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R. Klein

Rocketville, Maryland - USA | Member Since 2011

ratings
11
REVIEWS
11
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
0
HELPFUL VOTES
3

  • The Bridge of San Luis Rey

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Thornton Wilder
    • Narrated By Sam Waterston
    Overall
    (257)
    Performance
    (143)
    Story
    (139)

    Wilder's stories consistently explored the connections between the commonplace and cosmic dimensions of human experience, always returning to fundamental questions about the meaning of life. This Pulitzer Prize-winning tale concerns the lives of five people who fall to their deaths from a Peruvian rope bridge in 1714. A humble Franciscan, Brother Juniper, witnesses the accident and determines to learn about the lives of the victims in order to find out whether this accident happened by chance or by plan.

    Tobin says: "Compact novel about fate, destiny"
    "The sound quality drags this one down"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you like best about The Bridge of San Luis Rey? What did you like least?

    I didn't like the sound quality at all. It's muffled, which, combined with the somewhat flat reading, makes the story just drone on and on. The story goes into significant depth about the characters, but I simply gave up on starting the second of five stories. While the stories might be interesting, I don't recommend this audiobook on the simple lack of audio quality. You can get a good idea of it in the audio sample.


    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    The concept of the story seems interesting, but ultimately, I was finding the details, coupled with the difficulty in hearing it just not worth the effort.


    How could the performance have been better?

    Certainly a clearer recording - that didn't sound like it was made on a cassette recorder 35 years ago. It must be a rather old recording, transferred from tape.

    And as much as I've always liked Sam Waterson as an actor, I found his reading flat to the point of becoming a drone.


    Did The Bridge of San Luis Rey inspire you to do anything?

    Only to try to return the book.


    Any additional comments?

    The recording quality is probably a disservice to the writing. Sorry to write such a negative review. I think this might be a book better read off the printed page than this recording.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Trustee from the Toolroom

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Nevil Shute
    • Narrated By Frank Muller
    Overall
    (805)
    Performance
    (724)
    Story
    (726)

    Keith Stewart, a retiring and ingenious engineer, could not have been happier in his little house in the shabby London suburb of Ealing. There he invented the mini-motor, the six-volt generator, and the tiny Congreve clock. Then a chain of events sweeps him into deep waters and leads him to his happiest discovery yet.

    Paula says: "Just Simply a Great Story!"
    "Enjoyable oddball"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I wasn't sure what to expect from this book as it got rolling. The premise was interesting, the main protagonist being quite the anti-heroic type.

    There are a lot of coincidences and positive twists of fate in this book that help our unlikely hero along, but not beyond the realm of believability.

    I thought the characters were quite well developed, and quite likable! And they meshed very well into a story that kept me interested and always looking forward to my next opportunity to tune in.

    The narration was the perfect embodiment of the story. Excellent pace, and perfectly rendered, with each character played as a distinct and well defined individual all the way through.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Deja Dead

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Kathy Reichs
    • Narrated By Barbara Rosenblat
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (530)
    Performance
    (437)
    Story
    (442)

    It's June in Montreal, and Dr. Temperance Brennan, who has left a shaky marriage back home in North Carolina to take on the challenging assignment of Director of Forensic Anthropology for the province of Quebec, looks forward to a relaxing weekend in beautiful Quebec City. First, though, she must stop at a newly uncovered burial site in the heart of the city. The remains are probably old and only of archeological interest, but Tempe must make sure they're not a case for the police. One look at the decomposed and decapitated corpse, stored neatly in plastic bags, tells her she'll spend the weekend in the crime lab.

    Kay says: "Mixed"
    "Perplexed over other reviews about the narrator"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I was surprised at the negative reviews of the narration of this book. I've listened to a number books narrated by Barbara Rosenblat and have always been impressed by her interpretations. Normally, I listen to books in the car, so possibly have not heard some of the "offending sounds" others have pointed out because of background road noise. But I think her performances are terrific. She has a way of creating a mood, a personality for the characters she reads. Subtleties in voice, in accent, denote and differentiate the characters beautifully. I have bought books she's narrated simply because she was the reader.

    Now, the book. I have enjoyed most of the Temperance Brennen stories. A forensic anthropologist, Brennen is called in on cases where the mostly unidentifiable remains require extensive analysis and investigation to solve murder cases. There is thoughtful description of how these analyses are done, which I find fascinating. How anthropomorphic details like size,age, sex, etc. can be deciphered from clues in often very deteriorated human remains. The detailed police tactics involved in the case are also intriguing and interesting, because she describes enough detail to reveal the logic and rationale for how cases are handled. The story is convoluted, and engaging. I found I couldn't wait to get back in the car for my commute to listen to the next section of the book.

