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Thug4life

I'm just a dumb troglodyte who like reading. Me feel good after I read book.

Sutton, MA | Member Since 2012

170
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 45 reviews
  • 141 ratings
  • 447 titles in library
  • 100 purchased in 2014
FOLLOWING
4
FOLLOWERS
12

  • The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By L. Frank Baum
    • Narrated By Anne Hathaway
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2170)
    Performance
    (2011)
    Story
    (2000)

    One of the best-known stories in American culture, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz has stirred the imagination of young and old alike for over 100 years. Best Actress nominee Anne Hathaway (Rachel Getting Married, Alice In Wonderland), fresh from filming one of this year’s most anticipated films, The Dark Knight Rises, lends her voice to this uniquely American fairy tale.

    Thug4life says: "Great for family car ride"
    "Great for family car ride"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to The Wonderful Wizard of Oz again? Why?

    My family and I drove from Boston to New York listening to "the wonderful wizard of Oz." At 3HRs 52MIN OZ was the prefect length for a long car ride. We were enthralled and memorized by the depth and beauty of the story. The book is moderately different from the movie, which allows much discussion around the discrepancies. The narrator, Anne Hathaway, is excellent, where she bring so much magic and life to multiple characters. Our family continues to discuss the book weeks after completion.


    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Revival: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Stephen King
    • Narrated By David Morse
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (431)
    Performance
    (411)
    Story
    (415)

    In a small New England town, over half a century ago, a shadow falls over a small boy playing with his toy soldiers. Jamie Morton looks up to see a striking man, the new minister. Charles Jacobs, along with his beautiful wife, will transform the local church. The men and boys are all a bit in love with Mrs. Jacobs; the women and girls feel the same about Reverend Jacobs - including Jamie’s mother and beloved sister, Claire. With Jamie, the Reverend shares a deeper bond based on a secret obsession.

    Thug4life says: "Not fit for a King"
    "Not fit for a King"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    In my opinion, Stephen King has set the standard of excellence relative to authoring books in the horror genre. It pains me to report that “Revival” falls short of this very high standard. The plot of “Revival” serves as a vehicle for Mr. King to spout off about drug addiction, aging, the existence of God, and guitar playing. All of these items are interesting to read about, but seem jammed into a non-compelling story. Also, the antagonist of “Revival” is not all that evil. The worst you may say is he practices medicine without a license and seems selfish sharing his discoveries. Another issue it is not until the half-way point when “Revival” finds its sea legs and rhythm.

    “Revival” does have moments of pure delight (I affectionately refer to these as Kingnezian moments), such as listening to the “terrible sermon” in Chapter 3. I was also touched my Mr. King’s descriptions of first love and family reunions. For most authors,” Revival” would represent a triumph of writing and storytelling. However, we expect much more from Mr. King.

    29 of 33 people found this review helpful
  • Mystic River

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Dennis Lehane
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (112)
    Performance
    (96)
    Story
    (95)

    When they were children, Sean Devine, Jimmy Marcus, and Dave Boyle were friends. But then a strange car drove up their street. One boy got in the car, two did not, and something terrible happened - something that ended their friendship and changed the boys forever. Twenty-five years later, Sean is a homicide detective. Jimmy is an ex-con. And Dave is trying to hold his marriage together and keep his demons at bay - demons that urge him to do horrific things. When Jimmy's daughter is murdered, Sean is assigned to the case.

    Jane says: "Wonderful writing,"
    "Punches you in the face!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I hit a dry spell in finding new novels that would engage my interest. As a result, I started searching for notable American novels I missed during the height of their popularity. Mystic River shows up on every book critic’s top 25 lists of great American modern novels. Since I had not seen the movie, I gave it a listen.

