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Kenneth W. James

Chicago, IL, USA | Member Since 2004

87
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 13 reviews
  • 72 ratings
  • 471 titles in library
  • 35 purchased in 2014
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  • Making a Good Brain Great: The Amen Clinic Program

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Daniel G. Amen
    • Narrated By Marc Cashman
    Overall
    (141)
    Performance
    (21)
    Story
    (21)

    Daniel Amen, M.D., one of the world's foremost authorities on the brain, has news for you: your brain is involved in everything you do; learn to care for it properly, and you will be smarter, healthier, and happier in as little as 15 days!

    Kenneth W. James says: "A large advertisement and excessive repetition"
    "A large advertisement and excessive repetition"
    Overall

    I was very disappointed in this book. The author says the same things over and over with slightly different wording (e.g. the brain is the center of all human activity; no human endeavor can be engaged without the brain; social, cognitive, affective and psychomotor activities all depend on the brain....) In addition, many references to the author's research and the activities of the Amen clinic are included. I understand the author has done groundbreaking work, but instead of repeating all the research he has done (e.g. "I've studied hundreds of brains") it would be helpful for him to contextualize his research within a larger empirical universe. But that would mean he was interested in studying ideas about the relationships between brain and behavior, and the multiple paradigms used to do so, and I think actually he is more interested in marketing his point of view. Nothing wrong with that, but an eleven hour book ought to contain more substance.

    48 of 48 people found this review helpful
  • Life after Life: The Investigation of a Phenomenon - Survival of Bodily Death

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Raymond A. Moody
    • Narrated By Dick Hill
    Overall
    (83)
    Performance
    (61)
    Story
    (62)

    In Life after Life, Raymond Moody investigates more than 100 case studies of people who experienced "clinical death" and were subsequently revived. First published in 1975, this classic exploration of life after death started a revolution in popular attitudes about the afterlife and established Dr. Moody as the world's leading authority in the field of near-death experiences.

    carol says: "Good for it's time, but better books currently out"
    "A classic, worth listening to for that reason."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The narrator is far better suited to the reading of fiction. At times, the vocal technique was distracting and even annoying. The narrator would continue a line until his breath was completely used up, giving a pressed quality to his speech. This detracted from the flow of information that was inherent in the text. It is worthwhile to persist in listening, however, since Moody's book is considered foundational in the area of near-death studies.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Naughty in Nice: A Royal Spyness Mystery

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Rhys Bowen
    • Narrated By Katherine Kellgren
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1998)
    Performance
    (1761)
    Story
    (1732)

    Lady Georgiana Rannoch has once again been called into service by Her Majesty the Queen. This time she's sent to Nice on a secret assignment that's nothing to sneeze at: recover the Queen's stolen snuff box. As much of an honor as it is to be trusted by Her Majesty, an even greater honor awaits Georgie in Nice - as Coco Chanel herself asks Georgie to model her latest fashion. But when a necklace belonging to the Queen is stolen on the catwalk, Georgie has to find two priceless items-and solve a murder. How's a girl to find any time to go to the casino?

    Lindsay says: "Lots of good fun"
    "Oh, my....what happened here?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    With no murder until chapter 22, it's difficult to think of this as a murder mystery. Additionally, with all the turmoil over which man to love, this moves very clearly into the romance genre. Not a bad genre, just not what is expected of a murder mystery. The narrator was energetic and her characterizations were excellent. Lady Georgiana sounded a bit like a cheerleader with a British accent from Southern California toward the end, but it was in keeping with the character as presented by the author. The story was certainly not what is expected of the usually excellent Ms. Bowen. Perhaps an editor had his/her way with the original manuscript a bit too much?

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Monster Hunter International

    • UNABRIDGED (23 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Larry Correia
    • Narrated By Oliver Wyman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (7429)
    Performance
    (6574)
    Story
    (6567)

    Five days after Owen Zastava Pitt pushed his insufferable boss out of a 14th story window, he woke up in the hospital with a scarred face, an unbelievable memory, and a job offer. It turns out that monsters are real. All the things from myth, legend, and B-movies are out there, waiting in the shadows. Some of them are evil, and some are just hungry. Monster Hunter International is the premier eradication company in the business. And now Owen is their newest recruit.

