LISTENER

Robin A. Gower

Point Pleasant, NJ USA
  • 44
  • reviews
  • 152
  • helpful votes
  • 174
  • ratings

So many mysteries explained

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

Reviewed: 08-20-19

I love language, am intrigued by linguistic changes, and I can be quite curmudgeonly in my opinions. Now that John McWhorter has so vividly demonstrated many of the reasons for evolution in spoken language, I shall have to become more tolerant. This book is - literally - a triumph of clarity, and a revelation of the physical and social factors that promote development of word patterns. The scope of McWhorter’s examples from so many language families and regions is stunning. Even more interesting is his ability to explain the many devices and variations that humans have devised for effective communication.
And he accomplishes all this without losing my interest got a moment.

Pretty darn cute

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

Reviewed: 07-22-19

A diversion, not a “book”, but pleasant, modern, snappy and fun. Great for accompanying a road trip, cooking, exercise or handwork. The competent protagonist is a hoot.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Emma - tolerable At last

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

Reviewed: 04-04-19

I’ve read every Austen novel dozens of times, and have loved every one except Emma. Never could stand the self satisfied heroine or the self righteous hero. But in this sympathetic production, Austen’s gentle mockery prevails over the foibles of her characters, and I listened with pleasure.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

Satisfying Sci Fi

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

Reviewed: 02-20-19

Complex plot in a far future world, with much guessing about characters’ histories, relationships and motivations. The author uses events from ancient Greek history to anchor the story. The narrator, who otherwise does a fine job, excruciatingly mispronounces the names of the Greek sages whose words and actions inform the story. Goodness gracious, Audible editors and narrators, why don’t you look it up if you don’t know how to say Leonides or Demosthenes? It hurts when you make such a mess of it.

Important perspective on data, weather and politics

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

Reviewed: 11-11-18

I am not familiar with Lewis’ other work, but this can as a revelation to me - a fresh way of understanding how data is collected, funded and disseminated. Think Freakonomics meets Scientific American, with a little New York Times added. I have a much better understanding now of the importance of government collection and analysis of weather and of the attempts of the current administration to restrict the communication of that data to those you can and will pay for it. New opportunities for corruption abound. Lewis’ discussion of scientific work in NASA and NOAA was clear and new to me. He is a also a competent narrator (which is not always true of writers).

Perfect performances

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

Reviewed: 11-06-18

The is a fable in the form of a play, with artful, humorous performances by a suitably fabulous cast. It’s an angel of death story that explores the familiar theme of what makes the good life, and how would I live if I could do it all again? The challenged mortal is the POTUS, which presents some opportunities for laughs. It probably won’t lead you to reform your way of like, but it’s fun.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Coming of age story with modern child

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

Reviewed: 10-14-18

Very realistic on the fears and insecurities of a boy growing into adulthood. The situation is fantastic, a less romantic retelling of the Harry Potter story, but the issues are those of modern teenage angst - family alienation, trust, friendship, sexuality, gender and even war and peace. The characters are flawed or damaged, mostly well intentioned, and likable.

Downright wonderful

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

Reviewed: 09-06-18

I have loved Pears’ mysteries, and puzzled over his historical fiction. This venture into fantasy (soft science fiction?) is utterly unexpected and very well constructed. Interesting, likable characters and a consistent alternative world draw the reader in. The author’s nod to the Inklings — Lewis, Tolkien and their crowd — makes a connection between the “real”world and and its wonder-filled analog. Small quibbles — one crucial character (Emily) is draw only sketchily. The two narrators use very different voices for the same character, which can be disconcerting. But the plotting is first rate, with many turns that I did not anticipate. For much of the novel, the characters do not know whether they are dealing with time travel or with the actualization of an alternative universe. Much fun.

Interesting literary exercise

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

Reviewed: 06-21-18

The central conceit of this well written novel is a bit contrived. The serpent works as a different metaphor for each character or group. Each major character therefore stands for a particular position, and there is not much interior debate in any of them. They are flawed, fallible, hopeful and often well intentioned. (The only evil person, Cora’s husband Michael, is dead before the book begins.) A complex community of character.

Sweet story, well performed

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

Reviewed: 06-04-18

This is a story brimming with implausible events and uncomplicated characters. It is well written and often diverting, but not convincing as reflection either of Victorian attitudes or of human motivation in general. The good are very good, the bad and very bad, and almost everyone has enough money. The central device of the novel, a treasure hunt for a hidden secret contrived by a dying woman is silly to the point of incredulity. The narrator’s smooth performance made listening pleasant.