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Nicholas

SEATTLE, WA, United States | Member Since 2011

9
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 7 reviews
  • 72 ratings
  • 536 titles in library
  • 29 purchased in 2014
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  • Jurgen

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By James Branch Cabell
    • Narrated By Robert Blumenfeld
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (44)
    Performance
    (39)
    Story
    (40)

    James Branch Cabell's career was short-lived - his works fit neatly within the 1920s literary escapist culture and then quickly declined in popularity as the author veered away from the fantasy niche. In his heyday, Cabell garnered praise from several of his contemporaries such as H. L. Mencken and Sinclair Lewis. Lewis even acknowledged Cabell's successful Jurgen in his 1930 Nobel Prize address.

    Thomas says: "I think a must read..."
    "This was mostly silly... and a little profound"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    If you're reading this book because you're hoping to read something 'edgy' or you heard that this book was controversial... well, probably you will be disappointed. Unless you're scandalized by penis metaphors. I would hope that you wouldn't read a book purely for it's controversiality though...

    Otherwise, I think Jurgen was a pretty insightful and blunt exploration into what I guess I'd call typical daydreaming themes (If I could go back in time.... if I could have any partner I wanted... etc). I don't know that it's possible to debunk these daydreams entirely - in particular I'm not sure I buy the idea that "doing it all over again" wouldn't make me happier. But regardless, it's an interesting thought.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Confessions of a Sociopath: A Life Spent Hiding in Plain Sight

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By M. E. Thomas
    • Narrated By Bernadette Sullivan
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (111)
    Performance
    (96)
    Story
    (99)

    As M. E. Thomas says of her fellow sociopaths, we are your neighbors, co-workers, and quite possibly the people closest to you: lovers, family, friends. Our risk-seeking behavior and general fearlessness are thrilling, our glibness and charm alluring. Our often quick wit and outside-the-box thinking make us appear intelligent - even brilliant. We climb the corporate ladder faster than the rest, and appear to have limitless self-confidence.... Who are we? We are highly successful, non-criminal sociopaths and we comprise 4% of the American population (that's 1 in 25 people!).

    Paulette Suddarth says: "Baloney"
    "Pointless and repetitive"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I don't doubt the author is a sociopath, and that many of her claims are perfectly reasonable. My issue with this book is the rambling and less than interesting way that the author goes about detailing her sociopathy.

    I was intrigued by the portrayl of life through the eyes of somebody who likely sees the world very differently than I do. Tricky to do, and I should have been suspicious, but in any case, I was interested. Unfortunatley I don't believe the author pulls it off. I like the idea that a book like this one adds something to my world view - what I found instead, was hours of rambling, repetive and unininsigtful person recountings of life events that are told impersonally and in my opinion, poorly. That aside, by the end of the book, not only did I feel that the author had simply been repeating herself over and over again, but the random and unorganized way in which the account took place made it hard for me to feel as though any sort of coherent backbone of the book ever solidified. By the end, I don't feel that my worldview has changed or I am in any way a more enlightened person.

    While I can't claim to like the author or relate to her, her alienness never made itself all that apparent to me. Maybe this was her intention all along, but in my opinion, it makes the enitre book seem a little unnecessary. And that aside, I don't really enjoy the idea that by the authors own reasoning, stated again and again in the pages of this book, aren't to make you understand sociopathy (by definition, she really doesn't care what you think), but simply to take your money. My advice: Spend it elsewhere.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Ready Player One

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Ernest Cline
    • Narrated By Wil Wheaton
    Overall
    (10689)
    Performance
    (9954)
    Story
    (9958)

    At once wildly original and stuffed with irresistible nostalgia, Ready Player One is a spectacularly genre-busting, ambitious, and charming debut—part quest novel, part love story, and part virtual space opera set in a universe where spell-slinging mages battle giant Japanese robots, entire planets are inspired by Blade Runner, and flying DeLoreans achieve light speed.

    Travis says: "ADD TO CART, POWER UP +10000"
    "A Cult Classic to be... about Cult Classics"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    When people ask me if I have any suggestions for books they should read, Ready Player One is always on the tip of my tongue.

    It's certainly not the most profound piece of fiction I've ever read, but far and away, this was the most fun I've had reading a book since I was a kid reading Harry Potter.

    I realize this may be a fringe opinion, but I typically believe that a reader should let the story do most of the speaking for itself, instead of having an outside interpreter pouring a huge amount of acting into it. I feel this way because it's so easy for a reader to ruin a great story with overacting. That being said, Wil Wheaton really does a great job. He's distinct enough that if you don't enjoy his reading style, I can promise you won't enjoy this performance either, but if you've enjoyed Wheaton in the past, or haven't heard anything by him before, then without a doubt, he adds flair to an already great story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Use of Weapons

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Iain M. Banks
    • Narrated By Peter Kenny
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (173)
    Performance
    (165)
    Story
    (163)

    The man known as Cheradenine Zakalwe was one of Special Circumstances' foremost agents, changing the destiny of planets to suit the Culture through intrigue, dirty tricks, and military action. The woman known as Diziet Sma had plucked him from obscurity and pushed him toward his present eminence, but despite all their dealings she did not know him as well as she thought. The drone known as Skaffen-Amtiskaw knew both of these people. It had once saved the woman's life by massacring her attackers in a particularly bloody manner. It believed the man to be a lost cause.

