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Thomas

United States | Member Since 2011

2
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 4 reviews
  • 7 ratings
  • 105 titles in library
  • 6 purchased in 2015
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  • The Circle

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Dave Eggers
    • Narrated By Dion Graham
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1367)
    Performance
    (1224)
    Story
    (1234)

    When Mae Holland is hired to work for the Circle, the world's most powerful internet company, she feels she's been given the opportunity of a lifetime. The Circle, run out of a sprawling California campus, links users' personal emails, social media, banking, and purchasing with their universal operating system, resulting in one online identity and a new age of civility and transparency. As Mae tours the open-plan office spaces, the towering glass dining facilities, the cozy dorms for those who spend nights at work, she is thrilled with the company's modernity and activity.

    Suzn F says: "Big Brother Employer"
    "We are already 2/3rds of the way there…"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    ...a world where everything we do is shared on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, etc. etc. (albeit by choice).

    In The Circle, Dave Eggers takes this world toward near-mandatory participation and explores the positives and the perils. As Michiko Kakutani said in her New York Times review, “Mr. Eggers reminds us how digital utopianism can lead to the datafication of our daily lives, how a belief in the wisdom of the crowd can lead to mob rule, how the embrace of “the hive mind” can lead to a diminution of the individual.”

    In Mae, the protagonist “newbie” that introduces us to The Circle and serves as our guide (figuratively and, later, literally) into this supposed Utopia, Eggers has offered us a charming twenty-something whose dreams of a better life and career outside of her small hometown are met and then exceeded. As with any great character, Mae changes. Her charm and innocence vacillates as those around her are changed by The Circle. Her outlook, while in her view brightens, seems to darken and we watch, sometimes with trepidation, as she embraces what we know is going to be a poor choice. Mae even acknowledges her more frivolous poor choices from time to time, but when her poor choices are more dire, her sense of right is displaced by her sense of loyalty to this tech-conglomerate.

    The story reads like a movie adaptation, paced for short scenes, darting moments, and suspense. The movie, for which I’ve no doubt there will be one, could easily be a shot-for-shot retelling of the novel.

    Without giving away the end, I can only say that I was torn between disappointment and realization. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the book. Eggers is a superb storyteller with his ability to pull you in and whisk you along. But as the story came to an end I wanted a more powerful resolution. But I also appreciate that this ending is Eggers point…that the ending is what it will be. You’ll have to read it to fully understand.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Last Unicorn

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Peter S. Beagle
    • Narrated By Peter S. Beagle
    Overall
    (414)
    Performance
    (349)
    Story
    (357)

    A unicorn, a haphazard wizard, and a spunky scullery woman journey to the dreaded kingdom of Haggaard, an evil ruler who, with the help of a bull-shaped demon, imprisons all the unicorns of the world. This is one of the great fantasy novels of the 20th century. Since its publication in 1968 it has never been out of print, with six million-plus copies sold around the world, and it has been translated into more than 20 languages.

    mary says: "Unicorns rediscovered!"
    "Great book! Poor performance."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Peter S. Beagle's The Last Unicorn was one of my favorite film's as a child. I remember going with my friend Beth to see the movie when it came out and being swept up, not just in the story, but also in the artwork which was so different from other animation I was used to up to that point. I just read the book for the first time, or rather, I listed to the audio version, performed by Mr. Beagle, and, while I still love the story and was again swept up in the magic of the world he created, I was left feeling somewhat disappointed. Mr. Beagle is a fine author, but as a performer he left me wanting more theatricality and that may mean returning to the physical book on my own in the near future. Obviously, it isn't that Mr. Beagle doesn't know the work or that he cannot embrace the passion and mythology of it, because he certainly can. But there was an amateur quality to it, including the intrusion of other voices piping in here and there ("Standby!") and Mr. Beagle's own slight errors that took me out of the story as he corrected himself. All of these could have been fixed in the editing, but they were left in place.

    Now, I still encourage you to read it. READ it. I chose the audio version because it was more accessible to me as I was busily running to and fro, but in hindsight I should have taken the time to sit and read it. That's not to say that other audiobooks are not worth their value. On the contrary, I am a HUGE fan of audiobooks and have enjoyed MANY over the last several years. It is unfortunate that this one, one that I so looked forward to, fell short of my expectations.

    But the story of the unicorn who goes in search of her kind, refusing to believe the stories that she is the last, is one of romance, mystery, magic, and loving nods to other literary sources. It is a gem that should be cherished and I look forward to reading it to my child one day, over many nights, as his or her imagination takes flight with me and we travel with the unicorn to unravel the truth and, possibly, return beauty to the world.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Woman in Black

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 36 mins)
    • By Susan Hill
    • Narrated By Paul Ansdell
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (469)
    Performance
    (395)
    Story
    (393)

    Eel Marsh house stands alone, surveying the windswept salt marshes beyond Nine Lives Causeway. Once, Mrs Alice Drablow lived here as a recluse. Now, Arthur Kipps, a junior solicitor with a London firm, is summoned to attend her funeral, unaware of the tragic and terrible secrets which lie behind the house's shuttered windows.

    Karen says: "good story and narration"
    "Great story and wonderful performance!"
    Overall

    Loved the book when I originally read it and thoroughly enjoyed both film adaptations. This audio version is rich in atmosphere and texture. It breathes life into the foggy atmosphere of the English countryside and steals it from the depths of Eel Marsh House. I highly recommend it to anyone who loves an old-fashioned ghost story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War

    • ABRIDGED (6 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Max Brooks
    • Narrated By Max Brooks, Alan Alda, John Turturro, and others
    Overall
    (5794)
    Performance
    (4011)
    Story
    (4025)

    The Zombie War came unthinkably close to eradicating humanity. Max Brooks, driven by the urgency of preserving the acid-etched first-hand experiences of the survivors from those apocalyptic years, traveled across the United States of America and throughout the world, from decimated cities that once teemed with upwards of 30 million souls, to the most remote and inhospitable areas of the planet.

    Steve says: "Good but Too Short!"
    "This wanted to be a great story, but..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This wanted to be a great story... or rather, I wanted it to be a great story. Unfortunately, I was let down by the hype. The book unfolds as a history of the aftermath of a zombie plague. It's intensely political and underwhelmingly tedious. Truth be told, and this may appear unfair, I abandoned the book halfway through. I couldn't do it anymore. After some ungodly quantity of pages involving African political struggles and the advancement of very unlikable human figures I couldn't take it. Read if you love government documents and the urbane tedium of bureaucracy. Avoid if you want to engross yourself in a thrilling tale of emotionally charged relationships. I was left dissatisfied and resentful that I'd spent money on it without doing more research in advance.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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