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Thomas

Boulder, CO, United States | Member Since 2000

36
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 15 reviews
  • 196 ratings
  • 586 titles in library
  • 61 purchased in 2014
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FOLLOWERS
1

  • Rogue Male

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By Geoffrey Household
    • Narrated By Robin Browne
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (65)
    Performance
    (28)
    Story
    (29)

    An Englishman plans to assassinate the dictator of a European country. But he is foiled at the last moment and falls into the hands of ruthless and inventive torturers. They devise for him an ingenious and diplomatic death but, for once, they bungle the job and he escapes. But England provides no safety from his pursuers - and the Rogue Male must strip away all the trappings of status and civilization as the hunter becomes a hunted animal.

    Richard says: "Nice book, first person, not fly on wall"
    "Hammond Innes is better"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I bought this because William Gibson recommends it in "Zero History,:" and because I'ma fan of Hammond Innes's plot-driven adventure novels. This book has minimal plot. It's just an English gentleman trying to hide from the police in the countryside. I gave up halfway through the book.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue: The Untold Story of English

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By John McWhorter
    • Narrated By John McWhorter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1291)
    Performance
    (1003)
    Story
    (999)

    A survey of the quirks and quandaries of the English language, focusing on our strange and wonderful grammar. Why do we say "I am reading a catalog" instead of "I read a catalog"? Why do we say "do" at all? Is the way we speak a reflection of our cultural values? Delving into these provocative topics and more, Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue distills hundreds of years of fascinating lore into one lively history.

    Cookie says: "Oh the joy!"
    "Much ado about "do""
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I've listened to 1 hour 15 minutes of this audiobook. So far it's entirely about the useless "do" construction that English inherited from Celtic. This would be a interesting 5-minute topic but 75 minutes is too much.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Firestorm: Allied Airpower and the Destruction of Dresden

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Marshall De Bruhl
    • Narrated By Michael Prichard
    Overall
    (52)
    Performance
    (17)
    Story
    (15)

    On February 13 and 14, 1945, three successive waves of British and U.S. aircraft rained down thousands of tons of high explosive and incendiary bombs on the largely undefended German city of Dresden. Night and day, Dresden was engulfed in a vast sea of flame, a firestorm that generated 1,500-degree temperatures and hurricane-force winds. Thousands suffocated in underground shelters where they had fled to escape the inferno above.

    Randall says: "Thorough, interesting discussion"
    "Not what I expected but very good"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I expected to learn more about the bombing of Dresden. I did, but I also learned the history of bombing, from two Italian pilots dropping grenades on Turks in 1909 to February 14, 1945. Aerial bombing was intended to save lives by making obsolete the massive armies of World War One. A few bombers would fly from a home base, destroy an enemy oil refinery, power station, or ball bearing factory, and return home safely. War with a minimum of casualties. What went wrong with this good intention is the story of this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Ben Fountain
    • Narrated By Oliver Wyman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (345)
    Performance
    (306)
    Story
    (308)

    A ferocious firefight with Iraqi insurgents at "the battle of Al-Ansakar Canal" - three minutes and forty-three seconds of intense warfare caught on tape by an embedded Fox News crew - has transformed the eight surviving men of Bravo Squad into America's most sought-after heroes. For the past two weeks, the Bush administration has sent them on a media-intensive nationwide Victory Tour to reinvigorate public support for the war. Now, on this chilly and rainy Thanksgiving, the Bravos are guests of America's Team, the Dallas Cowboys....

    Melinda says: "Oh-ooo Say, Can We See?"
    "Caricatures, not characters"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Ben Fountain's short stories "Close Encounters with Che Guevara" was one of my favorite books. This is an experimental novel, with no plot, in a nondescript setting. There are no characters either. There's a movie producer who's a caricature of movie producers. Billy Lynn is a 19-year-old who was given a choice between prison or the army. Beyond that he has no backstory. No other character has a backstory. The soldiers on leave just eat pizza and drink beer and call each other gay. I gave up after 2.5 hours. The writing is good but it's not a novel.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Decoded: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Mai Jia, Olivia Milburn (translator), Christopher Payne (translator)
    • Narrated By Ryan Gesell
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (14)
    Performance
    (11)
    Story
    (10)

    In his gripping debut novel, Mai Jia reveals the mysterious world of Unit 701, a top-secret Chinese intelligence agency whose sole purpose is counterespionage and code breaking. Rong Jinzhen, an autistic math genius with a past shrouded in myth, is forced to abandon his academic pursuits when he is recruited into Unit 701. As China's greatest cryptographer, Rong discovers that the mastermind behind the maddeningly difficult Purple Code is his former teacher and best friend, who is now working for China's enemy - but this is only the first of many betrayals.

    alan says: "racist and offensive narration"
    "Don't expect characters or plot"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I plowed through nearly four hours of this book before giving up. The main character, or characters if you count his grandmother, are autistic math geniuses. But there's nothing in their characters except lists of their mathematical accomplishments. They live through terrible times without being affected. If you're looking for character, plot, or inspired writing, look elsewhere.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Bismarck: The Final Days of Germany's Greatest Battleship

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Niklas Zetterling, Michael Tamelander
    • Narrated By Charles Constant
    Overall
    (39)
    Performance
    (38)
    Story
    (38)

    The sinking of the German battleship Bismarck - a masterpiece of engineering, well-armored with a main artillery of eight 15-inch guns - was one of the most dramatic events of World War II. She left the port of Gotenhafen for her first operation on the night of 18 May 1941, yet was almost immediately discovered by Norwegian resistance and Allied air reconnaissance. British battlecruiser Hood was quickly dispatched from Scapa Flow to intercept the Bismarck, together with new battleship Prince of Wales.

