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John

Parker, CO, United States | Member Since 2006

ratings
710
REVIEWS
32
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
0
HELPFUL VOTES
55

  • Physics for Future Presidents: The Science Behind the Headlines

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Richard A. Muller
    • Narrated By Pete Larkin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (98)
    Performance
    (78)
    Story
    (79)

    We live in complicated, dangerous times. They are also hyper-technical times. As citizens who will elect future presidents of the most powerful and influential world, we need to know - truly understand, not just rely on television's talking heads - if Iran's nascent nuclear capability is a genuine threat to the West, if biochemical weapons are likely to be developed by terrorists, if there are viable alternatives to fossil fuels that should be nurtured and supported by the government, if nuclear power should be encouraged, and if global warming is actually happening.

    Kyle says: "Awesome"
    "must read for all open minded people"
    Overall

    A very valuable compilation of important facts bearing on important issues which are presented in an accessible format. In my view, these are presented as objectively and non-ideologically as is reasonably possible and for that reason the book is likely to draw attacks from both the far left and the far right. This is especially likely to be true for the chapters on global warming. On the one hand, it debunks many of the distortions and hyperbole of the doomsday alarmists, especially Al Gore in 'An Inconvenient Truth.' On the other, it does accept the likelihood that global warming is occurring, is probably largely man-caused and should be addressed, but only in ways that make sense and not by following many of the programs of this administration and the green fanatics, like electric cars, ethanol subsidies and extensive investment in solar power.

    6 of 8 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
    (900)
    Performance
    (771)
    Story
    (768)

    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"
    "Excellent, but...."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Intriguing subject matter, well written, but the narrator is way too dramatic. Every sentence sounds like a proclamation from Mr. Sinai.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • A Death in Tuscany: Michele Ferrara, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Michele Giuttari
    • Narrated By Sean Barrett
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (16)
    Performance
    (12)
    Story
    (12)

    In the picturesque Tuscan hill town of Scandicci, the body of a girl is discovered. Scantily dressed, she is lying by the edge of the woods. The local police investigate the case - but after a week, they still haven’t even identified her, let alone got to the bottom of how she died. Frustrated by the lack of progress, Chief Superintendent Michele Ferrara, head of Florence’s elite Squadra Mobile, decides to step in.

    John says: "Disappointing on many levels"
    "Disappointing on many levels"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I bought this for two reasons: I'm planning a trip to Tuscany and was hoping for the sort of local color other mystery writers provide--Parker for Boston, Connelly for LA, Johnson for Wyoming, Sandford for Minneapolis and environs, for example. There's virtually none of that here and, except for the Mafia connection, it could have been set almost anywhere. Also, I like good mysteries, but this is not one. Finally, the narrator does all the Italian characters with something like either an Oxcam or Cockney accent, depending on their class and background. Cannot recommend.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Bryant and May Off the Rails

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Christopher Fowler
    • Narrated By Tim Goodman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (115)
    Performance
    (99)
    Story
    (97)

    Internationally best-selling author Christopher Fowler dazzles audiences with his mastery of impossible-crime mysteries - and with the exploits of his beloved, odd-couple detectives Arthur Bryant and John May. Here, the eccentric investigators delve into London’s lore-infused subway to catch a killer.

    John says: "Not my cup of tea"
    "Not my cup of tea"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    If you like mysteries where almost all the essential information relevant to the crime is withheld until the very end, at which time the wily old detective gets everyone in a room and all the guilty ones readily confess and fill in all the details (a la Columbo, Poirot or Perry Mason), you'll probably like this. If not, not. There is a decent amount of clever British-style quips and banter and the narrator is ok but not exceptional.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Them: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Nathan McCall
    • Narrated By Mirron Willis
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (78)
    Performance
    (20)
    Story
    (21)

    Barlowe, a single African-American in his 40s, shares a ramshackle house with his 20-something nephew in the old Fourth Ward of downtown Atlanta. When Sean and Sandy, a white married couple from Philadelphia, buy and renovate the house next door in anticipation of a neighborhood "turnaround", everyone tries at first to go about their daily business. But fear and suspicion begin to build as more and more new whites move in and make changes, and once familiar people and places disappear.