    It would be misleading to characterize Mystic River (MR) as a murder mystery or detective story. Any reader who watched more than three episodes of “Law & Order” will figure out the mystery of MR by the end of the fourth chapter. The value of MR comes in the author’s, Dennis Lahane, skills at making the reader feel the anguish of the characters and intensity of the storyline. MR is a dark serious drama devoid of humor. The three main characters carry a deep sense of misery and psychological trauma that cannot be conventionally expressed due the machismo cultural standards of South Boston. The culture of machismo results in a basic breakdown in social communication, isolation, rejection, and pointless death. Lahane expertly takes the reader into an insular community where most of us would rarely venture. MR is always moving toward the conclusion, where the reader feels a tension similar to watching a car speeding obliviously in the wrong direction of a busy one way street and waiting for the eventual crash. The drama of the book occurs as characters rush to judgments based on community standards and spurious information.

    Although the audio book runs roughly 15 hours, every detail is important to understanding the eventual finale. The interplay between the environment and characters makes this book special. After completing the book I watched the film. MR the movie, directed by Clint Eastwood, is almost 100% faithful to the book in plot and tone. I recommend reading MR instead of watching the film to capture Lahane’s masterful writing. However, if you already watched the film, the book will lose much of its punch.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Station Eleven

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Emily St. John Mandel
    • Narrated By Kirsten Potter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (152)
    Performance
    (133)
    Story
    (134)

    An audacious, darkly glittering novel set in the eerie days of civilization’s collapse, Station Eleven tells the spellbinding story of a Hollywood star, his would-be savior, and a nomadic group of actors roaming the scattered outposts of the Great Lakes region, risking everything for art and humanity.

    Jack says: "DON'T FALL FOR THE HYPE: THIS BOOK IS TERRIBLE!!"
    "Donna Tart recommendation"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Donna Tart FaceBook page recommended “Station 11”, which is the sole reason I engaged Emily Saint John-Mandel’s book. Although I enjoyed and recommend “Station 11”, I feel that I have visited the pandemic theme countless times in the last year (California, the 5th Wave, and the Maze Runner). Basically, 99% percent of the population is wiped out by the Georgian flu, civilization falls apart, and the reset button must be pushed. Following an interim period of chaos, a small troupe of actors/musicians travels to self-governing communities staging Shakespeare plays for the deprived peoples (there are no other forms of entertainment in the post-apocalyptic world).

    The story of “Station 11” floats back and forth in time and centers on six characters. Saint John-Mandel is a very good writer, which makes “Station 11” a cut above similar pandemic books. “Station 11” is primarily about strong relationships. When society is stripped down to a survival of fittest mentality, forming and maintaining groups of friends with similar values are essential. Saint John-Mandel also has some interesting and creative ideas about how small independent communities may differ relative to self-governance.

    Overall, Station 11 is a well written and offers a creative perspective on an old theme. The book is never boring or unnecessary violent. Instead, I found Saint John-Mandel’s work thoughtful and introspective.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Invisible Bridge: The Fall of Nixon and the Rise of Reagan

    • UNABRIDGED (39 hrs)
    • By Rick Perlstein
    • Narrated By David de Vries
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (69)
    Performance
    (63)
    Story
    (62)

    In January of 1973 Richard Nixon announced the end of the Vietnam War and prepared for a triumphant second term - until televised Watergate hearings revealed his White House as little better than a mafia den. The next president declared upon Nixon’s resignation “our long national nightmare is over” - but then congressional investigators exposed the CIA for assassinating foreign leaders. The collapse of the South Vietnamese government rendered moot the sacrifice of some 58,000 American lives.

    Tad Davis says: "Brilliant"
    "Setting the occasion for the Reagan Revolution"
    Overall
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    Story

    The Invisible Bridge (IB) describes the cultural, economic, political, domestic, and social conditions that set the occasion for the "Reagan Revolution" or political realignment of the U.S. in favor of conservatism. Rick Perlstein starts “IB” with a detailed analysis of the Nixon administration’s break-in at the Watergate hotel in September 1971. Perlstein reminds the reader that Nixon had other problems brewing in 1971: Bombing of Cambodia, attempting to withdraw from Vietnam without the appearance of losing the war, POWs, and student demonstrations. Overall, the consecutive Presidency’s of Johnson /Nixon permanently changed the American people’s perception of the executive office. The office that was once revered and respected was now seen as corrupt and implacably tarnished.

