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Dundas

Malibu, CA, United States | Member Since 2009

ratings
30
REVIEWS
27
FOLLOWING
1
FOLLOWERS
0
HELPFUL VOTES
12

  • A Visit from the Goon Squad

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Jennifer Egan
    • Narrated By Roxana Ortega
    Overall
    (1233)
    Performance
    (820)
    Story
    (827)

    Jennifer Egan brings her unique gifts as a novelist and short story writer to a compulsively listenable narrative that centers on Bennie Salazar, an aging punk rocker and record executive, and the beautiful Sasha, the passionate, troubled young woman he employs.

    Laurene says: "Excellent, subtle, moving"
    "Nearly perfect"
    Overall

    This book is brilliantly conceived and almost perfectly written. Egan's her own person, but she reminds me of Veronica Geng as a comparable talent. What a treat is was to go with her into her imagination.

    8 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • Amnesia Moon

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Jonathan Lethem
    • Narrated By Scott Sowers
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (13)
    Performance
    (12)
    Story
    (12)

    In Jonathan Lethem's wryly funny second novel, we meet a young man named Chaos, who's living in a movie theater in post-apocalyptic Wyoming, drinking alcohol, and eating food out of cans. It's an unusual and at times unbearable existence, but Chaos soon discovers that his post-nuclear reality may have no connection to the truth. So he takes to the road with a girl named Melinda in order to find answers.

    Jason says: "Enjoy the Ride..."
    "Didn't work for me."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Loved Lethem's Chronic City, but couldn't finish this. It's dystopian and wants the reader to work hard and figure out its world, but the story doesn't sufficiently reward the effort required IMO. Hard to comment on the reader because of the story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Things They Carried

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Tim O'Brien
    • Narrated By Bryan Cranston
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1030)
    Performance
    (953)
    Story
    (946)

    Hailed by The New York Times as "a marvel of storytelling", The Things They Carried’s portrayal of the boots-on-the-ground experience of soldiers in the Vietnam War is a landmark in war writing. Now, three-time Emmy Award winner-Bryan Cranston, star of the hit TV series Breaking Bad, delivers an electrifying performance that walks the book’s hallucinatory line between reality and fiction and highlights the emotional power of the spoken word.

    Melinda says: "Heavy Load"
    "Spoke to me."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    First, reader Bryan Cranston is a genius performer, bringing O'Brien's book to life without upstaging it.

    Read O'Brien's "Cacciato" first. Found it brilliant, if flawed, overall vastly rewarding.

    This one is different. Literate as before, clever in blurring the line between fiction and what actually happened as a way to explore the truth of Vietnam and war. But there's a streak of cri de coeur throughout, especially in the afterword read by O'Brien. That makes you want to help him, but it diminishes his spellbindingness as either a chronicler of what happened in Vietnam factually or a storyteller conveying the truth of the War his own way. The work winds up being a little solipsistic, a problem for me.

    However, the book worked in an episodic way, where parts were knockouts, mixed in with parts that weren't. The characters worked, probably because O'Brien drew them from life, guys like Kiowa. Anyone who served (I did) will recognize the way GIs talk and behave, whether what's going on in the book actually happened that way or O'Brien's improvement on that. Either way, enough of it worked that I'm glad to have listened to the book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Expats: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Chris Pavone
    • Narrated By Mozhan Marno
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (402)
    Performance
    (335)
    Story
    (336)

    Kate Moore is a working mother, struggling to make ends meet, to raise children, to keep a spark in her marriage... and to maintain an increasingly unbearable life-defining secret. So when her husband is offered a lucrative job in Luxembourg, she jumps at the chance to leave behind her double-life, to start anew. She begins to reinvent herself as an expat, finding her way in a language she doesn’t speak, doing the housewifely things she’s never before done - playdates and coffee mornings, daily cooking and never-ending laundry....

    Ariel says: "You Will Need to Pay Attention"
    "Didn't work for me"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    First, the narrator's fine, so my problem was just with the book. The characters were inconsistent and implausible, the plot tepid and less fully believable than I'd like, and the feelings expressed by the characters all over the place vs. what you'd expect from the action. There's a lot of interior monologue on the part of the heroine, Kate, but she doesn't feel what you the reader feel when you're in her head. She especially agonizes over things, when you want her to be decisive (she used to be a CIA spy), then wusses on resolution. The author also misuses words, not a lot, and not atrociously, but I like elegant writing, and the wrong word breaks the spell for me every time.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Local Souls

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Allan Gurganus
    • Narrated By Allan Gurganus
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (16)
    Performance
    (13)
    Story
    (15)

    With the meteoric success of Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All, Allan Gurganus placed himself among America’s most original and emotionally engaged storytellers. If his first comic novel mapped the late nineteenth-century South, Local Souls brings the twisted hilarity of Flannery O’Connor kicking into our new century.

    Eileen says: "Loved this!"
    "Off the Map Great"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This work has everything. It's stories, two of which are novella-length, set in a small town with characters as real and interesting as you'll ever meet in fiction. It has heart, warmth, intimacy, action, social commentary, and it grabs you and doesn't let go until it's done with you. Gurganus reads undramatically, which fits the work, innately of keen dramatic interest, needing no more from a reader than a caring narration. The writing is simple, elegant, and in places, gorgeous. You get to know the characters so well you want to meet them and talk with them.

    This work made me want to read his earlier work, and I'm asking audible to offer his big novel "Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All."

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • My Share of the Task: A Memoir

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By General Stanley McChrystal
    • Narrated By Kevin Collins
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (130)
    Performance
    (114)
    Story
    (119)

    In this illuminating memoir, McChrystal frankly explores the major episodes and controversies of his eventful career. He delves candidly into the intersection of history, leadership, and his own experience to produce a book of enduring value. Joining the troubled post-Vietnam army as a young officer, McChrystal witnessed and participated in some of our military’s most difficult struggles. He describes the many outstanding leaders he served with and the handful of bad leaders he learned not to emulate.

    Jfadams says: "Incomplete ending"
    "Works for readers interested in special ops."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is the work of a dedicated officer and tells what it can about special operations at work in today's conflicts, especially dealing with Al Qaeda and similar elements.

    The author narrates competently, and you get a feel for the man, a career officer starting with West Point and growing up on Army bases. He is a highly motivated officer, and that comes across in the book and his reading.

    The standout aspect for me was the role of intelligence, especially two particulars. One was gathering intelligence while conducting an op, say at four in the afternoon. The team would collect intelligence (paper, computers, thumb drives, cell phones, etc,), get info from it, then launch another raid exploiting that info, do the same there, and make another raid the same day, all exploiting new intelligence harvested at each op.

    The other standout was interrogation, the people involved, and the personal qualities that worked. McC agrees with McCain that torture is counterproductive.

    A major limitation is that there's a lot that isn't told because it's classified. McC also goes out of his way not to criticize fellow officers. That's a weakness in that it's generally agreed that in the Brenner era in Iraq we didn't do very well because of poor leadership. When McC gives us one sentence on Sanchez, he doesn't do the subject justice.

    I enjoyed this as a honest account of a career in a field I find interesting. Not all readers would, but for those of us interested in the subject, it's worthwhile.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Teeth of the Tiger

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Tom Clancy
    • Narrated By Stephen Hoye
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (877)
    Performance
    (463)
    Story
    (471)

    Charged with spotting terrorist threats, the top-secret "Campus" has its hands full when Middle East thugs and Colombian drug lords join forces. New Campus recruits include Jack Ryan Jr., son of master spy John Patrick Ryan, now President.

    John says: "NOT CLANCY'S BEST"
    "Casting error"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    My wife picked this audiobook, so it was in our library and I tried it. I've read Clancy's terrific early work and liked it tons. But I started this book, and I couldn't stay with the reader. He's soft and soothing, right for maybe something inspirational or a Victorian historical romance, but this is Clancy, and he's dead wrong for that.

    Clancy's work deserves a reader who's right for war stories or thrillers, someone like the terrific reader who did Yellow Birds or the fine narration of Flynn's Last Man.

    Hard to see how an audiobook producer could make such an error.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Yellow Birds: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Kevin Powers
    • Narrated By Holter Graham
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (205)
    Performance
    (176)
    Story
    (175)

    "The war tried to kill us in the spring," begins this breathtaking account of friendship and loss. In Al Tafar, Iraq, 21-year-old Private Bartle and 18-year-old Private Murphy cling to life as their platoon launches a bloody battle for the city. In the endless days that follow, the two young soldiers do everything to protect each other from the forces that press in on every side: the insurgents, physical fatigue, and the mental stress that comes from constant danger. Bound together since basic training when their tough-as-nails sergeant ordered Bartle to watch over Murphy, the two have been dropped into a war neither is prepared for.

