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Artists, Writers, & Musicians

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Tad Davis

Tad Davis Philadelphia, PA USA Member Since 2005
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  • "Insanely great"

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    Wow. Just wow. A pure delight from beginning to end: one of the most enjoyable audiobooks I've ever listened to. I'm a Beatles fanatic, and that probably helps; but I'd venture to say that this book has the potential to grab even people who don't know or don't care much about them. Mark Lewisohn writes with great insight and narrative skill about the struggles of the Beatles to gain recognition and professional success at a time when no one else - NO one - was doing the kind of music they were doing, in the way they were doing it. They're poster children for the "10,000 hours" take on career development. They paid their dues.

    Lewisohn gives particularly full attention to Pete Best, Brian Epstein, and George Martin. I've read several books on the Beatles and biographies of individual band members, and I still heard surprising new information about these people, and everybody else connected with the band, on practically every "page."

    It's not hagiography. John Lennon, as much as I love him, is clearly a world-class jerk, and the others all have less positive aspects. Their terrible treatment of Pete Best and their wild life on the Reeperbahn are presented in unsparing detail. But running through the book is a strong sense of their devotion to music, the clarity of their vision, and their genius: genius being defined as an infinite capacity for taking pains.

    Clive Mantle does a terrific job with the narration. He does the "voices" as if it were a work of fiction. I know that's not to everyone's taste, but to me, the key is whether it's done well or not. Mantle nails the Liverpool accent and even captures the unique cadence of each Beatle; and he nails the posh "standard" accents of Epstein and Martin as well.

    Lewisohn spent 10 years writing this. I hope that includes the research for the other two volumes. This one stops at the end of 1962, just before "Please Please Me" was released. I don't want to wait another 10 years for the next part. I'm not ready to let these guys go yet.

    More

    Tune In: The Beatles: All These Years

    • UNABRIDGED (43 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Mark Lewisohn
    • Narrated By Clive Mantle
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (219)
    Performance
    (209)
    Story
    (209)

    Tune In is the first volume of All These Years - a highly-anticipated, groundbreaking biographical trilogy by the world's leading Beatles historian. Mark Lewisohn uses his unprecedented archival access and hundreds of new interviews to construct the full story of the lives and work of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr.

    Tad Davis says: "Insanely great"
  • "Part diary, part autobiography"

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    Grover Gardner is one of the two or three best narrators of Twain, and he does an outstanding job on this (sometimes) difficult material. The difficulty isn't because of Twain's writing, or in this case speaking -- he dictated most of this material, and you can "hear" him sometimes backing up and correcting himself. Twain's writing is one of the wonders of the natural world, and he's the only writer who can make me laugh out loud on the subway.

    The difficulty in this case is the background of the project and Twain's design for an autobiography. The audiobook is basically everything in the printed volume except the footnotes. It includes the extensive introduction (how the editors identified the order of the various typescripts), several hours of "false starts" (autobiographical material Twain published elsewhere before settling on this plan), and extensive captions for each section. Gardner's clear and resonant voice keeps everything in perspective, but there's a lot to digest. If you're a Twain fan, you'll be grateful. If you're not, this book wouldn't be your best introduction. It probably helps to have a good grasp of the essentials of Twain's life before going into this one.

    It's chronological -- not according to Twain's life, but according to the order of dictation. Twain wanted to combine aspects of diary and autobiography into a single scheme, one that left him the ability to jump from one subject to another as the spirit moved him. And it moved him quite a bit. A given day's dictation could cover six or seven different topics, each with Twain's eye for the illuminating detail and the perfect self-deprecating turn of phrase.

    For diehards like me, it's a feast, a cornucopia, an incredible act of generosity on the part of editors, publishers, and reader. But it does require careful listening.

    More

    Autobiography of Mark Twain, Volume 1: The Complete and Authoritative Edition

    • UNABRIDGED (24 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By Mark Twain
    • Narrated By Grover Gardner
    Overall
    (515)
    Performance
    (221)
    Story
    (224)

    The year 2010 marks the 100th anniversary of Twain’s death. In celebration of this important milestone, here, for the first time, is Mark Twain’s uncensored autobiography, in its entirety, exactly as he left it. This major literary event offers the first of three volumes and presents Mark Twain’s authentic and unsuppressed voice, brimming with humor, ideas, and opinions, and speaking clearly from the grave, as he intended.