    Mariya says: "Killin’s my business and business is fine"
    "Very enjoyable!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a great read/listen! Good plot, lots of action, and compelling characters that you care about. The thing that makes it even better to listen to than to read is the narrator. Oliver Wyman captures the characters intellectually, emotionally and most important, vocally. His overall sense of the story, which is apparent in the way he reads, makes the action come alive. Very definitely recommended.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Nation

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 36 mins)
    • By Terry Pratchett
    • Narrated By Stephen Briggs
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (646)
    Performance
    (308)
    Story
    (308)

    Thirteen-year-old Mau is the only one left after a giant wave sweeps his island village away. But when much is taken, something is returned, and somewhere in the jungle, Daphne - a girl from the other side of the globe - is the sole survivor of a ship destroyed by the same wave.

    James says: "Transcends categories"
    "Why music?"
    Overall

    Once again, a wonderful author's work is marred by "background music", a practice in books sold here that is increasing disturbingly. I want to hear the author's words, read by a good narrator (which Stephen Briggs is), and not some editor/director's idea of "mood music" to help me comprehend the story. With a storyteller like Terry Pratchett, no help is needed.

    I would like to suggest that Audible put a warning on such recordings, perhaps something like, "Please note that this book has been recorded with background music that may detract from your enjoyment of the literature you thought you were purchasing." I, for one, would avoid books with such warnings. Another alternative in these days of easy audio editing would be to offer two versions: one with background music and one without.

    By the way, this would of course have been a five star review provided that what I had received was an oral interpretation of the book that Mr. Pratchett wrote, instead of one that is "augmented" musically by some editor or "sound manager" who really needs to find another line of work, very quickly.

    16 of 19 people found this review helpful
  • The Beast of Blackslope: The Sherlock Files #2

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 36 mins)
    • By Tracy Barrett
    • Narrated By John Allen Nelson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (8)
    Performance
    (3)
    Story
    (4)

    Xena and Xander Holmes are back....and so is a mysterious beast from Sherlock's casebook! Xena and Xander have been looking forward to their vacation in the peaceful country village of Blackslope. But when a huge monster begins to terrorize the town, the young detectives are faced with a mystery that seems impossible to solve. Sherlock Holmes, Xena's and Xander's famous ancestor, investigated the case of a horrible beast in Blackslope, but that was nearly a hundred years ago....

    Kenneth W. James says: "Bring back Mr. Pittu, please."
    "Bring back Mr. Pittu, please."
    Overall

    The book may have been good, but the narrator can't carry it off. Little distinction among characters, and much of it sounds like a first read-through with no directorial reflection or correction. Children's voices are not whiny, and boredom doesn't pervade their inflection patterns all the time, and yet that's what it seems this narrator is doing. The narrator on Book 1, David Pittu, was excellent, with good characterization and appropriate vocal subtlety for the story-line. I see this current narrator is also on board for book 3. I guess I'll not be listening to any more of these.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Streets of Panic Park: Goosebumps Horrorland #12

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By R. L. Stine
    • Narrated By Suzy Myers, Marc Thompson
    Overall
    (7)
    Performance
    (5)
    Story
    (4)

    The kids who are trapped in HorrorLand thought they had reason enough to panic. That was before they reached Panic Park. It seemed like the only way to escape the mysterious villain who's playing puppet-master with their lives. But Panic Park is a perilous place, and it makes HorrorLand seem like HappyLand!

    Now they must face their greatest fears - and team up with the unlikeliest allies - in this shocking conclusion to the ride of a lifetime.

    Amazon Customer says: "scary good fun"
    "Why background music?"
    Overall

    The "background music" was so loud it overpowered the narrator. Who wants music in an audiobook, anyway? Either the producer/director/publisher of the audiobook didn't believe the narrator was good enough to carry it off (and I can't comment on that, since the narrator's track was inaudible above the din of mood music), or they believed the listener couldn't follow the plot without some assistance. Either way, this was a waste of a book credit. Sad, too, because Stine's writing is so enjoyable.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Goosebumps Horrorland, Book 9: Welcome to Camp Slither

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By R. L. Stine
    • Narrated By Andrew Rannells
    Overall
    (9)
    Performance
    (7)
    Story
    (7)

    Twelve-year-old Boone and his sister Heather love animals of every kind. That's why they wanted to come to Camp Hither. The wild legends of man-eating snakes and disappearing campers are hisss-terical! But Camp Hither has a cold-blooded secret: Somebody has unleashed a hungry horde of slithery snakes!

