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Alan

Portland, OR, United States | Member Since 2008

ratings
407
REVIEWS
11
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
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HELPFUL VOTES
24

  • The Great Poets: Emily Dickinson

    • UNABRIDGED (1 hr and 16 mins)
    • By Emily Dickinson
    • Narrated By Teresa Gallagher
    Overall
    (28)
    Performance
    (8)
    Story
    (9)

    Here are some of the finest poems by Emily Dickinson (1830-1886), a unique voice in American poetry. She is known for her short poems, full of acute observations, and deft use of language. This careful but imaginative selection shows the remarkable variety she produced, despite the miniature nature of her medium.

    Carolina says: "Excellent"
    "Too Short a Pause Between Poems"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What would have made Great Poets better?

    The pauses between the poems were too short. One had no time to reflect on the poem before the next began. In some cases, one poem followed the previous one so rapidly that it wasn't clear whether I was listening to the continuation of a poem or a new poem. This made the listening confusing.

    So Great Poets would have been better if there had been more silence between one poem and the next.

    I realize I might be able to use the


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    N/A


    Would you be willing to try another one of Teresa Gallagher’s performances?

    Yes.


    What character would you cut from Great Poets?

    N/A


    Any additional comments?

    Teresa Gallagher is a skilled narrator and she has the perfect sweet voice and intonation for poetry by Emily Dickinson. The fault lies entirely with the producers and not with Teresa Gallagher.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Making the Future: Occupations, Interventions, Empire and Resistance

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Noam Chomsky
    • Narrated By Peter Johnson
    Overall
    (70)
    Performance
    (53)
    Story
    (53)

    Making the Future presents more than 50 concise and persuasively argued commentaries on U.S. politics and policies, written between 2007 and 2011. Taken together, Chomsky's essays present a powerful counter-narrative to official accounts of the major political events of the past four years: the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq; the U.S. presidential race; the ascendancy of China; Latin America's leftward turn; the threat of nuclear proliferation in Iran and North Korea; Israel's invasion of Gaza and more.

    Susie says: "Fifty-Two Reasons to Listen to Chomsky"
    "Reader Ruined the Book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    My greatest objection to the book is the reader's dreadful performance. In my opinion, his reading was entirely mechanical. What small changes there were in the reader's tone and inflection came at regular intervals, like expansion joints in a highway, regardless of the content or meaning of the text. It was like watching the same 15-second video clip over, and over, and over again. The reading obliterated the nuances of Chomsky's text and obscured Chomsky's subtle arguments. Moreover, the reader's voice was not pleasant to my ears.

    Unless you are a news junkie and policy wonk, the issues Chomsky discusses are terribly dated. The middle years of the last decade and the 2008 American presidential elections seem as distant as the 1850s.

    In a fawning foreword, the writer strangely chooses to portray Chomsky as a sort of intellectual track star, a man on fast forward who meets deadlines, churns out articles and gives speeches like a champion athlete setting a new world record. I'm less interested the Chomsky's gee-whiz quotient than I am in his ideas and arguments and, more importantly, the changes - if any - they've wrought in the real world.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Gauntlgrym: Legend of Drizzt: Neverwinter Saga, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By R. A. Salvatore
    • Narrated By Victor Bevine
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (486)
    Performance
    (449)
    Story
    (447)

    Drizzt joins Bruenor on his quest for the fabled dwarven kingdom of Gauntlgrym: ruins said to be rich with ancient treasure and arcane lore. But before they even get close, another drow and dwarf pair stumbles across it first: Jarlaxle and Athrogate. In their search for treasure and magic, Jarlaxle and Athrogate inadvertently set into motion a catastrophe that could spell disaster for the unsuspecting people of the city of Neverwinter - a catastrophe big enough to lure even Jarlaxle into risking his own coin and skin to stop it.

    K. McDowell says: "Pleasantly Surprised."
    "Too Much Dialogue"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    The novel suffered from an excess of dialogue. I was dying to get to the action! I grew so bored with the talk, talk, talk, that I gave up on the book before anything happened.


    Has Gauntlgrym turned you off from other books in this genre?

    No, the works of Marion Zimmer Bradley show that it is possible to write compelling fantasy set in the past.


