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Casey

Hi! I'm Casey Keller, semi-retired TV writer, avid cyclist, husband and father. I'm also a guy who devours audio books.

ratings
92
REVIEWS
19
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
2
HELPFUL VOTES
105

  • House of Holes

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By Nicholson Baker
    • Narrated By Jeff Woodman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (34)
    Performance
    (27)
    Story
    (28)

    Shandee finds a friendly arm at a granite quarry. Ned drops down a hole in a golf course. Luna meets a man made of light bulbs at a tanning parlor. So begins Nicholson Baker's fuse-blowing, sex-positive escapade, House of Holes. Baker returns to erotic territory with a gleefully over-the-top novel set in a pleasure resort, where normal rules don't apply. Brimful of good-nature, wit, and surreal sexual vocabulary, this is a modern-day Hieronymous Boschian bacchanal that is sure to surprise, amuse, and arouse.

    Jeffrey says: "A fantastic performance of a very funny book"
    "Somebody Help Me Out Here, Please!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Imagine if Richard Brautigan wrote a book about an erotic Disney World. That would be Nicholson Baker's "House Of Holes."

    I listened to this entire book (or should I say "hole" book?) waiting to see what the author was getting at, and at the end, it seemed he was getting at nothing. "House Of Holes" is just not about anything. Instead of a strong narrative to pull me along, Baker uses titillation which got quite tedious after a couple of hours.

    Jeff Woodman’s narration was good, but his character voices were too cartoony. He made everybody sound like libidinous idiots, especially the women.

    And speaking of women, I couldn’t help noticing that all the rave reviews for this book were written by men. I’d be curious to see some reactions from women.

    Would somebody on this forum please help me out and tell me what this book is about? Show me what I missed. Let me in on the joke.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Freedomland

    • ABRIDGED (5 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Richard Price
    • Narrated By Joe Morton
    Overall
    (7)
    Performance
    (3)
    Story
    (2)

    A white woman, her hands gashed and bloody, stumbles into an inner-city emergency room and announces that she has just been carjacked by a black man. But then comes the horrifying twist: Her young son was asleep in the back seat, and he has now disappeared into the night.

    Casey says: "I'll take my audio books neat (and unabridged)"
    "I'll take my audio books neat (and unabridged)"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    First things first, Richard Price is an extraordinary writer. His work in movies "Clockers" and in television "The Wire" speaks for itself. His novels are wonderful. He reminds me of Tom Wolfe in his eye for subtlety and detail. His characters talk like human beings, not puppets set up to say glib things to show off how clever the writer is.

    Joe Morton, the narrator, is a world class actor and narrator. Among his acting credits is John Sayles "Brother From Another Planet" where he starred in a feature film without saying a word of dialog. He often narrates the "American Experience" series on PBS.

    But the production on this book leaves me torn. The use of music cues is kind of a turn off. It's not as bad as the audio book of "Huckleberry Finn" I bought on Audible a few months ago with its cutesy banjo and harmonica music, that tried to turn one of America's two greatest novels into a carefree, nostalgic romp, but I prefer my audio books unadulterated.

    Finally, had I noticed that this was an abridged book, I probably would not have bought it. Richard Price's writing is too winning to be cut down with an editor's machete.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Trustee from the Toolroom

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Nevil Shute
    • Narrated By Frank Muller
    Overall
    (683)
    Performance
    (615)
    Story
    (616)

    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!"
    "Comfort Food For Your Ears"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I know it sounds horribly boring, a book about good people trying to do kind things, but Nevil Shute’s Trustee From The Toolroom charmed me and made me feel good about being human. And that is a lovely thing.

    The story concerns Keith Stewart, a gifted machinist who makes his living writing for a hobbyist magazine called Miniature Mechanic that teaches other hobbyists how to make projects in their home machine shops. That's a little nook of civilization I never knew existed and Shute explores it wonderfully.

