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The Third Chimpanzee audiobook cover art

Much of what the author predicted has already come to pass

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

Reviewed: 06-26-19

Very slightly dated in a couple of places, but otherwise both a compelling explanation of how human physiology and society developed and a chilling forecast of how we are probably going to disappear.

A Wizard Alone audiobook cover art

Odd pronunciation in some places

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

Reviewed: 04-26-19

Others have commented on the very dated view of autism so I won’t repeat that. I was put off by Christina Moore’s incorrect pronunciation of some common words, after her pretty much flawless performance otherwise.

The Murder of Mary Russell audiobook cover art

Not my favorite but still a great story

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

Reviewed: 04-15-19

I have to admit that I prefer the books written entirely in Mary Russell's voice, partly because she is such an engaging character to begin with, but also partly because of Jenny Stirlin's superior rendition of all the characters. Susan Lyons is very very good, and I do understand why a separate narrator was chosen for the part of Mrs. Hudson, since this story is as much about her as about Mary Russell. But I find myself wishing that Laurie King had figured out some way to tell the story that didn't shift into a completely different period of time and could have been told more from Mary's point of view.

Those are trivial objections, however, and overall, the book has all the same great features as the others in the series--wonderful use of language, believable character development, historically accurate depiction of time and place and culture, all the things we look for in a historical novel. I've listened to it multiple times and will no doubt do so again.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Food: A Cultural Culinary History audiobook cover art

Many inaccuracies

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

Reviewed: 03-27-19

There was a fair amount of interesting information. But the overall rating was pulled down by the author’s repeated incorrect pronunciation of common words, his pathetically misinformed religious exegesis and his apparent assumption that all his readers would be at least nominally Christian (“You know that story in The Bible...”). I was also surprised at his lack of knowledge of some foods. For example he referred to cassia as a relative of cinnamon. No—cassia IS cinnamon, one the many edible varieties of the genus cinnamomum. When one pays as much as this cost, one anticipates a product with accurate information and correct pronunciation of the terminology.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

Why Can't I Get Better? audiobook cover art

Mostly good content, lousy narration

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

Reviewed: 01-22-19

Richard Horowitz is one of the most knowledgeable of the Lyme-literate medical professionals in the world today. I do wish that he had decided which audience he wanted to write for, though--the general public or his fellow doctors. Most of the book was much too technical for the lay reader, and the rest of us don't need to be told that 'B cells are a type of lymphocyte,' just to give an example of the simplistic explanations he tosses in. In spite of that, and in spite of the fact that I disagree with some of his conclusions, the book is an invaluable addition to the Lyme professional's library, whether the person is a practicing physician or a researcher or a teacher.

The narration is another story. The constant mis-pronunciation of body parts, medications and disease conditions was wearing. The narrator's attempt to mimic women's voices when Horowitz quoted conversations with his patients was both unnecessary and offensive. It is possible for a woman to say "Doctor, I don't know what's wrong with me" without sounding like a helpless child. It would have been just as factual and effective if it had been read in the narrator's own voice.

If facts about Lyme disease are what you need right now, then go to the many papers published online and in journals. If you have a long commute each day and just want something to expand your general knowledge, this is a good way to fill the time usefully. If you have little prior knowledge of Lyme, it should scare you into learning more, and hopefully prevent you from telling your patients that there is no such thing as chronic Lyme disease.

The Game audiobook cover art

Makes the past come alive

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

Reviewed: 09-21-18

Laurie R. King’s ability to recreate a historical place and time is extraordinary. She seldom glosses over details, but she doesn’t dwell on them unnecessarily either. She is less competent with the technology of the time, which becomes clear in the closing chapter of this book. Anyone with flying experience will recognize the lack of detail in the characters’ final escape. It could be argued that the characters themselves wouldn’t have been knowledgeable (or even observant) about their surroundings at that point. But that doesn’t line up with the meticulous attention to detail in every other part of the narrative. It leads one to the unfortunate conclusion that Ms. King might have had neither time for additional research nor perhaps the energy required to surround herself with all the minutiae of that environment and make it powerfully real for the reader as well. Regardless of that very small complaint, the rest of the book does make the India of that period a living place full of real people with lives and realities of their own, even the ones who are not central characters in the storyline. It deals sympathetically with the clashes between India and Great Britain, acknowledging England’s faults while not whitewashing those of India. It portrays the people of a wide variety of classes and occupations as real people, not just one-dimensional examples of a type. And it cleverly draws in one of literature’s great fictional characters and gives him a future and a much more complex personality than his original portrayal was able to accomplish. One of my favorites of the series.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

Omnitopia Dawn audiobook cover art

A bit dated now but still enjoyable

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

Reviewed: 05-01-18

I read the book when it was first released so I knew I’d enjoy the audiobook. I wasn’t prepared for the truly mediocre narration. Does no one make sure that narrators can pronounce foreign names or technical terms? Surely some editor ought to be responsible for that. Maybe the narrator ought to be responsible for asking if he has unfamiliar words correct. I couldn’t help but wince at his pronunciation of Jean-Marie. Nor is ASCII spelt out letter by letter, as anyone with a computer background could have told him if he’d bothered to ask.

Other than that, the author didn’t anticipate that in eight short years no one would be using PDA’s any more, nor that cell phones would have the capabilities that they do now. But to be fair, nor did anyone else. On the other hand, she evidently expected virtual reality to be much farther along than it actually is. That may be a lesson in which one has more economic value at the moment.

I wish the promised sequel would be released. My only real complaint about Diane Duane is that she writes a whopping good book, promises a sequel and then goes on to something else and the sequel never appears. Or else, as in the Young Wizard series, the subsequent books are strung out over such an extended interval that everyday technology has dramatically changed from the early books to the later ones, making the early ones seem really dated.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Drums of Autumn audiobook cover art

Mixed feelings

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

Reviewed: 09-05-17

I enjoyed those parts of the book that dealt with actual historical events but the inaccuracy of some other parts was annoying. Diana Gabaldon has a reputation for thorough research, but she evidently didn't think that knitting and spinning required it. There were multiple inaccurate descriptions of equipment and techniques that a cursory read from anyone experienced in those fields would have noted immediately. And I suspect her 'research' of nautical terms was done mostly in the novels of Patrick O'Brian. None the less, the writing itself is generally well done.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

In the Frame audiobook cover art

Another good book with poor narration

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

Reviewed: 07-02-17

It's too bad that Tony Brittion or Simon Prebble couldn't have read all of the Dick Francis audiobooks. Their faultless rendition, with skillful and believable character voices, did Francis's skillful writing justice. The others who have attempted the job make themselves look bad by comparison. Ralph Cosham is no exception, though not as bad as some others. The story itself is a bit different from much of Francis's previous works, as racing is only peripheral to it. But the descriptions of Australia and New Zealand were enjoyable, and Francis's acute understanding of human nature informs and enlightens everything he wrote.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Triple Crown audiobook cover art

Moderately good writing, terrible narration

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

Reviewed: 07-02-17

It doesn't appear that Felix Francis will ever acquire the writing skills of his father, who started out good and only improved throughout his career. But surely he deserves a more capable narrator than Martin Jarvis, whose rendition I would have given zero stars for if I could have. His exaggerated overblown performance sounds as though he is making fun of the story and the characters, and his inability to render different voices and accents would be laughable if I hadn't paid good money to be subjected to it. I'll probably continue to buy books by Felix Frances because I enjoy reading about British racing. But the likelihood of my ever again buying anything narrated by Martin Jarvis is nil.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful