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Robert

des plaines, IL, United States

ratings
38
REVIEWS
34
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
0
HELPFUL VOTES
33

  • I'm Dreaming of a Black Christmas

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Lewis Black
    • Narrated By Lewis Black
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (161)
    Performance
    (82)
    Story
    (80)

    From Lewis Black, the uproarious and perpetually apoplectic New York Times best-selling author and Daily Show regular, comes a ferociously funny book about his least favorite holiday, Christmas.

    Robert says: "Seemed a little forced (though he warns you)"
    "Seemed a little forced (though he warns you)"
    Overall

    I really like Lewis' insight, but it seems a little stretched out over an entire book. He warns at the beginning that he didn't really want to do this book with a whole "My agent says I should write a book" story. At first it seemed like just an anecdote to start the book...but then I really believed that he was doing it just for the money.

    Eventually, he gets into some interesting insights and commentary on modern society. But nothing really earth shattering or amazing, but somewhat amusing. The story he shares to end it was definitely the highlight for me - the real example of the meaning of the season and how it is not really tied to religion (Surprise!).

    His narration is fine. I don't think it would work to have anyone else doing it, but it is hard to maintain the Lewis Rage for 5 hours.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Finch

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Jeff VanderMeer
    • Narrated By Oliver Wyman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (202)
    Performance
    (88)
    Story
    (87)

    Mysterious underground inhabitants known as the gray caps have reconquered the failed fantasy state Ambergris and put it under martial law. They are controlling the human inhabitants with strange addictive drugs, internment in camps, and random acts of terror. The rebel resistance is scattered, and the gray caps are using human labor to build two strange towers. John Finch must solve an impossible double murder for his gray cap masters while trying to make contact with the rebels.

    Pie says: "Awesome."
    "Interesting, though hard to define"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    An inventive world has been created. The characters are deep and shallow at the same time. The conflict is slow in developing but does come to an interesting conclusion. The mysterious city and relationships are more interesting than the story for most of the time, though it is brought together.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • A Feast for Crows: A Song of Ice and Fire: Book 4

    • UNABRIDGED (33 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By George R. R. Martin
    • Narrated By Roy Dotrice
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (9060)
    Performance
    (8316)
    Story
    (8359)

    Few books have captivated the imagination and won the devotion and praise of readers and critics everywhere as has George R. R. Martin’s monumental epic cycle of high fantasy that began with A Game of Thrones. Now, in A Feast for Crows, Martin delivers the long-awaited fourth book of his landmark series, as a kingdom torn asunder finds itself at last on the brink of peace . . . only to be launched on an even more terrifying course of destruction.

    Pi says: "Jarring change in Dotrice's performance"
    "Help...I can't stop myself!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I listened to the first 3 books of the series and had some serious doubts after the third book. Was the Red Wedding and the harshness/despair...was it art? Showing the brutality of humans and not following the fairy-tale plot of typical literature? Or was it just mediocre storytelling that wasn't going anywhere? Then I read the reviews if this one (Feast for Crows) and was further discouraged.

    After saying no to the series for a few weeks I was missing the world RR has built and some of the remaining characters. I was optimistic that he would rebuild the cast and crew and narration was not as bad as it sounded.

    The narration is truly mystifying. There was a huge turnover and I am sure that Roy can only do so many voices, even as talented as he is. There are plenty of new characters and some of the voices are going to be changed or modified (it also sounds like he has aged in the break between productions). For my money, he took one of the few interesting main characters remaining (Aria) and completely changed the character. The first voice and tone used to match the rest of the family and now it is something completely different. She has gone through a lot of changes, but there is no reason to think that her inner voice would be that different. It would be like a person moving from Montana to England and sounding cockney in a few months.

    As for the story. Much of the story-type is the same as before. If you like the first three, I think you will like (and be able to look past the narration) the fourth. I think that the characters he has brought up to replace the old set is not as strong - they don't have my interest for personal storylines or internal conflict. The ones that do have these qualities have been put into minor parts - some have barely been heard from. RR seems to have an affliction that will not let him use any of his strengths and try to get by with his weakest players. Putting just enough on the field to keep stringing us along.

