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Valentine, Australia | Member Since 2008

  • 15 reviews
  • 156 ratings
  • 327 titles in library
  • 3 purchased in 2015

  • The Diary of a Nobody

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By George Grossmith, Weedon Grossmith
    • Narrated By Martin Jarvis
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    The Diary of Nobody (1892) created a cultural icon, an English archetype. Anxious, accident-prone, occasionally waspish, Charles Pooter has come to epitomize English suburban life. His diary chronicles encounters with difficult tradesmen, the delights of home improvements, small parties, minor embarrassments, and problems with his troublesome son. The suburban world he inhabits is hilariously and painfully familiar in its small-mindedness and its essential decency.

    Virginia says: "Hilarious and Suprebly Read"
    "Not my cup of tea"

    I bought this because it was on a list I found of the best 10 books with happy endings. It was not to my taste and I gave up after about 90 mins listening. The narrator, although annoying, is perfect because the book is supposed to be annoying. Too bad I couldn't make it to the end. Some may like this style, but I grew up with someone around who was too much in real life like the character being parodied in the book!

    2 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • Open: The Autobiography

    • ABRIDGED (6 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Andre Agassi
    • Narrated By Erik Davies

    He is one of the most beloved athletes in history and one of the most gifted men ever to step onto a tennis court - but from early childhood Andre Agassi hated the game. Coaxed to swing a racket while still in the crib, forced to hit hundreds of balls a day while still in grade school, Agassi resented the constant pressure even as he drove himself to become a prodigy, an inner conflict that would define him. Now, in his beautiful, haunting autobiography, Agassi tells the story of a life framed by such conflicts.

    Bryce says: "Is he really a writer????"
    "Obscenities stopped me giving it 5 stars"

    It's a great book, and very enjoyable and interesting. I have always been fond of Agassi whenever I've seen him interviewed. And his and Steffi's is a great love story. The obscene language could so easily been handled by saying things like "effin" instead of the real words, and there is much worse. On audio you couls always bleep! Some of us get offended by such things. I don't think Andre will be so proud when he has grandchildren ( he probably wont mature fast enough to think about it for his own kids) and wouls like them to read the book.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Dreaming Void

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Peter F Hamilton
    • Narrated By Toby Longworth

    AD 3580. The Intersolar Commonwealth has spread through the galaxy to over a thousand star systems. It is a culture of rich diversity with a place for everyone. Even death itself has been overcome. But at the centre of the Commonwealth is a massive black hole. This Void is not a natural artefact. Inside there is a strange universe where the laws of physics are very different to those we know. It is slowly consuming the other stars of the galactic core - one day it will devour the entire galaxy.

    Jon Nielsen says: "Complex, fascinating and thrilling"

    Someone I don't know all that well was raving about this author, so I thought I would give him ago, especially after reading the other reviews. But although there are some original ideas, it's basically, a fairly predictable science fiction soap opera. Like watching B grade movies on TV if you're bored, it's Ok to listen to if your stuck with nothing else better. I was hoping it might come close to other Sci Fi greats like, the Enders Game series, or some Asimov (the Police Detective guy things), Dune (but not it's sequels), Philip Dick (Do Androids Dream of Electri Sheep) or Rama by Arthur C Clarke. But no unfortunately. This author's hang up about sex, although not getting in the way of the book too much, is pretty weird, as some other review writer said. In fact Sci Fi writers seem pretty messed up in this area except for Orson Scott Card, which is why the Ender's Game series is the best (especially Speaker for the Dead, the second book). The Narration is good but not fantastic.

    1 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • The Shack

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Wm. Paul Young
    • Narrated By Roger Mueller

    Mackenzie Allen Philips' youngest daughter, Missy, has been abducted during a family vacation and evidence that she may have been brutally murdered is found in an abandoned shack deep in the Oregon wilderness. Four years later in the midst of his Great Sadness, Mack receives a suspicious note, apparently from God, inviting him back to that shack for a weekend. Against his better judgment he arrives at the shack on a wintry afternoon and walks back into his darkest nightmare.

