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Once We Were Fiction

Essex
  • 10
  • reviews
  • 23
  • helpful votes
  • 127
  • ratings
  • Life Lessons from the Great Myths

  • By: J. Rufus Fears, The Great Courses
  • Narrated by: J. Rufus Fears
  • Length: 18 hrs and 22 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 12
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 11
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 11

Change the way you think about some of the greatest stories ever told with this examination of the most important myths from more than 3,000 years of history. The ways in which the human imagination can transform historical events, people, and themes into powerful myths that endure through the ages is nothing short of awe-inspiring.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Many Myths, few Life Lessons

  • By Once We Were Fiction on 09-09-18

Many Myths, few Life Lessons

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

Reviewed: 09-09-18

I've listened to loads of Great Courses. I love them. This is the first Great Course that I have disliked. Fear retells stories at length. For almost an entire lecture, sometimes more than one. If you are lucky you get an examination of the history surrounding the myth. This is where the course is at its most interesting. Where it is weakest is the life lessons, which are sparse and shallow, and dependent upon highly subjective interpretation with no reference to any opinions beyond those of Fears himself.

I expect better of The Great Courses. Fortunately I have listened to many others. If this was the first I had listened to, it would have put me off.

  • Return of the Thin Man

  • By: Dashiell Hammett
  • Narrated by: Peter Ganim, Nicola Barber, Scott Brick
  • Length: 7 hrs and 19 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 6
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 5

Dashiell Hammett was a crime writer who elevated the genre to true literature, and The Thin Man was Hammett’s last - and most successful - novel. Following the enormous success of The Thin Man movie in 1934, Hammett was commissioned to write stories for additional films. He wrote two full-length novellas for the films that became After the Thin Man and Another Thin Man.

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • Unlistenable for me.

  • By Once We Were Fiction on 12-07-16

Unlistenable for me.

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

Reviewed: 12-07-16

My mistake I guess, but I thought this was a novel - bought it because I loved the Hammet short stories. This was so hard to follow as a screenplay and irritating as Hell too.

Others may see these things differently, and I should have checked first, but if you haven't checked properly don't make the same mistake as me.

  • Unfettered

  • Tales By Masters of Fantasy
  • By: Terry Brooks, Patrick Rothfuss, Robert Jordan, and others
  • Narrated by: Peter Ganim, Marc Vietor, Bronson Pinchot, and others
  • Length: 20 hrs and 16 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 108
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 95
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 93

You define life or it defines you. In Shawn Speakman’s case, it was both. Lacking health insurance and diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2011, Shawn quickly accrued a massive medical debt that he did not have the ability to pay. That’s when New York Times best-selling author Terry Brooks offered to donate a short story that Shawn could sell to help alleviate those bills—and suggested he ask the same of his other writer friends. Unfettered is the result: an anthology built in order to relieve that debt, featuring short stories by some of the best fantasy writers in the genre.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • It's basically Russian roulette

  • By Euan on 14-05-14

So this is fantasy?

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

Reviewed: 16-02-14

I'm going to keep this short because the review above is really good. I haven't read any fantasy for about twenty-five years, and when I saw this I just thought - why not? There are some great stories here. Imaginary Friend and All the Girls Love Michael Stein are amazing. That said it hasn't won me back over to the genre, but I have enjoyed listening to this a lot.

0 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Behind the Wheel - Spanish 1

  • By: Behind the Wheel, Mark Frobose
  • Narrated by: Mark Frobose
  • Length: 9 hrs and 53 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 5
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars 2
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 2

Behind the Wheel Spanish Level 1 covers beginner to intermediate level Spanish, providing a flexible, solid, and universal foundation in speaking, understanding, and creatively expressing yourself in Spanish. The program features an English-speaking instructor to guide you through the lessons and two native Latin American Spanish-speakers to aid with your pronunciation. Includes a companion book to reinforce and enhance the audio experience.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Lots of content, but not great teaching

  • By Once We Were Fiction on 27-12-13

Lots of content, but not great teaching

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

Reviewed: 27-12-13

If you've already listened to so some Spanish language audiobooks then this has a lot of content for you to practise with. However, its strength is also it's weakness. You just don't have time to take it all in. I am now listening for a second time and the pace is still too much.

