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Calliope

ratings
130
REVIEWS
129
FOLLOWING
1
FOLLOWERS
4
HELPFUL VOTES
179

  • The Alchemy of Air: A Jewish Genius, a Doomed Tycoon, and the Scientific Discovery That Fed the World but Fueled the Rise of Hitler

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Thomas Hager
    • Narrated By Adam Verner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (636)
    Performance
    (518)
    Story
    (515)

    At the dawn of the 20th century, humanity was facing global disaster. Mass starvation, long predicted for the fast-growing population, was about to become a reality. A call went out to the worlds scientists to find a solution. This is the story of the two enormously gifted, fatally flawed men who found it: the brilliant, self-important Fritz Haber and the reclusive, alcoholic Carl Bosch. Together they discovered a way to make bread out of air, built city-sized factories, controlled world markets, and saved millions of lives.

    sarah says: "Riveting"
    "fascinating subject I didn't realize until now"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'll be another reviewer to say "how did I not know this?" ! There is so much in this book that should be well known but simply isn't, I was astounded. I'd never thought about how chemical fertilizers were discovered - about how difficult and ground-breaking it was, and how desperately the world needed it. I'd never thought about the geopolitical importance of fertilizers (organic and chemically created), though it was huge and had significant effects on world affairs. And that doesn't even get into the close association between chemical fertilizers and explosives/munitions.

    Actually, the title of the book is a bit of a misnomer: This book is really about the work, life, and discoveries of two men - Fritz Haber and Carl Bosch. It starts with nitrogen and the need for fertilizer and continues through the discovery of the process and creation of chemical fertilizers, but it is much more. While Haber invented the original process and Bosch created the means and methods for making it practical on a large scale, it continues to follow the lives of the two men past the time when the Haber-Bosch process was novel (and unique to Germany) and through the rise of Hitler to the second world war. How the mechanisms Bosch used were turned to making synthetic fuel and rubber, how the chemical company BASF grew to be a part of the chemical giant IG Farben (most notable now for creating the Zyklon B gas used in the Holocaust), and how the changing fate of Jews in Germany in the 1930s affected both Haber and Bosch.

    Both men were, by all accounts, devastated to see how their scientific discoveries intended to feed the world and support Germany after WWI were used to fuel the rise of a martial state with Hitler and his anti-Semitic policies. Haber was Jewish born and had been a proud veteran of World War I, and Bosch was heartbroken and shocked to see so many of his fellow scientists minimized and tossed out of their jobs because of their religion, and to see his inventions used to fuel and supply that process. Ultimately, those things led to their ill health and sad deaths - Haber in Switzerland on his way to Palestine, and Bosch in Germany.

    Sadly, the narration was merely adequate, and it's the weak point of this audiobook.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Hamlet, Prince of Denmark: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By A. J. Hartley, David Hewson
    • Narrated By Richard Armitage
    Overall
    (412)
    Performance
    (389)
    Story
    (388)

    It is a tale of ghosts, of madness, of revenge - of old alliances giving way to new intrigues. Denmark is changing, shaking off its medieval past. War with Norway is on the horizon. And Hamlet - son of the old king, nephew of the new - becomes increasingly entangled in a web of deception - and murder. Beautifully performed by actor Richard Armitage ("Thorin Oakenshield" in the Hobbit films), Hamlet, Prince of Denmark takes Shakespeare’s original into unexpected realms, reinventing a story we thought we knew.

    Robert says: "Fantastic whether you like Shakespeare or not!"
    "the expanded adventures of Hamlet......"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I wasn't sure about this when I started listening, but I got more used to the interpretation of the novelization format, the more I got to like it. Unlike a play, this format leaves little interpretation to one's imagination and, in fact, gives the characters ideas and actions that never appeared in the play. That's not necessarily bad, just different, and I think those who are Shakespeare-philes might have a problem with the new interpretation of Polonius or Ophelia.

    The novel also expands on the action and expands many of the mentioned events, like the pirate attack and the activities in Fortinbras' camp. Very enjoyable, and well read. It's not "Hamlet", but it's good all the same.