    Renato says: "much more than I expected"
    "New metaphors, not a theological treatise"

    Yes, it is a very unusual book. Yes, it comes from a Christian worldview perspective, but it also clearly states that God may be revealing himself in other religions. Yes, the author is not the best writer in the world. What he dose do successfully is take a lot of the great ideas from C.S. Lewis (and others) and try and deconstruct them into metaphors that us "dumbed down" 21st century people might grasp better, than when we try and read the "Problem of pain" and "Miracles". Warning! For those of us who have been through immense personal tragedy, the first quarter of the book, all about Missy's abduction and murder are terribly painful. But Young is trying to show he has earned the right to share the things he puts in the book. The Narration is good. I saw somewhere that Eugene Petersen (Author of the Bible paraphrase translation, "The Message") thinks it may be as influential and long lasting as Pilgrim's Progress, and I agree. I will be buying a case to give away.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Rendezvous with Rama

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By Arthur C. Clarke
    • Narrated By Peter Ganim, Robert J. Sawyer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    At first, only a few things are known about the celestial object that astronomers dub Rama. It is huge, weighing more than ten trillion tons. And it is hurtling through the solar system at inconceivable speed. Then a space probe confirms the unthinkable: Rama is no natural object. It is, incredibly, an interstellar spacecraft. Space explorers and planet-bound scientists alike prepare for mankind's first encounter with alien intelligence.

    Peter Tersteeg says: "Excellent story, terrible naration"
    "For lovers of physics and engineering."

    This is a very unique style of book. A suspenseful, interesting science fiction tale. The characters are very two dimensional and predictable, but it's a story about scientific ideas, with a world constructed using the modern day levels of physics and engineering. Hard to put in any genre really. If you enjoyed the Apollo space missions, and the landing on the moon, and dream about similar human trips to other planets, you'll really enjoy this book. As seems the usual pattern with these spoken books, the narrators voice very slowly picks up speed and more interesting tones as the book proceeds, to help build the intensity. So, though a little slow early on, the narration doesn't get in the way of the book. (Except for us Australians, perhaps, because the accent isn't very good of the lead Australian character, and is quite annoying to someone from the true land downunder!)

    4 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Ender's Game: Special 20th Anniversary Edition

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Orson Scott Card
    • Narrated By Stefan Rudnicki, Harlan Ellison, Gabrielle de Cuir
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Why we think it’s a great listen: It’s easy to say that when it comes to sci-fi you either love it or you hate it. But with Ender’s Game, it seems to be you either love it or you love it.... The war with the Buggers has been raging for a hundred years, and the quest for the perfect general has been underway for almost as long. Enter Andrew "Ender" Wiggin, the result of decades of genetic experimentation.

    Kapila says: "6 titles in the series so far"
    "Lord of the Rings for the 21st Century, Part 1?"

    This book is the first part of an astounding series of four books; Ender's game, Speaker for the Dead, Xenocide and Children of the Mind. Although interesting, deep and often fun in itself, Ender's Game serves a greater role of introducing the child Andrew Wiggan, his sister and brother Valentine and Peter, and the concept of another rational (the books use "sentient") Alien Species, known unaffectionately as "The Buggers". Ender is a sensitive but brilliant young boy whose combination of intelligence and desperateness for survival, and extraordinary empathy make him invincible in any setting, physical attack, mind games whatever. And hence set him up to be the potential saviour of the the human race in their war to the death against the Buggers. But this book is really a lot like "The Hobbit" is to "Lord of the Rings", and establishes characters who are in the later books a vehicle for astounding ideas and insights ranging across science fiction, physics, religion, psychology, romance, courage and self sacrifice. With a few small tussles between good and evil thrown in. I feel certain that in 100 yrs after their writing these books will be considered a pinnacle of a style of literary creation. Get listening ...

    33 of 43 people found this review helpful
  • The Robots of Dawn

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Isaac Asimov
    • Narrated By William Dufris
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Detective Elijah Baley is called to the Spacer world Aurora to solve a bizarre case of roboticide. The prime suspect is a gifted roboticist who had the means, the motive, and the opportunity to commit the crime. There's only one catch: Baley and his positronic partner, R. Daneel Olivaw, must prove the man innocent. For in a case of political intrigue and love between woman and robot gone tragically wrong, there's more at stake than simple justice.

    Yvonne says: "Refreshing"
    "Interesting and Weird"

    After the first two books I found this disappointing, although there is a fantastic twist at the end, that the autor has been keeping you hanging out for. But a bit disappointing as there is an unhealthy preoccupation with sex and also some obsession with toilets (personals). Asimov must have been going through an "funny" phase of his life. The unhealthy attitude and obsession to sex would stop me recommending this book to anyone. I was stuck on a long trip without an alternative to listen to and interested in the culmination of the Elijah Bailey tale, but was tempted several times to "ditch" it. Narration magnificent

    7 of 13 people found this review helpful
  • The Education of Henry Adams

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Henry Adams
    • Narrated By Jim Killavey
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    The Education of Henry Adams is among the oddest and most enlightening books in American literature. Henry Adams was the grandson of a president and the great-grandson of another one. He was also the son of the American Ambassador to England, and his secretery. As such he rubbed elbows, literally, with Presidents from Abraham Lincoln to Theodore Roosevelt and with many of the great figures of his time.

