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Ted Smith

Reviewer from Utah

Salt Lake City | Member Since 2012

ratings
7
REVIEWS
6
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
0
HELPFUL VOTES
3

  • The Hamlet: A Novel of the Snopes Family

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By William Faulkner
    • Narrated By Joe Barrett
    Overall
    (6)
    Performance
    (6)
    Story
    (6)

    The Hamlet, the first novel of Faulkner's Snopes trilogy, is both an ironic take on classical tragedy and a mordant commentary on the grand pretensions of the antebellum South and the depths of its decay in the aftermath of war and Reconstruction. It tells of the advent and the rise of the Snopes family in Frenchman's Bend, a small town built on the ruins of a once-stately plantation.

    Amy says: "good audiobook"
    "Excellent narration of an excellent book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about The Hamlet: A Novel of the Snopes Family?

    Great writing and story. Faulkner has created a modern myth in Yoknapatawpha County.


    Any additional comments?

    The narration evokes the rough beauty of rural life.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Anathem

    • UNABRIDGED (32 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Neal Stephenson
    • Narrated By Oliver Wyman, Tavia Gilbert, William Dufris, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1863)
    Performance
    (867)
    Story
    (875)

    In celebration of the week-long, once-in-a-decade rite of Apert, the fras and suurs prepare to venture outside the concent's gates - opening them wide at the same time to welcome the curious "extras" in. During his first Apert as a fra, Erasmus eagerly anticipates reconnecting with the landmarks and family he hasn't seen since he was "collected". But before the week is out, both the existence he abandoned and the one he embraced will stand poised on the perilous brink of cataclysmic change.

    Richard says: "Tour de force"
    "Disappointing Story; Bad Narrator"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    I would recommend nearly anything by Stephenson, but not this one. The first third was quite interesting, but the last two-thirds was mostly opaque, boring, and forced. The action scenes are quite good, but are interrupted by long philosophical or technological disquisitions. Stephenson worked hard on this book, but it just doesn't work at the level of either character or plot.


    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    Most interesting: futuristic look at monastic life in a secular context. Least interesting: faux philosophical conversations that go on and on and on . . . .


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    Dufris doesn't do emotion well. Hams it up instead of subtly portraying sadness, sorrow, or excitement. Other than the main voice, his other voices sound like caricatures. He nearly ruined Scalzi's Old Man's War series. There are far better narrators out there.


    Do you think Anathem needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    No. Please spare us.


    Any additional comments?

    Read and listen to Stephenson, but not this one.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Language A to Z

    • ORIGINAL (6 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By The Great Courses, John McWhorter
    • Narrated By Professor John McWhorter
    Overall
    (377)
    Performance
    (339)
    Story
    (328)

    Linguistics, the study of language, has a reputation for being complex and inaccessible. But here's a secret: There's a lot that's quirky and intriguing about how human language works-and much of it is downright fun to learn about. But with so many potential avenues of exploration, it can often seem daunting to try to understand it. Where does one even start?

    Jacobus says: "A genious Miscelany of linguistic topics"
    "Thoroughly Enjoyable"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to Language A to Z again? Why?

    Absolutely. This isn't serious linguistics, but more a picaresque trip through some great linguistic stories (which teach some linguistics).

    Professor McWhorter is a compelling lecturer and natural storyteller. And he knows linguistics.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Cave and the Light: Plato Versus Aristotle, and the Struggle for the Soul of Western Civilization

    • UNABRIDGED (25 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Arthur Herman
    • Narrated By Paul Hecht
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (40)
    Performance
    (36)
    Story
    (36)

    The Cave and the Light reveals how two Greek philosophers became the twin fountainheads of Western culture, and how their rivalry gave Western civilization its unique dynamism down to the present.

    Gary says: "This is a great book"
    "Superb Trip Through the Western Tradition"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about The Cave and the Light?

    Herman's thesis, that the intellectual history of the West is fundamentally the competition between the worldviews of Plato and Aristotle, is convincing. The writing is beautiful and Herman's erudition is astounding. I liked the entire book, but his analysis of Rousseau is compelling: Rousseau's reliance on Plato to become the father of modern totalitarian thought is laid out with intellectual force. The last third of the book is simply phenomenal.


    What other book might you compare The Cave and the Light to and why?

    Jacque Barzun's From Dawn to Decadence.


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

    Hecht brings a sense of gravitas to his narration. I like it when a narrator is able to correctly pronounce foreign names and phrases. He has a great voice and a compelling style.


    Any additional comments?

    Every college student should be assigned this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Our First Revolution: The Remarkable British Upheaval That Inspired America's Founding Fathers (Unabr.)

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Michael Barone
    • Narrated By Stephen Hoye
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (77)
    Performance
    (20)
    Story
    (19)

    The ideals of freedom and individual rights that inspired America's Founding Fathers did not spring from a vacuum. Along with many other defining principles of our national character, they can be traced directly back to one of the most pivotal events in British history: the late-17th-century uprising known as the Glorious Revolution.

    rollcall40 says: "Excellent Recap of a Forgotten Event"
    "Superb Book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to Our First Revolution again? Why?

    Yes. Barone relates a period of English history that profoundly influenced the American founders. I don't understand those who criticize either the book or the narrator. Yes, it's a complicated story. But the careful reader will be rewarded, and the American reader will understand our founding much better. Highly recommended.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Conservative Tradition

    • ORIGINAL (18 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Patrick N. Allitt
    Overall
    (25)
    Performance
    (24)
    Story
    (24)

    A thorough understanding of Conservatism's lineage, principles, and impact on history is essential to making sense of the 21st-century political dialogue-a dialogue that consumes the television you watch, the newspapers you read, and the radio you listen to.No matter where you place yourself on the ideological spectrum, these 36 lectures will intrigue you, engage you, and maybe even provoke you to think about this political philosophy in an entirely new way.

    Quaker says: "Another gem by Prof. Allitt & The Great Courses"
    "Superb in All Respects"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Where does The Conservative Tradition rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Top ten percent


    What did you like best about this story?

    Professor Allitt knows his subject, which is highly compelling. Conservatism has a strong philosophical core, which is well-presented here.


    What does Professor Patrick N. Allitt bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Beautiful English accent combined with deep understanding of America.


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

    No


    Any additional comments?

    HIghly recommended.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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