    There are twists and turns in the story, and characters are revealed in such a way to lead you to wondering all the time how they fit together, and which is the perpetrator in this murder mystery.

    Scenes are described with exacting detail, and given Rosenblat's interpretation, I feel drawn into each scene. Brennen's own relationships and inner demons are like a continuous undertone - a layer under the surface of the story that kept me intrigued not only with her job, but her life and relationships.

    I think this is a good read, and I think Barbara Rosenblat is a great reader.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Five Elements of Effective Thinking

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Edward B. Burger, Michael Starbird
    • Narrated By Brian Troxell
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (801)
    Performance
    (685)
    Story
    (681)

    The 5 Elements of Effective Thinking presents practical, lively, and inspiring ways for you to become more successful through better thinking. The idea is simple: You can learn how to think far better by adopting specific strategies. Brilliant people aren't a special breed--they just use their minds differently.

    Jose says: "Thinking that could leads to change"
    "Not especially thought provoking"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I had higher hopes for this book, based on the description. But I thought the advice was relatively common sense, and the book quite repetitive. Maybe for someone starting out in life, the pointers could be valuable. People with a natural curiosity, I think, already embody these ideas. They are natural for subjects you are interested in, but difficult for those which one might have to study, but doesn't really have an organic interest in.

    Like many self help books, I guess a simple idea is stretched out to fill a book, and thus becomes overwrought with repetitive thoughts and examples.

    Others might take more away. I felt as though most of it was obvious.

    I stuck it out, but frankly, I couldn't wait for it to end.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • A Partisan's Daughter

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Louis de Bernières
    • Narrated By Sian Thomas, Jeff Rawle
    Overall
    (21)
    Performance
    (6)
    Story
    (6)

    He's Chris: bored, lonely, trapped in a loveless, sexless marriage. In his 40s, he's a stranger inside the youth culture of London in the late 1970s, a stranger to himself on the night he invites a hooker into his car. She's Roza: recently moved to London, the daughter of one of Tito's partisans. She's in her 20s but has already lived a life filled with danger, misadventure, romance, and tragedy. And although she's not a hooker, when she sees Chris, she gets into his car anyway.

    J. Kovler says: "A Tale of Love and Loneliness"
    "Not on par with his other books I've read"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I was supremely impressed with Louis de Bernières' writing in Corelli's Mandolin and Birds Without Wings. I was left somewhat flat by A Partisan's Daughter. While the previous two books carried me away, thoroughly engaged my imagination, and taught me quite a bit about history, this book never seemed to go anywhere for me. Maybe I expected too much from earlier experiences. Felt like it was little more than a way to pass some time. Unlike the earlier two, when this book was over, I didn't have too much to think about, or contemplate about the story, or about humankind.

    A relationship slowly develops between two unlikely people, emotions slowly evolve clouded by unspoken words and unexpressed feelings. I won't reveal the ending, but I found it somewhat unsatisfying

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Demon Under The Microscope

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Thomas Hager
    • Narrated By Stephen Hoye
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1773)
    Performance
    (1059)
    Story
    (1053)

    The Nazis discovered it. The Allies won the war with it. It conquered diseases, changed laws, and single-handedly launched the era of antibiotics. This incredible discovery was sulfa, the first antibiotic medication. In The Demon Under the Microscope, Thomas Hager chronicles the dramatic history of the drug that shaped modern medicine.

    Sara says: "A fantastic book"
    "Amazing History of the war on bacteria"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    An engaging story about the fight against bacterial infection - which only began with any meaningful success in the 1930s. The book provides an in-depth and interesting description of the "colorful" story about how the dye industry gave birth to the chemical industry - and ultimately helped conquer infection. The book provides insight into a lot of back story, related to the first and second world wars, patents, intrigue in the research community, and how Germany's chemical secrets and patents were plundered after the second world war.

    A good listen if you enjoy history, industry, and science.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Let Me Go

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Helga Schneider
    • Narrated By Barbara Rosenblat
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (56)
    Performance
    (28)
    Story
    (28)

    Helga Schneider was four when her mother suddenly abandoned her family in Berlin in 1941. When she next saw her mother, 30 years later, she learned the shocking reason why. Her mother had joined the Nazi SS and had become a guard in the concentration camps, including Auschwitz, where she was in charge of a "correction" unit and responsible for untold acts of torture.

    Vikki says: "Excellent..."
    "Can't beat Rosenblat!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I found myself pulled into this book from the start. Barbara Rosenblat is a first class actress when it comes to reading. I think she has an amazing facility with nuance and emotion. The story is engaging, and all through the story, I felt that I was watching a play unfold on stage.