    Rick says: "A must read for any WWII Naval Historian!"
    "Just the facts"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book presents all the facts, in the right order. But it's a dull read, compared to Farley Mowat's "Gray Seas Under." It's written from naval dispatches, not from interviews with people who were there, or their letters home (as Patrick O'Brian used). Obviously only three sailors survived the sinking of the Hood, and a few dozen survived the Bismarck.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Where'd You Go, Bernadette: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Maria Semple
    • Narrated By Kathleen Wilhoite
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2681)
    Performance
    (2408)
    Story
    (2407)

    Bernadette Fox is notorious. To her Microsoft-guru husband, she's a fearlessly opinionated partner; to fellow private-school mothers in Seattle, she's a disgrace; to design mavens, she's a revolutionary architect, and to 15-year-old Bee, she is a best friend and, simply, Mom.

    Then Bernadette disappears. It began when Bee aced her report card and claimed her promised reward: a family trip to Antarctica. But Bernadette's intensifying allergy to Seattle - and people in general - has made her so agoraphobic that a virtual assistant in India now runs her most basic errands.

    S says: "One of my top 10 listens of the year!"
    "Flat characters, no plot, annoying writing style"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I suffered through the first quarter of the audiobook and then stopped it. The characters are neurotic housewives. Neuroticism is their only dimension, i.e., they are one-dimensional characters. They lack even the second dimension of flat, cardboard characters.

    There's no plot. After more than two hours I expect something to happen. Descriptions consist solely of brand names. Several characters work at Microsoft but there's no "ring of truth" suggesting that the author has any idea what it's like to work at Microsoft.

    Most annoying is the writing style. It's a mixture of first person narrative (Bee) and e-mails that the adults write to each other. Each e-mail is pages long and reveal personal information one would never share with, for example, an outsourcing agency in India. The author apparently hasn't discovered Twitter or figured out that most people write short e-mails. The author is apparently trying to be funny but I didn't laugh at anything.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Ben Horowitz
    • Narrated By Kevin Kenerly
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (492)
    Performance
    (426)
    Story
    (426)

    Ben Horowitz offers essential advice on building and running a startup - practical wisdom for managing the toughest problems business school doesn’t cover, based on his popular ben’s blog. While many people talk about how great it is to start a business, very few are honest about how difficult it is to run one. The Hard Thing About Hard Things is invaluable for veteran entrepreneurs as well as those aspiring to their own new ventures, drawing from Horowitz’s personal and often humbling experiences.

    Mark D. Adams says: "Exciting and insightful view of a "wartime CEO""
    "For large company managers, not startups"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Horowitz's formula for "building a business" is to get hundreds of millions of dollars from venture capitalists, then take your the company public and get hundreds of millions more dollars. Then buy companies that have products you need. The author has lots of advice about laying off employees, firing executives, and giving bad news to investors. There's a good chapter about the importance of training your employees.

    This book is not for startups. "The Lean Startup," by Eric Ries, is a better book for entrepreneurs. Horowitz's book is for executives managing large companies.

    22 of 27 people found this review helpful
  • Let the Great World Spin

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Colum McCann
    • Narrated By Richard Poe, Gerard Doyle, Carol Monda, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1239)
    Performance
    (564)
    Story
    (576)

    A Pushcart Prize-winning author and contributor to the New Yorker, the Atlantic Monthly, and GQ, Colum McCann is renowned for his carefully constructed character studies. No exception, Let the Great World Spin follows the fortunes of a menagerie of New Yorkers through a day in 1974 - the day of Philippe Petit's death defying tightrope walk between the newly built Twin Towers.

    Robert says: "An essential addition to your Audible library."
    "Starts well but then peters out"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a book of longish stories. The first story is very good, well-written with interesting characters and plenty of plot twists. The second story is boring. The third story is awful, badly written with unlikeable characters and no plot. I gave up six hours into this fifteen-hour book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Super Sad True Love Story: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Gary Shteyngart
    • Narrated By Ali Ahn, Adam Grupper
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (585)
    Performance
    (317)
    Story
    (322)

    Gary Shteyngart, author of The Russian Debutante’s Handbook, creates a compelling reality in this tale about an illiterate America in the not-too-distant future. Lenny Abramov may just be penning the world’s last diary. Which is good, because while falling in love with a rather unpleasant woman and witnessing the fall of a great empire, Lenny has a lot to write about.

    Ryan says: "Dystopia Now"
    "Maybe if you liked "Infinite Jest""
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I plowed through 35 minutes of this then gave up. The main character is a well-educated, middle-aged New York Jewish man who is going bald. All that happens is he talks to his smartphone and it misunderstands what he says. It's supposed to be funny but not the kind of funny where you laugh.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Swerve: How the World Became Modern

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Stephen Greenblatt
    • Narrated By Edoardo Ballerini
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1059)
    Performance
    (917)
    Story
    (913)

    Nearly six hundred years ago, a short, genial, cannily alert man in his late 30s took a very old manuscript off a library shelf, saw with excitement what he had discovered, and ordered that it be copied. That book was the last surviving manuscript of an ancient Roman philosophical epic by Lucretius—a beautiful poem containing the most dangerous ideas: that the universe functioned without the aid of gods, that religious fear was damaging to human life, and that matter was made up of very small particles.

    Ethan M. says: "Very compelling history, a less compelling thesis"
    "Gave up after an hour"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The first hour is about the author's mother, who expected to die at any moment, yet lived into her 90s. It wasn't interesting. We gave up after an hour.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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