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neil

FORT PIERCE, FL, United States | Member Since 2008

216
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 39 reviews
  • 137 ratings
  • 630 titles in library
  • 14 purchased in 2014
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11

  • The Brain That Changes Itself: Personal Triumphs from the Frontiers of Brain Science

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Norman Doidge
    • Narrated By Jim Bond
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (959)
    Performance
    (375)
    Story
    (369)

    In this revolutionary look at the brain, best-selling author, psychiatrist, and psychoanalyst Norman Doidge, M.D., introduces both the brilliant scientists championing this new science of neuroplasticity and the astonishing progress of the people whose lives they've transformed.

    Introducing principles we can all use, as well as a riveting collection of case histories, The Brain That Changes Itself has "implications for all human beings, not to mention human culture, human learning and human history."

    CAT says: "Text book"
    "Amazing Stuff"
    Overall

    This is an important book for anyone close to or
    responsible for another person who has suffered
    brain injury. I am such a person. The old
    beliefs about the brain being the only major organ
    in the body incapable of self repair is still held
    by too many so called professionals who have medical or rehab contact with these people, not to mention everyone else. I have believed differently for some time, now, but this
    is the first place I have seen the idea of
    "neuroplasticity" laid out in an understandable
    manner for everyone to see.
    Some parts of the book, itself, were better than others and it sort of fizzled out, at the end.
    The narration was fine. Not too long and pretty
    clear. A good starting point for one's research.
    If you are or know someone with brain injury, no matter
    what caused it, and you are not familiar with
    the ideas and facts related to the neuroplastic
    nature of the human brain, this is a must read.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Metro 2033

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Dmitry Glukhovsky
    • Narrated By Rupert Degas
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (108)
    Performance
    (101)
    Story
    (101)

    The year is 2033. The world has been reduced to rubble. Humanity is nearly extinct and the half-destroyed cities have become uninhabitable through radiation. Beyond their boundaries, they say, lie endless burned-out deserts and the remains of splintered forests. Survivors still remember the past greatness of humankind, but the last remains of civilisation have already become a distant memory. Man has handed over stewardship of the earth to new life-forms. A few score thousand survivors live on, not knowing whether they are the only ones left on Earth....

    Jameson says: "Fantastic voicework and great story"
    "Pretty well done..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I have a real soft spot for this kind of dystopian stuff if its well written....and this book is both well written and well narrated. Good plotting, moves right along and the I can believe that the characters are genuinely human...except for a few who aren't supposed to be. Also, the pace is varied enough to keep it dramatic but credible. It is a dark view in a dark world, but not so far from what really could be, given humanity's short sightedness and historical amnesia. Not the best I've read, but right up there with the real good ones.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Winds of Khalakovo: The Lays of Anuskaya, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Bradley P. Beaulieu
    • Narrated By Ray Chase
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (24)
    Performance
    (22)
    Story
    (22)

    Among inhospitable and unforgiving seas stands Khalakovo, a mountainous archipelago of seven islands, its prominent eyrie stretching a thousand feet into the sky. Serviced by windships bearing goods and dignitaries, Khalakovo's eyrie stands at the crossroads of world trade. But all is not well in Khalakovo. Conflict has erupted between the ruling Landed, the indigenous Aramahn, and the fanatical Maharraht, and a wasting disease has grown rampant over the past decade.

