LISTENER

John

  • 38
  • reviews
  • 95
  • helpful votes
  • 41
  • ratings
  • The Trouble with Physics

  • The Rise of String Theory, The Fall of a Science, and What Comes Next
  • By: Lee Smolin
  • Narrated by: Walter Dixon
  • Length: 14 hrs and 49 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 441
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 276
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 279

In this illuminating book, the renowned theoretical physicist Lee Smolin argues that fundamental physics - the search for the laws of nature - is losing its way. Ambitious ideas about extra dimensions, exotic particles, multiple universes, and strings have captured the publics imagination -- and the imagination of experts.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Strings snipped

  • By J B Tipton on 06-06-10

Mixed bag, eventually falls flat

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

Reviewed: 02-03-19

This somewhat dated account of String Theory is a mixed bag. It starts out with a painfully grovelling apologia, explaining that the author's remarks are not to be taken personally by the scientists whose work he then goes on to trash. The theory-puncturing, in the first quarter or so of the main narrative, is pretty good. He then goes into a lengthy, seemingly endless meditation on the cons and pros of String Theory, which boils down to it's a complete failure, but very beautiful, compelling, promising, and on and on. It's like someone who has broken up with the love of their life and can't stop obsessively thinking about them. Get over it, dude! Move on!
What I find particularly offensive is that most of the crap research described by the author is funded by the taxpayer. My money! I conclude that science research should be funded by the private sector. Don't waste my hard earned dollars on endless and very expensive mental masturbation.

  • The Science of Information: From Language to Black Holes

  • By: Benjamin Schumacher, The Great Courses
  • Narrated by: Benjamin Schumacher
  • Length: 12 hrs and 19 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 39
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 37
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 37

The Science of Information: From Language to Black Holes covers the exciting concepts, history, and applications of information theory in 24 challenging and eye-opening half-hour lectures taught by Professor Benjamin Schumacher of Kenyon College. A prominent physicist and award-winning educator at one of the nation’s top liberal arts colleges, Professor Schumacher is also a pioneer in the field of quantum information, which is the latest exciting development in this dynamic scientific field. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A *meaningful* course :-)

  • By Mike on 01-12-19

A video course without the video

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

Reviewed: 01-27-19

This is the audio from a video course that, from the sound of it, relies intensively on visual aids, illustrations, etc. Without the video the course is impossible to follow. That this is being marketed as an audio book is a disgrace.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • The Expedition of Humphrey Clinker

  • By: Tobias Smollett
  • Narrated by: June Whitfield, Suzy Aitchison, Hywel Simons, and others
  • Length: 17 hrs and 29 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 13
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 13
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 13

Written as the letters of the five members of Squire Bramble's household sent as they journey around Britain, The Expedition of Humphrey Clinker is a grouchy, very funny examination of how one story varies depending on who's doing the telling. The tale is centered around the arrival of Mr. Clinker into the otherwise uneventful household, who never speaks and does not even enter the novel until a third of the way through.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A treat

  • By Tad Davis on 01-31-16

A (boring) travelogue, not a novel

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

Reviewed: 12-02-18

This is a travelogue very thinly disguised as an epistolary novel. We are treated to extensive and minute descriptions of the people, sights, sounds, smells (mostly of raw sewage), and food of many areas of Britain, in the 1700s. I kept waiting for there to be a plot, or something resembling plot tension, but finally gave up. There are none.
There are multiple readers. They're pretty good, except that the reader portraying the crotchety uncle often modulates his speech close to a whisper, which is annoying if you're not in a perfectly silent environment.
The author thinks it's funny to portray the speech and spelling of members of the lower or servile classes as being the productions of unconsciously funny morons. While I am far from being a righteous warrior of the politically correct, assuming that all non-aristocrats are buffoons is simply not funny. Maybe it was funny in Smollett's day, but I doubt it. I take him to be an over-the-top, nose-in-the-air snob. I'll take slobs over snobs.
In sum: Unless you are planning to time travel to 18th century Britain, and require a detailed foretaste, I'd skip this. It has its charms, but it's mostly a bore.

  • Children of Time

  • By: Adrian Tchaikovsky
  • Narrated by: Mel Hudson
  • Length: 16 hrs and 31 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 18,920
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 17,639
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 17,607

Adrian Tchaikovksy's critically acclaimed stand-alone novel Children of Time is the epic story of humanity's battle for survival on a terraformed planet. Who will inherit this new Earth? The last remnants of the human race left a dying Earth, desperate to find a new home among the stars. Following in the footsteps of their ancestors, they discover the greatest treasure of the past age - a world terraformed and prepared for human life. But all is not right in this new Eden.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Fascinating Premise Within an Excellent Story

  • By Kurt Schwoppe on 07-30-17

Brilliant. A tour de force.

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

Reviewed: 11-14-18

One of the most creative, and technically detailed, works of science fiction and, I would say, science philosophy ever.

The characters are well drawn, both human and non-human, and the scientific speculation is an intellectual turn-on.

I particularly liked the way the author solved the Prisoners Dilemma.