    I keep hoping that the potentially interesting storylines and characters that he keeps holding in reserve will be brought out for some amazing end game. I wouldn't bet on it....but I probably will wind up buying the next book just because I have already gone this far.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • A Storm of Swords: A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (47 hrs and 36 mins)
    • By George R. R. Martin
    • Narrated By Roy Dotrice
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (15865)
    Performance
    (12365)
    Story
    (12436)

    As opposing forces maneuver for the final titanic showdown, an army of barbaric wildlings arrives from the outermost line of civilization. In their vanguard is a horde of mythical Others, a supernatural army of the living dead whose animated corpses are unstoppable. As the future of the land hangs in the balance, no one will rest until the Seven Kingdoms have exploded in a veritable storm of swords.

    Troy says: "Chapter and part breaks are incorrect"
    "Disturbing...maybe in a good way"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The series has been growing on me. I continued to the second and third books based almost entirely on the performance of Roy. Given the *spoiler alert* slaughter of this book and all the reviews that Roy changed for the fourth book I had sworn off the rest of the series. But now after a couple of months without any GoT, I think I am really missing the world and going to jump in for at least 1 more round.

    Martin does an excellent job building an amazing world full of wonderful geographies and interesting peoples. He has created enthralling situations. I would say that his pinnacle would be the food - his description of the feasts makes my mouth water even as I listen while eating. A normal everyday meal in his books sound amazing.

    But I have not enjoyed his pacing and it seemed like very little happened or moved forward. I have finally gotten to know some characters and then they all died. But then the book finished strong - all the death created a lot of movement. I am missing being in that world enough to give the next one another chance.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus

    • ABRIDGED (11 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By Charles C. Mann
    • Narrated By Peter Johnson
    Overall
    (1092)
    Performance
    (568)
    Story
    (574)

    In this riveting, accessible work of science, Charles Mann takes us on an enthralling journey of scientific exploration. We learn that the Indian development of modern corn was one of the most complex feats of genetic engineering ever performed. That the Great Plains are a third smaller today than they were in 1700 because the Indians who maintained them by burning died. And that the Amazon rain forest may be largely a human artifact.

    Case says: "Hotly debated new theories, but NOT revisionism"
    "Fascinating"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    For me, this book brought together a lot of different ideas I have read about regarding life in the Americas before Europeans. There is a lot of interesting work being done on these continents. There is a good chance that as these studies (in their early phases) continue some of these concepts will turn out not to be exactly right, but I think that we are moving in the right direction. The superficial analysis completed in early archeological work laden with European assumptions has been slowly turned.

    The Americas before Europeans was a much more complex place than we learned about in grade school.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A History of the World in 6 Glasses

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Tom Standage
    • Narrated By Sean Runnette
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1405)
    Performance
    (1196)
    Story
    (1198)

    Throughout human history, certain drinks have done much more than just quench thirst. As Tom Standage relates with authority and charm, six of them have had a surprisingly pervasive influence on the course of history, becoming the defining drink during a pivotal historical period. A History of the World in 6 Glasses tells the story of humanity from the Stone Age to the 21st century through the lens of beer, wine, spirits, coffee, tea, and cola.

    Stoker says: "Fun and Informative"
    "A great excuse to taste history."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I found the history very entertaining and to see how civilization and culture and food/drink is all intertwined is very interesting.

    For breaking down most of history into 6 stages, the information was more detailed than I was expecting.

    I had read other things about most of these beverages, though most of the spirit information was new to me.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • God, No!: Signs You May Already Be an Atheist and Other Magical Tales

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Penn Jillette
    • Narrated By Penn Jillette
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1579)
    Performance
    (1429)
    Story
    (1429)

    From the larger, louder half of the world-famous magic duo Penn & Teller comes a scathingly funny reinterpretation of The Ten Commandments. They are The Penn Commandments, and they reveal one outrageous and opinionated atheist’s experience in the world.

    Stevan says: "Stevan"
    "Great...if you like Penn"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    There are some moments where he gets very philosophical and discusses great truths, but mostly this is Penn telling stories. Very entertaining and interesting if you like the performer lifestyle.

    His best moments are when he is showing how to hold 2 completely different ideas in your head at the same time. The ability to completely disagree with someone - down to their core beliefs - but understand that they are still human and good and deserve the right to follow what they believe as long as no one is injured.

    There are shocking "Vegas" moments, but one of the most telling moments, for me, is when he attempts to convince people that they should share their beliefs with everyone. If you let your fellow man follow the wrong path then you are not following your path. So disagree with the person selling a lifestyle or faith, but understand that is their duty...and yours.

