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Angus

Birmingham, United Kingdom
  • 7
  • reviews
  • 40
  • helpful votes
  • 65
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The Circle
    
    
        By:
        












    





    





    
        
            
            
                
            
        
        Dave Eggers
    
    


    
    
        Narrated by:
        












    





    





    
        
            
            
                
            
        
        Dion Graham
    
    


    
    Length: 13 hrs and 36 mins
    797 ratings
    Overall 3.9
  • The Circle

  • By: Dave Eggers
  • Narrated by: Dion Graham
  • Length: 13 hrs and 36 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 797
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 741
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 745

When Mae is hired to work for the Circle, the world's most powerful internet company, she feels she's been given the opportunity of a lifetime. Mae can't believe her great fortune to work for them - even as life beyond the campus grows distant, even as a strange encounter with a colleague leaves her shaken, even as her role at the Circle becomes increasingly public...

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Internet bad guys - so uncool!

  • By Kaggy on 16-08-15

Thought provoking but could have been much better

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

Reviewed: 04-11-14

The themes in The Circle are interesting, it looks at how a 'Google-esque' company could go about taking over the world, however it is let down through a combination of cardboard characters and a badly structured narrative.

There are elements in the book that are excellently conceived and quite thought provoking (for example the growing number of screens on Mae's desk, is a simple device, but it works really well) however, whenever it seems as if the book is going to really take-off and become a classic, everything comes to a grinding halt.

Characters make ridiculous decisions, completely out of character with no explanation as to why (Mae rightly is rightly disgusted by something Francis does, but all this gets forgotten in the blink of an eye), or simply get forgotten about until being crow-barred back in to place for no other reason than plot (the character of Annie is almost omnipresent but disappears for an age and comes back with an inexplicably altered personality).

The book's pacing is very uneven too, switching between long highly detailed descriptions of the activities of The Circle and brief passages in which major plot are passed over in an instant. An example of the latter is the final plot twist, its consequences and resolution. Without giving anything away, this should be the heart of the book, and could have a featured an in-depth philosophical argument and given a key character a true ethical dilemma. Instead it's crammed (along with a clunky metaphorical scene featuring a tank full of sea-creatures from the deepest parts of the ocean) into the final 20 minutes of the audiobook in a most unsatisfactory way.

In terms of the audiobook narration, this was fine. Occasionally the narrator would play a line in a way I don't think the author would have intended, but on the whole the performance was good. There would at times be strange pauses in the flow of the narration, this would make you think that a section had finished only to continue a couple of seconds later, which was slightly annoying

On the whole, The Circle isn't entirely bad, there is a good book trying breakout out - it's just that the poor elements far outweigh the better bits of the book.

35 of 38 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 1,025
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 946
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 946

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

Fantastic - put a massive smile on my face

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

Reviewed: 20-05-14

Where does The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

This has to be one of my favourite - smart, intelligent, witty and chock full of charm

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden?

The moment that I realised the story had taken us from the slums of South Africa cleaning out toilets, to sitting in the back of a potato truck with the King and Prime Minister of Sweden and a 3-mega-tonne nuclear bomb. Absolutely brilliant.

What does Peter Kenny bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

He manages to perfectly capture the dry wit of the book and is a pleasure to listen to.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Many a time, despite the dry humour this was a book that definitely has a heart. (But to give too much away would spoil the fun of those who haven't yet read it.)

Any additional comments?

If you like The 100 Year Old Man who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared then you'll love this

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry

  • By: Rachel Joyce
  • Narrated by: Jim Broadbent
  • Length: 9 hrs and 57 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,462
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,918
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,913

When Harold Fry nips out one morning to post a letter, leaving his wife hoovering upstairs, he has no idea that he is about to walk from one end of the country to the other. He has no hiking boots or map, let alone a compass, waterproof, or mobile phone. All he knows is that he must keep walking - to save someone else's life.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Gentle but engaging

  • By Ms on 17-06-12

Not bad, but no "100 Year Old Man"

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

Reviewed: 11-12-13

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

I would have to say that it would very much depend on the friend in question. That may seem like a cop-out response, but I'm certain that some people will love this book - others though, like me, will just find it passable.

Would you recommend The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry to your friends? Why or why not?

I would recommend it, as I think this is a book that will make a good topic for a book club as it raises some interesting issues. However, like elements of Harold's journey, I felt the book was a little bit all over the place. I kept thinking that it would have made a fantastic short story - but stretched to a full novel made it feel a little thin. And it seemed to me whole sections - particularly the parts with the other Pilgrims - were included just to fill a word count and added nothing to the main narrative of Harold's tale.

What does Jim Broadbent bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

He really brought the old man to life - in fact in my mind Harold Fry is Jim Broadbent. If they ever make a film there would be no-one better to play him.

Was The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry worth the listening time?

I enjoyed it, and listening to Jim Broadbent's narration was an absolute treat. However I never felt compelled to keep listening and I never felt I 100% connected with the book. Like Harold Fry himself I didn't feel like I was in a particular hurry to finish, but I knew I would get there in the end.

Any additional comments?

I came to this expecting something similar to the absolutely wonderful "100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared." It's difficult not to compare them - both about aging men who suddenly disappear on an adventure. But where as 100 Year Old Man was full of joy, Harold Fry was a little less carefree in attitude and I felt the story suffered for it. That's not to say I hated it, but it didn't quite live up to the high standard of the 100 year old man.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Casual Vacancy

  • By: J.K. Rowling
  • Narrated by: Tom Hollander
  • Length: 17 hrs and 50 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 2,103
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,471
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,472

When Barry Fairbrother dies in his early 40s, the town of Pagford is left in shock. Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty facade is a town at war. Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils.... Pagford is not what it first seems. And the empty seat left by Barry on the parish council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Stick with it

  • By Amazon Customer on 05-10-12

Unremittingly depressing

Overall
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 13-04-13

To make an analogy related to JK Rowling's other literary invention listening to The Casual Vacancy is like spending 18 hours with the Dementors of Azkaban. There is an interesting world and fascinating characters to explore here, but the overall tone is so unremittingly depressing that it's very difficult to appreciate that.

  • Macbeth: A Novel

  • By: A. J. Hartley, David Hewson
  • Narrated by: Alan Cumming
  • Length: 9 hrs and 43 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 255
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 203
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 203

Macbeth: A Novel brings the intricacy and grit of the historical thriller to Shakespeare’s tale of political intrigue, treachery, and murder. In this full-length novel written exclusively for audio, authors A. J. Hartley and David Hewson rethink literature’s most infamous married couple, grounding them in a medieval Scotland whose military and political upheavals are as stark and dramatic as the landscape in which they are played.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Wonderful

  • By Russ on 09-07-12

Very Good

Overall
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 13-04-13

It's impossible to review this book without referring to Shakespeare, but to make a straight comparison doesn't really do it justice. The book stands on it's own right and is quite gripping. The description of the time and location really brings the world to life and the characters feel quite real. Alan Cumming is an excellent reader and he uses a voice that feels as if its from the period itself.

  • Red Dwarf

  • Infinity Welcomes Careful Drivers
  • By: Rob Grant, Doug Naylor
  • Narrated by: Chris Barrie
  • Length: 8 hrs and 15 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,952
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 2,336
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,330

When Lister got drunk, he really got drunk! After celebrating his birthday with a Monopoly-board pub crawl around London, he came to in a burger bar on one of Saturns moons, wearing a lady's pink crimplene hat and a pair of yellow fishing waders, with no money and a passport in the name of "Emily Berkenstein". Joining the Space Corps seemed a good idea.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great narration and fun to listen too

  • By Leon on 22-08-08

A Brilliantly Read Version of the TV Show

Overall
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 13-04-13

If you're a fan of Red Dwarf on TV then this is an absolute must. It features many of the scenes from the TV series, but the characters have been given added depth and it makes it a much more fulfilling read.

However as good as the book is, the real star of the audiobook is Chris Barrie - as a star of the TV show - he clearly knows Red Dwarf inside out, but his portrayal of all the characters (not just Rimmer) is fantastically entertaining.

Sit Down and Cheer
    A History of Sport on TV
    
        By:
        












    





    





    
        
            
            
                
            
        
        Martin Kelner
    
    


    
    
        Narrated by:
        












    





    





    
        
            
            
                
            
        
        Martin Kelner
    
    


    
    Length: 9 hrs and 52 mins
    13 ratings
    Overall 3.8
  • Sit Down and Cheer

  • A History of Sport on TV
  • By: Martin Kelner
  • Narrated by: Martin Kelner
  • Length: 9 hrs and 52 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 13
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7

Television and sport is the ultimate marriage of convenience. The two circled each other warily for a while - sport anxious the sofa-bound might spurn the live product, TV reluctant in a limited-channel world to hand over too much screen time to flannelled fools and muddied oafs. But they got together, and stayed together, for the sake of the money, and now you cannot imagine one without the other. In Sit Down and Cheer Martin Kelner traces the development of this relationship from its humble origins in the 1960 Olympics, by way of the first-ever Match of the Day in 1964, right up to the high-tech gadgetry of our present-day viewing.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Limited in entertainment and on content

  • By Angus on 13-04-13

Limited in entertainment and on content

Overall
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 13-04-13

This is well read by Martin Kelner and entertaining in parts, but as a book it didn't feel like the comprehensive review of tv sport history I had been expecting. Some of areas of history are covered in great (too much?) depth, whilst others are skimmed over.

There are also some glaring omissions, for example when Kelner talks about Barry Davies ignoring Davies' commentary on the 1998 men's Olympic hockey final "And where were the Germans?... But frankly who cares?" is a terrible oversight.

Kelner's final assessment of the future of TV sport is also quite myopic, his conviction that gambling is a vital part of sport's viewing for everyone is wrong. Yes, gambling is important to a large section of the audience, but for an equally large (if not larger) section it plays no part what-so-ever in their enjoyment of sport. That Kelner seems completely oblivious to this is symptomatic of the book as a whole, interesting to a point but critically short-sighted.