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Michael

CANBERRA CITY, Australia | Member Since 2011

ratings
67
REVIEWS
14
FOLLOWING
13
FOLLOWERS
0
HELPFUL VOTES
9

  • First Day at Gettysburg: Crisis at the Crossroads

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Warren W. Hassler, Jr.
    • Narrated By Gregg A. Rizzo
    Overall
    (3)
    Performance
    (3)
    Story
    (2)

    "Hassler's history will survive as our most detailed narrative of the first day's battle, examining the day's action so minutely that no succeeding historian of Gettysburg will be able to ignore it. Hassler's book has solid virtues in addition to its thoroughness of detail: it offers a persuasive argument that the first day's events largely determined the eventual outcome of the battle...." (American Historical Review)

    Michael says: "Disappointing Narration"
    "Disappointing Narration"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    Not as an audiobook. I know from research that this is a great book on Gettysburg and the reviews on Audible support that view. However these are really Amazon reviews - not Audible reviews. That is, (I assume) reviews of the written book not of it's spoken counterpart. Having just listened to Allen C. Guelzo's 'Gettysburg' with wonderful narration by Robertson Dean I was very disappointed to move on to this work and find the narration so poor by comparison.


    What didn’t you like about Gregg A. Rizzo’s performance?

    For a start, it is so rushed! It is like he had been taking speed or that the narration was accidently on 'fast forward'! The slower, deliberate pace of Robertson Dean in Guelzo's work is much more appropriate to both the nature of the subject and the era that it is depicting.

    In Rizzo's reading, swathes of facts or observations just keep rushing past you with much annoyance. In fact the very complexity of the unfolding of the battle, the topography, positioning of the elements of the two armies etc. almost demands a slower reading so that it can be better absorbed.

    Equally irritating (in tandem with the rapid narration style), was the endless rising and falling pitch to emphasize the drama of certain aspects. This was just unnecessary and distracting. By contrast, Dean's more even pitch (and pace) showed how well the drama of certain points of time and decisions in the battle could be well highlighted without becoming almost shrill.

    As Audible listener's know, the narration is as important as the book itself. In future, I will make a point of ensuring I am looking at audiobook reviews and not those of Amazon members who are referring to their experience of the written work (which might be in stark contrast to the listening experience).


    Any additional comments?

    Some time ago I had listened to Grover Gardner's narration of Shelby Foote's amazing volumes on the Civil War. While Gardner did a great job with narrating William L. Shirer’s 'The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich', his voice and tone, I thought, was less suited to the Civil War era. Robertson Dean narrating Foote's work would have been an amazing blend!

    I guess what I am trying to say is that in historical works that are set in an era very different to our own, the choice of narrator takes on a greater importance. While I am sure Gregg Rizzo has narrated other books very well, I felt he was the wrong choice for this work.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Reason to Live (Marty Singer Mystery #1)

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Matthew Iden
    • Narrated By Lloyd Sherr
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (290)
    Performance
    (248)
    Story
    (246)

    In the late 90s, a bad cop killed a good woman and DC Homicide Detective Marty Singer got to watch as the murderer walked out of the courtroom a free man. Twelve years later, the victim's daughter comes to Marty begging for help: the killer is stalking her now. There's just one problem: Marty's retired...and he's retired because he's battling cancer.

    William says: "This book was a distraction"
    "Good New Find on Audible!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    Good yarn, nice characterization, pacing, plot twists, excellent narration, some nice humor and life observations. In short, a well done and entertaining debut in this genre. I really liked the character of Marty Singer and as I am already devouring Book 2 of the series, I hope Mr Iden is busily working on the next installment as I am destined to be a fan for some time! I also hope Lloyd Sherr continues to narrate any future installments as he does an excellent job.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • For the Love of Physics: From the End of the Rainbow to the Edge of Time - A Journey Through the Wonders of Physics

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Walter Lewin, Warren Goldstein
    • Narrated By Kent Cassella
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (345)
    Performance
    (295)
    Story
    (298)

    As Carl Sagan did for astronomy and Brian Green did for cosmology, Walter Lewin takes listeners on a marvelous journey in For the Love of Physics, opening our eyes as never before to the amazing beauty and power with which physics can reveal the hidden workings of the world all around us. "I introduce people to their own world," writes Lewin, "the world they live in and are familiar with but don't approach like a physicist - yet."

