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M. Consol

Livermore, CA, United States | Member Since 2003

47
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 5 reviews
  • 18 ratings
  • 222 titles in library
  • 8 purchased in 2014
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  • Villages

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By John Updike
    • Narrated By Edward Herrmann
    Overall
    (74)
    Performance
    (11)
    Story
    (12)

    John Updike's 21st novel, a bildungsroman, follows its hero, Owen Mackenzie, from his birth in the semi-rural Pennsylvania town of Willow to his retirement in the rather geriatric community of Haskells Crossing, Massachusetts. In between these two settlements comes Middle Falls, Connecticut, where Owen, an early computer programmer, founds with a partner, Ed Mervine, the successful firm of E-O Data, which is housed in an old gun factory on the Chunkaunkabaug River.

    M. Consol says: "Updike at the height of his powers"
    "Updike at the height of his powers"
    Overall

    This novel is a true masterpiece, full gorgeous phrasings and extraordinarily keen observations. No writer is a greater virtuoso of the English language than Updike, but many of his books are plagued by scenes and storylines that dawdle and beat around the bush. Not this one. This book has a strong and well paced storyline, so you not only get Updike's immaculate writing skills but also the kind of forward momentum that keeps readers feeling a genuine sense of destination.

    It's also has a flamboyant cast of characters, lead by Owen Mackenzie, who Updike takes from boyhood to the grave in a whirlwind expedition through childhood hi-jinx, courtship, marriage, fatherhood, numerous extra-marital affairs, business relationships and a career as a computer engineer and entrepreneur. You get a surprisingly well-informed and entertaining history of the computer industry?s evolution. Updike makes extraordinary observations about digital devices and their analogies to the humanity.

    It?s also a very sexy book, built around male/female relationships, some sanctioned, some illicit. Nobody writes sex and love scenes like Updike, and this book is loaded with them. They?re not so much descriptions of the act as they are beautifully and incisively crafted explorations of human geography and emotion. Some of these scenes are so literary even Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson would have difficulty quibbling with them.

    Lastly, the book is marvelously read and extremely well recorded, making the separation of characters very distinct.

    What a treat that John Updike, though advanced in years, is still turning out such powerhouse novels.

    15 of 16 people found this review helpful
  • Up Country

    • UNABRIDGED (28 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Nelson DeMille
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1848)
    Performance
    (660)
    Story
    (654)

    In the latest from Nelson DeMille (author of The Lion's Game), Paul Brenner is called out of CID retirement to investigate the murder 30 years ago of an army lieutenant in Vietnam. Brenner's trip up country, with a beautiful American expatriate for company, will lead him to uncover an explosive, long-buried secret.

    James B says: "You Must Read Up Country"
    "Too much plot"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    Marginal because the story kept plodding along, moving from place to place but not diving deeply into situations or characters, with some exceptions, of course.


    Would you recommend Up Country to your friends? Why or why not?

    No because, after a promising start, it became bland and monotonous. I would instead refer them to DeMille's book The Lion's Game, which is a much stronger, more dramatic performance.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    He didn't; the narrator was very good but had a lackluster script.


    Was Up Country worth the listening time?

    Sometimes yes, but too often "no."


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Cider House Rules

    • UNABRIDGED (24 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By John Irving
    • Narrated By Grover Gardner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (845)
    Performance
    (508)
    Story
    (508)

    From one of America's most beloved and respected writers comes the classic story of Homer Wells, an orphan, and Wilbur Larch, a doctor without children of his own, who develop an extraordinary bond with one another.

    Patti says: "Wonderful"
    "This book dawdles"
    Overall

    Definitely not John Irving's best. Though filled with vivid characters and creative expression, the story moves at such a snail's pace it seems to never get off the dime. This book is badly in need of forward momentum because it runs 24 hours long.

    See my review on John Irving's book The Fourth Hand. You'll be much happier with that title.

    9 of 13 people found this review helpful
  • The Fourth Hand

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By John Irving
    • Narrated By Jason Culp
    Overall
    (304)
    Performance
    (55)
    Story
    (57)

    Millions of television viewers witness a journalist lose his left-hand to a lion, triggering a nationwide race to find and deliver a hand transplant. John Irving's tenth novel promises more seamless storytelling and a penetrating look at the power of second chances.

    Suzn F says: "WELL..... I LOVED IT"
    "Give John Irving a hand"
    Overall

    Vintage John Irving. This book is the story of TV journalist Patrick Wallingford and puts on display the colorful and sympathetic characters, dazzling imagination and vibrant storylines that have become hallmarks of Irving's classic writing style. And the tale is read by a strong and expressive voice that lights the prose in neon lettering.

    On the downside, The Fourth Hand does run out of gas about three-quarters through the book (a common problem with many novels), but the ride has already been so good to that point that you will easily forgive Irving for not ending on a stronger note.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci: Seven Steps to Genius Every Day

    • ABRIDGED (2 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Michael J. Gelb
    • Narrated By Michael J. Gelb
    Overall
    (155)
    Performance
    (46)
    Story
    (44)

    You don't have to be a genius to think like one. Michael J. Gelb, author of Thinking for a Change, reveals how any one of us can fulfill our own untapped potential by following the example of the greatest genius of all time, Leonardo da Vinci.

    Jonas says: "I was looking for more."
    "More self-help bromides"
    Overall

    This book was a disappointment. The information about da Vinci's life was interesting. But by the mid-way point the book degrades into yet another litany of self-help and goal setting exercises. There's hundreds of book out there already recommending such exercises, and I doubt da Vinci actually spent his time with these endless and tedious tasks. In fact, if you follow the book's prescription you'd fill your entire day just doing mental exercises trying to become creative rather than actually doing creative things. There's nothing original or even very practical about this book.

    18 of 19 people found this review helpful

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