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Viviane

Dunedin, New Zealand | Member Since 2010

ratings
107
REVIEWS
18
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
0
HELPFUL VOTES
15

  • Stalin Ate My Homework

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Alexei Sayle
    • Narrated By Alexei Sayle
    Overall
    (10)
    Performance
    (8)
    Story
    (8)

    Very funny and (almost) stranger than Alexei's fiction....Alexei knew he was doomed to be different the day he was taken to see Sergei Eisentein's Alexander Nevsky instead of Walt Disney's Bambi. Born on the day that egg rationing came to an end, Alexei grew up with his parents and the Soviet Weekly. Each year they holidayed in Eastern Europe, where they were shown round locomotive factories and the sites of Nazi atrocities.

    Viviane says: "Entertaining with a fair dollop of self criticism"
    "Entertaining with a fair dollop of self criticism"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    He ticks all the boxes: Vivid memory, healthy disregard for convention paired with acute attention to detail, not to forget having a good laugh at oneself. In this instance, having the author read it himself is a great advantage. Recommended.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Bismarck: The Story of a Fighter

    • UNABRIDGED (25 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Emil Ludwig, Eden Paul, Cedar Paul
    • Narrated By Ken Maxon
    Overall
    (5)
    Performance
    (4)
    Story
    (4)

    Otto von Bismarck was more than a politician and a leader: He was the single driving force that turned the disparate states of Germany into one cohesive empire. He then went on to lead Germany and the rest of Europe into an age of political peace that lasted from 1871 until the outbreak of World War I. Under his influence, Germany thrived. Bismarck’s use of statesmanship to fight for the interests of his country was legendary. As one of the most influential and powerful individuals in his country’s history, Bismarck became a symbol of leadership and pride for German nationalists.

    Viviane says: "How badly the narration fits non-fiction"
    "How badly the narration fits non-fiction"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I was so exited to finally find a historic book on Bismarck that I downloaded it without listening to the sample. Bad mistake! This narration makes listening unbearable. I am sure that the narrator's singsong is much better suited to different topics (thinking of romantic novels), but it makes listening to non-fiction a chore. No doubt the story would have developed quite nicely, but I simply cannot take this any longer than the preface. Must always listen to the sample before downloading!

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • To Prussia with Love: Misadventures in Rural East Germany

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Roger Boyes
    • Narrated By Brian Bowles
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (17)
    Performance
    (13)
    Story
    (14)

    In a desperate attempt to save his relationship with girlfriend, Lena, and take a break from the world of journalism, Germany correspondent Roger Boyes agrees to make a great escape from the easy urban lifestyle of Berlin and decamp to the countryside. Roger has hopes for southern Italy, but Lena has inherited a run-down old schloss in deepest, darkest Brandenburg....

    Viviane says: "Average story, narration worse"
    "Average story, narration worse"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Happy to let a writer get away with an average story. But I cannot let the narrator get away with zero research on the pronunciation of place names in a foreign language, resulting in irritating errors, which could have been easily avoided. I also cannot excuse Audible's sloppy editing, particularly in the second half. Waste of listening time.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Black Tulip

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Alexandre Dumas
    • Narrated By John Bolen
    Overall
    (33)
    Performance
    (6)
    Story
    (7)

    The tulip craze of 17th century Holland has a dark side! Cornelius van Baerle, a wealthy but naive tulip grower, finds himself entangled in the deadly politics of his time, and he must decide where his true love lies.

    Ron says: "terrible narration"
    "Took a little while, but then I was hooked"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Took me a little while to let the narrator do his thing with the different (fake) accents, but the story is told so engaging and fast I quickly got hooked. What a skill to write like this! All the twists and turns, yet still picking up all the threads in time to weave them into beautiful cloth. Recommended.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Search: How Google & Its Rivals Rewrote the Rules of Business & Transformed Our Culture

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By John Battelle
    • Narrated By John Battelle
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (714)
    Performance
    (156)
    Story
    (154)

    What does the world want? According to John Battelle, a company that answers that question can unlock the most intractable riddles of both business and culture. And for the past few years, that's exactly what Google has been doing.

    T. Goss says: "Trevor Goss"
    "From history to future"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Great summary of how Yahoo, Google etc. came about. How did 'search' develop, and what does it meant us the consumer, as well as them, the industry that wants to sell us their stuff. After reading it I am quite astonished that I find snippets and news items relating to the hypotheses of this book pretty much on a daily basis. I wondered at times if it was already (out)dated, but it is still worth reading. The author as narrator does a surprisingly great job, and gives us a good idea about the person and the researcher behind the book.

    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
    (899)
    Performance
    (510)
    Story
    (518)

    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"
    "Historic facts help make a better future"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The other day I was listening to an interview with a popular actor, and he said something like: "I was taught at school to think about the system and challenge it. This is why we go to school." In my opinion, if a school only produces yes-men it has failed. If it teaches us to ask question and build opinions it has achieved its purpose. Robert Oppenheimer is a historic figure, yet close enough to our modern times that his life and work is documented. His rise and fall highlights high and low points of human behavior on all sides. This book encourages the reader to be real and authentic in his actions and persuasions, and to keep asking questions about our motivations. Lengthy at times, but full of historic value.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • God Is Not Great: The Case Against Religion

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Christopher Hitchens
    • Narrated By Christopher Hitchens
    Overall
    (138)
    Performance
    (80)
    Story
    (82)

    With robust clarity, Hitchens frames the argument for a more secular life based on science and reason, in which Hell is replaced by the Hubble Telescope's awesome view of the universe, and Moses and the burning bush give way to the beauty and symmetry of the double helix. God Is Not Great marvels at the possibility of society without religion.

    Mark says: "God is not great is great"
    "Challenge what you used to believe in"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a very detailed account of why the God of religions is necessarily a manmade figure. To follow this line of thinking the reader has to be open minded enough to be willing to listen to the very valid points being made, and then decide for themselves as what to make of the facts.
    While Christopher Hitchens has a brilliant mind and puts its to excellent use in this book he is not a good narrator. His voice gives us an idea about himself as a person. There are other narrators here on Audible that do his fine reasoning more justice.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Mao: The Unknown Story

    • UNABRIDGED (32 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Jung Chang, Jon Halliday
    • Narrated By Di Langford
    Overall
    (56)
    Performance
    (25)
    Story
    (27)

    Based on a decade of research, and on interviews with many of Mao's close circle in China who have never talked before - and with virtually everyone outside China who had significant dealings with him - this is the most authoritative life of Mao ever written. It is full of startling revelations, exploding the myth of the Long March, and showing a completely unknown Mao.

    Mark says: "A revenge?"
    "What a tome, but necessary"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Very detailed and gives the impression of being meticulously researched. I had only the most superficial information of Mao as a communist political leader. Now he seems truly evil, to an extent that makes other 20th century dictators appear pale in comparison. True, with four parts to it there are some lengths, yet I do appreciate the short repetitions to get me back on track; I might have forgotten the unfamiliar names if not listening to it in one sitting (and who can truly do that?!). It is a BBC recording. I hold this broadcaster in very high esteem, and this book does not disappoint. Di Langford does an exceptional job with this performance. Highly recommended. Now, where are the detailed biographies of the other 20th century dictators?

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Winifred Watson
    • Narrated By Frances McDormand
    Overall
    (1147)
    Performance
    (593)
    Story
    (593)

    Miss Pettigrew is a down-on-her-luck, middle-aged governess sent by her employment agency to work for a nightclub singer rather than a household of unruly children. Over a period of 24 hours, as she becomes caught up in the life of Delysia LaFloss, her own life is changed - forever. This charming, funny, light-hearted 1938 novel was a bestseller on its first appearance. Read by Academy Award winning actress Frances McDormand, who stars in the 2008 film as Miss Pettigrew.

    Holly C. Salley says: "Adorable"
    "Dreams come true"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    What a wonderful story! Set in London at an indefinable time, but definitely with more moral emphasis than is known today. The originally drab heroine steps into a colorful life only known to her through the talkies, yet she plucks up the courage to live it fully. And it even has a happy ending. Beautiful, streamlined story telling without getting too predictive. Only drawback is the choice of narrator. Don't get me wrong, Frances McDormand gives a stellar performance. However, I would have found it more congruent with the story - by a British author, set in London - to have it performed by a British actor. Still extremely enjoyable.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Wicked Bugs: The Louse That Conquered Napoleon’s Army and Other Diabolical Insects

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By Amy Stewart
    • Narrated By Coleen Marlo
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (279)
    Performance
    (200)
    Story
    (198)

    In this darkly comical look at the sinister side of our relationship with the natural world, Stewart has tracked down over one hundred of our worst entomological foes - creatures that infest, infect, and generally wreak havoc on human affairs. From the world's most painful hornet, to the flies that transmit deadly diseases, to millipedes that stop traffic, to the Japanese beetles munching on your roses, Wicked Bugs delves into the extraordinary powers of many-legged creatures

    Paul says: "fascinating and creepy"
    "Probably better in print"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Admittedly, I haven't finished listening to it. Fine performance, and even better book, however, I do believe that it is better in the printed version (which I don't have). I found myself frantically googling the names and pictures of the animals, trying to guess the latin spelling from listening. After the fifth bug I had to stop listening as I am living in a tropical climate and just about anything can live here (our wasps are as big as a child's thumb), and I got a bit scared. So, great concept, fantastic research, and next time I'll get the printed book to peruse at my own leisure.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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