    Reagan’s story and ascendance is always lurking as the backdrop to the scandalous events ranging from Vietnam to Jimmy Carter. Perlstein gives the reader a good biography of Reagan’s development and history, but this is not comprehensive. The emphasis of IB is a microanalysis of political and cultural events that affected Americans between 1971 and 1976. I must admit, I had forgotten how turbulent and chaotic these years were in American history; especially the high degree of domestic terrorism.

    IB is not a love letter to Republicans, Democrats, or Reaganites. Perlstein appears to treat all of the players between 1971 and 1976 with equal contempt and cynicism. If you interested in learning about a fairly turbulent time in the United States that set the occasion for a conservative agenda, IB is a winner. If you are a fan of Rush Limbaugh looking to re-affirm your existing worship of the 40th President, look elsewhere.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Path to Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson

    • UNABRIDGED (40 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Robert A. Caro
    • Narrated By Grover Gardner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (223)
    Performance
    (208)
    Story
    (210)

    This is the story of the rise to national power of a desperately poor young man from the Texas Hill Country. The Path to Power reveals in extraordinary detail the genesis of the almost superhuman drive, energy, and ambition that set LBJ apart. It follows him from the Hill Country to New Deal Washington, from his boyhood through the years of the Depression to his debut as Congressman, his heartbreaking defeat in his first race for the Senate, and his attainment, nonetheless, at age 31, of the national power for which he hungered.

    David C. Daggett says: "The Best of all Biographies"
    "My summer with Lyndon"
    Overall
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    Story

    It took me the entire summer of 2014 to complete Robert Caro’s four volume set on Lyndon Baines Johnson (LBJ). That’s over 160 hours of listening engagement and six downloads (“Master of the Senate” is sold in three separate sections to swindle the listener). However, like a lays potato chip, you can’t stop at one volume. Caro’s critically acclaimed masterwork is a contender for the greatest biography ever put to paper. I was actually saddened to complete the series as I found myself yearning for the release of the 5th and final volume.

    Caro’s LBJ series is best described as a micro analysis of about amassing and exercising of power over others. For most of the work, the reader will learn how through duplicitous and manipulative means, LBJ acquired and wielded power. The 36th President displayed an innate motivation and skill that drove him to outwork and outthink his opponents. His drive for power is evident from the earliest years growing up in poverty in near Johnson City, Texas. Caro’s ability to describe the early life LBJ is done so expertly that the reader becomes totally engrossed in the story. Caro descriptions of LBJ’s childhood, economics conditions of South Texas, and socio economic conditions are full of passion and entertainment.

    As a listener, you should know within 10-minutes of listening to the introduction if “Path to Power” is the right choice for you. Caro starts each book in the series with an overview. I found these introductions riveting and knew within a few minutes that I selected a winner. The LBJ series is also narrated by Grover Gardener, who is my opinion the very best audible reader in the business.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Impulse Society: America in the Age of Instant Gratification

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Paul Roberts
    • Narrated By Edoardo Ballerini
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (12)
    Performance
    (11)
    Story
    (10)

    Paul Robert digs down to the economic roots of the problem, shows how it has metastisized to affect every facet of our lives and our ability to navigate the future. In clear, cogent prose that mixes illuminating analysis and vibrant reporting, Roberts not only tells the fascinating story of how the impulse society came to be, but shows how, perhaps, a healthier society may still be possible.

    Thug4life says: "Required Reading"
    "Required Reading"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story


    Paul Robert's “The Impulse Society” is one of the most interesting and intellectually satisfying non-fiction books I have engaged in the last year. Roberts begins with the premise that modern day American society is built on the need for immediate gratification from our consumer behaviors, social interactions, business practices, and political preferences. These claims are backed up with data and astute cultural/political observations dating back from Reagan and ending with Obama. The author also provides a historical perspective relative to the times when America citizens made personal and business sacrifices for the public good. “The Impulse Society” is completely engaging with great narration. The book will challenge the reader's long established beliefs and hopefully open them up to new perspective.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Leftovers

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Tom Perrotta
    • Narrated By Dennis Boutsikaris
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (685)
    Performance
    (583)
    Story
    (595)

    What if—whoosh, right now, with no explanation—a number of us simply vanished? Would some of us collapse? Would others of us go on, one foot in front of the other, as we did before the world turned upside down?That’s what the bewildered citizens of Mapleton, who lost many of their neighbors, friends and lovers in the event known as the Sudden Departure, have to figure out. Because nothing has been the same since it happened—not marriages, not friendships, not even the relationships between parents and children.

    glamazon says: "The title is the best part"
    "Barking up the wrong tree"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    I was fascinated and enthralled by the HBO series “The Leftovers.” The show is dark, cerebral, and deals with penultimate questions of life after death. When the 2014 season ended without total closure, I raced to the novel to have all my questions answered. However, the novel is superficial and intellectually disappointing aside the HBO series. The Leftovers novel provides only the basic outline which is expertly filled by the created of the television show “Lost” (Damon Lindelof). There is little to be gained in the novel for fans of the HBO series.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Tommyknockers

    • UNABRIDGED (27 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Stephen King
    • Narrated By Edward Hermann
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (998)
    Performance
    (688)
    Story
    (694)

    Bobbi Anderson and the other good folks of Haven, Maine, have sold their souls to reap the rewards of the most deadly evil this side of Hell.

    Grant S. Burroughs says: "The old Stephen King"
    "Only for the SK fans"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    In 1987, at the height of Stephen King's cocaine and alcohol addiction, he wrote the Tommyknockers (TK). A quick unscientific online search reveals that many King fans rank the “TK” toward the very bottom of his 62 published works. In 1999 in an editorial for the Onion, King reported that he had almost no recollection of this novel about an alien spacecraft that slowly takes over the minds and bodies of the citizenry of Haven, Maine. Although “TK” cannot compare to The Stand, Salem’s Lot, or The Dome, it's surprisingly entertaining.

    The TK has a strong start which allows for the development of the main characters: a writer, Bobbie Anderson, and poet, Jim Gardner. These recluses have the unique ability to tolerate each other. One day when running in the woods, Bobbie trips over a piece of metal protruding slightly from the ground. This seemingly inconsequential event starts off a series of changes that lead us through the “TK”. I love that King is willing and unafraid to uncover the world's greatest discovery in such a happenstance manner. It reminds me of King's time travel concept in “11-22-63”, where the time travel vehicle is a dirty cleaning closet at a local dinner. Only Stephen King can get away with this level of ludicrousness. With any other author most readers would throw down the book saying, “You expect me to buy this malarkey”.

    If you can make the leap and accept the ridiculous manner in which the spacecraft is discovered, you can lock in and go on an exciting ride. It's amazing that King writes so clearly and fluidly for a man at the height of addiction. His writing is always clear and he vividly brings horrific scenes to the reader's consciousness. Overall, there are many King books better than the “TK”. A much better book about alien invasion mind control is “The Cell.” However, if you are a rabid King fan, like me, and want to study all the works, the “TK” is fun and revealing. Of the 87 books I have read over the last two years, TK is ranked 41.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Gary Taubes
    • Narrated By Mike Chamberlain
    Overall
    (1832)
    Performance
    (1165)
    Story
    (1154)

    Building upon this critical work in Good Calories, Bad Calories and presenting fresh evidence for his claim, Taubes now revisits the urgent question of what’s making us fat—and how we can change—in this exciting new book. Persuasive, straightforward, and practical, Why We Get Fat makes Taubes’s crucial argument newly accessible to a wider audience.

    Igor N. says: "Are you looking for an attachement for the book?"
    "Worth the read, but flawed"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?


    Gary Taubes' “Why We Get Fat” (WWGF) is an engaging summary of the science related to human weight gain. Taubes cites numerous research articles, case studies, and social/cultural situations to support the hypothesis that obesity is a result of our bodies inability to effectively digest select carbohydrates. The more complex the carbohydrate (bread, rice, potatoes,...) the higher the probability an individual will gain weight. This carbohydrate digestive processing program is also idiosyncratic, effecting some while not others.

