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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

50
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 31 reviews
  • 53 ratings
  • 283 titles in library
  • 25 purchased in 2014
FOLLOWING
5
FOLLOWERS
5

  • The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By L. Frank Baum
    • Narrated By Anne Hathaway
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1744)
    Performance
    (1619)
    Story
    (1613)

    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.

    JT says: "Anne Hathaway Shines Throughout This Audio Edition"
    "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.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Horns: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Joe Hill
    • Narrated By Fred Berman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (975)
    Performance
    (575)
    Story
    (583)

    Ignatius Perrish spent the night drunk and doing terrible things. He woke up the next morning with a thunderous hangover, a raging headache, and a pair of horns growing from his temples. At first Ig thought the horns were a hallucination, the product of a mind damaged by rage and grief. He had spent the last year in a lonely, private purgatory, following the death of his beloved, Merrin Williams, who was raped and murdered under inexplicable circumstances.

    bet says: "people are funny"
    "FUN"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    I am so reassured after reading/listening to a Joe Hill novel. Reassured because he relatively young writing talent, age 41, who is on track to produce numerous future great book in the horror genre. I will always look forward to the next Joe Hill novel. Hill's writing is creative, exciting, in your face, and unpretentious. He is never boring and unafraid veer his stories in multiple directions within improbable situations.

    Hill's best work to date is NOS4A2, but Horns (written 3 years before NOS4A2) is an absolute delight. This story of revenge is so inventive with multiple individual story lines that you need to wait for the last 20 pages to pull it all together. Horns also includes so many classic references to Lucifer and analyzes the ultimate role of the prince of darkness. Hill gives the reader a metamorphous of man into the devil with several interesting twists, ascribing him supernatural powers that would make most crime solvers jealous.

    Having lauded Hill for the last two paragraphs, I must admit that with Horns, Hill is yet a fully matured writer. He is like a big-time home hitter who strikes out too much. There are few segments in Horns when the bottom drops out of the story. This most often occurs at the start of flashback scenes, where the action/drama abruptly stops and the author resets the story.

    Many of friends criticize Joe Hill's writing as an identical copy as his father, Stephen King. I feel this the strength of Joe Hill! The resemblance of his famous father's writing style is something that almost every writer would wish for if they found a genie lamp. Overall, Horns is an exciting and creative audio book with excellent narration. Hill may have some pacing problems, but this book is fun. Using my personal rank order system of the best books I read over the last two years, Horns is 20th of 65.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Daniel James Brown
    • Narrated By Edward Herrmann
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (643)
    Performance
    (585)
    Story
    (594)

    Daniel James Brown's robust book tells the story of the University of Washington's 1936 eight-oar crew and their epic quest for an Olympic gold medal, a team that transformed the sport and grabbed the attention of millions of Americans. The sons of loggers, shipyard workers, and farmers, the boys defeated elite rivals first from eastern and British universities and finally the German crew rowing for Adolf Hitler in the Olympic games in Berlin, 1936.

    Benoibe says: "Best book of the year!"
    "Read B4 The Movie"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    Boys in the Boat (BITB) is a powerful and entertaining book that allows the reader/listener to forget their reading non-fiction. The story brings together a confluence of historical events that make for an intriguing story: the Great Depression, the sport of crewing at its height of popularity, Berlin's 1936 Olympics, and the impending start of WWII. Author, Daniel James Brown, writes with a certain sense of ease and realism that conjures up the spirit of the times.

    As a reader, I gained a much greater understanding and respect the sport of crewing upon reading BITB. Brown does an outstanding of reviewing the history of crewing, the athletic efforts needed to be a part of a crew team, comradely needed to be a successful crew team, and the strategy needed to win races. Equally gripping was the explanations about how families survived day to day during the Great Depression. Brown also tells the personal stories of the University Washington crew members, which allows the reader a very personal interaction the subject matter. All of these elements are seamlessly woven together to identify the country's emerging character that would dominate the post WWII area and be termed by Tom Brokaw as the "greatest generation".

