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R. Klein

Rocketville, Maryland - USA | Member Since 2011

6
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 14 reviews
  • 16 ratings
  • 170 titles in library
  • 16 purchased in 2015
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  • The Bridge of San Luis Rey

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Thornton Wilder
    • Narrated By Sam Waterston
    Overall
    (284)
    Performance
    (164)
    Story
    (162)

    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
  • Proud: My Autobiography

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Gareth Thomas
    • Narrated By Matthew Gravelle
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (6)
    Performance
    (6)
    Story
    (6)

    Gareth Thomas had it all. He was a national hero, a sporting icon. He was a leader of men, captain of Wales and the British Lions. To him, rugby was an expression of cultural identity, a sacred code. It was no mere ball game. It gave him everything, except the freedom to be himself. This is the story of a man with a secret that was slowly killing him. Something that might devastate not only his own life but the lives of his wife, family, friends and teammates.

    R. Klein says: "A moving autobiography"
    "A moving autobiography"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'm not a rugby fan, and I'd never even heard of Gareth Thomas. I was intrigued by the theme of the book and the man on the cover. It's the story of a man who repressed his sexuality, while playing hard to stay hidden in plain sight, on the demanding playing field of life in Wales - where a man had better be a man. Growing up at a time when being gay was unacceptable, he fought on the rugby field, and inside his mind. Playing the game he loved, but maybe didn't quite fit. It's a moving and well written story of the ravages that can come from having to hide your true identity, and struggle to live a lie. Not only psychologically for the first person singular, but for those whose life he touches and entwines with.

    The book relays his whole story, the trials, the pain, the triumphs, and does so in a way that is personal and quite captivating. I was always looking forward to getting my headphones back on to listen to more of his story.

    I think Thomas captured the emotional side of his struggle in this book, and is an inspiration for others who deal with the insecurity of who they really are. He explains not only what he was up against, but why. The intricacies of how his self image affected his place in the world, why he was driven to hide his identity, and his drive to not only prove himself, but overcome the exhausting burden of living a dual life. Particularly in the über-macho world of professional sports, and specifically in the demanding world of the rugby field. Quite a difficult feat, which took so much of his personal and spiritual energy.

    He spends considerable time going into details about how his choices affected others, and his later efforts to repair the damage he'd done by trying to be someone else.

    In the end, I think he manages to overcome much of the stigma and fear, and become whole, while realizing the struggle never really ends completely.

    It's an inspirational story that hopefully will help to give others the freedom to be who they are, without the damaging struggle that Thomas suffered.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Pale Fire

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Vladimir Nabokov
    • Narrated By Marc Vietor
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (177)
    Performance
    (138)
    Story
    (138)

    A 999 line poem in heroic couplets, divided into 4 cantos, was composed--according to Nabokov's fiction--by John Francis Shade, an obsessively methodical man, during the last 20 days of his life.

    David says: "Quality recording!"
    "Wasn't for me"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I was excited about the reviews I read about this book, and thought it must be unusual and interesting. It WAS very unusual. Interesting? I guess the book is just not for everyone. It wasn't for me.

    I did enjoy the poem, which is a rather small part of the book. And it's certainly an interestingly structured book, as the poem is used as a conceit to tell a broader story of a poet and his neighbor, who is our narrator, and ultimate publisher (and critic) of the poem. The story is really about the narrator, describing his role in the writing of the poem, and his attempts to get close to and influence the poet.

    But it's really not about that. In the end, the story seems to come together, and finally, for me, made some sense. But I felt that when I listened to this book (I listen in segments when I am at the gym) I kept wondering "WHY am I sticking this out?" It rambled on and on, and it was a struggle to stay focused on the story. There were places where parts of stories would become interesting, but then I would suddenly lose the thread and wonder if my attention had shifted and I'd somehow missed a whole part of the book! In part, this might be because there are imaginary characters in imaginary places, from imaginary countries, and parallel stories going on at the same time that seem to shift back and forth.

    For me, the book mostly drones on and on, providing the merest snippets of what's actually going on, and until the end very little fit together at all.

    I see that others very much enjoy the clever word play and the challenge of following the tale and the characters, but I guess it's just not for everyone. I even suffered through the index at the end, which was in part because I really couldn't believe that this was included in the audiobook version, so there must be some meaningful surprise (or reward) coming. There wasn't. I think this might work better in print, where one could cross reference and even use the index to figure out who was who, and how they fit into the story.

    For me, this was one VERY tedious book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • State of Fear

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Michael Crichton
    • Narrated By George Wilson
    Overall
    (2186)
    Performance
    (600)
    Story
    (607)

    Once again Michael Crichton gives us his trademark combination of page-turning suspense, cutting-edge technology, and extraordinary research. State of Fear is a superb blend of edge-of-your-seat suspense and thought provoking commentary on how information is manipulated in the modern world.

    F says: "Did I read the same book as some of you?"
    "Heaven for the climate change denialist"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    If you're a climate change denialist, you'll love THIS book.
    Only a small fraction of the book actually carries the action. The bulk of it is a thinly - well, no, not veiled at all - propagandist work about climate change. The author obviously believes that climate change is a conceit of the media and environmentalist groups seeking to capitalize on a false global warming.

    The lecturing is so heavy handed. The main protagonist, Peter Evens, is portrayed as a stooge who accepts global warming without questioning the "facts." The endless passages that go on for pages and pages are lectures from lawyers questioning and "enlightening" our hapless attorney, Peter, until he sees how hoodwinked he's been.

    The book is its own hoodwink, trying to convince you that none of the evidence holds water (or melted glaciers).

    I thought, after reading so many reviews touting how this book "makes you think, and question what you're told and led to believe" that it would be an incisive and thought-rpovoking book. But I found it to be a one-sided argument against climate change or human influence on climate, in the face of growing evidence.

    Thought provoking? Leading readers to learn about science and media? Or preachy propaganda?

    I think it's propaganda.

    Still, it didn't convince me.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Trustee from the Toolroom

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Nevil Shute
    • Narrated By Frank Muller
    Overall
    (1018)
    Performance
    (906)
    Story
    (911)

    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
    (620)
    Performance
    (517)
    Story
    (524)

    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.

    3 of 3 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
    (1088)
    Performance
    (912)
    Story
    (907)

    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
    (1971)
    Performance
    (1222)
    Story
    (1224)

    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
    (64)
    Performance
    (34)
    Story
    (34)

    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
    (12)
    Performance
    (12)
    Story
    (12)

    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

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