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Ben

WaterkloofSouth Africa | Member Since 2008

7
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 5 reviews
  • 27 ratings
  • 162 titles in library
  • 7 purchased in 2014
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  • Wizard: The Life and Times of Nikola Tesla: Biography of a Genius

    • UNABRIDGED (22 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Marc J. Seifer
    • Narrated By Simon Prebble
    Overall
    (827)
    Performance
    (736)
    Story
    (722)

    Nikola Tesla (1856-1943), credited as the inspiration for radio, robots, and even radar, has been called the patron saint of modern electricity. Based on original material and previously unavailable documents, this acclaimed book is the definitive biography of the man considered by many to be the founding father of modern electrical technology.

    Jean says: "Tesla was a hundred years ahead of his time"
    "Fascinating inventor, overly sequential story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you try another book from Marc J. Seifer and/or Simon Prebble?

    I would look with caution at Seifer's other works given the plodding style with which he approached this fascinating inventor's life.


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

    I listened with great interest to the first half of Tesla's career, but in the latter stretch I gave up eventually because there seemed to be too little editing happening as to what was really significant or interesting, and what was really just stuff that, you know, had happened.


    Any additional comments?

    I echo some of the other commenters' views that mentioned the amount of unfiltered detail in the latter parts of the book. It became less than gripping in the latter half.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Gilead

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Marilynne Robinson
    • Narrated By Tim Jerome
    Overall
    (6)
    Performance
    (4)
    Story
    (4)

    From the author of Housekeeping, Gilead is the long-hoped-for second novel by one of America's finest writers.

    Chosen by the New York Times Book Review as one of the top six novels of 2004.

    In 1956, toward the end of Reverend John Ames' life, he begins a letter to his young son, a kind of last testament to his remarkable forebears.

    Ben says: "Dour Reading Failed to Resonate"
    "Dour Reading Failed to Resonate"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What disappointed you about Gilead?

    I was very interested in listening to this book, but the dour reading style of the narrator induced a profound depression in my soul. Maybe it's an accurate rendition of the character's voice, but I had to cut and run before the first chapter was out.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Independence Day

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Richard Ford
    • Narrated By Peter Marinker
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (2)

    Frank Bascombe, in the aftermath of his divorce and the ruin of his career, has entered an "Existence Period" - selling real estate in New Jersey and mastering the high-wire act of normalcy. But, over one Fourth of July weekend, Frank is called into sudden, bewildering engagement with life. Independence Day is a moving, peerlessly funny odyssey through America and through the layered consciousness of one of its most compelling literary incarnations, conducted by a novelist of extraordinary empathy and perception.

    Ben says: "Why has no-one else discovered this gem?"
    "Why has no-one else discovered this gem?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you like best about this story?

    I had heard podcasters recommend Independence Day, but had always been put off by the lack of reviews on Audible. Wrong!

    Richard Ford turns out to be an amazingly insightful and empathetic writer. I heard Roth say the other day that a novelist should write without fear or shame. This is what Ford does so very well. His characters express so acutely the dilemma of people who have had a couple of decades behind them, and now must face up to past regrets and failures while also working out how to deal with the rest of their lives.


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

    I don't think I have heard Peter Marinker before, but his narration is perfect for this novel. He delightfully inhabits each character's voice, without actually doing voices, if you know what I mean. It is the merest inflection or tone that does the trick. I'll look out for his other performances from here on.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Bring Up the Bodies

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Hilary Mantel
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    Overall
    (104)
    Performance
    (89)
    Story
    (93)

    By 1535 Thomas Cromwell, the blacksmith's son, is far from his humble origins. Chief Minister to Henry VIII, his fortunes have risen with those of Anne Boleyn, Henry’s second wife, for whose sake Henry has broken with Rome and created his own church. In Bring Up the Bodies, Hilary Mantel explores one of the most mystifying and frightening episodes in English history: the destruction of Anne Boleyn.

    Elena says: "As good as the Wolf Hall"
    "Read Wolf Hall, listened to Bring Up the Bodies"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you consider the audio edition of Bring Up the Bodies to be better than the print version?

    Both books were excellent. I whipped through Bring Up the Bodies without listening to any of my usual podcasts (which is saying a lot!)


    What did you like best about this story?

    The human and political intrigue was gripping throughout.


    What about Simon Vance’s performance did you like?

    I loved the dry assuredness of the narrator!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer

    • UNABRIDGED (26 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Kai Bird, Martin J. Sherwin
    • Narrated By Jeff Cummings
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (850)
    Performance
    (463)
    Story
    (472)

    J. Robert Oppenheimer was one of the iconic figures of the 20th century, a brilliant physicist who led the effort to build the atomic bomb but later confronted the moral consequences of scientific progress. When he proposed international controls over atomic materials, opposed the development of the hydrogen bomb, and criticized plans for a nuclear war, his ideas were anathema to powerful advocates of a massive nuclear buildup during the anti-Communist hysteria of the early 1950s.

    Christine says: "One of the best books I have read"
    "Interesting Man - Reader not so much..."
    Overall

    I found the choppy editing of the audio distracting, and the reader's attempts at foreign pronunciation forced. Sometimes it seemed that the pronunciation was corrected, such as it was, by obviously reinserting the word into the audio stream. In addition, the reader's habit of taking on the voices of the various speakers was not entirely successful.
    In the end, it was hard on the ears and I stopped listening after three or four hours. Too bad, since the best was yet to come, I hear.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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