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Amazon Customer

Member Since 2008

14
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 9 reviews
  • 13 ratings
  • 214 titles in library
  • 19 purchased in 2014
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  • Ship of Fools

    • UNABRIDGED (22 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Katherine Anne Porter
    • Narrated By Grace Conlin
    Overall
    (21)
    Performance
    (12)
    Story
    (14)

    In the summer of 1931, a cruise ship sails for Bremerhaven, Germany. Among its many diverse passengers are a Spanish noblewoman, a drunken German lawyer, an American divorcee, a pair of Mexican Catholic priests, a number of Germans returning to their homeland from Mexico, and a corrupt, avaricious company of Spanish singers and dancers who scheme to defraud the other passengers of their money.

    Amazon Customer says: "Terrific reader."
    "Terrific reader."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Grace Conlin does a terrific job of narrating the story. The novel itself is actually more a series of short stories more than a coherent novel. But the characters are memorable and many parts of it are engaging. The themes of pre-WW II German culture and anti-Semitism are explored well. Her insights about marriage and relationships are spot on. Definitely engaging even if it doesn't have a compelling overall narrative.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Shantaram: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (43 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Gregory David Roberts
    • Narrated By Humphrey Bower
    Overall
    (289)
    Performance
    (269)
    Story
    (271)

    Shantaram is narrated by Lin, an escaped convict with a false passport who flees maximum-security prison in Australia for the teeming streets of a city where he can disappear. Accompanied by his guide and faithful friend Prabaker, the two enter Bombay's hidden society of beggars and gangsters, prostitutes and holy men, soldiers and actors, and Indians and exiles from other countries, who seek in this remarkable place what they cannot find elsewhere.

    Mickey says: "Probably the best performance I've listened to."
    "Great narrator, weird author"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    Needed a good editor. Lots of it was overwritten, a reflection of the author's overinflated ego.


    What was most disappointing about Gregory David Roberts’s story?

    Too much gore and violence. The author loves telling about the bloody details of various knife, gun, or fist fights. At first it's fascinating, but by the end of the book, it is revolting.


    Have you listened to any of Humphrey Bower’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No. But I would after listening to this one. He is able to depict an incredibly wide variety of characters and accents. An absolutely superlative performance.


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    Probably not. Too much violence.


    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Within a Budding Grove: Remembrance of Things Past, Volume 2

    • UNABRIDGED (25 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Marcel Proust, C. K. Scott Moncrieff (translator)
    • Narrated By Neville Jason
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (44)
    Performance
    (42)
    Story
    (41)

    Remembrance of Things Past is one of the monuments of 20th century literature. Within a Budding Grove is the second of seven volumes. The young narrator, experiencing his youthful sexuality, falls under the spell of a group of adolescent girls, succumbs to the charms of the enchanting Gilberte, and visits a brothel where he meets Rachel. His impressions of life are also stimulated by the painter, Elstir, and his encounter with another girl, Albertine.

    Darwin8u says: "One young nubile girl and then another ..."
    "Mesmerizing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I found myself mesmerized by this book. Proust is a master of describing the intimate details of his thinking. Very little happens in the book outwardly. Essentially the narrator tells of his summer in a town on the Norman coast. And the characters, including the narrator, aren't particularly admirable. But it's absolutely fascinating to listen to his riffs on a wide variety of subjects, from sexuality to arts and artists to creativity to memory. Very hard to describe, but it's like listening to someone describing the incredibly interesting things they see inside a microscope looking at human character. The reader is good. Definitely kept my interest alive.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy: A Righteous Gentile vs. the Third Reich

    • UNABRIDGED (22 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Eric Metaxas
    • Narrated By Malcolm Hillgartner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1531)
    Performance
    (1005)
    Story
    (1025)

    A definitive, deeply moving narrative, Bonhoeffer is a story of moral courage in the face of the monstrous evil that was Nazism. After discovering the fire of true faith in a Harlem church, Bonhoeffer returned to Germany and became one of the first to speak out against Hitler. As a double agent, he joined the plot to assassinate the Führer and was hanged in Flossenbürg concentration camp at age thirty-nine. Since his death, Bonhoeffer has grown to be one of the most fascinating, complex figures of the twentieth century.

    Alan says: "Very Moving"
    "Gripping story, well-told"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    What an incredible story! It reads almost like a thriller. Bonhoeffer's fight with the Nazis extends more than a dozen years. I learned an incredible amount about how some brave Christians stood up to Hitler. Although they ultimately lost the battle, they clearly won in the long run because of their principled position. The reader does a terrific job of keeping your interest because he's clearly very passionate about the story. You never get the idea that he's just reading a text. Anyone who wants to learn more about the reality of life under the Nazis should read this book. Can't recommend it highly enough.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Cain

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Jose Saramago
    • Narrated By Kevin Pariseau
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (47)
    Performance
    (41)
    Story
    (41)

    In this, his last novel, Saramago daringly reimagines the characters and narratives of the Bible through the story of Cain. Condemned to wander forever after he kills Abel, he is whisked around in time and space. He experiences the almost-sacrifice of Isaac by Abraham, the Tower of Babel, the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, Joshua at the battle of Jericho, Jobe's ordeal, and finally Noah's ark and the Flood.

    TL says: "god awful narrator"
    "Intellectually interesting, emotionally empty"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A retelling of the biblical story of Cain and Abel, as well as Adam and Eve, Noah's ark, etc. Saramago's writing style is engaging because it's so unusual. But his iconoclastic attitude towards the Bible and religion wears thin after a while leaving this reader at least wanting more depth and less caricature. Worth reading if you want something quick and mildly diverting. At least Kevin Pariseau does a great job of bringing the characters to life.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Master and Margarita

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Mikhail Bulgakov
    • Narrated By Julian Rhind-Tutt
    Overall
    (408)
    Performance
    (284)
    Story
    (284)

    The Devil comes to Moscow, but he isn't all bad; Pontius Pilate sentences a charismatic leader to his death, but yearns for redemption; and a writer tries to destroy his greatest tale, but discovers that manuscripts don't burn. Multi-layered and entrancing, blending sharp satire with glorious fantasy, The Master and Margarita is ceaselessly inventive and profoundly moving. In its imaginative freedom and raising of eternal human concerns, it is one of the world's great novels.

    beatrice says: "Baffling and original"
    "Faust on steroids"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Bulgakov's imagination is incredible. This is Faust on steroids. The basic plot line revolves around the devil coming to Moscow in the Stalin era. If you can accept that as the premise, you'll enjoy this highly entertaining, often laugh-outloud funny book. Despite the sometimes outrageous scenes, the book will also make you think about such issues as good and evil, Pilate vs. Jesus, Soviet secret police, etc. No wonder my Russian friends tell me this is the most popular novel among today's Russians.

    Julian Rhind-Tutt is just fantastic as a reader. He has a different voice for the many different characters, making it easy to follow a Russian story where everyone seems to have at least three different names.

    Highly recommended.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Dinaw Mengestu
    • Narrated By Dion Graham
    Overall
    (28)
    Performance
    (19)
    Story
    (19)

    Ethiopian émigré Dinaw Mengestu is a skilled observer of people who offers a colorful debut work of fiction. Insightful and swiftly paced, this novel evokes past and present in the course of its compelling narrative. It's the `70s, and one D.C. neighborhood is undergoing big changes. In the mix is Ethiopian grocery owner Sepha Stephanos - a man with a complex past who fled his homeland after seeing his father brutalized by themilitary. He hopes for new prospects in D.C.'s gentrification process.

    Lisbeth says: "Great book, wonderful reader"
    "Compelling story, excellent narrator"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Well-told story of an Ethiopian immigrant who runs a corner grocery store in Washington, DC. The characters come to life in Dion Graham's narration. Especially good is his African accents as well as the various American characters. High recommend it as an engaging story.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Way We Live Now

    • UNABRIDGED (32 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Anthony Trollope
    • Narrated By Timothy West
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (361)
    Performance
    (196)
    Story
    (195)

    In this world of bribes, vendettas and swindling, in which heiresses are gambled and won, Trollope's characters embody all the vices: Lady Carbury is 'false from head to foot'; her son Felix has 'the instincts of a horse, not approaching the higher sympathies of a dog'; and Melmotte - the colossal figure who dominates the book - is a 'horrid, big, rich scoundrel... a bloated swindler... a vile city ruffian'.

    Nardia says: "Long, but well worth it."
    "Great story, terrific reader"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    For Trollope lovers like myself, this book is one of his best, with some unforgettable characters like Melmotte, the larger-than-life swindler. The story, though set more than 100 years ago, has contemporary echoes in the big financial scandals (Madoff, etc.). Timothy West is a great reader, unlike Flo Gibson, whose mechanical, sing-song version of this book was so awful that I bought this one. I'm glad I did.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Way We Live Now: Parts 1 & 2

    • UNABRIDGED (30 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Anthony Trollope
    • Narrated By Flo Gibson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (48)
    Performance
    (8)
    Story
    (6)

    Everyone thinks Augustus Melmotte, a new arrival in London, is a wealthy financier - until he is caught in a forgery scheme. This is a satirical look at immorality and dishonesty as Trollope saw them in the worlds of business, politics, journalism, literature, and society on his return from the colonies in 1872. Scoundrels, coquettes, swindlers, and intriguers abound in this novel, which is often called his masterpiece.

    Eric says: "The best"
    "Great book, uneven narrator"
    Overall

    I love Trollope, and I think this is his very best book. Great characters and a very dramatic plot. I'd highly recommend the book to anyone who likes Victorian novels or anyone who wants a little historical perspective on our current financial crisis. The main character would have fit in real well in the Wall Street of today. At times I absolutely loved Flo Gibson's narration. She was especially good in doing the various dialects for some of the minor characters. She did a good job of differentiating among the different characters' voices. But sometimes there was a kind of singsong quality that was quite distracting. However, as the book went on, I think she got more into the book, and I didn't find her style as distracting.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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