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Debali

Chicago, Israel | Member Since 2005

11
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 7 reviews
  • 111 ratings
  • 0 titles in library
  • 12 purchased in 2014
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  • Desolation Island: Aubrey/Maturin Series, Book 5

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Patrick O'Brian
    • Narrated By Patrick Tull
    Overall
    (506)
    Performance
    (243)
    Story
    (244)

    Jack's prize money has set the household accounts aright, but if he continues frittering it on naive extravagances, it will be gone in a fortnight. Fortunately he gets a commission aboard the Leopard, bound for Australia to rescue the hated and captive Captain Bligh.

    Gene says: "Most moving chase sequence in the whole series"
    "One of the Best"
    Overall

    The dialogue in this one is brilliant even flashing at times. The swearing of oaths is particularly choice in this one. More than once I burst out laughing aloud (embaressing when other people are around). Both Aubrey's and Maturin's character develop and deepen considerably in this one too. In the case of the doctor, the calling of science in a man of the enlightenment like Dr. Maturin is far more deeply explored, particularly with the outbreak of jail fever. Aubrey's stature as a commander too grows considerably in the face of this great trial, being captain of an unlucky ship. Altogether superb.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Sea of Poppies

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By Amitav Ghosh
    • Narrated By Phil Gigante
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (295)
    Performance
    (111)
    Story
    (114)

    At the heart of this vibrant saga is an immense ship, the Ibis. Its destiny is a tumultuous voyage across the Indian Ocean, its purpose to fight China's vicious 19th-century Opium Wars. As for the crew, they are a motley array of sailors and stowaways, coolies and convicts.

    Evelyn M Kloepper says: "ignorance may be bliss"
    "Why Not an Indian Narrator?"
    Overall

    I know some Hindi and Bengali, as, of course, does the author and his use of South Asian languages, while not intended to drive off English-only readers, is a pleasure of this novel for Indian readers. But this dimension of the novel is ruined by the selection of a reader who does not know and cannot pronounce the MANY indian words in the novel. This is a very serious problem and it isn't the reader's fault. Why was he given the task in the first place?
    I would not have wasted a credit on this had I realized they had done this. I mean, would any reputable audiobook company produce an audiobook of an American novel read by a Englishman with an Oxford accent? I can't believe that there are not plenty of solid Indian readers, such as Firdous Bamji, capable of reading this novel well. As it is, everyone's time is wasted, not to mention my money!

    8 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • The Road to Wigan Pier

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By George Orwell
    • Narrated By Frederick Davidson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (46)
    Performance
    (24)
    Story
    (24)

    When Orwell went to England in the 30's to find out how industrial workers lived, he not only observed but shared in their experiences. He stayed in cramped, dreary lodgings and subsisted on the scant, cheerless diet of the poor. He went down into the coal mines and walked crouching, as the miners did, through a one- to three-mile passage too low to stand up in. He watched the back-breaking, dangerous labor of men whose net pay then averaged $575 a year.

    Marianna says: "Annoying Narrator"
    "Frederick Davidson's a Great Reader"
    Overall

    A fantastic book (particularly if you are interested in the history of political debates on the left). Well narrated. This is what it says it is. I loved it.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Descent into Chaos: The United States and the Failure of Nation Building

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Ahmed Rashid
    • Narrated By Arthur Morey
    Overall
    (83)
    Performance
    (22)
    Story
    (25)

    Rashid examines Central Asia, and the corridors of power in Washington and Europe, to see how the promised nation building in the region has progressed. His conclusions are devastating.

    John Robert BEHRMAN says: "Useful!"
    "Good book, but needs a better reader"
    Overall

    While the reader of this work makes a valiant effort, he is simply unfamiliar with muslim names and languages and is therefore ill-equipped to properly narrate a book such as this. One wishes to have the proper pronunciation of proper nouns reinforced by purchasing the audio version of a book such as this. There are plenty of Pakistanis and Indians and perhaps even some Afghans who could read this work better than it is read here. It is altogether important that more appropriate readers be found, not only for this but for South Asian novels as well. This said, Rashid's book is important and if this is the only way you'll be able to find the time to read, go ahead and do it. The reader does not get in the way of the basic information and argument of a book written by one of the few in English who actually know what they are talking about when it comes to Afghanistan.