    Though disappointed that they could not have children, Keith and his wife live modestly and contentedly in a poor suburb of London. When his sister and brother-in-law die in a boating accident near Tahiti, they are willingly tasked with the role of raising their daughter.

    To recover the modest money left for the little girl's education, Keith must leave the comfort and safety of his home and bum his way around the world to his sister's shipwreck. In his travels, he discovers that, because of his articles in Miniature Mechanic, (and his generosity in taking the time to answer readers' letters) he has a vast network of friends and admirers everywhere eager to help him in his quest.

    Listen, I love listening to Jack Reacher and Harry Bosch kicking ass. I love the violent naval battles in the Master And Commander books, but sometimes it's nice to read a book about nice people doing nice things. I was charmed.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Passage of Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson

    • UNABRIDGED (32 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By Robert A. Caro
    • Narrated By Grover Gardner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (770)
    Performance
    (630)
    Story
    (626)

    The Passage of Power follows Lyndon Johnson through both the most frustrating and the most triumphant periods of his career - 1958 to 1964. It is a time that would see him trade the extraordinary power he had created for himself as Senate Majority Leader for what became the wretched powerlessness of a Vice President in an administration that disdained and distrusted him. Yet it was, as well, the time in which the presidency, the goal he had always pursued, would be thrust upon him in the moment it took an assassin’s bullet to reach its mark.

    Abdur Abdul-Malik says: "From Powerful to Powerless"
    "Can We Buy Mr. Gardner A Dictionary?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    If you know anything about current books, you know that this book is brilliant and well worth your time. It's one of most important books of the year. The New York Times rave review was written by Bill Clinton.

    But something must be said about Grover Gardner's mastery of the English language. It's missing. It's not that he's a bad reader. In fact he would be pretty good if it weren't for one thing... The man is constantly, annoyingly and distractingly mispronouncing words.

    Mr. Gardner needs a producer or a director... someone who can tell him to take a moment and check the pronunciation of the words he's reading.

    A quick search of Audible reveals Mr. Gardner's name on 285 titles. That's thousands of hours of recordings. Perhaps he's too busy recording books to check pronunciations. Perhaps Audible has kept him so busy that he hasn't slept in 12 years and can't concentrate. Perhaps he records books in his sleep.

    My point is not to attack Mr. Gardner, but rather that a brilliant and important book... a publishing event if you will, like The Passage Of Power deserves a lot more care taken with its audio version. We would certainly not be pleased with this book if it were filled with mis-spellings and typographical errors. Grover Gardner's mispronunciations are the audible equivalent.

    4 of 13 people found this review helpful
  • Dust and Shadow: An Account of the Ripper Killings by Dr. John H. Watson

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Lyndsay Faye
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1363)
    Performance
    (1023)
    Story
    (1018)

    Breathless and painstakingly researched, this is a stunning debut mystery in which Sherlock Holmes unmasks Jack the Ripper. Lyndsay Faye perfectly captures all the color and syntax of Conan Doyle’s distinctive nineteenth-century London.

    connie says: "the best of both Holmes"
    "This One's A Winner"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A few weeks ago Audible had a sale and I picked up 5 books thinking, “What the hell. If I hate it, I’m only out $4.95.” Well, with "Shadow And Fog," I picked a winner.

    It’s been years since I read Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes mysteries and I won’t try to pass myself off as a Baker Street Irregular, but I do love a good mystery and this one more than qualifies. Author Lindsay Faye builds on a conceit I first encountered in Nicholas Meyer’s “Seven Percent Solution.” He places the Holmes and Watson characters in the middle of an historical event or among historical characters. In Meyer’s book, Holmes is tricked into going to Vienna to be treated for his cocaine addiction by Dr. Sigmund Freud. In this story, Holmes finds himself matching wits with Jack The Ripper.