    Paul Genesse says: "SONG OF ICE AND FIRE MEETS EARTHSEA"
    "Typical of the Genre"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I really wanted to like this novel. Several reviewers praised the imaginative setting and the use of several cultures ...Russian, ?Turkish? and Middle Eastern...as the origins of the main characters. Sounded intriguing. Culture clashes, however, have been done to death...espeicially the Eurocentric mind vs. the Oriental mind. And that is what this is, seems to me. First, we have your feudal, ruthless, oppressive Russo/Kharakovan nobility who seem to have little talent except for killing and repression who, somehow, have gotten the upper hand over the highly talented, amazingly spiritual, quite artistic and highly oppressed, long suffering, usually peaceful Middle Eastern/Turkish/Jewish/Araman. And they all live on islands of some sort, that exist in maybe an ocean but the atmosphere is ?ether? but it is somehow breathable. Oh, and the only Karakovans with special talents are, of course, the women, who submerse themselves in ice cold baths and breathe through reeds and "control" the ?ether? so that the men can sail around in it. Hard for me to visualize that part. And, of course, every word of every character throughout this work is gilded with major importance, somehow having to do with the doom coming from some spirit world through magic created by, who else, a sect of Araman terrorists who don't care who they kill...no one even dares to say anything normal or crack a joke...and every word is delivered with high drama. Interestingly, these turbaned Araman can magically create huge creatures made of dirt and rocks ( ringers for Jewish golems?) who wreak death and destruction to the enemies of those with turbans. To the author's credit, he handles plots fairly well and his characters seem humanly motivated, some of the time, which is why I gave it a 2nd star.
    But, although small parts of this novel are imaginative, most of it is trite and boring, and seems taken, piecemeal, from the crap that has been reported on tv for the last 30 years, as world news. I keep looking for good fantasy and get mostly disappointed. Unfortunately, there is only one Joe Abercrombie. and few fantasy writers who fall in the "major novelist class"...like Tolkien, Rowley or George RR. . Mr. Beaulieu's writing is typical of the genre. He runs with the pack, not ahead of it. I will cut Mr. Chase a break as far as narrators go. I don't believe any narrator could do much to with voice to improve this novel. And of course, this is the first book of another series. Can't wait.

    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
    (409)
    Performance
    (354)
    Story
    (354)

    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."
    "Great Writing/Wonderful Story Telling"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    "The Pale King" was my first exposure to the writing of David Foster Wallace and I liked it.
    Most reviews of "Infinite Jest" on Audible complained a great deal about not having the "footnotes", several claiming that, without them, the book was not worth listening to. But, I took a shot, anyway. And I was blown away. Sean Pratt's narration may have been the key to my enjoyment. His delivery made music of Wallace's words. Of course, the plot wanders and the characters are multitude and their narratives come flying abruptly out of left field and it seems like no plot thread is ever tied up, ever. And, It takes some time and mental gymnastics to see the fabric of the story(s). But the overall effect, for me, was brilliant. In this case, an American masterpiece of the spoken word. As good a collaboration of author and narrator is I've ever heard. It ended far too soon. I don't know if I would have been able to read it and feel the same. .

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Absurdistan

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Gary Shteyngart
    • Narrated By Adam Grupper
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (30)
    Performance
    (25)
    Story
    (26)

    Named as one of the New York Times Year’s Ten Best upon its publication, Gary Shteyngart’s Absurdistan is a biting, poignant satire of American-style democracy and the American Dream. After returning to Russia to attend his father’s funeral, 30-year-old Misha is subsequently denied a visa when he attempts to re-enter the United States.

    neil says: "Major Let Down"
    "Major Let Down"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I thought Shteyngart was brilliant after listening to "Super Sad, True Love Story". My opinion dipped slightly with "The Russian Debutante's Handbook", but it was still pretty good. "Absurdistan", however, was just awful. Drifting plots and meandering story lines are fine with me if the writing is good, and the characters are "real", even if they are hard to love. This novel had neither good writing or interesting human beings as characters...forget liking them. If the author aimed for satire, he missed. But for a few neatly twisted phrases that brought a smile to my lips...very few... there was nothing funny...for me. Its saving grace, if anything can save it, was that it seemed fairly original. I managed to get through it , because of that quality, I think. And the narrator did a good job with what he had.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Redemption: Department Q, Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Jussi Adler-Olsen
    • Narrated By Steven Pacey
    Overall
    (51)
    Performance
    (46)
    Story
    (45)

    The downloadable, digital audiobook edition of Jussi Adler-Olsen’s sensational new thriller, read by the actor Steven Pacey. Two boys, brothers, wake tied and bound in a boathouse by the sea. Their kidnapper has gone, but soon he will return. Their bonds are inescapable. But there is a bottle and tar to seal it. Paper and a splinter for writing; blood for ink. A message begging for help. In Copenhagen’s cold cases division Carl Morck has received a bottle. It holds an old and decayed message, written in blood.

