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John Burns

England
  • 11
  • reviews
  • 19
  • helpful votes
  • 45
  • ratings
  • Strangeways

  • A Prison Officer's Story
  • By: Neil Samworth
  • Narrated by: Jonathan Keeble
  • Length: 8 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 660
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 600
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 599

A jaw-dropping account of life as a prison officer in one of the country's most notorious jails. Neil ‘Sam’ Samworth spent 11 years working as a prison officer in HMP Manchester, aka Strangeways. A tough Yorkshireman with a soft heart, Sam had to deal with it all - gangsters and gangbangers, terrorists and psychopaths, addicts and the mentally ill. Men who should not be locked up and men who should never be let out. Strangeways is a shocking and at times darkly funny account of life in a high-security prison. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • The Honest and Brutal Truth. Loved It...

  • By M J North on 01-11-18

Excellent book

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

Reviewed: 17-08-18

Very interesting read. The guy doing the narration deserves an oscar for his performance too, very well done!

  • What You Talkin' About, Wallace?

  • By: Danny Wallace
  • Length: 5 hrs
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 12
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 12
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 12

Danny Wallace faces the absurdities, trivialities and challenges of being a man every day. It's not for everyone. Half the world don't have to. Join him – and a host of his famous friends - for a series of observational, comedic and insightful conversations that get to the heart of what it really takes to be a modern day man.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Hmmm.

  • By John Burns on 03-05-18

Hmmm.

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

Reviewed: 03-05-18

Parts of this were quite irritating, like the chapter where Danny talks about the fact that his wife always leaves the toilet door unlocked when she goes to the toilet. He then proceeds to have a drawn out conversation about why or why not this might be acceptable and the various reasons for and against. One guest in particular patronizingly womansplains that he is a `wuss`, and gives the overall message that he needs to man up etc. etc. and is stupid for even questioning why his wife doesn`t lock the toilet door, all while laughing in what appears to be a very affected tone. I`ve actually listened to almost all of Danny`s books and have always enjoyed his stuff, especially his last book. While you could never call his stuff high-brow, it is usually good light entertainment which keeps you distracted enough on a boring day. Parts of this however, just sounded like teenagers in the pub.

3 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • The Diary of a Bookseller

  • By: Shaun Bythell
  • Narrated by: Robin Laing
  • Length: 9 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 866
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 786
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 791

Shaun Bythell owns The Bookshop, Wigtown - Scotland's largest second-hand bookshop. In these wry and hilarious diaries, Shaun provides an inside look at the trials and tribulations of life in the book trade, from struggles with eccentric customers to wrangles with his own staff. He takes us with him on buying trips to old estates and auction houses, recommends books and evokes the rhythms and charms of small-town life, always with a sharp and sympathetic eye.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A gentle pleasure

  • By Flint on 11-12-17

Excellent book

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

Reviewed: 05-03-18

Great book, really enjoyed it. Highly recommended. Very interesting, what more can I say?!

  • Ricky Gervais Is Deadly Sirius: Episodes 1-5

  • By: Ricky Gervais
  • Narrated by: Ricky Gervais
  • Length: 7 hrs and 21 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 255
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 223
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 219

Ricky with comedian chums and eminent guests discuss the big issues. Entertaining, thought-provoking and often taboo-crunching chat about ethics, science and art. Featuring Huey Morgan, Ben Bailey Smith, Professor Brian Cox, David Baddiel, Robin Ince, Richard Dawkins, Noel Gallagher, and Sean McLoughlin.

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • This is available for free (search on Google)

  • By JB Rackstraw on 19-01-18

Too repetitive.

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

Reviewed: 17-01-18

The problem with this is that Ricky keeps on saying the same things. He keeps returning to the fact that he`s an atheist, great so am I, but he keeps banging the point home and defending it. Then he`ll say, a point about the difference between a scientific theory, and the colloquial usage of the word theory, again. As I moved through the various chapters, I kept wondering if I`d accidently skipped back to an earlier part. And he`s actually quite irritating on this one, he just sounds wound up all the time.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Men Without Women

  • By: Haruki Murakami
  • Narrated by: Bruno Roubicek
  • Length: 7 hrs and 36 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 203
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 186
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 184

Across seven tales, Haruki Murakami brings his powers of observation to bear on the lives of men who, in their own ways, find themselves alone. Here are vanishing cats and smoky bars, lonely hearts and mysterious women, baseball and the Beatles, woven together to tell stories that speak to us all. Marked by the same wry humor that has defined his entire body of work, in this collection Murakami has crafted another contemporary classic.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Modern day Hemingway

  • By Suswati on 03-06-17

Well written stories with no point to them.

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

Reviewed: 20-07-17

Having read almost all of Murakami`s work, I always find him to be so hit and miss. He is without doubt, a talented writer in terms of his descriptions, although he tends to overuse metaphor a little. What I always find annoying and short-changed by however, is the way I almost feel cheated when I come to the end of one of his stories. It`s as though he lays down all these story lines, characters, bits of tantalising information and mystery, and then just throws them in the air at the end and lets you watch as they merely flutter to the ground. My main complaint is that the stories have a beginning, middle, but no end, and you are left thinking, `what was the point of that?` In a word, cheated.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Escape from Sobibor

  • By: Richard Rashke
  • Narrated by: Robert Blumenfeld
  • Length: 14 hrs and 6 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 24
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 23
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 23

On October 14, 1943, 600 Jews imprisoned in Sobibor, a secret Nazi death camp in eastern Poland, revolted. They killed a dozen SS officers and guards, trampled the barbed wire fences, and raced across an open field filled with anti-tank mines. Against all odds, more than three hundred made it safely into the woods. Fifty of those men and women managed to survive the rest of the war. In this edition of Escape from Sobibor, fully updated in 2012, Richard Rashke tells their stories

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Let down by the narration.

