July 31, 2011

Audiobooks 2

Heyyy! *jaunty wave* This spy has been scarce in the online world these past few days, due to a very intense and time-consuming project, namely the making of a short film that involves lots and lots of editing (ie, more than 10 hours. >_> Not to mention filming). Fun. But busymaking. Because it was for a film contest. And it had been going on for two months. But I only came up with an idea three days ago. And we had three days to do it. And I was working up 'till the last few hours of it. XD And we turned it in with an hour and twenty minutes to spare. :D That's what I call living summer on the edge.

Anyhow, on to business. I present to you an audiobook post!

For those among you who do not know, I have developed a habit of listening to audiobooks whilst executing my job: shelving books at my local library. Multitasking, you see. I am an avid multitasker.

In a previous post, I reviewed the audiotales I had recently heard. I do the same again. And once more, I have not one, not three, but


audiobooks to report.

Without further ado,

- - -

Animal Farm
George Orwell

I liked this book. I liked it much. It was a short and swiftly-paced story of a group of farm animals who overthrow their human masters and establish a government of their own.

The story is a simplified allegory of the Russian Revolution (and it can be applied to virutally any of the world's tyrannies), and so if you're a history nerd like me, you'll especially enjoy it. Even if you're not, it's still a good story. The animal farm is erected on the cheerful motto "All animals are equal," but subtly - oh, so subtly to the unsuspecting horses and chicken and sheep! - the pigs come to unjust power.

Read in dismay as the animals' slogan, "All animals are equal" is, over time, mysteriously replaced with the enigmatic and grim philosophy: "All animals are equal, only some animals are more equal than others."

Clean, short, excellent. High recommend.

Peter and the Starcatchers
Dave Barry

Peter and the Starcatchers is actually Book 1 of a four-book series chronicling the story before the story - explaining how Peter Pan came to be on the island of Neverland, how he could fly, how he lost his shadow, how Tinkerbell came into being, and other wonders. I liked this > the first one, best; afterwards they started to feel a bit more cliche and same-ish. Happily, the entire series was quite clean and appropriate for all ages. The author was very creative in inventing the backstory to the original Peter Pan story. Read this if you want an exciting, innocent story reveling in the classic villainousness of Captain Hook and the daring childishness of Peter Pan.

Cliche, lighthearted, classic. Mildly recommended.

George Orwell

"It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen."

Thus goes the misleading first line of the odd book 1984. I say that the line is misleading because it indicates an Alice-In-Wonderland-esqe, whimsical kind of story.

It is not so.

Much graver than Animal Farm (by the same author), it also presents, similarly, a political analogy. 1984 was written in 1948, and Orwell was predicting the future. He portrayed a bleak Communist world, all gray and brainwashed, peppered with security cameras everywhere that see all; inescapable propaganda; enthusiastic efforts to simplify and de-emotionalize language; thoughtcrime; doublethink; and Five-Minute Hates. While well written, I don't recommend it - for one matter, there's the protagonist's graphic adulterous affair. >_>

It's an eerie story that ends nontraditionally. It's a story of brainwashing, liberty, invasions, betrayal, and mistrust. It presented interesting philosophical questions. If I may trouble you with a thought-provoking quote, exemplifying the brain-washing philosophy of that era:

"Anything could be true. The so-called laws of Nature were nonsense. The law of gravity was nonsense. 'If I wished,' O'Brien had said, 'I could float off this floor like a soap bubble.' Winston worked it out. 'If he thinks he floats off the floor, and if I simultaneously think I see him do it, then the thing happens.' Suddenly, like a lump of submerged wreckage breaking the surface of water, the thought burst into his mind: 'It doesn't really happen. We imagine it. It is hallucination.' He pushed the thought under instantly. The fallacy was obvious. It presupposed that somewhere or other, outside oneself, there was a 'real' world where 'real' things happened. But how could there be such a world? What knowledge have we of anything, save through our own minds? All happenings are in the mind. Whatever happens in all minds, truly happens.

Grim, political, dystopian. Not recommended because of immorality.

The Good Thief

Hannah Tinti

This is a Dickenesque tale of an orphaned kid, but there's a significant difference between this orphan and most - he's missing a hand, and has no idea why. Fairly intriguing premise, so I tried it.

Rather a waste of my time, I think. The long plot rambled as the kid followed in the footsteps of theives and drunkards and impersonaters and grave robbers and hoodlums, eventually coming to a weird climax involving a murderous corrupt wealthy factory owner. >_> Didn't see that coming. Combined with some unpleasant weirdnesses, it was not worth the read.

Wandering, depressing, bland. I don't recommend it.

Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment
James Patterson

Enter Max, leader of her 'family' of six. They are brothers and sisters not by blood, but by friendship and common plight: all are escapees from a pack of vicious scientists who want them back. Because these kids are not ordinary. They're 98% human and 2% bird - and they have wings.

Rather cool premise, no? And it did prove to be respectably cool. An amusing 1rst person narration from the view of the sarcastic Max kept even the slow points entertaining. Often the narration sits on the knife edge between being hilarious and being cliche-corny. XD Pretty long tale, a bit rambling-feeling atimes. As I recall, it was clean... I cannot remember if there were swear words or not. If there were, they were few and mild.

