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Olly Buxton

Highgate, UK
  • 34
  • reviews
  • 26
  • helpful votes
  • 59
  • ratings
  • The Looming Tower

  • Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11
  • By: Lawrence Wright
  • Narrated by: Lawrence Wright
  • Length: 16 hrs and 31 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 217
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 198
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 197

A sweeping narrative history of the events leading to 9/11, a groundbreaking look at the people and ideas, the terrorist plans and the Western intelligence failures that culminated in the assault on America. Lawrence Wright's remarkable book is based on five years of research and hundreds of interviews that he conducted in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Sudan, England, France, Germany, Spain, and the United States.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Astounding

  • By HashTag on 03-09-18

Fascinating history

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

Reviewed: 27-04-19

Fascinating, detailed, thoroughly researched and eye-opening history of Islamic fundamentalism from Sayyid Qutb onwards. The denouement is of course terrible and author Lawrence Wright's narration really quite affecting, his voice almost cracking in a couple of places.

  • The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared

  • By: Jonas Jonasson
  • Narrated by: Peter Kenny
  • Length: 10 hrs and 59 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,851
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,309
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,300

Sitting quietly in his room in an old people's home, Allan Karlsson is waiting for a party he doesn't want to begin: his one-hundredth birthday party. Escaping through his bedroom window, into the flowerbed, Allan makes his getaway. And so begins his picaresque and unlikely journey involving criminals, several deaths, a suitcase full of cash, and incompetent but very human police.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Fantastically Odd

  • By Oliver Dayman on 29-05-13

Mildly diverting

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

Reviewed: 21-04-19

Mildly diverting, but nothing special. Other writers (notably Tom Sharp and Douglas Adams) do the absurd ingenue sort of thing much effectively. The writing isn't clever enough (perhaps blame the translation) and it is really just a shaggy dog story at the end of the day. The narrator is lively enough, but has given his characters English regional accents, an odd choice for a book clearly about Swedish characters and set in Sweden.

  • Jonathan Pie

  • Off the Record
  • By: Jonathan Pie, Andrew Doyle, Tom Walker
  • Narrated by: Jonathan Pie
  • Length: 3 hrs and 19 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 434
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 389
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 385

Want to know more about history and politics? Then you should probably go and listen to a proper audiobook. Fancy a laugh at some smutty jokes? Then go and read Viz. But if you fancy a combination of the two, this is the audiobook for you. In Off the Record, bitter and twisted leftie news reporter Jonathan Pie picks 10 of the world's worst wankers and tears them apart. Here you'll find the answers to some difficult questions. With extra swearing.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Ok but gets a bit tedious

  • By Kira Adams on 27-12-18

More scripted than YouTube broadcasts

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

Reviewed: 09-04-19

It takes a while to warm up. It doesn't feel as spontaneous as his YouTube material - he's reading it out, after all - so it doesn't always seem as deliciously unhinged as the Jonathan Pie we know and love - at least not until he hits his straps with Simon Cowell, with a hilarious rant, and has some excellent and pithy observations about identity politics too. By the end you feel like you've heard a rather carefully constructed political argument, which was not at all what I was expecting!

  • The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair

  • By: Joël Dicker
  • Narrated by: Robert Slade
  • Length: 20 hrs and 30 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,084
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,016
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,012

August 30, 1975: the day of the disappearance. The day Somerset, New Hampshire, lost its innocence. That summer, struggling author Harry Quebert fell in love with 15-year-old Nola Kellergan. Thirty-three years later, her body is dug up from his yard, along with a manuscript copy of the novel that secured his lasting fame. Quebert is the only suspect. Marcus Goldman - Quebert’s most gifted protégé - throws off his writer’s block to clear his mentor’s name. Solving the case and penning a new best seller soon merge into one.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • well i quite liked it

  • By knittyboot on 15-05-14

Workmanlike at best

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

Reviewed: 07-04-19

Laboured writing, a plot which veers from implausible to absurd, thin characters, preposterous denouement. It drags you along, but kicking and screaming. Narrator does a valiant job with mediocre material.

  • The Symphonies of Beethoven

  • By: Robert Greenberg, The Great Courses
  • Narrated by: Robert Greenberg
  • Length: 24 hrs and 12 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 28
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 25
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 23

Ludwig van Beethoven is justifiably acclaimed as one of the most revered composers in the history of Western music-a genius once characterized as a "Titan, wrestling with the gods." There is no better way for you to understand the full impact of that description than to not only listen to all nine of his magnificent symphonies, but to do so with a full understanding of what this great composer was saying and the circumstances that drove him up to and beyond what had once been considered the limits of musical expression.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Brilliant, as expected.

