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J. Baars

Jose Baars

Netherlands | Member Since 2009

30
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 12 reviews
  • 126 ratings
  • 428 titles in library
  • 46 purchased in 2014
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  • Among Others

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Jo Walton
    • Narrated By Katherine Kellgren
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (773)
    Performance
    (668)
    Story
    (669)

    Startling, unusual, and yet irresistably readable, Among Others is at once the compelling story of a young woman struggling to escape a troubled childhood, a brilliant diary of first encounters with the great novels of modern fantasy and SF, and a spellbinding tale of escape from ancient enchantment.

    Eoin says: "Subtle Character Piece"
    "Sweet tale, not exciting"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The superb performance of narrator Katherine Kellgren, and the wonderfully understated humor of the writer couldn't help the lack of a strong plot and a convincing ending.

    0 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Cyteen

    • UNABRIDGED (36 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By C. J. Cherryh
    • Narrated By Gabra Zackman, Jonathan Davis
    Overall
    (442)
    Performance
    (393)
    Story
    (401)

    The saga of two young friends trapped in an endless nightmare of suspicion and surveillance, of cyber-programmed servants and a ruling class with century-long lives – and the enigmatic woman who dominates them all.

    troy says: "This is a Heavy Book (lovely too)"
    "Eternal life wasted."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I didn't like this book. The analysis of an event takes 2 to 4 times the time of the event itself, the characters are all second guessing the words and actions of other people. When they have finished analyzing and second guessing, they talk some more about it.
    This snake pit unsurprisingly produces characters that feel insecure or have other personality problems, which are discussed in length, of course.

    It's kind of unfair: the characters have almost eternal life, so they can afford to waste their time this way.

    The narration was excellent, but then this book had to be read.

    8 of 12 people found this review helpful
  • 1Q84

    • UNABRIDGED (46 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By Haruki Murakami, Jay Rubin (translator), Philip Gabriel (translator)
    • Narrated By Allison Hiroto, Marc Vietor, Mark Boyett
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4274)
    Performance
    (3735)
    Story
    (3704)

    The year is 1984 and the city is Tokyo.

    A young woman named Aomame follows a taxi driver's enigmatic suggestion and begins to notice puzzling discrepancies in the world around her. She has entered, she realizes, a parallel existence, which she calls 1Q84 - "Q" is for "question mark". A world that bears a question....

    Dr. says: "Slow, Strange, and (ultimately) Satisfying"
    "Epic Murakami"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Having read a few other Haruki Murakami novels, I found my self at home right away. It's amazing how similar characters seem to populate his novels: the ugly but clever lowlife, the mysterious sexless girl, the nice girlfriend, the underachieving hero.

    Being from a generation and a place that mainly grew up without television, I actually like the longevity of the story and the criticism that the main characters repeat themselves do not take into account that the repetition is intentional: it illustrates the mulling of thoughts in the heads of the main characters.

    I think listening to this book in stead of reading it actually enhances the experience, to me it seems the book has been written to be narrated or read to someone else. Contrary to a lot of people, I liked the performance of all narrators, probably for the same reason I usually don't like the exaggerated 'lively', 'engaging' intonation heard in a lot of American TV shows.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Kafka on the Shore

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Haruki Murakami
    • Narrated By Sean Barrett, Oliver Le Sueur
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1584)
    Performance
    (884)
    Story
    (879)

    Kafka on the Shore follows the fortunes of two remarkable characters. Kafka Tamura runs away from home at 15, under the shadow of his father's dark prophesy. The aging Nakata, tracker of lost cats, who never recovered from a bizarre childhood affliction, finds his pleasantly simplified life suddenly turned upside down.

    Melinda says: "Brilliant Meandering--what was in those brownies.."
    "A beautiful fairy tale"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Kafka on the shore describes the coming of age of a boy, the death of people living in the past and the wake up of people wasting their lives.

    I think this morality tale is mistaken by many reviewers as philosophical, but that is in my view beside the point. It's about what is good and what is not.

    I loved this book, and the narration is sublime.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Hunger Games

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Suzanne Collins
    • Narrated By Carolyn McCormick
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (35938)
    Performance
    (26937)
    Story
    (27322)

    Could you survive on your own, in the wild, with everyone out to make sure you don't live to see the morning? In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by 12 outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of 12 and 18 to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV.

    Teddy says: "The Book Deserves The Hype"
    "Shameless reality show knock off, chewed out story"
    Overall

    The book was well written and well narrated, no argument there. But, the story was a knock off of dozens of others and shamelessly taps in to the recent fascination with reality shows. The obligatory small group of dissimilar characters bore resemblance to similar groups in dozens of similar stories. The ending was only mildly surprising and did not make me curious or interested in the follow ups.
    Better listen to a good book, this one made me feel I wasted my time.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The Heroes

    • UNABRIDGED (23 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Joe Abercrombie
    • Narrated By Steven Pacey
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (194)
    Performance
    (164)
    Story
    (160)

    They say Black Dow's killed more men than winter, and clawed his way to the throne of the North up a hill of skulls. The King of the Union, ever a jealous neighbour, is not about to stand smiling by while he claws his way any higher. The orders have been given and the armies are toiling through the northern mud. Thousands of men are converging on a forgotten ring of stones, on a worthless hill, in an unimportant valley, and they've brought a lot of sharpened metal with them.