    Hint: Be sure to listen to the afterwords, which help explain how the authors used primary sources as part of their work in writing the novel.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Likeness

    • UNABRIDGED (22 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Tana French
    • Narrated By Heather O'Neill
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3003)
    Performance
    (1895)
    Story
    (1904)

    Tana French's debut, In the Woods, hit the New York Times best-seller list and drew rave reviews from the Times (London) and Booklist. Picking up six months later, this riveting sequel finds Detective Cassie Maddox still scarred by her last case. When her boyfriend calls her to a chilling murder scene, Cassie is forced to face her inner demons. A young woman has been found stabbed to death outside Dublin, and the victim looks just like Cassie.

    Michael says: "Really on a Different Level"
    "Unbelievable set up, likable book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    You've got to get past the ridiculous set up of a murdered PhD student looking 98% like a Dublin police detective and the police managing to slip the detective into the life of the deceased.......but once you get past that, what remains is an interesting and intriguing book.

    Honestly, the character of Cassie didn't make a big impression on me in In The Woods, though I liked that audiobook a lot. So when I saw that there was a second Dublin Murder Squad book in Audible, I was surprised to find it about her and not about Rob, Cassie's partner in that book. Surprised, but not troubled, found I really liked this book and the exploration of how a detective feels and changes when surrounded by various circumstances undercover. That's really what this book is about -- more a psychological thriller of a detective undercover than a mystery about who killed the Trinity student and why.

    The narrator did an excellent job, and I found her Irish accent a joy to listen to.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Dumb Witness: A Hercule Poirot Mystery

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Agatha Christie
    • Narrated By Hugh Fraser
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (57)
    Performance
    (51)
    Story
    (53)

    Miss Emily was old, rich, and afraid - and now, she's dead. Her terrified plea to Hercule Poirot came a little too late. All that's left is a house full of greedy heirs, and a very strange letter that could solve the mystery - or add to it.

    Calliope says: "accidental death or murder?"
    "accidental death or murder?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    In this case, Poirot takes on the job requested of him in a letter he received months too late - and long after the letter writer is dead.........did she die an accidental death, as has been officially stated, or was it murder? And if it was murder, who was the guilty party? There's a collection of relatives and hired help who all might get a piece of the inheritance, and it's up to Poirot to figure it out. Very nicely done by Christie from a kind of routine set up (as many of her's are). As for the dog......well, the deceased client's dog get a few "words" in the story too.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • NOS4A2: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Joe Hill
    • Narrated By Kate Mulgrew
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3175)
    Performance
    (2938)
    Story
    (2942)

    Victoria McQueen has an uncanny knack for finding things: a misplaced bracelet, a missing photograph, answers to unanswerable questions. When she rides her bicycle over the rickety old covered bridge in the woods near her house, she always emerges in the places she needs to be. Vic doesn't tell anyone about her unusual ability, because she knows no one will believe her. She has trouble understanding it herself.

    Jacqueline says: "Finish to Start Excellent is Novel This"
    "3.5 for the story, 5 for the narration........"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I thought this book needed a good editor - things dragged on a little too long and the middle dragged too far from the heart of the story i.e. the ongoing relationships between those who can cut through reality to thoughts (Vic, Mags, Charlie). I did like that heart of the story, but Hill's writing suffers too much from excessive and unnecessary scatological and juvenile language (including all the swearing, which is a significant amount). His father had a tendency to lean a little too far that way, but either he has a better editor or enough self control to rein it in (and enough talent in other places to make it tolerable). This is the first book I listened to that was narrated by Kate Mulgrew, and she did a terrific job with all the characters.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Nightwing

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Martin Cruz Smith
    • Narrated By Richard Ferrone
    Overall
    (139)
    Performance
    (125)
    Story
    (127)

    A community in the southwestern United States falls prey to a plague of vampire bats with a virus which compels them to feed on everything in their path. Martin Cruz Smith, author of the best-selling novels, Gorky Park and Polar Star, mixes Indian mythology with virology in this masterful thriller.

