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Mark

Writer, economist, stand-up comic

Brooklyn, NY, United States | Member Since 2002

8
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 7 reviews
  • 9 ratings
  • 229 titles in library
  • 15 purchased in 2014
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  • Killing Kennedy: The End of Camelot

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Bill O'Reilly, Martin Dugard
    • Narrated By Bill O'Reilly
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2227)
    Performance
    (1980)
    Story
    (1987)

    More than a million listeners have thrilled to Bill O'Reilly's Killing Lincoln, the can't-stop-listening work of nonfiction about the shocking assassination that changed the course of American history. Now the anchor of The O'Reilly Factor recounts in gripping detail the brutal murder of John Fitzgerald Kennedy—and how a sequence of gunshots on a Dallas afternoon not only killed a beloved president but also sent the nation into the cataclysmic division of the Vietnam War and its culture-changing aftermath.

    Kristina says: "MUST READ/LISTEN"
    "Obsessed With Sex"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What would have made Killing Kennedy better?

    O'Reilly never seemed to tie together the hints he dropped through the book of various conspiracy theories surrounding the assassination of John Kennedy. He hints at why Fidel Castor, the CIA, the Mafia and even Lyndon Johnson might have wanted JFK dead but merely assumes the reader already knows all were suspected (to varying degrees).
    The only thread he picks up consistently is JFK's active sex life and he seems obsessed with it. It felt as if he couldn't go three minutes (of listening time) without referencing Kennedy's libido. He left me with the impression he was envious.
    O'Reilly broke no new ground in telling this story -- except to insert himself into it claiming that he was the "young reporter" who showed up at the door of one of Lee Harvey Oswald's patrons just as the patron shot himself.
    O'Reilly is an accomplished TV host with a news-like, staccato delivery, reminiscent of Walter Winchell's radio. He didn't use those talents or any talents he has/had as a reporter.


    What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

    No spoiler: Kennedy was killed in Dallas. The question of whether Oswald acted alone or who might have been behind him is never addressed.


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Bill O'Reilly?

    Anyone


    What character would you cut from Killing Kennedy?

    Bill O'Reilly


    Any additional comments?

    I had hoped this book would be either a detailed examination of the assassination or a journalistic investigation. Instead it was what reporters describe as a "clip job," a story put together by reading newspaper clippings.

    8 of 15 people found this review helpful
  • The English Girl: Gabriel Allon, Book 13

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Daniel Silva
    • Narrated By George Guidall
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1151)
    Performance
    (997)
    Story
    (996)

    Daniel Silva delivers another spectacular thriller starring Gabriel Allon, The English Girl. When a beautiful young British woman vanishes on the island of Corsica, a prime minister’s career is threatened with destruction. Allon, the wayward son of Israeli intelligence, is thrust into a game of shadows where nothing is what it seems...and where the only thing more dangerous than his enemies might be the truth.…

    Janels says: "Gabriel's story takes huge strides"
    "Impossible Narration"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    A better narrator


    What did you like best about this story?

    Consistent suspense


    How could the performance have been better?

    With a different narrator


    Any additional comments?

    The narrator sounded like a cross between Sydney Greenstreet and Peter Lorre, making him very difficult to understand and difficult to follow the story.His accent -- when none was necessary -- was distracting.
    This is the first Silva book I've listened to. I'd get others -- but not if they're narrated by George Guidall. I'll also avoid other books read by him.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Associate

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Phillip Margolin
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (79)
    Performance
    (25)
    Story
    (29)

    Daniel Ames is an associate at Reed, Briggs, Portland's most prestigious law firm, earning more money than he ever imagined possible. When a charismatic civil litigator sues the firm's biggest client for manufacturing a drug that he claims causes unspeakable birth defects, Daniel is certain the claim has no merit. But as he begins to investigate, his world comes tumbling down around him.

    Marian says: "A fast-paced, fun read"
    "Convoluted and implausible but mildly entertaining"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    Short answer: a lot.This was the first book I've read by this author. I was drawn by the classification as a legal thriller; it was neither. The story line was intriguing but interrupted by a less than believable "romance." Yes, sometimes we experience love at first sight but in The Associate we didn't get that feeling.The narrator was good at accents though sometimes his attempts at Eastern European dialects were hard to distinguish from his attempts at Spanish. He seemed to not even try male and female voices so that at times it was hard to determine who was speaking.There wasn't much suspense and I was able to discern the perpetrator relatively early. Nonetheless, I soldiered on with the listen, in part because I needed a diversion during sessions at the gym and The Associate didn't require much deep thought.


    What could Phillip Margolin have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    Margolin could have made the characters more plausible, perhaps with some deeper insights into their personalities to help us understand why the two lead characters fell for each other so hard and so quickly.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    He should work harder to differentiate male and female characters for starters and remember what accents he's supposed to be using.


    Did The Associate inspire you to do anything?

    I'll think long and hard before listening to another Phillip Margolin book or Scott Brick narration.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • All the King's Men

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Robert Penn Warren
    • Narrated By Michael Emerson
    Overall
    (736)
    Performance
    (366)
    Story
    (362)

    The fictionalized account of Louisiana's colorful and notorious governor, Huey Pierce Long, All the King's Men follows the startling rise and fall of Willie Stark, a country lawyer in the Deep South of the 1930s. Beset by political enemies, Stark seeks aid from his right-hand man Jack Burden, who will bear witness to the cataclysmic unfolding of this very American tragedy.

    Eric Berger says: "Marvelously written and read"
    "Unmatched, timeless classic"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you consider the audio edition of All the King's Men to be better than the print version?

    The audio edition brought this semi-history to life and made the political lessons real. We continue to be fooled and sucked in by politicians who crave power and are corrupted by it.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Jack Burden who was reluctantly reduced by Willie Stark.


    What does Michael Emerson bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Giving life and emotion to Robert Penn Warren's excellent character development


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    When Stark send Burden to find "something" on the judge knowing he will.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Impeachment of Abraham Lincoln

    • UNABRIDGED (22 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By Stephen L. Carter
    • Narrated By Paul Boehmer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (95)
    Performance
    (84)
    Story
    (82)

    Stephen L. Carter’s thrilling new novel takes as its starting point an alternate history: President Abraham Lincoln survives the assassination attempt at Ford’s Theatre on April 14, 1865. Two years later he is charged with overstepping his constitutional authority, both during and after the Civil War, and faces an impeachment trial.... Twenty-one-year-old Abigail Canner is a young black woman with a degree from Oberlin and a letter of employment from the law firm that has undertaken Lincoln’s defense....

    Doug says: "Worth It For Serious Readers"
    "Fascinating "what-if" history"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about The Impeachment of Abraham Lincoln?

    Brilliant historical insight. I appreciated how Carter wove the resl impreachment of Andrew Johnson into his non fiction


    What other book might you compare The Impeachment of Abraham Lincoln to and why?

    Phillip Roth's Plot Against America.


    What about Paul Boehmer’s performance did you like?

    Powerful, gripping


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Suspense leading to the verdict which never came


    Any additional comments?

    None

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Telegraph Avenue: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Michael Chabon
    • Narrated By Clarke Peters
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (322)
    Performance
    (265)
    Story
    (267)

    As the summer of 2004 draws to a close, Archy Stallings and Nat Jaffe are still hanging in there - longtime friends, bandmates, and co-regents of Brokeland Records, a kingdom of used vinyl located in the borderlands of Berkeley and Oakland. Their wives, Gwen Shanks and Aviva Roth-Jaffe, are the Berkeley Birth Partners, a pair of semi-legendary midwives who have welcomed, between them, more than a thousand newly minted citizens into the dented utopia at whose heart - half tavern, half temple - stands Brokeland Records.

    Darwin8u says: "26,784 sq in (and 4.5 miles) surrounded by REALITY"
    "Not up to Chabon standards"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    Story was not strong and at times confusing


    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    Nostalgia and battle between modern and traditional, between old and young


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    Didn't breathe properly


    Was Telegraph Avenue worth the listening time?

    Not really


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Sweet Talk: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Julie Garwood
    • Narrated By Angela Dawe
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (459)
    Performance
    (417)
    Story
    (415)

    When FBI agent Grayson Kincaid first encounters Olivia MacKenzie, she makes quite an impression. The beautiful, tough young attorney has stumbled into the middle of an FBI sting operation and reduced it to chaos. Months of surveillance and careful planning down the drain, Kincaid’s partner is furious and lets Olivia know that she’s ticked off the wrong guy. After all, he’s FBI. But Olivia isn’t intimidated by his partner’s bullying because she’s something even scarier...she’s IRS.

    Beverly A. Fremming says: "typical garwood.... a great listen"
    "A waste of time"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What disappointed you about Sweet Talk: A Novel?

    The story was juvenile and lacked credibility. The narrator read without any conviction or passion.


    What could Julie Garwood have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    She should have had someone grounded in reality read it before submitting it to her publisher. Olivia MacKenzie is supposed to be an accomplished woman: a cancer survivor who becomes a lawyer yet she is easily bullied by an FBI agent and falls in love with him even though he is an S.O.B. FBI agent Grayson Kincaid, according to Garwood, travels in high society circles and is an affluent real estate investor. How? Garwood offers no explanation. Was he corrupt? Did he inherit his wealth? Was he just toying with Olivia as a domineering bully? Even the sex scenes are tame, reinforcing the idea this was a juvenile tease. Toward the end of the story, Olivia, after rejecting Grayson's marriage proposal because she fears children she might have would become ill, accedes to his bullying again and gives in to his demands that he give her doctor permission to pseak with him. She had to be naive (probably but incredulously) or stupid (ditto) not to realize his motive and the results of the conversation are too predictable, so this book fails as a romance, even as it fails as a thriller.


    How could the performance have been better?

    The narrator could have read the book a few times to herself before recording it to understand both the story (such as it was) and the characters


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Sweet Talk: A Novel?

    Short of rewriting the book, there is nothing an editor could have done to revive it.


    Any additional comments?

    After investing initial time to listening to the prologue -- which I concede was enticing -- I kept hoping the book would improve. It didn't. Fortunately I was listening to and not reading this book so I could do something more entertaining and useful like clipping my toenails as the "story" plodded on. I gave this book one star only because I could not give it fewer.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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