LISTENER

Charles

  • 32
  • reviews
  • 22
  • helpful votes
  • 113
  • ratings
  • The Right Stuff

  • By: Tom Wolfe
  • Narrated by: Dennis Quaid
  • Length: 15 hrs and 42 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,288
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,194
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 1,185

Millions of words have poured forth about man's trip to the moon, but until now few people have had a sense of the most engrossing side of the adventure: namely, what went on in the minds of the astronauts themselves - in space, on the moon, and even during certain odysseys on earth. It is this, the inner life of the astronauts, that Tom Wolfe describes with his almost uncanny empathetic powers that made The Right Stuff a classic.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Righteous Book, Righteous Narrator, Righteous MEN!

  • By Gillian on 02-08-18

Fascinating

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-01-18

Wonderful prose, of course. The portraits of the astronauts and test pilots are perfect. Quaid’s reading is almost uniformly wonderful. A couple of odd pronunciations and other quirks. I think he really gets Wolfe’s voice though.

  • Fooled by Randomness

  • The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the Markets
  • By: Nassim Nicholas Taleb
  • Narrated by: Sean Pratt
  • Length: 10 hrs and 1 min
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,987
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,159
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,147

This audiobook is about luck, or more precisely, how we perceive and deal with luck in life and business. It is already a landmark work, and its title has entered our vocabulary. In its second edition, Fooled by Randomness is now a cornerstone for anyone interested in random outcomes.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • An Excellent and Worthwhile Book

  • By Amazon Customer on 02-15-13

The Beauty of Randomness

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 01-27-18

It’s refreshing to encounter a mind like this. Every few minutes there is another gem of a thought, and I suspect a subsequent reading will be rewarding.

The reading is decent; I actually liked how the reader approached things like scare quotes. But his voice was just a shade monotonous. This book benefited from sped up playback.

  • The Sports Gene

  • Inside the Science of Extraordinary Athletic Performance
  • By: David Epstein
  • Narrated by: David Epstein
  • Length: 10 hrs and 22 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,314
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,154
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,151

Are stars like Usain Bolt, Michael Phelps, and Serena Williams genetic freaks put on Earth to dominate their respective sports? Or are they simply normal people who overcame their biological limits through sheer force of will and obsessive training? In this controversial and engaging exploration of athletic success, Sports Illustrated senior writer David Epstein tackles the great nature vs. nurture debate and traces how far science has come in solving this great riddle.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Epstein writes! He scores!

  • By Cynthia on 08-17-13

Popular science

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-27-17

The author does an excellent job of presenting scientific facts in a compelling and untechnical way. Fascinating book. Especially good as a follow up to Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers.

Unfortunately Epstein is not the best reader of his own work, but it didn't affect the book's page-turner status.

  • The Pillars of the Earth

  • By: Ken Follett
  • Narrated by: John Lee
  • Length: 40 hrs and 54 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 23,894
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 15,453
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 15,494

The Pillars of the Earth tells the story of Philip, prior of Kingsbridge, a devout and resourceful monk driven to build the greatest Gothic cathedral the world has known...of Tom, the mason who becomes his architect - a man divided in his soul...of the beautiful, elusive Lady Aliena, haunted by a secret shame...and of a struggle between good and evil that will turn church against state, and brother against brother.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Epic story to be read by all!

  • By Gina on 07-25-09

Some greatness, but much frustration

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-24-17

I love the idea of this book. And Follett is a good enough writer that a book longer than 40 hours about a building project manages to entertain. But there are so many irritating things about this book. The good characters all take a twentieth-century skeptical view of religion or at least a very modernist view of Christianity, while the bad have a cartoonish and superstitious faith. There is some appallingly bad sacramental theology, and almost nothing that would explain why people were devoted to the liturgy that actually took place in these cathedrals. The atheist's pen shows through too much. Set next to really great works of medieval historical fiction like Kristen Lavransdatter, I'm afraid it doesn't stand up at all. The really interesting comparison is with Umberto Eco, another skeptic who wrote about medieval monks; I certainly think Eco gets inside their minds and their hearts more.

In some other ways, I think the book does a good job of depicting medieval life. He certainly nails the nasty, brutish, and short side of things. And I'm in awe that a secularist would be so moved by the power of the gothic cathedral to commit to a project like this. This is the first book by Follett that I have read, and I would be willing to read more, especially the ones set in modern times. I'm not in a hurry to continue the trilogy right now, though I may get to those books eventually.

I tend to like John Lee's reading, but as with other books of his I find he benefits from a faster playback.

  • The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O.

