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Carl Cravens

Wichita, KS USA | Member Since 2002

215
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 18 reviews
  • 24 ratings
  • 403 titles in library
  • 20 purchased in 2014
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  • A Journey to the Center of the Earth

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Jules Verne
    • Narrated By Norman Dietz
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (112)
    Performance
    (32)
    Story
    (35)

    When geologist Otto Lidenbrock discovers an ancient manuscript describing a passageway to the center of the Earth, he prepares a subterranean expedition, and descends into an extinct volcano in Iceland. The explorers discover an amazing underground world, but will they ever return?

    Darwin8u says: "It is HARD to grade Verne"
    "I science fiction novelty, not worth reading."
    Overall

    If this book's a classic, it's only for its novel thinking of the time
    and not for any literary merit. It barely has a plot, there are no interesting discoveries, and the characters are annoying and unbelievable. I hung on through the whole thing, thinking "real soon now, something interesting is bound to happen." When they finally encounter what may be an intelligent being, they run away! The only real conflict is between the characters and their manic-depressive mood swings, and that conflict is boring. The climax is anticlimactic, and the characters survive their trip more by sheer luck than by ingenuity.

    The recording is of very poor quality, and periodically changes in pitch enough to be very annoying. I presume that this is caused by using low-quality source tapes to make the digital copy.

    4 of 12 people found this review helpful
  • Tales of the Occult

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Rudyard Kipling, H.G. Wells, Washington Irving, and others
    • Narrated By Walter Zimmerman, Jim Killavey, Walter Covell, and others
    Overall
    (17)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (1)

    Carl Cravens says: "Boring..."
    "Boring..."
    Overall

    I wanted to like this, but these stories were just boring. Maybe they were exciting to the readers when the authors were alive, but only one story even came close to being spooky. The first story is very long compared to the rest and is flat predictable, *almost* reaching "spooky" but falling short every time. One of the stories isn't even about the "occult" nor is it meant to be scary. And the majority of them are read by a narrator with a noticable northeastern US accent. Not only was his accent inappropriate, but his reading was dry and dull... the stories might have had more zing if he'd read them with more enthusiasm.

    2 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • The Haunting of Hill House

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Shirley Jackson
    • Narrated By David Warner
    Overall
    (312)
    Performance
    (87)
    Story
    (91)

    Four seekers have come to the ugly, abandoned old mansion: Dr. Montague, an occult scholar looking for solid evidence of the psychic phenomenon called haunting; Theodora, his lovely and lighthearted assistant; Eleanor, the lonely, homeless girl well acquainted with poltergeists; and Luke, the adventurous future heir of Hill House.

    Carl Cravens says: "Different, but good."
    "Different, but good."
    Overall

    It wasn't quite what I was expecting, but I enjoyed it. It was just a little bit creepy, and the ending was a bit surprising, though somewhat anti-climactic. Nothing is ever explained. It's more a study in character than a horror novel, I think. There were bits of horror, but they were infrequent. The conversations between the characters bordered on surreal at times, and the relationships were strangely fickle.

    The narrator was adequate, but with the number of character changes without any indication in the text, his character voices weren't differentiated enough to reliably follow who was talking. I got very confused about the speaker many times. They style of his narration was well-suited to the genre, though.

    10 of 10 people found this review helpful
  • Salem's Lot

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Stephen King
    • Narrated By Ron McLarty
    Overall
    (1714)
    Performance
    (681)
    Story
    (691)

    Stephen King's second novel, Salem's Lot, is the story of a mundane town under siege from the forces of darkness. Considered one of the most terrifying vampire novels ever written, it cunningly probes the shadows of the human heart and the insular evils of small-town America.

    Eileen says: "Classic King on audio - FINALLY"
    "A good book, though a tad predictable."
    Overall

    An interesting tale, but it was a tad predictable. A "what if Dracula set up shop in a small American town." A fun read, but it wasn't really scary. When one of the major characters got bit, it was a bit, "Ho-hum, saw that coming" and it didn't really move me much. The characters did a couple things that didn't quite make sense, failing to destroy vampires when they could have. King has frightened me before, but he failed to do so with this one.

    The narration on this book was very good, and the narrator's range of voices made it easy to tell who was speaking.

    8 of 18 people found this review helpful
  • Reaching for the Invisible God: What Can We Expect to Find?

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Philip Yancey
    • Narrated By Jay Charles
    Overall
    (121)
    Performance
    (14)
    Story
    (16)

    Life has a way of toppling our presumptions as Christians. Author, Philip Yancey speaks on the questions that confront us all: How does this Christian faith work? How does God work? And how does he work for me?Yancey trims away false expectations of God through Scripture and human experience.Reaching for the Invisible God helps you from tough questions to a deeper relationship with a God you can love with all your heart.

    Carl Cravens says: "A Christian author has the doubts I do?"
    "A Christian author has the doubts I do?"
    Overall

    He's been where I've been. At every turn in the book, I see reflections of myself and my doubts about God. He gave me permission to doubt, and to express those doubts to other believers. Instead of undermining my belief, it's strengthened my faith! This book is a must-read for anyone struggling with doubt about the Christian faith. (Which is all of us.)

    The book is well-read, and the narrator is always pleasant to listen to.

