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San Diego, CA, United States | Member Since 2007

  • 9 reviews
  • 44 ratings
  • 331 titles in library
  • 20 purchased in 2014

  • Blood and Thunder: An Epic of the American West

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Hampton Sides
    • Narrated By Don Leslie

    In the fall of 1846, the venerable Navajo warrior Narbona, greatest of his people's chieftains, looked down upon the small town of Santa Fe, the stronghold of the Mexican settlers he had been fighting his whole long life. He had come to see if the rumors were true, if an army of blue-suited soldiers had swept in from the East and utterly defeated his ancestral enemies.

    russell says: "Unforgettable"
    "An Insightful Account"

    Mr. Sides has an astounding talent for taking otherwise dry historical accounts and making them into well paced reads for the non-historian.

    To some extent, the precis on this book is deceptive, in that Narbona is not the core character. It would be much more true to say that Kit Carson is central to this book, as it largely follows his post-trapping career in the American southwest, and ends just after his death.

    One thing which does come through clearly here is how much complete failure to comprehend cultural differences, ignorant bigotry, and narrow-minded military mindsets on the Mexican, Indian, and American parts combined to contribute to numerous needless atrocities by all sides shaped the character of the Southwest. Happily, many figures of the time (Carson, Kearney, Narbona) come out as clear of all of these factors. Unfortunately many others (Chivington, Carlton, Manualito) come through as clear contributors.

    All together, this book came out as a very balanced characterization of a difficult time in American history.

    The presentation is clear and the pacing is good. Mr. Leslie does a reasonable job of contributing accent to quotations to characterize them as distinct from narrative text.

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • Brave New World

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Aldous Huxley
    • Narrated By Michael York
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    When Lenina and Bernard visit a savage reservation, we experience how Utopia can destroy humanity.

    Cloning, feel-good drugs, anti-aging programs, and total social control through politics, programming, and media: has Aldous Huxley accurately predicted our future? With a storyteller's genius, he weaves these ethical controversies in a compelling narrative that dawns in the year 632 A.F. (After Ford, the deity). When Lenina and Bernard visit a savage reservation, we experience how Utopia can destroy humanity.

    Jefferson says: "“Oh, Ford, Ford Ford, I Wish I Had My Soma!”"
    "A Classic Which Never Really Grows Old"

    Given the high-dollar talent which went into this production, I was hoping for a high-value return. And, by and large, I got what I hoped for.

    While some of Mr. York's character voicings are awkward, by and large he gives his performance like a seasoned professional. Volume and pacing are excellent, and the intonations are appropriate.

    As regards the story, it is what it is -- a classic. It is in many ways as relevant today as it ever has been.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Mark Haddon
    • Narrated By Jeff Woodman

    Fifteen-year-old Christopher Boone has Asperger's Syndrome, a condition similar to autism. He doesn't like to be touched or meet new people, he cannot make small talk, and he hates the colors brown and yellow. He is a math whiz with a very logical brain who loves solving puzzles that have definite answers.

    Robert says: "Endearing. Pathos, humor, reality, and insight."
    "An Excellent Aspergers Starting Point"

    This is an excellent first look into some of the internal world of autistics. I would caution, however, that it is NOT a manual on Aspergers Syndrome or Autism. I would refer to the famous saying within the autism spectrum community that "If you've met one autistic, you've met one autistic."

    That said, however, this book gave a lot of insight into what the internal processes CAN be like for someone on the spectrum. I know, that as someone with Aspergers Syndrome, I could see parts of myself in Christopher.

    The story is compassionate and sometimes heartbreaking. While I found a few elements pretty predictable, the overall story is very good.

    The performance is excellent, although they weren't too much challenged for a wide range of voicing, since the story is written in first person. :-)

    All and all, if you are recently diagnosed or are close to someone who is, this is a worthwhile listen for a peek into a little part of what autistics experience on a day to day basis.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • unChristian: What a New Generation Really Thinks About Christianity...and Why it Matters

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By David Kinnaman
    • Narrated By Lloyd James

    Christians are supposed to represent Christ to the world. But according to the latest report card, something has gone terribly wrong. Using descriptions like "hypocritical," "insensitive," and "judgmental," young Americans share an impression of Christians that's nothing short of . . . unChristian.

    Andrew says: "A Wake Up Call to the Christian Right"
    "A Wake Up Call to the Christian Right"

    Mr. Kinnaman has a wake up call for contemporary Christianity. There really is a call to action -- but it's not the one that the politically connected of conservative Christianity has been screaming for so long. It is a call to become... more like Christ (*GASP*).

    The author has some very solid research to back up his position as well. Through extensive interviews with younger Christians and outsiders of the post-Baby Boomer generations, he makes a very solid position that these young people see Christianity acting in some very un-Christlike ways. And it's turning them away from Christ in droves.

    He then proceeds to make an excellent case based upon this research that there are some very appropriate and Christian things that contemporary Christianity can (and in my personal opinion, should) to better reflect faith in Christ to these outsiders

    Narration and production are as I have always had from audible -- impeccable.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • 10 Books That Screwed Up the World: And 5 Others That Didn't Help

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Benjamin Wiker
    • Narrated By Robertson Dean
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    You've heard of the "Great Books"? These are their evil opposites. From Machiavelli's The Prince to Karl Marx's Communist Manifesto to Alfred Kinsey's Sexual Behavior in the Human Male, these "influential" books have led to war, genocide, totalitarian oppression, family breakdown, and disastrous social experiments. And yet these authors' bad ideas are still popular and pervasive. Here with the antidote is Professor Benjamin Wiker.

    Aaron says: "Some merit, but more religious masquerade"
    "An Exercise in Philosophical Hypocricy"

    Let's get the easy part of this out of the way first. The pacing and presentation of the material is outstanding, along with the narration, which perfectly fits with the tones of intellectual superiority with which the author writes.