I definitely would give Behind the Wheel 2 a try. But I think I might see if I can find something else first.

If you are a complete beginner, I would definitely try the Paul Noble, Collins books first. They are much better for complete beginners. If you already know a bit of Spanish, this will keep your brain busy as you drive.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Berlin Wall

  • By: Frederick Taylor
  • Narrated by: Daniel Philpott
  • Length: 18 hrs and 57 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 52
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 41
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 39

The appearance of a hastily constructed barbed wire entanglement through the heart of Berlin during the night of 12-13 August 1961 was both dramatic and unexpected. Within days, it had started to metamorphose into a structure that would come to symbolise the brutal insanity of the Cold War: the Berlin Wall. A city of almost four million was cut ruthlessly in two, unleashing a potentially catastrophic East-West crisis and plunging the entire world for the first time into the fear of imminent missile-borne apocalypse.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Ultimately a little disapointing......

  • By Iain on 10-01-12

Lots of content skillfully weaved together.

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 21-01-12

I thought this audiobook was amazing. I loved it. The book gives a lots of detail about the build up the wall's being built - Ulbricht's rise to power and so on. I also appreciated the many personal storys - Hagen Koch and Conrad Schumann for example.

I do, however, agree with the previous reviewer of this title that the accents get on your nerves a bit, especially in the beginning, but, actually, as the book went on, I began to accept them, appreciate them even.

Highly reccommended, by me anyway.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • The Coming of the Third Reich

  • By: Richard J. Evans
  • Narrated by: Sean Pratt
  • Length: 21 hrs and 11 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 116
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 70
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 69

There is no story in 20th-century history more important to understand than Hitler’s rise to power and the collapse of civilization in Nazi Germany. With The Coming of the Third Reich, Richard Evans, one of the world’s most distinguished historians, has written the definitive account for our time.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • A mam-moth work

  • By SHM on 25-11-11

History of the Highest Standard

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 27-11-11

I know I did this all wrong, but I actually came to this book last, having already listened to the other two parts of the trilogy.

Perhaps of the three, this is the most dry, but you know, it kind of has to be. It focuses on the political machinations surrounding the Nazis through to 1933. Some of the political nuances are not that easy to follow, but Evans doesn't shy away from them. He shows how the Nazi party were able to exploit dubious precedents to create the veneer of legality.

It really is (just like the other parts) brilliantly written, inuitively organised, and clearly narrated at a comfortable pace.

I cannot recommend this series highly enough.

1 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Venice

  • By: Jan Morris
  • Narrated by: Sebastian Comberti
  • Length: 13 hrs and 1 min
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 29
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 22
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 22

Venice stands, as she loves to tell you, on the frontiers of the east and west, half-way between the setting and the rising sun. Goethe calls her "the market-place of the Morning and the Evening lands". Certainly no city on earth gives a more immediate impression of symmetry and unity, or seems more patently born to greatness.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Well informed but badly organised.

  • By Once We Were Fiction on 31-10-11

Well informed but badly organised.

Overall
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 31-10-11

I love Audible. I've listened to some great history texts and I've learned so much. However, I'm sorry to say that Jan Morrs' Venice for all of its length has taught me very little.

I bought this as a history text, but really this text is more like a modern guide book with a big portion of history mixed in. This sounds fine, but the problem is that while there is content, it is so higgledy piggledy in its distribution that the information just gets tangled, mixed up and confused.

Just as frustrating is the style of the writing. This book is overwritten and, frankly, rather self indulgent. Don't get me wrong. Morris can write lovely, florid sentences, but there are so many of them here that when the information finally arrives, it takes you by surprise and you miss it.

