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Anonymous

Member Since 2005

14
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 14 reviews
  • 71 ratings
  • 319 titles in library
  • 20 purchased in 2014
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  • Tigers in the Snow

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Peter Matthiessen
    • Narrated By George Guidall
    Overall
    (26)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (1)

    Author of At Play in the Fields of the Lord, national Book Award-winner Peter Matthiessen is an accomplished naturalist and one of the most acclaimed writers in the world. This book is a stirring look at the tiger, a magnificent animal that has long fueled human fascination. In critical danger of extinction, only a few thousand of these giant cats remain. Matthiessen's exquisite prose stunningly captures the tigers' dramatic fight to survive.

    Michael Breed says: "Shallow Treatment"
    "Tedious Read"
    Overall

    A difficult book to listen to, with all the geographical locations and tiger variety descriptions. So narrow in scope, written for specific interests. Very dry.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Swamplandia!

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Karen Russell
    • Narrated By Arielle Sitrick, David Ackroyd
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (398)
    Performance
    (270)
    Story
    (271)

    The Bigtree alligator-wrestling dynasty is in decline, and Swamplandia!, their island home and gator-wrestling theme park, formerly number-one in the region, is swiftly being encroached upon by a fearsome and sophisticated competitor called the World of Darkness. Ava’s mother, the park’s indomitable headliner, has just died; her sister, Ossie, has fallen in love with a spooky character known as the Dredgeman, who may or may not be an actual ghost.

    Suzn F says: "Sometimes Brilliant, Sometimes Disappointing"
    "Odd But Ultimately Beguiling"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Continuing with the trilogy of the unselected novels for the Pulitzer Prize for fiction 2012 (which also included "The Pale King" and "Train Dreams"), I’ve read "Swamplandia" by Karen Russell. I wasn’t so sure about it at first, its absurdity outpaced its complexity until mid-way through the book. The premise was so unbelievably, well, odd, that warming to the characters took time. But once the characters developed, and the plot thickened (so to speak) and spilled out over the pages with excellent writing and never a clue what would happen next, the read became a great one. That the book was irreverent and unbelievable did not stop it from growing darker and tossing the reader back into cruel reality on whim.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Pale King

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By David Foster Wallace
    • Narrated By Robert Petkoff
    Overall
    (145)
    Performance
    (108)
    Story
    (109)

    The agents at the IRS Regional Examination Center in Peoria, Illinois, appear ordinary enough to newly arrived trainee David Foster Wallace. But as he immerses himself in a routine so tedious and repetitive that new employees receive boredom-survival training, he learns of the extraordinary variety of personalities drawn to this strange calling. And he has arrived at a moment when forces within the IRS are plotting to eliminate even what little humanity and dignity the work still has. The Pale King remained unfinished at the time of David Foster Wallace's death....

    T. C. Pile says: "David Foster Wallace Lives"
    "My Second Reading by DFW"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I am relieved to announce I have lived up to my vow to read the 2012 Pulitzer Prize trilogy of finalists who were passed over (indeed, no prize was awarded); and have with some difficulty, lived through “The Pale King,” David Foster Wallace’s unfinished novel.

    Certainly the most complex, the longest, of the three candidates ("Train Dreams" and "Swamplandia" the other two candidates), as an audio book it proved challenging without printed (visible) markers to identify when the story would make a first-gear leap into fifth (a continuous disorientation of ever-changing themes). The characters were really pretty unlikable, or at least unwarm-uppable to. And of course, the basic landscape, the IRS, was not a topic I really cared to learn much about; after all, I know more than I need by simply being a citizen trying to avoid getting creamed.

    Beyond the opening, negative comments, Wallace’s stream-of-consciousness writing ultimately arrested me, albeit somewhat late into the read. Raised in the Midwest myself, I realized that I knew these people, that they populated my neighborhoods, my living room, as I was growing up. Aswim in details, lost in tedious jobs, jockeying for promotions, and living even more banal lives outside of work, I developed perhaps a camaraderie for these misfits and sympathy toward their compulsive, eccentric, and left-brained worlds. And, yes, I learned more about the IRS that I care to share, primarily because none of it is useful in the pay-less-tax arena.

