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Rick

In a small, peaceful town on the Equator, the sun always sets at 6, and a good audiobook is always the perfect evening companion.

Cotacachi, Ecuador | Member Since 2013

61
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 35 reviews
  • 35 ratings
  • 387 titles in library
  • 3 purchased in 2015
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FOLLOWERS
9

  • Travels with Charley in Search of America

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By John Steinbeck
    • Narrated By Gary Sinise
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (385)
    Performance
    (341)
    Story
    (345)

    In September 1960, John Steinbeck and his poodle, Charley, embarked on a journey across America, from small towns to growing cities to glorious wilderness oases. Travels with Charley is animated by Steinbeck’s attention to the specific details of the natural world and his sense of how the lives of people are intimately connected to the rhythms of nature—to weather, geography, the cycles of the seasons. His keen ear for the transactions among people is evident, too, as he records the interests and obsessions that preoccupy the Americans he encounters along the way.

    Suzn F says: "On the Road Adventure"
    "It's not about the dog"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A leisurely listen to the account of Steinbeck’s iconic road trip after all these years is pure pleasure, and the wisdom of his penetrating observations is undeniable. Perhaps the best known is, “We do not take a trip; a trip takes us.” There is also compelling reasoning for traveling alone, and in revisiting the haunts of his youth on the West Coast, surprising insights into the true nature of ghosts: they are us.

    The most powerful experience is that of his sweep through the racist Deep South of 55 years ago, and it’s enough to make you squirm. As it did him.

    I do not know what the voice of John Steinbeck sounded like, but from now on it will be that of Gary Sinise, who provides exactly the right mix of warmth, irony, and—at the end—exhaustion from a marathon observant journey across America.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • John Adams

    • UNABRIDGED (30 hrs and 1 min)
    • By David McCullough
    • Narrated By Nelson Runger
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2072)
    Performance
    (996)
    Story
    (1010)

    McCullough's John Adams has the sweep and vitality of a great novel. This is history on a grand scale, an audiobook about politics, war, and social issues, but also about human nature, love, religious faith, virtue, ambition, friendship, and betrayal, and the far-reaching consequences of noble ideas. Above all, it is an enthralling, often surprising story of one of the most important and fascinating Americans who ever lived.

    Davis says: "An outstanding biography"
    "Founding Father"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    In this monumental, meticulous work by David McCullough, John Adams is intimately revealed as a passionate, visionary, bullheaded patriot, sometimes arrogant, and at times gullible when others conspired against him, which was often. He was as responsible as any, and more than most, in propelling the difficult birth of a great nation against all odds.

    The portrayals in this book can be surprising. In contrast to historical images of bold and thoughtful men working together, there were constant clashes of egos and competing personal agendas among the founding fathers. They were mortals—the irascible and sometimes indolent Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, and many more. Hamilton, especially, was a treacherous and self-aggrandizing man whose vicious and false public accusations cost Adams his reelection and ultimately ended Hamilton’s own career. The revered Thomas Jefferson comes off as something quite different from his reputation: a vain, mercurial, spendthrift, self-centered man who can be a trusted friend one day and a scheming, duplicitous betrayer the next. The architects of America comprised a cast of heroes and scoundrels. Many were both.

    For those who worry about modern digital messaging consuming too much of our time, have no fear. It was rampant 250 years ago, via quill and ink, when people wrote endless letters and kept daily journals in elaborate prose, rife with literary and scriptural quotations, describing and debating the issues and events of the day. It was oddly formal. Abigail Adams addressed her beloved husband in letters as “My dearest friend.” Any educated person must have written millions of words in a lifetime. It’s difficult to imagine how they had time to do anything else. Parsing them must have been a colossal task for David McCullough, but it creates a history that would otherwise be far from complete.

    There are fascinating insights here into 18th century politics. For example, presidential candidates in those earliest years took no part in the campaign, staying home for months and waiting to see what the outcome would be.

    Although McCullough himself is also a fine narrator, Nelson Runger does a superb job through all thirty hours.

    Adams and Jefferson, in particular, were often at odds and sometimes didn't communicate for decades. But their lives at last converged once more in the years of their retirements, when they carried on a memorable exchange of correspondence on every conceivable subject. And in one of history’s stunning coincidences, both men died in their homes on July 4, 1826, precisely the 50th anniversary of the independence of the nation they had worked so brilliantly to create.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Prince Lestat: The Vampire Chronicles

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Anne Rice
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (376)
    Performance
    (355)
    Story
    (356)

    The novel opens with the vampire world in crisis… vampires have been proliferating out of control; burnings have commenced all over the world, huge massacres similar to those carried out by Akasha in The Queen of the Damned… Old vampires, roused from slumber in the earth are doing the bidding of a Voice commanding that they indiscriminately burn vampire-mavericks in cities from Paris and Mumbai to Hong Kong, Kyoto, and San Francisco.