    The author actually starts quite strong, with some reasonably well presented chapters on Machiavelli through Hobbes. I agree VERY strongly with the author's early assertion that it is ESSENTIAL to read these books in their entirety to understand their implications (yes, even Mein Kampf.)

    Now for the flies in the pudding. Beginning with his discussion of Rosseau, however, the author begins to reveal his biases and hidden agenda. He derides Rosseau's work as the beginning of all the misguided liberal agenda ever since.

    For the balance of the book, the author is unashamed of saying that it is impossible to establish a legitimate standard of right and wrong based upon anything but the Judeo-Christian model. Essentially all of his discourse beyond that point consists of cherry-picked facts and ad-hominem arguments (particularly with respect to Meade and Kinsey.

    In summary, if you want to read something to spare you the effort of reading those other difficult works and to reaffirm a world view intolerant of anything but extreme religious conservatism, this is the book for you. Otherwise, go read the original philosophical works yourself, and spare yourself the hypocrisy.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Blunder: Why Smart People Make Bad Decisions

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Zachary Shore
    • Narrated By Zachary Shore, Kevin Pariseau
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    We all make bad decisions. It's part of being human. The resulting mistakes can be valuable, the story goes, because we learn from them. But do we? Historian Zachary Shore says no, not always, and he has a long list of examples to prove his point.

    Andy says: "helpful extension of the genre"
    "Pulls No Punches"

    A splendid introduction to the concept of cognition traps, into which we all inevitably fall, and which we all need to learn to avoid and recover from. Well read by the author, who clearly has the a passion for the subject.

    Once caveat for the listener -- if you have any problem hearing candid analysis of what went/is going wrong in Vietnam, Iraq, or Afganistan, then this may potentially offend you. However, be advised that the author DOES teach to various staff of DoD and the US armed forces, so he does, in my opinion, present these without and deliberate biases.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Do Gentlemen Really Prefer Blondes?: Bodies, Brains, and Behavior---The Science Behind Sex, Love and Attraction

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Jena Pincott
    • Narrated By Laural Merlington
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Cosmopolitan meets Scientific American in this entertaining and informative question-and-answer book on human attraction. Based on the latest studies in science, Do Gentlemen Really Prefer Blondes? answers more than 100 wild, weird, and very pressing questions.

    Roy says: "A Great Change of Pace"
    "Enlightening, but not particularly scientific..."

    This is an entertaining overview of the basic biological sciences with regard to relationship behavior in men and women. Ms. Pincott does an excellent job of calling out her sources. Unfortunately, her use of statistics to state trends in quite lacking. In very few cases does she refer to specific percentages in the behavior studies she references (I would estimate about 20%.) In the other cases she relies upon the phrases 'significantly greater' and 'significantly less'. As such, while this is a good introduction for the non-scientist, I would not recommend this as any kind of meaningful scientific overview.

    One thing which may somewhat disturb male readers is that Ms. Pincott's prose is clearly written intending a female audience. It didn't bother me particularly, but was somewhat disquieting at times.

    Ms. Merlington does a clear, well timed reading, with appropriate inflections, and the audio quality is excellent.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Rest Is Noise: Listening to the 20th Century

    • UNABRIDGED (23 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Alex Ross
    • Narrated By Grover Gardner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    The Rest Is Noise takes the listener inside the labyrinth of modern music, from turn-of-the-century Vienna to downtown New York in the '60s and '70s. We meet the maverick personalities and follow the rise of mass culture on this sweeping tour of 20th-century history through its music.

    Paula says: "Learned so much!"
    "Not a work for the unitiated..."

    Like many of the composers about which he writes, Mr. Ross appears have some disdain for mass appeal. Without at least some grounding in music theory, particulary the theories of harmony, this book can be expected to only mystify. I myself have only a brief and non-formal grounding in that area, and I was only able to get a small feel for the works being described. Unfortunately, without musical example, verbally describing symphonic works simply doesn't work.

    Beyond that disclaimer, this is an interesting (though very selective) overview of the interaction between the sequestered world of classical composing and outward reality.

    Unfortunately, what often comes through is simply the disdain the classical composer has for the rest of us. That along with Mr. Ross' delight in pointing out the homosexual composers whether or not it is germain to their works drags this work into a quite bleak view of the century.

    The narration was good in pace and articulation, although a number of non-English words are poorly pronounced.

    8 of 12 people found this review helpful
  • Atlas Shrugged

    • UNABRIDGED (52 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Ayn Rand
    • Narrated By Christopher Hurt
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    This is the story of a man who said that he would stop the motor of the world - and did. Is he a destroyer or a liberator? Why does he fight his hardest battle not against his enemies, but against the woman he loves? Tremendous in scope, breathtaking in its suspense, Atlas Shrugged is Ayn Rand's magnum opus and launched an ideology and a movement. With the publication of this work in 1957, Rand gained an instant following and became a phenomenon. Atlas Shrugged emerged as a premier moral apologia for capitalism, a defense that had an electrifying effect on millions of readers (and now listeners) who had never heard capitalism defended in other than technical terms.

    Robert says: "Over before you know it"
    "A Classic Well Told"

    At first blush, the length of this work, combined with how dry it can be in print made it daunting.

    However, this reading made a very viable presentation of the material. Mr. Hurt has good pacing and intonation. He makes reasonable character voicings, and does a really superb job of keeping the long monologues and introspections interesting.

    The reading was also very well paced. I was particularly impressed that the length of the summary speech near the end of the work matches almost exactly the times in the text which reference it.

    Overall, this is a very accessible and insightful presentation of subject matter which could under other circumstances be particularly onerous.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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