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Stephen T. Coomes

Food Writer

Louisville, Ky. | Member Since 2006

3
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 9 reviews
  • 10 ratings
  • 175 titles in library
  • 11 purchased in 2014
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  • Knives at Dawn: America's Quest for Culinary Glory at the Legendary Bocuse d'Or Competition

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Andrew Friedman
    • Narrated By Sean Runnette
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (28)
    Performance
    (13)
    Story
    (13)

    The Bocuse d'Or is the real-life Top Chef, a biannual cooking competition in France featuring teams from 24 countries vying for the top honors. Named after Paul Bocuse, one of the greatest, most influential living chefs, the Bocuse d'Or has become the most sophisticated and closely watched cook-off in the world. Ironically, though American cuisine now rates among the best in the world, a U.S. team has never placed among the top three in the competition.

    Linda Zimmerman says: "Fascinating for Foodies"
    "Really interesting story, but mostly for chefs"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    If you could sum up Knives at Dawn in three words, what would they be?

    Well worth listening to.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Knives at Dawn?

    the team meeting Paul Bocouse at Keller's Yountville, Calif., home.


    Have you listened to any of Sean Runnette???s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No, I don't think so, but as a reader, he's really good.


    Any additional comments?

    If you're a budding, current or former chef, you'll likely love the book. I can't imagine others who don't know the difficulty of the trade caring much. Though I never competed as a chef, I know the skills they were struggling to master for the contest. That kept me interested throughout. Great story and documentary.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • And the Mountains Echoed

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Khaled Hosseini
    • Narrated By Khaled Hosseini, Navid Negahban, Shohreh Aghdashloo
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2355)
    Performance
    (2085)
    Story
    (2071)

    Khaled Hosseini, the number-one New York Times best-selling author of The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns, has written a new novel about how we love, how we take care of one another, and how the choices we make resonate through generations.

    FanB14 says: "Does the End Justify the Means"
    "Hosseini is a brilliant modern writer"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Where does And the Mountains Echoed rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    This is one of the best audiobooks I've ever listened to both for the story content and the performances. The accents of its three narrarators make the book much more realistic and interesting to listen to than if there were just one, accent free reader.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of And the Mountains Echoed?

    Hosseini is one of the most brilliant writers of the modern age, possesing the incredible ability of knitting together a wide range of characters and scenarios that, at one moment, seem preposterous, but in the next fit perfectly. You never know where he's going to turn, yet each surprise outcome is believable, real and lifelike. Though "And the Mountains Echoed" may not be my favorite Hosseini story, it is by far the best-written book. His superb skills are on full display here. As a writer myself, I am in awe of his amazing storytelling ability and his craft.


    What does the narrators bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Warmth, reality, beauty.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No. It is quite long, as all his books are, and the subject matter is heavy. All his stories are deeply sad and amazingly complex, so I can only disgest so much at a time. That isn't a criticism, however, just an observation.


    Any additional comments?

    This is a must buy book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Engines of Change: A History of the American Dream in Fifteen Cars

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Paul Ingrassia
    • Narrated By Sean Runnette
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (108)
    Performance
    (88)
    Story
    (85)

    America was made manifest by its cars. From the assembly lines of Henry Ford to the open roads of Route 66 and Jack Kerouac, America's history is a vehicular history-an idea brought brilliantly to life in this major work by the acclaimed author of Crash Course: The American Automobile Industry's Road from Glory to Disaster.

    Geoffrey says: "My Best listen in a while"
    "Terrific book, revved up my love for cas"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to Engines of Change again? Why?

    If you're a car fan or a history fan--and especially a fan of car history--this is your book. Well written, nicely researched without ever being tedious, Ingrassa does a great job of connecting memorable automobiles and how they affected mankind and so many cultures. Sean Runnette is a great narrator, too, so it's a pleasure to listen to.


    What did you like best about this story?

    the weaving together of history, cars and their impact on cultures


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Story of Sushi: An Unlikely Saga of Raw Fish and Rice

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Trevor Corson
    • Narrated By Brian Nishii
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (192)
    Performance
    (134)
    Story
    (132)

    Trevor Corson takes us behind the scenes at America's first sushi-chef training academy, as eager novices strive to master the elusive art of cooking without cooking. He delves into the biology and natural history of the edible creatures of the sea, and tells the fascinating story of an Indo-Chinese meal reinvented in 19th-century Tokyo as a cheap fast food.

    David says: "I want to see Top Chef: Sushi on the Food Network"
    "highly informative, but sometimes trite"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you like best about The Story of Sushi? What did you like least?

    I loved learning about the history of sushi and how the CSA taught its students to prepare it. Very interesting to know its origins.


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    I don't think narrarators should always mimic every accent of every character. In the case of Zoran, the Australian sushi instructor, hearing a narrator with an Asian accent imitating an Aussie was like daggers in my ears. Other than that, he did a good job.


    Did the narration match the pace of the story?

    Yes, it was more than fine.


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

    No. Too academic.


    Any additional comments?

    The story sometimes swung from nicely historical to sounding a bit contrived. The whole "rock and roll sushi chef" image of guys banging out rolls, downing sake and hollering "kampei!" (sp?) all night sounded a bit dubious to me.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America's Rich

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Thomas J. Stanley, William D. Danko
    • Narrated By Cotter Smith
    Overall
    (1869)
    Performance
    (836)
    Story
    (828)

    Listen to the incredible national best seller that is changing people's lives - and increasing their net worth. Also available:
    The Millionaire Mind.

