I'd probably listen to them both again. They are both well-written stories. Although the tax aspects of estates is something that the author conveys inaccurately, only someone in the business would pick that up. I would listen to The Summons with pleasure because the reading was so well done. The Brethren narrator had a number of vocal peculiarities that rubbed me like sandpaper all the way through, but I'd still listen again.
The protagonist in The Summons was believable and you hoped for the best for him. How he dealt with the problems he encountered were sometimes humorous and sometimes pathetic. With The Brethren, I didn't know who to really root for. There was no one I connected with because everyone was crooked or underhanded and cold hearted. The story, however, still kept my interest to see which of the less than honorable characters would win in the end, if anyone.
The Summons was voiced superbly. The Brethren: The narrator had an irritating way of ending every sentence. Dropping his voice and ending in almost, or actually, a whisper. Rarely was there anything in the end of a sentence that made you anticipate the next one. It was as though he was done reading after every period. Had the story been less compelling, I would have stopped listening after the first few chapters. The variation and accent of his character voicings was inconsistent, confusing, and, for some characters, non-existent. In his defense, there was a large number of characters to voice. However, I will think twice before purchasing another book narrated by him.
Both books grabbed my attention with enough interest to make me want to listen all the way through. I was reluctant to leave my car at times when I reached my destination because I wanted to hear more.
There are a number of places in The Brethren where the narrative repeats about 5 seconds at a time. This needs to be cleaned up by the techs at Audible before too much longer. It's expected that there might be a bobble or two in the recording, but these happened about 10 times.
In the introduction, Mr. Asimov tells how he selected the stories, that they were some of his favorites. I appreciate that and some, indeed, were delightful tales. Others were simply Meh! His personal insights and introductions to each item are enjoyable, but his voice takes some getting used to. After a while, you just realize it's the author reading and go with it. Overall, not one of my favorites but certainly worth listening to.
Ray's short of Dublin on Sunday is outstanding. Brought tears to my eyes. The chocolate bar confessional at the end made me laugh out loud for a full minute. Wonderful. Overall, a great collection of stories of every sort written in the constricting confines of the short story. Every word is perfectly placed. From prosaic to poetic, these are worth the listen. As a first introduction to Bradbury, you'll get a feel for his ability to paint your mind with images and people.
Mr. Prichard brings great characterizations and voice to the reading. I've already relistened to a number of these simply because Michael did such a wonderful job of voicing. Several of the old men sounded like they were brothers, but from young to old, great job. As one who has voiced hundreds of characters to my sons over the years, I admire this immensely.
I have been challenged to the core of my being by the message that David Platt brings. The challenge is clear and do-able. What a wake up call to the Church in North America!! Rather than continuing to insulate ourselves from the real needs of the world by building self-congratulating works that only show love to those who already love us back, Platt challenges us to overlay the Gospel with our lives to see if anything shines through. Jesus' commission is ours. If we fail to take it up, God will use someone else, but we will not see the reward nor have the fellowship with Him in its realization.
I'm not a Calvinist, but that doesn't really matter. The call of Jesus to His Church is exactly the same. Things that I've been blind to in the past, David has helped me see with crystal clarity for what they are. No Christian should be afraid to listen to this book, nor should we try to explain it away by a differing theology. As a CPA, I'm particularly challenged to live below my means and invest the money of this world to make eternal friends.
This is not an ivory tower exposition of the necessity of being active in the Church. It's also not a pastor trying to lay a guilt trip on his people to get them to do something. Instead, it is a call from one laborer in the Master's vineyard to another to be diligently about the Master's business. It's always been interesting to look at Paul's designation of himself as a bondservant of Christ. This book helped me see that status as my own and realise that I no longer belong to myself. I am Christ's, and He has priority over anything else.
This is a brave book in that it didn't comfort me in my current situation and congratulate me on how well I may be doing. Instead, Platt looks at the commands of Jesus and the claim of God on my life. He doesn't claim any supernatural knowledge of my situation, but he lays out the Biblical mandate and basically says,
The 5-point challenge is worth the price of the book. Very worthwhile reading.
After 8 hours of listening to Mr. Platt, one might tire of his emphatic delivery. Please don't let that dissuade you from listening. He does a very commendable job of reading and the message is so compelling that the emphasis of each point is important.
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