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Doug

Retired teacher of literature with an interest in religion and in science and in history. I have loved reading for 50 years.

Columbus, NC, United States | Member Since 2004

ratings
171
REVIEWS
47
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
13
HELPFUL VOTES
349

  • A Tale of Two Cities

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Charles Dickens
    • Narrated By Martin Jarvis
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (588)
    Performance
    (224)
    Story
    (235)

    "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times"; "It is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known"; so the novel begins and ends with some of Dicken's best-known words, and between the two is every Briton's view of the worst excesses of the French Revolution.

    K. Hicks says: "A Rediscovery of an Old Friend"
    "Enchanting, inspiring, exciting"
    Overall

    One needs some patience to get used to Dickens' style in the early parts of this wonderful book, but listening to the audio helps make the story understandable. And like so many of life's treasures that require work before reward, this story pays off the patient reader in the end with emotional and intellectual paybacks that top all books I know of except possibly Les Miserables. My first attempst to read the book led nowhere, but finally I listened to the audio and read the book at the same time (more or less) and I got hooked into a book that I rank as one of the two best fiction works I have ever read (and I am a teacher of English with 30 years experience, and a bookworm too...) I have now read and listened to the book about ten times and I plan to revisit it again, at least every two years....it is too good to ignor.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Strange Glory: A Life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Charles Marsh
    • Narrated By Paul Hecht
    Overall
    (4)
    Performance
    (4)
    Story
    (4)

    In the decades since his execution by the Nazis in 1945, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the German pastor, theologian, and anti-Hitler conspirator, has become one of the most widely read and inspiring Christian thinkers of our time. Now, drawing on extensive new research, Strange Glory offers a definitive account, by turns majestic and intimate, of this modern icon.

    Doug says: "Excellent life of Bonhoeffer"
    "Excellent life of Bonhoeffer"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I have read books about Bonhoeffer previously, but this one is different...some how Marsh makes the man seem more alive, more real than other books have done. Bonhoeffer is more interesting than I had thought. One feels he gets to know a real person, a person he would like to know and a person who has victories and defeats just like we all do. Detailed and personal, the story is very informative but does not sound academic...it is just a well told story of a very talented man from a very exceptional family...a man who in the end showed that what he preached he practiced....by putting his life on the line for the faith he believed in and lived...and by losing his life on earth to the evil Nazi power he struggled against. Along the way much of Bonhoeffer's theology is explained in ways that are understandable and enlightening. This book is a well-told story of an exceptional and interesting man. One of the best biographies I have read lately. The narrator does a very good job....so good that you forget that you are listening to a performance...it is more like a good chat by a skillful speaker.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • America and Americans and Selected Nonfiction

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By John Steinbeck
    • Narrated By Henry Strozier
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (11)
    Performance
    (10)
    Story
    (10)

    More than three decades after his death, John Steinbeck remains one of the nation's most beloved authors. Yet few know of his career as a journalist who covered world events from the Great Depression to Vietnam. Now, this original collection offers a portrait of the artist as citizen, deeply engaged in the world around him. In addition to the complete text of Steinbeck's last published book, America and Americans, this volume brings together for the first time more than 50 of Steinbeck's finest essays and jouralistic pieces.

    Doug says: "Really good Steinbeck journalism.....no kidding!"
    "Really good Steinbeck journalism.....no kidding!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The title of this book kept me from reading it for many years even though I love Steinbeck. The title suggested that the book was a vapid piece of bragging about what a wonderful place America is....well, I do not disagree that America is wonderful and great, but I did not want to hear my beloved Steinbeck doing some kind of Readers Digest puff piece on America. Wow! Was I wrong! This book is great Steinbeck writing....nothing short of his usual perceptive and feeling prose. It reminds me a bit of Travels with Charley in that this book is non-fiction and a report on the state of American and Americans during the fifties and sixties mostly, with some World War II stuff added. One or two pieces are among the last of Steinbeck's last writings....the essays on Vietnam deal with his trip to that county during the war in 1967, and Steinbeck died less than two years later. His mature, late-life writing is simply great, as indeed most of his work was from at least 1939 forward. Thank God I took a chance on this book....good Steinbeck prose is as good as any prose ever written, and there is very good stuff here. Finally, much of what he includes here is humorous, very reminiscent of some of Twain's journalism with tongue in cheek, such as his Innocents Abroad or Roughing It. Listen and enjoy! (PS...the narrator is excellent, the sound quality excellent also)

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Autobiography of Mark Twain, Vol. 2

    • UNABRIDGED (26 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Mark Twain
    • Narrated By Grover Gardner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (26)
    Performance
    (23)
    Story
    (24)

    Mark Twain's complete, uncensored Autobiography was an instant best seller when the first volume was published in 2010, on the centennial of the author's death, as he requested. Published to rave reviews, the Autobiography was hailed as the capstone of Twain's career. It captures his authentic and unsuppressed voice, speaking clearly from the grave and brimming with humor, ideas, and opinions. The eagerly awaited second volume delves deeper into Twain's life, uncovering the many roles he played in his private and public worlds.

    Tad Davis says: "Magnificent"
    "Excellent humor...with invective and pathos"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Volume II of this new autobiography is better organized and easier to read than Vol I was...and it is very very humorous. Twain rips apart those who wronged him, as he saw it. No one can destroy an enemy with such fun as Twain does. But he also praises friends like General Grant and tells about Grant's dying days as the general writes his memoirs and Twain sets up a publishing house just to publish Grant's work. And when Twain launches into his critique of the Old Testament and the character of the god described in it, you will laugh regardless of your religious convictions or lack thereof. Twain says things everyone has thought but he says those things in ways that are both humorous and dead-on to the point. Like the old phrase: what oft was thought but never so well expressed.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Cuckoo's Calling

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Robert Galbraith
    • Narrated By Robert Glenister
    Overall
    (6343)
    Performance
    (5776)
    Story
    (5784)

    After losing his leg to a land mine in Afghanistan, Cormoran Strike is barely scraping by as a private investigator. Then John Bristow walks through his door with an amazing story: his sister, the legendary supermodel Lula Landry, famously fell to her death a few months earlier. The police ruled it a suicide, but John refuses to believe that. The case plunges Strike into the world of multimillionaire beauties, rock-star boyfriends, and desperate designers, and it introduces him to every variety of pleasure, enticement, seduction, and delusion known to man.

    Tracey says: "Unbelievable debut mystery set in London"
    "Wordy wordy wordy....wordy wordy"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Excessive unnecessary details, too much description that is ordinary, not vivid, and the plot drags along so that I wished the story was a long short story or novella rather than its present length. The main character is interesting, as are one or two other persons....but the book is loaded with so many people who pop in and out that you had better keep an alphabetical list to remember them....or maybe you should just ignore them once you figure out who is important to the story...which is not easy the first half of the book. The author's style seems to be that of a first-time novelist....as I said but must repeat: wordy wordy wordy. Were the reputed author not JKR, this book would not have been published. And I do wonder if JKR did write it or if she is boosting someone else's effort to break in to publishing...but if JKR is doing that, did she even READ the book?

    6 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • The Call of the Wild

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Jack London
    • Narrated By John Michaels
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3)
    Performance
    (3)
    Story
    (3)

    The Call of the Wild by Jack London was perhaps his best selling book. Buck the dog, a St. Bernard Shepherd mix was living a comfortable life in the Santa Clara Valley of California until the demand for dogs of his type in the Klondike encourages the caretaker to steal him and sell him into a life of misery in the far North. his physical strength, and his strength of character allow him to survive the brutal treatment he receives at the hand of man. The longer he is in the North, the closer he comes to his brother Wolf until the call of the wild transforms him into a wild animal, a Wolf.