    Sherlock Holmes and his companion/biographer, Dr. John Watson are unquestionably among literature’s most enduring and beloved icons. Faye captures their voices perfectly. A lesser writer might have made Dr. Watson sound like the buffoon Nigel Bruce played opposite Basil Rathbone in the Sherlock Holmes films. Faye creates a number of those wonderful moments when Holmes’ dazzles someone with the conclusions he draws about them, moments that have always left me as impressed with the writer as Holmes’ clients are with his observational powers. And Faye adds a cast of memorable characters, in particular Mary Ann Blunt, a streetwalker with an unexpected talent for sleuthing.

    Simon Vance deserves special credit for his wonderful performance. He certainly seems to know his London dialects neighborhood by neighborhood. Very impressive.

    My conclusion… “Shadow And Fog” is great fun and well worth your time.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Reversal: Harry Bosch, Book 16 (Mickey Haller, Book 3)

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Michael Connelly
    • Narrated By Peter Giles
    Overall
    (3710)
    Performance
    (1852)
    Story
    (1861)

    Longtime defense attorney Mickey Haller is recruited to change stripes and prosecute the high-profile retrial of a brutal child murder. After 24 years in prison, convicted killer Jason Jessup has been exonerated by new DNA evidence. Haller is convinced Jessup is guilty, and he takes the case on the condition that he gets to choose his investigator, LAPD Detective Harry Bosch.

    Andrew Pollack says: "Brilliantly executed"
    "One of Connelly's Best"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    At his best, Michael Connelly is a great entertainer and a wonderful story teller. I'm happy to say The Reversal is Connelly at his best.
    Lately, I've found the Harry Bosch books to be over the top and, well... silly. But this story is told by both Bosch and his half brother, Mickey Haller (Lincoln Lawyer). That's a perfect combination. We get Mickey Haller for the always perceptive, chess-like court room moves and Hieronymus Bosch to add a bit of action and violence.
    Peter Giles does a great job on the reading although I do have one gripe. His voice for Harry Bosch sounds more like an aging surfer dude than a veteran detective, struggling father and former Vietnam tunnel rat.
    But aside from that, the moment this story starts, you won't be able to stop listening.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • iWoz: How I Invented the Personal Computer and Had Fun Along the Way

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Steve Wozniak, Gina Smith
    • Narrated By Patrick Lawlor
    Overall
    (2363)
    Performance
    (1358)
    Story
    (1382)

    Before cell phones that fit in the palm of your hand and slim laptops that fit snugly into briefcases, computers were like strange, alien vending machines. They had cryptic switches, punch cards, and pages of encoded output. But in 1975, a young engineering wizard named Steve Wozniak had an idea: What if you combined computer circuitry with a regular typewriter keyboard and a video screen?

    Anthony says: "Best of the Best"
    "An Enormous Disappointment"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Steve Wozniak was a key player in a moment in the world's history that may be as important as Gutenberg's invention of the printing press so if figures that this should be a thrilling read, full of insights (and gossip) about the process, the discoveries and the other important players. Instead, we have a book written at a 5th grade reading level that tediously recounts each clever engineering accomplishment of Mr. Wozniak's.

    We get it, Mr. Wozniak. You're a clever engineer and a nice guy, even if you do have to say so yourself OVER AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN. What you're NOT is an author or a raconteur.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Evolution of Bruno Littlemore

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Benjamin Hale
    • Narrated By Robert Petkoff
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (130)
    Performance
    (69)
    Story
    (69)

    Bruno Littlemore is quite unlike any chimpanzee in the world. Precocious, self-conscious and preternaturally gifted, young Bruno, born and raised in a habitat at the local zoo, falls under the care of a university primatologist named Lydia Littlemore. Learning of Bruno's ability to speak, Lydia takes Bruno into her home to oversee his education and nurture his passion for painting. But for all of his gifts, the chimpanzee has a rough time caging his more primal urges.