    Philip says: "Mind bending and stimulating"
    "Mind bending and stimulating"

    I would have given five stars, but an abrdiged version would be worthwhile and the narrator's over emphasised Bostonian accent is annoying at times. Also the author's style of describing himself in the third person is annoying, but I seemed to get used to by about a third of the way through. That said: Absolutely mind bending in breadth and insight. An absolutely defining work of non fiction literature for the last 300 years. It is leading me on to so many areas. If you like science and you find the early chapters boring, cut to the third part of the book. His take on the effect of the scientific revolution of the 1800s and it's impact on human civilisation and the planet is without parallel. If you are fascinated by the American Civil War and Europe's part in it, stay with the beginning in to the middle. If you like to see politicians made fun of as they should be, just stay with the whole thing. If you find yourself in a people group he makes fun of or insults, don't stop reading. He covers everyone eventually, especially himself. A masterpiece of humanity.

    13 of 13 people found this review helpful
  • From Baghdad, With Love: A Marine, the War, and a Dog Named Lava

    • ABRIDGED (4 hrs)
    • By Jay Kopelman
    • Narrated By uncredited

    Love and hope often arrive in the strangest places and in the strangest ways. During his tour of duty in Iraq, Lieutenant Colonel Jay Kopelman of the U.S. Marines endured the emotional stress common for those involved in bloody battles for freedom. Although the rules forbid pets, Kopelman and his comrades adopted an abandoned puppy left behind after the battle for Fallujah. The dog (named Lava) befriended the Marines and journalists, and was eventually smuggled out of Iraq.

    Louise says: "Wonderful Book"
    "Worth Five and a Half Stars"

    I wanted to give it six stars but needed to take half off because of the very occasional bad language and graphic description of human injury that make it not suitable for less than teens. A wonderful rollercoaster ride of a story that you know has a happy ending. AND IT'S A TRUE STORY! Fascinating insights into the US Marine Corp of which I now have a great respect for (I am an Australian, non military). The narration was perfect. I'm very glad that this book was written, and that the audio was made. Very unlikely to disappoint anyone.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

    • ABRIDGED (3 hrs)
    • By Philip K. Dick
    • Narrated By Matthew Modine

    Philip K. Dick is a legend as a science fiction author. Imaginative and prescient. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? is one of his best. Listen...and try to sleep!

    David says: "Bladerunner and more"
    "Creative and mind stretching"

    A very short, intense excellent science fiction story. The author (like the guy who wrote Dune) was much affected by the types of behavior of individuals and groups played out in the atrocities of WWII. Apparently the movie Blade Runner was based on this, but only uses the main idea and has none of the psychological depth. The author plays fascinating mind games about differences between humans, animals and humanoid machines with higher than human intelligence. There are a female and male narrator and they speak quite fast. The male voice is quite boring at the beginning but becomes much more interesting as the book goes on (not sure how or why that happens). It was so engaging I ended up listening to the whole thing in only two sittings.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Shell Seekers

    • UNABRIDGED (25 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Rosamunde Pilcher
    • Narrated By Hannah Gordon

    Artist's daughter Penelope Keeling can look back on a full and varied life, yet she is far too energetic and independent to settle sweetly into pensioned-off old age. Now she is faced with a decision that could tear her family apart.

    w.a.m. says: "Wonderful"

    I downloaded this because I enjoyed Winter Solstice by the same author. This book however was written much earlier in her career and was originally a series in a woman's magazine (Not always a bad thing, apparently DUNE was originally published in serial form). Hence there is a lack of the whole thing hanging together well, also there is too much stereotypic female thinking, which put this male reader off. The open acceptance of immorality with a failure for people to accept the consequences of their own choices and the effect that has on others is disturbing. This was also present a little in Winter's Solstice but the rest was so good it didn't detract. For men interested in learning the type of books and way of thinking that many women of middle age love, it is instructive. But even for that purpose I couldn't stick with it. The Narrator was good.

    4 of 11 people found this review helpful

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