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Alan Coady

  • 32
  • reviews
  • 22
  • helpful votes
  • 128
  • ratings
  • Neurotribes

  • The Legacy of Autism and How to Think Smarter About People Who Think Differently
  • By: Steve Silberman
  • Narrated by: William Hope
  • Length: 20 hrs and 16 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 194
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 177
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 176

What is autism: a devastating developmental condition, a lifelong disability, or a naturally occurring form of cognitive difference akin to certain forms of genius? In truth it is all of these things and more - and the future of our society depends on our understanding it.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Varied and informative.

  • By TOOTSIE1071 on 27-09-17

A Sound Guy

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

Reviewed: 04-02-19

I first came across Steve Silberman on BBC Racio 3's Private Passions - a kind of Desert Island Discs, but more in-depth. The episode is still available at the time or writing: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b07qblw7 Silberman came across as a very sound guy an an eloquent spokesman for neuro-atypicals. The book mixes a history of developing theories about autism, with some cruel mindsets getting involved - eugenics - need I say more? The individual tales are a mix of heart-breaking and inspirational. The book is very well written and, like any good study, is as much a study of life and attitudes as it is of the subject at hand.

  • In Our Mad and Furious City

  • By: Guy Gunaratne
  • Narrated by: Ben Bailey Smith, Lou Marie Kerr
  • Length: 6 hrs and 45 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 62
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 61
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 61

Guy Gunaratne's blistering debut, In Our Mad and Furious City, is an unforgettable portrait of 48 hours on a London council estate. For Selvon, Ardan and Yusuf, growing up under the towers of Stones Estate, summer means what it does anywhere: football, music, freedom. But now, after the killing of a British soldier, riots are spreading across the city, and nowhere is safe. While the fury swirls around them, Selvon and Ardan remain focused on their own obsessions, girls and grime.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Excellent Subject Matter

  • By Raggzy on 06-07-18

You have to hear it.

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

Reviewed: 09-12-18

Normally I don't mind if books come my way in tangible, Kindle or Audible format but I'm so glad I heard this one. Unless you've a good inner ear for voices there'll be a dimension missing. For example the differing accents of Windrush parents from their children; the varying accents of those attached to the local mosque; the Northern Irish accent of the principal female voice. One critic described the book as 'a blazing polyphonic debut' and the voices weave around one another like the voices in a fugue. Like a fugue there is a increasingly tense sense of 'stretto' towards the end, where the voices come closer together - in many more senses here than in a fugue. This is one of the most gripping listens I've had for quite some time.

  • Prisoners of Geography

  • Ten Maps That Tell You Everything You Need to Know About Global Politics
  • By: Tim Marshall
  • Narrated by: Ric Jerom
  • Length: 10 hrs and 29 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,052
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,823
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,806

If you've ever wondered why Putin is so obsessed with Crimea, why the USA was destined to become a global superpower or why China's power base continues to expand ever outwards, the answers are all here. In 10 chapters, using essays and occasionally the personal experiences of the widely travelled author, Prisoners of Geography looks at the past, present and future to offer an essential insight into one of the major factors that determines world history.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Step back and look at politics through a new lens

  • By Unique Pseudonym on 25-07-17

Start from the ground up.

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

Reviewed: 16-09-18

This book was a revelation to me. It contained so many elements which now seem so obvious, but which I'd overlooked completely. I won't spoil your listen by listing them but it's made me look at geopolitics in a new way from the ground up: geology (including mineral wealth); geography (rivers, coastlines); flora (especially when impenetrable) and then, on top of all that, human culture including politics, population stats, size and kit of military etc. No previous knowledge is required to enjoy this book to the max.

  • Patrick Melrose, Volume 2: Mother's Milk and At Last

  • By: Edward St Aubyn
  • Narrated by: Alex Jennings
  • Length: 13 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 74
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 73
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 73

Now a major Sky TV series starring Benedict Cumberbatch. The once illustrious, once wealthy Melroses are in peril, and Patrick Melrose, now a husband and father, is trying to gather together the pieces of his life. Caught up in the turmoil of broken promises, assisted suicide, adultery and - most tender and terrifying of all - fatherhood, Patrick is still a long way from salvation, but even as the family struggles against the pull of its dark past, a new generation promises new light, new hope and - perhaps - the promise of a brighter future.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Melrose

  • By P on 08-12-18

I didn't waste a second

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

Reviewed: 12-08-18

While enjoying Volume 1, I bought this concluding volume so that I could continue seamlessly. I must have finished both volumes in a matter of a few days. It's odd combination, knowing that the dark content of much of the story was experienced by Edward St Aubyn, while enjoying the hugely entertaining writing - such fabulous prose. I had, of course, heard of St. Aubyn but only recently read him and he made it straight into favourite writers category - worthy of re-reading! Alex Jennings impeccable standard of narration continues from Vol 1. The loveable rogue, Nicholas, has a superb outburst in At Last. On a more serious note, there's a lot to learn about pain and recovery in these volumes. I can't recommend them highly enough.

  • Patrick Melrose, Volume 1: Never Mind, Bad News and Some Hope

  • By: Edward St Aubyn
  • Narrated by: Alex Jennings
  • Length: 13 hrs and 47 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 219
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 209
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 205

Now a major Sky TV series starring Benedict Cumberbatch. Moving from Provence to New York to Gloucestershire, from the savageries of a childhood with a cruel father and an alcoholic mother to an adulthood fraught with addiction, Patrick Melrose is on a mission to escape himself. But the drugs don’t make him forget his past, and the glittering parties offer him no redemption....

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Fabulous!!! *****

  • By Amazon Customer on 20-05-18

Evelyn Waugh meets William Burroughs

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

Reviewed: 12-08-18

Well, that's only true of the middle story of this volume, during the seedy NY period - but what a great combination! The prose is beautiful and all the more so if you enjoy the cynical humour which Patrick Melrose goes in for at this stage in his life. Alex Jennings is perfect for the job and pitches perfectly all the variables of age, class, gender and nationality. I feel sure that I'll revisit these tales. One of my favourite characters is Nicholas. Even although you might not agree with all he says, he just sounds like hugely entertaining company.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Daunderlust

  • Dispatches from Unreported Scotland
  • By: Peter Ross
  • Narrated by: Robbie Coltrane
  • Length: 8 hrs and 58 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 22
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 22
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 22

Peter Ross' articles from around Scotland provide a piece-by-piece portrait of a nation as it changes. They show Scotland as she really is, a hopeful country not without problems and pain but a nation made great by the people who live, love, laugh and graft there. From anatomists who find dissection beautiful to chip-shop owners who sing arias while serving fish suppers, the Scots in these pages come over as eccentric, humorous, moving and extraordinary.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Magic! Peter Ross writer Robbie Coltrane reader

  • By Hamburgerpatty on 06-08-15

How little I knew my own country

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

Reviewed: 01-07-18

If I'm honest, I'd have to confess that I came across this in a 2-for-1 sale. Encouraged by the sampled narration of Robbie Coltrane I decided to go fo fit. It's a fantastic listen. The range of topics, people, places covered is very wide and there's not a dull chapter in the whole book. The mood ranges from serious, through informative to very light hearted. Regardless of mood, the writing is always fine, with many quotable moments. I won't spoil your listen by citing them here. Reaching the end, I realised how little I know my own small country. As some would say here, 'that needs tae get sorted'.

  • Making a Noise

  • Getting It Right, Getting It Wrong in Life, Arts and Broadcasting
  • By: John Tusa
  • Narrated by: Sean Barrett
  • Length: 14 hrs
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 4
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4

In almost 60 years of professional life, John Tusa has fought for and sometimes against the major arts and political institutions in the country. A distinguished journalist, broadcaster and leader of arts organisations, he has stood up publicly for the independence of the BBC, the need for public funding of the arts and for the integrity of universities. He has made enemies in the process.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Mostly getting it right, I'd say.

  • By Alan Coady on 01-07-18

Mostly getting it right, I'd say.

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

Reviewed: 01-07-18

Coming across John Tusa's educated tones in my rural Scottish teens, I mistook him for a patrician. Nothing could be further from the truth. The story of his arrival here in UK from the then Czechoslovakia and career from there on is truly fascinating. I remember him in Newsnight's formative years, coinciding with lasting events (Iranian revolution, Thatcher's victory in UK, Scotland's first declining of Independence).
Already a fan of narrator Sean Barrett's al dente gravitas, I'd say he is the right man for this job. He puts across the character of a serious person, not easily swayed (see also 'What Fresh Lunacy is This?' - the biography of Oliver Reed).
Prompted by this listen I also bought Tusa's 'On Creativity' and am impressed, though not surprised, at how conversant he is across the artistic spectrum.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • I Am Spartacus!

