(audio)Book Reviews : Whales, Survival and the story of two men and a bet

You probably know this already but…

Spotify is a pretty decent service.

However one thing I’ve always thought was missing was a wide range of audiobooks (although I suppose you’ve got a service like ‘Audible’ if you’re really into spoken word stories)

However Spotify does have some decent audiobook content and these three reviews are of these versions of the stories…

This weeks stories contain three men and how they cope with adversity and challenge in different ways.

In two of the stories man challenges nature. In the Chekcov story man challenges man but also loneliness and isolation.

So, without further ado, let’s crack on with the reviews…

Just so stories : How the Whale got his throat (25)

by Ruyard Kipling (narrated by Ralph Feinnes)

Kipling, as you know, is most famous as the author of ‘The jungle book’ however his short stories are also worth reading.

This particular short story is a simple tale about a hungry Whale and a very resourceful Man.

The thing that strikes you about this story is Kipling is a master of amusing and poetic language.

The use of the words ‘nubbly’, ‘best beloved’ and in describing the whales insides as ‘warm dark inside cupboards’ bring significant colour to this tale.

This particular audio book is narrated by Ralph Feinnes in an appropriately lighthearted manner and considering the fact that it’s only 6 minutes long is well worth listening to this…

Alternatively you can pick up all all of Kiplings ‘just so’ stories (including how the whale got his throat) here…

Love of Life (26)

by Jack London (narrated by Bart Wolffe)

Love of Life is a story of survival.

Written in the early 20th century it tells of one mans battle.

He battles against nature.

He battles against the elements.

and most of all

He battles against himself.

Against his own loneliness.

Against his own anger.

Against his own constant nagging feeling of hopelessness.

Now I know you might be thinking that this story isn’t for you. After all, it’s not a laugh a minute!

However whilst the protagonist of this story has consistent challenge how his will to survive (his ‘love of life’) drives him on.

It’s also beautifully written with fantastic descriptions of the Canadian wilderness the story is set.

Now the link above (as part of the title) will take you to where you can buy the short story selection containing “Love of Life” on Amazon however you can also read it for free here (or obviously through the audio book available on Spotify)

The Bet (27) 

by Anton Chekhov (narrated by William Coon)

“The Bet” is an interesting exploration of morality and punishment and proposes an interesting question…

“Would you swap years of freedom for a whole lot of money?”

The story starts with a party where a banker, a lawyer and the other party guests are debating the rights and wrongs of capital punishment…

It then moves onto a wager between the banker and the lawyer which allows Chekhov to explore the morality of imprisonment, how the loss of freedom potentially impacts individuals and why knowledge without context is potentially dangerous!

Again you can read this short story for free here

I look forward to telling you about the book I’ve just finished in the next review. The true story of an eccentric strange looking man who found success in life sharing how brilliantly strange the world is.

Happy reading!

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