"We are of opinion that instead of letting books grow moldy behind an iron grating, far from the vulgar gaze, it is better to let them wear out by being read." - Jules Verne
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Friday, July 17, 2015


Published in 2015 by HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books in May of 2015.
Multicast performance
Duration: 2 hours, 20 minutes

In a lot of ways the first story in this 30 story collection typifies the entire collection. It is called "Grizzly Encounters" and is an almost 6 minute long recounting of three different encounters with Grizzly Bears. We were on a long family trip and you could almost sense the family settling in for what was sure to be an interesting story. But, after we had listened to each of them sort of peter out to a "that's it?" moment I stopped the CD and asked if I was the only one that was disappointed in that story. Everyone, even the nine year old, thought the story was a disappointment.

So, on to the next story - a story about bats in a mine that I remember most for telling me this was the sound of the bats that they had been hunting (and me thinking that this would sound great in the awesome speakers of the rental SUV) only to have it last for about 5 seconds. 0 for 2 so far.

The next four stories were better, the best being a story about tool-using animals, although the story of dolphins recognizing the calls of other dolphins that they hadn't seen for years was certainly heart-warming.

The rest of the collection is mostly like that. A lot of ho-hum stories with the theme of animals with the occasional good story. The story of a Florida sea turtle who was accidentally carried across the Atlantic by a ship was cute and ended well but hardly memorable. A song written for Lonesome George, a last-of-his-kind tortoise was cute at first but I was so glad when it ended.

Really, we got an F?
I have listened to at least seven of the audiobooks in this series and they all suffer from the up-and-down quality but these just seemed to be almost universally so-so. Perhaps the best story was an interview with one of the creators of the humor blog "Animal Review" in which the authors grade animal species from F- to A+. They give Pandas an F for a variety of reasons that make sense once you read them and the octopus gets an A because it's like a "superhero". Unfortunately, the interviewer doesn't go along with the joke very well and drags it down. I felt like she was just getting in the way of a good joke. Surely, NPR must have someone with a sense of humor, right?

So, for a variety of reasons I just have to give this collection 3 stars out of 5.

This collection can be found on Amazon here: 
NPR Driveway Moments: More about Animals: Radio Stories That Won't Let You Go

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