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Simon

NewtongrangeUnited Kingdom
  • 7
  • reviews
  • 59
  • helpful votes
  • 7
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  • Slasher Movies

  • The Pocket Essential Guide
  • By: Mark Whitehead
  • Narrated by: James Jordan
  • Length: 3 hrs and 47 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 4
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars 2
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 2

Freddy Krueger, Michael Myers, Jason Voorhees... Sound familiar? In the 1980's these monstrous characters were as popular as Frankenstein, Dracula and the Wolfman had been in the '30's. But they were different. Not the stuff of ancient myths or classic literature, Krueger and Co. were monsters from the backyard of American suburbia - the landscape of slasher movies such as Halloween (1979), Friday the 13th (1980) and the Nightmare on Elm Street series.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • A decent introduction

  • By Simon on 22-08-13

A decent introduction

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

Reviewed: 22-08-13

The book itself was okay, doesn't really provide information that isn't available in any number of other sources but a decent intro to the genre to those who are looking for it.

I have to say, however, that the narration/production was really bad - I don't think I've even ever listened to an audiobook and noticed the production values before but I did here. The narrator *constantly* mispronounces names and words and even stumbles over his words a few times which makes me think not that it wasn't edited well but that it wasn't edited *at all*.

  • Why Does E=MC2 and Why Should We Care

  • By: Brian Cox, Jeff Forshaw
  • Narrated by: Jeff Forshaw
  • Length: 7 hrs and 3 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 902
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 585
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 578

In one of the most exciting and accessible explanations of The Theory of Relativity in recent years, Professors Brian Cox and Jeff Forshaw go on a journey to the frontier of 21st century science to consider the real meaning behind the iconic sequence of symbols that make up Einstein's most famous equation, exploring the principles of physics through everyday life.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Easier than I thought

  • By Mr. S. Hyams on 30-05-11

Good but not suited to an audiobook

Overall
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 15-04-11

Whilst far from being an expert physicist I have read a fair bit about relativity and quantum mechanics etc so I was coming to this book looking to get a clearer understanding of the subject matter it deals with. The only problem is that I don't think I'm any clearer now than when I started.

I have no doubt that this is in large part due to the fact I was listening to it as an audiobook rather than reading it so don't want to put the book down too much. The book started off okay but quite quickly descended into multiple equations that I just found impossible to follow in my head which meant that large swathes of the book became impenetrable - and since each section relied on the previous it meant that everything went pear-shaped for me quite early on.

The book is a good attempt to explain how Einstein reached his famous equation but in the end, at least as an audiobook, the ideas just required too much abstract and mathematical thought in order to properly ensure understanding.

48 of 51 people found this review helpful

  • Snuff

  • By: Chuck Palahniuk
  • Narrated by: Todd McLaren
  • Length: 4 hrs and 59 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 21
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 15
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 15

Cassie Wright, porn priestess, intends to cap her legendary career by breaking the world record for serial fornication. On camera. With 600 men. Snuff unfolds from the perspectives of Mr. 72, Mr. 137, and Mr. 600, who await their turn on camera in a very crowded green room.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A return to form

  • By Simon on 22-02-11

A return to form

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 22-02-11

A total return to form for Palahniuk and the most I've enjoyed one of his books for many years.
After loving his first three or four I felt he went off the boil, moving away from the dark underbelly of human nature into other areas that just didn't have the same edge. SNUFF makes up for that, however, an intricately structured, utterly engaging listen.
There are the usual tics (verbal and literary) which have become Palahniuk's trademark and although at times it can get a little much it also really does help to crystallise the individual personalities of each of the main characters. There's also the trademark twist which wasn't exactly a surprise but the story kept me involved deeply enough that I wasn't really thinking too much about what might happen.
Snappy, hip but also extremely moving and perfectly shaped (sorry to go a bit synesthetic), this was a fantastic listen

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Haunted

  • By: Chuck Palahniuk
  • Narrated by: Scott Brick, Marc Cashman, Erik Davies, and others
  • Length: 13 hrs and 52 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 63
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 48
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 48

Haunted by Chuck Palahniuk is a novel made up of stories: 23 of them, to be precise. Twenty-three of the most horrifying, hilarious, mind-blowing, stomach-churning tales you'll ever encounter, sometimes all at once. They are told by people who have answered an ad headlined "Writers' Retreat: Abandon Your Life for Three Months", and who are led to believe that here they will leave behind all the distractions of "real life" that are keeping them from creating the masterpiece that is in them.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Needed a good edit!

  • By Simon on 22-02-11

Needed a good edit!

Overall
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 22-02-11

This is one I first picked up years ago but only got about 40 or so pages in before losing interest and, to be honest, it was a bit of a struggle to get through it again.