    Susan Holland says: "Not what I was expecting..."
  • "Good travel companion"

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    A delightful introduction to Bram Stoker's life and work. Frank Delaney traces the cultural roots of the Dracula myth back to Lilith and brings it up to Stoker's time; along the way he provides his own take on things like the town of Whitby with its ruined abbey and its red-tiled roofs. Delaney also provides useful background on Stoker's experience in the London theater working for Henry Irving. A good travel companion for any of the many excellent recordings of "Dracula" available on Audible.

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    Undead

    • UNABRIDGED (1 hr and 6 mins)
    • By Frank Delaney
    • Narrated By Frank Delaney
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (6)
    Performance
    (6)
    Story
    (6)

    Best-selling author Frank Delaney deconstructs the Vampire myth through the ages, and shows us how Stoker’s 1897 novel, one of the most widely read books of all time, heightened the allure of sex, the glamour of blood, and the defeat of death in a way that continues to pulse - and faster than ever - on the page and on the screen.

    Tad Davis says: "Good travel companion"
  1. Tune In: The Beatles: All...
  2. Autobiography of Mark Twa...
  3. Undead
  4. .

A Peek at Richard Seeley's Bookshelf

Helpful
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70
 
Tulsa, Oklahoma 35 REVIEWS / 56 ratings Member Since 2009 18 Followers / Following 0
 
Richard Seeley's greatest hits:
  • Salinger

    "Good biographical details marred by over analysis"

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    First, this is a book that probably comes off better as an audio work rather than a print edition. It is largely a compilation of interviews and letters, which lend themselves to being read aloud. The readers here, especially Campbell Scott are very compelling. Reviews I've read of the print edition complain of the book's length and make it sound like a slog to read. So for those with a choice, the Audible edition is probably the best bet.

    As for the content itself, this book cries out for a skilled editor. It is too long and some sections, especially the authors' analysis, could have been cut to make a more readable book. The authors' attempts to imitate Salinger's style are cringe-worthy but fortunately don't dominate the book.

    The authors especially go off track in expressing the dubious idea that Salinger's study of Vedanta led him to stop publishing, renounce the world and live a hermit-like existence. The authors seem to think that this is a Vedanta prescription for living. I have been a member of the Vedanta Society for more than a decade and that is not a way of life followed even by the monks, who publish books and travel, give lectures and even have Facebook pages. Being a Vedanta devotee did not stop Christopher Isherwood from living an active gay life in Hollywood while helping translate Vedanta literature, publishing his own novels and memoirs, lecturing at universities and giving press interviews. The SALINGER authors' repeated contention that Vedanta "killed" Salinger's art is just not credible. They misconstrue Vedanta as a monolithic and dogmatic belief system with extreme lifestyle restrictions when it is anything but that. Members of the Vedanta Society as well as monks and nuns are free to follow the spiritual path that resonates with them individually. Anyone who doubts that might want to read Isherwood's MY GURU AND HIS DISCIPLE.

    From the many interviews and letters that make up this book, it appears that Salinger did not live the life of a hermit in a cave. He travelled, attended sporting events, corresponded with life-long friends, loved television, and read The New York Times. As several people quoted in the book point out, the myth of Salinger the hermit stemmed mostly from the fact that for many possible reasons, he stopped publishing his stories, avoided press interviews, shunned the New York and L.A. social elite, and wouldn't allow The Catcher in the Rye to be made into a movie. He wasn't a hermit. He was an author who avoided the marketing and media publicity machine that dominates American pop culture.

    A good biography of Salinger is yet to be written. This is obviously not it. But for those interested in the man and the artist this book contains a lot of very interesting information.

  • The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick

    "Fascinating Journals of a Garage Philosopher"

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    What is a garage philosopher? That label comes from one of the editors of the fascinating if quirky musings of Philip K. Dick. Known to readers and movie goers as a science fiction writer, this long and winding tome follows a different road. A dropout from UC Berkeley, Dick pursued his own independent studies in philosophy and religion. His Exegesis begins in the mid-1970s following a mystical experience that refocused the author's life. The journals follow his attempts to not only chronicle that life-changing event but make sense of what appears to be nonsensical. Seeking answers that may not be there to find, he reads the Jerusalem Bible and the philosophical histories of Will Durant. His interests range from the Jesus Freak Christianity of the 1970s to the Buddhist and Vedanta philosophies that were popularized in his native California. Slowly he develops his own theological viewpoint that informs the novels he wrote shortly before his death, which came ironically just months before the movie Blade Runner made him famous. The editors, who distilled stacks and stacks of handwritten journal entries into this book, readily admit that some of Dick's insights are screwy but others are profound and almost every entry is compelling if for no other reason than the passion the writer puts into his work. I have listened to this wonderful reading by Fred Stella over and over for more than a year and am still amazed to find new insights. Philip K. Dick may sometimes seem to be from another planet but he is never boring.

