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Ian

Burntisland, United Kingdom

17
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 13 reviews
  • 19 ratings
  • 94 titles in library
  • 11 purchased in 2014
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  • David Attenborough - Life on Air: Memoirs of a Broadcaster

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By David Attenborough
    • Narrated By David Attenborough
    Overall
    (752)
    Performance
    (300)
    Story
    (301)

    His career as a naturalist and broadcaster has spanned nearly five decades and there are very few places on the globe that he has not visited. In this volume of memoirs David tells stories of the people and animals he has met and the places that he has visited. Over the last 25 years he has established himself as the world's leading Natural History programme maker with several landmark BBC series.

    Mark says: "Unforgettable David"
    "Superb"
    Overall

    I've read the book twice, so was reluctant to pay for the audiobook. It was worth every penny though. I can think of no author I would rather hear reading their own work than David Attenborough and this, in my opinion, is the best of his books because it includes the usual fascinating insight into the natural world but puts this in context with the history of natural history film-making and the changing of the developing world. Most importantly, though, it's an autobiography, so he does something that David Attenborough rarely indulges in; talks about his own experiences, anecdotes and reveals more about his own personality than we usually get to see.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Ghost in the Wires: My Adventures as the World's Most Wanted Hacker

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Kevin Mitnick, William L. Simon
    • Narrated By Ray Porter
    Overall
    (362)
    Performance
    (186)
    Story
    (186)

    Kevin Mitnick was the most elusive computer break-in artist in history. He accessed computers and networks at the world's biggest companies-and however fast the authorities were, Mitnick was faster, sprinting through phone switches, computer systems, and cellular networks. He spent years skipping through cyberspace, always three steps ahead and labeled unstoppable.

    Olivier says: "Excellent Text and Excellent Reader"
    "This guy will wind you up."
    Overall

    First off, the story is very interesting. The events and the manner in which they unfold would probably make a good movie or biography.
    My problem is Mitnick's style of writing, it's extremely self-congratulatory and brimming with arrogance. It really doesn't help that the narrator sounds like Brian from Family Guy.

    It's not that I want him to be contrite or self deprecating, but there's no sense of reflection here. It's like Mitnick is remembering all of his shenanigans for the first time and high-fiving himself for his daring genius. He is obviously a fiendishly clever guy and his skill as a hacker depict a creative and analytical thinker, but his skill as a writer depict a high-school loner in love with his own self-image.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Born to Run: The Hidden Tribe, the Ultra-Runners, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Christopher McDougall
    • Narrated By Fred Sanders
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (251)
    Performance
    (138)
    Story
    (140)

    Full of incredible characters, amazing athletic achievements, cutting-edge science, and, most of all, pure inspiration, Born to Run is an epic adventure that began with one simple question: Why does my foot hurt? In search of an answer, Christopher McDougall sets off to find a tribe of the world's greatest distance runners and learn their secrets - and in the process shows us that everything we thought we knew about running is wrong.

    richard says: "Born to Run"
    "Great story, well written and read"
    Overall

    There's a lot going on here. It's a book about running that weaves a thrilling story of an adventure race in the Copper Canyons in Mexico, the culture, attitude and history of long distance running, the science behind endurance running, the mystery of a hidden culture of Mexican Indian runners and their unlikely US Ambassador and - most importantly - the author's journey into, and successfully out the other side of the world of adventure racing.
    McDougal's skill is to make the characters larger than life, make his own story relevant and interesting and keep the narrative from getting to bogged down in history, science, statistics or geography.
    It's an adventure story, a travelog, an inspirational tale, an informative journal and a very funny and memorable story. The narration is first class as well, keeping the wit dry and the pace just enough to keep your breath.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Alex's Adventures in Numberland: Dispatches from the Wonderful World of Mathematics

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Alex Bellos
    • Narrated By Alex Bellos
    Overall
    (95)
    Performance
    (35)
    Story
    (34)

    The world of maths can seem mind-boggling, irrelevant and, let's face it, boring. This groundbreaking book reclaims maths from the geeks. Mathematical ideas underpin just about everything in our lives: from the surprising geometry of the 50p piece to how probability can help you win in any casino. In search of weird and wonderful mathematical phenomena, Alex Bellos travels across the globe and meets the world's fastest mental calculators in Germany and a startlingly numerate chimpanzee in Japan.