This is book one of a series. I haven't read the following ones; while the first was enjoyable, I don't yet feel terribly inclined to read the others.

Exciting, action-ous, cool. Recommended, I suppose.

- - -

In order from most favorite to least, I hereby order this batch of books:

1. Animal Farm
2. Peter and the Starcatchers
3. Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment
4. 1984
5. The Good Thief

Have you read any of these books? And if so, do you concur or disagree with my review of them?

Hoping for a book-chat,
And to all a good night,


Jake said...

I've read none of them, actually. Animal Farm seems intriguing enough (attack of the farm animals—-I knew this would happen one day!) to check out.

Creative Artist said...

I have seen the movie, Animal Farm. :) My dad brought it back from China. But no, I have not read it, though I might...

I have not read any of the others, either. :) My sister listens to audio books very often. If its a regular book like The Black Stallion or a simple fiction book, I listen to it, but if its fantasy, I can't stand just listening to it. :) I have to get my eyes on the page and devour it. >_>


Pathfinder said...

(Of course you did Jake. How high up in the heirarchy are the turkeys? ;p)

I'v read Peter and the Starcatchers, the three following, and the other two or three short stories that correspond.
I enjoyed them. They were interesting and highly imaginative.

Faye said...

I've read "Animal Farm" and am not planning on reading it again. I liked it, but when you think too hard about it and what ti represents it's just depressing. Plus the horse dies, and he was a good horse too. I like horses.
Looks like you've been listening to some interesting stuff!

Noah Arsenault said...

I've not read Animal Farm, but I've listened to part of an audiobook of it! XD I want to read it now...

I've read Peter and the Starcatchers though, and I thought that was really good :D

Tim said...

Haven't read any of them, but Animal Farm is definitely on my list. I've also seen the movie, but it was a long time ago, and it was pretty violent and frightening for my very young mind then if I recall correctly... O_O So I'll try to start with a fresh slate when I read the book.

The quote from 1984 was frighteningly postmodernist. I guess Orwell was right about that at least...

whisper said...

Jake - Animal Farm is well worth your time. You especially would enjoy it, methinks; as Pathfinder pointed out, you understand the deep and ambitious potential of farm creatures. o_O *cough*Turkeys*cough*

Vrenith - your Dad brought the movie back from China? o.O Was it... *blinks* in Chinese?

Oh yes! I know what you mean about wanting to not listen to certain books but read to read them. That's how I feel, if the book's particularly epic - if it's mediocre, I'll listen to it in audio, but if I find it starts meeting the wondrous qualities of a Very Worthy tale, I'll get it in tangible form.

Pathfinder - the Starcatcher books were quite imaginative; definitely so. *nods* I saw that there were other short stories related to Peter Pan; I suppose you recommend them?

Faye - Aye, it was quite depressing. :P But I have morbid tastes, and enjoy depressing books, so Animal Farm became a favorite of mine. >_>

Noah - *nodnod* You should read it! Yesyes. It will be a worthy addition to your already-extensive repertoire of readings. :D

Tim - Ha, it's odd; I now have two friends in the blogging world named 'Tim,' so every time I see that you've commented I get thrown off, thinking at first that you're the other Tim, but then you speak with a tone that would sound quite strange from the other Tim, and thusly I end up confused. >_>

Ahem! But yes. I have not seen the movie. Yet I imagine that it would be quite grim and frightening. o.O It's a dark story.

*nods* Aye, Orwell accurately foresaw that much. He saw much, in fact; including the alteration of our language.

(the same) Tim said...

Oh, the multiple Tims quandary! I know it well (I have another good friend named Tim, and my roommate at PHC also had said name).

So for future reference, what should I call myself to avoid such confusion?

whisper said...

"(the same) Tim." *laughs*

A quandary indeed! And speaking of which, 'quandary' is a most excellent word which I had forgotten about. o.O

To avoid the confusion.... hm. *ponders* Well, if you called yourself "Ninja" or "the Loquacious Ninja," I would know at once who you were. :D But the confusion that comes with the famed Multiple Tims Quandary is not necessarily unpleasant... in other words, call yourself whatever under the sun you wish. :)

Pathfinder said...

Whisper: I would reccomend the short stories. You could tear through them in one sitting.

whisper said...

Ooohh... nice. Thanks! I'll order them at once, and save them for a rainy day, when I want something small and friendly. (:

Ninja Tim said...

Will do. =)

By the way, I recently read Animal Farm (in two sittings no less, an extreme rarity for me). It was an easy, enjoyable read, although regrettably I do believe I would have enjoyed it more had I not already known so much of the storyline. Oh well, it was worth it.

whisper said...

Ah! Excellent! :D Aye, 'tis quite an easy read, and it's fascinating (at least to me >_>) to read various online articles about the correlations between Animal Farm and the real Russian Revolution.

Ah, I feel your pain. I hate already knowing a book's story before reading it. Perhaps that's why I very, very, very rarely read a book more than once.