    Sharon says: "A look at Race Issues"
    "Well done"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I thought this was very well written and thought provoking. Assuming it is an accurate portrayal of Black culture (which I do), it demonstrates that the author is not afraid to show that Whites do not have a corner on racism, but also that he does not seem to understand Whites or White culture any better than Whites understand Blacks. Since all the White characters are either air-headed, condescending, 'bleeding heart' (one of his Black character's phrases) yuppies or unapologetic red-neck racists, I can only conclude, surprisingly, that even with his intelligence and experience as a respected journalist, he apparently has not encountered any who share the same values I'm sure he has--hard work, honesty, self-reliance, self-respect, personal responsibility--and who endeavor to judge others on those same grounds, not on skin color. If he has, I'm not sure why none were portrayed in his otherwise excellent novel.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Innocent Traitor: A Novel of Lady Jane Grey

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Alison Weir
    • Narrated By Stina Nielsen, Davina Porter, Bianca Amato
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1440)
    Performance
    (676)
    Story
    (683)

    The child of a scheming father and ruthless mother, Lady Jane Grey is born during a time when ambition dictates action. Cousin to Edward VI, Mary I, and Elizabeth I, she is merely a pawn in a political and religious game in which one false step means a certain demise. But Lady Jane has remarkable qualities that help her to withstand the constant pressures of the royal machinery far better than most expect.

    Jt says: "Superior listen!"
    "Strange"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The book was ok in terms of plot, character development, etc., but I found it very odd that the author chose to present it as a number of first person narrations. What are we supposed to think these are? They are not letters or diary entries. If we are supposed to think the all-seeing author is putting us inside the heads of these people as they muse, it strains credulity to think that anyone muses so articulately, whether a child, a nurse maid, an executioner or a queen. I don't recall ever reading a book like this and I think it greatly distracts from the overall work.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Dixie City Jam: A Dave Roubicheaux Novel, Book 7

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By James Lee Burke
    • Narrated By Mark Hammer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (97)
    Performance
    (85)
    Story
    (83)

    They're out there, under the salt - the bodies of German seamen who used to lie in wait at the mouth of the Mississippi for unescorted American tankers sailing from the oil refineries of Baton Rouge out into the Gulf of Mexico. As a child, Dave Robicheaux had been haunted by the sailors' images. Years later, Robicheaux, a detective with the New Iberia sheriff's office, finds himself and his family at serious risk, stalked for his knowledge of a watery burial ground by a mysterious man named Will Buchalter - a man who believes that the Holocaust was one big hoax.

    Dennis says: "Jury out on this one"
    "Too many holes, too much politics"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This may be my last Burke novel. The plot is preposterous in many places. (Warning: plot spoilers dead ahead.) Why would a German submarine have a 42 pound, jewel encrusted swastika and Hitler's 'plan for America' on board? Why would even a Neo-Nazi psychopath want the sub so badly? Would any real person risk his life to save a man (he thought) who had brutally tortured him or a woman (as it turns out) who terrorized his family? How can Clete continue to get away with his shenanigans (as much as I like them)? How many times can one novel contain some variation of 'Are we CLEAR on that now, podnah?" To top it all off, are Rush Limbaugh listeners (Burke makes a very thinly veiled allusion to them) really responsible for the Neo-Nazi movement and do they really not care about black people being slaughtered, as Burke clearly implies? I've contributed enough to the support of self-righteous liberals like Streisand, Baldwin, Penn and Damon. I didn't realize until this book that Burke has the same mind-set. I wish someone had warned me.

    I gave it two stars instead of the one (or less) it probably deserves because there are some funny lines and, despite a great deal of over-elaborate description and psychological musing, it is pretty well written. Unlike many Burke reviewers, I think Hammer's narrations are excellent.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • No One Sees God: The Dark Night of Atheists and Believers

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Michael Novak
    • Narrated By Michael Novak
    Overall
    (4)
    Performance
    (3)
    Story
    (2)

    This book appraches the reality of spiritual engagement in today's challenging world. Novak engages the thought of prominent contemporary atheists Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, and Daniel Dennett. He describes the struggle to know ourselves and to participate in the life of this world as it plays out for believers and non-believers.

    John says: "I wish the whole book was about no one seeing God"
    "Very dissapointing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    So I'm about 1/4 of the way through this and I'm not sure how much longer I can take it. I was hoping for an honest account of how a Christian sincerely combats atheist objections. (Maybe this is it. Maybe this is the best they can do.) He starts by saying again and again that even believers like him have doubts. (So?) He seems to go on (it's never very clear) by adopting Tertullian's claim that he 'believes because it is absurd.' An argument which is self-confirmingly absurd. He then claims to respond to Hitchens' challenge of 'tell me some moral shortcoming I have because I'm an atheist' by saying Hitchens wouldn't comply with the first three commandments (have no other gods before me, no craven images, honor the Sabbath), simply assuming without justification that anyone who does so is immoral. He asserts, with no real facts or argument, that atheism is self-contradictory. He cites many appeals to what the founding fathers believed (so?), but so far, he has not even attempted to answer why anyone should believe whatever he believes without any evidence whatsoever. I'm trying to keep an open mind, but I don't know how much further I can go in what seems more and more like a basic (unresponsive and irrelevant) claim that believing what he does makes him feel better about other people, himself and his place in the world. I may amend this review later if he ever comes to grips with the real issues atheists propound, but I'm having doubts about that ever happening.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Frames

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By Loren D. Estleman
    • Narrated By William Dufris
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (10)
    Performance
    (4)
    Story
    (4)

    Enter Valentino, a mild-mannered UCLA film archivist, who buys a decrepit movie palace and uncovers a skeleton in the secret Prohibition basement. He then makes a second discovery: long-lost, priceless, reels of film: Erich von Stroheim's infamous Greed. The LAPD wants to take the reels as evidence, jeopardizing the precious old film.

    John says: "Disappointing"
    "Disappointing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'm a big Estleman fan, but this one is not worth your time. It's a Scooby Doo/Hardy Boys plot, unworthy of him.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • To the Last Man: A Novel of the First World War

    • UNABRIDGED (31 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Jeff Shaara
    • Narrated By Paul Michael
    Overall
    (248)
    Performance
    (132)
    Story
    (131)

    Spring 1916: the horror of a stalemate on Europe's western front. France and Great Britain are on one side of the barbed wire, a fierce German army is on the other. Shaara opens the window onto the otherworldly tableau of trench warfare as seen through the eyes of a typical British soldier who experiences the bizarre and the horrible - a "Tommy" whose innocent youth is cast into the hell of a terrifying war. In the skies, meanwhile, technology has provided a devastating new tool, the "aeroplane", and with it a different kind of hero emerges: the flying ace.

    Suzanne says: "To the Last Man"
    "A book too far"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I've read 6 of Shaara's books (the 4 WWII ones and the last two on the Civil War) and liked them all, but I just couldn't get into this one. The characters seemed flat and the plot uninteresting.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Catch-22

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Joseph Heller
    • Narrated By Jay O. Sanders
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2068)
    Performance
    (1135)
    Story
    (1149)

    Catch-22 is set in the closing months of World War II, in an American bomber squadron on a small island off Italy. Its hero is a bombardier named Yossarian, who is frantic and furious because thousands of people he hasn't even met keep trying to kill him. (He has decided to live forever, even if he has to die in the attempt.)

    Phil says: "Phenominal Reading - Story and Damn Funny"
    "Sophomoric"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I guess that's why I, like everyone I knew at the time, LOVED this book when I was a college sophomore in the late '60s. Yosarian was us. We were the only ones who saw through all the phoniness of the culture our parents had created. We were the only ones who realized that war is a bad thing. Everyone in any position of authority was a mindless buffoon, perfectly caricatured by Heller and his buddy, Kurt Vonnegut. We can now look around and see what my generation of know-it-alls baby-boomers has done to the world. Unfortunately, from the many rave reviews, there seem to still be a lot of that mind-set around.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful

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