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  • 12
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  • A Short History of Nearly Everything

  • By: Bill Bryson
  • Narrated by: William Roberts
  • Length: 18 hrs and 59 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,826
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,024
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,969

A Short History of Nearly Everything is Bill Bryson's fascinating and humorous quest to understand everything that has happened from the Big Bang to the rise of civilization. He takes subjects that normally bore the pants off most of us, like geology, chemistry, and particle physics, and aims to render them comprehensible to people who have never thought they could be interested in science. In the company of some extraordinary scientists, Bill Bryson reveals the world in a way most of us have never seen it before.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A short Review of Nearly Everything

  • By Roy on 08-08-05

Best book I've read in ages

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

Reviewed: 08-03-19

I won't write too much as there are loads of reviews for this already, so I doubt anyone will read this.

Regarding the narrator whom some people have bemoaned, I thought he was excellent. At times he reminded me of the narrator in Hitchhikers Guide to The Galaxy.

The content of the book was really great and I learn't so much. I had the paperback of this for a few years and never got round to reading it. This got devoured on my way to work and back.

I was genuinely sad when I reached the end of the book. Sad because it was the end and also because of the realisation how bad humanity was for the world.

Anyway, wonderful book that everyone (especially the 45th President) should listen to.

  • Famous Five: Five on a Treasure Island

  • Book 1
  • By: Enid Blyton
  • Narrated by: Mel Giedroyc
  • Length: 3 hrs and 16 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 50
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 41
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 39

There was something else out on the sea by the rocks - something dark that seemed to lurch out of the waves...What could it be? Julian, Dick and Anne are spending the holidays with their tomboy cousin George and her dog, Timothy. One day, George takes them to explore nearby Kirrin Island, with its rocky little coast and old ruined castle on the top. Over on the island, they make a thrilling discovery, which leads them deep into the dungeons of Kirrin Castle on a dangerous adventure. Who - and what - will they find there?

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 7 years old grandsonloved it.

  • By Alan H. on 13-04-19

Excellent narration and story

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

Reviewed: 10-02-19

Mel was excellent reading this and deserves lashings of ginger beer for her efforts.

It’s a long long time since I read these books as a child and listening to it again reminded me of a simpler time and of a nicer life. The story was surprisingly intense at times and although my older eyes can see the plot holes, I enjoyed it greatly.

My kids adore the books. I’ve bought 1,3, 4 & 5 (cheaper if you buy the kindle version and add on the audible version. I’ll buy 2 shortly as this has made me want to revisit them. Mel was a revelation.

  • The Five Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts

  • By: Gary Chapman
  • Narrated by: Gary Chapman
  • Length: 4 hrs and 46 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 786
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 656
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 652

Dr. Gary Chapman identifies five basic languages of love and then guides couples towards a better understanding of their unique languages of love. Learn to speak and understand your mate's love language, and in no time you will be able to effectively love and truly feel loved in return. Skillful communication is within your grasp!

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Some food for thought

  • By Bilbo2006 on 20-04-16

Repetitive

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

Reviewed: 10-02-19

Firstly, the recording is actually (for some odd reason) two almost identical readings of the same book. This felt like a rip-off as the content is only half what it says it is (5 hours rather than 10).
Secondly the narrator’s accent grated after a while and I ended up quite sick of it. Thirdly as others have noted, his examples are pretty sexist (and I’m a guy) , which I guess either reflects his clientele in Texas at the time he wrote this or he’s sexist. Lastly, it’s a bit overly religious in places which again grated at times.
Oh and I’m sick of the phrase “love tank”. Who seriously would ask their partner about their love tank?

The underlying message was really useful and I am applying it. Basically there are 5 ways you can show love to people but if you are using the wrong way then they won’t appreciate your efforts.

These are:
1 Saying nice things
2 Giving gifts
3 Doing things for them
4 Quality time with them
5 Touch

I’ve always been showing my wife my love by doing things for her. I now realise she appreciates quality time more.

It didn’t need 5 hours of tales about how Betty Jo isn’t getting dinner ready on time or being told to hold my spouses hand at church (like I go) to tell me this. I was also concerned about him telling one woman who sounded like she was in a pretty abusive relationship that she needed to give her husband more sex and more affirmation. It apparently worked, but equally the husband sounds like he got away with treating her like a doormat for years.

Anyway, overall the message was very good and has shown me where I’m gong wrong, but the presentation was woeful. No way am I playing “the love tank” game.

Honestly, you’d be better off reading a précis.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • The Compassionate Mind

  • By: Paul Gilbert
  • Narrated by: Rupert Farley
  • Length: 22 hrs and 34 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 162
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 144
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 140

Throughout history people have sought to cope with a life that is often stressful and hard. We have actually known for some time that developing compassion for oneself and others can help us face up to and win through the hardship and find a sense of inner peace. However in modern societies we rarely focus on this key process that underpins successful coping and happiness and can be quick to dismiss the impact of modern living on our minds and well-being. Instead we concentrate on 'doing, achieving' and having'.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Incredibly important read.

