LISTENER

Tom

  • 14
  • reviews
  • 26
  • helpful votes
  • 14
  • ratings
  • The Bolt Supremacy

  • By: Richard Moore
  • Narrated by: Richard Moore
  • Length: 10 hrs and 34 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 34
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 30
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 30

Beijing 2008, the 100 metres final: Usain Bolt slows down, beats his chest, metres clear of his nearest rival, his face filled with the euphoria of a young man utterly in thrall to his extraordinary physical talent. It is one of the greatest sporting moments. It is just the beginning. Of the ten fastest 100-metres times in history, eight belong to Jamaicans. How is it that a small Caribbean island has come to almost totally dominate the men’s and women’s sprint events?

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Ruined for me by hopeless narration

  • By Tom on 07-02-17

Ruined for me by hopeless narration

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

Reviewed: 07-02-17

However good the Bolt story itself might be, and however worthy it might be of a ten and a half hour audio book, I have simply given up with this after around three hours. It has managed to bore me senseless. The book is narrated by the author. He does a very poor job in my view, speaking in a flat and un-animated monotone. After three hours, he'd simply stopped making this book interesting for me in any sense. This is a great shame, because Richard Moore is also the author of some some really good books that I have enjoyed greatly.

Be warned. You'll need to be drinking lots of strong coffee to survive this. Possibly my poorest choice of audiobook for a long time.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Everest - The First Ascent

  • By: Harriet Tuckey
  • Narrated by: Sandra Duncan
  • Length: 14 hrs and 35 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 25
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 23
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 23

On 29 May, 1953, the summit of Mount Everest was finally reached. The achievement brought fame and honours to many involved - except the man who made the ascent possible. Now, for the first time, drawing upon previously unseen diaries and letters, rare archive material and interviews, Everest - The First Ascent tells the remarkable story of Griffith Pugh, the forgotten team member whose scientific breakthroughs ensured the world’s highest mountain could be climbed.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Superb

  • By Tom on 06-02-17

Superb

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

Reviewed: 06-02-17

Occasionally, I buy an audiobook because it strikes me as likely to be better value to me than buying the hardback. I got it wrong with this one! It is a superb story, really well told and utterly fascinating. When I'd finished listening, I went straight out and bought the hardback too.

This is a unique insight into Himalayan exploration and human physiology. Harriet Tuckey has a privileged viewpoint, being the daughter of the subject of the book, Griffith Pugh, and she has been able to do a super job of researching an amazing life.

A great book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Searching for Schindler cover art
  • Searching for Schindler

  • By: Thomas Keneally
  • Narrated by: Humphrey Bower
  • Length: 9 hrs and 2 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 22
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 19
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 19

In 1980, Tom Keneally walked into a store in Beverly Hills owned by Polish Jew Leopold Pfefferberg Page to buy a new briefcase. For the next few years, Tom's life was taken over by this charismatic and driven man, known as Poldek, and the story he wanted shared.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Insights from the author of Schindler's List

  • By Mark H on 12-05-14

Stunning

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

Reviewed: 06-02-17

It's probably a good idea to read "Shindler's Ark" or see the film version, "Shindler's List" before listening to this audiobook, because it will heighten your enjoyment and amazement at the story told. I found it really quite compulsive listening - beautifully written and very well narrated indeed by Humphrey Bower.

You will not regret adding this to your library.

  • An Encyclopaedia of Myself

  • By: Jonathan Meades
  • Narrated by: Jonathan Meades
  • Length: 12 hrs and 32 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 52
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 51
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 51

'Nothing wilfully invented. Memory invents unbidden.' The 1950s were not grey. In Jonathan Meades's detailed, petit-point memoir they are luridly polychromatic. They were peopled by embittered grotesques, bogus majors, vicious spinsters, reckless bohos, pompous boors, suicides. Death went dogging everywhere.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Excellent if you're deaf in one ear

  • By Anonymous User on 23-12-18

A big disappointment

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

Reviewed: 06-02-17

I have greatly enjoyed almost every tv programme Johnathan Meades has fronted, so I looked forward to hearing his life-story as an audiobook, read by him too. However, I was greatly disappointed, There is a place for self-depracation but chapter after chapter of it palls really quite quickly. I gave up on the book about two thirds of the way through, as a result. Maybe it has a more upbeat and engaging ending, but I rather doubt it.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Fab: The Intimate Life of Paul McCartney

  • By: Howard Sounes
  • Narrated by: David Thorpe
  • Length: 25 hrs and 37 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 69
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 66
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 66

He is the proud torchbearer of the Beatles, the greatest band in the history of popular music, and one of the most closely-studied artists in show business, yet secrets and surprises remain in the life of Sir Paul McCartney. The full story is told in Fab. Howard Sounes, author of the acclaimed Down the Highway: The Life of Bob Dylan, spent more than two years investigating every aspect of Sir Paul’s life and work, including interviewing over 200 people.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Thanks for the memories

  • By C. N. TURNER on 30-07-15

All you ever wanted to know and a great deal more.

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

Reviewed: 06-02-17

This is a huge piece of work. I stuck with this audiobook to the bitter end, but in retrospect, I can't say it's left me feeling I enjoyed it all that much. It very much underlines how much McCartney has done since The Beatles, but sadly, and perhaps predictably, much of it is far less interesting. Long stories of legal battles, personal relationships gone bad etc don't really do it for me in a book like this - or certainly, not at the length to which this book plays them out. Disappointing, although nevertheless good value in this format.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Unreasonable Behaviour

  • An Autobiography
  • By: Don McCullin
  • Narrated by: Jonathan Keeble
  • Length: 12 hrs and 59 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 87
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 81
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 79

From the construction of the Berlin Wall through every conflict up to the Falklands War, photographer Don McCullin has left a trail of iconic images. At the Sunday Times Magazine in the 1960s, McCullin’s photography made him a new kind of hero.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Interesting, informative but ...

