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Mark

MTF

Waltham, MA, United States | Member Since 2010

162
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 107 reviews
  • 133 ratings
  • 289 titles in library
  • 28 purchased in 2014
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FOLLOWERS
35

  • Father's Day: A Journey into the Mind and Heart of My Extraordinary Son

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Buzz Bissinger
    • Narrated By Buzz Bissinger
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (11)
    Performance
    (9)
    Story
    (10)

    Buzz Bissinger’s twins were born three minutes—and a world—apart. Gerry, the older one, is a graduate student at Penn, preparing to become a teacher. His brother Zach has spent his life attending special schools. He’ll never drive a car, or kiss a girl, or live by himself. He is a savant, challenged by serious intellectual deficits but also blessed with rare talents: an astonishing memory, a dazzling knack for navigation, and a reflexive honesty that can make him both socially awkward and surprisingly wise.

    Deborah says: "Moving, courageous story about father and son"
    "An honest account of one "special" fatherhood"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    At the center of this nonfiction book is a cross-country trip where writer Buzz Bissinger (Friday Night Lights) drives from coast to coast with his handicapped adult son, Zach. Zach has a photographic memory and an obsession with maps. The author is brutally candid about his experience as the father of twins, one being mentally handicapped. Bissinger is not afraid to show his less-than-perfect side as he tries to deal with this unexpected fatherhood experience and a challenging trip. His honesty is what gives the memoir its power. Bissinger expertly weaves in stories from throughout their lives, and the book flows well. This book is funny and sad, and always real. Bissinger did a great job narrating. I enjoyed it a lot.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Snow Child

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Eowyn Ivey
    • Narrated By Debra Monk
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1310)
    Performance
    (1145)
    Story
    (1132)

    Debut novelist Eowyn ivey’s experience living in the Alaskan wilderness brings a palpable authenticity to The Snow Child. Alaska in the 1920s is a difficult place for Jack and Mabel. Drifting apart, the childless couple discover Faina, a young girl living alone in the wilderness. Soon, Jack and Mabel come to love Faina as their own. But when they learn a surprising truth about the girl, their lives change in profound ways.

    Bonny says: "Magical, realistic and well worth listening to"
    "good at times (to a guy)"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'm guessing that women might like this more than men. A middle aged couple connected with a young girl who may be real or may be their snow girl come-to-life.My sister recommended it and I gave it a shot. I was intrigued with a book about the Alaska wilderness in the early 20th century. I was okay with a fairy tale aspect, and this drew me in at times, while at other times I thought it was too much. The characters seemed a little "light" with the men too often portrayed as stereotypically dense compared to women (maybe men are, which is why women would like this more). There were enough parts that worked, though, that I stayed with this until the end. I did not think this was too slow, a common criticism of others. The pacing seemed right for this story. I liked the fine line this walked between fairy tale and true-life. It keeps one guessing.This felt a bit like a Young Adult novel, and a good one at times. Not my favorite but somewhat entertaining.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Dog Stars

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Peter Heller
    • Narrated By Mark Deakins
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1023)
    Performance
    (912)
    Story
    (913)

    Hig survived the flu that killed everyone he knows. His wife is gone, his friends are dead, he lives in the hangar of a small abandoned airport with his dog, his only neighbor a gun-toting misanthrope. In his 1956 Cessna, Hig flies the perimeter of the airfield or sneaks off to the mountains to fish and to pretend that things are the way they used to be. But when a random transmission somehow beams through his radio, the voice ignites a hope deep inside him that a better life exists beyond the airport.

    Melinda says: "Absolutely Stellar!"
    "a great novel!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I loved The Dog Stars. It felt like a fresh take on a post apocalyptic world (a flu variation wiped out most of humanity). This first person narrative focused more on the narrator's state of mind, past and present. This story transplanted me to his world. While there are scenes of action and violence, they are few and far between, with the horror of the world being more psychological. It's a tale of Hig, his beloved dog, his airplane, and his brilliant and angry survivalist partner Bangley. I was fascinated with the relationship between Hig and Bangley. While there were some times when the narration was a little over-the-top wistful, I still loved this book. It has stayed with me in a way that few books do. This lends itself especially well to the audio format. This had a bit of the feel of The Road by Cormac McCarthy, with The Dog Stars being more engaging.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Accounting

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By William Lashner
    • Narrated By Eric G. Dove
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (197)
    Performance
    (179)
    Story
    (181)

    Jon Willing was just a teenager when he and his buddies Augie and Ben stole a fortune in drug money. Brazen with youth and stoned out of their gourds, they thought they had the perfect plan for getting away with it. They were wrong. Twenty-five years later, Jon’s marriage is in ruins, his kids are virtual strangers, and the recession has decimated his finances. When he finds Augie murdered in Vegas, Jon knows his past has risen from the grave to grab him by the throat. Now Jon Willing faces a choice: run to a paradise of wine and women and endless sunshine or confront the demons from his past and fight for what’s left of his imperfect suburban life.

