LISTENER

F Gibb

Dumfries
  • 28
  • reviews
  • 121
  • helpful votes
  • 43
  • ratings
Even the Dogs cover art
  • Even the Dogs

  • By: Jon McGregor
  • Narrated by: Dean Williamson
  • Length: 5 hrs and 46 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 17
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 5
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 5

On a still and frozen day between Christmas and New Year, a man's body is found lying in his ruined flat. Found, and then taken away, examined, investigated and cremated. As the state begins its detailed, dispassionate inquest, the man embarks on his last journey through a world he has not ventured into, alive, for years. In his wake, a series of fractured narratives emerge as his friends who look on from the shadows, keep vigil as the hours pass.

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • Not unabridged

  • By MR A R J WEST on 03-09-15

Hopeless Poetry

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

Reviewed: 20-08-18

This is the poetry of those without hope. Bleak, stark, expecting nothing other than to manage the pain of life for a little longer, and looking no further forward than the next bit of now.
It has captured the hopelessness of addiction with such a quiet brutality that I have used it as my 'drugs talk' for my 15yr old son. We listened to it together during our car time.
I loved 'When People Speak of...,' and I loved this.

Wonderful narration too.


  • If Only They Didn't Speak English

  • Notes From Trump's America
  • By: Jon Sopel
  • Narrated by: Jon Sopel
  • Length: 9 hrs and 52 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 587
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 537
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 535

As the BBC's North America Editor, Jon Sopel has had a pretty busy time of it lately. In the 18 months it's taken for a reality star to go from laughingstock to leader of the free world, Jon has travelled the length and breadth of the United States, experiencing it from a perspective that most of us could only dream of: he has flown aboard Air Force One, interviewed President Obama and has even been described as 'a beauty' by none other than Donald Trump.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Brilliant, entertaining and superb

  • By Chris Thomas on 21-09-17

A whimsical look at America

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

Reviewed: 31-07-18

The only problem with this book was that I was expecting a focus on Donald Trump, and how he has altered America. All that was there, but it felt like a secondary story. Most of the passages were about America and American politics as a whole, with at least as much emphasis on the Barack Obama presidency as on DT. Having said that, it was a well written and presented tale that does show the enormous divide between American attitudes and values, and ours in the UK.
I'd recommend it, but with a slightly different initial expectation.

  • The Greatest Story Ever Told - So Far

  • Why Are We Here?
  • By: Lawrence M. Krauss
  • Narrated by: Lawrence Krauss
  • Length: 10 hrs and 25 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 191
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 180
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 180

Internationally renowned, award-winning theoretical physicist, New York Times bestselling author of A Universe from Nothing, and passionate advocate for reason, Lawrence Krauss tells the dramatic story of the discovery of the hidden world of reality - a grand poetic vision of nature - and how we find our place within it.

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • The references to "the PDF" are extremely annoying

  • By Ionut Bajescu on 13-01-18

Grand Unification Story

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

Reviewed: 12-05-18

This is an excellent book. It doesn't shy away from the hardest concepts of the quantum world, and it pulls everything together to present the coming together of all the strands of small particle physics into a group of theories that make sense to those in the field.

It is a book that should come with a warning, however...
"Warning: Unfathomable to mortals"

Personally, it lost me at the first mention of Gauge Symmetry. Which was at about page six!! (so I looked up Wickipedia for a bit of an explanation. This is how the Wickipedia page starts... "In physics, a gauge theory is a type of field theory in which the Lagrangian is invariant under certain Lie groups of local transformations..."!!!!)
Having said that, although I didn't understand it all. I did get many of the broad concepts, and it has cracked open some of these concepts to allow me to have another shot at them the next time I come across the ideas.
As well as that, it is a fascinating story of the people behind the ideas, and for that it is worth reading too.
It is well read by a person who clearly knows and loves his subject.

In summary, I would recommend it, despite its Lagrangian being invariant under certain Lie groups of local transformations!