    Doug says: "Atrocious narrator"
    "Atrocious narrator"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The narrator killed any joy I could have gotten from this book. He did not put emphasis in the right place while reading. He read introductory clauses and many other sentence parts as if they were complete sentences....as if they required a full stop. Then the next part of the sentence he read as if it were a new sentence unconnected to what had just been read. That was very distracting and it interfered with understanding the narrative. I have read the book several times and I love it, but this narrator lacks skill in reading to an audience.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Jesus: An Interview Across Time: A Psychiatrist Looks at Christ's Humanity

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By Andrew G. Hodges
    • Narrated By Marquis Laughlin
    Overall
    (7)
    Performance
    (4)
    Story
    (6)

    Imagine that you were given the opportunity to interview Jesus, the most remarkable human being of all time. What would you ask? What would he say? That is the premise of this book by psychiatrist Dr. Andrew G. Hodges, a man accustomed to interviewing people about their llives, motives, hopes and fears. The questions are those you or I might ask; the answers are given as if Jesus were sitting beside us, chatting leisurely on a hill in modern Galilee....

    Doug says: "Fundamentalism"
    "Fundamentalism"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Besides a fundamentalist approach, this book promotes a literal interpretation of the Bible. The narrator has an irritating habit of chuckling or grunting to make the listener think what has been spoken is obviously true....sort of like canned laughter to let you know when to laugh. I rate it a three, but for many people it would rate a one and for others it would be a five...depends on one's outlook.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Dr. No

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By Ian Fleming
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (965)
    Performance
    (631)
    Story
    (633)

    M calls this case a "soft option". He sends Bond to Jamaica to investigate the disappearance of the head of the Kingston station. Jamaica is luxurious, and the seductive Honey Rider is beautiful and willing, but they are both part of the empire of Dr. No.

    Doug says: "A classic James Bond thriller"
    "A classic James Bond thriller"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Ian Fleming wrote some fabulous thrillers with James Bond at the center. Doctor No is one of the better stories. The plot is at least feasible, although it is somewhat dated now, given that the story is 60 years old. Still, I enjoyed the audio as much as I did the print book which I read 40 years ago. Fleming keeps the listener on edge with his sharp eye on leading the listener into suspenseful situations. Of course Bond is victorious in the end, but the voyage is very entertaining.

    3 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
    (1051)
    Performance
    (913)
    Story
    (920)

    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"
    "Disappointing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I love Sherlock and I admire the Foyle's War television stories Horowitz has written, but I am not happy with House of Silk. I found the story boring and disconnected at times. Jacobi performs Holmes with a voice one would expect from an overweight, hysterical old lady....wonder why? I hope there are listeners who love this audio, but for me it was not enjoyable at all.

    8 of 12 people found this review helpful
  • The Sign of Four: A Sherlock Holmes Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
    • Narrated By Simon Prebble
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (58)
    Performance
    (35)
    Story
    (34)

    As a dense yellow fog swirls through the streets of London, a deep melancholy has descended on Sherlock Holmes, who sits in a cocaine-induced haze at 221B Baker Street. His mood is only lifted by a visit from a beautiful but distressed young woman---Mary Morstan, whose father vanished ten years before. Four years later she began to receive an exquisite gift every year: a large, lustrous pearl.

    Doug says: "Good not great"
    "Good not great"
    Overall

    The narrator does an excellent job interpreting this Sherlock Holmes tale...good accents, good pacing. The story itself is not quite as good as some of the Sherlock tales, so I gave it a four, not a five.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Town

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By William Faulkner
    • Narrated By Joe Barrett
    Overall
    (60)
    Performance
    (48)
    Story
    (49)

    The story of Flem Snopes' ruthless struggle to take over the town of Jefferson, Mississippi, this is the second volume of Faulkner's trilogy about the Snopes family, his symbol for the grasping, destructive element in the post-bellum South.

    Doug says: "Accessible Faulkner"
    "Accessible Faulkner"
    Overall

    Faulkner humorously tells tales about the Snopes family members....sneaky, oily, crafty, ravening, grasping, double-dealing, nearly wolfish lower class Southerners who are determined to rise above their birth status.

    This is one of the easier Faulkner titles to read. Still, Faulkner does employ his challenging prose style at times, so the reader/listener must attend carefully.

    The narrator of the book did a very good job, with an excellent accent and very good pacing.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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