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Glenn

Demopolis, AL, USA | Member Since 2003

33
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 12 reviews
  • 196 ratings
  • 377 titles in library
  • 21 purchased in 2014
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  • The Memory of Running

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Ron McLarty
    • Narrated By Ron McLarty
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2886)
    Performance
    (1074)
    Story
    (1068)

    In late 2003, in his column in Entertainment Weekly, Stephen King called The Memory of Running "the best novel you won't read this year." This glowing endorsement of the audiobook resulted in Ron McLarty receiving a $2 million two-book deal from Viking Penguin. Also, Warner Brothers has shelled out big bucks for the movie rights to The Memory of Running, for which McLarty will write the script.

    Neal says: "Funny and Fascinating, A Wonderful Book"
    "Give it a chance"
    Overall

    After the first three hours, I almost put this one away. I am so glad I did not.

    In those first three hours, the simplicity of the main character almost drove me away. In the end, I came to appreciate his simplicity more than anything.

    Once Smithson Ide begins his long journey, breaking free from his cloistered, pathetic existence, the story quickly gains momentum. I became engrossed in his quest, remembering simple joys I have not thought of since childhood. What followed was an entertaining listen, sincere retrospection of my own life, and a main character I will not soon forget.

    Through all the tragedies that befall him, Smithson Ide's decency and appreciation of the great gift of life lift him to a higher existence.


    Well done, Ron McLarty - on both fronts. Good writing and sensitive, meaningful narration. I would highly recommend this book to others and look forward to your next effort.



    19 of 21 people found this review helpful
  • Steelheart: Reckoners, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Brandon Sanderson
    • Narrated By Macleod Andrews
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (6696)
    Performance
    (6245)
    Story
    (6270)

    Ten years ago, Calamity came. It was a burst in the sky that gave ordinary men and women extraordinary powers. The awed public started calling them Epics. But Epics are no friend of man. With incredible gifts came the desire to rule. And to rule man you must crush his wills. Nobody fights the Epics...nobody but the Reckoners. A shadowy group of ordinary humans, they spend their lives studying Epics, finding their weaknesses, and then assassinating them. And David wants in. He wants Steelheart - the Epic who is said to be invincible. The Epic who killed David's father.

    D says: "He got the idea from a near traffic accident"
    "Didn't expect a comic book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What would have made Steelheart better?

    A protagonist who's not so whiny? At times, it was as though Jay Baruchel was right there in the car next to me.


    What was most disappointing about Brandon Sanderson’s story?

    I was expecting something a LOT more substantial.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    The narrator sounded too much like a whiny, annoying brat (again, Jay Baruchel). I found myself rooting against the protagonist and his cohorts.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    It could possibly make a decent comic book series that my pre-teen son might enjoy - but then again, I might be selling the tastes of my pre-teen son WAY too short.


    Any additional comments?

    Don't waste your time or money on this drivel.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • East of Eden

    • UNABRIDGED (25 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By John Steinbeck
    • Narrated By Richard Poe
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1229)
    Performance
    (1058)
    Story
    (1073)

    This sprawling and often brutal novel, set in the rich farmlands of California's Salinas Valley, follows the intertwined destinies of two families - the Trasks and the Hamiltons - whose generations helplessly reenact the fall of Adam and Eve and the poisonous rivalry of Cain and Abel.

    Suzn F says: "Epic story of Love and Loss"
    "Greatness"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you like best about this story?

    Steinbeck's description and reverence for the land - as great as the characters and plot are, there is just nothing like Steinbeck's portraits of the Salinas Valley.


    Which character – as performed by Richard Poe – was your favorite?

    Kate Trask might be the most malevolent, truly evil character I've ever encountered.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes, though not possible due to its great length.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Bad Monkey

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Carl Hiaasen
    • Narrated By Arte Johnson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (903)
    Performance
    (798)
    Story
    (808)

    Andrew Yancy - late of the Miami Police and soon-to-be-late of the Monroe County sheriff’s office - has a human arm in his freezer. There’s a logical (Hiaasenian) explanation for that, but not for how and why it parted from its shadowy owner. Yancy thinks the boating-accident/shark-luncheon explanation is full of holes, and if he can prove murder, the sheriff might rescue him from his grisly Health Inspector gig (it’s not called the roach patrol for nothing). But first - this being Hiaasen country - Yancy must negotiate an obstacle course of wildly unpredictable events with a crew of even more wildly unpredictable characters.

