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Nothing really matters

Rob Thomas

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada | Member Since 2013

67
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 49 reviews
  • 53 ratings
  • 386 titles in library
  • 159 purchased in 2014
FOLLOWING
13
FOLLOWERS
10

  • Neverwhere [Adaptation]

    • ORIGINAL (3 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Neil Gaiman
    • Narrated By Christopher Lee, James McAvoy, Natalie Dormer, and others
    Overall
    (971)
    Performance
    (922)
    Story
    (915)

    A BBC Radio six-part adaptation of Neil Gaiman's best-selling novel, starring James McAvoy as Richard and Natalie Dormer as Door. Beneath the streets of London there is another London. A subterranean labyrinth of sewers and abandoned tube stations. A somewhere that is Neverwhere....

    Gayle says: "Superb"
    "A superbly acted fantasy play."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    As you can see from the other reviews, the consensus was the acting in this play was excellent. I agree completely.

    The story is a fun, fantasy tale about a fellow who falls into a dangerous, alternate reality existing in the sewers, subway lines, and elsewhere under London. For some reason, I found it very funny that one of the characters was named the "Marquis de Carabas" -- a reference to the story of Puss in Boots.

    Lots of drama. Good fun. Highly recommended.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Blood Tide: A Never Land Adventure

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Dave Barry, Ridley Pearson
    • Narrated By Jim Dale
    Overall
    (44)
    Performance
    (24)
    Story
    (24)

    When an earthquake strikes Never Land Island, things begin to go terribly wrong. A mysterious barrel washes ashore and falls into the hands of Captain Hook, who hatches an evil plan.

    Nothing really matters says: "A fun Star Catcher short-story / novella"
    "A fun Star Catcher short-story / novella"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Another great novel in the family-friendly Star Catcher series. Again, like all the others in the series, this novella has great writing and benefits from really great narration.

    In Blood Tide we learn what Peter's friends were up to back on the island of Neverland while Peter and Molly were in London. [SPOILER ALERT] It's an adventure with intrepid kids, nasty pirates, intimidating mermaids, fearsome tribal warriors, and red algae.

    Highly recommended.

    If this is your first book in the series, you'll want to read Peter and the Star Catchers first. There are two other novellas like this in the series, btw.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Business Law: Contracts

    • ORIGINAL (6 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Frank B. Cross
    Overall
    (47)
    Performance
    (40)
    Story
    (40)

    What is a contract? How can you make one binding? How can you avoid being prematurely bound by one? What remedies are available if someone breaches your contract? These questions and the other important issues of legally enforceable promises are covered in these eight lectures. As you'll learn in these eight lectures, contractual agreements are one of the principal mechanisms for ordering life in society. Professor Cross lays a comprehensive foundation in the practical and intricate body of law that governs contracts.

    Cynthia says: "This lecture makes sense"
    "Excellent with two quibbles"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I enjoyed these lectures on US contract law. They were presented at a fairly high-level, as you'd expect, but I felt they hit all the key areas. Professor Cross has an amiable, easy style that makes the lectures very enjoyable and hopefully less intimidating for non-lawyers.

    I wanted to give the lectures five stars across the board, but I felt the need to withhold a star for two reasons. My reasons may be minor and may something to do with my preferred style of learning, but together I felt they warranted four instead of five overall stars.

    First, for a somewhat complex topic like contract law where many topics/sub-topics are covered, it would have been helpful to have been given a "road map" and then reminded of it from time to time. By a roadmap, I mean a summary of the topics to be covered and their roles and important inter-relationships and status report of which we'd covered and which we were still coming down the pike.

    Second, I felt that the professor should have been more precise about the facts of the cases he mentioned. It was a bit weird to first hear something, `This was a case about the purchase of a boat by a policeman` and then, `No, sorry, it was a case about a car bought by a policeman or a fireman or someone`. The legal point the professor was making was not lost because he got the relevant facts right, but the confusion about other facts seemed a bit unpolished, especially given the relatively small number of cases.

    One more point: it would have been nice to have the case names so the keeners among us could have Googled them.

    Still, overall very enjoyable.

