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Ellen Spertus

Oakland, CA, United States
  • 24
  • reviews
  • 165
  • helpful votes
  • 129
  • ratings
  • Solid State University (Dramatized)

  • By: Jerry Stearns
  • Narrated by: Jerry Stearns
  • Length: 28 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    2.5 out of 5 stars 4
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars 3
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars 3

Here's an audio mockumentary about a computerized university administration. Visit with students, faculty, the virtual vice-presidents, and the head of the Department of Obstructions. Featuring Dan Coffey (IPR's "Dr. Science") .

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • Very disappointing

  • By Ellen Spertus on 04-20-09

Very disappointing

Overall
1 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 04-20-09

As a computer science professor, I was eager to listen to it, but it was neither funny nor clever. The best thing about it is the title.

  • The Prophet of Yonwood

  • The Third Book of Ember
  • By: Jeanne DuPrau
  • Narrated by: Becky Ann Baker
  • Length: 6 hrs and 22 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 285
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 210
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 216

It's 50 years before the settlement of the city of Ember and the world is in crisis. War looms on the horizon as 11-year-old Nickie and her aunt travel to the small town of Yonwood, North Carolina. There, one of the town's respected citizens has had a terrible vision of fire and destruction. Her garbled words are taken as prophetic instruction on how to avoid the coming disaster. If only they can be interpreted correctly.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Very imaginative prequel to the City of Ember

  • By Kaui on 11-13-12

Not as good as the others

Overall
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 09-10-06

I thought "The City of Sparks" and "The People of Ember" were excellent (five stars), but this book was a big disappointment. It is just typical young adult fiction without the complexity and depth of its two predecessors. I recommend moving onto a different series instead, such as His Dark Materials.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • The Scarecrow and His Servant

  • By: Philip Pullman
  • Narrated by: Graeme Malcolm
  • Length: 3 hrs and 50 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 34
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 18
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 18

A tattered scarecrow stands in the middle of a muddy field, taking no notice of the violent thunderstorm around him. But when a bolt of lightning strikes him, fizzing its way through his turnip head and down his broomstick, the Scarecrow blinks with surprise, and comes to life.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Clever and entertaining

  • By Ellen Spertus on 01-09-06

Clever and entertaining

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 01-09-06

This story about a foolish but gallant gentleman and his loyal and resourceful servant will remind you of Don Quixote and other classics but is fresh and enjoyable. In addition to being an entertaining story, it is also satirical and can be enjoyed by a broad range of ages. If you like Philip Pullman's other stories in the fairy-tale genre (such as Clockwork and Count Karlstein), you will probably like this, which is just as clever but funnier.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • The Austere Academy

  • A Series of Unfortunate Events #5
  • By: Lemony Snicket
  • Narrated by: Lemony Snicket
  • Length: 3 hrs and 15 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 730
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 558
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 557

If you are looking for a story about cheerful youngsters spending a jolly time at boarding school, look elsewhere. Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire are intelligent and resourceful children, and you might expect that they would do very well at school.

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • Tim Curry did a much much better job

  • By Leon on 03-07-05

Sometimes the author isn't the best narrator

Overall
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 01-18-05

While the author-narrator did an outstanding job voicing the villains, his other reading abilities (for the main characters and narration) do not match the professional narrators I've grown used to. As for the story, if you've read the first three books, you know what you can expect.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • The Sands of Time

  • A Hermux Tantamoq Adventure
  • By: Michael Hoeye
  • Narrated by: Campbell Scott
  • Length: 6 hrs and 1 min
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 61
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 19
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 21

This second book, The Sands of Time, continues the adventures of Hermux Tantamoq, mouse and watchmaker in the imaginary city of Pinchester. When the museum announces a show of Mirrin Stentrill's latest paintings (monumental, visionary portraits of cats) Mayor Hooter Pinkwiggin vows to shut it down. Cats are touchy subject among Pinchester's mostly small-rodent population. But while militant mice organize to stop the show, most of Pinchester's stylish set is vying for invitations to the gala opening.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Even better than the first

  • By Ellen Spertus on 11-16-04

Even better than the first

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-16-04

If you liked Time Stops for No Mouse, you'll love The Sands of Time. The story and narration are at least as good, and I enjoyed seeing old friends again. Like the first, it is an entertaining satire.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Pirates!

