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Avi

berkeley, CA, United States | Member Since 2010

36
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 11 reviews
  • 53 ratings
  • 1 titles in library
  • 58 purchased in 2014
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  • Slouching Towards Bethlehem

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Joan Didion
    • Narrated By Diane Keaton
    Overall
    (127)
    Performance
    (118)
    Story
    (115)

    Universally acclaimed from the time it was first published in 1968, Slouching Towards Bethlehem has been admired for decades as a stylistic masterpiece. Academy Award-winning actress Diane Keaton (Annie Hall, The Family Stone) performs these classic essays, including the title piece, which will transport the listener back to a unique time and place: the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco during the neighborhood’s heyday as a countercultural center.

    Victoria Wright says: "Didion deserves better."
    "personal journalism...reporter of the self"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    i've always found 'personal journalism' something of a contradiction...hunter thompson, joan didion, tom wolfe, etc., and often can't find the bright line between it and fiction... that being said, a few of the 'stories' in this collection are golden reflections of our time, but most are simply the personal insights into how this writer receives the world...ms keaton's reading is entirely sympathetic and a pleasure to listen to...what puzzles me is whether she's ever met a foreign word (non-English) that has been adopted by our vernacular that she can pronounce with something that resembles its source language.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Snowman

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Jo Nesbo
    • Narrated By Robin Sachs
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2004)
    Performance
    (1349)
    Story
    (1352)

    Oslo in November. The first snow of the season has fallen. A boy named Jonas wakes in the night to find his mother gone. Out his window, in the cold moonlight, he sees the snowman that inexplicably appeared in the yard earlier in the day. Around its neck is his mother’s pink scarf. Hole suspects a link between a menacing letter he’s received and the disappearance of Jonas’s mother - and of perhaps a dozen other women, all of whom went missing on the day of a first snowfall. As his investigation deepens, something else emerges: he is becoming a pawn....

    Anita says: "many layered thriller"
    "the series has grown long in the tooth"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Having now read through the next book in the series, The Leopard, which actually references some of the more bizarre psychological insights of this book, I am thinking that perhaps four book was enough.
    Incidentally, does anyone else out there wonder what Jo Nesbo's is really saying about his attitude to women, well, actually toward me too...exactly why are women always getting mutilated, men with power doing the mutilation, and Harry Hole so self destructive that he even winds up with his body being eroded from one book to the next?

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • If the Dead Rise Not: A Bernie Gunther Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Philip Kerr
    • Narrated By Paul Hecht
    Overall
    (142)
    Performance
    (101)
    Story
    (96)

    The best-selling author of 20 novels, Philip Kerr has won a devoted following - and there are none more ardent than those who devour his Bernie Gunther series. In 1934, Bernie found himself in Berlin, where he was caught up in intrigue surrounding Hitler, America, and the upcoming Olympiad. Two decades later, Bernie surfaces in Havana. But an old associate has appeared there as well - and might spell trouble of a decidedly deadly nature.

    Michael says: "Not the same w/o John Lee narrating, but ok story"
    "Not His Best"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Despite some flashes of his wonderful sense of irony, Kerr's slant on the topic of his Bernie Gunther series may be getting a bit long in the tooth. On the other hand, I wonder what his rich imagination will come up with for a new series. Paul Hecht offers his normal excellence as orator.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Mr g: A Novel about the Creation

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Alan Lightman
    • Narrated By Ray Porter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (94)
    Performance
    (77)
    Story
    (75)

    “As I remember, I had just woken up from a nap when I decided to create the universe.” So begins Alan Lightman’s playful and profound new novel, Mr. g, the story of Creation as narrated by God. Bored with living in the shimmering Void with his bickering Uncle Deva and Aunt Penelope, Mr. g creates time, space, and matter - then moves on to stars, planets, consciousness, and finally intelligent beings with moral dilemmas.

    Diane says: "The Universe: A Fable"
    "An Interesting Conceit"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It's difficult to be god but Lightman makes a decent attempt, at least not an authoritarian one.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Headstone: A Jack Taylor Novel of Terror

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Ken Bruen
    • Narrated By John Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (14)
    Performance
    (12)
    Story
    (12)

    Evil has many guises and Jack Taylor has encountered most of them, and has the scars to prove it. But nothing before has ever truly terrified him until he confronts an evil coterie named Headstone, who have committed a series of random, insane, violent crimes in Galway, Ireland that leave even the national police shaken. And Jack is especially vulnerable now that he has finally found love and happiness.

    Alton says: "Bruen at his best.."
    "Gerry O'Brien, where have ye gone?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    In The Guards, Ken Bruen comments about how painful it is to hear an Englishman attempt a brogue...does violence to the ear, and possibly more. Here we have an Englishman, John Lee, whose reading style is more suited to a story about England in the Middle Ages, doing precisely what the author thought is a crime against the ear, the Irish and possibly against all humanity and maybe against all of nature itself. I am not a fan of John Lee as his voice and style are rather inflexible and more often than not, overwhelm the material rather than yield to a sympathetic reading of the material. In this book, he simply gets neither the temper of Jack Taylor or of Bruen's series. His reading is so unfortunate, that the story itself is smothered. There was one particular character – and not an Irish one -- that provided some humor: instead of English with a Greek accent for a Greek doing business in Ireland, we are treated to the accent of The Count from Sesame Street. So I guess even John Lee can provide humor, unintended as it was. For all but die hard Ken Bruen fans, better to stay away...but then again, for all of us die hard Ken Bruen fans, how can we stay away?

