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Member Since 2004

  • 4 reviews
  • 102 ratings
  • 535 titles in library
  • 89 purchased in 2014

  • A Friend of the Earth

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By T. C. Boyle
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    A Friend of the Earth opens in the year 2025, as Tyrone O'Shaughnessy Tidewater ekes out a bleak living in southern California, managing a rock star's private menagerie. Global warming is a reality. The biosphere has collapsed and most of the major mammalian species are extinct.

    Kindle Customer says: "The Future"
    "Narrator kills book"

    I could not get through this book simply because of the over-heated style of the narrator. The story was swamped by the endless emoting and all subtlety lost in the melodramatic pitch. What a shame.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By John J. Ratey
    • Narrated By Walter Dixon

    Did you know you can beat stress, lift your mood, fight memory loss, sharpen your intellect, and function better than ever simply by elevating your heart rate and breaking a sweat? The evidence is incontrovertible: Aerobic exercise physically remodels our brains for peak performance.

    Kathleen says: "Spark"
    "Here's Why You Should Get Off The Couch"

    Exercise is more than a boost to cardiovascular fitness, it also makes you smarter, and calmer, and happier, and, well, just a hell of a lot better. The book by John Ratey traces findings in neuroscience and psychology that show the many ways exercise improves life quality. Still, professionals have been slow to recognize its many benefits. But Ratey does a good job of reviewing the research, showing what a work out can do to stave off cognitive decline with age, the chaos of ADHD, the mood swings of PMS, and a variety of other woes.

    It's tough to get excited about nonfiction narrators, but Walter Dixon does a decent job of keeping things interesting, never once lapsing into the dreaded nonfiction drone.

    If you normally speed up books to listen, you may want to keep this one at normal speed, at least at first, to follow the actions and interactions of the neurochemicals Ratey discusses. Don't worry, though. The book doesn't bog down on this detail. But it did make me wish there was text available to review as I listened.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Historian

    • UNABRIDGED (26 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Elizabeth Kostova
    • Narrated By Joanne Whalley, Dennis Boutsikaris, Rosalyn Landor, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Late one night, exploring her father's library, a young woman finds an ancient book and a cache of yellowing letters. The letters are all addressed to "My dear and unfortunate successor", and they plunge her into a world she never dreamed of: a labyrinth where the secrets of her father's past and her mother's mysterious fate connect to an inconceivable evil hidden in the depths of history.

    Branden says: "Phenomenallly detailed..."
    "slow slow slow"

    I suspect if you're a committed vampireophile, my complaints about the pace of this book will not deter you. Skip the review. Enjoy the book. But for the rest of us, I'm afraid there's not as much here as one would hope. The author is incapable of writing a line of dialog without having a character think about it at some length. If you're hoping for a rapid exchange of ideas between characters, fast-paced conversation, find another book. These guys think too much -- presumably in case you're too dim to think for yourself. If something is horrible or awful, the writer does not trust us to see that for ourselves. She will tell us, showing no faith in her own descriptive powers. She will rarely skip an opportunity to remind us this is a baleful and wicked character we're pursuing, yet fails to create a portrait that fulfills her adjectives. All of the main male characters are interchangeable. Listen to the voices of Rossi and the father and tell me how to distinguish the two. To the book's credit: There's much original here. It paints some nice portraits of Turkey, Bulgaria, and Romania during the Cold War. It may send you in pursuit of European monastaries. It will make you wonder about vampire lore and its pervasiveness. But as a bit of storytelling, it's not quite there.

    8 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • Cloud Atlas

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By David Mitchell
    • Narrated By Scott Brick, Cassandra Campbell, Kim Mai Guest, and others

    A reluctant voyager crossing the Pacific in 1850; a disinherited composer blagging a precarious livelihood in between-the-wars Belgium; a high-minded journalist in Governor Reagan's California; a vanity publisher fleeing his gangland creditors; a genetically modified "dinery server" on death-row; and Zachry, a young Pacific Islander witnessing the nightfall of science and civilisation: the narrators of Cloud Atlas hear each other's echoes down the corridor of history.

    Elizabeth says: "thoroughly enjoyed"
    "What a mess"

    The most enjoyable thing about Cloud Atlas is the continual wonder it evokes: You wonder how anything this bad could have been published, let alone won a prestigious award. You wonder at the stilted language, the numerous cliches, the deadly silly plots, the unbelievable characters, the painful dialog. It's a veritable celebration of how to write an annoying novel. Of particular note is a subplot involving a journalist who uncovers secrets at a nuclear plant. The characters here were so unidimensional, they make Dick and Jane seem deep and nuanced by comparison. And the plot is full of holes and anything but suspenseful. When an author in the next subplot throws a critic out the window, I couldn't help thinking that the book critics who awarded this drivel an award could only have acted out of fear of the same fate.
    Finally, I could almost forgive the generally histrionic readers on this recording. Surely, overacting may have been the only plausible way to handle prose like this.

    4 of 8 people found this review helpful

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