  • By: Celia Rees
  • Narrated by: Jennifer Wiltsie
  • Length: 8 hrs and 59 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 175
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 69
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 71

It is the dawn of the 18th century, when girls stay home and sew while men sail the high seas finding adventure, danger, and gold. But two unusually adventurous girls (a rich merchant's daughter, Nancy Kington, and her former plantation slave, Minerva Sharpe) take to the high seas from Jamaica on a ship the crew renames Deliverance.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Love it!

  • By Cynthia on 12-22-07

A swashbuckler, not a children's story

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-22-04

From the description, including the favorable review from School Library Journal, I thought this would be a children's story. It isn't. There are numerous references to the uglier aspects of piracy and slavery. Still, the book is a lot of fun. It's a rare swashbuckler with strong women characters.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • The Tale of Despereaux

  • By: Kate DiCamillo
  • Narrated by: Graeme Malcolm
  • Length: 3 hrs and 30 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 967
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 607
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 617

This is the story of Despereaux Tilling, a mouse in love with music, stories, and a princess named Pea. It is also the story of a rat called Roscuro, who lives in darkness but covets a world filled with light. And it is the story of Miggery Sow, a slow-witted serving girl with a simple, impossible wish. These characters are about to embark on a journey that will lead them down into a horrible dungeon, up into a glittering castle, and ultimately, into each other's lives.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Flawless!

  • By Ann Thackerq on 07-18-08

Not for grown-ups

Overall
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-26-04

Some children's books charm people of any age. This is not one of them. While it may be good for youngsters (as another review suggests), my husband and I found it a little dull. If you're a grown-up looking for a mouse story, I instead recommend "Time Stops for No Mouse", also offered by Audible, which we found to have both greater complexity and charm.

26 of 35 people found this review helpful

  • The Sea-Hawk

  • By: Rafael Sabatini
  • Narrated by: John Bolen
  • Length: 11 hrs and 19 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 55
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 33
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 31

Sir Oliver Tessilian, a Cornish nobleman, is abandoned or betrayed by everyone he ever loved. He is framed for murder, affronted and shunned by his fiancee and sold into slavery by his half-brother.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Fun story ruined by poor reading

  • By Optimistic skeptic on 03-22-05

A slow start but ultimately gripping

Overall
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-21-04

It started off a little slow, but this story of betrayal and its consequences went on to become sit-in-the-garage gripping. It has greater psychological depth than the typical swashbuckler. The reader was disappointing, using the same voice for very different characters (such as the faithful servant and the duplicitious mercenary). The only superior book I know of in this genre is The Count of Monte Cristo.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Time Stops for No Mouse

  • A Hermux Tantamoq Adventure
  • By: Michael Hoeye
  • Narrated by: Campbell Scott
  • Length: 5 hrs and 23 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 124
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 44
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 46

Watchmaker Hermux Tantamoq is a hardworking mouse who is thankful for ordinary things: donuts, coffee, peaceful evenings at home with his pet ladybug. But his quiet life takes a dramatic turn when Ms. Linka Perflinger, dashing daredevil aviatrix and adventuress, bursts into his watch shop, drops off a broken watch and steals his heart.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Time Stops for No Mouse

  • By Tammy on 05-20-04

Entertaining but not a children's book

Overall
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-06-04

My husband and I enjoyed listening to this story. Since it is about mice, you might expect it to be a children's book, but I think young children would be baffled or bored by the spoofs of modern art, opera, and other institutions. I recommend it for teens and adults who like children's books.

12 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Service with a Smile

  • By: P. G. Wodehouse
  • Narrated by: Frederick Davidson
  • Length: 6 hrs and 25 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 30
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 5
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 5

If you have never read Wodehouse, this is an ideal book to start with. It is a priceless tale filled with a wonderfully batty assemblage of characters: the pompous duke, the doddering earl, the haughty secretary, the plebeian swineherd. At Lord Emsworth's invitation, Uncle Fred intervenes at Blandings Castle and thwarts another plot of the mad Duke of Dunstable to eliminate the prize pig.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Not as good as other Wodehouse

  • By Ellen Spertus on 01-17-04

Not as good as other Wodehouse

Overall
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 01-17-04

Despite the high quality of the reading, I did not enjoy this nearly as much as "Right Ho, Jeeves", which I considered far more entertaining and engaging. I'd recommend this only to devoted Wodehouse fans, not to the casual listener.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful