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Novie

Retired nightclub performer/computer technician, I now teach hula and ukulele to seniors, and record Hawaiian music for my halau!

Kailua Kona, HI, United States | Member Since 2002

194
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 56 reviews
  • 196 ratings
  • 822 titles in library
  • 122 purchased in 2014
FOLLOWING
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FOLLOWERS
6

  • The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology

    • UNABRIDGED (24 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Ray Kurzweil
    • Narrated By George K. Wilson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (640)
    Performance
    (510)
    Story
    (506)

    For over three decades, the great inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil has been one of the most respected and provocative advocates of the role of technology in our future. In his classic The Age of Spiritual Machines, he argued that computers would soon rival the full range of human intelligence at its best. Now he examines the next step in this inexorable evolutionary process: the union of human and machine.

    Sean Gately says: "Great Idea, terribly slow and painful listen"
    "Amazing read -- narration just fine!"
    Overall
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    Don't miss out on this book. It should start out with "Y'all ain't gonna believe this s _ _ _!"

    What a wild and jaw-dropping read! Ray Kurzwell is a real visionary, and the array of subject matter contained in this book is awesome. I can hardly believe his ideas about the future of mankind and artifical intelligence. Though my back aches and my arthritis is killing me, Kurzwell makes me want to live another seventy-one years just to see if what he says turns out to be true. i can only hope that his vision of the future becomes reality so that my great-grandchildren can witness and benefit from the fantastic future outlined in his book.

    Kurzwell's views on robotics and artificial intelligence, cloning, reverse-engineering the human brain (?), nanotechnology, world hunger, immortality, conquest of the Universe, treating diabetes successfully (to mention just a few topics) are logically presented, and carefully explained in layman's terms. I have listened to this book several (like seven or eight) times and it has not lost my interest yet. I love the book. I agree with the reviewer who states that it is a great introduction to the 21st century and the vast changes that are iminently possible for mankind. Wow.

    The narrator is exactly as he should be. He speaks slowly enough for me to digest the material. His tone is pleasant, and he speaks as if he knows the material well. I am a stickler for narration. it's something that I often comment on, and frankly I was surprised that so many other reviewers panned his performance.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Butterfly's Shadow

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Lee Langley
    • Narrated By Laurel Lefkow
    Overall
    (199)
    Performance
    (178)
    Story
    (178)

    In a Japan still rigid with tradition, an apprehensive 15-year-old tea-house girl prepares to welcome her first client. In his gleaming white uniform, Lieutenant Pinkerton walks up the hill to a house in Nagasaki to find the female he has purchased for a few weeks. When he sails away, she waits, aching for his return. It is one of the world’s great love stories. And, as the curtain falls on Madame Butterfly, Cho-Cho hands over her son to his American father, before killing herself...

    Mary Catherine says: "Unhappy"
    "Great retelling of the famous opera!"
    Overall
    Performance
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    I have read the other reviewers of this book and am simply astonished that NO ONE has connected this tragic love story to the opera "Madame Butterfly" by Puccini. In my opinion, Lee Langley does a very fair job of translating the libretto to novel form. So, it's tragic. That's what most operas are, people. This is the standard operatic fare - seventh in the world for popularity.

    First of all, the time setting is very true to the era. Imagine yourself as a young 15-year-old girl who must, because of the loss of prominence of her family, has been sold to a marriage broker. Here is a teenager, who has her secret hopes and dreams of marriage to a gaijin (foreigner). No one tells her that its all a sham, that she's really his live-in prostitute and has no plan to actually marry her. In truth, in the early 20th century, this scenario was played out over and over again as young innocent girls were sold as sex slaves to foreigners.

    The gutless Pinkerton plays her along not caring how he is damaging her psyche, and treats her as if she has no feelings. But...this is the way things were in the early 20th century. Historically, women were chattel. Read this book and thank your lucky stars you are in the 21st century and this kind of abuse doesn't fly in civilized countries anymore.

    The poor Cho-Cho is clueless, and what 15-year-old girl raised in a cloistered, upperclass family was not. Her classic Japanese upbringing turns out to be fatal, because she would rather die than cause her "husband" or his wife any grief. One reviewer complained that Pinkerton didn't have any character...well, that's absolutely correct. He was an unfeeling, selfish jerk who was a user and abuser. His American wife had more class than he did.

    I feel sorry for those of you who did not "get" this story. Oh, poor you. It was too sad. Sorry about that, but Lee Langley courageously tells it like it was in Japan in those days. I know because I was there during the Occupation and I witnessed it.