    Which character – as performed by Victor Bevine – was your favorite?

    I didn't even try to identify any of the chacters.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Gauntlgrym?

    I couldn't tell you - were there scenes?


    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Alcoholics Anonymous - Big Book - Original Edition

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By BN Publishing
    • Narrated By Jason McCoy
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (165)
    Performance
    (100)
    Story
    (94)

    Alcoholics Anonymous -t he Big Book has served as a lifeline to millions worldwide. First published in 1939, Alcoholics Anonymous sets forth cornerstone concepts of recovery from alcoholism and tells the stories of men and women who have overcome the disease. This is the most widely used resource for millions of individuals in recovery.

    Jodie says: "Big Book review"
    "Rushed Reading Ruins Text"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you try another book from BN Publishing and/or Jason McCoy?

    Not enough information to form an opinion.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Alcoholics Anonymous - Big Book - Original Edition?

    In print, each page is memorable because of the many insights into the disease and the path to recovery.


    What didn’t you like about Jason McCoy’s performance?

    Mr. McCoy's performance of the text was terrible. His mile-a-minute performance spoiled what is one of the most important books in modern times. A slower and more nuanced reading would have allowed me to reflect upon what was being said.


    What character would you cut from Alcoholics Anonymous - Big Book - Original Edition?

    Not applicable.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Embassytown

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By China Mieville
    • Narrated By Susan Duerden
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (437)
    Performance
    (318)
    Story
    (322)

    China Miéville doesn’t follow trends, he sets them. Relentlessly pushing his own boundaries as a writer—and in the process expanding the boundaries of the entire field—with Embassytown, Miéville has crafted an extraordinary novel that is not only a moving personal drama but a gripping adventure of alien contact and war. In the far future, humans have colonized a distant planet, home to sentient beings famed for a language unique in the universe, one that only a few altered human ambassadors can speak....

    D says: "must hear to fully appreciate."
    "Don't Bother"
    Overall

    An incomprehensible waste of time. Some imaginary worlds are best left in the author's head.

    1 of 10 people found this review helpful
  • Appleby's End: An Inspector Appleby Mystery

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Michael Innes
    • Narrated By Vincent Brimble
    Overall
    (102)
    Performance
    (38)
    Story
    (39)

    Available to download for the very first time, the fantastic Inspector Appleby series by celebrated crime writer Michael Innes.Appleby's End was the name of the station where Detective Inspector John Appleby got off the train from Scotland Yard.

    Carol says: "Highly Unusual Happenings"
    "Deplorable Narrator"
    Overall

    I abandoned this book after 20 minutes because of the stilted and deplorable narration. I would have quit sooner, but I was driving. Even with a better narrator, I am not sure I would have finished the book. The style was archaic - I felt as if I was listening to a poorly written book dating to the early 19th century.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • A History of the Middle East

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By Peter Mansfield
    • Narrated By Richard Brown
    Overall
    (14)
    Performance
    (5)
    Story
    (3)

    In this masterly work of synthesis, Peter Mansfield draws on his experience as a journalist and historian to form a picture of the political and social history of the meeting point of Occident and Orient over the last two centuries, from Bonaparte's marauding invasion of Egypt to the start of the Gulf War. In two penetrating final chapters, Peter Mansfield discusses Saddam Hussein and the prospects for the future.

    Craig Campbell says: "Broad overview"
    "Wretched Narration"
    Overall

    The narrator spoiled the book.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Starship Troopers

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By Robert A. Heinlein
    • Narrated By Lloyd James
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2473)
    Performance
    (1280)
    Story
    (1303)

    Join the Army and See the Universe. That is the motto of The Third Space War, also known as The First Interstellar War, but most commonly as The Bug War. In one of Robert Heinlein's most controversial best sellers, a recruit of the future goes through the toughest boot camp in the universe - and into battle with the Terrain Mobile Infantry against mankind's most alarming enemy.

    Michael says: "Well Aged Heinlein"
    "Didactic Nerdfest"
    Overall

    "Starship Troopers" is an ill-conceived and poorly executed vehicle for promoting Heinlein's ideosyncratic philosophies about war, the nature of the state, the purpose and structure of the military, the maintenance of social order, and man's obligations to the state and military in a perfect society. In essence, the book is a long, boring essay on political philosophy masquerading as a science fiction novel.