    I wish there were more law-related lectures like these available on Audible.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Importance of Being Earnest

    • UNABRIDGED (1 hr and 59 mins)
    • By Oscar Wilde
    • Narrated By James Marsters, Charles Busch, Emily Bergl, and others
    Overall
    (643)
    Performance
    (537)
    Story
    (533)

    This final play from the pen of Oscar Wilde is a stylish send-up of Victorian courtship and manners, complete with assumed names, mistaken lovers, and a lost handbag. Jack and Algernon are best friends, both wooing ladies who think their names are Ernest, "that name which inspires absolute confidence." Wilde's effervescent wit, scathing social satire, and high farce make this one of the most cherished plays in the English language.

    Tad Davis says: "Delightfully silly"
    "The inspiration for much that followed."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It was interesting to finally hear this play. You can see almost at once how this story profoundly affected the next fifty years or so of British books, movies, and television.

    I though it was the Monty Python crew who had invented that zany kind of comedy. Now, I'd say they just updated and perfected what they learned from this play.

    And that too-clever and insanely fast banter of old British movies? Yup, it seems to come from this play as well.

    The play is a bit dated now, of course, but was still funny and very fascinating to listen to.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Twelve Angry Men

    • ORIGINAL (1 hr and 50 mins)
    • By Reginald Rose
    • Narrated By Dan Castellaneta, Hector Elizondo, Armin Shimerman
    Overall
    (625)
    Performance
    (568)
    Story
    (564)

    Over the course of a steamy and tense afternoon, 12 jurors deliberate the fate of a 19-year-old boy alleged to have murdered his own father. A seemingly open and shut case turns complicated, igniting passions and hidden prejudices.

    Emily says: "Excellent court room drama"
    "Intense, disturbing and dramatic. Very well acted."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is definitely probably the most intense audio book (well, it's more like a radio play for those of you who remember what a radio play is) I've listened to.

    I watched the movie many eons ago and it was great and intense as well. But this was on a par -- probably better in the way a book is almost invariably better than its movie. The voice acting in this production was really phenomenal.

    I found this story as disturbing today as I did all those years ago when I first encountered it. (Remind me never to be accused of murder and place my fate in the hands of a jury of my peers!)

    Highly recommended.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Metamorphosis

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Franz Kafka
    • Narrated By Ralph Cosham
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (266)
    Performance
    (239)
    Story
    (239)

    “One morning, as Gregor Samsa was waking up from anxious dreams, he discovered that in bed he had been changed into a monstrous verminous bug.” With this startlingly bizarre sentence, Kafka begins his masterpiece, The Metamorphosis. It is the story of a young traveling salesman who, transformed overnight into a giant, beetle-like insect, becomes an object of disgrace to his family, an outsider in his own home, a quintessentially alienated man. Rather than being surprised at the transformation, the members of his family despise it as an impending burden upon themselves.

    Patrick Weldon says: "Kafka-esque terrific"
    "Well written, but kinda bugged me..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book deserves its reputation as being very well written. The premise (man turns into giant bug overnight) is completely implausible, but the writing was good enough that I could suspend my disbelief with modest effort. The narration is also very well done.

    That said, I was left wondering whether I'd gotten the key point. If I did I imagine it is that no matter how serious or weird a thing that might happen to a person, their loved ones' sympathies will eventually wear thin and they'll begin to see that person as a mill stone around their necks, financially at the very least. Then they will likely want to get on with their lives without that person.

    If that's it, fine. It's a valid observation. Maybe because this book has a reputation as a classic I expected a bit more. Specifically, I expect classics to both make profound observations about life AND tell a really great story. (The second being more important than the first, in my view.) This book made its profound observation, but its premise seemed a bit more bizarre than would seem really necessary.

    Four stars overall. Worth reading.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Peter and the Sword of Mercy: The Starcatchers, Book 4

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Dave Barry, Ridley Pearson
    • Narrated By Jim Dale
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (355)
    Performance
    (237)
    Story
    (237)

    The year is 1902 - it's been 23 years since Peter and the Lost Boys returned from Rundoon. Since then, nobody on the island has grown a day older, and the Lost Boys continue their friendship with the Mollusk tribe and their rivalry with Captain Hook. Meanwhile, in London, Molly has married George Darling and is raising three children: Wendy, Michael, and John. One night, a visitor appears at her door; it's James, one of Peter's original Lost Boys.

    A-McD says: "Amazing"
    "Excellent conclusion to the series."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The final instalment of this series takes place many years after the preceding adventures. This makes for some interesting situations. We find out how much things have changed during the intervening period and get to meet Wendy and her brothers, among other new characters.

    As with the earlier books, this one is very exciting, funny, very well-written, and excellently narrated. It was a fun romp for my kids as well as for me and the missus.

    Highly recommended.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Consider the Fork: A History of How We Cook and Eat

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Bee Wilson
    • Narrated By Alison Larkin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (225)
    Performance
    (196)
    Story
    (199)

    Since prehistory, humans have braved the business ends of knives, scrapers, and mashers, all in the name of creating something delicious - or at least edible. In Consider the Fork, award-winning food writer and historian Bee Wilson traces the ancient lineage of our modern culinary tools, revealing the startling history of objects we often take for granted. Charting the evolution of technologies from the knife and fork to the gas range and the sous-vide cooker, Wilson offers unprecedented insights.

    Amazon Customer says: "Intriguing history of everyday utensils"
    "For the foodie/science geek/history buff in you"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a fun read if you like
    (1) cooking and being in the kitchen, and
    (2) books that explain the origin of things as well as the science and relevant historical facts.

    I do, so I thoroughly enjoyed it. The narrator's voice is also very pleasant to listen to. She made me laugh when she did her American and French accents.

    Fun book, neat information, and great narration.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • It Works: The Famous Little Red Book That Makes Your Dreams Come True!

    • UNABRIDGED (22 mins)
    • By R.H. Jarrett
    • Narrated By Steve Blaufelt
    Overall
    (23)
    Performance
    (16)
    Story
    (16)

    It Works presents a concise, definite plan for bettering your conditions in life. It shows you how to use the Mighty Power within that is anxious and willing to serve you if you know how to use it. It Works shows you how. All scientific, psychological and theological explanations are eliminated. Three hundred pages are boiled down to ten minutes of interesting facts, a definite plan and three short rules of accomplishment. Don t let your worldly, objective mind keep you from more prosperity and happiness.

    Nothing really matters says: "Meh"
    "Meh"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I see a lot of positive reviews for this book on Amazon. But, I read it and was not impressed.

    It did so little for me that now that as I sit down to write this review, I can barely remember what it was about (something along the lines of daily affirmations and writing stuff down). Also, it had a strange unedited feel to it the way some older non-fiction books do.

    Anyway, in my view there are many practical and better written books on the subject of "making one's dreams come true." "The Now Habit", "Eat That Frog", "Getting Things Done", "The Compound Effect", and "No Excuses" are just some I'd recommend.

    I suggest staying away from "The Four Hour Work Week" (snake oil) and "The Secret" (hogwash). If you're a fan of these two books, my apologies. Some very fine folks do think they are very good and helpful. I'm just not in that camp.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • If This Isn't Nice, What Is: Advice for the Young

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Kurt Vonnegut
    • Narrated By Kevin T. Collins, Scott Brick
    Overall
    (934)
    Performance
    (805)
    Story
    (803)

    Master storyteller and satirist Kurt Vonnegut was one of the most in-demand commencement speakers of his time. For each occasion, Vonnegut’s words were unfailingly unique, insightful, and witty, and they stayed with audience members long after graduation. As edited by Dan Wakefield, this book reads like a narrative in the unique voice that made Vonnegut a hero to readers and listeners of all ages. At times hilarious, razor-sharp, freewheeling, and deeply serious, these reflections are ideal for anyone undergoing what Vonnegut would call their "long-delayed puberty ceremony".

    Joseph Warren says: "Witty Humor and Priceless Insight"
    "Interesting collection of convocation speeches"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Listening to this reminded me of why I really liked Kurt Vonnegut's novels back in the day. He's funny and generally makes his points directly and effectively.

    I found his contrasting of the current acceptance of the "eye-for-an-eye" retribution rule In the Code of Hammurabi and rejection the forgiveness and kindness directives in the Sermon on the Mount particularly interesting.

    NOTE: If you are not a fan of Kurt Vonnegut or are very conservative in your thinking, you will not enjoy this.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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