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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

163
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 50 reviews
  • 154 ratings
  • 643 titles in library
  • 35 purchased in 2014
FOLLOWING
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FOLLOWERS
5

  • 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
    (539)
    Performance
    (426)
    Story
    (422)

    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!"
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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.

    3 of 4 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
    (348)
    Performance
    (321)
    Story
    (322)

    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.

    Peter says: "This book was one of the worst ideas every"
    "Perhaps with pictures..."
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    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
    (251)
    Performance
    (222)
    Story
    (221)

    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.

    Julie Wenders says: "Rivetting Story and Performance"
    "BAIT AND SWITCH! Definitely not as advertised!"
    Overall
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    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.


    8 of 11 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
    (103)
    Performance
    (87)
    Story
    (89)

    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.

    Susie says: "A Mother and Daughter Tear. It. Up."
    "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
    (183)
    Performance
    (162)
    Story
    (156)

    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!"
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    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
  • 600 Hours of Edward

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Craig Lancaster
    • Narrated By Luke Daniels
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (159)
    Performance
    (144)
    Story
    (143)

    A 39-year-old with Asperger’s syndrome and obsessive-compulsive disorder, Edward Stanton lives alone on a rigid schedule in the Montana town where he grew up. His carefully constructed routine includes tracking his most common waking time (7:38 a.m.), refusing to start his therapy sessions even a minute before the appointed hour (10:00 a.m.), and watching one episode of the 1960s cop show Dragnet each night (10:00 p.m.). But when a single mother and her nine-year-old son move in across the street, Edward’s timetable comes undone....

    Lulu says: "A Very Good Book with a Very Difficult Hero"
    "Unexpectedly charming!"
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    After reading reviews on "Edward Adrift", a sale item, I purchased this book at the same time. I am so glad I did! I have now read them both, and they kept me captivated for an entire weekend. "600 Hours of Edward" is the precursor to the second volume. This is a tale of a man with Asberger's Syndrome with a heavy dose of OCD.

    The disease is never mentioned in this book, but after a very short while, I got the picture that there was something peculiar (I love that word - peculiar) about him. I have been in Edward's head, dealing with his everyday problems of being "developmentally disabled, not stupid" and being so sad for this 39-year-old man who's comfort zone is so restrictive that for most people, his actions are incomprehensible.

    But as his narrative unfolds, he just wormed his way into my heart. After the Garth Brooks incident, which is never really explained, he is thrown out of his parent's home and set up in a little two-bedroom flat, a few miles away. Here he leads a monastery-like life, self-regimented by daily lists and timed activities. He struggles to understand his larger-than-life, good ole boy father who communicates with him through his lawyer. His lone champion, therapist Dr. Buckley, deftly encourages him to discover coping skills for his problems.

    Edward is thwarted (I love that word - thwarted) at every turn. Every opportunity to expand his realm of existence is squashed by his father, with threatening letters and contractual agreements which imprison him in his lonely regimented existence. His mother is no help at all, and at their monthly dinners at his parent's home, she is distant, leaving Edward to deal with his father's accusatory conversation which usually ends up in a quarrel between father and son.

    I can't tell you any more. You HAVE to read this book. It ends with the unexpected death of his father, and what happens after that can be found in Craig Lancaster's sequel, "Edward Adrift". You HAVE to read that book also.

    Luke Daniel's narration is perfect. Enough said.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By William Davis
    • Narrated By Tom Weiner
    Overall
    (1554)
    Performance
    (1332)
    Story
    (1314)

    Since the introduction of dietary guidelines calling for reduced fat intake in the 1970s, a strange phenomenon has occurred: Americans have steadily, inexorably become heavier, less healthy, and more prone to diabetes than ever before. After putting more than two thousand of his at-risk patients on a wheat-free regimen and seeing extraordinary results, cardiologist William Davis has come to the disturbing conclusion that it is not fat, not sugar, not our sedentary lifestyle that is causing America’s obesity epidemic—it is wheat.

    Stacey says: "The program works, but the listen is technical"
    "Hey guys, I've lost over 40 pounds doing this!"
    Overall
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    This book is not for dummies. If, after hearing what this man has to say, you continue to eat wheat (and sugar - HFC) you are a real dummy. I bought this audible book a few months ago and implemented a wheat-free regimen after listening to it the very first time. I have now listened to it 3, probably 4 times, and learn something new each time I hear it.

    I think the author, William Davis, is right in his evaluation of the current state of American health. I have lost 47 pounds in the last six months. You know, it's tough, but after I started looking at certain foods (wheat and sugar) as being poison, I just don't put them in my body anymore. Oh, yes. My diabetes is under control, I have lost 13 inches around my waistline, and I have found my lap again. I can fit in an airplane seat, in a restaurant booth, and no longer drag the chair I'm sitting in up with me when I stand up. I've lost 3 dress sizes, too. Whole grains are NO GOOD!

