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fred

greensboro nc | Member Since 2005

116
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 85 reviews
  • 135 ratings
  • 210 titles in library
  • 13 purchased in 2014
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FOLLOWERS
4

  • Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Steve Martin
    • Narrated By Steve Martin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2648)
    Performance
    (1252)
    Story
    (1246)

    In the mid-70s, Steve Martin exploded onto the comedy scene. By 1978 he was the biggest concert draw in the history of stand-up. In 1981 he quit forever. Born Standing Up is, in his own words, the story of "why I did stand-up and why I walked away".

    Andrew says: "Fantastic"
    "Smart Guy, Fun Book"
    Overall

    It is easy to like Steve Martin because he is funny and smart. I found it interesting that how he came in contact with so many other show business and comedy legends. The fact that he reads the book is a bonus.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Bill Bryson
    • Narrated By Rob McQuay
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (666)
    Performance
    (603)
    Story
    (618)

    The Appalachian Trail trail stretches from Georgia to Maine and covers some of the most breathtaking terrain in America - majestic mountains, silent forests, sparking lakes. If you’re going to take a hike, it’s probably the place to go. And Bill Bryson is surely the most entertaing guide you’ll find. He introduces us to the history and ecology of the trail and to some of the other hardy (or just foolhardy) folks he meets along the way - and a couple of bears. Already a classic, A Walk in the Woods will make you long for the great outdoors (or at least a comfortable chair to sit and read in).

    colleen says: "What a treat"
    "Great on a road trip and other times too"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a great book for a road trip. Aw heck, it's probably a great book for anytime. Bryson has a tremendous whit and lots of information. Spoiler alert...you will find out that bears sometimes eat people and in Bryson dry sense of humor, all the ways that bears eat people. An interesting combination of struggle, triumph, understanding, science, politics and environmentalism, all rolled up in a Brysonesque package for consumption on whatever trail you are taking.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Map Thief: The Gripping Story of an Esteemed Rare-Map Dealer Who Made Millions Stealing Priceless Maps

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Michael Blanding
    • Narrated By Sean Runnette
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (151)
    Performance
    (127)
    Story
    (130)

    Maps have long exerted a special fascination on viewers - both as beautiful works of art and as practical tools to navigate the world. But to those who collect them, the map trade can be a cutthroat business, inhabited by quirky and sometimes disreputable characters in search of a finite number of extremely rare objects.

    Once considered a respectable antiquarian map dealer, E. Forbes Smiley spent years doubling as a map thief - until he was finally arrested slipping maps out of books in the Yale University library.

    Andy says: "with a little charm, you can rob almost anyone"
    "Mundane subject that is not close to mundane"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I was admittedly a bit worried about the possibility of dryness for a book about maps, but this was a surprisingly interesting and exciting romp through the world of maps and the person who loves them a bit too much. Crossing many years and the globe, Map Thief starts with the end then explains how they there. Another gem showing that truth is stranger than fiction...who knew maps could be so exciting (and not boring at all).

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Zoom: From Atoms and Galaxies to Blizzards and Bees: How Everything Moves

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Bob Berman
    • Narrated By Dan Woren
    Overall
    (33)
    Performance
    (31)
    Story
    (31)

    In Zoom, Bob Berman explores how motion shapes every aspect of the universe, literally from the ground up. With an informative and entertaining style and a knack for distilling the wondrous, Berman spans astronomy, geology, biology, meteorology, and the history of science, uncovering how clouds stay aloft, how the earth's rotation curves a home run's flight, and why a mosquito's familiar whine resembles a telephone's dial tone.

    rich says: "Fact Filled Fun Listen"
    "A bunch of facts and figures"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Probably a better read than listen because then you might remember the facts and figures thrown out throughout the book. An interesting way of researching the subject but a bit dry.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Doomsday Book

    • UNABRIDGED (26 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Connie Willis
    • Narrated By Jenny Sterlin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2189)
    Performance
    (1491)
    Story
    (1513)

    For Oxford student Kivrin, traveling back to the 14th century is more than the culmination of her studies - it's the chance for a wonderful adventure. For Dunworthy, her mentor, it is cause for intense worry about the thousands of things that could go wrong.

    Sara says: "A Haunting First Book in the Series"
    "Kind of the same story but a new time in history"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I would definitely not recommend listening to Willis' historian stories back to back, because they're somewhat familiar. It has been awhile since I heard one of these entertaining stories, and I thought I had heard Doomsday previously because it is the same setup with the same characters. A very entertaining and thought provoking listen but follows the same storyline as Blackout. The narrator did an admirable job with many different characters and a very different sounding olde dialect.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Operation Shakespeare: The True Story of an Elite International Sting

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By John Shiffman
    • Narrated By David Drummond
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (21)
    Performance
    (18)
    Story
    (19)

    In Operation Shakespeare, investigative journalist John Shiffman traces a high-risk undercover operation launched by an elite undercover Homeland Security unit created to stop the Iranians, Russians, Chinese, Pakistanis, and North Koreans from acquiring sophisticated American-made electronics capable of guiding missiles, jamming radar, and triggering countless weapons - from wireless IEDs to nuclear bombs.

