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James Abraham

Boston, MA | Member Since 2006

23
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 19 reviews
  • 121 ratings
  • 0 titles in library
  • 84 purchased in 2014
FOLLOWING
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FOLLOWERS
1

  • The Gun

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By C. J. Chivers
    • Narrated By Michael Prichard
    Overall
    (178)
    Performance
    (101)
    Story
    (104)

    It is the world's most widely recognized weapon, the most profuse tool for killing ever made. More than fifty national armies carry the automatic Kalashnikov, as do an array of police, intelligence, and security agencies all over the world. In this tour de force, prizewinning New York Times reporter C. J. Chivers traces the invention of the assault rifle.

    Edward says: "A compelling book about much more than guns!"
    "How does Michael Prichard Keep Finding Work???"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Michael Prichard is up there as one of the dryest, clubfooted narrators of all time. How is it that he keeps getting gigs? I can't begin to number the number of excellent books he has ruined with his congested voice and passionless monotone delivery. Shudder-inducing. Many books, like this one, deserve much better. Michael Jayston, for example, could make the telephone book impossible to stop listening to.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Skagboys

    • UNABRIDGED (24 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Irvine Welsh
    • Narrated By Tam Dean Burn
    Overall
    (14)
    Performance
    (13)
    Story
    (13)

    Marked by Irvine Welsh’s scabrous humor and raw Scottish vernacular, Skagboys transports us to 1980s Edinburgh, where the Trainspotting crew is just getting started. Mark Renton has it all: the first in his family to attend university, he has a pretty girlfriend and a great social life. But when economic uncertainties and family problems intervene, Rent succumbs to the defeatism - not to mention the drug use - that has taken hold in Edinburgh’s tougher quarters. His friends are responding according to personality....

    James Abraham says: "A Note on the Performance"
    "A Note on the Performance"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Irvine Welsh was lauded when Trainspotting came out, for creating the kind of patois we haven't seen since A Clockwork Orange. Tam Dean Burn does a great job of getting the Glaswegian just right. I would say to most prospective buyers -- those who claim the performance is incomprehensible just haven't read any difficult literature. If you've worked your way through a little Chaucer, and especially if you're able to enjoy a Shakespeare play without too much head scratching, you'll do fine. To the others, I say: you need to read more, much more, "difficult" literature, until you've got a mental picture of a larger vocabulary. The latest Sue Monk Kidd or Donna Tartt isn't going to do it. Try Tristram Shandy.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Life

    • UNABRIDGED (23 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Keith Richards, James Fox
    • Narrated By Johnny Depp, Joe Hurley
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2358)
    Performance
    (1211)
    Story
    (1206)

    Now at last Keith Richards pauses to tell his story in the most anticipated autobiography in decades. And what a story! Listening obsessively to Chuck Berry and Muddy Waters records in a coldwater flat with Mick Jagger and Brian Jones, building a sound and a band out of music they loved. Finding fame and success as a bad-boy band, only to find themselves challenged by authorities everywhere....

    Jesse says: "Ins and outs"
    "Now you know why Johnny Depp can't get movie gigs"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Johnny Depp is just the worst narrator ever spawned. He may conjure up a lot of charisma in his pirate movies, but he can't read a book with passion, verve, inflection, or even interest. I know now why nobody takes him seriously, except, unfortunately, Keith Richards, who should have read this book himself.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Things They Carried

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Tim O'Brien
    • Narrated By Bryan Cranston
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (593)
    Performance
    (544)
    Story
    (545)

    Hailed by The New York Times as "a marvel of storytelling", The Things They Carried’s portrayal of the boots-on-the-ground experience of soldiers in the Vietnam War is a landmark in war writing. Now, three-time Emmy Award winner-Bryan Cranston, star of the hit TV series Breaking Bad, delivers an electrifying performance that walks the book’s hallucinatory line between reality and fiction and highlights the emotional power of the spoken word.

    Melinda says: "Heavy Load"
    "A Good as Matterhorn -- But Which is Accurate?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I have noticed that O'Brien's soldiers do many things that, in Matterhorn, would get them killed. They put light colored objects in their helmet-bands, which the young Matterhorn lieutenant is warned against doing on his first night in the bush; they smoke cigarettes and weed in the bush on operations, which in Matterhorn "an enemy could smell for miles"; they wear machine gun ammo on bandoliers across their chests, while a Matterhorn sergeant warns troops leaving the base "to keep the ammo in the cans, so it won't fail when you need it."

    These seem like differences which can get you killed, so who is right? Both O'Brien and served in the bush in Vietnam, but it would seem that one of them was making a lot of mistakes.