The concept was exciting - Chuck writing a portmanteau horror-ish book, a group of writers gathered together to create their masterworks all slowly going mad - but too often I found myself getting annoyed by it. With that said, several of the short stories were excellent (in particular I loved Mother Nature's story about the dark side of alternative therapies and the one about the life-saver doll) but the main problem was with the parts which joined the stories together.

There were too many characters and I was kept distanced from caring about any of them because of their monikers. I'm well used to the Chuck-isms of strange character habits but this is often in opposition to the 'normal' world - in Haunted there is nothing BUT Chuck-isms and it was just too much. It felt at times like Tom Morello's guitar playing, you appreciated the creativity but every now and again just want to shout at him to do a normal guitar solo!

This was the Palahiuk book I felt needed an editor to be whacking him across the head and telling him to cut 1/3 of it out, to cut half of the characters out, and to tone down the Chuck-isms. There was so much potential there for a cracking book but I think it just went too far and lost touch with what Chuck is often good at and that is using strangeness to highlight things which affect all of us.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Bye Bye Baby

  • By: Allan Guthrie
  • Narrated by: Peter Forbes
  • Length: 1 hr and 33 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 16
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 9

When a seven-year-old boy disappears after school, the case is handed to Detective Frank Collins. He's been looking to lead a high-profile case for a while, and sets out determined to prove his worth. But the missing schoolboy is only a trigger for another crime. Someone is intent on exploiting the boy's grief-stricken mother. And they have plans for Frank Collins too.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • An interesting, quick listen

  • By Simon on 22-02-11

An interesting, quick listen

Overall
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 22-02-11

A great, quick listen - not my usual fare (straightforward crime fiction) but the story is expertly structured and very light-handed in terms of the prose.

There is only as much in there as needs to be, but hints at a lot more.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • In God We Doubt

  • By: John Humphrys
  • Narrated by: John Humphrys
  • Length: 2 hrs and 13 mins
  • Abridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 22
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 6
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars 6

Throughout the ages believers have been persecuted: usually for believing in the "wrong" God. So have non-believers who have denied the existence of God as superstitious rubbish. Today it is the agnostics who are given a hard time. They are scorned by believers for their failure to find faith and by atheists for being hopelessly wishy-washy and weak-minded. But John Humphrys is proud to count himself among their ranks. In this audiobook he takes us along the spiritual road he himself has travelled.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Disappointing

  • By Simon on 22-02-11

Disappointing

Overall
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 22-02-11

A bit of a disappointment really, this is the sort of book which I think Dawkin's 'God Delusion' put in its place, or at least should have done.

Humphrys explains that his book isn't meant to be like Dawkins', it isn't an attempt to talk people out of belief, but instead to ask why people believe in the first place and this is where I think it falls down. To me, you can't argue belief, you can't convince another to believe what you believe, or explain it fully to them, so to base a religious debate on them seems doomed to failure.

The only thing left, therefore, is reason, and this is what Dawkins did in The God Delusion. He recognised that reason, at least potentially, is shared whereas faith/belief is person and can't be argued. That, to me, was the power of his book. Humphrys, on the other hand, deliberately avoids this and falls back into the old ways of aethists being almost apologetic for their beliefs, or lack thereof.

In the end he actually seems to spend more time attacked Dawkins and his (in Humphreys own words) 'militant aetheists' than anything else and so the book just comes out as nothing more than him expressing an opinion he doesn't even seem that willing to back up. He then spends a lot of time tying himself in knots about why we shouldn't 'attack' people of faith and creating straw men aethist arguments that he can knock down and it comes off as confused, weak and pointless.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • It's Only a Movie

  • By: Mark Kermode
  • Narrated by: Mark Kermode
  • Length: 7 hrs and 52 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 410
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 189
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 186

To avoid fainting, keep repeating It's only a move ..only a movie ..only a movie ..only a movie If you grew up believing that Planet of the Apes told you all you needed to know about politics, that Slade in Flame was a savage exposé of the pop world, and that The Exorcist revealed the meaning of life, then you probably spent far too many of your formative years at the cinema. Just as likely, you soon would have realised that there was only one career open to you - you'd have to become a film critic.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • As slick as his hair

  • By PP Merge on 23-02-10

Interesting but not interesting enough

Overall
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 22-02-11

As a huge fan of Kermode's film review show with Simon Mayo on Five Live for several years this was an interesting listen but ultimately, it's the story of how a film critic became a film critic. There's a bunch of interesting anecdotes (his horrific trip across Russia, Werner Hertzog getting shot whilst being interviewed by him), most of which I was already aware of from the show, and beyond that there's not much else.

It was good to hear Mark reading the book himself but there just wasn't enough meat on the bones for me.