  • Making a Film, Breaking the Blacklist
  • By: Kirk Douglas
  • Narrated by: Michael Douglas
  • Length: 5 hrs and 15 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 59
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 56
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 56

Now, more than 50 years after the release of his enduring epic Spartacus, Douglas reveals the riveting drama behind the making of the legendary gladiator film. Writing from his heart and from his own meticulously researched archives, Kirk Douglas, at 95, looks back candidly—and often with self-effacing humor—at his audacious decision to give public credit to Trumbo, thus effectively ending the notorious Hollywood blacklist.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • fascinating

  • By A on 14-04-16

No crucifixions, but a tough time.

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

Reviewed: 01-07-18

All collaborative projects face challenges but the film industry brings together so many strands that it seems a wonder that many films are completed. Add to the usual tensions the McCarthy blacklisting of writers and you can imagine the difficulties. If you're an IMDb fan, you soon realise that names are 'on board' who are not credited in the film and this raises a familiar feeling of suspense: wondering how they came to disappear. One strength of this book is KD's balanced view of sometimes problematic people: their flaws (often ones of ego) don't blind him to their strengths.
As an aside, let me mention Howard Fast's original novel. He appears in the story here and I was prompted to try the novel: it's really fine writing, although clearly a different thing altogether from the script - no spoilers - I won't mention the name, in case you're not an IMDb addict.

  • Somebody I Used to Know

  • By: Wendy Mitchell
  • Narrated by: Rachel Atkins
  • Length: 8 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 404
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 368
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 372

When Wendy Mitchell was diagnosed with dementia at the age of 58, she had to say good-bye to the woman she once was. Her career in the NHS, her ability to drive, cook and run - the various shades of her independence - were suddenly gone. Yet Wendy was determined not to give in. She was, and still is, propelled by a need to live in the moment, never knowing which version of herself might surface tomorrow.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Very informative

  • By Anne H. on 07-03-18

Moving and Helpful

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

Reviewed: 10-06-18

Co-written with journalist Anna Wharton, Wendy Mitchell's account of the initial and puzzling problems at the age of 56, and eventual diagnosis of early onset Alzheimers at 58, is a fascinating listen. Rather than merely pursuing a timeline of deficits, chapters alternate between narration of the events and poignant reminiscences addressed to Mitchell's younger self. Narrator, Rachel Atkins, uses a thinned out voice for the latter of these - almost the voice you'd use to talk to a sleeping child.

What is helpful about the book is the explanation of sometimes surprising difficulties which might make us all more sympathetic to someone with this condition - especially in the early stages when, to all intents and purposes, the sufferer appears fully equipped for everyday life. I won't engage in spoilers here but everything is affected: from the look of things, to the sound of things, the whereabouts and purpose of things. What's more, the condition is dynamic and there's little chance to get used to anything.

Nevertheless, this is not a tale penned to elicit sympathy. Wendy Mitchell is a very strong character, whose first and lasting response to diagnosis was to become involved in helping others. This book goes a long way to include those who might not meet her in person.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Mythos

  • By: Stephen Fry
  • Narrated by: Stephen Fry
  • Length: 15 hrs and 25 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 10,678
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 9,775
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9,729

The Greek myths are amongst the greatest stories ever told, passed down through millennia and inspiring writers and artists as varied as Shakespeare, Michelangelo, James Joyce and Walt Disney. They are embedded deeply in the traditions, tales and cultural DNA of the West. You'll fall in love with Zeus, marvel at the birth of Athena, wince at Cronus and Gaia's revenge on Ouranos, weep with King Midas and hunt with the beautiful and ferocious Artemis.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Stephen Fry does it again

  • By L. Turner on 14-11-17

A wonderful weave

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

Reviewed: 04-06-18

I was pleased that, in his Afterword, Stephen Fry especially welcomed those who were new to Greek myth. I wasn't exactly new to it and, being of a certain age, knew many of the stories, at least in rough outline, However, not having had a classical education, I was somewhat sketchy about details and this book really helped weave everything into a more recognisable tapestry. I decided early on to consult the web and learn the Roman equivalents for each of the gods mentioned (and their domains), as I knew that some of the stories and reputations might otherwise overlap confusingly. Fry mentions the Roman counterparts in many places.
Those who know Fry's love of language will not be surprised to discover a wealth of etymologies tumbling from the text, binding together ancient and modern. Many relate to the names of constellations, but there is much more than this. Narrated by the maestro himself, this is an excellent listen.