    The opera itself was a huge success not only for the pathos and tragedy but for the arias and costumes. Perhaps if you saw the story in this light it would be more interesting. I give this one five stars! Narration was spot on!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Time Traveler's Guide to Elizabethan England

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Ian Mortimer
    • Narrated By Mike Grady
    Overall
    (117)
    Performance
    (97)
    Story
    (98)

    Organized as a travel guide for the time-hopping tourist, The Time-Traveler's Guide to Elizabethan England is an entertaining popular history with a twist. Historian Ian Mortimer reveals in delightful (and occasionally disturbing) detail how the streets and homes of 16th century looked, sounded, and smelled for both peasants and for royals; what people wore and ate; how they were punished for crimes and treated for diseases; and the complex and contradictory Elizabethan attitudes toward violence, class, sex, and religion.

    Amazon Customer says: "Elizabethan England... As Never Presented Before"
    "Unbelievable detail! Great listen!"
    Overall
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    I am listening to this book again as I write this. I am so hooked on the way Ian Mortimer gives us, the time traveler, a look at Elizabethan England like we never realized it existed. It's amazing...and sometimes horrible, and makes me glad I'm alive today in the 21st century. We take flush toilets for granted -- I never will again.

    And I found out that board games and other games for entertainment were against the law because the monarchy wanted them to practice archery. Women had NO rights at all, and Queen Elizabeth traveled in a stagecoach, along with a spare, and had a "convenience coach" in case she had to use the loo. Twenty was middle aged. Disease and plague were every day threats, and you should hear about the cures! The one using the goat's behind got me.

    This is just the tip of the iceberg! Seventeen hours was not enough. I had to listen to it again. Mike Grady is perfect as our guide through Elizabethan England. I hope there are more coming from this author. This was jaw-dropping fun. As my Southern relatives might say, "Y'all ain't gonna believe this sh....." Have fun with this one!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Sound and the Echoes

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Dew Pellucid
    • Narrated By David Radtke
    Overall
    (89)
    Performance
    (82)
    Story
    (78)

    The Sound and the Echoes is a high-concept, fantasy adventure for middle grade and young adult listeners. Imagine that everyone around you has a mirror image living somewhere else. Your world is like a sound, which produced that other world of echoes. And in this land men are governed by a terrible law-no Echo is allowed to live after his Sound dies. One Sound especially must die. The Prince's Sound. The Fate Sealers and Fortune Tellers will make sure of that!

    Julia says: "Beyond Imaginative!"
    "Absolutely the WORST narration!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I can't even begin to tell you how poor the narrator is in this production. His wooden delivery definitely detracts from the story, however interesting it might be. I COULD NOT CONCENTRATE on the plot line because of the amateurish delivery of the narrator. Geez, I am 73 and can do a better job than that.

    I often purchase books on sale because I listen voraciously, and don't often listen right away. This book has been on my "shelf" for some time, and I didn't feel I could return it readily so the only satisfaction I have for owning this book is to tell everyone how awful this is.

    The reviewer who says that it was written for kids so adults should back off (and there were many who panned this book for the irritating narrator) probably doesn't care what his children listen to. Listening to a book can be magical for a child -- OMG, Jim Dale's narration of ANYTHING practically guarantees the book is priceless. This book might have had some potential, but I'm pretty sure the narrator, David Radtke, has demolished any books he has "talked".

    I always hate to give a book such a bad rating, because the author probably deserves better. I might has stayed with it longer if a decent narrator was telling the story. Get the book in print if you are into this stuff -- the Audible version is horrible.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Ulysses

    • UNABRIDGED (27 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By James Joyce
    • Narrated By Jim Norton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (778)
    Performance
    (496)
    Story
    (481)

    Ulysses is regarded by many as the single most important novel of the 20th century. It tells the story of one day in Dublin, June 16th 1904, largely through the eyes of Stephen Dedalus (Joyce's alter ego from Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man) and Leopold Bloom, an advertising salesman. Both begin a normal day, and both set off on a journey around the streets of Dublin, which eventually brings them into contact with one another.

    A User says: "Ulysses (Unabridged)"
    "Call me an idiot, but I just DON'T get it."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I bought this book largely based on the customer reviews that so ardently raved on and on about it. I had to have it. Now I realize that there must be a conspiracy of lunatics out there trying to make art out of garbage. I just don't get it.
    In desperation, I finally went to Wikipedia to find out what the hell this book is about (after struggling through seven chapters). I could not believe what I heard. Basically it is the "stream of consciousness" running through a man's mind in the space of one day. Just rambling on and on, on and on. Wiki gives a great synopsis of the chapters, and I was totally surprised to find that there was a thread of thought to any of what I had experienced.
    People have called it it best book of the 20th century? If I have to have a translation to understand the English language, it's definitely not for me. According to Wiki, Joyce said he would gain immortality just because literary professors would forever be arguing about what he meant in the book.
    NOT entertaining! There is a Gutenberg Project of this book online and I skimmed over it to see if I could better understand it. It's a little better to READ it than to listen to it, but still--I don't find myself wanting to STUDY a book of 330,300 or so words to find out what the author is trying to say or the parallels to Homer's work. Leave this one to the pedantics. I had to put it down.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Off to Be the Wizard