    S. Burrows says: "Excellent book."
    "Disappointed fan"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I've enjoyed several other (later) books by Martin Cruz Smith and I was looking forward to one of his earlier novels.....sadly, I finished disappointed. There is much less characterization and much more cliched action in this book. It was fine, and average novel about vampire bats and infectious disease on a Reservation, but nothing to write home about. It was interesting, though, to read the about the political issues between the Hopi and the Navajo from the Hopi point of view which paints the Navajo in a bad light.....different from other books I've read where the protagonists (and the novel's setting) are Navajo.

    The narrator did a really bad job; I had to run this book at 1.25x speed just to make the narration sound "normal" and not be too slow and ponderous. He is bad with differentiating characters with his voice and some of the characters sounded really unbelievable.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Friday the Rabbi Slept Late: A Rabbi Small Mystery, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Harry Kemelman
    • Narrated By George Guidall
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (60)
    Performance
    (55)
    Story
    (57)

    Young and unassuming Rabbi David Small sorts through puzzling pieces of mysteries with logic straight from the Talmud. In Friday the Rabbi Slept Late, a shocking discovery on the temple grounds threatens to ruin both the diligent rabbi and the entire Jewish community at Barnard’s Crossing. Unaware that his congregation is grumbling about his rumpled appearance and absent-minded manner, Rabbi Small spends long hours poring over scholarly books.

    DARBY KERN says: "I slept late too, because i was up late listening."
    "nice lightweight mystery, old but new to me"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a nice, lightweight mystery that is a little dated (written in 1964), but not in any way that detracts from the story or the writing. I had heard about the series of the rabbi sleuth many years ago, and it was nice to actually enjoy it now -- with one of my favourite narrators George Guidall, who did a wonderful job. The protagonist is only rabbi in a small New England town, and the mystery of the murdered woman is tied in with conflicts among the synagogue board members, office politics, and town gossip among the Jewish and non-Jewish residents. That helps it all ring true, with believable characters (for the mid-sixties suburbs).

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Invisible Man

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By H. G. Wells
    • Narrated By James Adams
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (217)
    Performance
    (164)
    Story
    (166)

    On a freezing February day, a stranger emerges from out of the gray to request a room at a local provincial inn. Who is this out-of-season traveler? More confounding is the thick mask of bandages obscuring his face. Why does he disguise himself in this manner and keep himself hidden away in his room? Aroused by trepidation and curiosity, the local villagers bring it upon themselves to find the answers.

    Brian says: "Way ahead of its time!"
    "part slapstick action, part sci-fi ideology"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It's hard to really like a book with such an unsympathetic central (and title) character. While many reviews say that the character was driven insane by his discovery of invisibility, I'm not so sure......I thought it seemed like he was always a selfish, rude megalomaniac and was only given more ability to express that as an invisible man. It's hard to say, of course.

    What surprised me was how much of the story is taken up with what is essentially slapstick action of people chasing, and being chased by, the invisible man. It's kind of ridiculous and unnecessary, in my opinion, and detracts from any suspense or thriller-type of atmosphere that could have been built. The underlying sci-fi of how a physicist discovered the secret of invisibility and the social message of the difficulties of being invisible are kind of lost under the action and reaction of the end effect (an invisible man who can enter or leave anywhere undetected, and so can attack people at whim).

    I've enjoyed so many other HG Wells books, that it was a real disappointment to me to find this book really only average, in my opinion. And the narration was really only fair, with unnatural accents really distracting from the flow of the story.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Shadows of the Workhouse: Call the Midwife, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By Jennifer Worth
    • Narrated By Nicola Barber
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (282)
    Performance
    (253)
    Story
    (256)

    When twenty-two-year-old Jennifer Worth, from a comfortable middle-class upbringing, went to work as a midwife in the direst section of postwar London, she not only delivered hundreds of babies and touched many lives, she also became the neighborhood';s most vivid chronicler. Woven into the ongoing tales of her life in the East End are the true stories of the people Worth met who grew up in the dreaded workhouse, a Dickensian institution that limped on into the middle of the twentieth century.

    Jan says: "Nice followup to "Call The Midwife""
    "More tales from the East End"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Disclaimer......I did not read the first installment of the book, but I know the character and have seen some of the TV series. This book attracted me more because it is more about the people and her experiences as a nurse than as a midwife, and I was hoping that it would be more in-depth about the characters she met than about her culture shock......and it was (so I've been told from those who've read both).

    I loved the stories told about a few of the people she'd met while living and working there, going in depth into their past as well as their present to build some emotional depth and understanding. It's about the shadows of war as much as the workhouse (and I found that man's the most compelling story), but the misnomer of the book's subtitle doesn't take away any of the emotional effect. The narrator also does a good job with the characterization and emotion in the authors voice. I found her voice here really pleasant to listen to.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Road

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Cormac McCarthy
    • Narrated By Tom Stechschulte
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (5987)
    Performance
    (2573)
    Story
    (2609)

    America is a barren landscape of smoldering ashes, devoid of life except for those people still struggling to scratch out some type of existence. Amidst this destruction, a father and his young son walk, always toward the coast, but with no real understanding that circumstances will improve once they arrive. Still, they persevere, and their relationship comes to represent goodness in a world of utter devastation.

    Taryn says: "Will touch your soul"
    "4 stars for style, 3 for content"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I like post-apocalyptic stories, and I've read some great ones (Day of the Triffids and Alas, Babylon are standouts), but, alas, this is not one of the great ones. And Audible doesn't have a way to distinguish "writing style" and "story content", so I decided to give a 4 all 'round, but really it's for the sparse and emotional style more than the content itself. The content has unrealistic happenings and holes you could drive a bus through, though I was happy, while reading, to suspend my disbelief - the style and emotion (and narration) was that good.

    I loved the incredibly realistic, but repetitive, dialogues with The Boy -- his unhelpful, repeated responses of "OK" and repeated declarations his needs ("But I'm hungry" or "I'm really scared") are just like a small boy would make, and bring a realistic touch to an unbelievable landscape. The landscape is unbelievable - stark, cold, gray, empty - and the entire book is shadowed with those emotions. The Boy is both the Man's conscience and hope in an unforgiving world of those few who are desperate to survive, and the Man is the Boy's father -- which means he is the Boy's everything when there are no other people for days and months on end.

    The resolution is abrupt and undeveloped, popping up without warning and not any better because it is a positive ending on a depressing story. Good narration, good emotions, good dialogue, good narration, but only fair in terms of actual plot and storyline.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Free: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

    • UNABRIDGED (15 mins)
    • By James Thurber
    • Narrated By Ben Stiller
    Overall
    (3373)
    Performance
    (3008)
    Story
    (3038)

    Mild-mannered Walter Mitty is a day-dreamer who escapes his anonymous life by disappearing into a world of fantasies filled with heroism, romance and action. This well-known and beloved tale has launched its famous protagonist into the cultural lexicon, warranting his inclusion in English-language dictionaries and countless anthologies. Stiller's imaginative performance as Mitty is the perfect re-introduction to the classic character and a great preface to the upcoming film, for longtime fans and new listeners alike.

    Dave says: "We Only Live Once. Or Do We?"
    "Fun to hear the original story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Walter Mitty has become a well-known character of pop culture, and it was nice to hear the original story that created him. I had previously only known him as a character in the movie (the 1947 adaptation with Danny Kaye) and as the cultural characterization of a dreamer who avoids the dreariness of life by escaping into his fantasies. Now I get to see the original Walter Mitty, which adds an extra level of meaning to the term (and the man).

    Although Ben Stiller is well known as an actor, I found his narration didn't add much to the story - acceptable, but not much more. Of course, his narration was intended to be a tie-in to promote his movie, and I didn't bother listening to the last few minutes of the recording that (I presume) was a more direct promotion for the book.

    An interesting short story, but I'm glad I didn't pay for it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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