    Jason says: "Great Book , Great Author, Great narrator."
    "People in battle"
    Overall

    As in real life, all characters are trying to stay afloat, while being pulled down by their past, their weaknesses and ambitions. Although the story is about a bloody battle, with wizards fighting at both sides, to me this is the most memorable theme of the book, It sets it apart from the black and white characters usually found in epic fantasy novels. Well done, looking forward to the next book

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Ice Limit

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Douglas Preston, Lincoln Child
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2988)
    Performance
    (1705)
    Story
    (1707)

    The largest known meteorite has been discovered, entombed in the earth for millions of years on a frigid, desolate island off the southern tip of Chile. At four thousand tons, this treasure seems impossible to move. New York billionaire Palmer Lloyd is determined to have this incredible find for his new museum. Stocking a cargo ship with the finest scientists and engineers, he builds a flawless expedition. But from the first approach to the meteorite, people begin to die....

    Lyn says: "Wonderful, Well researched, Page Turner"
    "Enjoyable, narrator a bit over the top"
    Overall

    I really liked this book. Two little minuses that made me rate it at 4 in stead of five stars:

    1 The narrator read the whole book with an almost trembling voice, which in my view was only fitting at the end of the book.

    2 What research? Dodo's lived on Mauritius in the Indian Ocean, not on the Galapagos Islands in the Pacific. Proudly killed by my ancestors. In the age of Google and Wikipedia these kind of
    mistakes are silly.

    For the rest: great story, no presidents or terrorists in sight ( I don't like the President's best
    friend saves the world from evil terrorist novels), once accustomed to the drama great narrator.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Matterhorn: A Novel of the Vietnam War

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Karl Marlantes
    • Narrated By Bronson Pinchot
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4497)
    Performance
    (2647)
    Story
    (2647)

    Why we think it’s a great listen: A performance so poignant, we gave Bronson Pinchot (yes, Balki from Perfect Strangers) our inaugural Narrator of the Year award.... In the monsoon season of 1968-69 at a fire support base called Matterhorn, located in the remote mountains of Vietnam, a young and ambitious Marine lieutenant wants to command a company to further his civilian political ambitions. But two people stand in his way.

    Zachary says: "Matterhorn"
    "Felt I was there"
    Overall

    An extremely good narrator, a carefully carved story. This is the best book I've read in months.
    No heroes, no foes, just people.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Man from Beijing

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Henning Mankell
    • Narrated By Rosalyn Landor
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (590)
    Performance
    (188)
    Story
    (187)

    January 2006. In the Swedish hamlet of Hesjvallen, nineteen people have been massacred. The only clue is a red ribbon found at the scene. Judge Birgitta Roslin has particular reason to be shocked: Her grandparents, the Andrns, are among the victims, and Birgitta soon learns that an Andrn family in Nevada has also been murdered. She then discovers the 19th-century diary of an Andrn ancestora gang master on the American transcontinental railwaythat describes brutal treatment of Chinese slave workers.

    Terry R. Mabry says: "The Man From Beijing is a keeper"
    "How marxism makes a best seller"
    Overall

    Ok, I didn't like the reader too much, I always have to laugh when a woman tries to lower her voice to sound like a man.

    I recognized the marxist way of thinking, which made me smile and also a bit nostalgic. This used to be fashionable all over Europe in the 70's!
    Part of that fashion was taking longevity for thoroughness and wisdom. Funny it's a best seller in the States now, as you can't get less American than this book. It is a treat though, next to all the books about the President's Best Friends Killing Terrorists.

    Not as good as the Wallander series.

    4 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • A Gate at the Stairs

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Lorrie Moore
    • Narrated By Mia Barron
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (248)
    Performance
    (68)
    Story
    (71)

    In her dazzling new novel--her first in more than a decade--Moore turns her eye on the anxiety and disconnection of post-9/11 America, on the insidiousness of racism, the blind-sidedness of war, and the recklessness thrust on others in the name of love.

    Wendy says: "Great Writing - Not Great Book"
    "Girly cleverness"
    Overall

    Being a non-American man of 50, I definitely had trouble being intellectually and spiritually satisfied by this book. Apart from the main character Tassie, who comes across as a believable adolescent college student, the other characters lack depth. This is strange as the dialogues are very well done, witty and true to life.
    It's as if Tassie is watching TV, not living her life, she seems to be completely detached from all other people in her life.
    I don't want to believe this is true to life, that would make the sad tale even sadder.

    6 of 8 people found this review helpful

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