    Recommend this book? Well, I did suggest to my CPA to read it. And I have become compulsed to pick up Wallace’s “Infinite Jest,” his landmark book that catapulted him to heady fame. So perhaps not a must-read, but something to consider. Bear in mind this reviewer attempted to read Ulysses 3 times and never managed to read past the toilet scene.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Infinite Jest

    • UNABRIDGED (56 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By David Foster Wallace
    • Narrated By Sean Pratt
    Overall
    (514)
    Performance
    (447)
    Story
    (449)

    A gargantuan, mind-altering comedy about the Pursuit of Happiness in America set in an addicts' halfway house and a tennis academy, and featuring the most endearingly screwed-up family to come along in recent fiction, Infinite Jest explores essential questions about what entertainment is and why it has come to so dominate our lives; about how our desire for entertainment affects our need to connect with other people; and about what the pleasures we choose say about who we are.

    Charlie R. Williams says: "good if you already read the book."
    "It took slogging through 3 novels"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    before I became a believer. Of course I mean David Foster Wallace’s work, and I think I went about it backward—starting with “The Broom of the System,” then on to “The Pale King” (discussed here in an earlier writing), and finally, “Infinite Jest”—the novel that jettisoned him into stellar notoriety, and the topic of this post.

    As always, I entered Wallace’s epic novel bewildered. So many self-absorbed characters and, really, uninteresting topics (prep-school tennis? mixed with a Canadian terrorist group bent on finding a film with proven potential to control the world, a recovering drug addict’s profound fear of becoming addicted again while recovering from devastating wounds from being hurled into an impromptu street fight, and oh so more countless plots and subplots). And yet, they all were actually absorbing and insightful. The writing was over-arching in social criticism, humor, and inexplicable inter-weavings, not to mention iconic craftsmanship and captivating writing that summons one back to the page as if a spell had been cast. And so, after hours and hours of reading, I was sorry to see them all go away and at the same time was abrim with angst knowing that in the last 100 pages there was no way in hell Wallace was going to button-up these loosely threaded stories with their overwrought personalities, leaving my recovering-virgo personality to twist in the wind, wondering.

    I am grateful for having the perseverance of picking up the big tome. Having now become a believer, I grieve that other than the remaining writings I collected, there will be no more.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Swerve: How the World Became Modern

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Stephen Greenblatt
    • Narrated By Edoardo Ballerini
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1049)
    Performance
    (908)
    Story
    (904)

    Nearly six hundred years ago, a short, genial, cannily alert man in his late 30s took a very old manuscript off a library shelf, saw with excitement what he had discovered, and ordered that it be copied. That book was the last surviving manuscript of an ancient Roman philosophical epic by Lucretius—a beautiful poem containing the most dangerous ideas: that the universe functioned without the aid of gods, that religious fear was damaging to human life, and that matter was made up of very small particles.

    Ethan M. says: "Very compelling history, a less compelling thesis"
    "An Interesting Dive into History"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The author crafted a very interesting story around a humanist "book hunter," not only revealing how ancient books doomed to obscurity and likely dissolution were reintroduced to society 500+ years after their writing, but also providing insight into the 15th century thinking, the inner workings of the Vatican, as well how cities like Rome and Venice function. An informative and intriguing means of delivering a history lesson. The narrator was ideal for reading, keeping the story moving, speaking with just the right inflection and clarity.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Train Dreams and Jesus' Son

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Denis Johnson
    • Narrated By Will Patton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (70)
    Performance
    (66)
    Story
    (64)

    Here are two complete audiobooks by Denis Johnson, narrated by Will Patton. Listen to both Train Dreams and Jesus’ Son, as well as an excerpt from Denis Johnson’s National Book Award-winning Tree of Smoke.... In Train Dreams, Robert Grainer is a day laborer in the American West at the start of the 20th century—an ordinary man in extraordinary times. Buffeted by the loss of his family, Grainer struggles to make sense of this strange new world.

