LISTENER

L. J.

Golden, CO USA
  • 4
  • reviews
  • 13
  • helpful votes
  • 16
  • ratings
  • The Once and Future King

  • By: T. H. White
  • Narrated by: Neville Jason
  • Length: 33 hrs
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 3,735
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,324
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 3,327

The complete "box set" of T. H. White's epic fantasy novel of the Arthurian legend. The novel is made up of five parts: "The Sword in the Stone", "The Witch in the Wood", "The Ill-Made Knight", "The Candle in the Wind", and "The Book of Merlyn".

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Good, but not unabriged

  • By Valerie Allen on 02-17-13

Collected books ... not The Once and Future King

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

Reviewed: 09-29-14

What does Neville Jason bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Neville Jason does a delightful job with the narration, and is good at differentiating characters through voice and tone (which is helpful in some of the dialogue-heavy passages). He also has exactly the right sort of voice to communicate an aura of chivalry in his reading.

Any additional comments?

T.H. White wrote The Once and Future King in five distinct parts -- The Sword in The Stone, The Witch In The Wood, The Ill-Made Knight, The Candle In The Wind and The Book of Merlyn. Before compiling these into a final volume, he made significant edits to the structure and story -- especially in the first two books. This collection presents the five books as they were originally written, NOT in their final, edited form. This means, for example, that the Sword in The Stone preserves episodes such as the battle with Madam Mim and the stories of the Snake and the Trees, but omits Arthur's encounters with the Wild Geese and the Ants (which do appear in The Book of Merlyn). I honestly prefer this format, because while it is a bit structurally muddled, and forgets to present its central thesis in the first book, it preserves some very charming episodes that are cut from the final volume. (Some of the more objectionable language of the final edition is also lacking. I don't know if this is the narrator's choice, or reflects White's text ... either way, it is a welcome change.)

0 of 1 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
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,835
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,167
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,158

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: 04-08-14

Would you consider the audio edition of The Children of Hurin to be better than the print version?

Definitively. Christopher Lee is a gifted dramatist, and it's fun to picture Saruman telling me a (tragic) bedtime story.

What did you like best about this story?

Turin's character is much better developed than in previous works, and while the complete tale certainly incorporates a lot of older material, it is also an effective, albeit heartbreaking story.

What about Christopher Lee’s performance did you like?

Lee's dwarf voices are, for some reason, particularly good, although the extremely soft voice he uses for female characters is, occasionally, hard to hear.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

Incest, tragedy, and talking swords...

  • Evolution’s Rainbow

  • Diversity, Gender, and Sexuality in Nature and People, with a New Preface
  • By: Joan Roughgarden
  • Narrated by: Carrington MacDuffie
  • Length: 16 hrs and 17 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 24
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 22
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 22

In this innovative celebration of diversity and affirmation of individuality in animals and humans, Joan Roughgarden challenges accepted wisdom about gender identity and sexual orientation. A distinguished evolutionary biologist, Roughgarden takes on the medical establishment, the Bible, social science--and even Darwin himself. She leads the reader through a fascinating discussion of diversity in gender and sexuality among fish, reptiles, amphibians, birds, and mammals, including primates. Evolution's Rainbow explains how this diversity develops from the action of genes and hormones and how people come to differ from each other in all aspects of body and behavior. Roughgarden reconstructs primary science in light of feminist, gay, and transgender criticism and redefines our understanding of sex, gender, and sexuality. A new preface shows how this witty, playful, and daring book has revolutionized our understanding of sexuality.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Problematic, unscientific and poorly edited

  • By L. J. on 03-25-14

Problematic, unscientific and poorly edited

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

Reviewed: 03-25-14

What would have made Evolution’s Rainbow better?

This book would have been improved by serious revision. As a transgender man with a graduate degree in biology, I certainly wanted to like it. The first part of the book, dedicated to dismantling sexual selection stories, suffers from telling fanciful "what if" stories without providing experimental evidence for Dr. Roughgarden's theories, or clearly outlining how the predictions of her hypotheses differ from those made by classical sexual selection theory. This gross, unscientific oversight leads her book to read like a political tract rather than a scientific critique. As the book progresses further, Roughgarden makes a number of basic biological mistakes (for example, her explanation of evolutionary developmental biology is convoluted and misrepresents the discipline), and while there are certainly some interesting tidbits hidden within the book, the overall impression is of stories cherry-picked from the literature and grossly reinterpreted without experimental evidence to back up those reinterpretations. Her description if human sex differences in the brain is both outdated and marred by cultural biases, while her anthropological work is highly superficial, and, like her scientific work, makes exaggerated claims without the benefit of good evidence; for example her description of Joan of Arc as a transgender man, which conveniently ignores Joan's own explanations of WHY she wore the clothing that she did, and imposes a twentieth century American viewpoint onto a fourteenth century French woman. Finally, her own understanding of gender theory seems markedly flawed, as her anthropological survey of human gender expression completely erases those people who do explicitly identify as nonbinary.

Any additional comments?

In addition to the book's problems, the audio is poorly narrated. Several times, phrases (especially scientific names) are repeated as the narrator tries to get the pronunciation right --- these repeats should have been edited out, and are the signs of a sloppy production.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Spillover

  • By: David Quammen
  • Narrated by: Jonathan Yen
  • Length: 20 hrs and 47 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 668
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 601
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 605

The emergence of strange new diseases is a frightening problem that seems to be getting worse. In this age of speedy travel, it threatens a worldwide pandemic. We hear news reports of Ebola, SARS, AIDS, and something called Hendra killing horses and people in Australia - but those reports miss the big truth that such phenomena are part of a single pattern. The bugs that transmit these diseases share one thing: they originate in wild animals and pass to humans by a process called spillover. David Quammen tracks this subject around the world.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Good story with a few slow moments

  • By K on 05-11-14

Problems with pronunciation ...

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

Reviewed: 03-11-14

What did you love best about Spillover?

The work is fascinating, well researched, engagingly written and important.

Any additional comments?

As a trained zoologist and French speaker, the narrator's disastrous pronunciation of technical terms, scientific names and words in French was incredibly distracting. 'Phylogetics' instead of 'phylogenetics' was particularly grating, and the French phrases were so badly garbled as to be incomprehensible. Otherwise, I would strongly recommend this audiobook.

7 of 9 people found this review helpful