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Wurdsmith

A writer and journalist living in the great Pacific Northwest

Spokane, WA, United States | Member Since 2005

5
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 3 reviews
  • 4 ratings
  • 0 titles in library
  • 7 purchased in 2015
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  • Ball Four: The Final Pitch

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Jim Bouton
    • Narrated By Jim Bouton
    Overall
    (361)
    Performance
    (324)
    Story
    (323)

    When Ball Four was published in 1970, it created a firestorm. Bouton was called a Judas, a Benedict Arnold and a “social leper” for having violated the “sanctity of the clubhouse.” Baseball commissioner Bowie Kuhn tried to force Bouton to sign a statement saying the book wasn’t true. Ballplayers, most of whom hadn’t read it, denounced the book. It was even banned by a few libraries. Almost everyone else, however, loved Ball Four.

    Dennis Anderson says: "Author's reading provides new insight into classic"
    ""I Laughed, I Cried ... ""
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    If you could sum up Ball Four in three words, what would they be?

    A Game Changer


    What did you like best about this story?

    I first read Ball Four as a kid when it first came out and caused such a stir. It changed the way I thought about sports, and the stories inspired me to look for the real stories behind the scenes and not the glossy, front-office-authorized fluff that passed for sports memoirs before Jim Bouton set the genre on its ear.


    What about Jim Bouton’s performance did you like?

    I have spent countless hours as a sports writer listening to athletes tell stories. My favorite hours have been spent at baseball training camp, listening to coaches and former players telling their stories. Jim Bouton reading his own book is as close as the casual listener can get to that experience. For a baseball fan, it's a true gift.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    My heart broke as Jim described the death of his daughter and the emotional return he made to Yankee Stadium that grew out of that deep family tragedy. It is gut-wrenching, it is deeply personal, and it is as raw and real as it gets.


    Any additional comments?

    Listen to this book, then go pound some Budweiser.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • War and Remembrance

    • UNABRIDGED (56 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Herman Wouk
    • Narrated By Kevin Pariseau
    Overall
    (2077)
    Performance
    (1774)
    Story
    (1759)

    Herman Wouk's sweeping epic of World War II, which begins with The Winds of War and continues here in War and Remembrance, stands as the crowning achievement of one of America's most celebrated storytellers. Like no other books about the war, Wouk's spellbinding narrative captures the tide of global events - and all the drama, romance, heroism, and tragedy of World War II - as it immerses us in the lives of a single American family drawn into the very center of the war's maelstrom.

    aaron says: "What can I say that hasn't already been said??"
    "Exceptional On All Counts"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I recommend this to anyone and everyone. The novel, combined with The Winds of War, is Herman Wouk's masterpiece. And Kevin Pariseau's narration is outstanding in every way. Th work and artistry he puts into every character is masterful.


    What other book might you compare War and Remembrance to and why?

    You must look at the two epic novels together. Winds of War starts the story of the Henry family through the lead-in to World War II up to the attack on Pearl Harbor, and War and Remembrance takes them through the entirety of the war and even hints at their life after the war.


    Which character – as performed by Kevin Pariseau – was your favorite?

    I loved the way he characterizes FDR, with the jaunty lilt we've come to expect from Roosevelt on screen.


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

    Since this book comes in seven parts, I doubt anyone can sit that long willingly. But it does inspire you to spend long, relaxing hours listening, and makes you want to sneak in a few minutes whenever you can.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Robert B. Parker's Lullaby: A Spenser Mystery

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Ace Atkins
    • Narrated By Joe Mantegna
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (222)
    Performance
    (201)
    Story
    (198)

    When 14-year-old Mattie Sullivan asks Spenser to look into her mother’s murder, he’s not completely convinced by her claim that the police investigation four years ago was botched. Mattie is gruff, street-smart, and wise beyond her years, left to care for her younger siblings and an alcoholic grandmother in a dilapidated apartment in South Boston. But her need for closure and her determination to make things right hit Spenser where he lives - they’re the very characteristics he abides by.

    Ed says: "Ace aces Spenser!"
    "A Valiant Effort"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    As crime stories go, this is pretty good. The problem lies in where the bar is set for this series. Spenser is an American icon and Robert B. Parker was the absolute master of the genre. His use of language was lean and spare, yet packed a punch comparable to Spenser's right cross, and his literary voice was unmistakeable. Asking another writer to pick up his mantle is like asking someone to carry for Hemingway. If you're a casual ran of the genre and aren't overly familiar with Parker, this is a worthy listen. If, like me, you loved Parker's novels and waited for each new Spenser novel the way a child awaits Christmas, then this is a frustrating listen. A Spenser novel is like great jazz. Atkins knows all the notes and he plays them well. But they aren't his notes and it's not his solo he's riffing on. When you listen, you keep telling yourself "That's not Coltrane." With this listen, that same thought kept coming to me: That's not Parker. And I don't mean that as a knock on Ace Atkins. His books, with his own characters, are excellent and I enjoy them -- because he writes them with his own literary voice. Taking over for a master artist is a thankless task, and as efforts to carry on a legend go, this is a worthy effort. But by definition, any such effort is missing that master's touch.


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

    This didn't have that Parker ending, but it was good.


    What about Joe Mantegna’s performance did you like?

    Joe Mantegna was my favorite narrator for Parker's novels. It was a great pairing -- equal to the incredible pairing of James Lee Burke's words and Will Patton's narration. You hear echoes of that great Parker-Mantegna chemistry as he reads this book. He does a wonderful job. But it's not Parker.


    Did Robert B. Parker's Lullaby inspire you to do anything?

    It inspired me to go back and listen to the original Spenser novels again. And it inspired me to go looking for more of Ace Atkins' novels. Not sure it inspired me to buy the next effort in this series. This one reminded me of how much we all lost when Parker passed away, and how much this genre owes to its now past master.


    Any additional comments?

    I did try making the dish Atkins described early in the book: sweet potatoes, andouille sausage and onions sautéed together with a little real maple syrup and a hint of brown sugar. It was delicious. I added some granny smith apple to mine the second time I made it and it was exceptional.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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