    Buzz says: "Sad and Unforgettable"
    "Things to like, but …"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I haven't finished this book yet, but with an hour to go, think I have a handle on it. The essential story is Bart's — what he did in the war in Iraq and what it did to him. There's lots of physical description, and some of it adds to the story, and some Hemingwayish affectations with concatenated conjunctions that don't. The characters are thin, especially Murph, the best friend fated for a bad end, Sterling the jaded non-com trying to keep his troops alive. The officers (FD: I was one) were truly cartoonish, as were the mothers.

    Seems to me that author Powers was trying to write a very interior novel. I don't know how well that works in a war story. It turns into a story of one man's angst set in a war/afterward. In war stories I find memorable, including Catch-22, Cacciato, and parts of Wind-up Bird Chronicle, the reader's able to live with the character, because they're more than a bundle of angst, they deal with other, more real characters in interesting, believable ways, and more happens.

    Powers has promise, and his work is moving/lyrical by bits and pieces. This seems like early work, and makes me hope for bigger+better later on.

    The reader is excellent.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Last Man: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Vince Flynn
    • Narrated By George Guidall
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3431)
    Performance
    (2997)
    Story
    (2977)

    The four dead guards didn’t concern Mitch Rapp as much as the absence of the man they’d been paid to protect. Joe Rickman wasn’t just another foot soldier. For the last eight years Rickman had ran the CIA’s clandestine operations in Afghanistan. It was a murky job that involved working with virtually every disreputable figure in the Islamic Republic. More than a quarter billion dollars in cash had passed through Rickman’s hands during his tenure as the master of black ops and no one with a shred of sense wanted to know the details of how that money had been spent.

    K says: "Couldn't be better...except"
    "OK"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It's been said that Puccini's operas are young adult fare. The same could be said for Vince Flynn's books, and they succeed in that way, some better than others. This one is OK, but it feels written in a hurry, without the effort of some of his earlier work. This one is not richly plotted, and the characters are thin. Hurley, many books ago, was genuinely interesting with lots of telling interplay with Rapp, but not here, where he's a cliche with lazy lines and anemic action.

    Contrast the arc of Flynn's books — great when he started out and worked hard to hurried and anemic now — with Stieg Larsson's, which began terrific and stayed that way until he died too soon.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Disturber of the Peace: The Life of H. L. Mencken

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By William Manchester
    • Narrated By Anthony Heald
    Overall
    (64)
    Performance
    (30)
    Story
    (30)

    This fine biography of H. L. Mencken tells of how he rose to his unique position as comic genius and pre-eminent critic of American culture. It is the story of a man whose massive power of invective inspired and infuriated his contemporaries and whose popularity and unpopularity mounted with the frenzied pace of the 1920s.

    Margaret Hildebrand says: "A Revelation"
    "An American original"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    If you're interested in America in the 1920s and 1930s, journalism and criticism, and the life of an American original, there's a lot to like in this book. The chapters on Mencken's late-in-life marriage and on the end of his life where Manchester read to him are moving. There are bits and pieces of Mencken's own writing, but not enough, and for that, one needs to read elsewhere. Some of his work remains in print, as it should.

    Manchester delivers a caring, careful bio. If you like the form, this is an excellent specimen.

    Am glad I read it, but think I'd get more from Mencken's own work.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle

    • UNABRIDGED (26 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Haruki Murakami
    • Narrated By Rupert Degas
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1324)
    Performance
    (687)
    Story
    (684)

    Toru Okada is going through a difficult time. He is without a job, his cat has disappeared, and his wife is behaving strangely. Into this unbalanced world comes a variety of curious characters, a young girl sunbathing in a nearby garden; sisters who are very peculiar indeed; an old war veteran with a violent, disturbing story. Okada retreats to a deep well in a nearby house. And the story unfolds.

    Shelley says: "Bizarre"
    "Masterful work"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Haven't finished this long work yet, but love it so far. Previously read short pieces by Murakami in the New Yorker and liked them. This novel is richer, though it may not be for everyone. Murakami creates a different world where strange, sometimes mystical things happen. I'm able to get in there with him, and it's quite a ride, going places you haven't been to before as a reader or a human. It's also an interesting ride, if at times a little uncomfortable. As writing, I consider this a big, masterful work. The reader does very well with a tough job.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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