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Ben

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Member Since 2014

9
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 21 reviews
  • 156 ratings
  • 346 titles in library
  • 24 purchased in 2015
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  • The Dark Half

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By Stephen King
    • Narrated By Grover Gardener
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (412)
    Performance
    (280)
    Story
    (281)

    Best-selling author Thad Beaumont would like to say he has nothing to do with the evil that has resulted in a series of monstrous murders. But he can't. He created it.

    Jane says: "3 ½ stars. Above average crime suspense."
    "Not his best"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I love Stephen King, but this was average, one of my least favorite of his books. The plot is fairly predictable and not that gripping. Gardener is an excellent narrator, as usual.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Martian

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Andy Weir
    • Narrated By R. C. Bray
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (25197)
    Performance
    (23125)
    Story
    (23132)

    Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars. Now, he's sure he'll be the first person to die there. After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive—and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive. Chances are, though, he won't have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain old "human error" are much more likely to kill him first. But Mark isn't ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills—and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit—he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?"

    Michael G. Kurilla says: "Macgyver on Mars"
    "Fantastic, all-time favorite"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a terrific book, worthy of all the high praise. The plot is great, the writing is great, what makes it unusual is the humor. It is a very funny book. I am looking forward both to the movie and to Andy Weir's next book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Girl on the Train: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Paula Hawkins
    • Narrated By Clare Corbett, Louise Brealey, India Fisher
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (25491)
    Performance
    (21191)
    Story
    (21174)

    Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. "Jess and Jason," she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost. And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel offers what she knows to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in what happens next, as well as in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good? Compulsively readable, The Girl on the Train is an emotionally immersive, Hitchcockian thriller and an electrifying debut.

    L. O. Pardue says: ""Rear Window" Meets "Gone Girl""
    "Overrated"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I thought this book was mediocre. I think it is at the top of the best seller lists because of superficial resemblance to Gone Girl, with similar title, vaguely similar plot vis-a-vis the unreliable narrator. I kept hoping for it to get better but I found the various plot twists to be fairly uneventful or interesting.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Freaky Deaky

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Elmore Leonard
    • Narrated By Frank Muller
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (93)
    Performance
    (85)
    Story
    (82)

    He used to be on the bomb squad, but it's not until he transfers out that Chris Mankowski really begins juggling with dynamite. Rape and revenge are just the tip of the iceberg in a twisty tale that brings Detroit's denizens to life - and occasional death - in all their seedy glory. Electrifying, explosive, and unexpected, this is Elmore Leonard at his suspenseful best.

    Richard Delman says: "Wowee! What a ride!"
    "Not great"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This was my first time reading or listening to an Elmore Leonard book and I was disappointed. The plot isn't that great, I though some of the characters were shallowly written, and I thought the ending was especially weak. Frank Muller is the absolute best and his performance here is very good.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Uncle Tungsten: Memories of a Chemical Boyhood

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Oliver Sacks
    • Narrated By Jonathan Davis, Oliver Sacks
    Overall
    (49)
    Performance
    (40)
    Story
    (39)

    Long before Oliver Sacks became a distinguished neurologist and best-selling writer, he was a small English boy fascinated by metals - also by chemical reactions (the louder and smellier the better), photography, squids and cuttlefish, H.G. Wells, and the periodic table. In this endlessly charming and eloquent memoir, the he chronicles his love affair with science and the magnificently odd and sometimes harrowing childhood in which that love affair unfolded.

    Dayle says: "Fascinating"
    "Mediocre"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Like several other reviewers, I found this to be a bit difficult to get through. The parts about Sacks' family history and childhood were interesting but there is a lot here on the history of chemistry that is a slog to get through. This would have been better as a long magazine piece and is stretched as a book. I usually like biographies but I just didn't enjoy this book very much.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Butcher’s Crossing

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By John Williams
    • Narrated By Anthony Heald
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (57)
    Performance
    (44)
    Story
    (44)

    In the 1870s, Will Andrews, fired up by Emerson to seek "an original relation to nature," drops out of Harvard and heads west. He washes up in Butcher's Crossing, a small Kansas town full of restless men looking for ways to make money and ways to waste it. One of these men regales Will with tales of the immense buffalo herds hidden away in the Colorado Rockies and convinces him to join an expedition to track them down.

    Ann K says: "The incomparable John Williams goes west"
    "Terrific book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a great novel, beautifully written and the plot picks up and gets quite suspenseful. Highly recommended.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth, and Faith in the New China

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Evan Osnos
    • Narrated By Evan Osnos, George Backman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (351)
    Performance
    (307)
    Story
    (310)

    As the Beijing correspondent for The New Yorker, Evan Osnos was on the ground in China for years, witness to profound political, economic, and cultural upheaval. In Age of Ambition, he describes the greatest collision taking place in that country: the clash between the rise of the individual and the Communist Party’s struggle to retain control.

    Jeff says: "The Insider's Guide to Contemporary China!!"
    "Moderately interesting"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book is basically a strung together collection of articles that Osnos wrote for the New Yorker magazine. The stories are somewhat interesting but I found that the book dragged and was somewhat repetitive. The sum here was less than the whole of the parts for some reason.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Walter Isaacson
    • Narrated By Dennis Boutsikaris
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1586)
    Performance
    (1350)
    Story
    (1339)

    Following his blockbuster biography of Steve Jobs, The Innovators is Walter Isaacson’s revealing story of the people who created the computer and the Internet. It is destined to be the standard history of the digital revolution and an indispensable guide to how innovation really happens. What were the talents that allowed certain inventors and entrepreneurs to turn their visionary ideas into disruptive realities? What led to their creative leaps? Why did some succeed and others fail?

    Mark says: "A History of the Ancient Geeks"
    "Excellent book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book was great. I was initially put off by the sample audio, which is from the preface and in the author's voice, which I do not think is good but is only a few minutes long. Boutsikaris narrates the rest of the book and is great. The story is a little slow in the beginning but picks up, and the post-World War II part, which is the bulk of the book, is excellent. It's a really good history of modern computers and the internet and how they developed and the people involved at the various steps.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Battle Cry of Freedom: Volume 1

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs)
    • By James M. McPherson
    • Narrated By Jonathan Davis
    Overall
    (563)
    Performance
    (339)
    Story
    (337)

    James M. McPherson, professor emeritus of U.S. history at Princeton, is one of the foremost scholars of the Civil War. In this informative and meticulously researched masterpiece, he clarifies the differing ways of life and philosophy that led to this shattering conflict. Abraham Lincoln wondered whether "in a free government the minority have the right to break up the government". And Jefferson Davis felt "forced to take up arms" to guarantee states' rights.

    Brian says: "Incredible audio book"
    "Highly enjoyable"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I agree with all the high ratings. This is a very accessible and interesting survey of the Civil War. After reading this, I have added a number of other Civil War related books to my list to listen to as well. For those who enjoyed this and want a modern take, I highly recommend "Confederates in the Attic" by Tony Horowitz.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Requiem for a Wren

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Nevil Shute
    • Narrated By Damien Warren-Smith
    Overall
    (19)
    Performance
    (18)
    Story
    (18)

    Alan Duncan returns to his family home in Australia after the war and several years of study in England. But his homecoming is marred by the mysterious suicide of his parents' quiet and reliable parlour-maid. A search through her belongings in search of clues leads to heart-breaking revelations about the woman's identity, the death of Alan's brother Bill, and, above all, the disappearance of his brother's fiancée, Janet.

    Sharon says: "Bittersweet"
    "Pleasant but a little slow"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A pleasant story but not great. I have listened to quite a few Shute novels and this is not at the top of the pack. The story lacks any real drama and plays out rather slowly.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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