"Affective Reading of a Dickens Classic"
Martin Jarvis clearly influenced the characterisation of the Xmas 2011 BBC dramatisation of this book; he remains one of our best voice actors, and this recording is no exception. An in-depth feeling for the text is evident throughout, and we get to feel the true nature of Pip, his faults and his maturation, across the novel. I highly recommend this version.
"Fantastic Evolutionary Psychology and Anthropology"
Prof. Richard Wrangham has written several brilliant books on comparative anthropology, and comparative psychology, but this has to be the best. Further, it is excellently read by Kevin Pariseau, which only enhances the arguments and the content. In the end I had to buy the book as well, to refocus on elements of it for my teaching, but that is not to decry the audio book. An excellent antidote to the sad dismissal of cooking as a domestic task in 1970's feminism, and a part explanation for the fascination with competitive cooking on TV - highly recommend.
"Important History - Well Told"
This book is of importance to our understanding of the modern world, and sets the early 19th Century in the context of the birth of both a developing Europe, and the new United States of America. Since we only had the one Prime Minister assassinated, it is perhaps interesting that he is so seldom mentioned. I was drawn to this book by the chapter on John Bellingham, in Kelly Grovier's The Gaol, and cannot say that I am disappointed. Stephen Rashbrook reads very effectively and engagingly, and the mystery of how Bellingham, penniless by the end of February 1812, had the cash to pay for lodgings, good clothing, and the weapon he used to shoot Spencer Perceval, well told. Perhaps the real takeaway message of this book is the is the force of Anglican Evangelicalism, and the meaning of Providence in 1812, and how followers of this branch of Christianity tried to comprehend the loss of a Prime Minister they valued highly.
"Excellent History, Brilliantly Read"
Elliot Levey reads this important book with style and flair, with the preface feeling delivered by Kwasi Kwarteng himself, adding that special feel of the author's intent. Listening to history allows reflection of a kind not so easy when reading, and this book is of great importance: if you have a wish to understand many of the problems of political management in the old Empire, then this is the book for you. Well thought of by historians, this is a very accessible text.
"An Excellent Biography, Brilliantly Read"
I have the The Complete Barchester Chronicles, and so was delighted at the choice of Alex Jennings as the reader for Claire Tomalin's remarkable biography of Dickens. She gives a clear account of his life, in all its complexities, and Victorian background, and adds an excellent reflection of the much later evidence of behaviours his daughter and sister-in-law would have preferred to remain hidden. At last I realised why Dickens' women are generally so two-dimentional. Both scholarly and a brilliant listen.
Well read, and presented, what made this audio crime novel interesting to me was the first consistent use of the 'Ethic of Care' which arose in Moral Philosophy research in the 1980s, in response to the idea of "Ethic of Justice' being the moral framework for the whole of humanity. Since the 'Ethic of Care' was taken as being the main female way of reasoning about the moral, or ethical, quality of behaviour this becomes a very interesting account indeed. I am not sure whether I would have realised this if I had read the book, rather than listening to it, whilst doing other things. Pacing is patchy, the story in the round, very interesting (and yes, you MUST be a medic to be a psychiatrist; very few people can start a medical degree with a Psychology degree, even a first from Oxford; although you might do psychology for your final, pre-clincal year, as medics did at UCL in the 80s when I were a lass) and there are forensic psychiatrists. Recommend
"Interesting, lively account"
Ben Mezrich has drawn together interesting material to produce this account. I knew that Facebook had begun its life as a device for male students to rate female students at Harvard, but not its really 'on the legal edge' origins. Mezrich allows us to reflect on the people and the purposes behind the product, and its influences way, way, beyond the origins, and the costs of 'free to use' services (well, who does fund the servers?). This book is excellently read by Mike Chamberlain, who manages to keep a fresh and interested tone throughout. This is a very good listen.
"Outstanding Investigative Journalism"
This book is a crucial contribution to the current debate on the ethical soundness of the institution of the Vatican, its eloquence aided by the presentation: the author reads it. Jason Berry takes us through the complexities of the finance of the Roman Catholic Church in the USA, in particular, but his investigations have spread more widely, and his reasoning is always carefully made. Yes, this does sound like a thriller, but it cannot cause anything but sorrow to the devout, whom truly deserve better. A brilliant piece of investigative work, made absorbing by a careful and fluent reader: highly recommend.
"Fascinating Social History"
I was a snob about romantic fiction until I started background research on its history for an academic paper; this book was part of my discovery about the care that Heyer took with her beautifully written literature. Kloester has produced a witty and helpful guide (the fabrics, the alcohol, and something of the political time) aiding the understanding, and entertainment value of the books. Charlotte Strevens has exactly the right register and humour in her performance to make this book live, Highly recommend.
"The Magic of the Railway"
As the granddaughter of a signalman this book has a special magic for me, placing the railway at the focus of Britain from its origins to the present day. The remarkable place of trains in the lives of the working population of Britain, from commuting, to fresh food transport, to the beginning of the holiday leisure industry, and the fellowship of trade associations and trades unions, is really brought to life (including the sexism of the industry). 'Narrated by the author' really adds to this experience, as Christian Wolmar is clearly fired by the subjects he has written about. A really good buy.
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