, but I have read and listened to better from Prachett's pen. Maybe, the Unseen University and its staff have become a just too familiar place and set of characters in the Discworld.
Who is the real heir to the throne of Ankh-Morpork? Who has the power? This book is probably the most important of the Discworld books concerning the City Watch. While investigating the corruptive power of authority as well as the difference between real power and misguided power, Pratchett resurrects the old Ankh-Morpork Watch by helping Captain Sam Vimes to find his feet as chief-in-charge of this most-famous city's law-enforcement machine.
I enjoyed this story tremendously and heartily recommends it.
Nigel Planer did an outstanding job in reading it.
Be warned however, that the Planer-recordings seem all to be dubbed from tape format to digital format. At times the quality of the recording might not be completely what you might come to expect (especially in terms of variation in volume.) Yet, to me this was not a serious distraction.
I heartily recommend patrolling the streets - and sewers - of Ankh-Morpork with Captain Samuel Vimes and the City Watch. Just watch out for any "gonne" or you might be gone.
Think of yourself as an auto-mobile with a tank running on love instead of on petrol. However love is not a liquid but is communicated through five different 'languages.' These languages are more modes of interaction than actual languages. Gary Chapman says that every person 'speaks' one of the big five, be it words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service or physical touch.
In this book Chapman discusses the five love languages and how it can help married couples to have a better and more genuine marriage. While this approach to marriage might sound very simple, the only thing simple about it is the concept of love as different 'languages.' Chapman makes it very clear that a happy marriage needs work from both partners.
By redefining love as an 'act' instead of a 'feeling' Chapman challenges listeners to identify their own love language as well as that of their spouse. Furthermore you are challenged to learn your partners language thus ensuring that their 'love' tank remains full.
I liked the simplified way in which Chapman presented these concepts. He has definitely given couples a simple tool of addressing issues in the marriage effectively. Yet the love languages seem to work better when it is used pro-actively. It keeps a lot of promise and I am eager to try it out in my marriage.
While Dr. Chapman reads the book himself, I would have loved someone with a more neutral accent. Dr. Chapman sounds as if he has a thick American Southern accent. (I could be wrong.) It almost put me of from buying the book. When you listen past the accent, you realise the tremendous worth of this book.
I heartily recommend this book to anyone who wants a simple uncomplicated way to deal with the 'wear and tear' of marriage. Included with the book is a .pdf questionnaire that will help you and your spouse to discover his or her love language. I do believe that this book could help save quite a few marriages and comes highly recommended.
I thought that the sequel to "Outlander" would be about Clare Frazer/Randall/Beauchamp's daughter Brianna and Roger (MacKenzie) getting romantically entangled with each other in a similar manner than Claire and Jamie Frazer in the first book. Thank goodness!! This is not the case. The story continues where the previous book left off... after a looong introduction! We meet Jamie and Claire in France in the year 1744. From there the reader/ listener relives something of the 1745 Jacobite rising in Scotland and are brought back to 1968 Scotland from which Claire travelled back into time.
Diana Gabaldon explores the theme of time travelling and its possible consequences further in "Dragonfly in Amber." What are the consequences of our actions, especially if it can change the future? Are we puppets in an orchestrated drama or do we have a free will? With this theme she is able to create a lot of tension that keeps the listener listening.
Gabaldon takes a lot of time to set the stage before the dominoes starts to fall. It reminds me of parts of Bram Stoker's "Dracula," looong and tedious. Yet, many of the chapters in this thick book is written as if it is short stories, much like JRR Tolkien did with "the Hobbit" and Neil Gaiman did in "the Graveyard Book". This device keeps you as the listener interested and I think didn't only rescue the book, it made the sequel better that the original "Outlander". When the dominoes starts to fall, I found that I had to keep listening.
Once again, Davina Porter did an excellent job in reading the book. She has a excellent voice and brings the story to life. When she portrays a Scottish character the tend to start sounding very similar, but that is probably understandable.