  • By Joanna on 25-10-16

Good first half. Poor editing

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

Reviewed: 26-01-19

Loved the first half which was really insightful. It was a bit drawn out and repetitive at times though. At about 11 hours it gets into the practical side of the book and that’s where the limits of audible show most. There were hours of example exercises explained and to be honest I’ll probably never go back to them and can remember few. Many sounded very similar that they all sort of merged.
Last part of the book was going on about how a compassionate society would be which is not something I can influence in reality and this got boring...as did his obvious love for Buddha and dislike of any other religion. I got a bit sick of that.

The narration was putting me to sleep at times and the editing was messed up in well over a dozen places with parts repeated straight after they’ve been read. At one point a piece was repeated three times. This was all mostly in the second half which was all a bit dullsville. I got sick of hearing ‘mind brain’ as when reading it you’d not read both choices each time.

Good for the first few hours but the exercises need the book really which I’ll probably get second hand. Went on too long and was repetitive and off message too much.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Get Happy: Introduction to Happiness

  • By: Michelle Gielan, Oliver Burkeman
  • Length: 1 hr and 52 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 90
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 81
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 80

In this five-part series, US happiness expert and positive psychologist Michelle Gielan and British journalist and author Oliver Burkeman explore ways to become truly happier, backed up by scientific evidence. Bringing their own unique and counter-balanced personalities to proceedings they ask questions such as: what is happiness? Can we make ourselves happier? And why is everyone talking about mindfulness? Michelle and Oliver tackle these questions with the help of some of the world’s leading experts on the subjects and at the end of each episode, Michelle leads the listener through a quick and easy practical exercise that has been shown to increase happiness. Listeners will be left with a genuine takeaway from each episode and encouraged to explore the topics further and take their own steps towards a happier life.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great overview

  • By Pavol P. on 23-11-18

Useful tips

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

Reviewed: 24-11-18

Each episode contained a practical tip to help you become happier in life. I find these tips useful , though the "doubler" sounded very similar to recording gratitude and sounded like the narrators pet invention rather than another proven technique.

I found the American narrator's husband told me more depressing information than information that made me happy. I had to turn it off when he came on talking about suicide as I was listening with my children. I also found guests being introduced as "the best selling author of" a bit irritating as it seemed to be be suggesting that this made them an expert in the field. I've read enough poor books that sold well to know that isn't the case.
In summary, I found the tips useful, but the actual content was quite light.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • It Takes Guts: Introduction to Gut Health

  • By: Tim Anderson, Giles Yeo
  • Length: 2 hrs and 15 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 89
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 80
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 78

MasterChef winner and restaurateur Tim Anderson, with the help of Dr Giles Yeo, ventures into his bowels. "Gut Feeling", "the Gut Instinct", "Trust your Gut". We have so many phrases to talk about the gut, but now science is developing a new language to describe what is really happening down there. Tim and Giles find out how the gut can revolutionize the way we feel in body and mind.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Really interesting intro to git health

  • By Michael on 01-12-18

Lacking in practicality

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

Reviewed: 24-11-18

Enjoyable enough, but could have done with more practical tips and information that I could act upon than it did. As it was, I didn't learn much new and didn't really learn anything that I could take away with me.
Needed to be a little less fascinated my fermented foods and poo and which seemed to have much more coverage than they deserved. Not really sure either was much of an expert in the field either.

1 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Lost Connections

  • Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression - and the Unexpected Solutions
  • By: Johann Hari
  • Narrated by: Johann Hari
  • Length: 9 hrs and 20 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,227
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,112
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,100

From the New York Times best-selling author of Chasing the Scream, a radically new way of thinking about depression and anxiety. What really causes depression and anxiety - and how can we really solve them?

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Let down by a very poor last third

  • By Amazon Customer on 16-10-18

Let down by a very poor last third

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

Reviewed: 16-10-18

I bought this on the recent Audible Deal and thought that it might help with my anxiety and depression.

I enjoyed Part 1 (why anti depressants shouldn't be given as much as they are and don't actually appear to have benefits for most people, but do have side effects) and Part 2 (what are the causes of depression if its not a chemical imbalance and what can we do that might work better). Both parts had scientific research and experts quoted. However, Part 3 (lost connections?) was a pretty rambling, unfocused waffle which went on at great length about a German housing group's issues and other tales (like using psychedelics) which had little - if any - scientific backing for the conclusions he came to. He would tend to have someone say "this could be of benefit" and run with that as though it was the greatest cure even though it was one person's opinion on (usually) one and only one example, the efficacy of which was frequently subjective. By the end of Part 3, I was fed up of listening to Johann and could understand a previous comment about him having a leftist agenda as it felt to me that this part was using very sketchy at best evidence to support his beliefs and world view.