    Ken says: "Tips on how to listen to this novel - NO SPOILERS"
    "Audiobook might not be the right way to go."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The Culture series is one of my favorites, and this book is no exception (although Player of Games is still my favorite). Of the Culture books that I've read though, this one's story is the least linear and most disjointed, which, in my opinion is trickier to follow on audio.

    The book is set up with an ongoing storyline in the present, with each chapter followed by a (critical) section detailing a portion of the main character's history, each section further and further into the past. It's a great way to tell a story, but I almost need to re-listen to this book now that I have a better picture of the story as a whole. Typically keeping everything straight isn't a problem for me when I just read a book and am able to speed up and slow down a little more naturally (compared to somebody reading to book to me at their pace).

    That being said, if you enjoy the Culture series, I really do think that you'll enjoy this book too. Consider reading the book, and not listening to the audiobook, but either way, you'll still be pleased.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Outlander

    • UNABRIDGED (33 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Diana Gabaldon
    • Narrated By Davina Porter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (16487)
    Performance
    (10756)
    Story
    (10636)

    Why we think it’s a great listen: An all-time Audible favorite that mixes historic fiction, adventure, and romance with one of the most fascinating literary devices: time travel. Outlander introduces an exhilarating world of heroism and breathtaking thrills as one woman is torn between past and present, passion and love. In 1945, former combat nurse Claire Randall returns from World War II and joins her husband for a second honeymoon. But their blissful reunion is shattered....

    Lulu says: "The Reason for the Existence of Audio Books"
    "My fault I guess... SciFi/Fantasy or Romance??"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This one kept popping up into my recommendations from Audible, and it looked like a fairly popular, well reviewed book, so I finally decided to give it a try.

    This is, first a foremost a Romance novel. I don't read Romance novels, and that's really all there is to my low rating. If you're like me and keep seeing this come up in your recommendations, and this isn't your genre, it probably won't be your thing. I stuck through it, but more because I always finish books I pay for - wasn't a bad book, but like I said, just not really my thing.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Crime and Punishment (Recorded Books Edition)

    • UNABRIDGED (25 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Fyodor Dostoevsky
    • Narrated By George Guidall
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1399)
    Performance
    (599)
    Story
    (596)

    Fyodor Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment is universally regarded as one of literature's finest achievements, as the great Russian novelist explores the inner workings of a troubled intellectual. Raskolnikov, a nihilistic young man in the midst of a spiritual crisis, makes the fateful decision to murder a cruel pawnbroker, justifying his actions by relying on science and reason, and creating his own morality system. Dehumanized yet sympathetic, exhausted yet hopeful, Raskolnikov represents the best and worst elements of modern intellectualism. The aftermath of his crime and Petrovich's murder investigation result in an utterly compelling, truly unforgettable cat-and-mouse game. This stunning dramatization of Dostoevsky's magnum opus brings the slums of St. Petersburg and the demons of Raskolnikov's tortured mind vividly to life.

    Greg says: "Wonderful Book"
    "Great book - definitely worth the time"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It takes a little to get through this novel, but it's well worth the time. There's a reason it's a classic, and if you're willing to put some thought into it, I think you will be rewarded. It's also worth the time to do a little bit of background reading on Dostoevsky and the time when this book was written.

    Honestly, this isn't the type of book that would keep me turning pages late into the night, and that's why I really appreciated the audiobook. The narrator wasn't the most dynamic of narrators, but to be honest, I far prefer a mellow narrator to one who feels it's necessary to over act and over dramaticize every character. Also, this wasn't a fast narration, but again, just take your time, put some thought into it and I think you'll appreciate it too.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Warbreaker

    • UNABRIDGED (24 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Brandon Sanderson
    • Narrated By James Yaegashi
    Overall
    (2902)
    Performance
    (2077)
    Story
    (2088)

    An author whose previous, wildly successful novels have earned him a reputation as fantasy's master of magic, Brandon Sanderson continues to dazzle audiences with this tale of princesses and gods. In this extraordinary world, those who attain glory return as gods. And those who can master the essence known as breath can perform the most wondrous miracles - or unleash the most devastating havoc.

    Robert says: "What's Your god like?"
    "Good story, obnoxious narrator"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Sanderson has kept up to his usual standard here - the world was unique, the characters were interesting (flaws and all), and the story was twisty, suspenseful and unique enough to make keep me interested.

    If it wasn't for all that, I wouldn't have made it through the narration. I guess the best way that I can describe the narrator is "dopey." It's great when a narrator can create distinct voices and emulate specific personalities.... I don't imagine it's easy though, and to me, Yaegashi doesn't pull it off). I felt that instead of adding to the story, this narrator really subtracted from it. It's one thing to make a character seem lighthearted and jovial, it's another thing to make them sound like a lumbering semi-retarded oaf - which is how just he made just about every male character in the novel come across. Surprisingly, I didn't feel this way about the female voices - maybe because he didn't feel as comfortable making stupid sounding female voices. I doubt everybody feels this way, but this is how the narrator came across to me.

    Highly recommend the book. But pick up the book - you'll fly through it faster than you could possibly expect to endure this narrators very self-satisfied blubbering.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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