    A User says: "I Should Have Disliked These Stories"
    "I Should Have Disliked These Stories"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Trains Dreams was a slow, immersive story that artfully unfolds a story of aman's simple life. I thought I would not care for a story of a man who seemed to have no introspection, but as I read more deeply, I began to understand how well this character was wrought. On the surface he and the supporting characters appeared two-dimensional; but now I believe the author was writing with the simplicity of the times and demonstrated how people truly interacted and presented themselves. What is so uncanny about this novella is observing how the character's true self was revealed so subtly, almost to be missed, if the reading was not attended to more closely.

    Jesus' Son--why would I care about a manipulative, opportunistic lost soul as the main character? Written in the first person, I felt like this was the author's real-life story and I did not like him. But the writing was mesmerizing, and for every reprehensible action or discussion the character embarked on, I was transported by the poetic narrative. A purely wonderful experience. And somehow as the character, in such simple steps, attempts to redeem himself, he becomes sympathetic and an individual to be cared about.

    Both stories so masterfully written. The narration in both instances was spot-on, a beautiful voice that characterized his subjects with a straightforward but empathetic understanding.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Susan Orlean
    • Narrated By Susan Orlean
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (110)
    Performance
    (94)
    Story
    (94)

    "He believed the dog was immortal." So begins Susan Orlean’s sweeping, powerfully moving story of Rin Tin Tin’s journey from orphaned puppy to movie star and international icon. From the moment in 1918 when Corporal Lee Duncan discovers Rin Tin Tin on a World War I battlefield, he recognizes something in the pup that he needs to share with the world. Rin Tin Tin’s improbable introduction to Hollywood leads to the dog’s first blockbuster film and, over time, the many radio programs, movies, and television shows that follow.

    Sandra L. Hackett says: "Hire a narrator!"
    "An Endearing, Delightful Read"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    For once, I did not want to get to the end of a book. The author/narrator rendered a wonderful story about a dog I grew up watching on TV. So much research was presented with style and interesting language. Learning about the dog, his devoted owner, and the cartel of other characters that surrounded Rin Tin Tin in his many lives was fascinating. An artful documentary of a beloved creature!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Reflections in a Golden Eye

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Carson McCullers
    • Narrated By Christopher Kipiniak
    Overall
    (19)
    Performance
    (16)
    Story
    (15)

    Set on a Southern army base in the 1930s, Reflections in a Golden Eye tells the story of Captain Penderton, a bisexual whose life is upset by the arrival of Major Langdon, a charming womanizer who has an affair with Penderton's tempestuous and flirtatious wife, Leonora. Upon the novel's publication in 1941, reviewers were unsure of what to make of its relatively scandalous subject matter.

    Douglas says: "Enthralling..."
    "The Quirkiness of an Era Artfully Rendered"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The author places us in a time in history, we understand their constraints, customs, and morality. But we are not just observers since she reveals their psyches, their inhibitions or lack thereof, and renders distinctly and interesting characters set in an otherwise mundane environment.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Night Circus

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Erin Morgenstern
    • Narrated By Jim Dale
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (6684)
    Performance
    (5948)
    Story
    (5947)

    The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.

    Pamela says: "The circus of your dreams"
    "Delightful Fantasy"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This was a lovely fantasy that was both unpredictable as ethereal. Although it got a little melodramatic for short period, it held up beautifully other wise.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Christopher Hitchens
    • Narrated By Christopher Hitchens
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2854)
    Performance
    (1583)
    Story
    (1579)

    In the tradition of Bertrand Russell's Why I Am Not a Christian and Sam Harris' recent best-seller, The End of Faith, Christopher Hitchens makes the ultimate case against religion. With a close and erudite reading of the major religious texts, he documents the ways in which religion is a man-made wish, a cause of dangerous sexual repression, and a distortion of our origins in the cosmos.

    ben capozzi says: "...Though Hitchens Is!"
    "I was thrilled when my iPhone stopped working"
    Overall

    and I had to turn it in for a new one, thus wiping out the previous data and this book. This released me from doggedly plowing through this reading. While the writing had appeal and was informative, the author's personal reading was deplorable. Not his accent, but the way his voice would drone away half-way through a sentence, and nearly every sentence. I was constantly changing the volume so I could hear him trail off, slurring his words as his voice became unintelligible. And it was one, big, fat book. No bookmarks, so I never quite knew where I was in chapter and of course, finding the holy grail, the end of the book!

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful

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