    Casey says: "Prepare To Be Dazzled!"
    "Prepare To Be Dazzled!"
    Overall

    The Evolution of Bruno Littlemore is an amazing novel. It is often hilarious, occasionally revolting and never stops asking, "What exactly does it mean to be human?"

    Bruno Littlemore experiences life on both sides of the glass wall that separates the chimpanzees from the visitors at Chicago's Lincoln Park Zoo. That unique perspective is what makes this book so wonderful.

    This is Benjamin Hale's first novel and he's created something very special. Robert Petkoff does a tremendous job reading the book.

    This is the kind of book I will listen to again and again and every time find something new and amazing.

    Do yourself a favor and get this book. And once you've read it, tell all your friends about it. I have.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs)
    • By Laura Hillenbrand
    • Narrated By Edward Herrmann
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (11625)
    Performance
    (7594)
    Story
    (7629)

    Why we think it’s a great listen: Seabiscuit was a runaway success, and Hillenbrand’s done it again with another true-life account about beating unbelievable odds. On a May afternoon in 1943, an Army Air Forces bomber crashed into the Pacific Ocean and disappeared, leaving only a spray of debris and a slick of oil, gasoline, and blood. Then, on the ocean surface, a face appeared.....

    Anastasia Burke says: "Hillenbrand could make even laundry fascinating!"
    "Wow! Do not miss this one"
    Overall

    Wow!
    Ever since reading Seabiscuit, I’ve been eagerly awaiting another book by Laura Hillenbrand. She is not only a magnificent story teller, she has a magnificent gift for picking stories to tell. Nine years ago, that story was Seasbiscuit: An American Legend. I had no interest in horses or horse racing, but I picked it up because the reviews had been so good. It was one of the most enthralling, memorable books I’ve ever read. (If you get it from Audible.com, be sure to get the Unabridged version. The abridged version is not worthy of your time),
    Nine years later comes Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption. It’s the story of a bombardier whose plane crashes into the Pacific and, after surviving 47 days on a raft, must survive a year and a half of torture and slave labor as a prisoner of war. In the hands of a lesser story teller, the relentless ordeals this man endured could have become maudlin, boring or even comical. But in Hillenbrand’s telling, it’s an emotional rollercoaster that leaves one in awe. There were times the book had me in tears and it’s rare a book can do that for a reader.
    Edward Hermann deserves applause for his excellent reading. This is a book you should not miss.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Percival Keene

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Frederick Marryat
    • Narrated By William Sutherland
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (38)
    Performance
    (12)
    Story
    (12)

    The adventures of the mischievous young midshipman Percival Keene begin when he learns that the demanding Captain Delmar, a member of the wealthy and titled De Versely family, is actually his natural father. Stung by his father's refusal to acknowledge him, Keene sets about to win his father's love and acceptance and gain the family fortune. To do so, Keene survives shipwreck and capture by murderous pirates, fights duels of honor with his fellow officers, and battles against the French.

    Ian says: "brief comment"
    "This is a real treat"
    Overall

    Even since I finished listening to "21 - The Final Unfinished Voyage Of Jack Aubrey" I've been looking for books to fill the void left in my life when I finished the Aubrey/Maturin series. The Hornblower books are okay. I just finished one called "Kydd" by contemporary author Julien Stockwin and found it flat and dull.

    Then I listened to "Percival Keene" by Frederick Marryat. While O'Brian combined naval life with the style of Jane Austen (he even gave his hero her initials), Marryat seemed to be combining naval action with Charles Dickens.

    But a little research tells me that Marryat precedes Dickens. Marryat was actually a post captain in the Royal Navy around the time of Aubry and served under Lord Cochrane, the man Aubrey is patterned after.

    Percival Keene is full of colorful characters and humor as well as action. William Sutherland, the book's narrator does a terrific job. It's definitely worth a listen. Marryat's books may even help fill the void left by finishing O'Brien's cannon.

    I sincerely hope Audible.Com posts more of Marryat's seagoing adventures.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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