    Brown's best work is spent detailing the propaganda efforts on the behalf of Hitler, Leni Riefenstahl, and German Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels, who attempted to use the spectacle of the 1936 Olympics to support their fantasies of racial superiority. Brown's research and spot-on storytelling brings the story to an exciting climax.

    Overall, I really enjoyed reading/listening to BITB for the characters, story, and historical significance. Reportedly, the movie rights have been sold to Miramax, which Kenneth Branagh is scheduled to direct. In my rank order system of the 64 books I have over the last two year, BITB lands in the 12th position.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Long Mile Home: Boston Under Attack, the City's Courageous Recovery, and the Epic Hunt for Justice

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Scott Helman, Jenna Russell
    • Narrated By Jim Frangione
    Overall
    (3)
    Performance
    (3)
    Story
    (3)

    Long Mile Home will tell the gripping story of the tragic, surreal, and ultimately inspiring week of April 15, 2013: the preparations of the bombers; the glory of the race; the extraordinary emergency response to the explosions; the massive deployment of city, state, and federal law enforcement personnel; and the nation’s and the world’s emotional and humanitarian response before, during, and after the apprehension of the suspects.

    Thug4life says: "Faithful Retelling of tragic event"
    "Faithful Retelling of tragic event"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    Long Mile Home (LMH) is a faithful retelling of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing. LMH offers a comprehensive and concise story of all of the events associated with the bombing. If you followed the events of the Boston bombing through the Boston Globe or NYT, LMH has very little additional information to offer. There are no added insights into the motivations or behaviors of the bombers beyond those identified by CNN. The authors do spend a good deal of time focuses on the first responders and personal stories of bombing victims. However, there is nothing revealing or new LMT offers to the reader.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • High Price: A Neuroscientist's Journey of Self-Discovery That Challenges Everything You Know About Drugs and Society

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Carl Hart
    • Narrated By J. D. Jackson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (39)
    Performance
    (37)
    Story
    (37)

    A pioneering neuroscientist shares his story of growing up in one of Miami's toughest neighborhoods and how it led him to his groundbreaking work in drug addiction. As a youth, Carl Hart didn't realize the value of school; he studied just enough to stay on the basketball team. At the same time, he was immersed in street life. Today he is a cutting-edge neuroscientist - Columbia University's first tenured African American professor in the sciences.

    Matthew R. Herald says: "An excellent book to make you think"
    "Outstanding!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    High Price by Carl Hart is one of the very best audio books I have listened to in the last year. As a reader, I am always intrigued by how others become successful. Given that Dr. Hart grows up in a broken home with minimal positive supports in Carol City Miami exposed to violence and frequent drug use only makes his journey to a tenured professorship at Columbia University more captivating.

    Dr. Hart is able to pinpoint the key behavioral moments and environmental conditions that permitted him to move toward the next opportunity. As you are reading High Price, you may say to yourself "How does this guy eventually become a tenured Columbia professor ?" Dr. Hart conveys his incredible journey in a manner that keeps the reader/listener fully engaged and locked in.

    High Price is not only about the Carl Hart story. Instead Dr. Hart educates the reader/listener about the history of drug enforcement, drug addiction, the chemical structure of illegal drugs, and the racism disguised as the war on drugs. Dr. Hart challenges the basic assumption many Americans have about street drugs that is propagated by the media, drug associations, and politicians. He also exposes the reader to peer reviewed research that refutes many of our long-standing and commonly held assumptions about drug use in inner city America.

    Finally, the strongest part of High Praise is Dr. Hart's explanations of human behavior based on the science of behaviorism as espoused by BF Skinner. Dr. Hart does not rely on the verbal musings and explanatory motivations that drive behavior. Instead, Dr. Hart explains the challenging behaviors of others by examining their environments and their lacking repertoire of functional life skills.