    Peter says: "Wrong Book!?!?"
    "Jussi and Steven...Pacey Makes Another Winning Duo"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The book, by itself, is a very good good thriller. I kind of like European settings for thrillers and mysteries...especially northern and eastern Europe where winter bleak gives the mystery an icy edge. This is the 2nd Adler/Olsen Dept. Q book I've heard from Audible.
    For plot, great. For characterization...great. Even though it is about that highly overdone bogeyman...the serial killer...(I usually refuse to bother with most novels employing this device) this author actually made the story fresh and imaginative and did a masterful job of varying the pace of the plot, throwing in wit with bits and pieces of the more mundane human comedy. I have developed a wariness committing my time to reading "follow up" novels written as part of series. Each story, I think,must stand on its own merit. Adler-Olsen is +2 for 2, in my opinion.
    I first heard Steven Pacey reading Joe Abercombie's "First Law" trilogy. He made all three books come alive. His narration makes me feel like the child I used to be who sat in front of the old console radio with his whole attention riveted on "Sgt. Preston of the Yukon" or the stories told on the "Buster Brown Show" every Saturday morning From those voice(s) a kid could imagine worlds he or she never "saw". Mr. Pacey has that gift of being able to inspire one's imagination in that way, too, I think. At least for me. Like with Abercrombie's works, Mr. Pacey's narration enhances the entertainment value of this book, immensely. Having written that, I must add that the entertainment value of the novel, itself, is quite high.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Super Sad True Love Story: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Gary Shteyngart
    • Narrated By Ali Ahn, Adam Grupper
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (532)
    Performance
    (277)
    Story
    (277)

    Gary Shteyngart, author of The Russian Debutante’s Handbook, creates a compelling reality in this tale about an illiterate America in the not-too-distant future. Lenny Abramov may just be penning the world’s last diary. Which is good, because while falling in love with a rather unpleasant woman and witnessing the fall of a great empire, Lenny has a lot to write about.

    Ryan says: "Dystopia Now"
    "Interesting"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    While not the best novel I've ever come across, it, having been well written and decidedly entertaining...I did want to know what happened next... also left me with things to ponder. I doubt that this novel is "art" in the common parlance. Probably not a "classic" either. But it has strong elements of both, in my opinion, I think some people might refer to this kind of novel as dystopic futurism or pessimistic science fiction. Use either category and I'd put it in the 90th percentile along with the "The 4 Fingers of Death". But it also has much in common with a book like "I Am Charlotte Simmons" by Tom Wolfe which is neither futuristic nor science fiction.
    The readers were both first rate. They filled out the parts of the main characters superbly
    and with feeling. I could feel the angst.
    I agree with some readers who've said that they had difficulty in "liking" the main characters, especially Lenny. But Lenny truly fits the profile of the classic protagonist...hubris and all.
    He wants to be the contemporary knight on a white horse, the rescuer of beautiful (his definition) damsels in distress But when he sweeps up the lovely but abused and misunderstood fair lady, and gives all he has to give, like most of his kind, he ends up being humiliated and betrayed by the damsel and defecated upon by the horse. Nor was Eunice particularly endearing ... but she was true to herself, making hard choices based solely on her perception of her own self interest.
    The author's canvas, the background for this love story, was very recognizable, unfortunately, as one likely path this country's citizens might very well choose.. And he did a very, very good job of "painting" it. I couldn't look away from it very easily.
    Not suited for everyone's taste, especially those offended by foul language and frequent casual, concrete references to the amazing growth and evolution of the "pornography" business. Nevertheless, I thought it was a fine listen and would highly recommend it to fans of this kind of literature.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Great North Road

    • UNABRIDGED (36 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Peter F. Hamilton
    • Narrated By Toby Longworth
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (921)
    Performance
    (835)
    Story
    (844)

    A century from now, thanks to a technology allowing instantaneous travel across light-years, humanity has solved its energy shortages, cleaned up the environment, and created far-flung colony worlds. The keys to this empire belong to the powerful North family - composed of successive generations of clones. Yet these clones are not identical. For one thing, genetic errors have crept in with each generation. For another, the original three clone "brothers" have gone their separate ways, and the branches of the family are now friendly rivals more than allies. Or maybe not so friendly....

    Flapjack says: "Get the Timeline and Cast of Characters"
    "Ultimately, disappointing."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This novel had lots of potential...suspense, good imagining, nice snaky plot and, starting off, at least, characters whose actions seemed to stem from natural human motives. Some pretty original sounding stuff, to boot.
    Its a long, long listen. So when the intricacies start beginning to resolve, one has put in
    a lot of hours of involved listening. I was waiting, almost eagerly, to get to the end stages.
    About halfway through, the author began throwing in junk but not enough to make me stop. By the last third, it all went south. What I seemed to end up with was pure, trite, drivel... a) another boring ecological lecture about humanity's unrelenting destruction of nature,, b) another female super hero who beats up the monster with ninja style moves c) the main protagonist, female, who changes from a complete uber rich, selfish, dishonest, decietful, sociopath (fairly interesting) into ...someone else whose loving, brave, hard working, selfless soul must have been transplanted secretly without the reader's knowledge because any reader will be hard put to figure out how she ended up with it, much less whether the story ever made clear why she deserved it. d) most males except for the uber rich ones and one cop are mostly depicted as basically dumb, simple and incompetent, who play only one note...sex..and e) an ending more reminiscent of "Its A Wonderful Life" than any decent sci fi I've come across. Overall, although I have read or listened to several books by this author and found one or two good ones, (so I believe the author has some skill), this one ends up being an ode to political correctness and easy fixes. I found it both disappointing and dishonest. Fortunately, the reader was very good or I would have ditched the thing 2/3s of the way through.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Blue Remembered Earth

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Alastair Reynolds
    • Narrated By Kobna Holdbrook-Smith
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (251)
    Performance
    (229)
    Story
    (229)

    Critically acclaimed author Alastair Reynolds holds a well-deserved place “among the leaders of the hard-science space opera renaissance." (Publishers Weekly). In Blue Remembered Earth, Geoffrey Akinya wants nothing more than to study the elephants of the Amboseli basin. But when his space-explorer grandmother dies, secrets come to light and Geoffrey is dispatched to the Moon to protect the family name - and prevent an impending catastrophe.

    Michael G. Kurilla says: "A surprising and staisfying departure for Reynolds"
    "Politically Correct"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I've read most of what Allistair Reynolds has published...some more than once.
    I've rated him as one of the best hard core SF writers ever. His major characters are often "different". Heroes and villains are as likely to be female as male with various
    degrees of sex, color, species differences and artifacts often added on. Even as truly different as some of his main characters were, I have never before gotten the impression that he was forcing them into being politically correct stereotypes. That is the impression I get in this novel.
    The good guys, male and female, (almost too good to be true, in some cases) are African and black sounding, or clearly homosexual with contemporary nilistic outlooks while the bad guys are made to sound like mostly white, male Afrikaners and and are comletely contemptible, evil, money grubbers. The heroic types seem motivated only by a one dimensional need to do "good" (as defined by contemporary standards like ...save the elephants...for instance).
    Of course, in their quest to do these good deeds, the author does not bind them to
    to any special respect for preexisting norms and rules that get in their way, except those imposed by the villains. Both sides are also very rich, which seems to be, in a almost
    contradictory fashion, a perfectly acceptable reason to allow them to do what they please.
    As I've said, I can enjoy heroes and villains, any sex, any color, any background...if
    the writer can make me believe that they are real "human beings" even if that
    isn't exactly what they are. Reynold's has done that very thing with pigs, among a number of other not so human creatures, in some of his other works. Their human attributes...good and bad and neither...seemed not only richly complex but to be natural parts of their nature.
    The problem with this novel for me is that the characters in these pages are caricatures of politically correct stereotypes. That makes it impossible to care about
    what they seem to care about. And what they care about, of course, drives the whole story. John Lee does a good job with the narration, as usual.
    Overall, this is not a Reynold's novel I would consider reading a second time.

