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Ithaca, NY, USA

  • 16 reviews
  • 38 ratings
  • 50 titles in library
  • 0 purchased in 2015

  • The Unruly Life of Woody Allen

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Marion Meade
    • Narrated By Mary Woods

    The first uncensored biography to investigate our era's most celebrated, distinctive, and confounding filmmaker reveals the controversial private life behind the iconic public persona.

    Lloyd says: "too much (sordid) information"
    "too much (sordid) information"

    I liked this book up to the last couple of chapters when it totally bogged down in the legal battles between Woody Allen and Mia Farrow. I'm not sure who gets painted worse with the ugly brush in this book. Woody certainly comes off as a guy with serious neuroses and problems, but Farrow gets her share of criticism for her near-pathologic need to adopt children. The best parts are the ones that provide insight into Allen's moviemaking. If you like his stuff, buy the book and turn it off when the courtroom junk starts.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs)
    • By Anthony Bourdain
    • Narrated By Anthony Bourdain

    Last summer, The New Yorker published chef Anthony Bourdain's shocking, "Don't Eat Before Reading This." Now, the author uses the same "take-no-prisoners" attitude in his deliciously funny and shockingly delectable audiobook, sure to delight gourmands and philistines alike.

    Holly says: "Kitchen Confidential"
    "a good listen but probably a better read"

    A 4 out of 5 rating is a little unfair on my part because I truly enjoyed the book. It's an in-depth look at the bad side/back side of the restaurant business from someone really in the know, and for a novice narrator, the author does a fine job reading his own material, giving the extra punch to those lines as only he (as the author) could. I have to take off a star for my own ignorance of haute cuisine - many of the dishes he talks about, with French or Italian names, I just couldn't understand from hearing them - they probably would have made more sense reading them off the page. And there was a little bit too much of Bourdain's own battle with his alcohol and drug demons - I don't really care about that stuff and it got very old after a while. But overall, for someone like me whose only knowledge of restaurants comes from what I see on my plate when I order, it was enlightening, entertaining, and even occasionally frightening! Well worth the investment.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Reconstruction

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Mick Herron
    • Narrated By Anna Bentinck
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    When a man with a gun breaks into her school, nursery teacher Louise Kennedy knows there's not likely to be a happy ending...But Jaime isn't there on a homicidal whim, and he's as scared as the hostages he's taken.

    Leila says: "Tricky story, satisfyingly surprising"
    "Don't judge this book by its title"

    I'm still trying to figure out what this book has to do with "reconstruction". It didn't follow the premise of its first chapter, in which people who view a crime being committed can't quite remember in exacting detail the specifics of the crime. It may have something to do with the process of "reconstructing" Iraq, but this doesn't take place until well into the second half of the book. I think the best title would have been "Are you the lady?", the line spoken by the unfortunate teenager who kidnaps 4 people inside a suburban London nursery school. Overall, I liked the book, and the author is very clever with some of his wordplay. The characters are believable, and you care about them. You even know some of them from your own personal life, like Judy, the angry frump who sees the whole world as being out to make her life miserable. The narrator did a nice job of lending individual substance and voicing to make each character come alive, though her veddy English accent was hard to decipher sometimes. I can see some people buying this book expecting it to be about something other than what it really is - a nice modern day, softball spy novel, sort of what you'd get if Tom Clancy meets Janet Evanovich - and being disapponted.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Mary Roach
    • Narrated By Bernadette Quigley
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    In an attempt to find out, Mary Roach brings her tireless curiosity to bear on an array of contemporary and historical soul-searchers: scientists, schemers, engineers, mediums, all trying to prove (or disprove) that life goes on after we die. She begins the journey in rural India with a reincarnation researcher and ends up in a University of Virginia operating room where cardiologists have installed equipment near the ceiling to study out-of-body near-death experiences.

    Christine says: "Read this book, but don't listen to it!"
    "so bad even the Grim Reaper wouldn't take it"

    This might have been the worst purchase I have made yet from Audible. I'd give it negative stars if that were possible. I still like the idea of the book and maybe it would have been a better "read" in print - perhaps it just didn't translate well into the spoken format. The horrendous narrator didn't help either (is there anything more annoying that an American trying to fake an India accent?). I'd love to ask for my credit back, but it died like everything else associated with this horrendioma. Save your credit, save your ears, save yourself and don't buy this audiobook.

    10 of 15 people found this review helpful
  • The Crime Writer

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Gregg Hurwitz
    • Narrated By Scott Brick

    Drew Danner, a crime novelist with a house off L.A.'s storied Mulholland Drive, awakens in a hospital bed with a scar on his head and no memory of being found convulsing over his ex-fiancee's body the previous night. He was discovered holding a knife, her blood beneath his nails. He himself doesn't know whether he's guilty or innocent. To reconstruct the story, the writer must now become the protagonist, searching the corridors of his life and the city he loves.