    I did some research on the author and on the whole "wheat controversy", and there are a lot of people out there, including my own health insurance company, that told me not to do this diet. They can shove it. I don't consider it a diet. It's my new lifestyle, and I am thrilled!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Fuzzy Nation

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By John Scalzi
    • Narrated By Wil Wheaton, John Scalzi
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3440)
    Performance
    (3008)
    Story
    (3005)

    In John Scalzi's re-imagining of H. Beam Piper's 1962 sci-fi classic Little Fuzzy, written with the full cooperation of the Piper Estate, Jack Holloway works alone for reasons he doesnt care to talk about. Hundreds of miles from ZaraCorps headquarters on planet, 178 light-years from the corporations headquarters on Earth, Jack is content as an independent contractor, prospecting and surveying at his own pace. As for his past, thats not up for discussion.

    Samuel Montgomery-Blinn says: "Short, sweet, and satisfying storytelling."
    "Charming story at breakneck speed!"
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    I enjoyed this book, after all is said and done. The plot was very interesting, the characters unpredictable, and it all came together quite nicely. The interaction between Holloway and Carl left me chuckling, and Isabel's relationship with Holloway was neatly held in abeyance to discover slowly as the plot was revealed. The courtroom scene left me shaking my head at how STUPID a lawyer can be to the point where I just had to suspend my belief and leave it at that. All in all, short and sweet, you might say.

    Perhaps due to my age, but I felt like I was on a roller coaster ride. Will Wheaton (and don't I remember him as the kid on Sea Quest?) delivered the story at such immense speed, I was more amazed at how he could articulate so well at that amazing rate than I was in the story line. Very early on, I reduced the speed to 75% and, after getting used to the annoying echo, was able to move forward with the book. At that rate, his performance was quite adequate, and the slowdown was hardly noticeable.

    The other reviews that I read here are misleading. They represent that both Fuzzy Nation stories--Scalzi's and Piper's-- are contained in this title. They are not. I am not familiar with Piper's original piece, but it doesn't matter. I liked Scalzi's book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Jack Weatherford
    • Narrated By Jonathan Davis, Jack Weatherford
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3314)
    Performance
    (1949)
    Story
    (1967)

    The Mongol army led by Genghis Khan subjugated more lands and people in 25 years than the Romans did in 400. In nearly every country the Mongols conquered, they brought an unprecedented rise in cultural communication, expanded trade, and a blossoming of civilization.

    Peter says: "Brilliant, insightful, intriguing."
    "Well now, this is an eye-opener!"
    Overall
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    Story

    This is not the first Audible book about Genghis Khan I have purchased and read. The other one was very interesting, and I am so glad I bought it first. Keep in mind, I am smiling while I write this because of the irony of the thing. if I had bought this book first, I would never, ever have revisited Genghis again. This book, however accurate it may be, is the bloodiest, most graphic description of horror upon horror inflicted on the world population by a single human being.
    I did not realize that Genghis Khan's era was in the 12th-13th centuries. That's fairly recent in human history. Ole Genghis started out in Mongolia and eventually marched himself right across Russia right on to Europe's doorstep. According to Weatherford, he was a despot and enjoyed subjugating Christians, Jews, and anyone else he took a disliking to. Geez, where was the plague when we needed it?

    Jack Weatherford tells the story of this cruel and inhumane ruler well -- almost too well, as a matter of fact. I suppose I could have gone on with my peripheral knowledge of the man and left it at that, but now, I think Genghis was much, much worse than Hitler. I am of the mind that every monument to him should be bulldozed, every history book should be expunged and humanity should go onward without being reminded that such a being ever existed.

    If you like gore and like to read about human misery, by all means get this book! The narrator is great. He drops all this vileness in your lap like he's describing a picnic in the park. I should like to hear him read something not quite so ghastly. There is a lot of animation in his voice. He's good,

    In closing, I can't say I didn't like the book. I learned a lot listening to it. You know, some things are hard to hear, but there is a message in there somewhere. I hope that future generations never fall into the mindless hopelessness of a creature like Genghis. Maybe reading stuff like this will scare us enough to keep that from happening,

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • H.G. Wells Science Fiction Collection

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 36 mins)
    • By H. G. Wells
    • Narrated By Peter Batchelor, George Eustice, Alan Munro
    Overall
    (72)
    Performance
    (66)
    Story
    (63)

    Four classic science-fiction stories: 20 hours of great listening. This collection of classic Wells tales includes The Invisible Man, The Time Machine, The War of The Worlds, and The Island of Doctor Moreau.

    Vito says: "Don't buy it."
    "A huge reveal -times 3!"
    Overall
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    Good heavens! Don't believe the other reviewers about the narration. Alan Munro is by far the best of the three, I love his accent. Give me more of him. The narrator for Dr. Moreau and the Invisible Man was the same, but I saw his narrating style as being quaint and adequate for the time period. George Eustice's narration of War of the Worlds was totally within reason, and yes, there were some weird noises in the background. But hey, twenty hours of a great science fiction writer like H. G. Wells, gimme a break! WELL WORTH THE PRICE, PEOPLE! WELL WORTH THE PRICE.