  • A Novel
  • By: Neal Stephenson, Nicole Galland
  • Narrated by: Laurence Bouvard, Shelley Atkinson, Laural Merlington, and others
  • Length: 24 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 6,058
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,614
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 5,598

From best-selling author Neal Stephenson and critically acclaimed historical and contemporary commercial novelist Nicole Galland comes a captivating and complex near-future thriller combining history, science, magic, mystery, intrigue, and adventure that questions the very foundations of the modern world.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Bureaucratic time travel with an eye for details

  • By Matthew on 07-14-17

Wonderfully Entertaining

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-27-17

Fans of Stephenson's books (and I am very much one of these) should be happy. Many of the themes of earlier books recur here. The pace of the action and the quick turn of the story in an unexpected direction reminds me especially of Reamde. The prose is very good; it makes me want to find more of Nicole Galland's work. The narration by the full cast is generally good, with some of the usual problems around accents.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • The Old Curiosity Shop

  • By: Charles Dickens
  • Narrated by: Anton Lesser
  • Length: 22 hrs and 19 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 377
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 309
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 306

Provoking an unprecedented outpouring of public grief when it was first published, it follows the story of Little Nell and her feckless grandfather. Forced to leave their magical shop of curiosities in London, they are pursued across the English countryside by the grotesquely evil dwarf Quilp. They escape - but at what cost?

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Outstanding Narration

  • By Ro on 12-10-09

Bravo Anton Lesser

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-11-17

Dickens is always worth reading of course. This is some of the liveliest and best narration I have heard on audible. It is very enjoyable to listen to such good reading.

  • The Violent Bear It Away

  • By: Flannery O’ Connor
  • Narrated by: Mark Bramhall
  • Length: 6 hrs and 15 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 374
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 318
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 317

The orphaned Francis Marion Tarwater and his cousin, Rayber, defy the prophecy of their dead uncle - that Tarwater will become a prophet and will baptize Rayber's young son, Bishop. A series of struggles ensue, as Tarwater fights an internal battle against his innate faith and the voices calling him to be a prophet, while Rayber tries to draw Tarwater into a more “reasonable” modern world. Both wrestle with the legacy of their dead relatives and lay claim to Bishop's soul.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Biblical, American and Absolutely Brutal

  • By Darwin8u on 10-22-12

Not for the faint of heart

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-19-17

Such a beautiful writer. So wonderfully narrated. Such a profound and unsentimental exploration of grace. Also shocking, sickening, heartbreaking. Worth a read.

  • A History of the American People

  • By: Paul Johnson
  • Narrated by: Nadia May
  • Length: 47 hrs and 57 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 452
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 287
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 289

Johnson's monumental history of the United States, from the first settlers to the Clinton administration, covers every aspect of American culture: politics, business, art, literature, science, society and customs, complex traditions, and religious beliefs. The story is told in terms of the men and women who shaped and led the nation and the ordinary people who collectively created its unique character.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A British conservative's view of American history.

  • By Mike From Mesa on 06-17-09

Excellent Narrative History

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 12-30-16

Paul Johnson writes beautifully, and he covers all of the periods with his usual wit and intelligence. As with other books, I'm frequently amazed at his erudition and always enthralled by his prose. He does not hide his opinions for objectivity's sake. And especially in the twentieth century, his opinions often run quite contrary to the conventional wisdom. He lionizes Nixon, for instance. He does always back up his opinions with solid argumentation, so it is up to the reader to accept these or not.

Nadia May (one of a few names) is always good. Some people seem to find her voice off-putting. I have listened to several long books with her reading and always enjoyed them. Her few slips are hiliarious (she pronounces Schuylkill a few different ways, but never even close to correctly; also she reads Apollo 11 at "Apollo Two") but to be expected in a book of this length.

Overall, highly recommended as a broad narrative overview of American History from a somewhat right-of-center perspective.

  • Game Theory

  • A Very Short Introduction
  • By: Ken Binmore
  • Narrated by: Jesse Einstein
  • Length: 6 hrs and 11 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 87
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 68
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 69

This Very Short Introduction offers a succinct tour of the fascinating world of game theory, a groundbreaking field that analyzes how to play games in a rational way. Ken Binmore, a renowned game theorist, explains the theory in a way that is both entertaining and non-mathematical yet also deeply insightful, revealing how game theory can shed light on everything from social gatherings, to ethical decision-making, to successful card-playing strategies, to calculating the sex ratio among bees.

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • Not good for audio book format

  • By Jarrod T. Al-Alou on 01-09-15

Not a good pick for audio

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
2 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-02-16

There is plenty of interest here for math lovers. I'm a pure amateur in this field and it's a pretty good and well-written introduction.

In audio format it suffers from the text's reliance on the figures. This makes listening in the car or while doing other tasks less rewarding. Also I found the reading tedious and occasionally unwittingly comic. The reader mispronounced "Herodotus" and "learned," for instance.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • The Children of Hurin

  • By: J. R. R. Tolkien
  • Narrated by: Christopher Lee
  • Length: 7 hrs and 51 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 3,556
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,901
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,894

There are tales of Middle-earth from times long before The Lord of the Rings. The story told in this book is set in the great country that lay beyond the Grey Havens in the West: lands where Treebeard once walked, but which were drowned in the great cataclysm that ended the First Age of the World.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Powerful and Disturbing

  • By Catherine Collins on 12-19-09

Wonderful

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 10-30-16

Any reader of the Silmarillion will recognize Tolkien in his elevated mode. Christopher Tolkien has done an excellent job editing this: the result is a coherent, beautiful narrative of one of the most memorable and tragic stories from the mythology of Middle Earth. The narration is superb; perfectly captures the heightened heroic prose.