As I listened, in frustration, I found myself thinking that perhaps this book would be more enjoyable to someone who already knows the city well. For me, however, a Venice virgin so to speak (ahem), something more focussed on content, and organised chronologically would have been far more rewarding.

7 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Buddha's Noble Eightfold Path

  • By: Urgyen Sangharaskhita
  • Narrated by: Kulananda
  • Length: 5 hrs and 34 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 16
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 9
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 8

The Eightfold Path is the most widely known formulation of the Buddha's teaching. It is ancient, reaching back to the Buddha's very first discourse, and it is highly venerated as a unique treasury of wisdom and practical guidance. The teaching of the Eightfold Path challenges us to grasp the implications of that vision, and asks us to transform ourselves in its light. Like the teaching itself, this work covers every aspect of life.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Informative, and well-informed - well worth it.

  • By Once We Were Fiction on 28-10-11

Informative, and well-informed - well worth it.

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 28-10-11

So many books about buddhism seem to be in the live lecture format. Part of the reason that I chose this was that it is not in this format.

This is a proper book. It is read at a sensible pace, free of extended pauses.

Most importantly this book refers to aspects of teaching from various schools of Buddhism. There is content here and plenty of it.

The writing is skillful, precise, and economical.

I will definitely listen to these five hours again. What better reccomendation is there than that?

Brilliant.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Crown and Country

  • A History of England through the Monarchy
  • By: David Starkey
  • Narrated by: Tim Pigott-Smith, Jim Norton
  • Length: 15 hrs and 11 mins
  • Abridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 66
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 39
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 38

The monarchy is one of Britain’s longest surviving institutions – as well as one of its most tumultuous and revered. In this masterful book, David Starkey looks at the monarchy as a whole, charting its history from Roman times, to the Wars of the Roses, the chaos of the Civil War, the fall of Charles I and Cromwell's emergence as Lord Protector – all the way up until the Victorian era when Britain’s monarchs came face-to-face with modernity.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Informative and Interesting

  • By Once We Were Fiction on 09-10-11

Informative and Interesting

Overall
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 09-10-11

I think that the measure of this book is that I know a lot more now than I did before I listened to it - but then, I started from a pretty low base!

The audiobook tells the story of Monarchy from Claudius' Roman occupation through to Elizabeth II. Perhaps the title is a little misleading - for example there is not a great deal of coverage of the two twentieth century World Wars.

Personally, I didn't enoy this book as much as some ot the other history texts I have downloaded. The reason for this is not the quality of Mr. Starkey's writing, which is very good indeed. I struggled to keep track with events at times, just because there are so many monarchs. At times they seem to blur into each other a little.

Oh, and the changing narrators jar a little.

That said, this is a very good audiobook and I would definitiely reccommend it. No longer am I slightly ashamed of my lack of knowledge of monarchy and indeed English history. There's still a lot more to know but this book has given me a pretty good grounding. Thanks.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Youth Culture 101

  • By: Walt Mueller
  • Narrated by: Jonathan Petersen
  • Length: 17 hrs and 14 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 2
  • Performance
    0 out of 5 stars 0
  • Story
    0 out of 5 stars 0

This book is an overview of popular culture for youth workers, parents and educators. Explores the dynamics of why kids are drawn into the culture and how it shapes their development.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Not everything the description says it is.

  • By Once We Were Fiction on 06-02-11

Not everything the description says it is.

Overall
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-02-11

Whilst I don't disagree with much of what the writer of this book has to say, I really wouldn't reccommend it.

There is simply not enough content here, and what there is is anecdotal observations linked to lenghty passages of proselytising.

The guy that has written this really seems like a nice fella, and if you want to spend 16 hours listening to someone affirming the opinions you already hold - then great.

If you are a Christian parent, again, perhaps this book will suit.

But if you are a Youth worker or educator looking for some fresh insight, you'd probably be best off looking elsewhere.