    Bruce says: "There is Wonderous Power in The Blood - I loved it"
    "Lacks a Pulse"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I've read/heard and greatly enjoyed and admired several of Anne Rice's vampire chronicles. This one, not so much. The reading is superb, and for that matter, so is the writing. But the story falls short for me. Although devoted followers of the series will probably disagree--and I didn't come to the book expecting hand-to-hand combat among immortals--after 90 minutes of listening, when nothing whatever had happened, I gave up.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Modern Scholar: The Incas: Inside an American Empire

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Terence N. D'Altroy
    • Narrated By Terence N. D'Altroy
    Overall
    (57)
    Performance
    (33)
    Story
    (35)

    The story of the Incas is a powerful one, and their legacy remains a potent influence in the Andes of South America. In this insightful lecture series, Columbia University professor Terence D'Altroy focuses on Inca life at the height of the empire, the society's origins, its military, religion, ruling structure, and finally, the Inca legacy today.

    Ullanta says: "Interesting, comprehensive intro to the Incas"
    "A Fleeting Empire"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    As a resident of the Andes, I thought I’d better learn a little more about the Incas, whose legendary empire encompassed immense portions of South America and established monumental cities and road systems—but really lasted only a century in its full imperial incarnation.

    Terence D’Altroy knows his Inca (and pre-Inca) history, and his lectures are lively and articulate. The recording does have some editing errors causing repetitions, and the droning “announcer” before and after each section, with the contrived insertion of one question from an unheard student, recalls the most deadly of voices from the old days of classroom films. But that is cosmetic, and overall, this very accessible series of lectures offers more than almost anyone could wish to know about the lightning rise and dizzying fall of one of the greatest and briefest of the world’s dynasties.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Childhood's End

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Arthur C. Clarke
    • Narrated By Eric Michael Summerer, Robert J. Sawyer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3359)
    Performance
    (2341)
    Story
    (2382)

    The Overlords appeared suddenly over every city - intellectually, technologically, and militarily superior to humankind. Benevolent, they made few demands: unify earth, eliminate poverty, and end war. With little rebellion, humankind agreed, and a golden age began.

    Ryan says: "Still a classic of visionary science fiction"
    "When story trumps style"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    “I have a 4 millimeter camera and thousands of meters of film,” remarks one character. Arthur C. Clarke’s science fiction masterpiece doesn’t predict everything with accuracy, whether it’s the evolution of digital cameras or the failed dream of worldwide adoption of the metric system. But it does paint a fascinating future in which the malaise of prosperity and unlimited leisure time leads in an unexpected way to the complete disappearance of professional sports, for example, and most scientific research.

    I must admit that I’m not a serious science fiction fan, though I do appreciate a good story. And my conclusion is that this is a better story than it is spellbinding prose. The plot, despite those occasional holes, is inventive and often surprising. It covers a lot of territory, sometimes in dramatic leaps, after a bit of a slow start. The writing, however, is stilted and formal in style, and so is the narration. But the story carries the day, as it must, and the result is a good listen to a seminal work.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Naked

    • ABRIDGED (3 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By David Sedaris
    • Narrated By David Sedaris, Amy Sedaris
    Overall
    (1238)
    Performance
    (551)
    Story
    (550)

    Welcome to the hilarious, strange, elegiac, outrageous world of David Sedaris. In Naked, Sedaris turns the current mania for the memoir on its proverbial ear, mining the exceedingly rich terrain of his life, his family, and his unique worldview, a sensibility at once take-no-prisoners sharp and deeply charitable.

    Christine says: "My Favorite Sedaris"
    "Something truly different"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    David Sedaris, like most entertainers, is usually at his best before a live and appreciative audience. He is a very funny guy, and the invariable audience response electrifies the experience.

    “Naked” is a different kind of recording, but no less engaging and maybe even more so. It’s a studio production, with no audience. There are a few staccato jazz bridges, and multiple characters briefly and brilliantly voiced by his sister, the extraordinarily talented actress and writer Amy Sedaris. And David reads his writings as only he can.

    The sometimes cringe-inducing title piece comes at the end, having to do with visiting a nudist community, but the entire performance is an intimate, candid self-portrait, in which David reveals as much about himself as he has always done to his siblings, to their frequent dismay. It’s very funny—I laughed out loud countless times while listening—but also deadly serious. As such, it’s a fascinating audio achievement to be enjoyed and admired.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Mr. Mercedes: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Stephen King
    • Narrated By Will Patton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (6821)
    Performance
    (6319)
    Story
    (6325)

    In the frigid pre-dawn hours, in a distressed Midwestern city, hundreds of desperate unemployed folks are lined up for a spot at a job fair. Without warning, a lone driver plows through the crowd in a stolen Mercedes, running over the innocent, backing up, and charging again. Eight people are killed; fifteen are wounded. The killer escapes. Mr. Mercedes is a war between good and evil, from the master of suspense whose insight into the mind of this obsessed, insane killer is chilling and unforgettable.

    Joyce says: "Love this style of King!!!"
    "Police story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    By now, Stephen King has produced such a variety of books that he is increasingly difficult to pigeonhole. Fans of horror will find something closer to a classic detective story in “Mr. Mercedes,” and a good one. There’s the hard-bitten cop (retired), a truly demented criminal, and a range of characters who populate the twists and turns of a complicated whodunit. But in fact, we know whodunit pretty early on. What happens next, and what happens after that, is a nonstop series of surprises building to a heart-racing finale. Horror fans will find some pretty horrifying scenes, too.

    A great story, and narrator Will Patton is up to the task. The subtle shading of his voicing for each character, even when not reading their actual dialogue, is a work of consummate skill.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: A Signature Performance by Elijah Wood

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Mark Twain
    • Narrated By Elijah Wood
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2821)
    Performance
    (2273)
    Story
    (2260)

    A Signature Performance: Elijah Wood becomes the first narrator to bring a youthful voice and energy to the story, perhaps making it the closest interpretation to Twain’s original intent.

    james d. thomas says: "Worthy "signature" premiere"
    "Twain's Best"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    If, like me, your childhood memories of Twain have dimmed, and you tend to think of Huckleberry Finn as “Tom Sawyer (continued),” you’re in for a treat. Tom Sawyer came first and often comes first to mind, but many consider “Huckleberry Finn” to be Twain’s real masterpiece. It’s a true opus of dialogue and social documentary, cloaked in grand boyish adventure on the mighty Mississippi at the peak of the steamboat age.

    Elijah Wood is a fine actor who brings to Huck’s first-person story the credible voice of both innocent youth and hardscrabble cunning. Huck can plan an elaborate raid worthy of a general, yet fall for every superstition and witches’ tale that comes along. The book is peopled with a lively cast of dozens of accomplices, con men, doting relatives, townspeople and slaves and they, too, are all Mr. Wood.

    And the fine hand of Mark Twain is there throughout, weaving more plot twists and unexpected developments than any other adventure book or movie ever could, always with his trademark humor. An excellent read of perhaps the greatest story by the best-known author America has ever produced. How can you go wrong? I really like this Signature Classics idea.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Wolf's Head: The Forest Lord

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Steven A. McKay
    • Narrated By Nick Ellsworth
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (119)
    Performance
    (108)
    Story
    (108)

    After viciously assaulting a corrupt but powerful clergyman Robin Hood flees the only home he has ever known in Wakefield, Yorkshire. Becoming a member of a notorious band of outlaws, Hood and his new companions - including John Little and Will Scaflock - hide out in the great forests of Barnsdale, fighting for their very existence as the law hunts them down like animals. When they are betrayed, and their harsh lives become even more unbearable, the band of friends seeks bloody vengeance.

    presterjohn1 says: "Not your Grand-dad's Robin Hood"
    "Mostly a Bull's-Eye"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Wolf’s Head is an engaging story that combines some familiar characters with several new ones in a fresh take on the forest legend. Since Robin Hood’s real historical origins are shaky at best, it’s hard to question the accuracy of the plot. There is a wicked sheriff and more than a few evil noblemen, along with a host of villagers, relatives, and tradesmen who are only too willing to collaborate with the colorful outlaws. The action is often more brutal than the childhood versions we remember.

    Steven A. McKay’s writing is colorful and descriptive, but often falls victim to ponderous adverbs that hamstring its flow. The plot moves briskly most of the time. Sometimes the prescient insights of Robin and others approaches the level of magic, but there is no Merlin in this story. Nick Ellsworth gives a warm and enjoyable reading with a light touch throughout. Wolf’s Head is the first in a series, so some threads are inevitably left hanging at the end.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • One Summer: America, 1927

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Bill Bryson
    • Narrated By Bill Bryson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1553)
    Performance
    (1400)
    Story
    (1386)

    One of the most admired nonfiction writers of our time retells the story of one truly fabulous year in the life of his native country - a fascinating and gripping narrative featuring such outsized American heroes as Charles Lindbergh, Babe Ruth, and yes Herbert Hoover, and a gallery of criminals (Al Capone), eccentrics (Shipwreck Kelly), and close-mouthed politicians (Calvin Coolidge). It was the year Americans attempted and accomplished outsized things and came of age in a big, brawling manner. What a country. What a summer. And what a writer to bring it all so vividly alive.

    Mark says: "Why 1927?"
    "A Summer to Remember"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Someone asked, “Why 1927?” The answer, of course, is, “Why not?” What may seem at first like a random year drawn from a hat is in reality a summer of superlatives, achieved by legends like Charles Lindbergh and Babe Ruth. But there’s also a wealth of surprising insight that’s new to most of us, about Calvin Coolidge, Herbert Hoover, Al Capone, Henry Ford and the greatest flood on the Mississippi in its history—not to mention scores of colorful eccentrics you never knew existed but will not soon forget. When the author reels off the fates of all his characters in the epilogue, you realize you've been following a cast of thousands.

    Bill Bryson delivers a deeply researched and endlessly fascinating account as only he can, finding quirks and unearthing indelible meaning in one eventful season between the Great War and the Great Depression. It was a time like no other, and if America could get through it, it just might survive anything.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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