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Elizabeth Gouverneur

Amherst, MA United States | Member Since 2008

ratings
106
REVIEWS
4
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
0
HELPFUL VOTES
2

  • The Railway Children

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By E. Nesbit
    • Narrated By Renee Raudman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (27)
    Performance
    (17)
    Story
    (19)

    In this classic story, first published in 1906, a false accusation places the father in jail, leaving his wife and three children on their own. Circumstances force mother and the children to leave their ideal life in London to live near a train station in a rustic cottage. As the good natured children work to rescue their father, they befriend and help others along the way.

    Amazon Customer says: "Terrible.."
    "Worst reader I've ever heard"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    Almost any other reader would have been better. Let me change that: any other reader would have been better.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Railway Children?

    It is a slightly saccharin tale and shows its age (early 1900s), but the children are well drawn and the story is engaging despite the whiff of Victorian melodrama. The end still makes me tear up. The scene where the children celebrate Perk's birthday, and his affronted pride, is particularly well done.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    This is a sweet story, essentially ruined by an incompetent reader. Rene Raudner's fake English accent made me cringe. The various voices she employed were unpleasant to listen to. Her emphasis and pauses were often off. She pronounced 'row', as in argument, as if it referred to a way to propel a dinghy. There are a few other readers who are less than perfect, but this one was nails on a blackboard. Only my love of the story, read several times before, kept me listening to the end.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Railway Children?

    Nothing. The Raailway Children, like most of E. Nesbit's books, is dated but perfect in its way.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Humans: The Neanderthal Parallax, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Robert J. Sawyer
    • Narrated By Jonathan Davis, Robert J. Sawyer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (624)
    Performance
    (287)
    Story
    (294)

    In this Hugo-nominated novel, Neanderthal physicist Ponter Boddit brings Canadian geneticist Mary Vaughan back to his world to explore the near-utopian civilization of the Neanderthals. Boddit serves as a Candide figure, the naive visitor whose ignorance about our society makes him a perfect tool to analyze human tendencies toward violence, over-population, and environmental degradation.

    Guillermo says: "Missed the Mark"
    "Disappointing sequal"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    The Christian outlook seemed overdone to me, and intruded on the story. The repeated idea that 'our' universe may have an afterlife, and that so much of our culture is defined by that belief felt awkward. There is a long scene at the Vietnam Vet Memorial where Mary defends our wars which I really did not like. Perhaps the author is leading me to feel this way, but I felt bludgeoned by it.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Robert J. Sawyer again?

    Yes. I enjoyed the first book in the series a lot.


    What about Jonathan Davis and Robert J. Sawyer ’s performance did you like?

    The characters had distinctive voices, easy to identify and follow.


    Any additional comments?

    I need to decide if I want to finish the series. I'm not particularly happy with where it seems to be going.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Adventure of English: The Biography of a Language

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Melvyn Bragg
    • Narrated By Robert Powell
    Overall
    (1951)
    Performance
    (742)
    Story
    (758)

    This is the remarkable story of the English language; from its beginnings as a minor guttural Germanic dialect to its position today as a truly established global language. The Adventure of English is not only an enthralling story of power, religion, and trade, but also the story of people, and how their lives continue to change the extraordinary language that is English.

    Amazon Customer says: "Many Of Course monments"
    "History of English told as a good detective story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    If you could sum up The Adventure of English in three words, what would they be?

    Fascinating, unexpected, scholarly


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    The writer himself. His enthusiasm for his subject, the development of the English language, enlivened what could have been a dry tale. He knew when to draw on one of the personalities in history (Alfred the Great, Chaucer, a British bureaucrat in India) and even his own childhood experiences as a speaker of an English dialect to put us into that period as it was experienced at the time.


    Have you listened to any of Robert Powell’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I have not, but I'd happily listen to him again. He did a particularly masterful job pronouncing the many words from Norse, Old English, French, or even 20th c. dialects that turned up regularly in the text.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No. As a history it was nice to have the centuries unfold and take time to digest each period.


    Any additional comments?

    This book is full of nuggets of information that I kept wanting to share. The scope is broad, and slightly less strong in the most recent centuries, but the first two thirds are riveting. The author treats the language as an almost living thing, evolving through periods of explosive growth, or responding to threats of extinction, taking us through all the unexpected twists in its development like a proud parent.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Return to Mars

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Ben Bova
    • Narrated By Stefan Rudnicki
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (195)
    Performance
    (112)
    Story
    (111)

    Six years after the first manned Martian expedition, a second has been announced, this one motivated purely by its profitable potential. Half-Navajo geologist Jamie Waterman, a veteran of the first mission, feels his conflicted soul beckoning him back to the eerie, unforgiving planet. As commander of the new exploratory team, he will have to contend with a bitter and destructive rivalry, a disturbing new emotional attraction, and deadly, incomprehensible "accidents" that appear to be sabotage.

    jsakeo says: "Fun continuation of Mars, but has Editing Issues"
    "Nice story, leaden reader"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Where does Return to Mars rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    On an A-F scale I'd give it a B or B-. It was a good story though it repeated several of the characters and elements of the first book, Mars. Unfortunately the reader spoke in a monotone throughout, which was a drawback.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    The lead, Jaimie. I liked the concept of a Navajo astronaut, and his commitment to science rather than the commercialization of the planet.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    His voice was flat and inexpressive.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Neither, but I was drawn into it. The descriptions of the planet were vivid. The conflict between the powers back on earth was believable and the resolution was clever and satisfying.


    Any additional comments?

    The sexual tension was overdrawn and not really necessary. I can't believe that real Mars explorers with such personality flaws would have made it past the screening. But it was an enjoyable book nonetheless.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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