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Nancy Bowring

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Heart Surgery Made Easy

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

Reviewed: 28-07-19

I never imagined I would find a book on heart surgery so unputdownable, humane and deeply moving. Samer Nashef is not just an obviously brilliant surgeon but a compelling writer. He cares deeply about his patients and has that rare attribute for a doctor, humility. I am just amazed that this book is not better known.
I have not been so deeply impressed by any book for a very long time. I have bought 3 copies of the paperback version for friends and family who don't listen to audiobooks. I want everyone to know that if we need heart surgery, it is much simpler than we imagine.
The narrator is first rate too and makes it easy to imagine he is actually Samer himself.

1 person found this helpful

Difficult to listen to

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

Reviewed: 26-08-18

After two attempts, I gave up on this audio-book. The one star for story is misleading but I didn't know what else to put. Despite a pleasant voice, pauses and inflections in odd places made the narration hard to follow.

Surviving the impossible

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

Reviewed: 28-11-17

After listening to this audiobook the word Endurance has taken on a whole new meaning for me. The fortitude of every single member of the expedition, the vast stores of optimism in the face of appalling odds and the sheer “bouncebackability” of the entire team is quite astounding.
How our problems would reduce if we had a few men/women with the leadership qualities of Shackleton. A truly remarkable story of grit, determination and comradeship. Alfred Lansing has a great ability to tell a story of such magnitude without sentiment yet with great compassion and sensibility. Simon Prebble was superb as narrator.

This book changed my mind about Rasputin

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

Reviewed: 17-12-16

Everything I have ever read about the years leading up to the Russian Revolution had convinced me that Rasputin was one of the chief culprits in the demise of Russia as it was known up until that time. He was evil, debauched and would stop at nothing for power.
After extensive research, Douglas Smith has produced a book which has completely changed my mind about this much vilified/adored, charismatic/weird man.
He was undoubtedly the scapegoat for all the problems of the Romanoff dynasty. Imperialists found it easier to blame a peasant with the “evil eye” than a weak Tsar who did not possess the strength or wisdom to rule Russia and prevent Revolution.
A deeply religious man with supposed super-natural powers, he was a loving husband and family man who cared about the poor and suffering. This deeply controversial man also
loved women and was unfaithful to his wife (with her consent, it would seem).
Haunting, mesmerising eyes and an innate ability to read minds and predict future events gave him the reputation of a mystic. Tragically for him and his country, the saying “no smoke without fire” allowed these “powers” to feed his critics with myths that grew out of all proportion to reality and become the truth to millions.
The only fault I have with this book is that it is too long. Many “stories” were so similar to each other it seemed like repetition and could possibly have been omitted.
Good narrator with clear diction which is a help when listening to such a long audiobook that requires much concentration.

1 person found this helpful

Listening to Alan Bennett is a "comfort listen"

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

Reviewed: 09-09-15

I was read this book by a teacher at school and loved it. Listening to Alan Bennett is even better. He becomes "Ratty", "Mole", "Badger" and most importantly of all "Toad". I have lost count of how many times I have listened to this audiobook and yet I never tire of it. Mr Toad's lisping over-confidence and conceit are a delight as are all the other character's voices. A must-listen - lots of times!

1 person found this helpful

Compulsive story to listen to. Highly recommended

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

Reviewed: 02-05-15

Set in Burma towards the end of the British Raj, where bigotry and racism thrive in the closed society of the Englishmen’s club. The story centres around John Flory, whose life has been governed by an ugly birthmark on his face. It is about his two relationships in an otherwise friendless life and the effects of a vicious, scheming and corrupt magistrate. George Orwell tells his tale with empathy, an intimate knowledge of his main character and some scorn towards a society he got to know personally. Allan Corduner’s narration is first rate.

6 people found this helpful

A must read for all doubters

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

Reviewed: 22-03-15

The inhumanity of man towards animals, particularly in research laboratories, has always been a touchy subject. Karen Joy Fowler tackles it with great sensitivity and with the passion of someone who has witnessed it first-hand. If it hadn’t been told with such compassion and sensitivity I would have found parts of this story impossible to listen to.
I recommend it to anyone who is in any doubt about what goes on behind the closed doors of animal labs.

The Burgess Boys cover art

Authentic characters make for a gripping listen

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

Reviewed: 17-01-15

After a tragic childhood accident, the Burgess children’s lives and personalities have all been deeply affected; not just in the ways in which their lives have turned out, but particularly in the way they respond to and treat each other. This has a knock-on effect on the sister Susan’s son, Zach and his actions threaten to destroy not only his own life but race-relations in their local community.
Elizabeth Strout has a rare talent for portraying her characters, not only as 3 dimensional, but as whole, totally believable people. As in real life, nobody is totally good (though Bob comes close to that description) or bad.
A narrator can make or break a book. Cassandra Campbell enhances this audiobook by bringing to life each character with its own instantly recognisable voice.

1 person found this helpful

Compelling story about relationships

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

Reviewed: 19-11-14

This is one of the best books I’ve read/listened to for a very long time. Elizabeth Strout has an innate understanding of human nature and how people tick. It is basically about relationships and how our perception about the way people think about us affects our ability to get on with them.
The two main relationships are between the daughter and mother, Amy and Isabelle. Their mutual lack of understanding about each other’s needs is tragic and destructive. It is only when Isabelle faces the truth about herself that she is able to appreciate her daughter’s feelings and recognise her own deep love for her.
The first class narrator breathes life into each intricately drawn character (and there are many varied personalities in the book) and makes every one utterly convincing and real.

5 people found this helpful

Depressing but brilliantly written and spoken

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

Reviewed: 27-07-14

This book is so depressing that, although it is brilliantly told, I couldn't give it a higher rating than 4 stars. Edward St. Aubyn relates the sordid world of drug taking in such vivid detail that I felt I was there with him as he dealt with dealers, struggled to find veins that were not damaged from previous abuse and lived in permanent anticipation of his next “fix”.
In New York to collect the ashes of his abusive father, the story is about the endless round of sniffing, injecting, swallowing drugs and, although he knew that the seconds of pleasure they gave him were not worth the agony of withdrawal, he could not stop himself. This book should be on every school syllabus because it would surely discourage any would-be addict from ever attempting to try drugs.
Alex Jennings narration is superb and made the miserable account of an addict’s life bearable.

5 people found this helpful