    Joseph says: "A perfect formula for a great read"
    "A Wonderful Listen"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    A fabulous and instructive listen. Yes the narration was a little fast and the subject matter a little meandering, but the over all narrative of such rich and complex subject matter necessitated an approach that didn't bog down and remained interesting and illuminating. Not a book to listen to when doing other things. I was ill when listening to it and so was able to give it my full attention for long periods which helped me appreciate the brilliance of what was being conveyed. There are certainly many parts I will revisit as one listen is probably insufficient for an English and History major!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Sycamore Row

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By John Grisham
    • Narrated By Michael Beck
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (114)
    Performance
    (107)
    Story
    (104)

    For almost a quarter of a century, John Grisham's A Time to Kill has captivated readers and listeners with its raw exploration of race, retribution, and justice. Now, its hero, Jake Brigance, returns to the courtroom in a dramatic showdown as Ford County again confronts its tortured history. Filled with the intrigue, suspense and plot twists that are the hallmarks of the world's favourite storyteller, Sycamore Row is the thrilling story of the elusive search for justice in a small American town.

    Madeleine says: "Grisham is all about the craft"
    "Hot Damn! Welcome Back Mr Grisham!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    Years ago I used to love reading Grisham books then I fell out with him as they began to appear more 'churned out'. With some reticence I chose this one from Audible. Hot damn! What a great legal thriller! Beautifully paced, great characterization, plot, scene depiction etc. - simply hard to put down! And all perfectly narrated by Michael Beck who gave a simply wonderful performance! And people wonder why I love audiobooks!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Interface

    • UNABRIDGED (25 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By Neal Stephenson, J. Frederick George
    • Narrated By Oliver Wyman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (512)
    Performance
    (361)
    Story
    (364)

    In this now-classic thriller, he and fellow author J. Frederick George tell a shocking tale with an all-too plausible premise. There's no way William A. Cozzano can lose the upcoming presidential election. He's a likable midwestern governor with one insidious advantage - an advantage provided by a shadowy group of backers.

    reena says: "Interface"
    "Superlative Listening Experience"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    Initially this book appeared to go into an inordinate level of detail over what appeared, at first blush, to be the merely trivial and unimportant. Thus the movement of the storyline appeared almost frustratingly slow. Then, as I adjusted to its pace I began to realise that the author was providing this detail for very clever reasons as he slowly unfurled what was to become and immensely complex, rich and rewarding tale. In the end, it was an exquisitely well-crafted and absorbing book and I could not speak highly enough of the narrator. He narrated the background story line beautifully and, almost as importantly, delivered magnificent characterisations, moving effortlessly between the voices of the very different characters as be bought them all to life. A very enjoyable work from masters of their crafts.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Unknown: A Special Edition of Out of My Head

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Didier van Cauwelaert, Mark Polizzotti (translator)
    • Narrated By Bronson Pinchot
    Overall
    (34)
    Performance
    (25)
    Story
    (25)

    Martin Harris returns home after a short absence to find that his wife doesn’t know him, another man is living in his house under his name, and the neighbors think he’s a raving lunatic. Worse, not a single person - family, colleague, or doctor - can vouch for him. Worse still, the impostor shares all of Martin’s memories, experiences, and knowledge, down to the last detail. He is, in fact, a more convincing Martin than Martin himself.

    Gudrun says: "Fast paced story with some clever twists"
    "Exceptional in Every Respect"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    If you could sum up Unknown: A Special Edition of Out of My Head in three words, what would they be?

    Absorbing and brilliantly narrated!


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Unknown: A Special Edition of Out of My Head?

    All of it.


    Which character – as performed by Bronson Pinchot – was your favorite?

    The main character.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    n/a


    Any additional comments?