    9 of 10 people found this review helpful
  • On the Wealth of Nations: Books That Changed the World

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By P.J. O'Rourke
    • Narrated By Michael Prichard
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (196)
    Performance
    (36)
    Story
    (36)

    As one of the first titles in Atlantic Monthly Press' "Books That Changed the World" series, America's most provocative satirist, P.J. O'Rourke, reads from Adam Smith's revolutionary The Wealth of Nations - so you don't have to. Recognized almost instantly on its publication in 1776 as the fundamental work of economics, The Wealth of Nations was also recognized as really long: the original edition totaled over 900 pages in two volumes.

    David 5 says: "Good, but missing PJ"
    "A Joke"
    Overall

    Mr. O'Rourke does not seem to have read Adam Smith. If he had he would have encountered a very fascinating and in some unlikely book. As it is, one is treated to a farrago of ideological assertions with little textual basis.

    1 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Gang Leader for a Day: A Rogue Sociologist Takes to the Streets

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Sudhir Venkatesh
    • Narrated By Reg Rogers, Sudhir Venkatesh, Stephen J. Dubner
    Overall
    (781)
    Performance
    (263)
    Story
    (268)

    The story of the young sociologist who studied a Chicago crack-dealing gang from the inside captured the world's attention when it was first described in Freakonomics. Gang Leader for a Day is the fascinating full story of how Sudhir Venkatest managed to gain entree into the gang, what he learned, and how his method revolutionized the academic establishment.

    DanO says: "Listen to this one first"
    "Brilliant Urban Ethnography"
    Overall

    This is a fantastic book. I think the complaints about the narrator are unfounded. The chief narrator delivers the work in a fairly straightforward standard American accent that is very close to the author's own voice. (Venkatesh reads the last hour or so of the book). As for the work itself, it is the work of a wonderfully thoughtful young sociologist. I have read his first book and this is a great companion to that no less powerful, though far more academic, work. In short, this is one of the best audiobooks I've "read" in a long time. As a fellow Ph.D. graduate from the University of Chicago, I particularly appreciated his comments on Hyde Park and the overall relationship between blacks and students in the neighborhood. Highly recommended.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Beatles: The Biography

    • ABRIDGED (10 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By Bob Spitz
    • Narrated By Alfred Molina
    Overall
    (313)
    Performance
    (87)
    Story
    (89)

    Even before the Beatles hit the big time, a myth was created. This version of the Beatles legend smoothed the rough edges and filled in the fault lines, and for more than forty years this manicured version of the Beatles story has sustained as truth, until now.

    James says: "Put Away Your, Hunter Davies"
    "Thin in Parts"
    Overall

    This book is not bad and, since it is available as an audiobook, I was glad to read it. Moreover, the book is quite strong in places. I was particularly taken by the depth and detail of Spitz's handling of the band's early years in Liverpool and Hamburg. The problem is after that. It is as though the bulk of Spitz's actual research had been devoted to that part of the story and he had relied more on secondhand sources for the rest.
    Two major shortcomings of the book stem from the author's evident unease regarding certain very sixties aspects of the band's experience - eastern spiritualism and LSD. These were, undoubtedly, key catalysts for the members of the band. These were young men and their discovery of their artistic selves involved a sort of wide-ranging (and quite bold) experimentation and self-examination. Spitz seems too anxious to gloss this over and/or apologize for it. I thought the discussion of the band's time in India - perhaps the creative high-point for the band, at least as a unit - was particularly thin. Spitz is overly anxious to display that he isn't taken in by the snake-oil salesmen to seriously discuss what it was that, most especially, George Harrison and, to a lesser extent, John Lennon were drawing out of these experiences and interests. Still, for someone like me this subject matter is infinitely fascinating. The Beatles were, after all, the greatest rock 'n' band and this book is about them. At times, moreover, it comes close to being adequate to its subject matter.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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