Great Story but only So-So Narration for Ursula K. Le Guin’s “The Left Hand of Darkness.”

The Left Hand of Darkness (Hainish Cycle #6)The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When an envoy from earth lands on the planet known as winter he encounters a species unlike any other in the intergalactic coalition. His job is to facilitate their entrance into the coalition but first he must find a way to bridge the gap between them. Those os earth are either male or female, but the inhabitants of Winter can change their gender at will.

This is my first book by Ursula K. Le Guin even though the book is over 50 years old. I enjoyed it very much and plan to listen to others I have been curious about like The Dispossessed. I think it was good that I waited until my fifties to read this book. If I had read it as an adolescent I would have missed the more subtle aspects of the book and thus entirely missed the point of the book.

This is also my first book narrated by George Guiddall. I don’t think he did a bad job of narrating the book, but I wish there were more distinction between the various voices. It was often very difficult to tell who was talking. Sometimes a character would make a statement about something and the next character replied in the same voice. This happened so often that Guiddall might have well have just gone with a straight reading. I don’t know what his other books sound like but if they are like this one I don’t think Guiddall is in danger of becoming a favorite narrator of mine.

The rating is for the book alone. Guiddall’s narration is at best a three star ratingmaking the overall rating four stars for me.

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I loved this book as an adolescent and love it even more as an audiobook!

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, #1)The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

I remember loving this book when I was an adolescent in the 9th grade at Gresham Junior High School. I remember how it made me laugh back then so I was delighted when I saw it in the recent SciFi & Fantasy Sale on Audible. I had never listened to anything narrated by Stephen Fry but had heard great things about him. I jumped at the chance to listen to this book hoping that I would find it just as humorous as I did when I read it in print back in the 1970’s.

I was not disappointed! This book not only held up well over the almost 40 years since I read it but I think I enjoyed it even more because this time I understood the subtle humor as well as the blatant stabs at society and things such as religion, politics, and evolution. There are just so many nuances that I cannot remember getting the first time I read it and Stephen Fry just brings a whole new dimension to the story.

I cannot recommend this book highly enough and I will be buying Douglas Adams other books that are available on Audible, especially if Fry is the narrator.

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A So-So book with just an okay narration

Mechcraft (Mechcraft, #1)Mechcraft by Brian Fitzpatrick
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I enjoyed this book and its narration and gave them 4* only because you cannot give a book 3.5*.

Both the book and narration were good but ultimately forgettable. When I first found out that the main protagonist was a teenage boy entering puberty I thought middle grade or maybe young adult, but after hearing some of the language in the story I thought “nope, definitely adults only.” There is no way I would recommend this book to an adolescent. I would not have allowed my daughter to read itand would not recommend it for my grandson. I took off one star for that reason. The other half star was because of its forgettable nature.

Meghan Kelly did a decent job of narration but she never really varied her tone that much. For example, when I read a battle scene in a book Itend to read it with more intensity in my head. Kelly just gives it a straight reading without any enthusiasm. For all I know that’s what the producer or director wanted. Seems that the only time the reading took any intensity was when the characters were arguing. I haven’t made up my mind whether or not to listen to any follo up books in the series. We’ll just have to wait and see.

I received this book from the narrator in exchange for an honest review.

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First audiobook I have finished this year!

B-17 Flying Fortress RestorationB-17 Flying Fortress Restoration by Jerome J. McLaughlin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received this book from Bill Nevitt in return for an honest review.

I very much enjoyed this book as it details the restoration of the B-17 Flying Fortress The City of Savanna. Much detail regarding the history of the B-17 in general and this aircraft in particular. Jerome McLaughlin does an excellent job of telling the story. Bill Nevitt does an equally excellent job of narration. My only complaint about this book is that McLaughlin frequently takes the reader out of the story and onto rabbit trails in sidebars that are informative but distracts from the unfolding story. I would have preferred them to be put into an appendix in the back of the book and just let the story unfold naturally.

This is the only audiobook that I have finished so far this year.

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A Wonderful Short Biography About An Amazing Man

Martin Luther: A Life InspiredMartin Luther: A Life Inspired by Wyatt North
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wonderful Short Book on a Great Man of God

There are longer biographical text on the man; Martin Luther, but I doubt there are any more concise volumes that celebrate the man and his ministry.

I learned more about Luther from this book than perhaps any other. Its chapters are short and concise and focused on the many aspects that made Martin Luther the man, the minister, and the Reformer that he was. For example, he was a prolific preacher but was scared every time he stood up to preach.

If you are looking for a quick read, I would highly recommend this one. Coming in at only 117 pages with short chapters, I believe this is one of the best biographies I’ve read.

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A Review of “A Brief History of Time” by Stephen Hawking

A Brief History of TimeA Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

An interesting book. I’d love to say that I couldn’t put it down, but there was way too much information for me to absorb it all at once. I had to take it in smaller bite-size chunks. Knowing that Hawking was an avowed atheist, I appreciate that he never comes out and directly said there is no God and here’s how physics proves it. That clearly was not his point in writing this book. Instead , Hawking takes the reader on a journey of the various theories concerning the origins of the universe aand how we got from there to here. What, if anything, God had to do with our universal origins Hawking leaves up to the reader to decide.

I can see me reading so of his other works should the opportunity present itself.

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Don’t waste your money!

Last Days on Earth: Are We in Them? See for YourselfLast Days on Earth: Are We in Them? See for Yourself by Randy Nelson
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Finished listening to Last Days on Earth: Are We in Them? See for Yourself and was totally unimpressed with both the book and the narration.

I really wanted to like it because of a life long interest in eschatology. But this book was just plain bad. A lot of scripture taken out of context to help support the author’s point. List after list after list after list. This guy loves to make his lists. They did not translate well to an audiobook. Perhaps in print they would be easier to follow because you can go back and reread them if you miss something.

The narrator was just bad. He spoke so slowly and deliberately I had to speed up the book just to keep from falling asleep. Good thing I didn’t pay for this book but got it free in exchange formy review.

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