Mini Reviews: An Audiobook Edition

by Kim on September 7, 2010 · 19 comments

Title: Minority Report and Other Stories
Author: Philip K. Dick
Genre/Format: Science Fiction/Short Stories/Audiobook
Year: 2002 (audio)
Acquired: Library
Rating: ★★★☆☆

Summary: Minority Report and Other Stories is a collection of short stories by Philip K. Dick. The first few were all stories that eventually were turned into movies – Minority Report and Total Recall. Each story tends to follow a format, focusing on one particular new technology with very specific outcomes. Each one has a twist at the end, which relies on exploring the logic of that technology.

In Minority Report, the technology is a connection of three humanoids that have the ability to predict crimes in the future. Before the crimes can be committed, the potential offenders are arrested. The twist comes when the head of the Pre-Crime Unit (I think that’s what it was called) discovers that he is predicted to commit a murder. What happens when you know the future? Is it possible to change it?

The rest of the stories have a pretty similar structure, although the particular technology and the question that it raises were always different.

Book Review: As a series of short stories, these were really fun. I’d seen Minority Report, so it was cool to compare the book and story as Boyfriend and I listened to them. I haven’t seen Total Recall, but Boyfriend had, so he gave me some of the comparisons too. It was also fun to try and figure out what was going to happen, guessing what the twist would be and how the story would be resolved. Dick has a sharp sense of humor that we both appreciated.

Audio Review: The challenge with this on audio was that it was almost impossible to back up if we missed something. The audio wasn’t divided into short sections – every short story was one long track. So if we got distracted, it was possible to miss the hints or questions the book was suggesting and impossible to go back.

Luckily, every one of the stories had a nice wrap-up in the end – one of the characters would give a summation of the “conclusion” to the question (sort of like how a detective will walk you through the solution in a mystery), which helped if we’d missed something. Reading this might have been annoying, but it was a huge help with an audio book that otherwise would have been quite confusing.

Other Reviews: Mental Foodie | Fyrefly’s Book Blog |

If you have reviewed this book, please leave a link to the review in the comments and I will add your review to the main post. All I ask is for you to do the same to mine — thanks!

Title: The Necklace
Author: Cheryl Jarvis
Genre/Format: Literary Journalism/Audiobook
Year: 2008 (audio)
Acquired: Library
Rating: ★★★★☆

Summary: The Necklace is the story of a social experiment – could 13 women, mostly strangers or acquaintances, buy and share a, extremely expensive necklace? But the book ends up being more about questions of consumption, friendship, sharing, and the things that have the potential to bring us together.

Book Review: I really found this story charming. The premise was unique, the structure was sound, and the “feel good-ness” of it made me smile.

One thing that I think could be annoying about the book is that, ultimately, these are all pretty well-to-do women. Certainly, they’re involved in philanthropy and part of a community, but the conflicts they have over the necklace can seem a little silly.

I wasn’t really bothered by this though, because I think the point of the book really is about more than that. To me it was about the idea of an experiment, of seeing what it might mean to try and share something important with other people and what sharing can show others.

Audio Review: The narrator for this book, Pam Ward, was just stellar. Each chapter was based on a different woman, and so that woman was quoted pretty extensively in the chapter. Ward did a great job capturing their unique voices, down to distinctive drawls and phrases. It really brought the story to life in a way I loved.

Other Reviews:

If you have reviewed this book, please leave a link to the review in the comments and I will add your review to the main post. All I ask is for you to do the same to mine — thanks!

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