    James says: "Disappointed"
    "They won't let me give the performance a '0'"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What disappointed you about Bad Monkey?

    I couldn't listen to this - Arte Johnson's narration is so bad that you cannot concentrate on the story. He reads in such a halting style (and without appropriate pauses) that you can't follow the story.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Carl Hiaasen again?

    I like Carl Hiaasen's work. If you're looking for entertaining pulp fiction, his work can fit the bill - just NOT when narrated by Arte Johnson!


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Arte Johnson?

    Just about anyone. My best friend Steve? The guy who used to work at the radio station here in town? In all seriousness, I've enjoyed several Hiaasen books narrated by George Wilson. Was he not available? Then Lee Adams or Stephen Hoye should have gotten a call.


    Any additional comments?

    If you ever do this book with a different narrator, I'd like to give it a try.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Dog Stars

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Peter Heller
    • Narrated By Mark Deakins
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1085)
    Performance
    (961)
    Story
    (965)

    Hig survived the flu that killed everyone he knows. His wife is gone, his friends are dead, he lives in the hangar of a small abandoned airport with his dog, his only neighbor a gun-toting misanthrope. In his 1956 Cessna, Hig flies the perimeter of the airfield or sneaks off to the mountains to fish and to pretend that things are the way they used to be. But when a random transmission somehow beams through his radio, the voice ignites a hope deep inside him that a better life exists beyond the airport.

    Melinda says: "Absolutely Stellar!"
    "Excellent"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to The Dog Stars again? Why?

    Absolutely. As a matter of fact, I intend to listen to this book again in a few months. This book is haunting - and hopeful.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Dog Stars?

    The death and subsequent burial of Hig's dog (and its aftermath) was heartbreaking.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The initial encounter of Hig, the old man and his daughter. Wonderfully suspenseful and comic at the same time.


    Any additional comments?

    A little Cormac McCarthy, a little Hemingway. Well worth another listen.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Rachel Joyce
    • Narrated By Jim Broadbent
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3101)
    Performance
    (2764)
    Story
    (2770)

    Meet Harold Fry, recently retired. He lives in a small English village with his wife, Maureen, who seems irritated by almost everything he does, even down to how he butters his toast. Little differentiates one day from the next. Then one morning the mail arrives, and within the stack is a letter addressed to Harold from a woman he hasn't seen or heard from in 20 years. Queenie Hennessy is in hospice and is writing to say goodbye. Harold pens a quick reply and, leaving Maureen to her chores, heads to the corner mailbox. But then Harold has a chance encounter, one that convinces him that he absolutely must deliver his message to Queenie in person.

    FanB14 says: "Wonderful Walkabout"
    "It's no Major Pettigrew"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    I would rate this book as "satisfactory." So no, I would not recommend it to a friend. I didn't hate it, didn't dread listening to it. The plot, though predictable, is solid. The characters are interesting, but not engrossing.


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

    I was reminded that it might be a good time to take a nap.


    Did Jim Broadbent do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

    Jim Broadbent did an excellent job of reflecting the deep emotional scars of these characters. What he did not do was portray a marked difference in the characters. In the end, almost all felt like the same person.


    Do you think The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    Why? To end insomnia in our lifetime? Once is enough.


    Any additional comments?

    There are two books that immediately come to mind which did a much better job of telling a similar story than this one:
    "Major Pettigrew's Last Stand" by Helen Simonson
    "The Memory of Running" by Ron McLarty

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Book of Joe

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Jonathan Tropper
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (402)
    Performance
    (255)
    Story
    (252)

    Joe Goffman was fifteen years out from his sleepy hometown when he wrote Bush Falls, a searing critique of its people and institutions. The book was a runaway best seller, and led to an even more successful movie. Now, however, Joe's got a problem. His father has suffered a stroke, and that means that Joe has to go back to his birthplace after having successfully antagonized every person living there. Can Joe survive the reservoirs of hatred that have been waiting to pour down upon him? Just maybe.

    FanB14 says: "Sarcasm Reigns Supreme"
    "Shallow and predictable"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    Not much. This book was heavy-handed and clumsy throughout. From the summary description, I expected a tragic-comedy. All I got was boredom.


    What was most disappointing about Jonathan Tropper’s story?

    I suppose I was expecting something a little lighter. A little more levity and wittier dialogue could have done this book a world of good.