    Great books, both, though. Great literature, not merely war literature.

    6 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • The Wrecking Crew: The Inside Story of Rock and Roll's Best-Kept Secret

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Kent Hartman
    • Narrated By Dan John Miller
    Overall
    (106)
    Performance
    (98)
    Story
    (99)

    If you were a fan of popular music in the 1960s and early '70s, you were a fan of the Wrecking Crew - whether you knew it or not. On hit record after hit record by everyone from the Byrds, the Beach Boys, and the Monkees to the Grass Roots, the 5th Dimension, Sonny & Cher, and Simon & Garfunkel, this collection of West Coast studio musicians from diverse backgrounds established themselves as the driving sound of pop music - sometimes over the objection of actual band members....

    Lee says: "Familiar names to any 70's rock fan"
    "Narrated by Dan "Goober" Miller!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book is ok. It's overwritten, each sentence laden with cliches and padding, but it's a very fascinating view of the inside of the music production business. Who knew Phil Spector wanted to be a jazz guitarist? Or that Sonny Bono worked for him, and couldn't sing or even keep time? (Actually, anybody listening to Sonny and Cher probably knows that).

    Dan Miller's narration is adequate, though he is overly emphatic with every cliche.The most fascinating thing about Miller narrating this particular book is that he is *THE DAN "GOOBER" MILLER* of Goober and the Peas fame. Who were Goober and the Peas? Only the greatest band you never heard of. They ruled the Detroit music scene in the early 90s. The dressed like Grand Ole Opry cowboys, but their music was a terrific psychobilly-swing-funk, with terrific lyrics and some of the tightest playing I've ever heard live from any band, even the most famous ones. In my mind, Jack White's greatest contribution to music was his drumming for Goober (didn't know that, did you?). Their music is still available on Amazon, and the reviews there are all as glowing as this one.

    Goob, I cheered for you harder than anybody, and I traveled all around Michigan to hear you. You were the greatest, and you deserved to be one of the biggest bands of all time. You are very sorely missed.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Washington: A Life

    • UNABRIDGED (41 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Ron Chernow
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    Overall
    (1524)
    Performance
    (1023)
    Story
    (1018)

    In Washington: A Life celebrated biographer Ron Chernow provides a richly nuanced portrait of the father of our nation. This crisply paced narrative carries the reader through his troubled boyhood, his precocious feats in the French and Indian War, his creation of Mount Vernon, his heroic exploits with the Continental Army, his presiding over the Constitutional Convention, and his magnificent performance as America's first president.

    ButterLegume says: "A sad day when my book was done!"
    "Scott Brick is an Illiterate"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'm going to write this review for all of Scott Brick's books. It honestly doesn't matter how good the book is (in this case, Chernow is, as usual, excellent: he has the telling detail, writes with sweep and verve, excellent anecdotes) -- whatever quality the book may have is destroyed, utterly, by the incompetent narration rendered by someone who must have learned to read late in life. Scott Brick cannot grasp the rhythm of English prose; he seems to think that modifiers are extra important, because he gives each one EXTRA EMPHASIS. The result is this balky, juddering ride over bumpy terrain in an unsprung stagecoach. Let me sum up: Scott Brick is TERRIBLE. The fact that I have several Brick-wrecked titles in my library is a testament to how hope springs eternal in the human breast. He can't be really THAT bad, I tell myself, only to discover, $40 later, that he, in fact, is. Never again, I'd like to think. But, if I do, I'll have my punishment.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Devil in the White City

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Erik Larson
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4032)
    Performance
    (1775)
    Story
    (1785)

    In a thrilling narrative showcasing his gifts as storyteller and researcher, Erik Larson recounts the spellbinding tale of the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition. Also available abridged.

    D says: "A Rich Read!"
    "Scott Brick is an Illiterate"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It always puzzles me how people can stand to listen to Scott Brick. I suspect they are people who have not read much. Scott Brick is unable to approximate ordinary human speech. He is CONstantly overEMphasizing ALMOST Every SYLlable. Get what I mean? It's like listening to most American actors do Shakespeare: most of the words are unfamiliar to them, and it's Shakespeare, right, so they think they're supposed to sound important. As a result, they sound like schoolboys proclaiming their first essay at school. Compare Denzel Washington with Kenneth Branagh.