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By Scott Meyer
    • Narrated By Luke Daniels
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1514)
    Performance
    (1423)
    Story
    (1432)

    It's a simple story. Boy finds proof that reality is a computer program. Boy uses program to manipulate time and space. Boy gets in trouble. Boy flees back in time to Medieval England to live as a wizard while he tries to think of a way to fix things. Boy gets in more trouble. Oh, and boy meets girl at some point.

    Charles says: "Fantastic"
    "Fabulous fun, but narration spoiled it!"
    Overall
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    Story

    Hilarious fun, this book. I certainly did enjoy the premise, and I am NOT the demographic that Scott Meyer is going for. I am a 73-year-old geek - and a great grandma, but I have computer programming background from way back - say, 1982 and the Timex Sinclair 4K personal computer. (Upgradeable to 16K for $79.95 -- big money back then)

    The story is very original, and I really did not have to "suspend belief" to get through the wacky story line. Great fun. But... Luke Daniels overdoes the narration to a point where I often got extricated from the plot thinking how dumb and out of character the voices were. Being jolted out of the story line because of the narrator's faux pas is unpleasant.

    He starts off well enough. Martin's voice is definitely in character. The FBI guys sound like 45 IQ mobsters, a little too intimidating, but its a humorous piece. Philip is charming, and right in character -- I can believe that his British accent comes from the length of time he has spent in 12th century England.

    I have to admire Luke Daniels for trying to give the various characters unique voices, but he forgot that all these "wizards" are actually geeks from the 20th century who have discovered a very interesting file and tampered with it. I do not think that Jimmy should sound like one of the Bowery Boys (for you youngsters, the Bowery Boys were a lowbrow street gang in the 1930s. Or, think Squiggie from "Laverne and Shirley".)

    All the computer geeks that I have ever come in contact with have much more eloquence in their speech. Plus, Jimmy has been in England almost as long as Philip, and continues to talk like that? See, every time he talked I just shook my head sadly.

    I am going find a copy this book and read it for myself. Sorry, Luke, but you have to pay attention to the details.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Japanese Phase 1, Unit 01: Learn to Speak and Understand Japanese with Pimsleur Language Programs

    • ORIGINAL (45 mins)
    • By Pimsleur
    Overall
    (110)
    Performance
    (64)
    Story
    (60)

    Japanese Phase 1, Unit 1 contains 30 minutes of spoken language practice, with an introductory conversation, and isolated vocabulary and structures. Detailed instructions enable you to understand and participate in the conversation. The lesson contains full practice for all vocabulary introduced in this unit.

    Carolyn says: "Good Language Learning"
    "Sixteen minutes of explanation..."
    Overall
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    Okay, you will learn about five sentences of Japanese. They are: Excuse me? Do you understand English? No, I don't understand, Do you understand Japanese? Yes, a little. Are you American? Yes, I am American. This is NOT a whole lot of information. There are better courses out there..

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Worst Ideas Ever: A Celebration of Embarrassment

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Daniel Kline, Jason Tomaszewski
    • Narrated By Patrick Lawlor
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (639)
    Performance
    (582)
    Story
    (582)

    From memorable disasters such as New Coke, the XFL, and Tiger Woods’ marriage to less-remembered failures such as Yugo, Cop Rock, and Microsoft’s BOB, Worst Ideas Ever revisits history’s biggest blunders. Whether it’s a pop culture failure or a political one, Worst Ideas Ever uncovers the ridiculous stories behind mistakes so huge, you’ll have to constantly remind yourself that they actually happened.

    Sara says: "Wears out quickly"
    "Perhaps with pictures..."
    Overall
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    Story

    Okay, I paid a buck for this and I can't say I'm sorry. The other Audible reviews agree with me that it's just not that great. But Amazon reviews say something a little different. They talk about PICTURES -- in COLOR. That probably made all the difference.

    I have to say that I am not a sports fan, and a huge dose of sports "duh"s take up half the book. I don't remember hearing any comments about Tiger Woods' marriage either. Maybe I slept through that.

    It took up a morning for me, and is better than watching today's daytime TV. So, if you can't get this audible version on sale, get the book in print. It'll have PICTURES!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Philomena: A Mother, Her Son, and a Fifty-Year Search

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Martin Sixsmith
    • Narrated By John Curless
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (552)
    Performance
    (502)
    Story
    (500)

    Now a major motion picture directed by Stephen Frears (The Queen, High Fidelity) and starring Judi Dench (Skyfall, Notes on a Scandal) and Steve Coogan (The Trip, Hamlet 2): the heartbreaking true story of an Irishwoman and the secret she kept for 50 years. When she became pregnant as a teenager in Ireland in 1952, Philomena Lee was sent to a convent to be looked after as a "fallen woman". Then the nuns took her baby from her and sold him, like thousands of others, to America for adoption. Fifty years later, Philomena decided to find him.

    Linda says: "Misled by description"
    "BAIT AND SWITCH! Definitely not as advertised!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I purchased this book according to the publisher's comments, and discovered it to be a horse of an entirely different color! This is NOT the poignant tale of some poor illiterate Irish lady who spends fifty years looking for her son! This is a novel (I cannot even be sure whether it is truth or fiction) about a gay man's rise in Washington politics during the Carter/Reagan administrations.

    What can I say? It's like that line, "Where's the beef?" I am two hours away from the end of this story, and while the storyline itself is okay, my whole conception of this book is tainted by the fact that I WAS LIED TO by the publishers. I just wish that a more accurate synopsis of the piece were given in the first place. I would NOT have purchased this book as I don't care for political intrigue enough to spend fifteen hours listening to it.

    I gather now, after reading other listener reviews of this book, that there is currently a movie in the works that tells the story from the mother's point of view. This makes me very suspicious of the publisher's motives in presenting the story as "apples" when in reality it is "oranges". If, after a twelve-year very satisfactory history with Audible, I now have to do a background check on every single book I contemplate purchasing, it is, indeed, a sad state of affairs.


    10 of 13 people found this review helpful
  • Nowhere is a Place

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Bernice McFadden
    • Narrated By Robin Miles
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (182)
    Performance
    (157)
    Story
    (161)

    Nothing can mend a broken heart quite like family. Sherry has struggled all her life to understand who she is, where she comes from, and, most important, why her mother slapped her cheek one summer afternoon. The incident has haunted Sherry, and it causes her to dig into her family's past. Like many family histories, it is fractured and stubbornly reluctant to reveal its secrets. But Sherry is determined to know the full story. In a few days' time, her extended family will gather for a reunion, and Sherry sets off across the country with her mother, Dumpling, to join them.

    Brenda says: "Richly textured and captivating"
    "I did not like this book."
    Overall
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    Story

    The beginning of this book was sketchy--what did Sheri and the piano player's vignette or her affair with the umbrella guy have to do with the rest of the piece. I was completely thrown off by this side trip, and struggled to make sense of it throughout the rest of the nine hours. It wasn't made clear that a historical timeline of this woman's family was unveiling through the trip, and I did not figure that out until much later. I was glad when it was over, I am also glad it was on sale and I did not waste a credit on it.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • What Einstein Kept Under His Hat: Secrets of Science in the Kitchen

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Robert L. Wolke, Marlene Parrish
    • Narrated By Sean Runnette
    Overall
    (302)
    Performance
    (261)
    Story
    (258)

    Have you ever wondered why onions make us cry? Do you believe bananas contain more calories as they ripen and get sweeter? This sequel to the best-selling What Einstein Told His Cook continues Robert L. Wolke's investigations into the science behind our foods.

    Jerker says: "Funny and interesting, but badly edited"
    "I am lovin' this book!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Here is another terrific book I can listen to over and over again. I love Sean Runnette, the narrator, and I have to chuckle every time he throws out a "Food Fictionary" factoid. I totally broke down when he defined "hominy".
    Robert L. Wolke is a little crazy, you know, just like me. His tongue-in cheek-humor at the most unexpected moments is delightful. Even though you think he's pulling your leg, he is full of information about food, cooking, and unbelievable stuff about the kitchen, of all places. He talks casually, then throws in some solid "sidebar science" every once in a while. Great thing is, I can put the book down and pick it up again later and dig right in. It's golden.

    Be sure to get the 85-page PDF that comes with the book. You will be given instructions on how to get it in the very first part of the book. There are recipes to die for, and they are not for dieters -- OMG! The Jack Daniels Barbecue Sauce sounds amazing!

    Now I have been a little distracted--dieting for the last half year, and food just can't be my "thing" any more. But I have just been eating this book up (calorie free, even) and hate to turn it off. One of these days I might just have to splurge on a grilled chocolate sandwich (page 65 of the PDF!)

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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