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Ryan Madsen

Fremont, CA
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  • reviews
  • 47
  • helpful votes
  • 9
  • ratings
  • Analysis and Critique: How to Engage and Write about Anything

  • By: Dorsey Armstrong, The Great Courses
  • Narrated by: Dorsey Armstrong
  • Length: 12 hrs and 4 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 679
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 574
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 567

Tap into the power of effective writing by developing the fundamental critical and analytical skills that transform your writing from "good" to "great." Regardless of your subject, goal, or occasion, these skills will help you organize your thoughts into a coherent piece, make a persuasive argument rooted in facts, and make responsible use of research materials.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • None of my professors has ever been this helpful!

  • By R. Hays on 03-01-15

Good for College, Less so for Popular Writing

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

Reviewed: 06-29-15

This course is excellent if you're beginning college and want to know how to write for an academic audience (eg your professor). It covers all basic tactical approaches for more effective writing, such as varying sentence structure, organizing an essay and using proper grammar.

What it doesn't do is delve deep below the surface of what makes a person truly want to read a book - something critical to a popular fiction or historical author. All the advice is very "safe" - I think most college professors would agree with 98% of what the professor states in this work.

It does not get into the more nuanced and innovative aspects of writing like how to write compelling dialogue or how to truly tell a good story. It doesn't talk about character development or efficient flow in writing.

In other words, this is a great course to get an A in a college English class. It's also a good foundation to start a journey or writing (everything in this course should be known by a good writer). But it's not a course for good writer looking for techniques to take one's writing to the next level. As we know, it's not the safe the safe approach that makes a fiction or nonfiction book; but rather it's the bold, groundbreaking elements. That's where this course falls short.

47 of 54 people found this review helpful

  • Veronica Mars

  • The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line
  • By: Rob Thomas, Jennifer Graham
  • Narrated by: Kristen Bell
  • Length: 8 hrs and 42 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,016
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 3,739
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,721

The first book in an original mystery series featuring 28-year-old Veronica Mars, back in action after the events of Veronica Mars: The Movie. With the help of old friends - Logan Echolls, Mac Mackenzie, Wallace Fennel, and even Dick Casablancas - Veronica is ready to take on Neptune's darkest cases with her trademark sass and smarts.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Mars Attacks, succeeds!

  • By Alison on 03-30-14

Wow- Kristin Bell's performance is amazing

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

Reviewed: 04-13-14

Usually when a non-professional narrator tries to read a novel- especially one with several characters- the results are OK. Kristen Bell, by contrast was amazing. She may actually be better than any narrator I've listened to - and she doesn't even do this professionally (she is an actor, of course, but that doesn't require jumping between multiple voices). I would have expected she would overdue the character voices and distract from the story. But she does each just distinct enough to picture a new character while not over-exaggerating accents or other characteristics. Her transitions are very natural and characters consistent. I'd take her as the narrator for any book (though I strongly suspect this stuff doesn't pay like acting).

As for the story, like any Veronica Mars episode, it kept your intense interest throughout while not necessarily seeming incredible in hindsight. Like any good mystery, the process is delightful- the results just aren't something to carry with you a long time. Rob Thomas's stories are drive by twists and dialogue- as well as the personality Kristen Bell brings to the character.

If anything lacked in his transition to novel, it was penetrating the more nuanced thoughts of the characters. For example, Veronica just aches with love for Logan, but it doesn't explore anything deeper or more nuanced than just really, really, really being in love. You don't really have to in tv because the characters kind of take care of that in their acting skill. But in the novel, words have to describe the meaning of a glance to the side or a fumbling of fingers. I'd say Thomas has a bit to improve on here - describing those thoughts and feelings that people don't talk about in regular conversation, either because they are too complex to explain or reveal too much but vulnerability.

But overall, I'm giving 5 stars for Bell's performance and a story that is good fun just like the series and movie.