    WWGF reads like a doctoral dissertation attempting to support the argument that excess carbohydrates are responsible for excess human weight gain and corresponding health problems. Taubes espouses that diets high in protein and fat with restricted intake of complex carbohydrates not only results in weight loss, but are the healthier for the body. WWGF also reports that although exercising is beneficial to the human body, it relationship to weight lose is inconclusive at best. At this moment many readers may be saying “What the What”? According to Taubes you have been brain washed by the dieting industry and he has the research to prove it.

    The strength of WWGF is Taubes debunking many long established weight lose myths. For example, the myth that weight lose occurs when calories consumed are exceeded by calories expended (called the first law of thermodynamics). For Taubes, the solution to society's obesity problem is not reducing time sitting on couch, but the replacing complex carbohydrates with copious amounts fat/proteins. Does this make sense? To Taubes the research is clear and Americans have been mislead into thinking dieting is an excess calorie problem.

    There are two major drawbacks to the WWGF. Taubes arguments and theories are not independently verified. He does not conduct the hard scientific experiment to justify his claims. As a reader you keep waiting for him to discuss that well controlled study that will allow you to start eating steak for three meals per day. That study never materializes. A second weakness is WWGF does not provide any guidance on the types of carbohydrates you should focus on relative to weight lose. His best advice is to replace high insulin producing carbs with green leafy carbs. WOW and Thank you!

    WWGH is a great book for readers interested in a more than passing interest in weight lose. The book is very well written, flows, and the information is easily digestible.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Mr. Mercedes: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Stephen King
    • Narrated By Will Patton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (5631)
    Performance
    (5250)
    Story
    (5256)

    In the frigid pre-dawn hours, in a distressed Midwestern city, hundreds of desperate unemployed folks are lined up for a spot at a job fair. Without warning, a lone driver plows through the crowd in a stolen Mercedes, running over the innocent, backing up, and charging again. Eight people are killed; fifteen are wounded. The killer escapes. Mr. Mercedes is a war between good and evil, from the master of suspense whose insight into the mind of this obsessed, insane killer is chilling and unforgettable.

    Joyce says: "Love this style of King!!!"
    "Worth the ride"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    Stephen King novels fall into two categories: Wide Scope or Intimate Character Studies. Wide scope King novels juggle multiple characters and story lines (The Stand, The Dome, It, and Salem's Lot..). The intimate charter studies are laser focused on no more than five characters, where the characters are a akin to the reader's family members by the end of the novel (Joyland, Duma Key...) . Mr. Mercedes is an intimate character study that locks the reader into experiencing an almost personal relationship with the main characters.

    Mr. Mercedes is a terrific read! The prose of the main charter, retired detective Bill Hodges, is rough, funny, and indicative of a shrewd curmudgeon. Hodges is ready to be taken to the glue factory until the book's villain, Brady Hartsfield, decides to wake this sleeping dog out of pure narcissism. The interplay between the two characters creates numerous out loud laughable moments especially in the email exchanges. Mr. Mercedes is not scary, but creates a creepy tone throughout the novel through King's use of imagery and graphic detail.

    Mr. Mercedes is never dull and moves at a surprisingly brisk pace despite the fact that there are few action sequences. The excitement of Mr. Mercedes occurs under the hood, being exposed to cognitions or mental problem solving of the two protagonists. King expertly gives the reader both sides of the coin relative to motives and motivations of the good guys and bad guys.

    Obsessive Stephen King fans know that the master of the horror genre has more than a passing interest in gritty detective novels. In King's only nonfiction book, On Writing, he pays his respects to detective fiction by Elmore Leonard, Raymond Chandler, and hardboiled pulp fiction stories from magazines. With Mr. Mercedes, King gets his opportunity to make his contribution to the detective genre, albeit Steve King style.

    My only negative comment about Mr. Mercedes is relative to the narration. Will Patton (The Postman and Remember the Titians) has a gruff and graveled voices that does not personally appeal to me.

    Overall, Mr. Mercedes is a must read for all who enjoy escaping reality. The main joy Mr. Mercedes is experiencing the development of the main characters as "better angles of our nature" that arise during trying circumstances. In my personal rank order rating system, Mr. Mercedes ranks 20th of the 75 books I have read/listened to over the last 2.5 years.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful

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