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Sam G

Member Since 2009

88
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 30 reviews
  • 41 ratings
  • 295 titles in library
  • 23 purchased in 2014
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5

  • Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Lawrence Wright
    • Narrated By Morton Sellers
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1167)
    Performance
    (1047)
    Story
    (1035)

    A clear-sighted revelation, a deep penetration into the world of Scientology by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of the The Looming Tower, the now-classic study of al-Qaeda’s 9/11 attack. Based on more than 200 personal interviews with both current and former Scientologists - both famous and less well known - and years of archival research, Lawrence Wright uses his extraordinary investigative ability to uncover for us the inner workings of the Church of Scientology.

    Chris Reich says: "Scared the Hell Out of Me"
    "Not for the Faint of Heart"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    I expected this work of non-fiction to be quite bizarre, and I wasn't disappointed. What I wasn't expecting, however, was the intense ugliness that characterized this cult and its founder. Though this book is very well researched and very well written, it is far from pleasant. It's information that needs to be made public, however, and I highly recommend it.The narrator, by the way, is very good. I have listened to several books read by him, and would gladly listen to more.

    60 of 63 people found this review helpful
  • Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell

    • UNABRIDGED (32 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Susanna Clarke
    • Narrated By Simon Prebble
    Overall
    (3238)
    Performance
    (1233)
    Story
    (1237)

    English magicians were once the wonder of the known world, with fairy servants at their beck and call; they could command winds, mountains, and woods. But by the early 1800s they have long since lost the ability to perform magic. They can only write long, dull papers about it, while fairy servants are nothing but a fading memory.

    David says: "Hang in there!"
    "Fascinating Story, Beautifully Written"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    I admit I'm a fan of epic fantasy, and though this work isn't typical of that genre in many ways, its scope is broad and it's quite lengthy. Despite its length, however, it's very readable. I never felt that the narrative was tedious, and the writing was fresh, descriptive, humorous, and fitting to the story. If you're a fantasy reader who also likes Dickens/Austen/Brontë, then you'll love this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Still Foolin' 'Em: Where I've Been, Where I'm Going, and Where the Hell Are My Keys

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Billy Crystal
    • Narrated By Billy Crystal
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1467)
    Performance
    (1334)
    Story
    (1330)

    Billy Crystal is 65, and he's not happy about it. With his trademark wit and heart, he outlines the absurdities and challenges that come with growing old, from insomnia to memory loss to leaving dinners with half your meal on your shirt. In humorous chapters like ""Buying the Plot"" and ""Nodding Off,"" Crystal not only catalogues his physical gripes, but offers a road map to his 77 million fellow baby boomers who are arriving at this milestone age with him. He also looks back at the most powerful and memorable moments of his long and storied life, from entertaining his relatives as a kid in Long Beach, Long Island, and his years doing stand-up in the Village, up through his legendary stint at Saturday Night Live, When Harry Met Sally, and his long run as host of the Academy Awards. Listeners get a front-row seat to his one-day career with the New York Yankees (he was the first player to ever ""test positive for Maalox""), his love affair with Sophia Loren, and his enduring friendships with several of his idols, including Mickey Mantle and Muhammad Ali. He lends a light touch to more serious topics like religion (""the aging friends I know have turned to the Holy Trinity: Advil, bourbon, and Prozac""); grandparenting; and, of course, dentistry. As wise and poignant as they are funny, Crystal's reflections are an unforgettable look at an extraordinary life well lived.

    Pamela says: "Growing up with Billy Crystal"
    "From Genitalia to Theology..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    You'd think that a book by Billy Crystal narrated by the author himself would be truly entertaining. Unfortunately, its moments of entertainment are rare, and made all the more ephemeral by Crystal's rushed and emotion-free delivery. Much more glaring are his frequent references to his own genitalia, his lack of compassion for others, and his utter lack of respect for others' religious views. His die-hard fans just might make it through this one with a thirst for more. The rest of us had to force ourselves to finish the book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Dear Leader: Poet, Spy, Escapee - A Look inside North Korea

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Jang Jin-sung
    • Narrated By Daniel York
    Overall
    (67)
    Performance
    (63)
    Story
    (64)

    As North Korea's State Poet Laureate, Jang Jin-sung led a charmed life. With food provisions (even as the country suffered through its great famine), a travel pass, access to strictly censored information, and audiences with Kim Jong-il himself, his life in Pyongyang seemed safe and secure. But this privileged existence was about to be shattered. When a strictly forbidden magazine he lent to a friend goes missing, Jang Jin-sung must flee for his life.

    Thomas says: "Excellent View into North Korea"
    "A Rare Glimpse into the North Korean Psyche"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    This work of non-fiction is not only informative, but it also offers the drama of a novel. It's impossible to stop listening once you start.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Testament of Mary

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Colm Toibin
    • Narrated By Meryl Streep
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (275)
    Performance
    (256)
    Story
    (248)

    Meryl Streep’s performance of Colm Tóibín's acclaimed portrait of Mary is hailed by the New York Times Book Review as “an ideal audiobook,” presenting the three-time Academy Award-winner in “yet another great role.” Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, Colm Tóibín's The Testament of Mary presents Mary as a solitary older woman still seeking to understand the events that become the narrative of the New Testament and the foundation of Christianity. In the ancient town of Ephesus, Mary lives alone, years after her son's crucifixion. She has no interest in collaborating with the authors of the Gospel. They are her keepers, providing her with food and shelter and visiting her regularly. She does not agree that her son is the Son of God; nor that his death was "worth it"; nor that the "group of misfits he gathered around him, men who could not look a woman in the eye," were holy disciples. This woman who we know from centuries of paintings and scripture as the docile, loving, silent, long-suffering, obedient, worshipful mother of Christ becomes a tragic heroine with the relentless eloquence of Electra or Medea or Antigone, in a portrait so vivid and convincing that our image of Mary will be forever transformed.

    C. Telfair says: "A living, breathing woman"
    "Great Performance of a Mediocre Work"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    If I'd read the print version of this book, as opposed to listening to the audiobook, I'm not sure I'd have finished it. It's a book which, perhaps, the author needed to write in order to justify his own belief system. It's mildly interesting, but not particularly inspiring. I will not state whether or not this was a work of faith on the author's part, but it did nothing for my own faith. I admire some of the methods he used to write symbolically of how Mary has been imprisoned by the church and forced to be somebody she is (or was) not. I appreciate the psychological exploration of what might have gone through a mother's mind when her son died. But overall, I don't recommend the book itself. I do, however, recommend the performance. Streep is artful, sensitive, clear, and dramatic in her rendering of Toibin's words. The book may not have been inspired, but Meryl Streep's reading of it was.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Hiding Place

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Corrie ten Boom, John Sherrill, Elizabeth Sherrill
    • Narrated By Wanda McCaddon
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (283)
    Performance
    (254)
    Story
    (257)

    At one time, Corrie ten Boom would have laughed at the idea that she had a story to tell. For the first 50 years of her life, nothing out of the ordinary ever happened to her. She was a spinster watchmaker living contentedly with her sister and their elderly father in the tiny house over their shop in Haarlem. Their uneventful days, as regulated as their own watches, revolved around their abiding love for one another. But with the Nazi invasion and occupation of Holland, everything changed....

    Christina says: "My new guilty pleasure"
    "Try to Turn This One Off"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    Once you start listening to this classic, it's hard to turn it off. I found myself looking for excuses to put my earphones in - my dog got longer walks, the kitchen got cleaned more often, the TV got watched a lot less. Having finished it I want to listen to it again.

    Every word of this book carries a certain weight, and it's impossible to remain unmoved by ten Boom's faith and the power of God to bring light to dark places.

    The narration was also very good, though it was difficult to hear the repeated mispronunciation of of Scheveningen :-/

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Solaris: The Definitive Edition

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Stanislaw Lem, Bill Johnston (translator)
    • Narrated By Alessandro Juliani
    Overall
    (2161)
    Performance
    (1751)
    Story
    (1768)

    At last, one of the world’s greatest works of science fiction is available - just as author Stanislaw Lem intended it. To mark the 50th anniversary of the publication of Solaris, Audible, in cooperation with the Lem Estate, has commissioned a brand-new translation - complete for the first time, and the first ever directly from the original Polish to English. Beautifully narrated by Alessandro Juliani (Battlestar Galactica), Lem’s provocative novel comes alive for a new generation.

    Burns says: "A comment on negative reviews"
    "Of Archaeological Interest"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    The story Solaris tells is interesting and its point-of-view unique. That which some reviewers found tedious I found quite interesting, namely technological descriptions, historical notes, philosophical reviews, etc. The characters are well-developed, especially the protagonist. And the fact that this book is well over 50 years old now makes it all the more interesting. It was fascinating to hear how people envisioned the technology of "the space age" back around the time I was born. Of particular interest was the notion that a space station would need a library of actual books, because the whole idea of ebooks was inconceivable back then - which made his reference to an "out-of-print" book especially amusing. Or the fact that tests would require print-outs on celluloid, since digital imagery was also unknown. Far from detracting from the book, I paid closer attention to the technology described because listening to it was sort of like an archaeological dig.

    The performance was pretty good, but could've been better.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Skystone: Camulod Chronicles, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Jack Whyte
    • Narrated By Kevin Pariseau
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (145)
    Performance
    (130)
    Story
    (130)

    Everyone knows the story-how Arthur pulled the sword from the stone, how Camelot came to be, and about the power struggles that ultimately destroyed Arthur's dreams. But what of the time before Arthur and the forces that created him?

    Jim R. Whitt says: "Fascinating new series"
    "Horribly Bigoted"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you try another book from Jack Whyte and/or Kevin Pariseau?

    I will read nothing else by Jack Whyte. The Skystone started out as an average work of fantasy - perhaps even a bit above average due to the historical detail he provided for the period about which he was writing. But I quickly became weary of the redundant profanity. Seriously, how many times per page should a good writer use the word "whoreson"? But what finally put an end to my listening experience was the bigoted way he treated homosexuality. Introducing a criminally insane and apparently gay character, making sure the reader realized his homosexuality was part and parcel of his evil and hateful nature, was simply too much. I don't expect fantasy writers to utilize human sexuality in ways that our culture currently understands them (though some fantasy writers have done precisely this), but to use one's writings to reïnforce hateful stereotypes and promote one's own bigotry on the subject is unacceptable. Is Mr Whyte free to spread misunderstanding through the books he authors? Sure. But I also have the freedom to avoid him in the future. His treatment of sexuality did nothing to advance the story or help the reader understand the historical era. It simply added to misunderstanding and hate.


    Any additional comments?

    Kevin Pariseau is technically a good reader, but his normal reading voice is a bit prim. Unfortunately he over-compensated when changing voices, making many characters sound rather goofy.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Doctor Sleep: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Stephen King
    • Narrated By Will Patton
    Overall
    (6038)
    Performance
    (5600)
    Story
    (5618)

    Stephen King returns to the characters and territory of one of his most popular novels ever, The Shining, in this instantly riveting novel about the now middle-aged Dan Torrance (the boy protagonist of The Shining) and the very special 12-year-old girl he must save from a tribe of murderous paranormals. This is an epic war between good and evil, a gory, glorious story that will thrill the millions of hyper-devoted fans of The Shining and wildly satisfy anyone new to the territory of this icon in the King canon.

    D says: "The sequel to the book; not the movie"
    "A Great Listen"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    This is a great sequel to The Shining, though it could stand alone if the reader hasn't actually read that book. The characters are great, and the narration is top-notch.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Lawrence in Arabia: War, Deceit, Imperial Folly, and the Making of the Modern Middle East

    • UNABRIDGED (23 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Scott Anderson
    • Narrated By Malcolm Hillgartner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (263)
    Performance
    (224)
    Story
    (223)

    Based on four years of intensive primary document research, Lawrence in Arabiadefinitively overturns received wisdom on how the modern Middle East was formed. Sweeping in its action, keen in its portraiture, acid in its condemnation of the destruction wrought by European colonial plots, this is a book that brilliantly captures the way in which the folly of the past creates the anguish of the present.

    Charles Fred Smith says: "The "Real" Story"
    "Finally: Make Sense of World War I"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    This book delivered exactly what I expected: The truth about the life of a man who became a cliché. But it also delivered something unexpected, and that is a clear and sensible look at the causes and course of the First World War. And it's also true to the part of its subtitle that promises an understanding of the making of the modern Middle East.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Ocean at the End of the Lane: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Neil Gaiman
    • Narrated By Neil Gaiman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4498)
    Performance
    (4148)
    Story
    (4161)

    A middle-aged man returns to his childhood home to attend a funeral. He is drawn to the farm at the end of the road, where, when he was seven, he encountered a most remarkable girl, Lettie Hempstock. Forty years earlier, a man committed suicide in a stolen car at this farm at the end of the road. Like a fuse on a firework, his death lit a touchpaper. The darkness was unleashed, something scary and thoroughly incomprehensible to a little boy. And Lettie - magical, comforting, wise beyond her years - promised to protect him, no matter what.

    Dave says: "Oh, the Wondrous Ocean!"
    "Typical Gaiman"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    The Ocean at the End of the Lane is a typical Gaiman creation. In otherwords, excellent. As is the case with much of his writing, childhood is a central feature. Gaiman beautifully takes the alienation of being different and creates a world in which the outcast becomes a hero - but not in a saccharin sort of way. And since he not only wrote but also narrated it, you can't go wrong with this audiobook.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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