If you have listened or read "Outlander" this book is a must read. Where "Outlander" left me of two minds, "Dragonfly in Amber" makes good where the first book left you hanging. While it is possible to start listening to the series from book 2, I would strongly advise against it. "Outlander" and "Dragonfly in Amber" compliments each other superbly (very much like George RR Martin's "a Song of Ice and Fire").
If you like marathon listens, romance, a wee bit of science fiction (but not a lot), this series might just be what you are looking for.
If you want a short up-to-date account of the Dead Sea Scrolls and want to understand something of its importance, prof. John J. Collins of Yale University, provides you with it in this audio book. The writer is a seasoned Old Testament and Dead Sea Scrolls scholar.
In this 'biography' he deals with the significance and main issues surrounding scholarly research in seven chapters, ranging from its discovery (chapter 1); the Qumran community (Essenes): (chapter 2); the archaeology of the site itself (the Site of Qumran) (chapter 3); the meaning of the Dead Sea Scrolls for Christianity and Judaism (chapter 4 & 5); its impact on the Bible (chapter 6), the early and later controversies surrounding the scholars and the study of the scrolls (chapter 7).
The similarity that Collins saw between Rip van Winkle and the Dead Sea Scrolls is most striking. We do indeed have a collection of scrolls that 'slept' for almost a 1000 years, before it could really have an impact on the world.
I found the first three chapters tedious and very carefully written. While well-balanced and fair, it felt at times that you were presented with information in which you could get lost. Collins' conclusions seems overcautious. That said, it became clear from chapter 4 why he took such an approach. The Dead Sea Scrolls had delivered a lot of controversial scholarship and scholars! Collins' diplomatic style ensured that the reader doesn't get stuck in one of the proverbial potholes along the way.
Having caught my interest, I found couldn't help admiring the interesting way Collins presented the Dead Sea Scrolls as a corpus. He was able to bring the meaning and significance of the scrolls to the fore.
Mark Moseley did a fair job in his reading of the book. (I have come to the conclusion that complaining about the pronunciation of foreign languages in reviews, doesn't really serve a purpose, as that which sounds right to one person, is wrong to another.) I found his pronunciation of words like "culture" as "cul-toor" a bit distracting, but that said, it is probably a legitimate pronunciation. (I thought prof. Lawrence Schiffman's presentation in "The Modern Scholar: The Dead Sea Scrolls: The Truth behind the Mystique" with all his uhms and ahs were much more engaging.)
This is a must-listen to anyone who doesn't know much about the Dead Sea Scrolls or someone who needs to come up to date with the intrigues surrounding this Rip van Winkle that slept for a 1000 years. I wonder if Washington Irving's Van Winkle ever received so much attention after he had awoken from his 20 year sleep?
If you are a Sherlock Holmes fan, or maybe a bit tired of him, this short radio drama is for you. Playing of the wit of a wife against the investigative skills of her great detective husband, Tudor Jenks successfully makes fun of the wonderful logical world of deduction.
While the story might be a bit dated, it leaves you with a chuckle. Jenks' point comes over loud and clear, "Do not underestimate those of a different gender persuasion!"
Picking up where "The Second Ship" left the listener, "Immune" throws you back into the world of the Rho Agenda - a world of suspense, muddling and scheming! Preying on our fears Richard Phillips weaves a web of intrigue that makes over the top nonsense seem real.
In my review of "The Second Ship" I indicated that that book reminder me very much of the comic "Danger Girls" without the girls. "Immune" reminds me of the "Punisher" set loose in the world of "Danger Girls."
It is quite enjoyable and could stand alone.
I've either gotten used to MacLeod Andrews voice or he has improved a lot. He kept me from opting out and enhanced the story by using different tones of voice.
I am amazed how believable Richard Phillips can make that which is unbelievable. If you are a conspiracy theorist or just like considering those possibilities, this book is for you!
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