    H. G,. Wells is a notable author. I have been familiar with his work since Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man. War of the Worlds in 1956 was one of the scariest movies my child's mind ever grasped - scared the hell out of me for weeks! I was not familiar with the Dr. Moreau piece, except in a peripheral sort of way as I am not a fan of horror films, so I can't comment too much on that. As a matter of fact, I glossed it over for the next book. Maybe I'll go back to it one day. Now the Time Machine with Rod (What's his name) was a great flick, and until I read this collection, I was not aware of how closely the film followed the book.

    Now for the big reveal. All of the film versions that I remember were updated adaptations of the original work. The Invisible Man? I had no idea that the main character was so demoralized by his self-induced fate that he decides to take it out on the entire world. He turned out to be Lex Luthor, for God's sake. Mean just to be mean. What an eye opener. He seemed harmless enough in the Abbott and Costello movie, and I left it at that. But Wells shows through excellent character development how this man (told in first person) begins to deteriorate slowly as he desperately tries to figure out what he did to get in that state in the first place. Wells was a writer of contemporary fiction a la 1890s, and the descriptions he gives of the environment and the people who come across the invisible man are sensible for the 19th century and when placed in that context it was gripping, to say the least.

    War of the Worlds is another story that has been corrupted over the last century. Although 1956s version is FAR superior to the more modern costly digital disaster, neither of them puts the story in its time perspective. London - 1895. Horses and carts, No huge buildings, largely an agrarian population, and the ability to stand on a hill and look over the city. The descriptive passages were amazing. I felt the angst of this man as he struggles, along with everyone else, to figure out what the hell is going on. Instantly, the entire city is in turmoil, with no relief in sight. Although we know the ending, the narration of the desperate lengths the main character goes through, the descriptions of the bodies left everywhere, dogs chewing at corpses, people fighting and robbing each other for anything and everything, and this man doesn't know what has happened to his wife. No film version can adequately depict the two weeks that he hid in the collapsed cottage, with the Martians at arm's length just outside the rubble.

    Lastly, the Time Machine was perfect. The film version was faithful, but the story fleshes out the character and the environment so much better. Can you imagine? Science fiction in the 19th century?

    Let me say this. I have bought some low-budget books in my time that I was immensely gratified to have made such a little dent in my pocketbook. They were garbage. At the same time, I have paid the member price for other books that I would have happily ripped to shreds they were so bad. But once in a while, something comes along that makes it all better. This collection of H. G. Wells classics is one of those.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Forsyte Saga

    • UNABRIDGED (42 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By John Galsworthy
    • Narrated By Fred Williams
    Overall
    (258)
    Performance
    (80)
    Story
    (76)

    The three novels that make up The Forsyte Saga chronicle the ebbing social power of the commercial upper-middle class Forsyte family through three generations, beginning in Victorian London during the 1880s and ending in the early 1920s. Galsworthy's masterly narrative examines not only their fortunes but also the wider developments within society, particularly the changing position of women.

    Kay in DC says: "A delight"
    "Knowing the difference finally!"
    Overall
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    I now know the difference between a good book and a GREAT one. I have just finished the Forsyte Saga, and my eyes were opened wide. Just prior to that I read a couple of Kate Morton novels which I enjoyed, but let me tell you, sweetie, they just don't stand up in comparison to John Galsworthy's epic masterpiece.

    I have owned this book for some time and don't always listen immediately after purchasing them for one reason or another. I give it a try, and then put it down if it's problematic. In this case, I think it was the narrator, Fred Williams. He reads so slowly, however precisely, and I couldn't handle the plodding pace. So, with the new Audible app I sped it up to 1.25% listening speed, And very shortly thereafter I was immersed in 19th century England up to my eyeballs.

    What a great story! What compelling characters! I could not get enough of this book. It's over now, and I am sad because I want to know what has happened to everyone. I ran the gamut of emotions listening to this book. When it wasn't possible for me to listen, I was still engrossed. I thought about my own father who was born in 1905 and tried to compare his lifestyle growing up during the Forsyte's timeline. The manners, the morals, the injustices--all so different for my father's generation and for mine. There is simply no comparison to today, a hundred plus years later.

    This is a story about a family. Upper middle class, proper and all that, divided so deeply about one way of life (the popular view) and another way (a burgeoning ideal of how life could be) which is rather alien to the establishment. John Galsworthy was born into this upper middle class environment, and gives great detail about how people thought and acted as they did.

    Anyway the split in the family grows larger and larger, and then one day, two or three generations down the line, things happen which eventually start the decline of the old view and there it ends, leaving you to guess what happens next.

    Such a long, long book, but every single sentence is a keeper. You know what? I eventually put the speed back to 1.00 because I didn't want it to quit. I guess I got used to Fred Williams' narration (or he got better over the course of the book) because I didn't mind at all.

    This is a GREAT book, whether you read it, listen to it, or watch it dramatized, and I now know the difference! I actually watched the Netflix version while reading it, and checked out the Gutenberg Project online version of it, looked up the history of the Boer War, and checked out Queen Victoria's funeral. I imagine you will, too, but nothing compares with the book! You have to read this book!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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