I am in agreement with many of the reviewers here who really appreciated this book. I just have a few additional comments:
1) The two-narrator format seemed odd to me at first until I realized it was like a two-person play. Then I really enjoyed listening to the narrators play off each other.
2) Richard Dawkins is a superb reader of his own work, which is not something you can say for everyone.
3) This book is NOT a rant, as others have said. We always accuse others of ranting when we cannot answer their arguments.
4) It is not absurd to say that raising a child to be religious is a kind of child abuse. Many people wonder about this, especially those in the particularly guilt-inducing varieties of religion. I've known many folks over the years who wonder what damage they may be doing to their kids.
5) Dawkins makes it clear at the beginning that he does not expect to win over true believers. He is instead giving people permission to be atheists. This is an important distinction and is based on his experience with readers and students over the years. I teach about human evolution and can verify that many people don't even realize they have a choice when it comes to the ways they think and live in the world.
6) Dawkins is right that so many people who are anti-evolution do not understand how it works. He is also right that really understanding evolution is a life-transforming, consciousness-raising experience.
7) This book is very witty and in some parts, downright funny. But it is also compassionate and nurturing in many ways.
The Woman in White has been done up as a new "freely adapted" Andrew Lloyd Webber musical, and one review I saw recently said that it's best not to read the book if you want to enjoy the musical! I suppose that can also mean read the book instead!
This lengthy Wilkie Collins mystery is, like The Moonstone, told in first person by several characters, and this audiobook employs several different readers. I always find this enjoyable as a listener, although as someone else mentioned, there are problems with varying quality and volume of the narration (thus four stars instead of five). The story is compelling, and, if one is willing to recognize and tolerate certain Victorian conventions that even Wilkie Collins--who lived a very unconventional life--resorts to in his novels, the Woman in White is definitely worth "reading."
This was the first time I have "read" this classic work, and it's something every literate and literary-minded person should read. But its imperialistic themes and colonial sentiments are hard to sympathize with nowadays, and I believe that it is often studied today more for the insights it gives us into late Victorian (1898) attitudes toward Africa than for the story itself. The listener should be forewarned that much of the language and imagery now seems quite racist. I greatly admire Ralph Cosham's narration, but it was hard for me to listen to him reading some of the passages in this novel, and I probably won't listen to it again. Having said that, it is indeed a classic and is worth experiencing for that reason.
If you love good Victorian fiction, with its keen insights into human relationships and motivations, you'll love The Moonstone. This novel was never intended to be a physical action story. Ignore those people saying it's too long or--gasp!--boring. It's just right! The novel is told from several points of view with several narrators performing the various characters. In addition to Patrick Tull as the butler, audiobook customers might be interested in knowing that the narrators include Davina Porter and Frank Muller, both of whom have a large and loyal following. The Moonstone is also a great introduction to Wilkie Collins, whose works, in my opinion, are equal to those of his friend and mentor, Charles Dickens. At least two other Collins novels are available from Audible.com: The Woman in White and The Evil Genius. I hope there will be more in the future.
I greatly enjoyed this book, the first I've actually "read" by Jules Verne, and highly recommend both the book and this narrator. I think I've now purchased 5 or 6 audiobooks narrated by Mr. Cosham, whose reading style is gentle, but always effective. I was surprised to discover that Around the World in 80 Days is not a silly slap-stick comedy, as portrayed in all the film versions thus far. There is plenty of humor, but it is subtle and emerges from the situations and the relationships among the characters. (And the characters in the book never travel in any sort of flying machine, a favorite device in the movies.) I long for someone to do a really good film adaptation that captures the personalities of the characters and the atmosphere of the story as written by Verne, not as imagined by Hollywood!
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