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ColonelJames

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Another Gem from Professor Garland

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

Reviewed: 22-06-19

I am a big fan of Robert Garland's courses. This is not the best of his courses (I would nominate Daily Life in the Ancient World there) but it is, as usual, a thoughtful, passionate, and entertaining excursion into Ancient Greek history.

Quite good!

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

Reviewed: 28-04-19

This book is an interesting mix of history, science, and travel memoir. Well structured, clearly written, and consistently interesting. I note that a number of reviewers have an issue with the reader - I thought he was fine, although an unusual choice for a book written by a young man from Aberdeen. Give this a go if the subject strikes your interest!

Three Stars!

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

Reviewed: 09-07-18

Salem's Lot seems quite dated now. King's manipulation of generic Vampire tropes has lost quite a bit of its dazzle in the forty years since its release and after a generation spoiled with the ingenious twists on the Vampire genre supplied by Buffy and Angel. What makes King's novel still worth reading is the quality of his storytelling. He is a great writer and even as plot elements and generic ideas age his gifts as a novelist still impress. I will certainly listen to more Stephen King. Ron McLarty put in a decent performance too!

Quite possibly the worst reading I have ever heard

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

Reviewed: 05-06-18

John Keating makes this book impossible to listen to. I lasted two hours and could not do any more. There is a transparent self-regard in Keating's artificially lilting voice and in his decision to read everything as if it is his own poetry. The. Caesuras are just. Stupid. Elizabeth Bishop deserved better. Colm Tóibín deserved better. Any listener would deserve better. This recording should be destroyed. Shame on John Keating.

1 person found this helpful

Good ideas, bad writing

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

Reviewed: 31-05-18

"This new information spun inside Holsten's skull like a flock of bats trying to find a way out...Holsten sat down. All that strength - the rage, and the righteousness, and the fear - it all drained from him so viscerally that he felt he should be surrounded by a visible pool of spent emotions."

This novel is not as good as everyone is saying. Credit to Tchaikovsky for trying to paint on a grand canvas - thousands of years, multiple species, multiple Armageddons confronted..etc - but his prose is basically dodgy. It is clunky and artless throughout. The chapters that work best are the spider chapters, because they are so much about the bare exposition of the author's ideas about how spider society and spider psychology works rather than his descriptive writing and his dialogue. I wouldn't recommend Tchaikovsky's book if you have any appreciation at all for the quality of prose in a novel. If, on the other hand, you just want a big old space yarn with a few good twists and turns then 'Children of Time' is your man.

A Wonderful Piece of Work

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

Reviewed: 20-03-18

I am a big fan of Prof. Greenberg's courses. They aren't just entertainment - his enthusiasm, his knowledge, his ability to contextualise and to direct listening effectively have, simply, revealed to me a world of music that would have otherwise remained hidden. Spending many hours with him through these courses has made my life better. Anyway I have been absolutely busting to hear him do a 20th Century overview and here it is at last!

First off - there is very little actual music in these lectures; he explains at the start that the cost of licensing the work of not-long-dead composers means he can't play you the recorded excerpts as he goes along, as you will be used to in his other courses. However, he provides a wonderful coursebook in the PDF file with URLs to some brilliant videos - so the music (and more) is only a click away. I note that one reviewer above has declared that you don't get these with the course on Audible - this is incorrect; they are in the PDF file in your audible library alongside the course download link and it all works fine. So aside from some piano examples he plays himself (and a few snippets of his own music) - it is all Bob. That is why 'story' is only getting 4 stars up above; if the music had been in there it would have been incredible and, as it is, I found myself coming down on the side of Charles Ives - screw copyright, music belongs to everyone. Gimme!!! Anyway the links are there and they are great.

Prof. Greenberg's overview itself is, for my money, much better than Alex Ross 'The Rest is Noise' from the point of view of actually making the music accessible. There are a couple of reasons for this I think. Firstly, I love Greenberg's willingness to stick his neck out and tell you his opinion. He loves and he hates, and the ongoing drama of who or what will be celebrated, or, alternatively, given both barrels makes this worth the price of admission alone. Secondly, I think the music truly gets centre-stage here in a way that it does not in Alex Ross' very interesting book. There is cultural, historical, and biographical overview here as well but this course is principally about the music - which I think is borne out in what the course consciously omits (Shostakovitch for example) as well as what it devotes entire lectures to. It is selective. The selections for listening/watching in the links are obviously chosen with care and I was delighted to discover much of this music (most of it to be honest) for the first time. Thirdly, Greenberg's being a prolific contemporary composer himself feels more important in this course, than in any of his previous. This course brings us 'up to speed' and so there is more of a sense than ever that this stuff (from Stravinsky's Rite of Spring onwards) is what contemporary composers are still wrestling with as they try to figure out what it is that they do or should do next. I thought Prof. Greenberg's frank account of his career (nay, his life!) as a composer in one of the final lectures was great - very honest, very amusing, and quite moving.

Don't miss this course - it is special.

6 people found this helpful

Auberjonois has a great voice

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

Reviewed: 13-02-18

What can I say? Here you will get the greatest translation of the most interesting Gospel read to you by Odo. You need this in your life.

Hard to listen to.

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

Reviewed: 13-02-18

The Tempest is hard to follow at the best of times but there are a few things in this production that really don't help. The first is Ian McKellen. Much of this performance of Prospero is practically whispered by the great actor. It is simply hard to hear his lines a lot of the time, unless you are listening to this in headphones - I was listening in the car and even with the volume right up he was incomprehensible at times. The second problem is the music; the musical settings of the songs are awful and obfuscate the text; they are like a lead weight around the ankles of these lyrics and utterly, utterly tuneless. It is hard to believe they were deemed acceptable.

1 person found this helpful

What a performance.

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

Reviewed: 03-02-18

Colin Firth really does something special with this. Outstanding characterisation and a real sensitivity to the text the whole way through.

Lovely reading by Michael Sheen

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

Reviewed: 29-10-17

This was a real pleasure to listen to. The readings are very dramatic but well judged I think. Michael Sheen has a great voice. I have never better appreciated these poems.

5 people found this helpful