I recently discovered John Scalzi's stories and find his writing entertaining and a fun listen. Redshirts is a concept story based loosely on the fabled Star Trek abuse of crew who were identified by their red shirts and who always seemed to die in some horrible way. Scalzi's story moves quickly and takes a few twists and turns that are quite unexpected.
I enjoyed the novel, but the true brilliance of the book comes from the three "coda" stories at the end. These are some of the best short stories around, which contrast poignant emotion with the more light-hearted novel. The final coda was an absolutely terrific love story, brilliantly read by Wil Wheaton.
Wil Wheaton's reading is spot on. I'm wary of books read by celebrity talent, but Wheaton shows a range of voice and emotion that brings out the characters, the wry dialog, and the emotions of the book. He's more than up for the task and I look forward to hearing more stories he's narrated.
Jim Butcher's Dresden Files series is a brilliant series of stories, and highly entertaining. They are full of humor and pathos, with a likeable and human main character, Harry Dresden. Side Jobs proves that Jim Butcher is also master of the short story and Novella forms of Science Fiction. These stories were delightful, even his early, unpublished story. (Of course the earlier story isn't up to the best of standards, but I found it interesting to listen to it nonetheless.)
James Marsters does a great job of narrating Butcher's stories. This is a must read for Harry Dresden fans.
I love this book. I read it years ago, when it first came out. Back then, I was enchanted with Woody Allen's non sequitur humor and witty phrasing. Over the years, I've found myself quoting bits and pieces from the stories in this book. Woody Allen's early work is, I think, his funniest - when he was a new and fresh voice in the entertainment industry.
Finding an audiobook form of Without Feathers was a pleasant surprise. The fact that Woody Allen himself reads his work, makes this a priceless addition to my library. This is Woody Allen at his best.
This brilliant story not only covers the Navy Seal Team 6 mission that killed Osama bin Laden, but also covers an interesting and gripping story of the military life of a Navy Seal. The author takes great pains to ensure that he reveals no classified information in his book, yet is still able to tell an amazing story.
The book has come under fire by the mainstream media, which is a good reason to read the book. Most news accounts about the story focus on the author's report that Osama bin Laden was shot while unarmed, as though that was the height of evil. Only in a world overrun by the religion of modern liberalism, is killing a mass murderer such as Osama bin Laden considered a crime.
The book has some fairly straightforward description of the handling of bin Laden's body. While not graphic, the frank discussion might make some readers queasy. For those of us Americans who remember 9/11 and who despise true evil wherever it occurs, reading this story provides a certain catharsis after 11 long years.
The real reason, however, to read the book, is to discover the world of America's professional warriors. Most of what Navy Seals do is so classified, those many, many stories of heroism and bravery will be lost. The author succeeds in bringing a feel for his profession, as a member of Navy Seal Team 6, even though he's quite limited in what he can really report about their activities.
Holter Graham's narration is good. He handles the story well and brings the humor, the drama, the danger, and the emotion to this excellent story.
Harlan Ellison is one of the best writers of his day. His stories reach across a broad depth of emotion the rings true to the reader. He is a master storyteller and wordsmith. This audio book of some of his short stories is an extra treat because Ellison reads them himself, interpreting them the way he thought they should read.
If you love well crafted stories, sometimes funny, sometimes frightening, always provocative, then I highly recommend this and other Ellison collections.
I read the Sword of Shannara years ago, when it first came out. I remembered the book as fairly imitative of The Lord of the Rings but didn't realize just how much Terry Brooks relied on Tolkein until listening to the audiobook.
What strikes me most about my second time through is how much the storyline sounds like a Dungeons and Dragons adventure. The plot is pushed along by a series of encounters with one monster or another, moving from battle to battle with a bit of story in between. Still, it's an enjoyable book and launched a whole new generation of Tolkeinesque fantasy novels into the world.
Scott Brick's reading is uneven and he frequently dropped into and out of accents, sometimes at random. I figure if the narrator's interpretation gets noticed, then he hasn't done his job correctly.
Overall, I'd recommend this book to young adults wanting a first taste of fantasy adventure. Just don't expect too much out of the story and read it as the fluff it is.
This is the first book I've picked up by Larry Correia. I enjoyed the fast pace and the well-defined characters. If this were a paper book, I wouldn't have been able to put it down.
The description for this book makes it sound a lot like Jim Butcher's Harry Dresden novels, but it is far from that sort of book. The characters, plot, and feel are more akin to X Men. Set in the early 20th Century, there is a noir setting for the events.
Bronson Pinchot's reading is good, although, as with any reader, his interpretation sometimes doesn't match the description or the action. As a whole, his reading didn't bother me and shouldn't get in the way of enjoying a good story.
Edward Longacre's biography of Grant is enjoyable and interesting. Langacre describes Grant's early life, his life at West Point, his first taste of battle during the war with Mexico, his family life, and his life during the Civil War. The book does not cover Grant's life as president of the US, deferring to other authors.
Longacre, as with any well-covered famous person from history, tends to argue with historians and biographers whom you may or may not have read. This can be annoying if you are reading this book as a first introduction to Grant, or if you simply don't care for the arguments of academics.
Jonathan Walker's narration is slow and precise - perfect for listening to in the car. I recommend this book.
Connie WIllis' Blackout has some brilliant moments, with signature Willis humor. Willis' characters are likeable and I connected with them and became interested in what happened to them. The basic plot, three time-traveling historians trapped in England during the Blitz, is not a new idea for Willis, but she makes the ideas new (even considering her shorter story written on the same premise). Katherine Kellgren's reading of Willis' book is brilliant and I thoroughly enjoyed her performance. I found some of the plot incessantly plodding and probably would have skimmed through reading some sections, had this not been an audio book. I was disappointed to have the book end without any resolution, forcing anyone who remotely cares for the characters to read the next book. This is a cheap trick and mars my overall impression of Willis' book. Nevertheless, Willis is a solid writer and worth reading.
Ann Coulter's book is a crafted argument connecting the ideology of Rousseau and the mob violence of the French Revolution to modern liberalism. While the connection is obvious to anyone not already indoctrinated into leftist thought, Coulter's book has value in reiterating the history of the French Revolution, as well as enumerating the ideological similarities within US liberalism. Her book explains a lot of reasons why the left rejects US Constitutional principles, all the while purporting to believe in equality. Coulter makes the connection that liberal "equality" is akin to the French "egalite et fraternite."
Coulter's main point, that liberalism is mob rule, explains a lot about liberal behavior in the US, as well as explaining the power elite who want to control and use the mob in order to promote leftist ideals. Coulter's call to arms at the end of the book, in order to fight against liberal mob rule, will be seen as inflammatory.
Two things marred this particular book: the lengthy coverage of a New York rape trial and subsequent "public retrial" through the media (including an appendix on the subject); and the narration by Elizabeth White. While the trial and the leftist media's revisiting the verdict exemplify the indoctrination that can lead to rejecting the rule of law, I'm still unsure why Coulter spent so many pages in its point-by-point rebuttal. White's narration, instead of reading the text straight, sounded smarmy throughout the entire book. Instead of helping the argument, it got in the way.
Those who like Ann Coulter won't be disappointed with the argument. Those who hate Ann Coulter won't be disappointed with the argument. If you're looking for a more general introduction into conservative thought, I'd suggest Thomas Sowell's Dismantling America.
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