    The story itself is interesting, giving a somewhat different view of the holocaust period. The story weaves personal tragedy with tragedy on a tremendous scale, and manages to hold its own. There are so many delicate touches and details in the story that it's easy to conjure the scene in the mind's eye, as if watching it on stage in front of you.

    Highly recommended book.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Face

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Angela Hunt
    • Narrated By Holly Adams
    Overall
    (9)
    Performance
    (9)
    Story
    (9)

    Orphaned and severely deformed, from her earliest moments Sarah Sims has been kept hidden away in a secret CIA facility - until an unexpected discovery gives her an opportunity to make a life for herself at last. Now Sarah has an ally, a long-lost aunt who has discovered her true identity. Aided by this brave psychologist, twenty-year-old Sarah must find the courage to confront the forces that have confined her for so long. And the strength to be reborn into a world she has never known.

    Susan says: "A moving,engaging and well- told story"
    "Face it!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    There were some pretty far fetched moments in the book, but overall, quite engaging. The book certainly held my attention, and I thought the narration was very well done. It was the kind of book that had me looking forward to being in the car to listen to the next installment. I'm afraid I thought the weakest segment of the book was the ending, but I won't reveal it.

    I kept thinking I could tell where the book was going, but it would veer off somewhere else. I like that about a book.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Sam Kean
    • Narrated By Sean Runnette
    Overall
    (2172)
    Performance
    (1384)
    Story
    (1387)

    Reporter Sam Kean reveals the periodic table as it’s never been seen before. Not only is it one of man's crowning scientific achievements, it's also a treasure trove of stories of passion, adventure, betrayal, and obsession. The infectious tales and astounding details in The Disappearing Spoon follow carbon, neon, silicon, and gold as they play out their parts in human history, finance, mythology, war, the arts, poison, and the lives of the (frequently) mad scientists who discovered them.

    Ethan M. says: "Excellent, if unfocused"
    "Better Living Through Chemistry?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    An enjoyable book that weaves together tales of the Periodic Table. Not only does the book describe the order of the table, and it's development, but interesting anecdotes about many of the elements contained, such as tales of discoverers, of controversies, of mistaken identities (of elements), and very interesting historical facts. I really enjoyed reading about how the chemistry of dyes led to the first antibiotic therapies - the sulfa drugs, how radium was discovered, how elements combine, how they're separated. And about the whole competitive area of research that is centered around finding new elements! Who knew!?

    The story-telling style makes it easy to understand and stay focused. That's important because some of the chemistry can be a little complex. But it doesn't bog down the book or the reader.

    I found myself going to Google several times to find out more about the chemistry and the people described in this book.

    I almost ordered a gallium kit off Amazon to make my own disappearing spoon! I still might. Who knew so much fun with chemistry was so within reach!?

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Mr g: A Novel about the Creation

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Alan Lightman
    • Narrated By Ray Porter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (98)
    Performance
    (81)
    Story
    (79)

    “As I remember, I had just woken up from a nap when I decided to create the universe.” So begins Alan Lightman’s playful and profound new novel, Mr. g, the story of Creation as narrated by God. Bored with living in the shimmering Void with his bickering Uncle Deva and Aunt Penelope, Mr. g creates time, space, and matter - then moves on to stars, planets, consciousness, and finally intelligent beings with moral dilemmas.

    Diane says: "The Universe: A Fable"
    "Might work as a children's book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I was rather disappointed in this book. The concept seems to be the creation of the universe - though not necessarily ours - by a creator. It is written in what I'd consider a simplistic style, and to my mind was designed to possibly reconcile the controversy between creationism and evolution. It allows for both, but it doesn't work for me.

    I found too many internal inconsistencies that wore on me. Maybe I'm just too analytical, but without time, I have to wonder how there ccould be "elders." Without substance, I have to wonder how once matter is created, it can be used by the inhabitants of "the void," where nothing actually exists. Yet those inhabitants are able to see and hear and interact with the other inhabitants of the void (then maybe it's NOT a void, because discrete beings DO inhabit it), as well as solid matter.

    I didn't like the folksy interaction of inhabitants of the void, and found the dialog childish and tedious. And the repetitive counting of time got pretty old and very annoying pretty fast for me.

    There was only one short segment of the book where relativity - the existence of good only in relationship to bad, for example - made part of the book interesting. Otherwise, unless I missed it, I didn't find anything in the story that had anything to say, or made the listen worthwhile at all.

    If you have a hard time accepting evolution vs. creationism, maybe this book will give you a context within which to consider both as peacefully coexisting. But even there, I'm not sure it has a lot to say of any real substance.

    Found it childish. Not one of my favored reads, I'm afraid.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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