    Charles Atkinson says: "A Great Suspense With Great Depth of Character"
    "I couldn't put this down"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This novel grabbed me from the start. I found myself really caring about the protagonist, who narrated the story. He's a middle-aged guy who made a mistake as a teen which continues to haunt him and his family. I was engaged with his present and past life, and was surprised with how much I loved this story. It was heading towards a 5 star review for me, but the exciting, action-packed climax did disappoint me, feeling like something I have read in so many thrillers. The mystery and characters drew me in, but the end just went for the action. Still, I strongly recommend this 4.5 star novel.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Brothers: On His Brothers and Brothers in History

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By George Howe Colt
    • Narrated By David Drummond
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (12)
    Performance
    (12)
    Story
    (12)

    George Howe Colt believes that he would be an entirely different man had he not grown up in a family of four brothers. In Brothers, he movingly recounts the adoration, envy, rivalry, affection, anger, and compassion in their shifting relationships from childhood through middle age. In alternate chapters, Colt moves from a quest to understand how his own brothers shaped his life to an examination of the complex relationships between iconic brothers in history.

    Mark says: "Memoir combined with history"
    "Memoir combined with history"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    George Colt mixes the story of his life as one of four brothers (coming of age in the 60's and 70's) along with famous and infamous brothers throughout history. The author's own life story is fascinating, and was my favorite part of this book (it was about a third of the book). This would have been a 5 star pure memoir. Stories of different brothers in history are woven throughout the book - some being major chapters and others being shorter references. These include The Booth brothers, the Thoreaus, the Marx Brothers, and the Kelloggs Brothers. Some of the historical pieces are more interesting than others (the Kelloggs chapter was the most interesting). The way the author left and then returned to a set of brothers was a bit disconcerting. I am close in age to the author, and I enjoyed listening to this book and thinking of my own brother and myself, as well as my own three sons. While this could have been better edited, with some slow parts here and there, I still liked much of it, and loved a lot too. It's a book that stays with me more than other books.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • A Reason to Live (Marty Singer Mystery #1)

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Matthew Iden
    • Narrated By Lloyd Sherr
    Overall
    (392)
    Performance
    (333)
    Story
    (331)

    In the late 90s, a bad cop killed a good woman and DC Homicide Detective Marty Singer got to watch as the murderer walked out of the courtroom a free man. Twelve years later, the victim's daughter comes to Marty begging for help: the killer is stalking her now. There's just one problem: Marty's retired...and he's retired because he's battling cancer.

    William says: "This book was a distraction"
    "predictable but enjoyable mystery"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This very formulaic mystery is about a retired police detective fighting cancer and getting dragged back into a former case where the murderer seemed to walk free. The main character is likeable and believable, and the narrator is very easy to listen to. This novel was a pleasant, fun way to pass the time. There is mystery, action, and romance. This was good "escape fiction."

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Breakfast at Tiffany's

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Truman Capote
    • Narrated By Michael C. Hall
    Overall
    (744)
    Performance
    (686)
    Story
    (691)

    Golden Globe-winning actor Michael C. Hall (Dexter, Six Feet Under) performs Truman Capote's masterstroke about a young writer's charmed fascination with his unorthodox neighbor, the "American geisha" Holly Golightly. Holly - a World War II-era society girl in her late teens - survives via socialization, attending parties and restaurants with men from the wealthy upper class who also provide her with money and expensive gifts. Over the course of the novella, the seemingly shallow Holly slowly opens up to the curious protagonist.

    Michael says: "Subtle yet Extravagant"
    "Great writing, boring story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I think that this story would be better to read, given the great writing Capote uses for his descriptions. It is harder to savor great writing on audio, I think. I never really cared about any characters, and quit halfway through. I understand that the author is a great writer, but that was not enough for me to keep my interest in this book.

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Blessings

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Anna Quindlen
    • Narrated By Joan Allen
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (290)
    Performance
    (59)
    Story
    (56)

    Anna Quindlen, best selling author of A Short Guide to a Happy Life, returns with this "immensely appealing" novel. The secrets of the past, how they affect the decisions and lives of people in the present; what makes a person, a life, legitimate or illegitimate, and who decides; the unique resources people find in themselves and in a community - these are at the center of this story of love, redemption, and personal change.

    Marilyn M Felix says: "A book club favorite"
    "Very boring!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I had read or listened to other books by Anna Quindlen and loved them (One True Thing and Black and Blue). This was just boring. Half the book is flashbacks, and I never cared much about characters from the past. Even the modern story, which had my interest for a while, lot its momentum. In this story, a young man finds a baby in a basket and wants to raise it on his own. He befriends his boss, a strict 80 year-old. None of these characters were realistic to me, and so my heart was not broken, as happened with so many readers and listeners.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • An Officer and a Spy: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By Robert Harris
    • Narrated By David Rintoul
    Overall
    (291)
    Performance
    (255)
    Story
    (254)

    Paris in 1895: Alfred Dreyfus, a young Jewish officer, has just been convicted of treason, sentenced to life imprisonment at Devil's Island, and stripped of his rank in front of a baying crowd of 20,000. Among the witnesses to his humiliation is Georges Picquart, the ambitious, intellectual, recently promoted head of the counterespionage agency that Dreyfus had passed secrets to the Germans. At first, Picquart firmly believes in Dreyfus' guilt. But it is not long after Dreyfus is delivered to his desolate prison that Picquart stumbles on information that leads him to suspect that there is still a spy at large in the French military.

    Ryan says: "Top Notch Historical Fiction"
    "History comes to life in this true life spy novel"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This novel tells the tale of Alfred Dreyfus, a Frenchman convicted of treason in the 1890's. It's a tale of politics, the French secret service, injustice, and whistle-blowing. It is a dramatic legal thriller at times. I did not know the history well enough, so I was riveted to this saga, not sure of the outcome. The second half was great! The first half was so slow, I was tempted to stop listening and get my credit back. The story is told through the eyes of Georges Picquart, the a high level French spy in the army. Much of the first half was too much about Picquart's life, and only when it swung back to the Dreyfus tale did it get really good. I am glad that I stayed with this because the second half of the novel is very good, great at times. It is also a story that has stayed with me since I finished a day ago. This was a little bit of work for me to stay with, but the payoff was very big. The parallels to modern US politics (the rift between the parties) and whistle-blowing were uncanny.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Nine Inches: Stories

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Tom Perrotta
    • Narrated By William Dufris, Andi Arndt, Tom Perrotta, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (17)
    Performance
    (17)
    Story
    (15)

    Tom Perrotta’s first book, Bad Haircut, consisted of linked stories featuring a shared protagonist. Now, nineteen years later, he has written and compiled his first true short story collection. This twelve story book features a group set in Perrotta’s trademark suburban setting, focusing on the fissures in families and unexpected connections among members of typical American communities, including “Senior Season” and "Nine Inches".

    Mark says: "great short stories capture modern day life"
    "great short stories capture modern day life"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    These short stories try to capture modern life for teens and adults. They succeed with both. Many of there are absolutely phenomenal. Many are very good. Some were good but forgettable. A short story has to draw in the reader very quickly. These did so. Believable characters combine with interesting situations. It's impossible to rate a short story collection, because all stories will never be great. That was the case here. But I rated this 5 stars because the very best stories were just so good, and I cannot remember reading or listening to a book of short stories that I enjoyed as much. I will definitely explore this author further!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Fledgling: Liaden Universe: Theo Waitley, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Sharon Lee, Steve Miller
    • Narrated By Eileen Stevens
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (151)
    Performance
    (140)
    Story
    (140)

    Theo Waitley has lived all her young life on Delgado, a Safe World that is home to one of the galaxy's premier institutions of higher learning. Both Theo's mother, Kamele, and Kamele's onagrata Jen Sar Kiladi, are professors at the university, and they all live comfortably together, just like they have for all of Theo's life, in Jen Sar's house at the outskirts of town.Suddenly, though, Theo's life changes. Kamele leaves Jen Sar and moves herself and Theo back into faculty housing, which is not what Theo is used to.

    Sires says: "A Coming of Age Story in the Liaden Universe"
    "so boring"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'm an adult who occasionally enjoys a good young adult novel. The futuristic school theme intrigued me, but I was totally bored from the start. I can see why this might appeal to a young teenage girl, but it did not work for me.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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