    3 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • A Prayer for Owen Meany

    • UNABRIDGED (26 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By John Irving
    • Narrated By Joe Barrett
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3418)
    Performance
    (2357)
    Story
    (2354)

    Of all of John Irving's books, this is the one that lends itself best to audio. In print, Owen Meany's dialogue is set in capital letters; for this production, Irving himself selected Joe Barrett to deliver Meany's difficult voice as intended. In the summer of 1953, two 11-year-old boys – best friends – are playing in a Little League baseball game in Gravesend, New Hampshire. One of the boys hits a foul ball that kills the other boy's mother. The boy who hits the ball doesn't believe in accidents; Owen Meany believes he is God's instrument. What happens to Owen after that 1953 foul ball is extraordinary and terrifying.

    Alan says: "Outstanding"
    "Offbeat Gem"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Worth every minute of the time I spent listening to it. It isn't likely that I would have picked it up and read it, but since Joe Barrett was narrating and the description and many of the reviews piqued my interest. I decided to get the Audible version. Made a great choice, this time. Maybe it helped that I am a native of small town New England, myself or that the
    two main protagonists are within a year or two of being my age. Also the "major"
    events that affected them, affected me, as well. The novel was a sort of personal homecoming. But, besides those elements, Irving seems to be a very good writer who
    knows how to keep a reader involved in his work for hours and hours. Nor does
    he ever disappoint with sloppy transitions, simpleton characters or artificial plot
    contrivances. Not that some of his ideas don't stretch things more than a bit. But he
    always manages to pull these bits off very nicely. How he tells the reader what happens
    at the end before the book is halfway through and still manages to keep one in total
    suspense is absolutely masterly. And Joe Barret is one of, if not the best American narrator I've ever heard. (Try "Streets of Loredo" by Larry McMurtry for another great
    Joe Barrett narration.)
    This novel will not be universally appreciated, I believe. But I thought it was
    excellent.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Armor

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By John Steakley
    • Narrated By Tom Weiner
    Overall
    (1027)
    Performance
    (634)
    Story
    (639)

    The planet is called Banshee. The air is unbreathable, the water poisonous. It is the home of the most implacable enemies that humanity, in all its interstellar expansion, has ever encountered. Felix is a scout in A-team Two. Highly competent, he is the sole survivor of mission after mission. Yet he is a man consumed by fear and hatred.

    George Dean says: "An intense and unusual work, wonderfully performed"
    "Bad Writing, Period."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Like some others, first part was ok and fast moving...nice light read (listen) for washing the kitchen floor or peeling potatoes. Maybe the end turned out as well. I couldn't tell you because the introduction of the second, inane plot and the adolescent writing was too much for these old ears...Tom Weiner's narration nowithstanding (he did the best with what he had)....and I gave it up. By the way, if you want to see how to do a competent "intro of a new plot right out of left field after a story line has already been established", read :"The Five Fingers of Death". Several other reviewers have already written about why this book is so very bad. I will only add that my own disappointment was compounded because this book actually started out ok and I had gotten into it by several hours before the switch.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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