    Andy says: "under our noses"
    "More than just your run of the mill TRUE spy story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Truth is stranger than fiction in this book about arms dealers. There are a whole bunch of crazy characters from the government and in the business. Not the best story ever heard but certainly worth your time. At times a littler boring and very familiar or I would give it a higher score.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Undercover Economist

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Tim Harford
    • Narrated By Robert Ian Mackenzie
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (268)
    Performance
    (85)
    Story
    (85)

    Author of the extremely popular "Dear Economist" column in Financial Times, Tim Harford reveals the economics behind everyday phenomena in this highly entertaining and informative book. Can a book about economics be fun to read? It can when Harford takes the reins, using his trademark wit to explain why it costs an arm and a leg to buy a cappuccino and why it's nearly impossible to purchase a decent used car.

    Paul Norwood says: "Everyone needs to know this."
    "The dismal science made a little less dismal"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Making the dismal science a little less dismal is something the Undercover Economist has accomplished. As a fan of boring books, I found this one a little less boring. The biggest problem is that the recording was completed in 2005. Many aspects related to economics changed greatly post-recession of 2008 and therefore seem a little less realistic. The reader is excellent. I could listen to him read the phone book!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Moon Over Soho: Peter Grant, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs)
    • By Ben Aaronovitch
    • Narrated By Kobna Holdbrook-Smith
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (782)
    Performance
    (722)
    Story
    (720)

    Body and soul. The song. That's what London constable and sorcerer's apprentice Peter Grant first notices when he examines the corpse of Cyrus Wilkins, part-time jazz drummer and full-time accountant, who dropped dead of a heart attack while playing a gig at Soho's 606 Club. The notes of the old jazz standard are rising from the body - a sure sign that something about the man's death was not at all natural but instead supernatural.

    Tango says: "Very Entertaining"
    "Sophomore jinx strikes again...still worth it"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I really enjoyed Midnight Riot. The characters continue in Moon Over Soho but they're not quite as interesting. This happens all the time in all kinds of entertainment. The sequel never to equal the original. This may happens more often with complicated characters and that's what we have in the "Peter Grant" stories. Peter is still a non-conformist. He is still struggling with his place in society. But he has figured out a bunch of stuff too. Though I am no prude, I did find the sexual scenes a little too much. I think it is great premise and the narrator is excellent but it is hard to follow up such a good premiere book, movie, television show, album, you name it.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Midnight Riot: Peter Grant, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Ben Aaronovitch
    • Narrated By Kobna Holdbrook-Smith
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1424)
    Performance
    (1303)
    Story
    (1300)

    Probationary constable Peter Grant dreams of being a detective in London's Metropolitan Police. Too bad his superior plans to assign him to the Case Progression Unit, where the biggest threat he'll face is a paper cut. But Peter's prospects change in the aftermath of a puzzling murder, when he gains exclusive information from an eyewitness who happens to be a ghost. Peter's ability to speak with the lingering dead brings him to the attention of Detective Chief Inspector Thomas Nightingale....

    Nancy J says: "I LOVE this Book!"
    "Not just for Anglophiles"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Even if you are not an Anglophile you will enjoy this book. If you are an Anglophile then you will go bonkers. A fast moving detective romp through London and the countryside, the author includes lots of slang and landmarks. As far as fantasy, mystery, sci fi stories go, this one has everything from ghosts to vampires to crazy water gods and goddesses. So this is a fun, strange, funny book but the ending is even stranger. The characters are fun and the reader is awesome...wish everyone could be as enthusiastic.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Diamond: A Journey to the Heart of an Obsession

    • ABRIDGED (5 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Matthew Hart
    • Narrated By Daniel Gerroll
    Overall
    (110)
    Performance
    (19)
    Story
    (19)

    Matthew Hart embarks on a journey into the largely hidden and fascinating world that is the diamond trade. The geology of diamonds explains how hard it is to find them. They are accidents of nature, carbon crystals compressed underground for eons. Weaving science and history, Hart follows the diamond trail from the basement where Gabi Tolkowsky, the world's greatest cutter, faced the 599-carat Centenary diamond, to Africa's Diamond Coast, to the sales rooms of De Beers.

    robk72 says: "One of the best..."
    "Well done history"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I am interested in diamonds so the boring aspects of the book are still interesting to me. A very nice history of diamonds that does not gloss the seedy side of the trade. Tremendous characters are stranger than fiction.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Road to Valor: A True Story of World War II Italy, the Nazis, and the Cyclist Who Inspired a Nation

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By Aili McConnon, Andres McConnon
    • Narrated By Stephen Hoye
    Overall
    (23)
    Performance
    (21)
    Story
    (21)

    Based on nearly 10 years of research in Italy, France, and Israel, including interviews with Gino Bartali's family, former teammates, a Holocaust survivor Bartali saved, and many others, Road to Valor is the first book ever written about the Italian cycling legend in English and the only book written in any language to fully explore the scope of Bartali's wartime work. An epic tale of courage, comeback, and redemption, it is the untold story of one of the greatest athletes of the 20th century.

    fred says: "Uplifting story told with a different view point"
    "Uplifting story told with a different view point"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    There are many stories about WW2 and I have enjoyed a lot of them (just added Monument Men to my wish list). This story provides a different view point because the main character is Italian and you learn about the birth of the Tour De France. Maybe it was the fact that I listened to a lot of this on an exercise bike...I found the race aspects very insightful. I did get a little tired of the narrator but that happens when listening for extended periods.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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