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M. S.

Oxford, UK
  • 20
  • reviews
  • 13
  • helpful votes
  • 42
  • ratings
  • How to Publish Your Book

  • By: Jane Friedman, The Great Courses
  • Narrated by: Jane Friedman
  • Length: 11 hrs and 33 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 16
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 14
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 13

In 24 eye-opening lectures, Jane Friedman, publishing industry expert and educator, provides you with sought-after secrets of the publishing process that will help you navigate this difficult progression, bypass pitfalls that many novice authors get hung up on, and improve your chances of being considered for publication. She acts as your personal guide though the entire process: from finalizing your manuscript to writing the perfect pitch to reviewing contracts and marketing your book.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A top course

  • By E Santiago on 22-05-16

Sadly only relevant for American authors

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

Reviewed: 09-08-18

Jane Friedman gives an excellent overview of the book publishing process both traditional and self-publish. However don't expect this course to make you eager to jump into the fray and get that book you always wanted to write published. Her number one advice is to have a day job. Also don't expect any words of encouragement or attempts to soften blows - which I take to be an accurate representation of the business you are trying to enter by getting your book published.The only real problem with the course is, that it is American, so all the excellent resources Jane Friedman recommends are completely useless....and often her advice boils down to "use these resources". That was a real shame and prevents the course from getting five stars. I hope that the Great Courses will release a UK version at some point.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Closed Casket

  • The New Hercule Poirot Mystery
  • By: Sophie Hannah
  • Narrated by: Julian Rhind-Tutt
  • Length: 10 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 571
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 535
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 534

Lady Athelinda Playford has planned a house party at her mansion in Clonakilty, County Cork, but it is no ordinary gathering. As guests arrive, Lady Playford summons her lawyer to make an urgent change to her will - one she intends to announce at dinner that night. She has decided to cut off her two children without a penny and leave her fortune to someone who has only weeks to live.... Among Lady Playford's guests are two men she has never met - the famous Belgian detective Hercule Poirot and Inspector Edward Catchpool of Scotland Yard.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Ridiculous plot, badly in need of editing

  • By Karen on 13-10-16

So dull!

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

Reviewed: 20-07-18

This book is not an Agatha Christie - that’s for certain! I usually like long books, but this one went on and on with endless detail nobody cared about. The murderer was rather obvious, but the plot itself was downright peculiar and it took oh so long for Poirot to finally solve the case. Not that I can really blame him with how peculiar the motive(s) turned out to be. Most of all though it completely failed to conjure up that charming old England atmosphere. It was just a run-of-the-mill murder mystery and not a good one at that.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Science in the Soul

  • Selected Writings of a Passionate Rationalist
  • By: Richard Dawkins
  • Narrated by: Richard Dawkins, Lalla Ward, Gillian Somerscales
  • Length: 14 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 127
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 109
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 109

Richard Dawkins - author of The Selfish Gene, The Blind Watchmaker, and The God Delusion - is one of science's greatest communicators. This anthology of more than 40 pieces is a kaleidoscopic argument for the power and the glory of science. Breathtaking, brilliant and passionate, these essays, journalism, lectures and letters make an unanswerable case for the wonder of scientific discovery and its power to stir the imagination.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A must for anyone who enjoys logical argument.

  • By Sam on 07-10-17

Title should have been: Opinions against the crazy

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

Reviewed: 31-03-18

Would you try another book written by Richard Dawkins or narrated by the narrators?

I don't think so. First of all: DO NOT BUY THIS BOOK BASED ON THE TITLE LIKE I DID! It has nothing to do with the soul or the stable part of our personality. I had anticipated a book by Dawkins about the soul or whatever scientists consider part of that concept to be absolutely fascinating. Instead I ended up with a load of opinion pieces on how crazy new age ideas are crazy, with a touch of personal political opinion thrown in. The worst part is that on paper I agree with everything Mr. Dawkins writes, but in actual fact, I find the way he writes, tackles topics and the language he uses so jarring, that I keep finding myself giving him terrible reviews. I think I will put an end to this trend by avoiding him in future.