    Kenneth W. James says: "Unnecessary and distracting background music."
    "Unnecessary and distracting background music."
    Overall

    The "background music" was so loud it overpowered the narrator. Who wants music in an audiobook, anyway? Either the producer/director/publisher of the audiobook didn't believe the narrator was good enough to carry it off (and I can't comment on that, since the narrator's track was inaudible above the din of mood music), or they believed the listener couldn't follow the plot without some assistance. Either way, this was a waste of a book credit. Sad, too, because Stine's writing is so enjoyable.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Goosebumps HorrorLand, Book 6: Who's Your Mummy?

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By R. L. Stine
    • Narrated By Ashley Albert
    Overall
    (12)
    Performance
    (6)
    Story
    (8)

    Abby and Peter are staying with Uncle Jonathan in an eerie old village. Their uncle knows a lot about Egypt, and his living room even looks like an ancient tomb. Do other secrets lurk inside the house? MUM's the word!Next, Abby and Peter will get all WRAPPED up in a terrifying mystery

    Kenneth W. James says: "Audiobook?"
    "Audiobook?"
    Overall

    The "background music" was so loud it overpowered the narrator. Who wants music in an audiobook, anyway? Either the producer/director/publisher of the audiobook didn't believe the narrator was good enough to carry it off (and I can't comment on that, since the narrator's track was inaudible above the din of mood music), or they believed the listener couldn't follow the plot without some assistance. Either way, this was a waste of a book credit. Sad, too, because Stine's writing is so enjoyable.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A New Orleans Voudou Priestess: The Legend and Reality of Marie Laveau

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Carolyn Morrow Long
    • Narrated By Ian Eugene Ryan
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (13)
    Performance
    (10)
    Story
    (11)

    Against the backdrop of 18th and 19th-century New Orleans, A New Orleans Voudou Priestess: The Legend and Reality of Marie Laveau disentangles the complex threads of the legend surrounding the famous Voudou priestess. According to mysterious, oft-told tales, Laveau was an extraordinary celebrity whose sorcery-fueled influence extended widely from slaves to upper-class whites.

    Kenneth W. James says: "Interesting book, problematic reader."
    "Interesting book, problematic reader."
    Overall

    This book is a well-researched historical exploration of Marie Laveau, and deserves to be read. However, the choice of the reader worked against the text so much that I was unable to finish the book. I had read it in print form, and was eager to listen to it and reflect on the author's analyses of historical documents as I listened. The reader mispronounced many of the key names in the book, and the vocal quality was orotund and lethargic, making it very difficult to listen to. What made it even more frustrating was that the overall pitch of the reader's voice was perfect for the content. I only wish he had taken the time (or been given the opportunity) to practice the reading and to receive feedback on his oral interpretation from someone in a position to correct errors and problematic phrasing (like, perhaps, the author?).

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Fer-De-Lance

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Rex Stout
    • Narrated By Michael Prichard
    Overall
    (255)
    Performance
    (147)
    Story
    (145)

    When someone makes a present of a fer-de-lance - the dreaded snake - to Nero Wolfe, Archie Goodwin knows he's close to solving two apparently unrelated murders. As for Wolfe, he's playing snake charmer in a case more deadly than a cobra and whistling a seductive tune he hopes will catch a killer with poison in his heart.

    ShySusan says: "One of the best crime series of all time."
    "Problems with transmission."
    Overall

    The book is wonderful, the narrator is perfect--so why didn't I give this 5 stars? Because there are gaps in the audio recording. Small ones, though some go on for a few words. Generally the book can be understood, but the gaps are problematic. I wonder if some audio genius at Audible can look into this and correct the gaps.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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