LISTENER

Mendo Shutaro

Leamington
  • 18
  • reviews
  • 96
  • helpful votes
  • 35
  • ratings
  • Ready Player One

  • By: Ernest Cline
  • Narrated by: Wil Wheaton
  • Length: 15 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 20,010
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 18,856
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 18,795

It's the year 2044, and the real world has become an ugly place.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • This Book Changed My Life 💙 New Hobbies Found 💜

  • By Amazon Customer on 05-04-18

Disappointingly mediocre

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

Reviewed: 16-05-18

I've yet to see the movie, which I gather is very different to this book. Perhaps that's for the best, as this rather clunky effort is unimpressive. The characters mostly a mix of dull and clichéd, except for the the main character Wade, who is downright creepy at times. The plot relies exclusively on large amounts of references to old movies and video games to stay interesting, and even then it's so contrived as to be difficult to buy into.

This is a pretty poorly written book, so I'd recommend going into it with lowered expectations.

  • Blood on Satan's Claw

  • An Audible Original Drama
  • By: Mark Morris - adapter, Piers Haggard, Robert Wynne-Simmons
  • Narrated by: Mark Gatiss, Reece Shearsmith, Thomas Turgoose, and others
  • Length: 2 hrs and 24 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 800
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 738
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 736

Seventeenth-century England, and a plough uncovers a grisly skull in the furrows of a farmer's field. The skull disappears, but its malefic influence begins to work in insidious ways upon the nearby village of Hexbridge. First, the cows stop milking and the fruit turns rotten on the trees. Then, an insolent ungodliness takes hold of the local children, mysterious fur patches appear on limbs and people start disappearing.... Something evil is stirring in the woods.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Folk Horror at it's best. A stellar adaptation.

  • By Film Lover on 17-01-18

Great performances of a fairly standard story

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

Reviewed: 13-04-18

I'm not familiar with the history of the book from which this dramatisation was drawn. Perhaps in its day it was original and shocking, but now with so many horror movies in the can this is a pretty standard, unsurprising tale.

What makes this dramatisation stand out is Mark Gatiss and the excellent production values. Gatiss is clearly having a great time and is backed up well by the rest of the cast, including another league member Reece Shearsmith.

It's very short, but a nice way to pass the time in good company.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Frank

  • The True Story that Inspired the Movie
  • By: Jon Ronson
  • Narrated by: Jon Ronson
  • Length: 1 hr and 20 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 319
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 298
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 298

In the late 1980s Jon Ronson was the keyboard player in the Frank Sidebottom Oh Blimey Big Band. Frank wore a big fake head. Nobody outside his inner circle knew his true identity. This became the subject of feverish speculation during his zenith years. Together, they rode relatively high. Then it all went wrong. Twenty-five years later and Jon has co-written a movie, Frank, inspired by his time in this great and bizarre band. Frank is set for release in 2014, starring Michael Fassbender, Maggie Gyllenhaal, and Domhnall Gleeson and directed by Lenny Abrahamson.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Interesting little tale

  • By Paul D on 21-01-14

A charming, minor entry in the Robson oeuvre

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

Reviewed: 01-05-15

Having seen the movie and being vaguely aware of Jon's link to the real life Frank Sidebottom this sounded like an interesting tale. The book chronicles the bizarre story of how Jon stumbled into the Frank Sidebottom Oh Blimey Big Band, and how whilst those around them succeeded, the core band struggled to garner even a cult following. The movie is touched upon briefly, but I would have liked to have heard more.

This is a very short book, but entertaining all the same and for Ronson fans, an easy purchase.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • So You've Been Publicly Shamed

  • By: Jon Ronson
  • Narrated by: Jon Ronson
  • Length: 8 hrs and 16 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,197
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,906
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,888

From the Sunday Times top ten best-selling author of The Psychopath Test, a captivating and brilliant exploration of one of our world's most underappreciated forces: shame. "It's about the terror, isn't it?" "The terror of what?" I said. "The terror of being found out." For the past three years, Jon Ronson has travelled the world, meeting recipients of high-profile public shamings. The shamed are people like us - people who, say, made jokes on social media that came out badly or made mistakes at work.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Gripping

  • By Paul on 19-03-15

Another winner from Jon

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

Reviewed: 29-04-15

I wasn't initially sold on the concept of this one, and the first case Jon examines didn't really change this. As the book goes on though the cases get more involved and there are many humorous moments too. It quickly became as addictive as other Ronson books.

Jon's narration is excellent of course. His deadpan delivery is perfect for his brand of uncomfortable humour.