    Overall, High Praise is a great book!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Newtown: An American Tragedy

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Matthew Lysiak
    • Narrated By Adam Verner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (23)
    Performance
    (22)
    Story
    (22)

    12/14/2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School Newtown, Connecticut We remember the numbers: 20 children and 6 adults, murdered in a place of nurture and trust. We remember the names: Teachers like Victoria Soto, who lost her life protecting her students. A shooter named Adam Lanza. And we remember the questions: Outraged conjecture instantly monopolized the worldwide response to the tragedy, while the truth went missing. Here is the definitive journalistic account of Newtown.

    Dusty S. Human says: "sadly enlightening"
    "Tragic, heartbreaking, and important"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    Your initial reactions upon gazing the book cover of “Newtown" will be to avoid reliving the Sandy Hook massacre. Matthew Lysiak, author, details the modern American nightmare, which leaves readers depressed and emotionally drained. However, reading Newtown is an important first step in starting to comprehend the roots of school shootings and its lasting effects on the families and communities.

    The 20 years old shooter murdered his mother, 6 educational professionals, and 20 early elementary aged children. It's too easy to avoid thinking about this tragedy and bury your head in the sand, but the value of Newtown is the direct and clear descriptions of the shooters atypical childhood development, anti-social behaviors, and clear behavioral warning signs that escalated into mass murder. There are no explanations that will help the reader understand the shooter. However, the reader is exposed to a series to environmental circumstances and behavioral chains that culminated to into the worst tragedy in American History:

    1) At age 4 the shooter was exposed to guns and practiced marksmanship on the shooting range.
    2) The shooter's mother purchased high capacity weapons and magazines, which she illegally provided to her emotionally troubled son.
    3) As early as kindergarten school officials implemented interventions designed to accommodate the shooter’s high degree of social anxiety and aspergers syndrome.
    4) The shooter received mental health consultation and various psychotropic medications throughout his childhood.
    5) The shooter was socially isolated from his peers, drew numerous pictures of people being shot to death, collected information on mass murders, and played thousands of hours of the video game "Call of Duty".

    Newton also describes the courage of the Sandy Hook Elementary personnel and first responders. Lysiak spends time outlining the positive attributes of each victim. Overall, Newtown will make you very sad and troubled. However, the reader takes away certain behaviors exhibited by the shooter that almost anyone would identify as threat to society.

    There is value to revisiting the Sandy Hook massacre and learning from its awful lessons.
    Readers interested in more information related the precursor behaviors and environmental circumstances that related to the tragedy should go on to read the CT Attorney General’s Report on Sandy Hook (free On-line) and Andrew Solomon’s interview with the shooters father in the March 2014 New Yorker Magazine.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Sports Gene: Inside the Science of Extraordinary Athletic Performance

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By David Epstein
    • Narrated By David Epstein
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (229)
    Performance
    (206)
    Story
    (207)

    Are stars like Usain Bolt, Michael Phelps, and Serena Williams genetic freaks put on Earth to dominate their respective sports? Or are they simply normal people who overcame their biological limits through sheer force of will and obsessive training? In this controversial and engaging exploration of athletic success, Sports Illustrated senior writer David Epstein tackles the great nature vs. nurture debate and traces how far science has come in solving this great riddle.

    Cynthia says: "Epstein writes! He scores!"
    "Yawn!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    David Epstein, author of the Sports Gene (SG) and writer for SI, is all over ESPN speaking about his book. Throughout SG you have the impression that Epstein is trying too hard to debunk the 10,000 hours of deliberate practice rule of success. He criticizes Malcolm Gladwell and others for studying a very narrow subset of successful professionals that resulted in making sweeping generalizations about the success associated with deliberate and sustained practice. The SG suggest that dedication and practice is no match for being blessed with certain physical traits (long Achilles tendons, superhero visual acuity, narrow hips, and fast twitch muscles). Personally, I don’t like the message.