    Stephen Dix says: "Its OK to drive a Taurus!!"
    "A little dry, but great knowledge gained"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    If you could sum up The Millionaire Next Door in three words, what would they be?

    Insightful. The only people who wouldn't be surprised at the statistical research in this book are the actual millionaires themselves. Fascinating to see that they are mostly ordinary people living humble lives.


    What other book might you compare The Millionaire Next Door to and why?

    Rich Dad, Poor Dad. Both books overlap nicely in that they focus on wealthy people's smart use of money.


    What three words best describe Cotter Smith???s voice?

    Adequate and fitting for a book of this gravity. Not exciting, but probably not supposed to be for the nature of this content.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Surrendered

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Chang-Rae Lee
    • Narrated By James Yaegashi
    Overall
    (33)
    Performance
    (12)
    Story
    (13)

    At the end of the Korean War, the lives of orphan June Han and American soldier Hector Brennan collide. Thirty years later, they meet again and are forced to come to terms with the secrets of their devastating past.

    A User says: "this bibliophile could not finish this book"
    "Save yourself the trouble, a total disappointment"
    Overall

    This makes me sad to write since I've met the author, Chang-rae Lee, a man who couldn't have been more kind and charming or humble. But his book, The Surrendered, is simply awful. Firstly, the book desperately needs a team of editors to steer Lee back to its myriad flaws needing repair. It's missing many details essential to the story, pieces which are astonishingly left out. I've never listened to or read a book in which so many words are just made up, nouns and verbs turned into adjectives and adverbs seemingly out of convenience to the author. And the reuse of the same words over and over--he must have used "welling" in 10 different ways 30 different times.

    The story line is unbelievable, even for historical, wartime fiction, and I'm not talking about the brutality of the combatants. There's not a single happy character in the lot, and the one who comes closest is a drug addict. As one other reviewer put it, Lee's use of tropes is just nauseating. I can't tell if he's trying too hard to impress readers or himself by twisting every description into something symbolic and deep, or whether he just can't make himself write cleanly and concisely.

    The narrator needs to find a new line of work. He was just not good in any way, shape or form. I know that sounds mean, but it's the truth, I'm sorry to say.

    To think that this book is up for a Pulitzer Prize is purely astonishing. It's such a bad nomination that it makes me think so much less of the Pulitzer Prize itself--a marker by which I've often bought books. Just as shocking is the fact that Lee is a professor of literature at Princeton! Who knows? Maybe he teaches better than he writes.

    Unlike the other reviewer who simply gave up on the book, I finished it out of respect to Lee and the fact that I paid for it. Frankly I wish I'd bailed out, because the ending was not even close to being worth it. Sorry, Chang-Rae, you're a very nice man, but I can't imagine letting anyone else read this book without fair warning

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Art of Racing in the Rain

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Garth Stein
    • Narrated By Christopher Evan Welch
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (5687)
    Performance
    (3628)
    Story
    (3640)

    Why we think it’s a great listen: If you’ve ever loved a dog - or even patted a dog - this book, told from the perspective of man’s best friend, will tug at your heartstrings...and won’t let go until long after Welch performs the last word. Enzo knows he is different from other dogs: a philosopher with a nearly human soul (and an obsession with opposable thumbs), he has educated himself by watching television extensively and by listening very closely to the words of his master.

    FanB14 says: "Artful Surprise"
    "Great book until the ending"
    Overall

    I have to say that I really enjoyed this book until its ending. It was as if the author got near the end and said, "Oh, wow, I've got to sew this whole thing up and make it as fantastical as possible." I'll not blow it for anyone by saying what happens, but as a serious reader, professional writer and fan of auto racing, the coda ruined it for me.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Help

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Kathryn Stockett
    • Narrated By Jenna Lamia, Bahni Turpin, Octavia Spencer, and others
    Overall
    (27111)
    Performance
    (13734)
    Story
    (13779)

    Why we think it’s a great listen: The most celebrated performance in all of Audible’s history, The Help has nearly 2,000 5-star reviews from your fellow listeners. We hear the print book’s not bad, either. In pitch-perfect voices, Kathryn Stockett creates three extraordinary women whose determination to start a movement of their own forever changes a town, and the way women - mothers, daughters, caregivers, friends - view one another.

    Jan says: "What a great surprise!"
    "Couldn't have enjoyed The Help more"
    Overall

    Brilliant book, brilliantly told and brilliantly narraated. I write for a living and scrutinize books pretty harshly, and I couldn't find so much as a syllable out of place in this text. I loved it and recommend it highly.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • A Walk in the Woods

    • ABRIDGED (5 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Bill Bryson
    • Narrated By Bill Bryson
    Overall
    (2328)
    Performance
    (576)
    Story
    (589)

    After 20 years in Britain, Bryson returned to the U.S. and decided to reacquaint himself with his native country by walking the 2,100-mile Appalachian Trail, which stretches from Georgia to Maine. This is his humorous, inspiring account.

    Jeff says: "Wonderful book, but hardly abridged"
    "A great read on the trail"
    Overall

    I read the book five years ago and loved it then, but enjoyed it even more hearing author Bill Bryson reading it. A true treat. Highly recommended.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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