A well written and gripping story,even for those not especially interested in baseball.
But for those of us that love the game, it is a delight. The rethinking of the analysis of baseball statistics -- some of which have been untouched since 1859 -- make the nerds with the athletic ability of a convenience store, such as myself, to be intellectually fulfilled.
I've always been an admirer of Scott Brick, a consummate professional in the narrator bullpen.
But, oh, my -- the editing. For Audible, usually a benchmark of releasing a top drawer products, to have let this one out it its condition is....regrettable.
There are at least five (I stopped counting) places where the narration repeats two sentences. There are at least five (I stopped counting) places where the narration repeats two sentences.
Please, Audible -- pull the masters on this one, put an intern in a studio for nine hours or so, and clean it up -- you'd look so much less lazy and foolish. Please, Audible -- pull the masters on this one, put an intern in a studio for nine hours or so, and clean it up -- you'd look so much less lazy and foolish.
Nancy Springer deserves much credit. The concept of a 'Sherlock Holmes Younger Sister' young adult genre could have been as dull, vapid, and predictable as -- sorry -- the old 'Nancy Drew' serials.
But Ms. Springer has created a genuinely inspired character of depth, passion, emotion, and isn't afraid to make her fallible and and occasionally unlikeable -- in other words, a believable fourteen-year-old girl.Enola is fourteen, the daughter of gentry and living in the country in 1888. She is a late child, born when her mother was thought to be rather beyond child-bearing years. Her two older brothers, Sherlock and Mycroft, live in London, and are estranged from their mother and young sister since the death of their father about a decade before. The tale begins with the disappearance of Enola's mother, on Enola's fourteenth birthday. Sherlock and Mycroft come to the estate, and treat Enola with little more consideration than a housepet, being patronizing and condescending, and planning to pack her off to boarding school.Enola, who has a mind of her own that is quite the equal steel of the brothers' (although it takes them a while to grasp this), will have none of that, and is bent on finding her mother.
What follows is a tale of twists and surprises from the countryside to the lowest part of the docks and wharfs of London, and a retinue of characters that have authenticity and presence -- in fact, the closest to a stereotype and a narrow person in the book is Sherlock's Scotland Yard acquaintance Lestrade, and then only because of the limitations that Conan-Doyle put on him that Springer was quite faithful to follow, although the temptation to breathe a little more life into the ferret-like detective must have been strong.
While Enola can be a bit unlikeable at times, overall she is a magnificent, resonant character, easily as fascinating as her older brother, or brothers, to be precise, even if Mycroft doesn't appear all that often in Conan-Doyle's canonical tales.It's also impossible not to admire the detail and significant differences that a female point of view in Victorian England that Springer has decorated the tale with. It was such a male-dominate society that one forgets that females were little more than property of men, who generally had little regard for the distaff's intelligence, reasoning ability, or even sense of moral purpose. As we watch Enola, and -- vicariously -- her mother try to navigate these murky waters, I can't help but admire both female Holmes 'alternate' use of the imprisoning foundation garments of the day, the bustle, corset, and other various 'dress enhancers' to better, and frankly brilliant, purposes.
The performance by Katherine Kellgren is spot-on, as well. Her fine sense of timing, and of pitch, pacing and her excellent grasp of accents from Home Counties, to Eatonian, to East End Cockney was lovely, quite entertaining, and there was never any doubt as to whom was speaking. Brilliant!
While this novel may be directed towards a young adult market, it is so multilayered that adults will enjoy it as much as the teenaged reader. As I said at the beginning, Nancy Springer has a magnificent achievement in this book. She is an ornament to the writing profession.
Another book that gives insight into Victorian English society, and in fact compliments this one quite well, is Michael Crichton's 'The Great Train Robbery', which I also strongly recommend.
Stephen King's immense, Tolkien novel has always been a favourite of mine. Beyond the horror genre that causes many to sniff dismissively down their patrician noses on their way to 'important' and 'literary' writers -- you remember, the ones that your college English instructors would go into polysyllabic orgasms over, while you thought that those writers were soporifics, easily the equals of Valium -- King is doing what he does best; telling a tale.
And I don't believe that this particular tale could have been told with greater ability than by Stephen Weber, who managed to personally embarrass me. I was waiting in line at the Post Office while listening on my iPod when a particularly moving event was being narrated, when I noticed how many people were staring at me, because I had tears streaming down my cheeks.
Gosh -- thanks a pant-load, Weber.
Weber's ability to make so many characters clear and distinct through nuance and inflection should serve as an example of the highest level of this form of performance. Truly, he is an ornament to the profession.
'The Caine Mutiny' has always been a favourite WWII yarn of mine. Along with Wouk's other two period pieces, 'The Winds of War' and 'War and Remembrance', he has preserved a slice of human time, a soap bubble for those of us who weren't 'there' to experience it for ourselves.
Not only recording the historical elements, the true strength of the tale to me is that it gives me a glimpse into the social structure and interactions of the era, even down to the speech patterns and colloquialisms that make the experience so much richer.
And it wouldn't have been nearly as effective without Kevin Pariseau's extraordinarily skilled performance. Pariseau can convey everything from strong emotion to subtle nuance of character, even -- or especially -- those of the distaff side, something that many male readers seem to somewhat struggle with.
Pariseau's ability to change character through nuance is top drawer, too -- I never had a moment's doubt about who was speaking. He is in complete command of the material.
Pariseau has made me savour all over again Wouk's brilliant writing with his masterful performance. It is much like listening to a previously unknown singer perform a familiar song, and make it a fresh. new, and newly loved again. Bravo!
Still one of the finest satires that I've ever read. It is biting, mordant, and alternates between caustic wit and unaffected pathos.
Being an old and somewhat jaded, there are very few things that make me laugh aloud, but Heller's masterpiece can.
But I sincerely wish that Heller could listen to Jay Sanders' utterly brilliant performance. It may be the single finest audiobook performance that I've ever listened to. Natural talent is something that many possess (although not as many as might think so), and Sanders certainly has that.
But unlike many talented people, Sanders has refined and polished his performance skills. His emoting, his pacing, his comic timing, and his variety of voices are blended into a mesmerizing performance. It seems to me that Sanders has an ability that few others have, or even pay attention to; he seems to have considered the entire novel as a multilayered performance whole, and his rendition has what I think of as an internal integrity. I believe that Sanders could make an audio performance of the soap opera synopses in the newspaper and make them an entertaining and engaging -- and hilarious -- performance.
I enjoyed Professor Kaku's work. He's a well organized, if not flashy writer. In fact, I'd suggest he insert a little humour or a little more personal anecdote -- it would make the contents more accessible and....human. I found the content appealing, but then again, I'm a physicist.
I'd most strongly suggest that Professor Kaku narrate his own material, though. I've seen him on television enough (and in fact have met him on several occasions), and he has the professional chops to do it well.
I say this because the reader, Feodor Chin, came across to me sounding like a high school radio station reader. There are a few bumps in the road with lazy pronunciation, which I can generally overlook, such as 'labatory' for 'laboratory', but generally I try to overlook it. After all, I live in Kentucky, the galactic centre of of swallowed, suppressed, or modified vowels, consonants, and diphthongs.
But for some reason, I lost my composure when the reader consistently pronounces 'hundred' as 'hunerd'. I found myself wincing or flinching every time -- and it happened 'hunerds' of times. It was enough for me that I will avoid any book performed by this reader, no matter what it is.
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