    Being an atheist doesn't really simplify anything.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • What Einstein Told His Cook: Kitchen Science Explained

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Robert L. Wolke
    • Narrated By Sean Runnette
    Overall
    (908)
    Performance
    (761)
    Story
    (755)

    Why is red meat red? How do they decaffeinate coffee? Do you wish you understood the science of food but don't want to plow through dry, technical books? In What Einstein Told His Cook, University of Pittsburgh chemistry professor emeritus and award-winning Washington Post food columnist Robert L. Wolke provides reliable and witty explanations for your most burning food questions, while debunking misconceptions and helping you interpret confusing advertising and labeling.

    colleen says: "It was actually pretty interesting"
    "Sufficient narration, engaging material"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I think this would be a great book for a scientist/engineer that is starting to cook or a cook that is interested in the science. The author provides interesting stories related to different food related scientific phenomenon. The science is generally basic, though he does put in a little extra detail for those that already know some of the material. Nothing earth-shattering, but great general information. And he answers many age-old questions.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Game of Thrones: A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (33 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By George R. R. Martin
    • Narrated By Roy Dotrice
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (25478)
    Performance
    (19333)
    Story
    (19400)

    In a time long forgotten, a preternatural event threw the seasons off balance. In a land where summers can last decades and winters a lifetime, trouble is brewing. As the cold returns, sinister forces are massing beyond the protective wall of the kingdom of Winterfell. To the south, the king's powers are failing, with his most trusted advisor mysteriously dead and enemies emerging from the throne's shadow.

    DCinMI says: "Review of First 5 Books"
    "Great narration with minor editing flaws"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a long-developing story with a lot of detail and many characters. I had a hard time keeping all of them straight, but the detailed narration is a big help.

    There is a lot going on and many details in this long story, but the characters are well developed and intriguing. Though many of them do not survive the brutal world this story takes place in. Listening to this while away on business, many of the food descriptions here particularly enticing. But the story lines are good too if you have the hours to devote.

    There are some minor technical flaws such as the opening sentences of some chapters are repeated and there is a repeated 30 minutes in the fourth section. But in whole, a great production that keeps the pace moving and adds detail to the characters.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Midnight in Peking: How the Murder of a Young Englishwoman Haunted the Last Days of Old China

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Paul French
    • Narrated By Erik Singer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (175)
    Performance
    (152)
    Story
    (153)

    Peking in 1937 is a heady mix of privilege and scandal, opulence and opium dens, rumors and superstition. The Japanese are encircling the city, and the discovery of Pamela Werner's body sends a shiver through already nervous Peking. Is it the work of a madman? One of the ruthless Japanese soldiers now surrounding the city? With the suspect list growing and clues sparse, two detectives - one British and one Chinese - race against the clock to solve the crime before the Japanese invade and Peking as they know it is gone forever.

    Jeremy says: "When history can be stranger than fiction"
    "Good mystery,fascinating look into a unique period"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I bought this book as while I was working in China. For me the murder mystery is interesting but really a vehicle for a look into the unique world of 1930s China.

    A country where the money and power was split between a host of foreign nations all looking to get out before the heavy work of defending it from an aggressive neighbor came due. People divided by culture, wealth, beliefs, habits, politics, gender.

    China is an amazing study of contrasts and it is constantly shown that China's past was more confusing than the present.

    I would recommend reading this book just for the glimpse it gives into how China and the West have interacted in the past (and often continue to do so in the present).

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Tom Mueller
    • Narrated By Peter Ganim
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (168)
    Performance
    (142)
    Story
    (145)

    For millennia, fresh olive oil has been a necessity - for food, medicine, beauty, and religion. Today's researchers continue to confirm the remarkable, life-giving properties of true extra-virgin, and "extra-virgin Italian" has become the highest standard of quality. But what if this symbol of purity has become deeply corrupt?

    dr says: "Well worth the listen - if you eat"
    "Great subject, sad story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book is a must-read if you are interested in where your food comes from, how it gets to your plate, and what is in it. Not all food has the same history and contorted path, but the threats are the same. Dilution, mislabeling, adulterating, and blatant cheating.

    Like most popular items that carry a premium price - the masses want it cheaper and there are shady businesspeople that are willing to let them think they got a good deal. The power and quality of real olive oil is an amazing story. The artisans that bring it to the table have much history to share. Unfortunately, they are being squeezed out of business and the consumer is getting cheated by the same thing - lack of standards and meaningful rules that tell consumers what is in a product and where it came from so they can make an educated choice.

    Hopefully, with more awareness things can be changed and the consumer will know what they are buying and eating.

    The only thing I would change is the glossary at the end. This is of limited use in audio format and should be at the very end after the "Tips and Suggestions" for finding, buying, and using real olive oil.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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