    12 of 12 people found this review helpful
  • The Bible: The New Testament: The King James Version

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Phoenix Audio
    • Narrated By Gregory Peck
    Overall
    (243)
    Performance
    (54)
    Story
    (58)

    The parables and lessons of the New Testament resonate through much of our religious, literary, and cultural history. Written by the disciples and contemporaries of Jesus Christ, this work is a source of wisdom and solace for millions around the world. It includes the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, which record the life and teachings of Christ, as well as the Book of Acts, Revelation, and other fundamental biblical writings.

    R. says: "Well Worth The Purchase"
    "Excellent performance."
    Overall

    Audiofile may think that the performance is "tired", but Peck's reading of the New Testament is exactly what I wanted. No musical score, no cast of thousands; no overblown, Shakespearean dramatization. Just God's word, read clearly and simply. Gregory Peck was a fine choice, and I never tired of hearing his voice.

    My only problem has been that the Bible doesn't seem to lend itself well to the audio format. It's too slow for casual listening in the less interesting parts, and it's too fast for serious contemplation.

    The only reason I rate this 4 stars instead of 5 is that I would prefer the NIV or even the NKJV over the KJV, but this is the only version that Audible carried at the time. The KJV is especially difficult in audio because the unclear language often requires some time to work through.

    106 of 112 people found this review helpful
  • The Collected Stories of Arthur C. Clarke: 1937-1999 (Unabridged Selections)

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Arthur C. Clarke
    • Narrated By Arte Johnson, Stefan Rudnicki, Harlan Ellison
    Overall
    (612)
    Performance
    (154)
    Story
    (161)

    From early stories like "Breaking Strain," to classics like "The Nine Billion Names of God" and "The Sentinel" (kernel of the later novel and movie, 2001: A Space Odyssey), all the way to later groundbreaking works such as "The Hammer of God" and "Transit to Earth," this volume encapsulates one of the great science fiction writing careers of all time.

    Charles Gousha says: "Know what you're getting"
    "Excellent classic science fiction."
    Overall

    A great selection of stories, read by a great selection of narrators. Well worth the time to listen.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus

    • ABRIDGED (2 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By L. Frank Baum
    • Narrated By Eric Bauersfeld
    Overall
    (8)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (2)

    This tale chronicling the life of the legendary Christmas figure will enchant audiences of all ages. How did Santa find his reindeer? Where do elves come from and how did they learn to make toys? The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus answers the where, why, and how of these and other timeless Christmas mysteries.

    Carl Cravens says: "A delightful departure from the common mythology."
    "A delightful departure from the common mythology."
    Overall

    Published in 1902 by the author of "The Wizard of Oz", this story is rather entertaining. While "Twas the Night Before Christmas" predates this story by nearly 80 years, "The Life..." doesn't subscribe to the common mythology that our American culture has derived from the poem. It relates Santa's origins and the tale of how he became the guy who gives all the children toys on Christmas, but this isn't the Santa Claus that you're familiar with. It's a delightful tale, and a wonderful departure from the usual mythology.

    The narrator does a great job of telling the story, but the recording was way too quiet. I listened to it with my family on the way to Grandma's for Christmas and I couldn't turn it up loud enough for everyone to hear clearly... the hum of the tape adapter and the stereo system was too loud in comparison.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Brave New World

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By Aldous Huxley
    • Narrated By Michael York
    Overall
    (339)
    Performance
    (42)
    Story
    (44)

    Like teacher, like pupil? On September 18, 1917, Aldous Huxley, 23, was hired as a schoolmaster at Eton, where he counted among his unruly pupils Eric Arthur Blair, better known to the world as George Orwell. Each would later write strikingly similar depictions of a bleak future for humankind: Brave New World (Huxley) and 1984 (Orwell).

    Kevin G. Slavens says: "Excellent Listen!!!"
    "Good buildup, ending fell flat."
    Overall

    This book held my interest up until the "main character" changed, with the original main character never really resolving any of his issues. The new main character was annoying and the ending didn't do anything for me. It didn't make me happy, sad, introspective... nothing but, "what was the point of that?" It was a great buildup, but the ending fell flat.

    9 of 17 people found this review helpful
  • A Beautiful Mind: The Life of Mathematical Genius and Nobel Laureate John Nash

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Sylvia Nasar
    • Narrated By Anna Fields
    Overall
    (297)
    Performance
    (41)
    Story
    (44)

    John Nash was a mathematician teetering on the brink of international acclaim, but he fell instead into madness. Saved by the love of a beautiful woman and the loyalty of the mathematics community, he went on to win a Nobel Prize and worldwide fame. This is his true story.

    Peter says: "Reality is often more interesting than fiction"
    "A great biography of an interesting mathematician"
    Overall

    I love biographies, and this one didn't let me down. Not only was it an interesting view into one of the most interesting mathematical minds of our time, it also provided an interesting view into the beginnings of some of today's mathematical institutions.

    The author does a fine job of translating very complex mathematical concepts into language the everday reader can understand well enough to follow the story. You don't have to be a math major to understand and enjoy this book.

    I saw the movie before reading the book, and the movie just doesn't do Nash justice. It was a good movie, but it really wasn't Nash's life story. Nash was a much more interesting and sometimes bizarre person than the movie showed.

    Throughout the book, I couldn't help but feel sympathy for Nash. This biography really had me feeling sympathy for Nash and the lives he affected. The story is perhaps even more interesting because Nash isn't history, he's part of my world today, and he's beat the disease and is still doing mathematics at Princeton.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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