Kelley

Kelley CA, United States 06-18-08 Member Since 2006

Lover of ideas who feels no guilt at all about her pleasures.

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  • "Smokin'"

    23 of 23 helpful votes

    A new book is always a little scary to the author's fans. You've so been looking forward to it and it would just be terribly sad if it stank.


    I'm happy to report that there is no stank on this book at all. If anything, I think his writing has gained in depth without losing a fraction of its wit.

    And those who believe authors should not read their own work are right about just about everyone except David Sedaris. There's a reason people line up to see him.

    I just wish there was more Paul in this book. The brother appears in a perfectly crystalized cameo that just makes you ache for more.

    It is otherwise wonderful. Add to cart immediatement.

    More

    When You Are Engulfed in Flames

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By David Sedaris
    • Narrated By David Sedaris
    Overall
    (4006)
    Performance
    (1445)
    Story
    (1442)

    Once again, David Sedaris brings together a collection of essays so uproariously funny and profoundly moving that his legions of fans will fall for him all over again. He tests the limits of love when Hugh lances a boil from his backside, and pushes the boundaries of laziness when, finding the water shut off in his house in Normandy, he looks to the water in a vase of fresh cut flowers to fill the coffee machine.

    Kelley says: "Smokin'"

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    • By Alan Paul
    • Narrated By Dan John Miller
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    • By 50 Cent, Robert Greene
    • Narrated By 50 Cent, Robert Greene
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    David says: "A solid and well thought out book."
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UNABRIDGED) by Greg Sestero, Tom Bissell Narrated by Greg Sestero

    The Disaster Artist: My Life inside 'The Room', the Greatest Bad Movie Ever Made

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Greg Sestero, Tom Bissell
    • Narrated By Greg Sestero
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    Nineteen-year-old Greg Sestero met Tommy Wiseau at an acting school in San Francisco. Wiseau's scenes were rivetingly wrong, yet Sestero, hypnotized by such uninhibited acting, thought, "I have to do a scene with this guy." That impulse changed both of their lives. The Disaster Artist is Greg Sestero's laugh-out-loud funny account of how Tommy Wiseau defied every law of artistry, business, and friendship to make "the Citizen Kane of bad movies" (Entertainment Weekly), which is now an international phenomenon.

    K. M. Gillette says: "A great book that suffers from a poor reading"
  • Life (






UNABRIDGED) by Keith Richards, James Fox Narrated by Johnny Depp, Joe Hurley

    Life

    • UNABRIDGED (23 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Keith Richards, James Fox
    • Narrated By Johnny Depp, Joe Hurley
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
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    Performance
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    Story
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    Now at last Keith Richards pauses to tell his story in the most anticipated autobiography in decades. And what a story! Listening obsessively to Chuck Berry and Muddy Waters records in a coldwater flat with Mick Jagger and Brian Jones, building a sound and a band out of music they loved. Finding fame and success as a bad-boy band, only to find themselves challenged by authorities everywhere....

    Jesse says: "Ins and outs"
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    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Pamela Druckerman
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    (553)
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    The secret behind France's astonishingly well-behaved children is here. When American journalist Pamela Druckerman has a baby in Paris, she doesn't aspire to become a "French parent". French parenting isn't a known thing, like French fashion or French cheese. Even French parents themselves insist they aren't doing anything special. But French children are far better behaved and more in command of themselves than American kids....

    Emily - Audible says: "Inspiring"
  • Edgar Allan Poe: The Fever Called Living (






UNABRIDGED) by Paul Collins Narrated by Grover Gardner

    Edgar Allan Poe: The Fever Called Living

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Paul Collins
    • Narrated By Grover Gardner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
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    A view into the tumultuous and creative life of Edgar Allan Poe. Today the name Edgar Allan Poe invokes a tragic genius whose mastery of horror seems inexorably tied to his tormented life. But in his own time, Poe was above all a craftsman-an editor and reviewer desperately trying to earn a living by transmuting the wild ephemera of early Victorianism into innovations in science fiction, horror, and detective literature.