    Nichiless says: "A wonderful journey through mathematics"
    "Good, but needs the diagrams"
    Overall

    I fell in love with this book; it's a brilliant journey through the surface of the world of maths and is very likely to change the way you feel about geometry, luck, statistics and baguettes. The author's narration is good and never loses your attention, my only criticism is that, without the numerous diagrams that exist in the book version, quite a lot is lost in translation. The beauty of Euclidian or the Fibonaci spiral are impossible to describe, but he does his best.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • For Whom the Bell Tolls

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Ernest Hemingway
    • Narrated By Campbell Scott
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (102)
    Performance
    (36)
    Story
    (34)

    In 1937, Ernest Hemingway traveled to Spain to cover the civil war there for the North American Newspaper Alliance. Three years later he completed the greatest novel to emerge from "the good fight", For Whom the Bell Tolls.

    Martin says: "For whom the bell tolls"
    "Who is Thee?"
    Overall

    The narration is a little dull, as is the story. There is something strangely captivating about it, despite all that and the characters have an almost unlimited depth to them, but it's not the most colourful book I've listened to...

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy: The Karla Trilogy, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By John le Carre
    • Narrated By Michael Jayston
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (711)
    Performance
    (159)
    Story
    (159)

    Mr George Smiley is small, podgy, and at best, middle-aged. He is disillusioned, wrestles with idleness, and has been deserted by his beautiful wife. He is also compassionate, ruthless and a senior British intelligence officer in short-lived retirement from the Circus the British Secret Service organisation situated in London. But Moscow centre has infiltrated a mole into the Circus and it's more than likely that the perpetrator is Karla Smiley's old adversary and his opposite number in Moscow.

    Karen says: "The Hottest Cold War Novel Ever Written"
    "Completely absorbing"
    Overall

    You do have to concentrate to keep up here. Normally when I read a book that has this many central characters (all of whom have critical distinctions), I'll leaf back a few pages to remind myself who each one is - you can't really do that with an audio book.
    It helped that there exists and recent movie with an unforgettable cast. Although I hadn't seen the movie, I knew the cast, so was able to put faces to the names while listening to this book.
    The narration is superb. Smiley, in particular, comes completely to life.
    Before long, it gets under your skin and stays there for a long time...

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • It's Only a Movie

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Mark Kermode
    • Narrated By Mark Kermode
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (279)
    Performance
    (58)
    Story
    (57)

    To avoid fainting, keep repeating It's only a move ..only a movie ..only a movie ..only a movie If you grew up believing that Planet of the Apes told you all you needed to know about politics, that Slade in Flame was a savage exposé of the pop world, and that The Exorcist revealed the meaning of life, then you probably spent far too many of your formative years at the cinema. Just as likely, you soon would have realised that there was only one career open to you - you'd have to become a film critic.

    Paul says: "As slick as his hair"
    "He does have great hair though"
    Overall

    I've often watched Kermode review a movie and thought: "Why should I care what you think?" As, indeed, he would probably think if he ever read this review.
    I'm none-the-wiser really, having listened to this book from start to finish. There's nothing wrong with it, maybe it's a wee bit irritating at times, but essentially it's a biopic of Kermode's life with particular attention to his relationship with films filled with personal anecdotes and revealing stories about films and the people who make them, but I just didn't really connect with it.
    What's missing is drama (apart from the bit where Werner Herzog's pants explode), it's lacking in comedy as well, or horror or romance. It's not a movie, it's not quirky enough, or racy enough or exciting enough. It's just a story about a guy who likes watching movies but don't be fooled into buying it simply because you like watching movies too, because it's not that kind of movie.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • I, Partridge: We Need to Talk About Alan

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Alan Partridge
    • Narrated By Alan Partridge
    Overall
    (1535)
    Performance
    (471)
    Story
    (473)

    Journalist, presenter, broadcaster, husband, father, vigorous all-rounder - Alan Partridge - a man with a fascinating past and an amazing future. Gregarious and popular, yet Alan's never happier than when relaxing in his own five-bedroom, south-built house with three acres of land and access to a private stream. But who is this mysterious enigma? Alan Gordon Partridge is the best - and best-loved - radio presenter in the region. Born into a changing world of rationing, Teddy Boys, apes in space and the launch of ITV, Alan's broadcasting career began as chief DJ of Radio Smile....

