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Mark Patterson

Member Since 2003

122
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 24 reviews
  • 85 ratings
  • 680 titles in library
  • 22 purchased in 2015
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FOLLOWERS
1

  • The Elephant Vanishes: Stories

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Haruki Murakami
    • Narrated By John Chancer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (167)
    Performance
    (63)
    Story
    (67)

    A collection of off-the-wall short stories by Japan's leading contemporary novelist. An elephant vanishes; hunger drives a couple to rob McDonalds; an insomniac wife wakes in a different world.

    Jennifer says: "Beautiful Collection"
    "Not So Clever"
    Overall

    What "Elephant" lacks in promised originality, it makes up for in unexpected-- and unwelcome-- sexual content and profanity. If you buy this one, do NOT listen to it with children in the vicinity. But it's really not worth it: stories that go nowhere can be okay, so long as they paint an engaging picture. Murakami fails to deliver with almost every story. Most of the readers sound like they're trying to muster unfelt enthusiasm as well. This is not the first modern Japanese I've "read" in translation, so I am not biased against Japanese.

    5 of 26 people found this review helpful
  • David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs)
    • By Malcolm Gladwell
    • Narrated By Malcolm Gladwell
    Overall
    (5900)
    Performance
    (5143)
    Story
    (5160)

    In David and Goliath, Malcolm Gladwell challenges how we think about obstacles and disadvantages, offering a new interpretation of what it means to be discriminated against, or cope with a disability, or lose a parent, or attend a mediocre school, or suffer from any number of other apparent setbacks. Gladwell begins with the real story of what happened between the giant and the shepherd boy those many years ago.

    Cynthia says: "The Art of (Unconventional) War"
    "The Emperor Has No Clothes"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I listened to The Tipping Point a few years ago and found Gladwell's ideas fascinating but somewhat strained. In David and Goliath, erudition and clever stories mask flawed thinking to an even greater degree. In a nutshell, Gladwell's theory is that inappropriate strategies inevitably flow from advantages or strengths. That sort of flawed causal thinking pervades this book.

    For example, in using science education as an example of the "Goliath effect," he makes a facially clever comparison between admissions test scores at "top" undergraduate programs with those at middle-tier schools. His premise is that students at top schools drop out of science because they compare themselves only to high-powered peers at the top-tier school, whilst their test-score counterparts at middle-tier schools stick it out. Nice theory, but it assumes that everyone goes to college with the same goal: a maths or sciences degree. In other words, he assumes that all motivations are created equal across the board. I found this kind of slipshod logic pervasive and maddening.

    To be fair, though, Mr. Gladwell is an excellent reader. Maybe he should take on some reading for other authors.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Golem and the Jinni: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Helene Wecker
    • Narrated By George Guidall
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4510)
    Performance
    (4136)
    Story
    (4129)

    Helene Wecker's dazzling debut novel tells the story of two supernatural creatures who appear mysteriously in 1899 New York. Chava is a golem, a creature made of clay, brought to life by a strange man who dabbles in dark Kabbalistic magic. When her master dies at sea on the voyage from Poland, she is unmoored and adrift as the ship arrives in New York Harbor. Ahmad is a jinni, a being of fire, born in the ancient Syrian Desert. Trapped in an old copper flask by a Bedouin wizard centuries ago, he is released accidentally by a tinsmith in a Lower Manhattan shop.

    Janice says: "What does it mean to be human?"
    "A Human, Non-Human NY Historical Fantasy"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    An amazing rookie effort, with lovingly developed characters, a dramatic storyline and a vibrant New York background long-lost to history. And a little bit of magic....

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Visitors Part 2: Pathfinder Series, Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By Orson Scott Card
    • Narrated By Kirby Heyborne, Emily Rankin, Stefan Rudnicki
    Overall
    (3)
    Performance
    (3)
    Story
    (3)

    Rigg’s journey comes to an epic and explosive conclusion as everything that has been building up finally comes to pass, and Rigg is forced to put his powers to the test in order to save his world and end the war once and for all.

    Mark Patterson says: "Solid, standard OSC"
    "Solid, standard OSC"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Dense and fascinating ideas, decent characters, cardboard landscape. I've read many of Card's novels and this one is very typical. The ideas make your head spin; the characters are decent people decently rendered. The scene setting somehow seems thin.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Girl with All the Gifts

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By M. R. Carey
    • Narrated By Finty Williams
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3667)
    Performance
    (3299)
    Story
    (3300)

    Melanie is a very special girl. Dr Caldwell calls her "our little genius". Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class. When they come for her, Sergeant keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don't like her. She jokes that she won't bite, but they don't laugh. Melanie loves school. She loves learning about spelling and sums and the world outside the classroom and the children's cells. She tells her favorite teacher all the things she'll do when she grows up. Melanie doesn't know why this makes Miss Justineau look sad.

    Amazon Customer says: "Spoiler-free review below - Amazing book!"
    "Clever Take - Fungal Zombies"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The pace of the story was good-- starting slow and building tension, and Finty Williams built the characters well as a reader without intruding too much. The characters had distinctive personalities, and the central idea was a good one. The story did suffer a bit from the "deus ex machina" syndrome to move things along, but that didn't diminish my enjoyment much.

    Spoiler alert:

    It ends darkly.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Girl with All the Gifts Part 2

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By M. R. Carey
    • Narrated By Finty Williams
    Overall
    (7)
    Performance
    (5)
    Story
    (5)

    Melanie is a very special girl. Dr Caldwell calls her "our little genius". Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class. When they come for her, Sergeant keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don't like her. She jokes that she won't bite, but they don't laugh. Melanie loves school. She loves learning about spelling and sums and the world outside the classroom and the children's cells. She tells her favorite teacher all the things she'll do when she grows up. Melanie doesn't know why this makes Miss Justineau look sad.

