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  • Dreamland: Adventures in the Strange Science of Sleep

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By David K. Randall
    • Narrated By Andy Caploe
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Like many of us, journalist David K. Randall never gave sleep much thought. That is, until he began sleepwalking. One midnight crash into a hallway wall sent him on an investigation into the strange science of sleep. In Dreamland, Randall explores the research that is investigating those dark hours that make up nearly a third of our lives.

    Jim says: "Content average to good; narration AWFUL!!"
    "Content average to good; narration AWFUL!!"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    A completely different narrator. Or telling the actual narrator to:(1) Knock off the use of different "voices" (Freud speaking in a German accent; Brits speaking in a variety of different British accents, some of which are appropriate for the social standing of the person being quoted and some of which are not). This was INCREDIBLY IRRITATING in a non-fiction book. This is not a studio performance of a play. It is not Harry Potter, where different voices help you keep the different characters straight. I hated this audiobook's narrator in every chapter without exception, in the majority of paragraphs. Only my interest in the underlying scientific content kept me from asking for a refund. My knowledge that my iPhone was not at fault was the only thing keeping me from throwing it out the window (grin).(2) Knock off the use of overly emphatic and flowery intonation in regular passages. You DON'T have (pause) to (falling tone) EMPhasize every (pause; rising tone) sinGLE WORD in the book... you reALLLY Don't...

    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    Most interesting: the underlying subject of sleep research.Least interesting: the author's recounting of his own sleepwalking, which goes nowhere. (Normally I would expect this to be very interesting.)

    Would you be willing to try another one of Andy Caploe’s performances?

    No. Nope. No way Jose. Unh unh. Noooooooooo! Am I clear?Well, maybe I would, but only if I heard a sample of his work in a particular (other) performance in which he speaks as a normal audiobook narrator does for a scientific book. I don't know if the peculiarities and irritations of this particular performance were his fault, or something he was instructed to do by a misguided producer. If you think you want this book, listen to the audio sample to see if you can handle Caploe's peculiar and distracting reading style. If you can, more power to you; if you can't, then pass on this one.

    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    Some of the science is interesting. Although I hated most of the narrator's performance, let me give credit where credit is due: he does have an excellent French accent and mispronounces NONE of the French words in the book. (As you may have noticed, many narrators have no idea which letters at the end of French words are silent and which are not.)

    Any additional comments?

    The author lacks focus and a clear overall view. He starts out strong, with a description of the discovery, by a historian, of "first sleep" and "second sleep", and how this revolutionizes our understanding of sleep. He's right! And it's well-described in the book. But at several points later in the book, he fails to apply this correct insight to explain other sleep phenomena, simply parroting the scientists who studied those things, apparently unaware of the "first/second sleep" perspective.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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