    James says: "Jurassic Park"
    "Back of the net, cashback, jurrasic park, etc"
    Overall

    This is a brilliant audiobook. Possibly the best audiobook ever written slash read by a man. I can't think of an audiobook that I would rather hear read by its author than this one, except for maybe the Steve Jobs one, because then it'd mean Steve was still alive but I only just thought of that, so it doesn't count.
    Anyway, if you're either a fan of Alan's or the sort of person who would really like his stuff then this is definitely for you.
    I just realised the Steve Jobs reference doesn't work because he didn't write the biography, hence it's a biography and not an autobiography. I should, therefore remove all reference to it in this review since it is, strictly speaking, out of context, but if I do that the review will be a 'bit light', so it stays.

    4 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • The Life & Times of the Thunderbolt Kid

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Bill Bryson
    • Narrated By Bill Bryson
    Overall
    (266)
    Performance
    (52)
    Story
    (54)

    Bill Bryson's hilarious memoir of growing up in middle America in the Fifties, complete, unabridged and read by the author. Born in 1951 in the middle of the United States, Des Moines, Iowa, Bill Bryson is perfectly positioned to mine his memories of a totally all-American childhood for 24 carat memoir gold.

    chris says: "Stupid grin on my face"
    "So funny and brilliantly read."
    Overall

    Firstly, I can't overemphasise how much I enjoy Bryson's narration over William Roberts'. Perhaps the most compelling evidence is that I actually bought his abridged version of a Short History, even though I owned and had twice listened to the unabridged one simply because I wanted to hear Bill Bryson reading it.
    It's really surprising to hear other people haven't enjoyed his narration, because I think his delivery is perfect although, it must be said, he does speak in a low tone.
    I had always avoided the more anecdotal Bryson novels over the more factual ones, feeling that novels like a Short History and Private Life were more nourishing. A Walk in the Woods changed my mind on that, so I bought this and enjoyed it so much that I think it could be my favourite Bryson audiobook.
    I guess the chances are slim that Bill will narrate an unabridged version of a Short History, but if he does, then I'll find myself with three copies of that damn book....

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Crime and Punishment (Recorded Books Edition)

    • UNABRIDGED (25 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Fyodor Dostoevsky
    • Narrated By George Guidall
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (69)
    Performance
    (17)
    Story
    (17)

    Fyodor Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment is universally regarded as one of literature's finest achievements, as the great Russian novelist explores the inner workings of a troubled intellectual. Raskolnikov, a nihilistic young man in the midst of a spiritual crisis, makes the fateful decision to murder a cruel pawnbroker, justifying his actions by relying on science and reason, and creating his own morality system. Dehumanized yet sympathetic, exhausted yet hopeful, Raskolnikov represents the best and worst elements of modern intellectualism. The aftermath of his crime and Petrovich's murder investigation result in an utterly compelling, truly unforgettable cat-and-mouse game. This stunning dramatization of Dostoevsky's magnum opus brings the slums of St. Petersburg and the demons of Raskolnikov's tortured mind vividly to life.

    Balbir says: "Masterpiece"
    "Really rather good"
    Overall

    I've made it a third of a way through the book twice now and decided that the audiobook was the way to go. It's not always easy to listen to and you do have to work at it, but before long the story and - moreover - the characters get under your skin and they stay there for a very long time.
    The narration is really excellent. The pronunciation, individual characterisations, constantly shifting pace and erratic mono and dialogues would challenge any narrator. He does a stunning job of keeping on top of the delivery.
    As to what was going through Dostoevsky's head when he wrote it, I'm not too sure. It's a journey, in any case. Partly through the world as it was at that time and partly through the mind of a man who's not quite the full kopeck...

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Bad Science

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Ben Goldacre
    • Narrated By Rupert Farley
    Overall
    (503)
    Performance
    (159)
    Story
    (155)

    We are constantly bombarded with inaccurate, contradictory and sometimes misleading information - until now. Ben Goldacre masterfully dismantles the dubious science behind some of the great drug trials, court cases and missed opportunities of our time. He also shows us the fascinating story of how we know what we know, and gives us the tools to uncover bad science for ourselves.

    Marcus says: "Making science truly entertaining"
    "Not a fan"
    Overall

    The subjects are interesting and well researched, but like some others I've found the tone off-putting. You do learn a fair amount and will probably find much of it strikes a nice balance between being informative, humorous and passionate.
    I'm not entirely sure whether it's the narrator or the combination of narrator and material that annoys me, but I find myself getting as angry at the sweeping statements and condescending remarks as Ben Goldacre gets at the bad scientists. There's something about smug self-righteousness that makes me root for the other guys, even if - as in this case - they're mostly borderline lunatics.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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