What will your next listen be?

Some Stephen Hawking I think.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

He sounded arrogant and as if he was talking down to anyone who didn't agree with him in all ways, including through the use of language. I enjoy complex language, but the talking down to everyone who wasn't using it was quite too much. The changing of readers added less of a third dimension and instead detracted from the continuity and consistency of the pieces. It was furthermore very obvious that none of the readers were professional actors, which was distracting and at times, grating.

You didn’t love this book--but did it have any redeeming qualities?

His views, including his political views, agreed with mine, so if I ever fancy an echo chamber I might give it another try.

Any additional comments?

I wanted to like this book. I really did. Indeed, I want to like Mr. Dawkins. But I just can't. I suspect, if you've liked previous books by the man and enjoy his style, then you will enjoy this one too. However, if you have found him irritating in the past and want to give him another chance, as everybody seems to love him, this is not the book for that chance. I would read "The Selfish Gene" instead.

  • 59 Seconds

  • Think a Little, Change a Lot
  • By: Richard Wiseman
  • Narrated by: Peter Noble
  • Length: 8 hrs and 49 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 78
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 70
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 69

Most people would like to be more creative, more persuasive and more attractive. For years gurus and life coaches have urged people to improve their lives by changing the way they think and behave, but scientific research has revealed that many of their techniques, from group brainstorming to visualization, are ineffective. Fortunately, in 59 Seconds, psychologist Richard Wiseman is on hand to provide fast-acting, myth-busting scientific answers to a huge range of everyday problems.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Content brilliant ..... but not for Audio.

  • By Vic on 25-01-17

Fascinating and informative

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

Reviewed: 31-03-18

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Absolutely. Indeed, I did so! The book contains lots of practical information, hints and tips to live a happier life.

What was one of the most memorable moments of 59 Seconds?

The instructions on how to write a diary to make oneself happy and one to start on any goal.

What about Peter Noble’s performance did you like?

It was excellent for the subject matter. Fast paced, yet clear and precise.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No, after each chapter I instead wanted to go away and try what had been suggested to me.

Any additional comments?

If you've enjoyed the book as much as I did, may I recommend "Paranormality" and "The Luck Factor" as further reading?

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • When the Air Hits Your Brain

  • Tales from Neurosurgery
  • By: Frank T Vertosick Jr. MD
  • Narrated by: Kirby Heyborne
  • Length: 8 hrs and 42 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 37
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 31
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 32

With poignant insight and humor, Frank Vertosick, Jr., MD, describes some of the greatest challenges of his career, including a six-week-old infant with a tumor in her brain, a young man struck down in his prime by paraplegia, and a minister with a .22-caliber bullet lodged in his skull. Told through intimate portraits of Vertosick's patients and unsparing-yet-fascinatingly detailed descriptions of surgical procedures, When the Air Hits Your Brain illuminates both the mysteries of the mind and the realities of the operating room.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Good book

  • By Santiago on 22-11-16

Interesting tales with odd language

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

Reviewed: 31-03-18

Would you try another book written by Frank T Vertosick Jr. MD or narrated by Kirby Heyborne?

I wouldn't mind another book narrated by Kirby Heyborne, but Dr. Verlosick's humour and story telling was not my favourite.

If you’ve listened to books by Frank T Vertosick Jr. MD before, how does this one compare?

This was my first one.

What about Kirby Heyborne’s performance did you like?

It was steady and clear despite the complexity of many of the words and the subject matter.

Could you see When the Air Hits Your Brain being made into a movie or a TV series? Who would the stars be?

I would doubt it. It can't really decide what it is: Best I can gather, it's a collection of the most traumatic cases which left the biggest impression on the author. May be "The growth of a neurosurgeon" would have been a better title. On TV it would boil down to Scrubs with no humour, less drama, more swearing and substantially more death.