  • By John Burns on 26-01-17

Let down by the narration.

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

Reviewed: 26-01-17

Is there anything you would change about this book?

This was really let down by the narration. There seemed to be no change in the rhythm, intonation, pacing, or style. It was as thought the narrator was detached from the story and just reading it as fast as he could so that he could pick up his paycheck. It really made me switch off from the book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • More Fool Me

  • By: Stephen Fry
  • Narrated by: Stephen Fry
  • Length: 9 hrs and 50 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,892
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,729
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,719

Following on from his hugely successful books, Moab is My Washpot and The Fry Chronicles, comes the third chapter in Stephen Fry's life. This unabridged, downloadable audiobook edition of More Fool Me is performed by Stephen Fry himself.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A defense of More Fool Me

  • By Ben on 10-10-14

Not as good as his other two autobiographies.

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

Reviewed: 05-10-14

Would you try another book written by Stephen Fry or narrated by Stephen Fry?

Definitely, he`s still Stephen Fry!

What was most disappointing about Stephen Fry’s story?

As has been mentioned in other reviews, a large part of the book seems to be extracts of his diary from around 1993. There are a few really interesting stories but just too much filler that seems rushed. Despite this, he`s still a national treasure and I`m a massive fan of anything he does, it`s just that this isn`t his best work.

Have you listened to any of Stephen Fry’s other performances? How does this one compare?

Yes I have. His performance is fine, it`s just that I was waiting for it to end towards the end of the book.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from More Fool Me?

The excess of diary entries.

Any additional comments?

I`d recommend Moab is my washpot if you haven`t read it, that`s an excellent read, as is the book before this in his autobiographical series.

  • Look Back in Hunger

  • By: Jo Brand
  • Narrated by: Jo Brand
  • Length: 2 hrs
  • Abridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 55
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 51
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 49

Jo Brand is one of Britain's funniest and best-loved comedians. With a sharp eye for the absurd and in her own unique voice, she tells her story for the first time. What possessed her to become a professional comedian in the cut-throat world of stand-up comedy after 10 years as a psychiatric nurse? How did she deal with late-night drunken audiences? Raised in middle class comfort, Brand left home in her teens to live with someone entirely inappropriate.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Much too short!

  • By John Burns on 16-06-14

Much too short!

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

Reviewed: 16-06-14

Having listened to a lot of audiobiographies which are usually around the eight/ten hour mark, I was certainly disappointed to find that this was only two hours. Never mind being split into two separate downloads as is often the case, this was separated into just two chapters! The content is fairly interesting, although it`s not a comedy book or funny as has been pointed out. It`s obviously not intended to be funny as it`s a memoir so I can`t understand reviews suggesting otherwise. Overall it`s fairly interesting and killed a couple of hours on the train but... very short!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • An Appetite for Wonder

  • By: Richard Dawkins
  • Narrated by: Richard Dawkins, Lalla Ward
  • Length: 7 hrs and 56 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 79
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 71
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 70

Born to parents who were enthusiastic naturalists, and linked through his wider family to a clutch of accomplished scientists, Richard Dawkins was bound to have biology in his genes. But what were the influences that shaped his life and intellectual development? And who inspired him to become the pioneering scientist and public thinker now famous (and infamous to some) around the world? In An Appetite for Wonder we join him on a personal journey back to an enchanting childhood in colonial Africa.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Sorry I am Biased

  • By Stephen on 03-11-13

Not quite what I expected.

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

Reviewed: 20-09-13

I like a lot of what Richard Dawkins has done, and this is certainly well written, but it seemed to focus a little too much on his research in the field of genetics and not really give as much insight into his life as I`d thought it would have done. I still think he`s a great writer and communicator of ideas though.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Candidate Without a Prayer: An Autobiography of a Jewish Atheist in the Bible Belt

  • By: Herb Silverman, Richard Dawkins (foreword)
  • Narrated by: Herb Silverman, Richard Dawkins
  • Length: 11 hrs and 11 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars 9
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars 5
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars 6

In this deeply revealing and engaging autobiography, Herb Silverman tells his iconoclastic life story. He takes the listener from his childhood as an Orthodox Jew in Philadelphia, where he stopped fasting on Yom Kippur to test God's existence, to his adult life in the heart of the Bible Belt, where he became a legendary figure within America's secular activist community and remains one of its most beloved leaders. Never one to shy from controversy, Silverman relates many of his high-profile battles with the Religious Right.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Should have hired a voice over actor.

  • By John Burns on 11-06-13

Should have hired a voice over actor.

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

Reviewed: 11-06-13

I must have listened to at least fifty or so audiobooks from audible, but the narration on this was the worst I`ve come across. Coming home on the bus from work tonight, I was subjected to the author saying a sentence, pausing, and then saying it again before continuing! The monotone delivery and lack of passion in his voice don`t help things, and to make matters worse, it`s more of a simple autobiography than the experience of a non-believer, that part seems almost incidental. I really was expecting more, there are so many better books relating to the rejection of religious beliefs, and then don`t confuse the terminology either.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful