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Chris

Spring Field, TN, USA

94
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 14 reviews
  • 14 ratings
  • 282 titles in library
  • 0 purchased in 2014
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  • Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Joseph J. Ellis
    • Narrated By Nelson Runger
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (616)
    Performance
    (169)
    Story
    (159)

    A New York Times best seller, Founding Brothers is an engrossing work of nonfiction from National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize winner Joseph J. Ellis. It is a book that uncovers the substance behind many of our most cherished historical tales. Here are six fascinating, well-researched chapters involving such icons as George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison.

    Vernon says: "Remarkably moving book"
    "Remarkable storytelling."
    Overall

    Joseph Ellis has done a remarkable thing: created an American history that is as tantalizing as a mystery novel with the elegant prose of Fitzgerald.

    In "Founding Brothers," Ellis makes several difficult choices. He is trying to give a sweeping view of the generation that founded the American idea, but in an almost short-story format. Because of this, Ellis has selected what, he feels to be, are some of the most important moments in our history. From these snapshots he creates a panorama of the interactions between the men who loved, hated, respected and desipsed one another: our founding fathers. And he does a remarkable job.

    If the book has any flaws, and they are hard to find, it is that the book is too short. This allows Ellis to create a picture that can be misleading to readers unfamiliar with lives of the founders. The book is probably better for those who have an interest in reading about some of the fascinating intersections of between these important men, than for those wanting to brush up on U.S. history.

    Also, it is a great audio production. Excellent reader.

    8 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell

    • UNABRIDGED (32 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Susanna Clarke
    • Narrated By Simon Prebble
    Overall
    (3062)
    Performance
    (1069)
    Story
    (1073)

    English magicians were once the wonder of the known world, with fairy servants at their beck and call; they could command winds, mountains, and woods. But by the early 1800s they have long since lost the ability to perform magic. They can only write long, dull papers about it, while fairy servants are nothing but a fading memory.

    Andrew says: "Best Listen In a Long Time"
    "Excellent story!"
    Overall

    Do not be fooled--If you do not enjoy slow moving, character driven plots, then this book is not for you! The narrative of this story is very nicely done and fits excellently with the tone of the book and characters. Ms. Clarke has done a remarkable job of creating a world you can lose yourself in. Though lacking in action, the story of "Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norell" is so intricately woven that it is more like a detective novel with historical/magical elements. Fantastic read for those who will be patient with it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Shopgirl

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Steve Martin
    • Narrated By Steve Martin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (528)
    Performance
    (76)
    Story
    (78)

    Grammy Nominee for Best Spoken Word Album
    Mirabelle, the "shopgirl" behind the glove counter at Neiman Marcus, is slightly lost, off-kilter, and shy. But there's something about Mirabelle. Steve Martin reads this charming novella. Hear an interview with the author and browse more Martin.

    Julie Rosenthal says: "Loved it"
    "Beautifully written, frustrating narrative."
    Overall

    Steve Martin is brilliant at directing attention towards the small events that we glance over. Unfortunately, this talent also creates a liability: a book that has more value for its quirky insights than its characters, plot, or deeper meaning. While "Shopgirl" is an endlessly fascinating foray into the depths of Beverly Hills, and all the psychosis that exists there, the journey ends before you have a chance to be drawn to any of the characters in a meaningful way.

    Don't get me wrong. This book is well worth listening too... but only because it isn't worth the time to read it. If you are having any difficutly making your choice, go read War and Peace, but listen to Shopgirl.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Brethren

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By John Grisham
    • Narrated By Frank Muller
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (679)
    Performance
    (166)
    Story
    (165)

    In a minimum security federal prison known as Trumble, three former judges who call themselves the Brethren are quietly writing letters to unsuspecting victims of a monumental mail scam. Much to their delight, the money is pouring in. But now they've ensnared the wrong man and the Brethren's days of marking time are over.

    Margo says: "My Favorite Grisham to Date"
    "Very interesting plot."
    Overall

    but ultimately still a Grisham novel... lack of depth is a problem.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Summons

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By John Grisham
    • Narrated By Michael Beck
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1074)
    Performance
    (144)
    Story
    (144)

    The long-awaited new legal thriller from John Grisham is here. In The Summons, law professor Ray Atlee and his black-sheep brother are called home by their ailing father, the Judge, for a family meeting that never takes place. The Judge dies too soon, and in doing so leaves behind a shocking secret known only to Ray. And perhaps someone else.

    Michelle says: "Unremarkable"
    "Feels contrived."
    Overall

    Slow moving plot, redundant, frustrating narrative, shallow characters.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 36 mins)
    • By Stephen King
    • Narrated By Anne Heche
    Overall
    (298)
    Performance
    (95)
    Story
    (96)

    Anne Heche reads The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon, the story of nine-year-old Trisha McFarland who gets lost in the woods while on a walk with her family. Boston Red Sox closing pitcher Tom Gordon becomes Trisha's imaginary companion - and the key to her survival against an unidentified someone (or something) leaving death and destruction in its wake.

    Kim says: "Terrific storytelling"
    "Interesting idea, poor delivery."
    Overall

    In "On Writing," Stephen King has noted that most of his novels begin with "what ifs" and proceed to grow as he writes. The GWLTG is an example of how that method can fell miserably. The "what if" at the center of the story is familiar and interesting: What would a young girl trapped in the middle of the woods do to survive? Basically a toned down version of "Robinson Crusoe." King, however, fails to follow through. The characters are flat, the journey seems pointless and redundant, and King does a poor job of blending the neurotic (his way of inserting a horror element) with the mundane.

    Even if you like King, you won't like this.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • For the New Intellectual

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Ayn Rand
    • Narrated By Anna Fields
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (145)
    Performance
    (40)
    Story
    (41)

    This is Ayn Rand's challenge to the prevalent philosophical doctrines of our time and the "atmosphere of guilt, of panic, of despair, of boredom, and of all-pervasive evasion" that they create. One of the most controversial figures on the intellectual scene, Ayn Rand was the proponent of a moral philosophy, an ethic of rational self-interest, that stands in sharp opposition to the ethics of altruism and self-sacrifice.

    Douglas Bierbower says: "Not much here"
    "Rehashed narrative and bad ideas."
    Overall

    If you are looking to waste your time and money (or book credit) this is your book. I will admit that my perspective may be slightly biased since I am not a Rand fan, but it seems to me that this was a boaring, ill-thought out book. Rand tries to explain her philosophy of Objectivism (which, I might add, is not considered worth while by any serious philosophers) but does so primarily through the excessively long harangues found in her fiction. This leaves the listener feeling that Rand did not want to take the time to put her ideas in a different format, instead leaving "The New Intellectual" simply re-published thoughts that are unrevised.

    Aside from the merits of her thoughts (which aren't very interesting or deep: Just think you are your self because- you are yourself and that is enough to justify anything) the presentation should be enough to turn people away from this production. If you want her fiction, listen to "Atlas Shrugged," if you want her philosophy, go listen to "Objectivism," or "The Virtue of Selfishness." If you want to save yourself time and money -- skip her philosophy and just enjoy her fiction for what little its worth.

    12 of 115 people found this review helpful
  • The Gunslinger: The Dark Tower I

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Stephen King
    • Narrated By George Guidall
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (6493)
    Performance
    (2953)
    Story
    (2997)

    Eerie, dreamlike, set in a world that is weirdly related to our own, The Gunslinger introduces Roland Deschain of Gilead, of In-World that was, as he pursues his enigmatic antagonist to the mountains that separate the desert from the Western Sea in the first volume of The Dark Tower series. Roland, the last gunslinger, is a solitary figure, perhaps accursed, who with a strange single-mindedness traverses an exhausted, almost timeless landscape of good and evil.

    Michael says: "The Dark Tower Review - Part One"
    "Good fiction for King or Western fans."
    Overall

    "Gunslinger" seems to be one of King's better books. Taken singly (not having read the other Dark Tower books) it is difficult to judge the characters or the plot. However, King does a good job of creating the isolated, lone-gunman atmosphere. Much of the narrative is also very good, told in flashback, which gives you an almost dazed feeling. In all, "Gunslinger" is good enough to make you want to listen to the next Dark Tower book.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Salem's Lot

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Stephen King
    • Narrated By Ron McLarty
    Overall
    (1663)
    Performance
    (631)
    Story
    (641)

    Stephen King's second novel, Salem's Lot, is the story of a mundane town under siege from the forces of darkness. Considered one of the most terrifying vampire novels ever written, it cunningly probes the shadows of the human heart and the insular evils of small-town America.

    Eileen says: "Classic King on audio - FINALLY"
    "Fantastic story. Great job (for King)."
    Overall

    I am not a big King fan, and consider most of his work to be rehashed and poorly written. However, Salem's Lot is especially well done. It combines the classic elements of a good horror story (in the tradition of Dracula or Frankenstein) with some interesting narrative digressions about the history of the town of Salem's Lot.

    Though the story is strong throughout, I thought the end of the story lacked some finality I was hoping for. There is, of course, some attempt to factualize vampires by explaining their origins, but I'm not sure how well this came off.

    Great story, and recommended for easy listening.

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Everything Is Illuminated

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Jonathan Safran Foer
    • Narrated By Jeff Woodman, Scott Shina
    Overall
    (575)
    Performance
    (215)
    Story
    (214)

    Jonathan is a Jewish college student searching Europe for the one person he believes can explain his roots. Alex, a lover of all things American and unsurpassed butcher of the English language, is his lovable Ukrainian guide. On their quixotic quest, the two young men look for Augustine, a woman who might have saved Jonathan's grandfather from the Nazis. As past and present merge, hysterically funny moments collide with great tragedy, and an unforgettable story of one family's extraordinary history unfolds.

    Chris says: "Heartfelt, fun, but slightly plodsome."
    "Heartfelt, fun, but slightly plodsome."
    Overall

    As a debut, "Everything is Illuminated" deserves five stars. The story centers around Alex and "the Hero"-also named Jonathan Safran Foer-and their journey to discover the woman who possibly saved Jonathan's grandfather from the Nazis. The story takes shape by intertwining the correspondence of Alex and Jonathan as they each attempt to write a story, each ostensibly about the journey.

    While Alex's story is playful and light, at times, it carries underneath the strongest cords of emotion in the book. Jonathan's story is sometimes annoying. It focuses on the history of his family in the Ukraine and has a magical reality feel to it. Though clever and generally funny, some of his digressions are too much and do not carry the story forward or add depth to the characters.

    As the book progresses, your commitment to the characters and the journey is significant, and leaves you heartbroken by the end.

    A note about the reading. This is one of the finest audio book productions I have come across. The readers have done an outstanding job, especially with the voice of Alex. Though I would love to check out Foer's second novel, "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close," I don?t think that it will read well on audio format as it combines several experimental techniques to tell the story.

    11 of 11 people found this review helpful

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