Any additional comments?

For some reason the combination of high brow medical lingo and constant swearing really jaded me. It made both seem completely inappropriate. However the biggest problem this book had was a lack of purpose and direction. It didn't seem intent on teaching the reader about neuroscience, it didn't want to show the realities of the profession as it skipped over all descriptions of normal every day happenings, it didn't entertain the reader, it didn't do anything really. The stories still seemed interesting, but the resulting lack of cohesion really brought the book down.

  • Jurassic Park

  • A Novel
  • By: Michael Crichton
  • Narrated by: Scott Brick
  • Length: 15 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,526
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,373
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,366

Audie Award, Science Fiction, 2016. An astonishing technique for recovering and cloning dinosaur DNA has been discovered. Now humankind's most thrilling fantasies have come true. Creatures extinct for eons roam Jurassic Park with their awesome presence and profound mystery, and all the world can visit them - for a price.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Jurassic Park!

  • By kmcca5 on 20-05-15

Annoying children and bad writing

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

Reviewed: 31-03-18

What disappointed you about Jurassic Park?

Most of it seemed to be the whining of a little girl and a little boy dropping important stuff in pertinent moments, while being a dinosaur expert apparently makes you endlessly athletic and fearless. Rather than experts scrambling to handle a dangerous situation or learning about dinosaurs, we find ourselves in a poorly written disaster story with extremely bad characterisations, focusing on two kids whining and screaming a lot. None of the characters seemed particularly competent or likeable and I found myself constantly hoping more would get finally eaten. Furthermore, while the author appeared to have done at least some research on dinosaurs, he apparently couldn't stretch to a thesaurus, so we find words constantly repeated or awkward descriptions.

What was most disappointing about Michael Crichton’s story?

The annoying children in what was clearly meant to be an adult book. There was more sibling bickering than dinosaurs! The poor characterisations and bad writing didn't help though. I couldn't help feeling too, that the author has an issue with women. Only two in the story, one of which is a personality-less sex bomb and the other a constantly screaming disaster magnet.

Which character – as performed by Scott Brick – was your favourite?

None of them stand out particularly. The performance was good, but uniform. If I had to choose, I would vote for the business man who owns the island.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Disappointment. A lot of people told me that if I didn't like the films, I should try the book. It was described as exactly my sort of thing. The only thing I found myself hoping - other than people being eaten by dinosaurs - was that they'd manage to save the park. I cared about the concept of the park more than every single one of the characters.

Any additional comments?

I can see why people like this book, as it is fast paced, safe for the awkward dialogue. The concept is novel and the world that is being created vivid (if poorly worded). However once the novelty has worn off, the whole thing gets ridiculous quickly. It is a great shame, as there was so much potential, but very little of it is realised.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The God Delusion

  • By: Richard Dawkins
  • Narrated by: Richard Dawkins, Lalla Ward
  • Length: 13 hrs and 52 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,238
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,572
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,548

Winner of the British Book Awards, Author of the Year, 2007.
Shortlisted for the British Book Awards, Book of the Year, 2007.
Shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize, 2007.
Winner of the Audiobook Download of the Year, 2007.

As the author of many classic works on science and philosophy, Richard Dawkins has always asserted the irrationality of belief in God and the grievous harm it has inflicted on society. He now focuses his fierce intellect exclusively on this subject, denouncing its faulty logic and the suffering it causes.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Food for thought

  • By Louise on 11-02-07

Obnoxious and self congratulating

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

Reviewed: 25-03-18

If this book wasn’t for you, who do you think might enjoy it more?

Drop dead atheists who like to wallow in their own superiority.

What was most disappointing about Richard Dawkins’s story?

That the author fundamentally didn't understand religion and what people get out of it.

What three words best describe Richard Dawkins and Lalla Ward ’s performance?

Okay. Average. Uninspiring.

You didn’t love this book--but did it have any redeeming qualities?

It tackles some of the theories behind some views of God quite thoroughly

Any additional comments?