  • In the Shadow of the American Dream: The Diaries of David Wojnarowicz (






UNABRIDGED) by David Wojnarowicz, Amy Scholder (editor) Narrated by Eva Kaminsky, Christopher Kipiniak

    In the Shadow of the American Dream: The Diaries of David Wojnarowicz

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By David Wojnarowicz, Amy Scholder (editor)
    • Narrated By Eva Kaminsky, Christopher Kipiniak
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
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    In the Shadow of the American Dream is a stunning collection of riveting and revealing chapters from Wojnarowicz's extensive personal diaries - 30 volumes' worth of memories and lucid observations, some bitter, some sweet - that the author began writing when he was 17 and continued until his death two decades later. Here is a brilliant chronicle of an artist's emergence - a young man's still achingly fresh memories of his unhappy adolescence and his glorious discovery of self.

  • Bessie (






UNABRIDGED) by Chris Albertson Narrated by Robertson Dean

    Bessie

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By Chris Albertson
    • Narrated By Robertson Dean
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    Bessie Smith, the great singer known as the "Empress of the Blues", is considered by many to be the greatest blues singer of all time. She was also a successful vaudeville entertainer who became the highest-paid African American performer of the Roaring '20s. Chris Albertson's revised and expanded edition of the biography of this extraordinary artist debunks many of the myths that have circulated since her untimely death in 1937.

  • Central Park: An Anthology (






UNABRIDGED) by Andrew Blauner (editor) Narrated by Jennifer Van Dyck, L. J. Ganser, Edoardo Ballerini, Scott Aiello, Scott Brick, Jonathan Davis, Steven Crossley, Jeff Woodman

    Central Park: An Anthology

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Andrew Blauner (editor)
    • Narrated By Jennifer Van Dyck, L. J. Ganser, Edoardo Ballerini, and others
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    Central Park is perhaps the most well-trod and familiar green space in the country. It is both a refuge from the city and Manhattan's very heart; a respite from the urban grind and a hive of activity all its own. Eight hundred forty-three carefully planned acres allow some 37 million visitors each year to come and get lost in a sense of nature. Unsurprisingly, the park also inspires a wealth of great writing, and here Andrew Blauner collects some of the finest fiction and nonfiction - 20 pieces in all.

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  • Fredric March: A Consummate Actor (






UNABRIDGED) by Charles Tranberg Narrated by Robert Armin

    Fredric March: A Consummate Actor

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Charles Tranberg
    • Narrated By Robert Armin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
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    Despite this great record of success, Fredric March isn't as well remembered today as some of his peers (Gary Cooper, Cary Grant, James Stewart) because unlike them, he never developed a recognizable screen persona that followed him from film to film. He was always characterizing - always hiding his own personality behind that of the character he was portraying. He was the consummate actor who richly deserves to be rediscovered.

  • The Life and Work of Oscar Micheaux: Pioneer Black Author and Filmmaker (






UNABRIDGED) by Earl James Young Jr. Narrated by Alan Courtright

    The Life and Work of Oscar Micheaux: Pioneer Black Author and Filmmaker

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By Earl James Young Jr.
    • Narrated By Alan Courtright
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    Over a three-decade period that began in 1919, Oscar Micheaux wrote, directed, edited, produced, and distributed over 40 films nationally and internationally. These films usually featured all-Black casts. They spanned a silent film period and a talkie period (sound films). Given such a background and the period in American history into which he was born, Micheaux's achievements were extraordinary and his legacy is a study of survival, persistence, and bold determination to develop a new era in Black films.

  • Burnt Toast Makes You Sing Good: A Memoir of Food and Love from an American Midwest Family (






UNABRIDGED) by Kathleen Flinn Narrated by Cassandra Campbell

    Burnt Toast Makes You Sing Good: A Memoir of Food and Love from an American Midwest Family

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Kathleen Flinn
    • Narrated By Cassandra Campbell
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    In this family history interwoven with recipes, Kathleen Flinn returns listeners to the mix of food and memoir beloved by fanss of her best-selling The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry. Burnt Toast Makes You Sing Good explores the very beginnings of her love affair with food and its connection to home. It is the story of her Midwestern childhood, its memorable home cooks, and the delicious recipes she grew up with.