    Overall the SG is a fair book for those interested in identifying the physical traits associated with athletic greatness. SG will not appeal to the typical the sports fan, instead it appeals to those athletic professionals immersed in athletic training. If you an endurance runner or college jock attempting to score a spot in the upcoming Olympics, the SG is for you. Otherwise, the book runs out of gas about 50% through. According to my personalized rank order system of book evaluation, SG ranks in the lower third of books I read or listen to over the last two year (40th of 59).

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Bruce

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Peter A. Carlin
    • Narrated By Bobby Cannavale
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (112)
    Performance
    (100)
    Story
    (102)

    This sweeping biography of Bruce Springsteen features in-depth interviews with family, band members, childhood friends, ex-girlfriends, and a poignant retrospective from the Boss himself. It’s Bruce as his many fans haven’t before seen him - the man behind the myth, describing his life and work in intimate, vivid detail.

    Patrick King says: "For the most part, this is what I was hoping for"
    "Just Say No"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    Peter Ames Carlin's biography of Bruce Springsteen fails in its most basic obligation to the reader; explaining and analyzing how Springsteen become one of the most successful singer/songwriters in American History. The author reveals the Boss was not an especially talented student, did not grow up in a musical environment, and had limited opportunities for cultural enhancement, yet developed into a historic musical icon. Carlin skips over the development of the young Springsteen so quickly that it seems that he acquired his musical gifts through magic. Bruce's mother buys him a guitar and three pages later he his compared to Eric Clapton. The development of his song writer talents are equally ambiguous, where Bruce seems to reject reading books and relies solely on watching movies.

    The remainder of "Bruce" deals with very superficial and boring factual accounts of business contracts, touring locations, and terse interactions with band mates. The actual Springsteen comments quoted in the book are often only a few words, where he seems highly guarded. I honestly did not feel that I learned anything revealing about Springsteen. His genius and motivations remain as mysterious to me now as they were when I started "Bruce."

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Goldfinch

    • UNABRIDGED (32 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Donna Tartt
    • Narrated By David Pittu
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4427)
    Performance
    (4052)
    Story
    (4052)

    The Goldfinch is a haunted odyssey through present-day America and a drama of enthralling force and acuity. It begins with a boy. Theo Decker, a 13-year-old New Yorker, miraculously survives an accident that kills his mother. Abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. Bewildered by his strange new home on Park Avenue, disturbed by schoolmates who don't know how to talk to him, and tormented above all by his unbearable longing for his mother, he clings to one thing that reminds him of her: a small, mysteriously captivating painting that ultimately draws Theo into the underworld of art.

    B.J. says: "A stunning achievement - for author and narrator"
    "Not Too Shabby!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    The Goldfinch is one of the best books I have read in the last two years. What makes the Goldfinch so good? The Story! The reader is locked into a completely original and captivating story with excellent character development. The Goldfinch deals with many social issues, personal sagas, and themes without losing distracting the reader from the main story. This was my first Donna Tartt book, where many book aficionados refer to her as a genius. I may fall into that camp. Tartt's use of foreshadowing and character describing analogies will make you want to read the book twice.

    Tartt brings the reader into environments, personal circumstances, and private meetings that create a great sense of reader intimacy and connectedness throughout the book. The Goldfinch addresses the motivations and experiences associated with drug abuse, addiction, and PTSD. These heady and sad experiences are handled expertly by Tartt, where the reader is not overwhelmed by pessimism or hopelessness.

    I have two major criticisms of the Goldfinch: 1) Some sections of the book are overwritten. As the reader you want to move to the next scene change. However, Tartt gives allows the main charter to overly process their current dilemma to the point the reader shouts out loud "For the love of God please make a decision"! 2) The reader must struggle through the first 75 pages. Tartt give the reader a long wind-up before delivering the pitch. This is not helped by the somewhat awkward narrator voice of Theo's mother in the audio book. For the most part the narrator, David Pittu, is excellent. However, he struggles with the Theo's mother voice to the point of distraction.