I really wanted to like this book. I am on the fence when it comes to religion and felt this book would clinch the deal for me. May be I had too high expectations. What I got instead was a self congratulatory and unbelievably boring drivel of someone who has so much distain for his subject matter that he couldn't be bothered to properly engage wit it. I didn't feel any of his religious examples and quotes even touched upon my beliefs May be there is a cultural aspect at play here, as I am not American. I don't know. May be as an American I would have been nodding along excitedly. As it was, I couldn't even battle my way to the end.

1 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • What Happened

  • By: Hillary Rodham Clinton
  • Narrated by: Hillary Rodham Clinton
  • Length: 18 hrs and 35 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 904
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 805
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 795

For the first time, Hillary Rodham Clinton reveals what she was thinking and feeling during one of the most controversial and unpredictable presidential elections in history. Now free from the constraints of running, Hillary takes you inside the intense personal experience of becoming the first woman nominated for president by a major party in an election marked by rage, sexism, exhilarating highs and infuriating lows, stranger-than-fiction twists, Russian interference, and an opponent who broke all the rules. This is her most personal memoir yet.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Exactly that I wanted

  • By Lauren Bateman on 09-09-18

Should have been called “Why you should have voted for me”

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

Reviewed: 22-02-18

Because that’s what it is. We learn very little about why Mrs. Clinton lost other than that it is everyone else’s fault. It’s still an interesting book especially for those of us who watched the race from across the ocean, but it is blatantly mistitled. If you were hoping for soul searching and a resolution on how to do a better job next time, this is not your book. I for one was hoping for more details and explanations for some of the more blatant inconsistencies and foul ups of the campaign that alienated voters - but according to Mrs. Clinton her only failing was that she was too polite at times. Everyone else does however end up with a fair amount of egg on their face including Sanders and all his followers which the author seems convinced were all idiots anyway and Mr. Sanders’ only appeal was in oversimplification. The arrogance is absolutely staggering and so is the fundamental lack of understanding of many, many voters. After the book I do indeed understand better why Mrs. Clinton lost, but for none of the reasons the book tries to sell.

  • The Historical Jesus

  • By: Bart D. Ehrman
  • Narrated by: Bart D. Ehrman
  • Length: 12 hrs and 21 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 47
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 42
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 39

From the late Roman Empire all the way to our own time, no continuously existing institution or belief system has wielded as much influence as Christianity, no figure as much as Jesus. Worshipped around the globe by more than a billion people, he is undoubtedly the single most important figure in the story of Western civilization and one of the most significant in world history altogether.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • An interesting concept, needs the visual element

  • By Sam on 07-07-14

Who was Jesus?

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

Reviewed: 31-10-17

Fascinating, detailed and well researched. Should be part of seminary. Absolutely worth listening to. The lecturer is clear and easy to hear, the contents easy to follow. No background knowledge necessary.

  • Dr Gideon Fell: Collected Cases

  • Classic Radio Crime
  • By: John Dickson Carr
  • Narrated by: Donald Sinden, John Hartley, full cast
  • Length: 2 hrs and 49 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 29
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 26
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 28

Donald Sinden stars as eccentric amateur sleuth Gideon Fell in these two full-cast BBC radio dramatisations of stories by John Dickson Carr. One of the pre-eminent detectives of crime fiction's Golden Age, Dr Gideon Fell is stout, jovial and fond of beer and band music. However, he also possesses a razor-sharp mind and extraordinary powers of deduction, which are frequently put to the test as he is called upon to solve seemingly impossible crimes.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • FANTASTIC DR GIDEON DOES IT AGAIN

  • By Highlight on 21-10-17

Very enjoyable

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

Reviewed: 08-10-17

This is excellent entertainment. If you fancy something short that will keep you guessing and engage - these two episodes will be perfect for you. They invite to sitting at the fire with some knitting with their old English charm. The mysteries are not overly complex, but very pleasant listening.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful