LISTENER

Timothy

WAUKEGAN, ILLINOIS, United States
  • 4
  • reviews
  • 22
  • helpful votes
  • 16
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  • Hornblower and the "Atropos"

  • By: C. S. Forester
  • Narrated by: Nicolas Coster
  • Length: 11 hrs and 29 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 635
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 534
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 525

In the wake of a humbling incident aboard a canal boat in the Cotswolds, young Captain Horatio Hornblower arrives in London to take command of the Atropos, a 22-gun sloop barely large enough to require a captain. Her first assignment under Hornblower's command is as flagship for the funeral procession of Lord Nelson. Soon Atropos is part of the Mediterranean Fleet's harassment of Napoleon, recovering treasure that lies deep in Turkish waters

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Great book. Poor narrator.

  • By John on 06-02-11

I gave it another shot

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

Reviewed: 03-29-16

I tried. I really did. I wanted to like these books, and indeed there are some good moments. But I cannot escape the conclusion; I just do not like Hornblower. I mean I don't like him.. the character. He's silly and un-relatable to me, not what I would expect in an officer of the time. Again and again there is some nautical situation, everyone around him is incompetent, Hornblower saves the day and 5 pages later he's biting his nails angry about what he ought to have done. Then he turns around and is overly concerned about preserving the dignity of a captain, to the potential detriment of the mission. That doesn't sound like devotion to duty to me. He's like the weirdo kid on the the little league who yells at himself when he doesn't hit a home run, or strikes out. Serving under a guy like that might get one killed, and to no good purpose. I think he is wooden, one-dimensional and just a little too unbelievable. Someone else wrote that they were frustrated by Hornblower's depression and insecurity, and that's how I feel too. The series (at least my experience with it) makes one think that the Royal Navy might not have been able to do anything if Hornblower wasn't around. That's obviously not the case. So there, no more Hornblower for me. I came to these books looking to further my experience with the Aubrey/Maturin series, which are incomparable in my opinion, but have come away unmoved.

  • The Beginning of Infinity

  • Explanations That Transform the World
  • By: David Deutsch
  • Narrated by: Walter Dixon
  • Length: 20 hrs
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 877
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 758
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 742

A bold and all-embracing exploration of the nature and progress of knowledge from one of today's great thinkers. Throughout history, mankind has struggled to understand life's mysteries, from the mundane to the seemingly miraculous. In this important new book, David Deutsch, an award-winning pioneer in the field of quantum computation, argues that explanations have a fundamental place in the universe.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A Perspective Shifter

  • By kevmoo on 01-19-14

Three books in one, but not necessarily a value

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

Reviewed: 05-24-12

When writing a review, I like to wait a few weeks after listening to a book. I find, when I look back, that my memory is able to distill some of salient points and I am better able to reflect on the essence of a particular book. As far as this work is concerned, here are the reflections that come to mind:

1. In my opinion, there seems to be a theme, perspective, tone, whatever one wishes to call it, by physics/hard science authors that their particular field entitles them to comment on or critique general issues or questions with a greater weight or authority than others. This also tends to create hyperbolic and grandiose titles like "The Begining of Infinity: Explanations that Transformed the World.No doubt this is related to the rigorous standards of their discipline. One may have heard such statements like " there is nothing else but physics" (I am heavily paraphrasing). In particular, one section of this book asks us to believe that even beauty is objective, can be given criteria and scientifically explained. That's right, beauty is no longer in the eye of the beholder but is subject to the laws of physics too. Thus, following these suggestions to their conclusions, all art curriculums should be replaced by science courses and legitimate beholders will have first interned at Fermilab.

Very often however, they neglect to point that their positions, postulations and conclusions are based on a particular interpretation and not necessarily on proven fact, though they would have us think otherwise. In this case, the author is known for espousing ideas based on the many worlds interpretation of quantum physics, hardly a widely accepted view. Listening to this book, one would never know that.

2. I liked the beginning of the book. It started well and I felt it had some promise, but about mid-way through it seemed to go off the rails a bit. Beginning about the time the author is imagining dialogs with Socrates, I began to lose the thread of the material. By the time it was finished, some 12 hours later, I felt and still feel like there were a couple of different books buried in the contents. It was as if the author had gone back and picked out particular essays or short works over his career and tried to stitch them together into some sort of coherent framework. Perhaps in one of the many alternate quantum worlds this and similar techniques are more successful.

3. One of the books' main arguments, as I found some 18 hours in, is that in the authors view, mankind has potential limited only by the laws of physics. Given time, anything that is possible will be achieved (more or less - again I am paraphrasing). In my opinion, the gentleman is far too sanguine with regard to humans and human nature. The last couple of hours seemed almost pollyanna-ish. Perhaps I am being too hard, it was after all very close to a listening marathon, but I seriously doubt anyone would suggest that this book is an example of the objective beauty it suggests. It did, in fact, infinitely transform me in a being 20 hours older than I was before.

19 of 32 people found this review helpful

  • The Happy Return

  • By: C. S. Forester
  • Narrated by: Christian Rodska
  • Length: 7 hrs and 47 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 703
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 597
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 606

Horatio Hornblower sails South American waters and comes face to face with a mad revolutionary in a novel that ripples with risk and gripping adventure. Throughout his escapades, Forester's hero remains resourceful and courageous.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • AKA "Beat to Quarters"

  • By Carol on 11-29-10

Unfulfilled Expectations

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

Reviewed: 04-05-12

As a long time of the Patrick O'Brien books, specifically the Patrick Tull narrations, I had hoped that the Hornblower stories would at least provide the same level of interest for me. The same applies to Cornwell's Sharpe books, too. Sadly, this is not the case. I could go on about the writing style, use of language, character development, etc. But it boils down to this: I do not like the character Forester has created, at least in this book. He is wooden, weak, false and shallow in my opinion. For example, his continual self-doubt and agony over his abilities and his career make him irritating, not interesting or complex. It is as though he is an actor playing the part of ship's captain. It's just not believable. A person with that temperament would not, and could not advance in the royal navy of that time, let alone accomplish the feats attributed to him. And then there's the silly shipboard romance making no sense at all. I understand that this is the first of a series and will try not to judge all of the books based on this one, but I will have to carefully consider purchasing another one and will not do so for at least some time. The narration was workmanlike and adequate, but could not save the experience.

1 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • The Divine Invasion

  • VALIS, Book 2
  • By: Philip K. Dick
  • Narrated by: Dick Hill
  • Length: 9 hrs and 17 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 171
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 154
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 156

God is not dead. He has merely been exiled to an extraterrestrial planet. And it is on this planet that God meets Herb Asher and persuades him to help retake Earth from the demonic Belial. Featuring virtual reality, parallel worlds, and interstellar travel, The Divine Invasion blends philosophy and adventure in a way few authors can achieve.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Trippy, gnostic exploration of good/evil & God/man

  • By Darwin8u on 08-19-13

Ugh

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

Reviewed: 12-18-11

Would you try another book from Philip K. Dick and/or Dick Hill?

I might try another book, but it would have to be an exceptional case.

Has The Divine Invasion turned you off from other books in this genre?

No, hope springs eternal.

What didn’t you like about Dick Hill’s performance?

Overacted. Strange inflections and intonations like circus music. Creepy women and children's' voices.

2 of 8 people found this review helpful