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John

Hopedale, MA, USA | Member Since 2002

50
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 6 reviews
  • 83 ratings
  • 1219 titles in library
  • 20 purchased in 2014
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  • Taliesin: The Pendragon Cycle, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Stephen R. Lawhead
    • Narrated By Wanda McCaddon
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (363)
    Performance
    (137)
    Story
    (139)

    It was a time of legend, the last shadows of the mighty Roman conqueror faded from the captured Isle of Britain. While, across a vast sea, bloody war shattered a peace that had flourished for 2,000 years in the doomed kingdom of Atlantis. This is the remarkable adventure of Charis, the courageous princess from Atlantis who escapes the terrible devastation of her land, and of the fabled seer and druid prince Taliesin, singer at the dawn of the age. It is a story of an incomparable love that joins two astonishing worlds....

    John says: "A Classic interpretation of a Classic tale"
    "A Classic interpretation of a Classic tale"
    Overall

    The Pendragon Cycle has to be the most human and complex of all the Arthurian legend tales, linking the magic and demise of Atlantis to the birth and life of the English saviour/king. The depth of the character development is wonderful, though perhaps not to the taste of those who enjoy a more action-packed story. There were times during the story that were so poignant and tragic that I found myself with tears in my eyes - a rare achievement for a narrated book. Overall, an enthralling and engrossing look into the lives and cultures surrounding this interpretation of the legends of King Arthur.

    Despite other reviewers comments, I found the narration easy to hear and follow along with. Nadia May has proven herself to be a popular interpreter of recorded books time and time again.

    Thoroughly enjoyable - please Audible, publish book 5 'Grail', the anticipatition is killing me!!

    16 of 16 people found this review helpful
  • Science and Religion

    • ORIGINAL (6 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Lawrence M. Principe
    Overall
    (7)
    Performance
    (7)
    Story
    (7)

    What is the nature of the relationship between science and religion? When do they conflict? And how do they influence each other in the pursuit of knowledge and truth? While conventional wisdom says that science and theology must perpetually clash, they have actually been partners in an age-old adventure.

    Eristic says: "Amazingly interesting and comprehensive"
    "An insult to the intelligence"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    By being objective - the whole thing requires you to believe that non-fact based belief can be scientific if you believe hard enough.


    Did Professor Lawrence M. Principe do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

    N/A


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    My first reaction to this was outrage, that someone could possibly insult my intelligence by trying to claim that historically incorrect, self-contradictory religious texts could be used to counter argue science based facts and be taught as a pseudo-science. It equally insults religious faithful by turning their beliefs into a pseudo-science akin to astrology.


    Any additional comments?

    There have been several really interesting topics in this lecture series but unless you want to accentuate any road-rage you may feel while driving and listening to this, skip this lecture.

    0 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Exile

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Denise Mina
    • Narrated By Katy Anderson
    Overall
    (18)
    Performance
    (3)
    Story
    (3)

    In the bleaker precincts of Glasgow, Maureen O'Donnell is confronted with another grisly case of murder. The last time Maureen saw Ann Harris she was nursing a couple of broken ribs and reeking of alcohol at the women's shelter. Now Ann has turned up dead hundreds of miles away under a mattress on the banks of the Thames.

    John says: "Good Glasgow Grit and Grimness"
    "Good Glasgow Grit and Grimness"
    Overall

    Wow! What an immaculately read book. The true grimness of poverty, gangs and drug running and abuse come through in this thoughtful and convoluted mystery. The story centres around the disappearance of a spousal abuse victim from a shelter in Glasgow and rapidly takes us into the mindless violence and depravity of the city's underclass. The destitution (financially, morally and mentally) of the characters we meet is, quite honestly, depressing. However, the human spirit and determination of the main protagonist, Maureen shines through, as she supports the good soul struggling to survive in one person and unearths squalid depths in another. I was surprised by the ending to the main theme AND the multiple sub-plots which nicely avoided the traditional 'Alls well that ends well' seen too often in mysteries.
    I feel I must mention again that for me the reader was perfect - excellent scottish (her natural) and English accents, though some american listeners may struggle with the slang. Be warned - there is a fair amount of strong language, but this for me is in keeping with the reality of the lives we are experiencing here and isn't gratuitous.

    9 of 10 people found this review helpful
  • Red Rabbit

    • UNABRIDGED (26 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Tom Clancy
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (909)
    Performance
    (465)
    Story
    (472)

    Tom Clancy returns to Jack Ryan's early days, in an extraordinary new novel of global political drama. Ryan's first days on the job at the CIA put him into a high-stakes game, playing for the life of the Pope and the stability of the Western world.

    Jerret says: "Combined review"
    "Dead Rabbit"
    Overall

    Oh my! How the mighty have fallen!
    What a dire and torpid book that drones on and on spouting Clancy's political doctrine and seemingly random, and often inaccurate, details. Fifteen years ago Clancy was respected as a writer for the detail and suspense of his novels. Red Rabbit calls into question that previous respect. There are innumerable trivial errors in this book regarding British life which immediately raises concerns for the rest of the book and previous publications. Many of these arise from the irrelevant rambling descriptions (e.g. a British pint has 20oz not 16 Mr. Clancy. Also York is probably about the 20th largest city in the north of England - not the largest).
    Also, the brilliant foresight of the 'superhero' Jack Ryan makes him out to be so ludicrously talented as to be the second coming. Way too over the top for believability, particularly as this book is trying to interpolate itself with real life events.
    I listened to the unabridged version (20 hours) and was amazed to see that the abridged version is still 7 hours. The usually impeccable narrator Scott Brick, was so challenged by the 'prose' that every single one of his British characters sounded like a pantomime cockney. Despite this one of the stars I gave this book is for Mr Brick, the other is for Mr Clancy who really can do much better.

    8 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • Oryx and Crake

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Margaret Atwood
    • Narrated By Campbell Scott
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1802)
    Performance
    (958)
    Story
    (969)

    As the story opens, Snowman is sleeping in a tree, mourning the loss of his beloved Oryx and his best friend Crake, and slowly starving to death. How did everything fall apart so quickly? Why is he left with nothing but his haunting memories? Alone except for the green-eyed Children of Crake, he explores the answers to these questions in the double journey he takes - into his own past, and back to Crake's high-tech bubble-dome, where the Paradice Project unfolded and the world came to grief.

    Doug says: "Very Scary Stuff"
    "Credibility Gap"
    Overall

    Oryx and Crake rarely grabbed my attention and I found myself frequently tuning out. The story progresses in a very jerky, back one step forward one and a half steps, fashion. From a scientific view point, the molecular biology necessary to create some of the creatures described is and will be, impossible. This indicates a lack of understanding by the author and it stretches my credulity way too far to get involved in the story (another example being White Plague by Frank Herbert).
    The reading was good but with little intonation, though this is perhaps appropriate for the general despondency of the character, Snowman.
    Overall, quite unsatisfying due to the lack of a story, non-development of characters and a hanging ending. If this is "Atwood at the height of her powers" then I won't be reading any other of her books.

    6 of 11 people found this review helpful
  • A Wizard of Earthsea

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Ursula K. Le Guin
    • Narrated By Harlan Ellison, Ursula K. Le Guin
    Overall
    (619)
    Performance
    (119)
    Story
    (119)

    This first volume of the Earthsea Cycle is an adventure story, a Quest, a tale of a proud, incautious boy who meddles too early with the Dark. It is a pure fantasy telling about a real thing: a boy coming into his power and his manhood...coming of age.

    Wyonia says: "Great Book...Frantic Narrator"
    "The Light Fantasy"
    Overall

    If you are a reader of 'fantasy' novels who likes depth and intrigue (Jordan, Tolkien, Donaldson, etc.) then give 'A Wizard of Earthsea' a miss. It is a relatively straightforward, linear tale following a single character, Ged, in his quest to undo a problem caused by his own pride. I would probably rate the story as 3 stars but I have deducted 1 for the annoying and largely inappropriate overinterpretation of the dialogue by the narrator, Harlan Ellison.

    11 of 19 people found this review helpful

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