    Thank goodness for great imaginative story telling. I was hooked in right from the start and just had to keep listening. With the incredibly strong narrative performance this was an absolute treat to listen to!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Stoner

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By John Williams
    • Narrated By Robin Field
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (199)
    Performance
    (150)
    Story
    (152)

    William Stoner is born at the end of the 19th century into a dirt-poor Missouri farming family. Sent to the state university to study agronomy, he instead falls in love with English literature and embraces a scholar's life, far different from the hardscrabble existence he has known. And yet as the years pass, Stoner encounters a succession of disappointments.

    Neil Babcox says: "A masterpiece"
    "Exquisite Writing and Beautifully"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes


    Any additional comments?

    I don’t know how I had never heard of this novel before (it was written in the 1960s and had experienced wide acclaim). Seemingly about nothing but the most mundane of lives, it is in fact a rich and textured exploration of the inner world with all of its existential angst and disappointments. It is a beautifully paced and precise piece of writing that will leave lovers of wonderful writing in awe of the observational power of authors like Williams.

    It takes a little time to become immersed in the character of Stoner and his life tale but once ‘locked in’ it is a hard book to stop listening to. The narrator was perfectly suited to the pace and the tone of this lyrical and melancholic novel. I know it will not be for everyone but I think it ranks as one of the best I have listened to.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The First Elizabeth

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Carolly Erickson
    • Narrated By Nelson Runger
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (17)
    Performance
    (14)
    Story
    (14)

    Elizabeth was not just Queen, she was ruler. In an age of male supremacy she, by sheer force of character, became not only the unchallenged leader of the English but also the first leader of an empire upon which the sun never set. Erickson’s biography tells the truth about this extraordinary woman and profiles some amazing people - their personalities and culture.

    Michael says: "Somewhat Spoiled by Narration"
    "Somewhat Spoiled by Narration"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    This was a good historical yarn with Erickson creating a rich tapestry of the world of Elizabeth I. It was not quite as good as the previous historical narrrative of hers that I had listened to (which was about the life of Henry the 8th), but a worthy listen nonetheless. The narrator was the same in both cases and I thought he was generally very good. BUT, unfortunately in this case I was somewhat put off by the frequent noisy (and moist) swallowing sounds caught in the recording. This was no fault of the narrator (we all produce saliver and swallow regularly) but of the sound engineer (or equipment) I think, as I have never experienced this on any audiobook I have listened to before and I found it a very unpleasant distraction from an otherwise quite good novel.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Convict and Other Stories

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By James Lee Burke
    • Narrated By Tom Stechschulte, Steven Boyer, T Ryder Smith, and others
    Overall
    (5)
    Performance
    (5)
    Story
    (5)

    The Convict and Other Stories is a superb collection of stories set in and around the American Deep South and its charismatic people.

    Michael says: "Reminded Me of the Joy in Short Stories"
    "Reminded Me of the Joy in Short Stories"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Without hesitation.


    What about the narrators’s performance did you like?

    Multiple narrators but most were 'Pitch Perfect' on the key characters.


    Any additional comments?

    I have listened to many of the James Lee Burke novels. Most I enjoyed immensely. I prefer novels and thus turned somewhat reluctantly to this collection of short stories. My mistake, I had forgotten how richly rewarding the short story genre can be. These were extremely engaging tales and in my view, revealed the true narrative scope of this author in a way that is not always so evident in his novels. I thought the various narrators for each story also did a superb job and I think were well selected for each of the stories they narrated.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Professionals

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Owen Laukkanen
    • Narrated By Edoardo Ballerini
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (206)
    Performance
    (183)
    Story
    (185)

    Four friends, recent college graduates, caught in a terrible job market, joke about turning to kidnapping to survive. And then, suddenly, it's no joke. For two years, the strategy they devise - quick, efficient, low risk - works like a charm. Until they kidnap the wrong man. Now two groups they've very much wanted to avoid are after them - the law, in the form of veteran state investigator Kirk Stevens and hotshot young FBI agent Carla Windermere, and an organized-crime outfit looking for payback.

    Richard Delman says: "A thrilling new voice in thrillers"
    "Thoughly Enjoyable Debut Novel"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    Engaging tale with well developed plot, characterisation and suspense elevation. The dialogue was snappy and credible. I considered the narration to be first rate.

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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