  • The Dark Tourist

  • Sightseeing in the World's Most Unlikely Holiday Destinations
  • By: Dom Joly
  • Narrated by: Dom Joly
  • Length: 7 hrs and 55 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,316
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 823
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 818

Ever since he can remember, Dom Joly has been fascinated by travel to odd places. In part this stems from a childhood spent in war-torn Lebanon, where instead of swapping marbles in the schoolyard, he had a shrapnel collection -- the schoolboy currency of Beirut. These early experiences left Dom with a profound loathing for the sanitized experiences of the modern-day travel industry and a taste for the darkest of places.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Amusing, engaging and thought-provoking

  • By Helena on 26-04-11

The Casual Arrogance of an Englishman Abroad

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

Reviewed: 24-01-17

It's not quite xenophobia, bigotry or racism, but there is a definite air of superiority that permeates this book.I had expected an exploration and celebration of the bizarre and hard-to-explain places that Dom Joly chose to visit, but instead we were given a list of complaints that were borderline snobbery, and didn't allow us to savour the experience.
I love the books of Jon Ronson. They embrace the weird and challenging situations that he discovers, and they absolutely revel in them. This book didn't do that at all. I always felt like I was a tourist, and always detached from the place.
I gave it two rather than one star because the tales are mildly interesting (although, I must say I was also a little underwhelmed by the choice of destinations).

Sorry Dom.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Sapiens

  • By: Yuval Noah Harari
  • Narrated by: Derek Perkins
  • Length: 15 hrs and 18 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 11,290
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9,934
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9,866

Earth is 4.5 billion years old. In just a fraction of that time, one species among countless others has conquered it. Us. We are the most advanced and most destructive animals ever to have lived. What makes us brilliant? What makes us deadly? What makes us sapiens? In this bold and provocative audiobook, Yuval Noah Harari explores who we are, how we got here, and where we're going.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Thought provoking but overconfident

  • By Jan W. H. Schnupp on 24-09-15

More Manifesto than History

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

Reviewed: 12-05-16

I gave it four stars because I quite liked the things that he was saying, and I agreed with his view of the way the Sapiens species has inflicted itself on the world. But if you are expecting a 'proper' history book- devoid of opinion, and trying to tell things as they happened, but without bias, then this is definitely not for you.
It's an editorial rather than a report.

34 of 37 people found this review helpful

  • The City & The City

  • By: China Mieville
  • Narrated by: John Lee
  • Length: 10 hrs and 16 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 501
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 410
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 409

New York Times best-selling author China Mieville delivers his most accomplished novel yet, an existential thriller set in a city unlike any other, real or imagined. When a murdered woman is found in the city of Beszel, somewhere at the edge of Europe, it looks to be a routine case for Inspector Tyador Borlof the Extreme Crime Squad. But as he investigates, the evidence points to conspiracies far stranger and more deadly than anything he could have imagined.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Twice the city for your money

  • By Nigel on 19-05-12

Honk if You're Horny!

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

Reviewed: 01-05-16

Those stickers you see on the back of cars. "Honk if You're Horny"; "My Other Car's a Porsche"; "0-60, Eventually". They're funny the first time you see them, by the fourth time they're merely amusing. By the 20th time they're really, really annoying!
And so it was with this book. When I first came across the premise of this novel I thought it was astounding. I was really intrigued- totally infatuated with the idea. But the idea got played over and over again. By the end of the book I was frustrated and not a little angry with it.

The narrator didn't help. He pushed the idea into our faces by delivering everything to do with it with a different level of gravitas to the rest of the story. It was a little like that uncle, who only knows one or two funny stories, and keeps trying over and again to make us laugh at them.

This would have made an excellent short story. Introduce the idea; explore it a bit, then get out. As a novel it is stretched too far.

1 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • The Handmaid's Tale

  • By: Margaret Atwood
  • Narrated by: Joanna David
  • Length: 10 hrs and 23 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,815
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,404
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,406

The Republic of Gilead offers Offred only one function: to breed . If she deviates, she will, like dissenters, be hanged at the wall or sent out to die slowly of radiation sickness. But even a repressive state cannot obliterate desire - neither Offred's nor that of the two men on which her future hangs....

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A favourite

  • By Raison on 10-11-13

Expertly written dystopian fantasy... Or is it?

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

Reviewed: 27-06-15

It IS expertly written. Beautifully crafted, as if each word has been considered carefully, then checked for size, sound, cadence, and context, before being painstakingly positioned onto the page. Yet it has a lightness and freshness that such elegantly written pieces often lack. It has passages as lush and luxuriant as a bath full of feathers; and others that cut into you like a dagger.It truly is a masterpiece.
And it IS dystopian. My God it's dystopian! It is hard to digest some of the images that the book conjures, such is the disgust, revulsion, empathy, pathos, helplessness and complete hopelessness that it instills. The amazing storytelling of Margaret Atwood, make you feel that you are there. This book will be alive in my consciousness for as long as I live. I have been rocked to the core by it.

So why the "Or is it?"?

Well, without giving the game away, I felt as if I was being transported to a caricature of the 'now' world of ISIS/IS, or the extremes of Taliban Afghanistan. This did feel like dystopian fantasy, but with the caveat that it is a dystopia that is not far off what is happening to some people in our world now. That it captures our world of the 21st century, when it was written in 1985 shows the genius that Margaret Atwood is.

Brilliantly read too!

27 of 28 people found this review helpful

  • Catch Me If You Can

  • By: Frank W. Abagnale, Stan Redding
  • Narrated by: Barrett Whitener
  • Length: 8 hrs and 30 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 345
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 261
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 263

Frank W. Abagnale was one of the most daring con men, forgers, imposters, and escape artists in history. In his brief but notorious criminal career, Abagnale donned a pilot's uniform and copiloted a Pan Am jet, masqueraded as the supervising resident of a hospital, practiced law without a license, passed himself off as a college sociology professor, and cashed over $2.5 million in forged checks, all before he was 21. His story is now a film starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Captivating - his audacity is astounding

  • By Leya on 19-10-13

Unabashed Entertainment!

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

Reviewed: 03-06-14

A glorious tale of a man, who knew he was doing wrong, but didn't feel the need to justify his actions.
The bare-facedness is so refreshing! It is very funny and completely avoids any form of moralisation. It just tells you what happened, and you, my dear reader (listener), can make up your own mind about Mr Abagnale.

Get it!

  • Skagboys

  • By: Irvine Welsh
  • Narrated by: Tam Dean Burn
  • Length: 24 hrs and 48 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 400
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 345
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 342

Mark Renton has it all: He's good-looking, young, with a pretty girlfriend and a place at university. But there's no room for him in the 1980s.Thatcher's government is destroying working-class communities across Britain, and the post-war certainties of full employment, educational opportunity and a welfare state are gone. When his family starts to fracture, Mark's life swings out of control and he succumbs to the defeatism which has taken hold in Edinburgh's grimmer areas.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • F*#@ing Barry!!

  • By F Gibb on 30-05-14

F*#@ing Barry!!

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

Reviewed: 30-05-14

This will almost certainly be the sweariest book that you will have ever read. In fact, it is one swear-word short of sweariness saturation- where the context of the story is lost in a sea of foul potty-mouthiness.

HOWEVER... It is written with a deftness of style, and a sensitivity to the human condition, which can bring you to the point of tears. The characters develop seamlessly into rich, interesting, believable, three-dimensional, but larger, no, LARGER than life people. You love them, you hate them, you feel for them, you hope for them, you cringe with them. The tale (or tales) is (or are) in turns funny and sad and poignant, and funny, and cringeworthy, and did I mention funny. And as for the swearing- it feels so natural to the characters that you barely even notice it.

The book has a feel similar to its companion, Trainspotting. It is more a series of little episodes, which build like a mosaic into the whole of the novel. I think that it's better than Trainspotting- it's just so well written!

The Narration is as good as any I have ever heard. Tam Dean Burn obviously loved his brief, and he nailed it! It is told with a passion and energy, which brings that characters and scenes alive. I'm sure that Irvine Welsh was delighted by the rendition that TDB delivered.

I cannot rate this book highly enough. It really captured me from the very first moment, and I urge you to give it a go!!!

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • The Chequer Board

  • By: Nevil Shute
  • Narrated by: Paul Panting
  • Length: 11 hrs and 35 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 33
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 30
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 29

John Turner, a young man with a chequered past, has been told he has just one year to live. He decides to use his remaining time to search of three very different men he met briefly during the war: a snobbish British pilot, a young corporal accused of murder, and a black G.I. accused of attempted rape. Along the way, Turner learns about forgiveness, tolerance, and second chances, and overcomes his fear of death.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A good old-fashioned yarn

  • By F Gibb on 16-01-14

A good old-fashioned yarn

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

Reviewed: 16-01-14

I really like Nevil Shute stories.
They are simple, and moral, and have an old-fashioned innocence to them. But they are also extremely 'hooky', and never let you spend even a moment of the book without wondering what will happen next.
This is no exception. It ticks all the Shute boxes, and, if there were pages to turn, it'd be a right old page turner. I suppose the audiobook version is a 'car-park waiter'...
The narrator tell the tale well. Gently paced, and sympathetic to the characters.
A right good read!

6 of 6 people found this review helpful