    In short, read like people talk. It's simply said, but, as Scott Brick proves, hard to do. I'm not saying I'd do any better. But at least I know good narration when I hear it. Examples: Christopher Hitchens; Grover Gardner: Master of the Senate; Jeremy Irons: Lolita; Juliet Stephenson: anything she reads; Bronson Pinchot: Matterhorn; John Castle: Vanity Fair; Nigel Graham: Lord Jim. Even Fredrick Davidson, alias David Case, even though his accent is hard to take sometimes, knows when to stress a syllable and when not to. He flows, wheres Scott Brick is constantly stubbing his toe against the English language. Also terrible, for the same reason: John Lee. Stop ruining books by giving them to these people. Just pay Juliet Stephenson whatever she wants to read everything.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Matterhorn: A Novel of the Vietnam War

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Karl Marlantes
    • Narrated By Bronson Pinchot
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3988)
    Performance
    (2179)
    Story
    (2180)

    Why we think it’s a great listen: A performance so poignant, we gave Bronson Pinchot (yes, Balki from Perfect Strangers) our inaugural Narrator of the Year award.... In the monsoon season of 1968-69 at a fire support base called Matterhorn, located in the remote mountains of Vietnam, a young and ambitious Marine lieutenant wants to command a company to further his civilian political ambitions. But two people stand in his way.

    Zachary says: "Matterhorn"
    "One of the Greatest Novels of War"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I thought the novel was excellent. The dialogue is pitch perfect, the characterization very well done, the tension between the Marines in the company, and toward the battalion commander, was kept at just the right pitch. The entire shipboard experience seemed unrealistic, but that was a minor defect.

    Bronson Pinchot, who was terrible narrating Marlantes' nonfiction account "What it is Like to Go to War" (he's overly emphatic, constantly overstressing words, like the execrable illiterate Scott Brick), is absolutely amazing here. His third-person narration was poignant, and I've never heard anybody do so many voices so convincingly. You'd swear there was a cast of thousands narrating this book. Really remarkable.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Vanity Fair [AudioGo]

    • UNABRIDGED (31 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By William Makepeace Thackeray
    • Narrated By John Castle
    Overall
    (178)
    Performance
    (109)
    Story
    (110)

    Set during the time of the Napoleonic Wars, this classic gives a satirical picture of a worldly society. The novel revolves around the exploits of the impoverished but beautiful and devious Becky Sharp.

    Constance says: "A book that was meant to be read aloud!"
    "The Best Narration, One of the Greats"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I agree with the reviewer who said that John Castle was born to narrate this book. I don't think his performance can be bettered. I had no idea that Vanity Fair was so good, or that Thackeray was such an interesting writer. It's hard to be in Dicken's shadow, I suppose. This was a great buy.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Lord Jim

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Joseph Conrad
    • Narrated By Nigel Graham
    Overall
    (63)
    Performance
    (30)
    Story
    (31)

    The story tells of Jim, a young, good-looking, genial, and naive water-clerk on the Patna, a cargo ship plying Asian waters. One night, when the ship collides with an obstacle and begins to sink, acting on impulse, Jim jumps overboard and lands in a lifeboat, which happens to be bearing the unscrupulous captain and his cohorts away from the disaster.

    John says: "Great novel, stunning narration."
    "This is the Best Reading"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Nigel Graham's performance could not be improved upon. It's like Jeremy Irons' performance of Lolita, or Juliet Stephenson reading Pride and Prejudice. This is the version to get, unusual in that it's also the cheapest. Too bad Nigel Graham only read one more book worth reading.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Into the Silence: The Great War, Mallory, and the Conquest of Everest

    • UNABRIDGED (28 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Wade Davis
    • Narrated By Enn Reitel
    Overall
    (85)
    Performance
    (62)
    Story
    (61)

    In this magisterial work of history and adventure, based on more than a decade of prodigious research in British, Canadian, and European archives, and months in the field in Nepal and Tibet, Wade Davis vividly re-creates British climbers’ epic attempts to scale Mount Everest in the early 1920s. With new access to letters and diaries, Davis recounts the heroic efforts of George Mallory and his fellow climbers to conquer the mountain in the face of treacherous terrain and furious weather.

    Tara says: "Really enjoyed it"
    "One of the Great Narrative Histories of All Time"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'm not kidding about the title. Wade Davis' other titles gave no indication that he would or could produce such a tour de force, but this book is remarkable. In my opinion, it's the greatest piece of narrative history since "The Guns of August", even though this book is only tangentially about WWI. Davis has Tuchman's ability to weave biography into historical narrative, to give comprehensive detail and broad overview simultaneously, and his prose is assertive and yet sometimes poetic. This is a really brilliant book, far greater than the sum of its parts. Maybe one of the hundred greatest works of historical literature.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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