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Scott Jarol

Seattle, WA United States | Member Since 2006

  • 2 reviews
  • 28 ratings
  • 155 titles in library
  • 1 purchased in 2015

  • Don Quixote

    • UNABRIDGED (36 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Miguel de Cervantes, Tobias Smollett (translator)
    • Narrated By Robert Whitfield

    Don Quixote, the world's first novel and by far the best-known book in Spanish literature, was originally intended by Cervantes as a satire on traditional popular ballads, yet he also parodied the romances of chivalry. By happy coincidence he produced one of the most entertaining adventure stories of all time and, in Don Quixote and his faithful squire, Sancho Panza, two of the greatest characters in fiction.

    James says: "Excellent"
    "Amazing Performance of a Rambling Classic"

    It would be difficult to find 40 hours to listen to this book again, but for the performance, it's almost worth it. Robert Whitfiled is a master voice actor. He manages to uniquely portray dozens of characters with nothing but vocal nuance. I don't know how much editing was involved, but at times, he performs conversations among 5 or 6 separate characters, and it's always clear who is speaking.

    Don Quixote is a lengthy, rambling story, and I would only recommend this book, either in audio or print form, to someone who has patience for the--let's say--rich language, which can become tedious at times. I don't speak or read Spanish, but I'm told that Cervantes transformed that language with this single work. My guess is that his colorful prose did not exactly lead to a leaner, more austere form of expression.

    If you like baroque writing, brilliant voice performances, and you have 40+ hours of spare time (perhaps a lengthy commute), then you'll find it time well spent.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology

    • UNABRIDGED (24 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Ray Kurzweil
    • Narrated By George K. Wilson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    For over three decades, the great inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil has been one of the most respected and provocative advocates of the role of technology in our future. In his classic The Age of Spiritual Machines, he argued that computers would soon rival the full range of human intelligence at its best. Now he examines the next step in this inexorable evolutionary process: the union of human and machine.

    Sean Gately says: "Great Idea, terribly slow and painful listen"

    I'm unable to comment on the content of this book because I've been too distracted byt the performance and engineering to listen beyond the first two hours. George Wilson's reading of the material is dry and detached. It's difficult to focus on such a complex subject when the reader has no relationship to the text. Kurzweil is no dynamo as a public speaker, but I'm sure his own reading would be more expressive than Wilson's. I might have looked past the less than riveting performance if not for the poor audio engineering. Most recordings are processed through a dynamic range compressor to limit volume fluctuation. Modern digital recordings use less compression because uncompressed music is more exciting to the ear, but for readings compressions makes it much easier to listen in noisy environments, such as while driving. I find myself continually adjusting the volume, effectively performing manual compression. It's just too distracting.

    If this were a shorter book, covering lighter subject matter, I might soldier on, but Kurzweil's material is dense, and the recording runs more than 24 hours. Time to give up and read the eBook.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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