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Prayers for Rain

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Dennis Lehane
    • Narrated By Jonathan Davis
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (119)
    Performance
    (104)
    Story
    (103)

    What if a total stranger was watching your every move? What if he read your mail, listened in on your phone calls, knew what you spoke of only to your most trusted confidants? What if he learned Your routines? Your weaknesses? And, most important, what if he discovered those things you love and cling to . . . and then he stripped you of them? And sat back to watch while you self-destructed?

    Katherine J. Mayberry says: "Finally--more Lehane"
    "A superb reading..t-.t-t-that's all folks...."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    As usual Jonathan Davis gives a superb performance but surely this is late Lahane, or at least late Kinsey/Gennaro...the story lacks cohesion as proven by the last chapter...the two main characters now weak and strident...the only shining light, Bubba, a sociopath...if anyone wrote of a woman the way Lehane writes of Bubba (thru Kenzie's eyes), I would think that they'd be lovers in the next book. If Gone Baby Gone found some strength in the discussion of who has the right to kill and an extremelweakness in its antiquated and simplistic discussion of an almighty, I suggest that this book has only weakness. The denouement became laughable when Patrick (don't call me Pat) Kenzie was able to outrace a bullet from a high powered automatic across the room from his beloved and save her from the total loss of her brains (taking a bullet through his chest) while Bubba, the killing machine, standing a few feet from the killer, was unable to get off a single bullet during this miraculous Kenzie feat...I guess so much for Bubba's killer instincts. But what really puzzled me was why, after Kenzie and Gennaro go through hell together and have lain down to do what they inevitably do in bed together, when the next morning Kenzie makes a simple and entirely logical suggestion that has the potential to, and in fact does lead to the resolution of the puzzle driving the story, does Lehane have Gennaro give Kenzie a rasher of s___ -- maybe Kenzie's attraction to Bubba is affecting his performance with dear Angie...or perhaps this strident dialogue si really Lehane's deeper feeling about women...I'm guessing that by the way he writes of them as sexual objects, this is it. Ok, on to the next...back at you later.

    4 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • The Guards

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Ken Bruen
    • Narrated By Gerry O'Brien
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (86)
    Performance
    (70)
    Story
    (71)

    Still stinging from his unceremonious ouster from the Garda Siochana, and staring at the world through the smoky bottom of his beer mug, Jack Taylor is stuck in Galway with nothing to look forward to. He is teetering on the brink of his life's sharpest edges, his memories of the past cutting deep into his soul and his prospects for the future non-existent.

    John says: "This is literature, not just crime fiction"
    "BRUEN...THE BEST"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    ...of all mystery writers, bruen is the best...writer, that is...the story is just along for the ride... a unique knack for dialogue, an unrivaled knowledge of music and literature... an ability to find a poignant phrase that speaks to the deepest parts of each of us...never a word in excess... orwell would be proud! the reader, gerry o'brien, a perfect complement to bruen's prose.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank: Stories

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs)
    • By Nathan Englander
    • Narrated By Mark Bramhall, Kirbey Heyborne, Lincoln Hoppe, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (70)
    Performance
    (61)
    Story
    (61)

    The title story, inspired by Raymond Carver’s masterpiece, is a provocative portrait of two marriages in which the Holocaust is played out as a devastating parlor game. In the outlandishly dark “Camp Sundown” vigilante justice is undertaken by a group of geriatric campers in a bucolic summer enclave. “Free Fruit for Young Widows” is a small, sharp study in evil, lovingly told by a father to a son. “Sister Hills” chronicles the history of Israel’s settlements from the eve of the Yom Kippur War through the present, a political fable constructed around the tale of two mothers who strike a terrible bargain to save a child.

    Avi says: "Englander at his best!"
    "Englander at his best!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Always an insightful and provocative writer, Englander reaches deeply into his subject matter, complex as it is, to new heights as both an observer of his chosen culture and as a writer. The sensitive and intelligent aural telling of each story matches the writing.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat: and Other Clinical Tales

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 36 mins)
    • By Oliver Sacks
    • Narrated By Jonathan Davis, Oliver Sacks
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (929)
    Performance
    (764)
    Story
    (768)

    Oliver Sacks' The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat tells the stories of individuals afflicted with fantastic perceptual and intellectual aberrations: patients who have lost their memories and with them the greater part of their pasts; who are no longer able to recognize people and common objects; who are stricken with violent tics and grimaces or who shout involuntary obscenities; whose limbs have become alien; who have been dismissed as retarded yet are gifted with uncanny artistic or mathematical talents.

    Darwin8u says: "A Clinician's eYe, but a Poet's HEART"
    "DISAPPOINTING"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Despite a terrific read by Jonathan Davis, this poorly and pretentiously written book, short on science and long on musings about the soul and who has one, is one on which I regret having spent both time and money. It might better be named The Physician Who Mistook Himself for a Metaphysician.

    4 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • A Drink Before the War

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Dennis Lehane
    • Narrated By Jonathan Davis
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (259)
    Performance
    (220)
    Story
    (221)

    With novels like Mystic River and Shutter Island, Dennis Lehane has dramatically altered the landscape of the crime thriller—while boldly overstepping the boundaries that have long separated mystery from literature. Now two of his sensational early novels have been combined in a single volume—two gritty and mesmerizing masterworks of suspense featuring the private eye duo of Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro.

    L. O. Pardue says: "Great beginning to thriller series"
    "EXCELLENT READ; EXCELLENT READER"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Dennis Lehane, an erudite mystery writer, and Jonathan Davis, a reader with a wonderful feel for the work, create a first rate piece of audio theatre.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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