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Christopher

somerset, Australia | Member Since 2010

5
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 9 reviews
  • 10 ratings
  • 0 titles in library
  • 10 purchased in 2014
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  • The Virgin in the Ice: The Sixth Chronicle of Brother Cadfael

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Ellis Peters
    • Narrated By Vanessa Benjamin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (76)
    Performance
    (17)
    Story
    (17)

    The winter of 1139 will disrupt Brother Cadfael's tranquil life in Shrewsbury with the most disturbing events. Raging civil war has sent refugees fleeing north from Worcester. Among them are two orphans from a noble family, a boy of thirteen and an 18-year-old girl of great beauty, and their companion, a young Benedictine nun...

    Vivian says: "THE BEST"
    "Good story marred by poor reader"
    Overall

    The story is up to Peters' usual standard. Unfortunately, the reader seems unable to offer a Welsh accent, and all the male characters sound the same, which caused me a lot of confusion at times. The 13 year old male character sounded like a 6 year old. Poor narration.
    Unfortunately, in Australia, we are unable to download the version with the male narrator. Pity.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Drunkard's Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Leonard Mlodinow
    • Narrated By Sean Pratt
    Overall
    (2513)
    Performance
    (1457)
    Story
    (1432)

    In this irreverent and illuminating audiobook, acclaimed writer and scientist Leonard Mlodinow shows us how randomness, chance, and probability reveal a tremendous amount about our daily lives, and how we misunderstand the significance of everything from a casual conversation to a major financial setback. As a result, successes and failures in life are often attributed to clear and obvious causes, when in actuality they are more profoundly influenced by chance.

    Joshua Kim says: "Very Very Smart"
    "a bit of a plod"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I should have guessed that listening to Maths is not the way to learn about it! Ideas such as Pascal's triangle are not easily grasped by a spoken description. There is a lot of repetition in this book, concerning the lives of various mathematicians, and how their theories have been read, re-read re worked, and reapplied. Very little of this book was new to me, and I think the title should have read "an introduction to probability theory, with historical references". The populist title used by the author, I don't feel to be a good description of the contents.

    Fortunately, I got this book at cut price. I'm glad I didn't pay the original price for it.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Nelson

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs)
    • By Victoria Carolan
    • Narrated By Joy Gelardi
    Overall
    (6)
    Performance
    (5)
    Story
    (4)

    Nelson continues to fascinate academics as well as the general public. He is still considered one of Britain’s greatest heroes and featured within the top ten of the BBC poll of such figures. But why does Nelson still remain such a prominent figure in the national imagination? With 2005 being the bicentenary of the Battle of Trafalgar, Victoria Carolan embarks on a timely reappraisal of Nelson, the myth and the man.

    Christopher says: "Good story, poor reader."
    "Good story, poor reader."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is an adequate rendering of the life and career of England's greatest Naval Commander. However, the reader spits the story out like an angry primary school teacher, eager to go home after a stressful day. Maybe she was short of money and wanted to get to the end of the book as soon as possible, get her pay, and start on her next one. Her speed-reading style also results in her missing the correct intonation in many places. However, despite these annoyances, I managed to reach the end of the 3 hours farily well. Had this been a longer book, I think I may well have got fed up of the reader's style.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • St. Peter's Fair

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Ellis Peters
    • Narrated By Johanna Ward
    Overall
    (141)
    Performance
    (45)
    Story
    (48)

    St. Peter's Fair is a grand, festive event, attracting merchants from across England and beyond. There is a pause in the civil war racking the country in the summer of 1139, and the fair promises to bring some much-needed gaiety to the town of Shrewsbury. Until, that is, the body of a wealthy merchant is found murdered in the river Severn. Was Thomas of Bristol the victim of murderous thieves? And, if so, why were his valuables abandoned nearby?

    Karen says: "Narration not good"
    "Marred by poor narration"
    Overall

    In the US, they're allowed a better narrated version of this. In australia, we are stuck with Johanna, probably due to licencing issues. Bless her, she does her best, but has no idea how to approach any of the necessary accents. In some places she rambles, possibly because some of the linguistics of the sentences are a bit complicated for her. Definitely worth a listen, but whoever chose her as the reader, did a poor job of casting, in my opinion.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Monk's Hood

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Ellis Peters
    • Narrated By Stephen Thorne
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (87)
    Performance
    (23)
    Story
    (22)

    At the Bendictine monastery in Shrewsbury in 1138, the gardens are flourishing under the expert tending of Brother Cadfael. His shelves boast all sorts of medication for every kind of ailment. But then a local landowner is poisoned with Cadfael's own concoction intended for aching joints. As the monk investigates he finds a web of family intrigue, where suspicion has fallen on someone he is certain is innocent.

    Christopher says: "Excellent Story, Excellent Reader"
    "Excellent Story, Excellent Reader"
    Overall

    Well presented and well read. It's a pity that in Australia, we have to put up with Johanna reading some of the others, presumably due to licencing or international copyright issues.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • One Corpse Too Many

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Ellis Peters
    • Narrated By Stephen Thorne
    Overall
    (156)
    Performance
    (35)
    Story
    (33)

    When fighting engulfs Shrewsbury as King Stephen battles for the throne of England, Brother Cadfael is called upon to administer rites to some hanged prisoners. There are, he is told, 94 corpses, but his own careful count reveals 95 and once again the sleuthing monk is on the trail of a murderer, this time aided by a lovely young fugitive.

    Christina says: "Outstanding!"
    "Great story. Marred by poor audio quality"
    Overall

    Stephen Thorne is an able reader. However, this particular recording sounds like it has been made piecemeal, on different items of equipment, at different times, in different locations. There is, at times, what sounds like tape hiss, and sometimes background noise is evident. Occasionally, there is a slur in the audio, which sounds like tape slipping over playback heads. I think it needs re-recording for the 21st Century! It's still a much better effort than Johanna's reading, in my humble opinion.

    The story is, of course, well written, and executed in impeccable English. Enjoy the atmosphere of the middle ages, and try to ignore the technical shortcomings of this audio book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Morbid Taste for Bones

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Ellis Peters
    • Narrated By Stephen Thorne
    Overall
    (156)
    Performance
    (26)
    Story
    (25)

    In the 12th-century Benedictine monastery of Shrewsbury, Brother Cadfael has settled down to a quiet life in charge of the herbarium after an adventurous, and far from monastic, youth. But when his prior determines to acquire the bones of a saint from a remote Welsh village, Cadfael's worldly experience becomes vitally important. It is fortunate indeed that his skills as a herbalist are matched by his prowess as a detective, since the obstacles to the expedition include murder.

    Erin says: "Classic Mystery"
    "A curate's egg"
    Overall

    I've become interested in middle-age historical fiction since reading ken follett's "pillars" and "world without end". As a teen, I saw a few snippets of Derek Jacobi playing Cadfael in the TV series, so decided to download this book and see if I liked the style and content. It's very different to Ken Follett's style, slower moving and a bit more turgid, but the story is good and the portrayals convincing. The problem is the audio quality. Sometimes I can hear talking in the background, and sometimes the audio sounds compressed, more like a tape than a digital download. Which detracts a bit. But I will read the others.....

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Carpet People

    • ABRIDGED (3 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Terry Pratchett
    • Narrated By Tony Robinson
    Overall
    (83)
    Performance
    (37)
    Story
    (37)

    In the beginning, there was nothing but endless flatness. Then came the Carpet. That's the old story everyone knows and loves (even if they don't really believe it). But now the Carpet is home to many different tribes and peoples, and there's a new story in the making: the story of Fray, sweeping a trail of destruction across the Carpet, the story of power-hungry mouls, and the story of two Munrung brothers, who set out on an adventure to end all adventures when their village is flattened.

    jane says: "Terry Pratchett does it again"
    "Practice Makes Perfect"
    Overall

    I'd heard good things about Terry Pratchett, and had a little knowledge of his work, bits of which I'd come across from reading "Scientific American" many years ago. So I decided to begin reading his works, taking the early ones first. Carpet People was originally written in 1971. Pratchett came back to it and re-wrote a lot of it, which was a good idea, because even after the rewrite, I don't find it an amazing read, particularly after hearing from so many people that Pratchett is a witty and capable author.

    The story is about tribes and animals living in a carpet (unsurprisingly), and of course there are parodies of everyday objects which impact upon this two-dimensional world. The characters are a bit basic, and the character development is little more than minimal. The plot is very linear and the surprises which occur are situations rather than sub-plots impacting on the main theme.

    Tony Robinson does a good job of trying to accentuate the (sometimes marginal) differences between the tribes and characters. From a humour point of view, there are a few vaguely amusing witty comments and some situations which brought a rather pained smirk to my face.

    In a nutshell, a slightly amusing fantasy novel. Pratchett was pretty young when he wrote this one. In no way will this slightly flat balloon put me off reading his other works. 3 stars... barely.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • What You Need To Know About Melanoma

    • ORIGINAL (40 mins)
    Overall
    (22)
    Performance
    (6)
    Story
    (6)

    This booklet on cancer discusses symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, emotional issues, and questions to ask the doctor.

    Christopher says: "How not to record a podcast."
    "How not to record a podcast."
    Overall

    I was pleased to see the NCI providing a podcast about Melanoma, but this was a terrible disappointment.

    Firstly, the narrator had a horribly "flat" voice. Also, and rather irritatingly, he lifts the tone of his voice at the end of every sentence, making it sound like a question.

    The other problem is the layout of the information. The first 3 minutes is spent reading a list of contents. It seems that this podcast consists of someone slavishly reading through a leaflet. One problem with this is that when one holds a leaflet, one can browse, which is why leaflets are set out in sections. It's much more difficult to browse a podcast, and it would have helped had the author of this horrible travesty, changed things around a bit and put the important information first.

    I'm sorry to say that this will put me off listening to other NCI offerings.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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