Once We Were Fiction

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2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 09-09-18

Many Myths, few Life Lessons

I've listened to loads of Great Courses. I love them. This is the first Great Course that I have disliked. Fear retells stories at length. For almost an entire lecture, sometimes more than one. If you are lucky you get an examination of the history surrounding the myth. This is where the course is at its most interesting. Where it is weakest is the life lessons, which are sparse and shallow, and dependent upon highly subjective interpretation with no reference to any opinions beyond those of Fears himself.

I expect better of The Great Courses. Fortunately I have listened to many others. If this was the first I had listened to, it would have put me off.

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1 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 12-07-16

Unlistenable for me.

My mistake I guess, but I thought this was a novel - bought it because I loved the Hammet short stories. This was so hard to follow as a screenplay and irritating as Hell too.

Others may see these things differently, and I should have checked first, but if you haven't checked properly don't make the same mistake as me.

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5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 16-02-14

So this is fantasy?

I'm going to keep this short because the review above is really good. I haven't read any fantasy for about twenty-five years, and when I saw this I just thought - why not? There are some great stories here. Imaginary Friend and All the Girls Love Michael Stein are amazing. That said it hasn't won me back over to the genre, but I have enjoyed listening to this a lot.

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0 of 2 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 27-12-13

Lots of content, but not great teaching

If you've already listened to so some Spanish language audiobooks then this has a lot of content for you to practise with. However, its strength is also it's weakness. You just don't have time to take it all in. I am now listening for a second time and the pace is still too much.

I definitely would give Behind the Wheel 2 a try. But I think I might see if I can find something else first.

If you are a complete beginner, I would definitely try the Paul Noble, Collins books first. They are much better for complete beginners. If you already know a bit of Spanish, this will keep your brain busy as you drive.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 21-01-12

Lots of content skillfully weaved together.

I thought this audiobook was amazing. I loved it. The book gives a lots of detail about the build up the wall's being built - Ulbricht's rise to power and so on. I also appreciated the many personal storys - Hagen Koch and Conrad Schumann for example.

I do, however, agree with the previous reviewer of this title that the accents get on your nerves a bit, especially in the beginning, but, actually, as the book went on, I began to accept them, appreciate them even.

Highly reccommended, by me anyway.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 27-11-11

History of the Highest Standard

I know I did this all wrong, but I actually came to this book last, having already listened to the other two parts of the trilogy.

Perhaps of the three, this is the most dry, but you know, it kind of has to be. It focuses on the political machinations surrounding the Nazis through to 1933. Some of the political nuances are not that easy to follow, but Evans doesn't shy away from them. He shows how the Nazi party were able to exploit dubious precedents to create the veneer of legality.

It really is (just like the other parts) brilliantly written, inuitively organised, and clearly narrated at a comfortable pace.

I cannot recommend this series highly enough.

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1 of 3 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 31-10-11

Well informed but badly organised.

I love Audible. I've listened to some great history texts and I've learned so much. However, I'm sorry to say that Jan Morrs' Venice for all of its length has taught me very little.

I bought this as a history text, but really this text is more like a modern guide book with a big portion of history mixed in. This sounds fine, but the problem is that while there is content, it is so higgledy piggledy in its distribution that the information just gets tangled, mixed up and confused.

Just as frustrating is the style of the writing. This book is overwritten and, frankly, rather self indulgent. Don't get me wrong. Morris can write lovely, florid sentences, but there are so many of them here that when the information finally arrives, it takes you by surprise and you miss it.

As I listened, in frustration, I found myself thinking that perhaps this book would be more enjoyable to someone who already knows the city well. For me, however, a Venice virgin so to speak (ahem), something more focussed on content, and organised chronologically would have been far more rewarding.

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7 of 10 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 28-10-11

Informative, and well-informed - well worth it.

So many books about buddhism seem to be in the live lecture format. Part of the reason that I chose this was that it is not in this format.

This is a proper book. It is read at a sensible pace, free of extended pauses.

Most importantly this book refers to aspects of teaching from various schools of Buddhism. There is content here and plenty of it.

The writing is skillful, precise, and economical.

I will definitely listen to these five hours again. What better reccomendation is there than that?


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6 of 7 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 09-10-11

Informative and Interesting

I think that the measure of this book is that I know a lot more now than I did before I listened to it - but then, I started from a pretty low base!

The audiobook tells the story of Monarchy from Claudius' Roman occupation through to Elizabeth II. Perhaps the title is a little misleading - for example there is not a great deal of coverage of the two twentieth century World Wars.

Personally, I didn't enoy this book as much as some ot the other history texts I have downloaded. The reason for this is not the quality of Mr. Starkey's writing, which is very good indeed. I struggled to keep track with events at times, just because there are so many monarchs. At times they seem to blur into each other a little.

Oh, and the changing narrators jar a little.

That said, this is a very good audiobook and I would definitiely reccommend it. No longer am I slightly ashamed of my lack of knowledge of monarchy and indeed English history. There's still a lot more to know but this book has given me a pretty good grounding. Thanks.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-02-11

Not everything the description says it is.

Whilst I don't disagree with much of what the writer of this book has to say, I really wouldn't reccommend it.

There is simply not enough content here, and what there is is anecdotal observations linked to lenghty passages of proselytising.

The guy that has written this really seems like a nice fella, and if you want to spend 16 hours listening to someone affirming the opinions you already hold - then great.

If you are a Christian parent, again, perhaps this book will suit.

But if you are a Youth worker or educator looking for some fresh insight, you'd probably be best off looking elsewhere.

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