Pros:
Part 1 provided interesting information as to how drug companies have manipulated trial information and the system to get their drugs on the market when they show little benefit but have been shown to cause harm. I found this enlightening.

Part 2 provided a good list of possible social and environmental causes and what you can do to improve your symptoms. I think I will listen to this again.

Part 2 had a lot of direct references by the people he'd interviewed and a lot of facts and figures (as did part 1)
Parts 1 & 2 had a lot of quoted scientific evidence

Cons:
Narrator: Johann Hari shouldn't have narrated this himself. He's not a professional and it shows. At times he was poor and by the end I was sick of his melancholy voice.

Swearing. There wasn't a lot, but why was it needed at all? It might be quoting someone, but it was jarring and really put me off.

Mealtimes: I don't want to know what Johann was eating when he was interviewing someone. Might be his "chummy" writing style but I really don't care about it and it's not why I got the book. He was always saying what he was eating.

Overly Personalised: Some elements (most of Part 3 was guilty of this) were much too personalised and his own journey with AD's coloured his perception too much and biased his opinions too clearly. For instance, there are many side effects to AD's, but he focused on weight gain as it was the major one for him. Not a mention of suicidal or angry mood swings for instance which are much more devastating. I also read this book with no idea who the author was. Part way through Part 3 I was asking myself "what has any of this stuff about a gay bar have to do with depression?" and later wondered what the tale about the guy who wanted gay marriage had to do with it. I now know that he is gay and I guess that's why he felt I needed to know what the gay bar owner's other clubs were called in a book on depression.

CBT: In part 3 in just one sentence he dismisses CBT saying "there isn't any evidence that it is of benefit to people with depression" (or words to that effect), which a very quick and cursory Google shows is utter nonsense. If that was the case, then why does the NHS advocate it? I've just spent a month studying the efficacy of CBT and I know his flippant claim to be untrue and it makes me concerned about the rest of his claims.

Metaphors: At times the metaphors he used made me cringe.

Bookending: The first chapter struck me as irrelevant and I wondered why it was included. I found out at the end of the book it was so he could refer back to a single line in that chapter (listen to your body and don't mask it) at the end. It felt contrived... like too much of the book.

In summary, had I stopped reading the book at the end of part 2, then I would have rated it much higher. Part 3 seemed to be a waste of my life and a fairly desperate attempt to make the points he wanted despite the lack of compelling evidence for his views.

18 of 19 people found this review helpful

  • Ep. 1: What Happens in Vegas (Dom Joly's Big American Vacation)

  • By: Dom Joly
  • Length: 22 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 17
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 14
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 14

Dom sets off on his tour around the US of A, with his trusty sidekick (and complete stranger) Fiona. After the first evening consisting primarily of 'ass juice', a visit to 'Hangover Heaven' is a necessity. Followed by a drive-thru wedding complete with a wigged up 'Emergency Elvis'. Not wigs! Dom has a thing about wigs. Anyway, what if the bride and groom are related? Surely you can't get married if you already have a wife?! So many questions....

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Just bad

  • By Mike Luard on 23-04-18

Very funny

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

Reviewed: 11-08-18

Loved this and wish it had been longer or even better had been on TV. Fionna and Dom were very good company and the whole premise was great. I'll listen again.

Only downside (aside from being shorter than I'd like as I loved it so much) was that at times I couldn't make or what the other people were saying.

Recommended. Some swearing so it's not family friendly.

  • Ep. 2: Natural History (The Ricky Gervais Guide To...)

  • By: Ricky Gervais, Stephen Merchant, Karl Pilkington
  • Length: 46 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 51
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 44
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 45

Areas of discussion include: The heuristic potential of flora and fauna; Karl is impressed by a new motoring accessory; Seashores to semiconductors; Gene genius; Monkey thumping; Karl's instinct for extinction; Self-improvement a la Frankenstein; Dodos - a dead delicacy?; Aurally challenged alligators, hedonistic rodents and horse-biting ranidae; Genital aesthetics - Karl talks bollocks.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • So funny...

  • By Eire Guide on 18-01-19

Ruined by Ricky

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

Reviewed: 11-08-18

Karl is funny and at times had me laughing out loud, but Ricky and his awful laughing, abundant swearing and hus puerile fascination with sexual organs ruined it for me.

Would have been much better without him on top be honest. He came across as a pillock who was trying too hard to make Karl look stupid. Why he wouldn't just shut up and stop being over the top I don't know. I'd forgotten just how irritating the guy can be.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful