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hh

hh01

pdx United States | Listener Since 2003

51
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 24 reviews
  • 117 ratings
  • 259 titles in library
  • 0 purchased in 2014
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FOLLOWERS
6

  • The Poe Shadow

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Matthew Pearl
    • Narrated By Erik Singer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (97)
    Performance
    (26)
    Story
    (28)

    Baltimore, 1849. The body of Edgar Allan Poe has been buried in an unmarked grave. Everyone seems to accept the conclusion that Poe was a second-rate writer who met a disgraceful end, except for a young Baltimore lawyer named Quentin Clark, an ardent admirer who puts his own career and reputation at risk in a crusade to salvage Poe's.

    Cynthia says: "Two hours too long"
    "Terrible"
    Overall

    I enjoyed Dante Club despite some improbable plot points--there was always great characterization in the literary ensemble to compensate. But Poe Shadow is nothing but ridiculous events, one after another (ex. a bus conductor doesn't recognize the photo of someone who might have been on the bus a month ago and that is taken as PROOF that the person wasn't there). After just 2 hours, I threw in the towel. This author could probably write great short stories and should consider applying his talent there.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Poorly Made in China: An Insider's Account of the Tactics Behind China's Production Game

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Paul Midler
    • Narrated By Paul Midler
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (272)
    Performance
    (200)
    Story
    (202)

    It was a world gone wrong, one in which manufacturers thought little of manipulating product quality levels in order to save the smallest amounts, where savvy foreign business leaders were made to feel in control while they were taken for a ride by their partners, where entire manufacturing facilities sometimes vanished right into thin air... Welcome to Poorly Made in China!

    John says: "Hours of jaw dropping amazment"
    "a view from 2013/2014 of this important book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Highly recommended. Easy listening of important lessons.


    Any additional comments?

    I listened to this book awhile ago, but decided to revisit it now in 2013/2014 to see if my take might be enriched by the passage of time. The book's stories still hang solidly, and indeed, I had a new insight I wasn't ready for during my first listen a few years ago: many American business owners embraced the idea of China as a solution to their domestic problems, but actually traded familiar and frustrating problems for unfamiliar, incomprehensible, and equally frustrating foreign problems. Rather than see their profits dwindle due to understandable domestic issues, it seemed better to struggle against dwindling profits while swimming in a pool of exoticism (which turned out to be a business culture of pure sociopathy cloaked in "grass is greener" mystique). America lost twice. We lost jobs and we lost that fantasized financial boon that was going to provide tons of cash to benefit American infrastructure, business ventures, education, etc. And perhaps, given the penchant of Chinese manufacturers to use ANYTHING cheap in a sneaky bait and switch game, we gained an exposure to toxins unlike anything we could have imagined just 20 years ago. Other liabilities also abound: just last month, my glass shower door exploded. It turns out that the manufacturer of the hinges (in China) dumbed down the product to the point where it simply could not do the job right and it failed in a spectacular way. Fortunately no one was in the shower at the time. If I had been cut head to toe (tempered glass does indeed cut deeply when it explodes), who in China or here in the US would have known or cared? Thus, we have allowed the sad state of this foreign, sociopathic culture to become our own. Myopic businessmen run after a dollar waved in front of their faces (then jerked away last minute) and plunge off the cliff, taking us all with them. Perhaps if Americans can develop a new, better work culture, businesses will find it appealing to come home again. Yes, in all this doom and gloom, there is hope. Listen to this book now and don't just see what you can learn about how Americans have gladly submitted to being humiliated internationally, but see what opportunities come to mind. Then, pursue them.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Mitz: The Marmoset of Bloomsbury

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Sigrid Nunez
    • Narrated By Wanda McCaddon
    Overall
    (1)
    Performance
    (1)
    Story
    (1)

    In the summer of 1934, “a sickly, pathetic marmoset” called Mitz came into the care of Leonard Woolf. He nursed her back to health and from then on was rarely seen without her on his shoulder. A ubiquitous presence in Bloomsbury society, Mitz moved with Leonard and Virginia Woolf and their circle, developing special relationships with such associates as T. S. Eliot and Vita Sackville-West. She accompanied the Woolfs on their travels and even played an important role in helping them to escape a close call with Nazis in Germany.

    hh says: "A great pleasure"
    "A great pleasure"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    Must say that it helps to know a bit about Woolf and the Bloomsbury Group, but it's certainly not essential (perhaps a nice compromise would be to listen to The Hours or rent the movie of that book first). Mitz is certainly more light hearted than The Hours and in that way, serves as a great complement to it. But it still is plenty rich in atmosphere and relationship development. And there are quite a few laugh aloud moments. I don't normally associate Virginia Woolf with chuckles, but didn't resist it for a minute. The reading is spot on, I could find nothing to fault. And when it was done, I felt sorry for that -- the best measure of enjoying a book that I know. (It also got me to dig out a few old paperbacks of Woolf's works and enjoy them again, too.)

    2 of 2 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
    Overall
    (3379)
    Performance
    (2558)
    Story
    (2569)

    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"
    "Ok, but not really living up to all the hype"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    Just prior to buying this audiobook I bought the hardcover Cloud Atlas. But it turned out it was a different novel, author Callanan. So I listened to this book (nice) and then read the other, wondering if it was in any way inspired by the more famous one. Answer, no. A completely different story, one about WWII and the little hot air balloon bombs sent aloft to the west coast of America by the Japanese as part of their war effort. It's also about some characters who seem soaked in Catch 22 sensibility, a love story involving a clairvoyant Eskimo and choices we all make about life and death. And I must say, I enjoyed it more. Relevance? If like me you've been caught up in the hype about the Mitchell book, it may prove a little disappointing. It certainly has merit and some sections are very strong, but others much less so. Be tolerant if you come on the ride.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The House of Silk: A Sherlock Holmes Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Anthony Horowitz
    • Narrated By Derek Jacobi
    Overall
    (1122)
    Performance
    (982)
    Story
    (985)

    Sherlock Holmes is the greatest detective in literary history. For the first time since the death of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, a new Holmes story has been sanctioned by his estate, whetting the appetites of fans everywhere. Information about the book will be revealed as deliberately as Holmes himself would unravel a knotty case, but bestselling novelist and Holmes expert Anthony Horowitz is sure to bring a compelling, atmospheric story to life.

    GP says: "A disapointment"
    "Clever, socio-historical, but pedantic by the end"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    I'd recommend it to someone who likes Holmes and perhaps mysteries, in general.


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

    The author fixed many shortcomings of the original stories written 100 yrs ago, calling our attention to important things glossed over and evening out some unnecessary imbalances from back then. But Watson is still too daft and unsophisticated. His lack of insights are unbelievable and his over-emotionality seems one literary convenience milked dry.


    Have you listened to any of Derek Jacobi’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Jacobi's a gem. I'd listen to him read a cereal box.


    Do you think The House of Silk needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    No.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Artist of Disappearance

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Anita Desai
    • Narrated By Anne Flosnik, James Langton
    Overall
    (8)
    Performance
    (7)
    Story
    (7)

    Award-winning, internationally acclaimed author Anita Desai ruminates on art and memory, illusion and disillusion, and the sharp divide between life's expectations and its realities in three perfectly etched novellas. Set in India in the not-too-distant past, the dramas illuminate the ways in which Indian culture can nourish or suffocate. All are served up with Desai's characteristic perspicuity, subtle humor, and sensitive writing.

    hh says: "Grows on you"
    "Grows on you"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    The beauty of this book is that one does not have an extreme rxn to it. It resides in the shade of memory for several days as potential more than form, then grows in intensity and takes its form with increasing recognition of its sublime truth. Kieslowski, the Polish director, made a film about missed connections, misplaced emphases and self-mistrust that springs to mind when I think about this book. Melancholic, wistful, but not without a passionate push to steer you right so that you might discover a different truth for your life.


    Any additional comments?

    At just 4+ hrs, it's perfect for an evening (or two, over the weekend). Definitely not for cowards.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue: The Untold Story of English

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By John McWhorter
    • Narrated By John McWhorter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1289)
    Performance
    (1001)
    Story
    (997)

    A survey of the quirks and quandaries of the English language, focusing on our strange and wonderful grammar. Why do we say "I am reading a catalog" instead of "I read a catalog"? Why do we say "do" at all? Is the way we speak a reflection of our cultural values? Delving into these provocative topics and more, Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue distills hundreds of years of fascinating lore into one lively history.

    Cookie says: "Oh the joy!"
    "Interesting, but guilty of what he warns against"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    Whorter has some very interesting things to say and since he is something of an "odd man out" from majority thinking, it is natural that much of his points are "push off" points. He makes some of them very well, too, but tends to go too far, becoming guilty of the very same kind of arrogance he accuses others of displaying. The last hour is shockingly preachy and just plain odd.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Girl in Hyacinth Blue

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs)
    • By Susan Vreeland
    • Narrated By Loren Lester, Sheryl Bernstein
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (91)
    Performance
    (33)
    Story
    (33)

    A professor shows a colleague a painting that he has kept secret for decades. The professor swears it is a Vermeer - but why has he hidden this important work for so long? The reasons unfold in a series of stories that trace ownership of the painting back to World War II and Amsterdam, and still further back to the moment of the work's inspiration.

    Sybil says: "wonderful"
    "You are there"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    This is a terrific book. I usually transfer 3-4 audiobooks to CD yearly for a listen down the road and this made the grade. It is quite simply, enthralling in its ability to communicate feeling, content and style as only a studied pro in the arms of a loving muse could do. I took time off from grad school to learn Dutch and travel through the Lowlands viewing Flemish art. This book is the closest thing I know to any device that can effectively give one the feeling I got during that wonderful period. It captures mood exquisitely. It transports one back in time as great lit should. The pacing, the words chosen, the phrasing -- all of it, subtle, yet powerfully effective. It doesn???t scream ???look how wonderfully I???ve done this,??? but it does. If this is new terrain for you, it may take awhile to ???get there.??? Given that ???there??? doesn???t exist anymore, it is worth the effort at 10x the price.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Places in Between

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Rory Stewart
    • Narrated By Rory Stewart
    Overall
    (391)
    Performance
    (107)
    Story
    (107)

    In January 2002, Rory Stewart walked across Afghanistan, surviving by his wits, his knowledge of Persian dialects and Muslim customs, and the kindness of strangers. By day, he passed through mountains covered in nine feet of snow, hamlets burned and emptied by the Taliban, and communities thriving amid the remains of medieval civilizations. By night he slept on villagers' floors, shared their meals, and listened to their stories of the recent and ancient past.

    James says: "Nice Choice"
    "Well done"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    I was immediately taken by this story and the reader's presentation. The reader (if not the writer himself) does an amazing job with tone and pacing -- I wasn't just listening, I was THERE with him, walking side by side. I lent the audiobook to one friend and soon had three others knocking on my office door, forming a queue! That has never happened before. This is an extraordinary listen where the total is not just more than the sum of the parts, but something mesmerizing and unforgettable.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Chess Machine: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Robert Lohr
    • Narrated By Stephen Hoye
    Overall
    (36)
    Performance
    (7)
    Story
    (6)

    Vienna, 1770: Baron Wolfgang von Kempelen unveils a strange and amazing invention: the Mechanical Turk, a sensational and unbeatable chess-playing automaton. But what the Habsburg court hails as the greatest innovation of the century is really nothing more than a brilliant illusion. The chess machine is secretly operated from inside by the Italian dwarf Tibor, a God-fearing social outcast whose chess-playing abilities and diminutive size make him the perfect accomplice in this grand hoax.

    hh says: "Stimulating but narrative stronger than characters"
    "Stimulating but narrative stronger than characters"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    I love books that deftly blend historical accounts (however loose) with easily digested scientific ideas/inventions and fold them into clever stories with believable, achingly human characters. This book succeeds in several of those areas, but falls short in its presentation of characters. Too often, they are flat and predictable. Their comments seem like points taken from a storyboard to propel the plot, not natural expressions of real people swirling about in the events of their lives. To its credit, the narrative is quite fine and the reading is well-matched to the writing style. The author understands how to craft a book with foreshadowing and story tentacles that wrap back upon themselves to create that mobius strip flow that marks the complexity of quirky, rich lives. So, I can recommend this as a good read, but not a great one. If the category appeals to you, I can highly recommend A Case of Curiosities (print only, bestseller and available in trade paperback) or The Invention of Everything Else (print and Audible.com - I found the reading a delight!).

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Poseidon's Gold (Dramatised)

    • ABRIDGED (2 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Lyndsey Davis
    • Narrated By Anton Lesser, Anna Madeley, Trevor Peacock
    Overall
    (40)
    Performance
    (25)
    Story
    (25)

    Returning to Rome after his mission to Germania, Falco finds that his mother is being harassed by a centurion named Censorinus, who says he is chasing a debt owed to him by Falco's brother Festus. Censorinus claims that Festus was involved in a syndicate, shipping valuable statues from Greece - and that even when his ship sunk; Festus had guaranteed that everyone in the group would get their money back.

    hh says: "Time traveling fun"
    "Time traveling fun"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    Imagine Brother Cadfael as conceived by the writers of Numbers, then edited by Charles Dickens. In short, lots of good, earthy plot lines that are embellished by a cornucopia of enduring values: forgiveness, integrity, perseverance. And the production is great fun, too, just like an old time radio play with a full cast and clever sound effects. At just over two hours, it doesn't beg the whole evening either.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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