  • By amazoncustomer on 21-12-17

Gotta love Professor Bob

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

Reviewed: 22-03-19

Like his subject, professor bob is extraordinary. You will not find a more enthusiastic, energetic, witty, world-wise and above all profoundly learned guide to the world of classical (I should say "concert") music. This is my fourth 20h hour course with Professor Bob.

He goes deep into the music - deeper than some may care for, but as a mostly untrained but passionate amateur musician I learned a bunch about harmony, rhythm, metre and melody, as well as the elements of compositional forms, and of course Beethovens furious genius with them all.

Cannot recommend highly enough.

  • The Creativity Code: How AI Is Learning to Write, Paint and Think

  • By: Marcus du Sautoy
  • Narrated by: Rich Keeble
  • Length: 9 hrs and 54 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 24
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 19
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 19

As a species, we have an extraordinary ability to create works of art that elevate, expand and transform what it means to be human. The novels of Henry James can communicate the inner world of one human being to another. The music of Wagner or Schubert takes us on an emotional roller-coaster ride as we give ourselves up to their sublime sounds. These are the expressions of what Marcus du Sautoy calls ‘the creativity code’. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • I wish the author narrated this fabulous book

  • By T C parnell on 12-04-19

Interesting angle

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

Reviewed: 13-03-19

Du Sautoy gets close to but did not quite immerse in some of linguistic /philosophical issues so I found this a bit unsatisfying but it is a good up to date primer

  • Ep. 1: Dead Man Walking (Folsom Untold)

  • The Strange True Story of Johnny Cash's Greatest Album
  • By: Danny Robins
  • Length: 24 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 21
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 20
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 20

It's January 1968. Johnny Cash's once successful career is on a downward spiral. He hatches a crazy plan to record a live album at the infamous Folsom Prison in California. His label, Columbia Records, is totally opposed – his only hope is maverick producer Bob Johnston. Both their careers are on the line.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Gave up. Irritating narrator.

  • By Olly Buxton on 03-03-19

Gave up. Irritating narrator.

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

Reviewed: 03-03-19

Takes too long to get anywhere and way too obvious cynical tension building. Like watching pay tv... Way too much filler.

  • Year Zero

  • A Novel
  • By: Rob Reid
  • Narrated by: John Hodgman
  • Length: 9 hrs and 53 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 96
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 83
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 83

Low-level entertainment lawyer Nick Carter thinks it's a prank, not an alien encounter, when a redheaded mullah and a curvaceous nun show up at his office. But Frampton and Carly are highly advanced (if bumbling) extraterrestrials. And boy, do they have news. The entire cosmos, they tell him, has been hopelessly hooked on humanity's music ever since "Year Zero" (1977 to us), when American pop songs first reached alien ears. This addiction has driven a vast intergalactic society to commit the biggest copyright violation since the Big Bang.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Surprisingly good light hearted Sci-fi

  • By A R Holding on 21-10-18

Couldn't abide it

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

Reviewed: 16-02-19

Just not funny enough, not well written enough, abd not goid enough characters, to be worth persevering with. Douglas Adams this ain't. Well enough read, but you can't polish a turd.

  • Music as a Mirror of History

  • By: Robert Greenberg, The Great Courses
  • Narrated by: Robert Greenberg
  • Length: 18 hrs and 16 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 54
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 53
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 52

In Music as a Mirror of History, Great Courses favorite Professor Greenberg of San Francisco Performances returns with a fascinating and provocative premise: Despite the abstractness and the universality of music - and our habit of listening to it divorced from any historical context - music is a mirror of the historical setting in which it was created. Music carries a rich spectrum of social, cultural, historical, and philosophical information, all grounded in the life and experience of the composer.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Thoughly Enjoyable listening experience

  • By BlueStraggler on 22-06-18

Absolutely captivating

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

Reviewed: 08-02-19

Totally hooked on Professor Bob's courses. Enlightening, entertaining and beautifully structured. Can not recommend this highly enough. Also I recommend his Wagner course.

  • The Music of Richard Wagner

  • By: Robert Greenberg, The Great Courses
  • Narrated by: Robert Greenberg
  • Length: 18 hrs and 50 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 25
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 23
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 22

In these 24 lectures filled with musical excerpts, enjoy a rich and multifaceted exploration of the trailblazing works and outsized life of this historically pivotal composer. The sheer outlandishness of Wagner's life makes for an endlessly intriguing story, from his desperate escapades outrunning creditors to his obsessive personal relationships to his utopian artistic schemes.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Wagner, the man and the mythos

  • By Mr on 31-01-14

Really well pitched and entertaining intro

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

Reviewed: 03-02-19

Professor Greenberg is an entertaining and witty speaker, and balances musical and textual analysis with historical and cultural context. Just the right mix.