Recommended for all, although if you're new to Jon Ronson you might do better to start with one of his earlier books. (But avoid Goats as Jon doesn't narrate it)

  • Service Games

  • The Rise and Fall of SEGA: Enhanced Edition
  • By: Sam Pettus
  • Narrated by: Tom Racine
  • Length: 17 hrs and 13 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 26
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 25
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 24

New Edition! More content, images, and corrected text and facts. Monochrome edition. Starting with its humble beginnings in the 1950s and ending with its swan-song, the Dreamcast, in the early 2000s, this is the complete history of Sega as a console maker. Before home computers and video game consoles, before the Internet and social networking, and before motion controls and smartphones, there was Sega.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • An interesting story poorly told

  • By Mendo Shutaro on 23-04-15

An interesting story poorly told

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

Reviewed: 23-04-15

I imagine anyone who finds this book will be looking for an in depth history of Sega. That's what the book provides, but it does so with such amateurish writing as to make it a slog to get through. Sentences are often oddly short, and rarely flow together. The writer also lurches wildly between saying how wonderful everything was going to Sega, to how everything was falling apart. This radical change of outlook may be achieved within a few sentences. The narrator tries his best but the writing is so weak that he often struggles.

I'm also unsure as to how accurate it is. I'm well versed with the technicalities of the various Sega consoles, and factual errors abound in this book. If those areas are incorrect, perhaps others may be too.

This book is very different to Console Wars. That book is largely fictionalised and reads more like a soap opera. For all its faults though, at least it feels like it was written by a professional. By contrast, Service Games is clearly the work of an amateur.

2 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • More Fool Me

  • By: Stephen Fry
  • Narrated by: Stephen Fry
  • Length: 9 hrs and 50 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,891
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,728
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,718

Following on from his hugely successful books, Moab is My Washpot and The Fry Chronicles, comes the third chapter in Stephen Fry's life. This unabridged, downloadable audiobook edition of More Fool Me is performed by Stephen Fry himself.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A defense of More Fool Me

  • By Ben on 10-10-14

The story of a drug addled lovie

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

Reviewed: 12-02-15

I imagine most who read this book will be fans of Stephen Fry, as was I. Be prepared however to have that tested if you choose to read this.

Fry spent most of his time in the 1990s partying in exclusive member only clubs for the famous, whilst taking gigantic quantities of cannabis. Occasionally he would write a little, or act in something, but mostly just party.

During the first half of the book this plays out as an interesting look at a bizarre alternate world. In the second however, the book switches to pure diary, written in lovie slang and is simply insufferable.

Fry's performance on this audiobook is of course exemplary, but the subject matter will leave a bad taste in the mouth.

  • Console Wars

  • Sega, Nintendo, and the Battle That Defined a Generation
  • By: Blake J. Harris
  • Narrated by: Fred Berman
  • Length: 20 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 274
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 259
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 257

A mesmerizing, behind-the-scenes business thriller that chronicles how Sega, a small, scrappy gaming company led by an unlikely visionary and a team of rebels, took on the juggernaut Nintendo and revolutionized the videogame industry. In 1990, Nintendo had a virtual monopoly on the videogame industry. Sega, on the other hand, was just a faltering arcade company with big aspirations and even bigger personalities. But all that would change with the arrival of Tom Kalinske.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • An interesting tale, poorly told

  • By Mendo Shutaro on 21-06-14

An interesting tale, poorly told

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

Reviewed: 21-06-14

Growing up in the 1990s I was very familiar with the intense rivalry between Sega and Nintendo (I was a Sega kid), especially as Sega went from virtually no market share (5%) to the biggest selling console maker (50%) in the space of a few years. The story behind this incredible turnaround is indeed interesting, but made less so by this book.

The two main issues I have with it, are that conversations (and the book is absolutely full of them) are written as they would be in a novel. Nobody could remember every word to such detail, which makes the book feel fictionalised to a fairly large degree. The author also seems to turn the main players in the story into caricatures.

The other problem is the reader. He mostly sounds like movie trailer voice over guy, except when reading those over the top characterisations, at which point he puts on a variety of camp or silly pantomime voices. It's just too much, and makes the already difficult to swallow text even less believable.

The book also ends very abruptly. This is very much the story of Sega's rise, not its fall, with the launch of the Saturn and the collapse in market share barely mentioned. This is really a shame, as this could potentially have been as interesting a story, especially if it had also included the brief lifespan of the brilliant yet unsuccessful Dreamcast.

A tepid recommendation then, but this should have been so much better.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden

  • By: Jonas Jonasson
  • Narrated by: Peter Kenny
  • Length: 12 hrs and 6 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,018
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 939
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 939

On 14th June, 2007, the King of Sweden disappears. In 1994 South Africa dismantles six missiles developed during its brief nuclear weapons programme. In 1961 Nombeko Mayeki is born in a Soweto shack. Seemingly destined for a life nasty, brutish and short, her path takes an entirely unpredictable turn. Because really this story is all about the seventh South African missile - the one that was never supposed to have existed. The one that Nombeko knows far too much about.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • An Intellectual Laugh-out-loud Read!!

  • By Lulu on 03-12-15

Turn the quirk-o-meter to eleven

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

Reviewed: 15-06-14

Having listened to Jonas Jonasson's previous book ("The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared", I knew what to expect here. This is, as expected, a book about a seemingly endless series of implausible and often impossible events. It's very similar The Hundred Year Old Man, although rather than being a mix of flashback and current day events, this story has two parallel and concurrent threads.

I found the story somewhat trying to listen to. Jonasson has cranked the quirk-o-meter up so high this time that it really started to annoy after a while. Added to that, is the rambling, seemingly unstructured nature of the story. Events happen at random, as if Jonasson simply made it all up as he went along and had no idea how to end the story. (it's far too long) It's not completely without merit - some of the characters are amusing from time to time.

This is exacerbated by the narration. Peter Kenny is usually the go to guy for quirk, but he ramps it up so stratospherically high here as to make the book almost impossible to listen to. Every sentence (literally, every sentence) starts very high pitched, then Kenny fluctuates his pitch from high to low continually. This is incredibly unnatural and grating, and while it may be tolerable for a brief introduction, to use such an exaggerated style for an entire book is painful.

I struggled through to the end of this as I hate to give up on a book. My advice - if you have anything less that a high tolerance for random storytelling and grating narration, avoid this one.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Logan's Run

  • By: William F. Nolan, George Clayton Johnson
  • Narrated by: Oliver Wyman
  • Length: 5 hrs and 28 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 67
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 60
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 59

It's the 23rd Century and at age 21... your life is over! Logan-6 has been trained to kill; born and bred from conception to be the best of the best. But his time is short and before his life ends he's got one final mission: Find and destroy Sanctuary, a fabled haven for those that chose to defy the system. But when Logan meets and falls in love with Jessica, he begins to question the very system he swore to protect and soon they're both running for their lives.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Get ready for carrousel

  • By andrew on 11-05-14

A stunningly awful book

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

Reviewed: 13-02-14

Having always enjoyed the Logan's Run film adaptation, I was keen to listen to the book, as I heard it was rather different. Different it is, at least after the first quarter or so. What follows is an insane, incoherent, fever dream of a book, which is far and away the worst written book I have ever read. Sentences are often a random collection of unmatched words, character names are usually omitted leading to confusion, and the plot bounces around from one utterly bizarre scenario to the next with nothing to connect it. It's like The Wizard of Oz as written by someone on extra strength hallucinogenic drugs.

The narrator is unfortunately no help at all, speaking as he does at a lugubrious pace, and so dragging out this dreadful story even further. I ended up using the 1.25x and 1.5x playback options in the Audible app to get him to speak at a more normal pace.

This book is a mess. It makes no sense, the story is the type of thing a small child would come up with, and it's technically so poorly written it should never have been published. The movie took the one good idea of the book (that everyone dies very young due to over population) and span it out into an entertaining film, although even it couldn't free itself entirely from the insanity of the book's ideas.

There are lots of great sci-fi books, but this certainly isn't one of them. Avoid at all costs.

10 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Grey Wolf

  • The Escape of Adolf Hitler
  • By: Simon Dunstan, Gerrard Williams
  • Narrated by: Don Hagen
  • Length: 11 hrs and 18 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 81
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 63
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 62

When Truman asked Stalin in 1945 whether Hitler was dead, Stalin replied bluntly, "No." As late as 1952, Eisenhower declared: "We have been unable to unearth one bit of tangible evidence of Hitler's death." What really happened? Simon Dunstan and Gerrard Williams have compiled extensive evidence - some recently declassified - that Hitler actually fled Berlin and took refuge in a remote Nazi enclave in Argentina.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A curious tale

  • By James on 02-04-13

An interesting story, but nothing more

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

Reviewed: 21-11-13

The first half of this book is a lengthy recap of the entire war, and so can be safely skipped.

The second half briefly describes Hitler's apparent escape from the Fuhrerbunker and his life in exile in Argentina. It hinges entirely upon the survival of Martin Bormann, who, according to this book, facilitated the escape and Hitler's new life initially from Europe, and then in person in Argentina. In reality, Bormann died in Berlin, having been shot by Russians during an attempt to break free from the bunker and escape to safety. While there were rumours for years that Bormann had somehow escaped, despite reports to the contrary, DNA evidence has now confirmed that the initial reports were in fact correct. He never escaped Berlin.

While this key component of the narrative debunked, what remains makes little sense. There are some stories from hotel staff and the like in Argentina who claim to have seen Hitler, and claims from a pilot who apparently flew Hitler out of Germany. From time to time the book will bracket a section of the narrative as speculation or deduction, but much of it is presented as fact without any evidence or listed sources, despite the fantastical claims being made.

In closing then I found this to be a mildly entertaining "what if" type affair, but it was never ever to present enough evidence to be any more than that. The best evidence remains that Hitler died in the Fuhrerbunker, and Bormann died not far from it in Berlin. Perhaps it's best to quote the late, great Carl Sagan - "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence".

1 of 3 people found this review helpful