  • By Anthony on 18-09-16

Possibly my favourite audiobook ever

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

Reviewed: 06-02-17

I'm not exaggerating.

I found this book interesting and occasionally very gripping, from start to finish. Johnathan Keeble reads it extremely well, and maintains consistency over the 13+ hours of the story. McCullin has led an extraordinary life; one that few of us would ever want to have lived ourselves, yet he's able to write about it with that blend of dispassionate observer and compassionate participant that makes for the kind of story that would, in great part, make a best-selling thriller in its own right.

On the day I finished listening to this audiobook, the news came that McCullin had been awarded a knighthood in the 2017 New Year Honours. Very appropriate.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • No Cunning Plan

  • By: Sir Tony Robinson
  • Narrated by: Tony Robinson
  • Length: 14 hrs and 7 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 490
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 457
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 456

Sir Tony Robinson is a much-loved actor, presenter and author with a stellar career lasting over 50 years. Now, in his long-awaited autobiography, he reveals how the boy from South Woodford went from child stardom in the first stage production of Oliver!, a pint-size pickpocket desperately bleaching his incipient moustache, to comedy icon Baldrick, the loyal servant and turnip aficionado in Blackadder.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A great listen by a talented story-teller

  • By Kirstine on 27-03-17

Very good value

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

Reviewed: 06-02-17

At over 14 hours, this audio book is a great investment, and to have Tony Robinson read it himself is very much a bonus. Lots of detail about the author's early life can occasionally become a bore in some books. In this case Tony's tales of his childhood and upbringing, etc all give real weight to the book's title, and emphasise how he has often almost stumbled upon the great opportunities that have made him "a national treasure".

I enjoyed the whole thing a very great deal.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • So, Anyway...

  • The Autobiography
  • By: John Cleese
  • Narrated by: John Cleese
  • Length: 13 hrs and 33 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,422
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,338
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,333

John Cleese describes his nerve-racking first public appearance, at St Peter's Preparatory School at the age of eight and five-sixths; his endlessly peripatetic homelife, with parents who seemed incapable of staying in any house for longer than six months; his first experiences in the world of work, as a teacher who knew nothing about the subjects he was expected to teach; his hamster-owning days at Cambridge; and his first encounter with the man who would be his writing partner for over two decades, Graham Chapman.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Laugh Out Loud!

  • By Rachel Redford on 29-11-16

Good, but maybe hard-going at times.

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

Reviewed: 06-02-17

I leapt at the chance to hear John Cleese read his own autobiography, although, by the end, I felt I might have enjoyed it more if it had been read by someone else. At times, the text becomes a bit of a rant, or so relentless that I paused the recording to take a good break from it. It could be hard going on occasions.

It's also, in my view, less balanced than some might have expected. There is a very great deal of detail about Cleese's early life, but the story pretty much peters out around the time of Monty Python. His take on the production and recording of, say, Fawlty Towers, would have been good, but it merits hardly a word, as does much from the mid 1980s onwards.

Maybe he has a second volume in mind?

  • The Outsider

  • My Life in Intrigue
  • By: Frederick Forsyth
  • Narrated by: Robert Powell
  • Length: 10 hrs and 18 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 141
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 118
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 117

We all make mistakes, but starting the Third World War would have been a rather large one. To this day, I still maintain it was not entirely my fault. But I'm getting ahead of myself. During the course of my life, I've barely escaped the wrath of an arms dealer in Hamburg, been strafed by a MiG during the Nigerian civil war, and landed during a bloody coup in Guinea-Bissau.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • An amazing life described with verve

  • By Kirstine on 23-06-16

Almost as good as one of Forsyth's own novels

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

Reviewed: 06-02-17

I'd not realised what an immensely interesting life Forsyth has lived, and it's easy to see from this book almost all of the main influences behind his novels - the earliest three in particular. However, you do not need to know the likes of "The Day of the Jackal", "The Dogs of War" or "The Odessa File" to enjoy this audio book. Robert Powell reads it brilliantly, at just the right pace to maintain interest and credibility. My only criticism would be that the story is maybe a bit less interesting in the last hour or so, but maybe that's just life?

  • Jeremy Hutchinson's Case Histories

  • By: Thomas Grant
  • Narrated by: David Timson
  • Length: 16 hrs and 25 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 78
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 72
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 72

A compelling portrait of the time when freedom of speech and the need to throw off censorship came to the fore, told through its great trials, from Lady Chatterley's Lover to Howard Marks. Born in 1915 into the fringes of the Bloomsbury Group, Jeremy Hutchinson went on to become the greatest criminal barrister of the 1960s, '70s and '80s. The cases of that period changed society forever, and Hutchinson's role in them was second to none.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Really Excellent

  • By Tom on 06-02-17

Really Excellent

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

Reviewed: 06-02-17

What did you like most about Jeremy Hutchinson's Case Histories?

I was amazed at how one man could have been involved in so many significant legal cases that shaped Britain towards the end of the 20th Century.

What did you like best about this story?

Hutchinson's own story of each case he was involved with was preceded by a very adequate potted history of its background and significance. This helped greatly to put his involvement in context.

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

No, but I look forward to hearing him again. This is a long book, but he struck exactly the right tone and pace to keep the stories vivid.

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

A Brief's History of Time

Any additional comments?

No

6 of 6 people found this review helpful