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Nothing really matters

Rob Thomas

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada | Member Since 2013

123
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 52 reviews
  • 56 ratings
  • 401 titles in library
  • 172 purchased in 2014
FOLLOWING
15
FOLLOWERS
11

  • How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Adele Faber, Elaine Mazlish
    • Narrated By Susan Bennett
    Overall
    (246)
    Performance
    (191)
    Story
    (192)

    Internationally acclaimed experts on communication between parents and children, Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish “are doing for parenting today what Dr. Spock did for our generation” (Parent Magazine). Now, this best-selling classic includes fresh insights and suggestions as well as the author’s time-tested methods to solve common problems and build foundations for lasting relationships.

    John says: "Best. Parenting. Book. Ever."
    "Super helpful book!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk the most enjoyable?

    Every parent should read this book. Parenting is the hardest job I've ever had and Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish provide some extraordinarily helpful insights and approaches that actually work.


    Any additional comments?

    I have had less success applying the concepts in this book to my strong-willed daughter than to my easy-going son. This may be my fault, of course, as I may not be applying the concepts properly. Time to re-read and see.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Death of Ivan Ilyich

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 36 mins)
    • By Leo Tolstoy
    • Narrated By Simon Prebble
    Overall
    (84)
    Performance
    (72)
    Story
    (73)

    Hailed as one of the world’s masterpieces of psychological realism, The Death of Ivan Ilyich is the story of a worldly careerist, a high-court judge who has never given the inevitability of his death so much as a passing thought. But one day death announces itself to him, and to his shocked surprise he is brought face-to-face with his own mortality. How, Tolstoy asks, does an unreflective man confront his one and only moment of truth?

    Alexandria Milton says: "Elegant, simple, and true"
    "I wish I could give this six stars."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a very powerful story about the point of life. It illustrates, through an explanation of the life and death of the main character, Ivan, that we should all take a hard look at how we live our lives and our assumptions about that.

    [SPOILER ALERTS from here on.] Ivan does everything seemingly right in his life. He studys hard, gets married to a women from the upper crust, has children, has many friends, is popular at work, entertains the high society folk, eventually becomes a judge, and fixes up his house, work, and social life so it's all very "comme il faut" (stylish and enviable).

    Then he is struck with an illness which to me sounds a great deal like cancer. As it drags him slowly and irreversibly toward death, Ivan is mentally tortured. He cannot figure out why, beyond the obvious cold terror of his approaching demise, he is so misable, frustrated, and angry. By the end, he finally gets it. His life was, in the final analysis, wasted. Perhaps he could have died with more peace of mind had he focussed more on giving love and kindness to others. In his last moments he does a bit of that, though, and leaves the world with some measure of happiness.

    Wow. Heavy stuff. But it certainly rings true. Your BMW won't come and visit you in the hospital and your kids will probably never say, "I wish dad was more distant and harsh and spent less time with me."

    On a final note, Simon Prebble is a reallly fantastic narrator. He did this profound story justice in a way I think very, very few others might have been able to do. At the very end of this book and his marvellous narration of it, I was so moved I had to wipe away a tear or two.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Glengarry Glen Ross

    • ORIGINAL (1 hr and 22 mins)
    • By David Mamet
    • Narrated By Gordon Clapp, Kyle Colerider-Krugh, Richard Dreyfuss, and others
    Overall
    (50)
    Performance
    (44)
    Story
    (46)

    A group of low-ranking real-estate salesmen are trying to survive in a cut-throat office culture. But when two of them devise a plot to redress the company's wrongs, the resulting turmoil increases the pressure to unbearable levels. An L.A. Theatre Works full-cast performance.

    Nothing really matters says: "Top notch, dramatic acting in a great story."
    "Top notch, dramatic acting in a great story."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This play is beautifully presented. The actors are fabulous. (In my mind I kept hearing Fat Tony from the Simpsons every time Roma speaks, though. "Let us meet and greet this individual.")

    I found it a bit challenging to follow some of the twists and turns in the story towards the end. That's not surprising as it is a play and if I had been watching it instead of listening while driving in rush hour traffic, I could have better segregated the characters and their actions in mind.

    I did not take off any stars on that score, but may try to locate a copy of the movie just to get things straight in my mind once and for all.

    Highly recommended.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Business Law: Negligence and Torts

    • ORIGINAL (6 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Frank B. Cross
    Overall
    (22)
    Performance
    (18)
    Story
    (18)

    These eight lectures address two important questions: When is someone else legally responsible for harm done to you? When are you legally responsible for harm done to someone else? This course of eight lectures discusses torts, the body of law designed to redress through civil litigation harms done to persons. As with all bodies of law, in order to analyze the legal implications of a potentially tortious action, it is necessary to blend common sense and pragmatic thinking with an understanding of legal definitions as they have evolved over time.

    Nothing really matters says: "Informative and fun lecture on US tort law"
    "Informative and fun lecture on US tort law"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I enjoyed Professor Cross's lectures on U.S. tort law, as I did his other series of lectures on U.S. contract law. Professor Cross has an amiable, easy style that makes the lectures enjoyable and less intimidating sounding, even though the topic is law.

    My only quibble was that I had wished the professor had been a bit more precise about the facts of the cases mentioned. It would also have been nice to have the actual case names so the keeners among us could have Googled some of them.

    As I've said before, it would be great if there were more law lectures like these available on Audible. I'd buy them.

    (Here'a a suggestion, Audible: How about Blackstone's Commentaries? I've always wanted to read those. Has anyone prepared an audio version of that classic?)

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Neverwhere [Adaptation]

    • ORIGINAL (3 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Neil Gaiman
    • Narrated By Christopher Lee, James McAvoy, Natalie Dormer, and others
    Overall
    (1095)
    Performance
    (1043)
    Story
    (1036)

    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.

    1 of 1 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.

    1 of 1 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
    (48)
    Performance
    (41)
    Story
    (41)

    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.

    1 of 1 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
    (676)
    Performance
    (567)
    Story
    (564)

    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.

    3 of 3 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
    (647)
    Performance
    (588)
    Story
    (583)

    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.

    1 of 1 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
    (289)
    Performance
    (260)
    Story
    (260)

    “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.

    1 of 1 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
    (359)
    Performance
    (241)
    Story
    (241)

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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