Highly recommended.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Don't Sleep, There Are Snakes

  • Life and Language in the Amazonian Jungle
  • By: Daniel L. Everett
  • Narrated by: Daniel Everett
  • Length: 10 hrs and 45 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 103
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 95
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 95

Daniel Everett, then a Christian missionary, arrived among the Pirahã in 1977 - with his wife and three young children - intending to convert them. What he found was a language that defies all existing linguistic theories and reflects a way of life that evades contemporary understanding. The Pirahã have no counting system and no fixed terms for color. They have no concept of war or of personal property.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A Profound Read

  • By Joshua Brewer on 11-16-17

Heavy dose of academic anthropology

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

Reviewed: 11-14-18

Starts out strong. But part way through it turns into an academic treatise on anthropology and linguistics that, to my taste, is tedious. I'm a mid-way through the book and I'm about to give up on it.
The author spent many years with the subject population so if you are into hearing an authentic representation of their language, here it is.

  • Hi Bob!

  • By: Bob Newhart
  • Narrated by: Will Ferrell, Jimmy Kimmel, Lisa Kudrow, and others
  • Length: 3 hrs and 34 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9,765
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,864
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,772

In Hi Bob!, American icon Bob Newhart gets together one-on-one with a handpicked cohort of luminaries in the world of entertainment, whom he happens to be friends with. Bob gets deep with each performer about their aspirations, their careers, how they got started, and how they grew to be where they are today. They make TV shows, movies, or albums, but they all like telling stories.    

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • really well edited, funny, sincere

  • By RCC on 09-24-18

Dull

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

Reviewed: 10-27-18

Don't waste your time. I get more laughs getting my teeth cleaned. Did I mention it's dull? Really.

  • Writing and Civilization: From Ancient Worlds to Modernity

  • By: Marc Zender, The Great Courses
  • Narrated by: Marc Zender
  • Length: 12 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 181
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 159
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 157

At just over 5,000 years old, writing is actually a relatively recent invention. It has become so central to the way we communicate and live, however, that it often seems as if writing has always existed. But the question remains: Who invented writing, and why?In these 24 fascinating lectures, you'll trace the remarkable saga of the invention and evolution of "visible speech," from its earliest origins to its future in the digital age.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A Spellbinding survey of writing systems

  • By Jacobus on 07-10-14

Fine lectures, but visuals required

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

Reviewed: 10-08-18

I was initially entranced by these lectures. But fairly early on I realized that the lecturer was referring to visual representations of the writing systems under discussion. Of course, these are not available while listening. That's why I give performance and story get 5 stars, but my Overall rating is 3 stars. Much as I like the topic and the presenter, I can't recommend this lecture series to Audible listeners.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Sense and Sensibility

  • By: Jane Austen
  • Narrated by: Rosamund Pike
  • Length: 11 hrs and 25 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,161
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 1,055
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,050

In this Audible Exclusive production, Academy Award® nominee Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl) narrates one of Jane Austen’s most beloved works, Sense and Sensibility. In this timeless tale of misguided romance and heartbreak, two teenage heroines must overcome the pitfalls of Georgian England’s high society in order to achieve the love and happiness they seek. The admiration that Pike has for Austen’s work is shown clearly through this passionate delivery of Austen’s first published novel.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Stellar Performance Elevates Austen’s Work

  • By Gretchen SLP on 10-09-18

Weak

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

Reviewed: 09-06-18

A huge letdown after listening to Pride and Prejudice. The plot is weak and tepid, the characters unappealing. There is, as in all Jane Austen novels, a bit of tension as to who will marry whom, if at all. But given the uniformly unappealing characters--who cares?
Rosamund Pike did a great job with Pride and Prejudice, but is only so-so here. She was probably as bored by the book as I was.
In sum, this is one to skip.

14 of 23 people found this review helpful

  • Dawn of Wonder

  • The Wakening, Book 1
  • By: Jonathan Renshaw
  • Narrated by: Tim Gerard Reynolds
  • Length: 29 hrs and 30 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 34,447
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 32,380
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 32,298

When a high-ranking officer gallops into the quiet Mistyvales, he brings a warning that shakes the countryfolk to their roots. But for Aedan, a scruffy young adventurer with veins full of fire and a head full of ideas, this officer is not what he seems. The events that follow propel Aedan on a journey that only the foolhardy or desperate would risk, leading him to the gates of the nation's royal academy - a whole world of secrets in itself. But this is only the beginning of his discoveries.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Instant Favorite

  • By Joe on 03-21-16

Unremittingly grim

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

Reviewed: 07-21-18

The young hero is subjected to constant abuse, physical and psychological, by almost everyone he meets. I'm not that far into the book but I'm finding it hard to take. Doubt I'll make it through unless a few rays of light appear soon.

  • Rebecca

  • By: Daphne du Maurier
  • Narrated by: Anna Massey
  • Length: 14 hrs and 48 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,511
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,239
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,233

The novel begins in Monte Carlo, where our heroine is swept off her feet by the dashing widower Maxim de Winter and his sudden proposal of marriage. Orphaned and working as a lady's maid, she can barely believe her luck. It is only when they arrive at his massive country estate that she realizes how large a shadow his late wife will cast over their lives - resenting her with a lingering evil that threatens to destroy their marriage from beyond the grave.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • One of my favourite novels, ever

  • By Calliope on 11-24-14

The most neurotic heroine in all of literature

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

Reviewed: 05-07-18

The "heroine", if you can call her that, is like a person without any skin. Everything, but everything, frightens and traumatizes her. After a short while this saga of insecurity becomes tedious in the extreme.
No problem with the narrator.