LISTENER

Paul

Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada
  • 30
  • reviews
  • 53
  • helpful votes
  • 144
  • ratings

Great book - if it was shorter

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

Reviewed: 06-16-17

Weighting in at over 60 hours, the book get tedious when the author keep drive the same point over and over and over at you. Not to mention the 3 hour long monologue! Maybe I am just too used to 140 character tweets from the political class these days ;D

That said, Ayn Rand's pose is beautiful; and she has a point to make... Making the book a great piece of 20th century literature and a political philosophy.

I just wish it was shorter!!

Masterful performance

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

Reviewed: 10-19-15

Let's face it… the performance by Meryl Streep made the book. It was was powerful, it was engaging and it was engrossing … I felt like I was there with Mary , sitting in her house, listening to her on 'what really happened'.

As to the story of 'what really happened'. Well… it was interesting. The good interesting part is that the author took what was documented in the Bible and put a human dimension to it. Told from the perspective of Mary, one can certainly emphasize with a mother who lost her son. The other interesting part of the story is the 'what really happened' part. Whether this part reflects the author's opinion of the historical Jesus aside, one would have to read that with the proper 'willing suspense of disbelieve'.

The other nit pick is the fact that the story is soooo short. I am not suggesting that this should be 20 hour listen, but a slightly longer story would have allowed a more in-depth development of the story of 'what really happened'. As is, I felt like I got the 'Coles note' version of the story.

Overall… I would say the story is not bad. But the 5 star clearly came from a brilliant performance. Definitely worth a listen.

2 of 5 people found this review helpful

The anti-novel ruined by the narration

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

Reviewed: 09-28-15

One of the book reviews I saw on this book characterized it as an anti-novel. At first I didn't really know what that means. But that was made clear soon enough… in this case it is a novel without a plot.

Now, books without a plot is not necessary a bad things. Many books follow this path quite successfully. What this book lacks in plot is more than made up by the writing itself. The writing, at times, is actually quite beautiful.

But my biggest problem with this book is the narration. The narrator is so lethergic is the narration that I had trouble staying awake while listening to it. He just drone on and on. With no plot to grab one's attention, his droning makes for a lethal combination.

Granted, the author has no control over the narration. So if we had a more engaging reader, this would be a 3-4 star book. Alas.. a perfectly good anti-novel ruined by the narration :-(

Message lost in the rhetorics

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

Reviewed: 05-28-15

Or …. "skim through the first half of the book if you want to bypass the rhetorics and get to the intelligent arguments". The first half of the book was spent itemizing all that is wrong with climate change deniers, big environmental groups that partners with big capitalism, government inactions, minimal regulation capitalism, billionaire environmental saviours, and people who looks for a silver bullet techno fix. All the critiques are valid enough. But it is really necessary to make me sit through over 10 hours of rhetorics to get the point?

In fact, there were a few times when I was ready to pack it in. It is depressing to be clubbed over the head, repeatedly, with the message that none of what everyone has been doing is effective. Since everything is wrong, and "we are running out of time"…. the thought did occur to me that I should stop reading, give up on doing my part for the environment and go out and buy a gas guzzling SUV!

That would be too bad if I had stopped listening and went out to buy the SUV… because if you can tough it out, the second half of the book does get better. There is a cohesive argument. There is a compelling appeal to save the planet. And most important, there are anecdotal evidence that gave me some glimmers of hope.

2 of 4 people found this review helpful

Fascinating archaeological insights

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

Reviewed: 01-30-15

The story of the flood and the 'ark', and how it relates to the Biblical accounts is, by itself, quite interesting for those who are interested. But the book does more than that, it provided great insights into the the dimensions of the cultures in that part of the world. This is really helpful as all I learnt about the Mesopotamian civilization in school can be summarized in a side-bar… which means very little.

But what makes this book unique is the author. Irving Finkel is clearly passionate about his subject, and his enthusiasm comes through both the book and his narration. The content of the book is very approachable to the general public.

The only thing I have to pick about the book is the recording… the recorded volume tends to fluctuates, making it necessary to constantly adjust the volume dial in my car.

But beyond that, I throughly enjoyed the book. It is engaging and it is informative. What else can one ask for in a non-fiction? 5-stars overall!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment and How It Can Help You Find - and Keep - Love audiobook cover art

Doesn't work as an audible book

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

Reviewed: 10-10-13

This is one of those instances where I think the book works better in the classic paper format (or electronic format may also work). But as an audible book, I just can't follow it.
The book has a number of tests that help you determine your attachment style... And the test is in the form of multiple choice questions. But I found that I get lost trying to keep track of the choices... by the time I got to the last choice, I want to review what the first option was. And rewinding the book on an ipod just doesn't work that well. Secondly, you are suppose to keep track of your answers so you can score them later. Since I usually listen to my books when commuting.... trying to write things down while driving is just not an option.
So if you are like me and listen to books while doing some other thing.... this is probably not a book for you. Get the paper version, find a free afternoon and go through the tests.... if you are so inclined.

Coming of age in the end of ages (maybe)

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

Reviewed: 09-21-13

Talk about added pressure... a girl coming of age when the world could be ending!

A beautifully written book that captures the fears, uncertainties and angst of a girl growing up; in the same time dealing with all the same emotions about the fate of the Earth. The pose and pacing has a certain melancholy that captures the moment... And I find it draws me to continue on.

The book is not without its weakness though. For one, the plot is weak and the science even weaker. But then, one should not be reading this for the plot; nor for a well researched science fiction. That would be missing the point in my view. In the end the book should be enjoyed as a journey about growing up with Julia while the world maybe ending.

schizophrenic story telling

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

Reviewed: 06-11-13

"Part breathless thriller, part story of innocence lost, part story of romantic love ..." was the description of the book. And it is absolutely correct - a schizophrenic collection of tales trying very hard to come together to form a story. The premise was interesting enough. Some of the characters are actually rather interesting. And some of the insights into North Korean life was revealing.

But...

The overall story just does not come together in a cohesive manner. There were gaps in the story where the state didn't know certain facts at one point and then know the details in other points. And not to mention, part way through the story, the author decided to start shifting perspectives between the characters. It may work in the author's mind... but I just found it to be scattered brained and confusing.

So in the end, what was an interesting premise got messed up by lousy story structure, sloppiness in story cohesion. And not to mention a performance that left a lot to be desired.

Overall 2 stars for the story that I need to struggle to finish.

You can almost imagine being there is person

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

Reviewed: 11-29-12

I don't remember how I came across this book, but I am glad I bought it. The author did a great job bringing the American plains from back then alive. I am no authority on Indian history so I cannot talk to whether the culture depicted is authentic or not. But what I can say is that I felt like I was there riding along as another member of the party. The author have this ability to bring everything to life using words alone.

The story itself was plain. But then who needs a gripping plot line when the pleasure is the ability to immerse oneself into the story itself?

Like being in a war - disorientating

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

Reviewed: 11-24-12

The author started off with a preface on how she struggled to organize the book. And I think it shows.

So here are the things I don't like about the book:
- The book has lots of characters. This by itself does not make it bad. But without much thought being paid to organizing them... it can get confusing very quickly.
- The book is basically a collection of stories (or vignettes). Unfortunately the author did not provide a lot of hints when she switches between them. So one finds oneself following one story and then it switches without much warning.
- Last bad part is the fact that the perspective of the story telling changes between the author and the characters being portrayed. One may be listening to one of the solders speaking in the first person; and then abruptly it switched to the author speaking in the first person. It may be easier to follow in print, but in the audio, it just changes.

There are, however a number of things I like about the book:
- First is the narration... the narrator is quite good. And it is thanks to her that I sometimes can catch the switching between perspective. Otherwise I could have gone for 'pages' between I noticed it.
- The story is actually good. It puts a human dimension to the war... especially when the families of the soldiers are being profiled. It reminds all of us that the toll goes beyond the soldiers. Their families also made sacrifices in the war.
- Finally, as a Canadian, I definitely appreciate a perspective that speaks to our soldiers, and how they contributed to the effort on all of our behalf.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful