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Michael

Chatswood, Australia | Member Since 2012

3
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 4 reviews
  • 13 ratings
  • 58 titles in library
  • 7 purchased in 2014
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  • The Turn of the Screw

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By Henry James
    • Narrated By Simon Vance, Vanessa Benjamin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (129)
    Performance
    (79)
    Story
    (79)

    One of the world's most famous intellectual ghost stories, The Turn of the Screw is a haunting tale of suspected supernatural possession. A governess at a country house claims that Miles and Flora, two orphaned children in her care, are being controlled by spirits for some evil purpose. No one else can see the ghosts, and the children themselves are silent. Are they being dominated by spectral forces, or are they hiding something? Is the governess simply paranoid, or is something else going on?

    Darwin8u says: "Compelling, creepy and rich in its ambiguity"
    "Strange, ambiguous - a dissatisfaction that lasts"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you like best about The Turn of the Screw? What did you like least?

    It had a captivating tension that unfolded both slowly and rapidly. It had an ambiguity that created mystery. The ambiguity remained unresolved, creating ultimate dissatisfaction. But the dissatisfaction lasts in a way that is paradoxically satisfying. The (non) resolution left me annoyed, and as if I was supposed to have viewed the story another way all along.I suspect the reaction to it in the early 21st century may be quite different to when it was first written.


    Would you recommend The Turn of the Screw to your friends? Why or why not?

    Probably yes


    What about Simon Vance and Vanessa Benjamin ’s performance did you like?

    old English voices and modulating with different charactes.


    Do you think The Turn of the Screw needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    I don't think this question makes sense.


    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Consider Phlebas: Culture Series, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Iain M. Banks
    • Narrated By Peter Kenny
    Overall
    (105)
    Performance
    (79)
    Story
    (78)

    The war raged across the galaxy. Billions had died, billions more were doomed. Moons, planets, the very stars themselves, faced destruction - cold-blooded, brutal, and worse, random. The Idirans fought for their Faith; the Culture for its moral right to exist. Principles were at stake. There could be no surrender. Within the cosmic conflict, an individual crusade....

    Jacobus says: "Peter Kenny makes the book worthwhile"
    "outstanding reading, so-so plot"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you try another book from Iain M. Banks and/or Peter Kenny?

    I'd try Iain Banks again. I read another book of his which is very good. But this one tales off badly, despite some good ideas. It's like he was a chess player who learnt a lot about openings but had no experience in end games. It goes off like a damp squibb.Ok, this is the first in the series, and others say later books are better and this is necessary background. That might be so. But it doesn't stand alone.Granted, this was one of his first books, written nearly 40 years ago, but it's not that the technology is dated. He just didn't know where his story was leading; at least within this book.


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    More of a sense by the end of why we should have been interested in the book


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Peter Kenny's reading is outstanding. His capacity for different voices and accents, consistently maintained is very impressive. He makes the listening very interesting, and rarely if ever gets the sense of a sentence wrong.


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    No


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Love and Math: The Heart of Hidden Reality

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Edward Frenkel
    • Narrated By Tony Craine
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (51)
    Performance
    (45)
    Story
    (45)

    In Love and Math, renowned mathematician Edward Frenkel reveals a side of math we've never seen, suffused with all the beauty and elegance of a work of art. In this heartfelt and passionate audiobook, Frenkel shows that mathematics, far from occupying a specialist niche, goes to the heart of all matter, uniting us across cultures, time, and space. Love and Math tells two intertwined stories: of the wonders of mathematics and of one young man's journey learning and living it.

    Gary says: "Answers tough questions, but not for all listeners"
    "A book that probably loses from being read aloud"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you like best about Love and Math? What did you like least?

    Best was the personal story of the author's personal triumph over prejudice in Moscow. Despite horrible anti-semitism, he was able to escape to America and be, at least in his own estimation (with apparent plausibility) a well regarded academic mathematician.
    The unfolding mathematical story, as well as personal one, appeared to have the potential to be fascinating. But given it is pitched at a general audience who are not trained in maths, it failed in explaining itself. Given that part of the author's argument (at least expressed in other forums than this book) is that the school curriculum being too slow to take up the progress in mathematics over the last couple of centuries, and that it has the potential to be fascinating, this is a serious failure. The way the mathematical advances are presented in this book, if it is thought by a serious mathematician to be presented for an intelligent lay audience, strains the believability of the proposition that such mathematics can ever be generally accessible.
    Having only listened to the audio book, I do, however, wonder whether this is caused by having to listen to mathematical formulas rather than read them. The words or numbers and symbols on the page of a book, may be more accessible. A possibility is that I have a visually dominant input so that aural input is more difficult. But I found it very difficult to keep the boringly read formulas in my head long enough to work out whether they presented an argument. (Of course, I accept that they did, just that it bypassed me completely) I also supposed that the book must have contained illustrations which are not referred to at all in the auditory text. I suspect if you had the written material in front of you you could at least stop and look at it and read it several times and reason mathematically a little bit about it so it would be more likely to stay in one's head for the next part of the argument.
    Possibly this was exacerbated by the reader who seemed not to have a very good ability to give emphasis and nuance to what he was reading. There were several times where
    I felt I picked up a lot of mathematical jargon - fields, groups, sets, braids, loops, Galois things, Lie algebra, Langlands program, Weill's rosetta stone, vector spaces, legrangians, Katz-Moody algebras - I'm not sure how to spell all these at is all auditory. But I really can't say that any of this terminology has any meaning to me.
    The experience was really just like watching the news in Chinese, with English commentary interspersed to provide historical updates. Unless you speak a bit of Chinese, you wouldn't get it. It was the same here, you need to be pretty knowledgeable about maths to understand the importance of the maths presented.
    Perhaps this is just my lack of education in higher mathematics - but that was why i thought I'd be interested to read the book - to gain some general conception of what modern mathematics is really about. I failed. Perhaps it's just me.

    Despite these significant shortcomings, the book was interesting and I learnt a tiny shadowy amount of what goes on in that foreign land.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Storm Front: The Dresden Files, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Jim Butcher
    • Narrated By James Marsters
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (11753)
    Performance
    (8603)
    Story
    (8602)

    A call from a distraught wife, and another from Lt Murphy of the Chicago PD Special Investigation Unit makes Harry believe things are looking up, but they are about to get worse, much worse. Someone is harnessing immense supernatural forces to commit a series of grisly murders. Someone has violated the first law of magic: Thou Shalt Not Kill. Tracking that someone takes Harry into the dangerous underbelly of Chicago, from mobsters.

    Tom says: "Excellent Story, Distracting Sound Engineering"
    "Not a bad wizard tale - with new physics of magic"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    The clarity of the description of the action at the denoument could be improved.


    Would you be willing to try another book from Jim Butcher? Why or why not?

    Potentially


    Have you listened to any of James Marsters’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    no


    Could you see Storm Front being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

    Yes. Chris Langham would play Dresden. or perhaps Hugh Laurie. Sean Connery playing Morgan.


    Any additional comments?

    The explanations about how the internal physics (and perhaps biology) of magic works within this world are interesting. The meld of Noir style and almost British self-deprecation is quite amusing.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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