    Criticisms aside, I loved and would recommend the Goldfinch to any serious fan of fiction. In my rank order book evaluation system (Best to Work) that I have developed for all the audio books I have listen to over the last two years, I rank the Goldfinch number 5 of 58. Not Too Shabby.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • On Such a Full Sea: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Chang-rae Lee
    • Narrated By B. D. Wong
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (79)
    Performance
    (71)
    Story
    (71)

    In a future, long-declining America, society is strictly stratified by class. Long-abandoned urban neighborhoods have been repurposed as highwalled, self-contained labor colonies. And the members of the labor class - descendants of those brought over en masse many years earlier from environmentally ruined provincial China - find purpose and identity in their work to provide pristine produce and fish to the small, elite, satellite charter villages that ring the labor settlement.

    Dr. says: "Inventive, Engaging, & Surprising"
    "Overrated!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    Chang-rae Lee's "On Such a Full Sea" (Sea) received very strong reviews from the New York Times and The Guardian. I was less than impressed. Sea has an imaginative premise, but lacks a solid story to maintain the reader's engagement. Throughout Sea the reader never feels a sense of conclusion as so many questions and issues are unresolved. At points Sea seems like a series of unconnected short stories with only a single familiar character. References to dystopia science fiction theme are overblown (one reviewer comparing Sea to Brave New World). Chang-rae Lee leaves you in dark relative to the development or history of the dystopia society.

    I will pay Chang-rae Lee his due respect as a writing of prose. He is the master of describing what others are feeling, observing, or experiencing. Ultimately, despite the technical perfection of the writing the reader just doesn't care about the characters.

    I have read 56 books in the last two years, where Sea ranks in 44th position (21%).


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War

    • UNABRIDGED (25 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Robert M. Gates
    • Narrated By George Newbern, Robert M. Gates
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (474)
    Performance
    (413)
    Story
    (414)

    From the former secretary of defense, a strikingly candid, vivid account of serving Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. When Robert M. Gates received a call from the White House, he thought he'd long left Washington politics behind: After working for six presidents in both the CIA and the National Security Council, he was happily serving as president of Texas A&M University. But when he was asked to help a nation mired in two wars and to aid the troops doing the fighting, he answered what he felt was the call of duty.

    Jean says: "Yoda speaks"
    "Clear and evenhanded"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War the most enjoyable?

    Robert Gates served as Secretary of Defense under both the Bush and Obama White House administrations. Gates was the first Secretary of Defense to serve two administrations from different political parties. Gates was also former head of the CIA, President of Texas A&M, and one of the original members of the Iraq study group (2006). It is widely accepted that Gates is respected (and revered) by both Republicans and Democrats. He is not a polarizing political figure or a talking head espousing a political agenda. For these reasons, Duty has immediate credibility and should evoke reader interest.

    Duty is not full of details that rehashes major historical/political events of the Obama and Bush administrations (Iraq war, Afghanistan war, bin Laden’s death, the Surge..). Instead, these situations are briefly summarized to allow Gates the opportunity to provide the reader his problem solving process when dealing with these events. Duty is ultimately about how to be an effective manager in the largest and most complex organization in the world. Gates reveals his approach to defining the problem, analyzing a problem, and developing a solution. The reader take away is Gates was an effective listener, implementer, and manager of complex personalities.

    Much of the attention Duty has received from critics involves identifying the winners and losers of the Bush/Obama administrations. For example, Joe Biden takes a pretty bad beating in Duty that will adversely impact his chances of winning the Presidency in 2016. However, Gates is very complementary and critical of various generals, presidents, politicians, and White House staff, regardless of political affiliation. Also, critical comments about the decision-making skills of our leaders are rooted in observable facts. I never felt the criticism of any political leaders was the main emphasis or intent of the book. Gates also effectively communicates the sacrifice and dedication exhibited by the US soldiers.

    Overall, I would recommend Duty to anyone who keeps current with the world news. At times the book is shocking (the militaries lack of preparation/planning for the Iraqi war) and revealing (the courageous decision-making skills exhibited by Barack Obama).


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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