    Stephen says: "Zombiitis and zombiosis"
    "Fungus Zombie Kids Rule"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The Girl with All the Gifts kept me well engaged and I quickly paced through the performance. I found myself looking for occasions to listen-- always a good marker. The idea of fungus-based zombification was a good take on an old theme. The characters were decently developed. The reader was very good-- unobtrusively distinguishing voices while maintaining a good pace.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Language A to Z

    • ORIGINAL (6 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By The Great Courses, John McWhorter
    • Narrated By Professor John McWhorter
    Overall
    (657)
    Performance
    (596)
    Story
    (581)

    Linguistics, the study of language, has a reputation for being complex and inaccessible. But here's a secret: There's a lot that's quirky and intriguing about how human language works-and much of it is downright fun to learn about. But with so many potential avenues of exploration, it can often seem daunting to try to understand it. Where does one even start?

    Jacobus says: "A genious Miscelany of linguistic topics"
    "Lots of Language Nuggets"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    John McWhorter has assembled a great series of expositions on the English language, using a largely random organizing principle (the alphabet) to both entertain and educate. He covers quite the gamut, from etymology to pronunciation to grammar and gives just enough information to intrigue without becoming pedantic. He throws in plenty of theory, but is always careful to point out where he is going out on a limb academically, so to speak. He also keeps it entertaining without being trivial or forced. And to top it off, he's a great reader! I gave "story" only 4 stars only because there really isn't one, but even then, Mr. McWhorter does a good job of linking lectures when possible.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Nerd's Guide to Being Confident

    • UNABRIDGED (1 hr and 54 mins)
    • By Mark Manson
    • Narrated By Fleet Cooper
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (748)
    Performance
    (664)
    Story
    (661)

    Everyone knows confidence when they see it; but seemingly no one can actually describe what goes into it or how to get it. The Nerd's Guide to Being Confident is an unconventional way of looking at one of the most basic and obvious human traits and what one can do to gain a little more of it without feeling like a phony. Laughter included.

    Anthony A. says: "A More-Than-Pleasant Surprise"
    "Full of Foul Language"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    "F" bombs throughout. Would've liked to finish listening, but couldn't stand the lack of original and intelligent word choices.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • PhiLOLZophy: Critical Thinking in Digestible Doses

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Chrissy Stockton, Sarah Heuer
    • Narrated By Theresa McCarthy
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (493)
    Performance
    (434)
    Story
    (445)

    A popular question in philosophy is "How do I know I exist?" That seems really boring, though. How about, "How can I use logic to get over my ex?" If you really love wisdom, you love it in all situations - you don't need to be spoon fed unsolved problems in philosophy, because you're already analyzing the US Weekly you’re reading or your kinda significant other. Sarah Heuer and Chrissy Stockton are writers living in Minneapolis who are determined to do something more interesting with their philosophy degrees than talk about dead white guys.

    John B. Hayes says: "The Worst Example of Critical Thinking I've Seen"
    "Philosophy Made Cool by Copious Swearing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    After the second "f" bomb in almost as many minutes, I must admit I gave up. I don't buy foul language as the key to critical thinking skills-- and I certainly don't need my kids thinking massive amounts of swearing will make them problem-solvers and critical thinkers. I had high hopes for this book for myself and the kids. Sad denouement.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Emperor Mollusk Versus the Sinister Brain

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By A. Lee Martinez
    • Narrated By Scott Aiello
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1459)
    Performance
    (1354)
    Story
    (1356)

    Emperor Mollusk. Intergalactic Menace. Destroyer of Worlds. Conqueror of Other Worlds. Mad Genius. Ex-Warlord of Earth. Not bad for a guy without a spine. But what's a villain to do after he's done... everything. With no new ambitions, he's happy to pitch in and solve the energy crisis or repel aliens invaders should the need arise, but if he had his way, he'd prefer to be left alone to explore the boundaries of dangerous science. Just as a hobby, of course. Retirement isn't easy though.

    Kat Hooper says: "Hilariously wacky!"
    "Light with Enough Depth To Engage"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    "Emperor Mollusk" is a typical A. Lee Martinez lighthearted comedy performed brilliantly. I understand this was Scott Aiello's rookie outing on Audible. And he made the book for me-- and I'm a tough critic of faux British accents (as much as an American who grew up listening to Monty Python and lived in England can claim to be). He nailed it.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Pushing Ice

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Alastair Reynolds
    • Narrated By John Lee
    Overall
    (2136)
    Performance
    (1784)
    Story
    (1799)

    2057. Humanity has raised exploiting the solar system to an art form. Bella Lind and the crew of her nuclear-powered ship, the Rockhopper, push ice. They mine comets. And they're good at it. The Rockhopper is nearing the end of its current mission cycle, and everyone is desperate for some much-needed R & R, when startling news arrives from Saturn: Janus, one of Saturn's ice moons, has inexplicably left its natural orbit and is now heading out of the solar system at high speed.

    Jesse says: "Proof that a good story doesn't require a trilogy"
    "A 20-Hour Sketch"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I liked the science and I liked most of the characters. I also liked yeoman reader John Lee; his pacing and voice inflections (though a bit clipped) were easy to follow. But I wouldn't recommend "Pushing Ice." The main problem was that the author just couldn't resist tossing ideas and plot developments out like candy at a Mardi Gras parade. So often, I caught a shell of an idea or a thread of character development only to find that the story moved on without me. The secondary problem (for me at least) was that the decades-long implacable hatred of the character Svetlana for her former best friend Bella Lind seemed unrealistic. Overall, if you like big ideas and don't mind a paucity of development, you'll love this book. Me, I'm afraid I'm going to give Mr. Reynolds a pass in the future.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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