    What didn’t you like about Scott Brick’s performance?

    While I've never been a big fan of Scott Brick, his solemnity can sometimes add the proper nuance to the right type of book; this wasn't the right type of book. He's much more suited to science fiction, in my opinion. Put him in present-day America and he drowns everything in melodrama. Again, I'm not his biggest fan.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Disappointment, I suppose. By the end of the third hour, I knew what was going to happen.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Straight Man

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Richard Russo
    • Narrated By Sam Freed
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (475)
    Performance
    (184)
    Story
    (186)

    Russo's protagonist is William Henry Devereaux, Jr., the reluctant chairman of the English department of a badly underfunded college in the Pennsylvania rust belt. In the course of a single week, Devereaux will have his nose mangled by an angry colleague, imagine his wife is having an affair with his dean, wonder if a curvaceous adjunct is trying to seduce him with peach pits, and threaten to execute a goose on local television.

    Jeffrey A. Sherman says: "Shockingly good"
    "Just finished my 5th (6th?) listen of this book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to Straight Man again? Why?

    See headline ^^^^^^^.The deadpan, dead-on narration. The wonderful character development. The turn of phrase (and there are many) that still makes me laugh out loud spontaneously.


    Who was the most memorable character of Straight Man and why?

    Occam. The dog, not the man. I'm not a groiner by nature, but I can play that role...


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Art of Fielding: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs)
    • By Chad Harbach
    • Narrated By Holter Graham
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1188)
    Performance
    (996)
    Story
    (998)

    At Westish College, a small school on the shore of Lake Michigan, baseball star Henry Skrimshander seems destined for big league stardom. But when a routine throw goes disastrously off course, the fates of five people are upended.

    S. says: "Not Quite ~"
    "A nice, honest story with good characters"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to The Art of Fielding the most enjoyable?

    This book reminded me of the early works of two of my favorite authors, before they became "serious writers" - John Irving and Richard Russo. Much like "Straight Man" and "Nobody's Fool" by Russo and Irving's "The World According to Garp," I enjoyed the character development of this book.

    I liked these people - and I especially liked the fact that there was no single protagonist. I wanted them all to be successful in the end. It's not a world-changing book. It won't win the Pulitzer. But I thoroughly enjoyed the storytelling, and that was refreshing.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell

    • UNABRIDGED (32 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Susanna Clarke
    • Narrated By Simon Prebble
    Overall
    (3359)
    Performance
    (1349)
    Story
    (1353)

    English magicians were once the wonder of the known world, with fairy servants at their beck and call; they could command winds, mountains, and woods. But by the early 1800s they have long since lost the ability to perform magic. They can only write long, dull papers about it, while fairy servants are nothing but a fading memory.

    David says: "Hang in there!"
    "Epic"
    Overall

    In this book, Susanna Clarke brings a fresh, inventive twist to storytelling that I found most enjoyable. Throughout the book, she succeeds in combining factual events and historical characters with the mystical, nether-realm of magic. It is a style very much like Dickens. In fact, I felt as though I were listening to a work of Dickens throughout.

    Simon Prebble does a wonderful job with the narration, creating distinct characters and setting the dark mood of the work successfully at every turn.

    As enjoyable as this book is, it is not for the undisciplined listener. It is long and demands attentiveness.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • In a Sunburned Country

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Bill Bryson
    • Narrated By Bill Bryson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2160)
    Performance
    (725)
    Story
    (724)

    Every time Bill Bryson walks out the door, memorable travel literature threatens to break out. His previous excursion on the Appalachian Trail resulted in the best seller A Walk in the Woods. Now, we follow him "Down Under" to Australia with this delectably funny, fact-filled, and adventurous performance that combines humor, wonder, and unflagging curiosity. More from Bill Bryson.

    Larry says: "Laugh out loud funny"
    "Simply the best"
    Overall

    This is the first Audible product I purchased 2 1/2 years ago, and it's still the most enjoyable.

    I have listened to the complete work three times now. Whenever I'm bored or dissatisfied with the selection I have made for the month, I pull excerpts of this book off the shelf and listen to it instead. What more can you say?

    I have since collected all of Bryson's works offered by Audible and thoroughly enjoyed every one of them. But this one is still the king.

    This book is the perfect example of what can happen when you combine an endlessly fascinating subject with humorous, intelligent writing and narration.

    This is the best example of what Audible has to offer.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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