    (I use the term "man's obligations" deliberately, since women, though not absent from "Starship Troopers," are kept out of harms way on tall pedestals and don't figure significantly in what little action takes place in the novel.)

    I understand some readers are still debating whether Heinlein reveals fascistic tendencies in "Starship Trooper," and whether Heinlein's smack-down of Marxism stands up to scrutiny. I won't take sides, since I believe none of the political and philosophical issues with which Heinlein plagues his readers in "Starship Trooper" have contemporary relevance.

    As for me, I think Heinlein wrote "Starship Troopers" in a fit of pique after seeing "Rebel Without a Cause." Clearly a proponent of the adage "spare the rod and spoil the child," Heinlein feared that the young generation of hoodlums, exemplified by James Dean's character in "Rebel" and reared according to the permissive tenets of Dr. Spock, would engender universal lawlessness and lead to a breakdown of civilization.

    Well, it didn't happen, did it?

    The only parts of "Starship Trooper" I found interesting were the all-too-scarce scenes in which the protagonist was actually engaged in military action against aliens.

    As for the rest of the book, it was as pompous and didactic as a late-night bull session among particularly nerdy freshmen guys seeking to display their erudition at, say, MIT or the University of Chicago circa 1960.










    7 of 60 people found this review helpful
  • Anathem

    • UNABRIDGED (32 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Neal Stephenson
    • Narrated By Oliver Wyman, Tavia Gilbert, William Dufris, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1818)
    Performance
    (823)
    Story
    (831)

    In celebration of the week-long, once-in-a-decade rite of Apert, the fras and suurs prepare to venture outside the concent's gates - opening them wide at the same time to welcome the curious "extras" in. During his first Apert as a fra, Erasmus eagerly anticipates reconnecting with the landmarks and family he hasn't seen since he was "collected". But before the week is out, both the existence he abandoned and the one he embraced will stand poised on the perilous brink of cataclysmic change.

    Richard says: "Tour de force"
    "Slow, Tedious, Unrewarding"
    Overall

    Like chipmunks, Stephenson's fiction comes with two speeds: bat out of hell or motionless. "Snow Crash" triggered sonic booms from start to finish. There were times I thought I'd need a seat belt to keep from being thrown out of my chair. Better yet, the story was absolutely fascinating.

    "Anathem," in contrast, moves at a pace so glacial minutes go by like days. When I gave up after seven hours, only the barest outlines of the central plot (at least I hope it was the plot) had been revealed.

    I suppose it's fortunate "Anathem" is set in the very distant future, because I would hate to think of anyone I care for having to learn and endure the hyper-ritualized, pseudo-monastic culture depicted in Stephenson's imaginary world.

    The only thing worse than existing in the world of "Anathem" would be having to hear about it for thirty-plus hours. I could not muster the slightest interest in the story line, the thesis, the protagonist, or any of the other characters, most of whom are mere caricatures. "Anathem" is endless form - baroque, arcane and ultimately paralyzingly boring - with little or no apparent substance, though it appears Stephenson has an axe of some sort to grind about Information Technology.

    I am sorry I bought the book, and I will be wary of anything else Stephenson churns out in the future.






    7 of 18 people found this review helpful
  • What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington's Culture of Deception

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Scott McClellan
    • Narrated By Scott McClellan
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (373)
    Performance
    (46)
    Story
    (47)

    Scott McClellan belonged to President Bush's select inner circle of trusted advisers during one of the most challenging, contentious periods of recent history. Over a period of more than seven years, he witnessed, day-to-day, exactly how the presidency veered off course, not only by its decision to topple Saddam Hussein, but by an embrace of confrontational politics in the face of an increasingly partisan Washington and a hostile media.

    Frank J. Regan says: "Something is Missing"
    "Excruciating"
    Overall

    I should have paid more attention to the book's description. I missed the part that named Scott McClellan as the narrator. His Texas accent and plodding delivery started getting on my nerves within moments of starting the book, and I never reached the point where I could ignore them. I now understand what the White House press corps had to suffer through during his tenure.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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