    Kelbey says: "Excellent"
    "King of the simile"

    Another example of a good idea that wasn't. Hurwitz's story has some interesting twists and turns, and in the hands of a better writer, this one could have been great. I would have loved to have seen what Michael Connelly or Stephen Cannell could have done with it. It shocks me that at the conclusion of the reading, an interview with the author revealed that he had been an essayist before starting a new career in fiction. One would think that an accomplished essayist would not have had to put a simile in every single sentence (or maybe it just seemed that way). After a while, it was nauseating and totally detracted from the story. Memo to writers: WRITE THE STORY AND STOP TRYING SO HARD! A great tale will flow, on its own, and doesn't need verbage describing a bruise over the protagonist's eye as "sprouting broken blood vessels like the hairs on Medusa's head". Ugh. To borrow from Hurwitz's style: like a child oversated on dime-store chocolate who finds he no longer wants his dinner, I won't be going back for more.

    11 of 14 people found this review helpful
  • Fluke: Or, I Know Why the Winged Whale Sings

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Christopher Moore
    • Narrated By Bill Irwin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Just why do humpback whales sing? That's the question that has marine behavioral biologist Nate Quinn and his crew poking, charting, recording, and photographing very big, wet, gray marine mammals - until the extraordinary day when a whale lifts its tail into the air to display a cryptic message spelled out in foot-high letters: Bite Me.

    Jill says: "Entertaining story, as usual!"
    "A guilty pleasure"

    Sorry, I have to admit it. I'm a huge Christopher Moore fan. Admittedly, this author is not for everyone; you have to totally suspend belief in order to keep going when his stories start departing from reality, and just go along for the ride. "Fluke" is no exception: try explaining the plot to another person, and you'll wind up sounding like a candidate for a bed at Bellvue. But it's usually a great ride, and a great read; funny, full of memorable, outrageous characters but never so "over the top" that you can't get on board with them. And nobody writes a line like Christopher Moore. With every book, I find myself quoting his characters on a daily basis. My advice to you: put aside that crime novel, that self-help book, that evil government spy drivel, and pick up Christopher Moore. Suspend belief and get ready to grin and snicker like a Whaley Boy.

    10 of 11 people found this review helpful
  • The Appeal

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By John Grisham
    • Narrated By Michael Beck
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    In a crowded courtroom in Mississippi, a jury returns a shocking verdict against a chemical company accused of dumping toxic waste into a small town's water supply, causing the worst "cancer cluster" in history. The company appeals to the Mississippi Supreme Court, whose nine justices will one day either approve the verdict or reverse it.

    RJT says: "And the ending?"

    I'm not quite sure I understand how or why an A-list novelist like Grisham could publish, under his own name, such a blatant rip-off of other works. Haven't we already seen the story of a big chemical corporation poisoning the water supply of a small town, causing numerous innocents to die of toxin-related cancers? I wonder if John Travolta will be asked to play the role of the lead attorney who risks financial ruin to defend the little guy in the film of this movie, too. And the notion of deep-pocketed, politically-connected tycoons buying elections isn't new, either - that's been done, oh, a thousand times before in movies and print?

    The lack of an original idea could have been forgiven somewhat as "artistic license" had the story flowed well, but it gets bogged down with an endless parade of characters who, for the most part, do nothing to advance the story. The only characters I actually cared about, the Paytons, are ignored for large stretches, just when their plight became interesting.

    The narrator, to make matters worse, was TERRIBLE and I doubt I'll ever buy a book again if he's involved. Every single one of his voice characterizations is the same pathetic attempt at a Mississippi drawl, the only difference between them being whether he raised his voice an octave to indicate a female. (In his defense, there are SO MANY characters that it would have been a Herculean effort to make them all unique.)

    I'd bet all lovers of Grisham will buy this book in print or audio form just to say they read it, but I'd be shocked if the overall impression of this one is favorable. John, you really rested on your laurels with this one.

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Steve Martin
    • Narrated By Steve Martin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    In the mid-70s, Steve Martin exploded onto the comedy scene. By 1978 he was the biggest concert draw in the history of stand-up. In 1981 he quit forever. Born Standing Up is, in his own words, the story of "why I did stand-up and why I walked away".

    Andrew says: "Fantastic"
    "great comedian, so-so novelist"

    I bought this book because I'm an unabashed Steve Martin fan and not too proud to admit I was one of the thousands who went to his comedy concerts in major arenas, relishing in every rendition of King Tut or his Grandma's song. For someone who's an excellent writer of screenplays, his autobiographical writing style is really too full of cliches and elementary similes, but in the end the book provides what it advertises: a look into the process that created (IMO) one of the most gifted stand-up comedians of this or any other generation. It'a quick and enjoyable listen, but really only if you're a fan of Martin. I don't think it would appeal to anyone else.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Chopin Manuscript: A Serial Thriller

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Lee Child, David Corbett, Joseph Finder, and others
    • Narrated By Alfred Molina
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    15 thriller masters. 1 masterful thriller! Former war crimes investigator Harold Middleton possesses a previously unknown score by Frederic Chopin. But he is unaware that, within it's handwritten notes, lies a secret that now threatens the lives of thousands of Americans. As he races from Poland to the U.S. to uncover the mystery of the manuscript, Middleton will be accused of murder, pursued by federal agents, and targeted by assassins.

    BSquared67 says: "A rollicking thriller"
    "convolution at its best"

    A great premise wasted. By the time Jeffrey Deaver got around to finishing the story, it has taken so many twists and turns that the plot goes from interesting to plausible to "what??". How many double agents and backstabbers can you fit into a 6-hour listen? Lisa Scottoline's chapter was terrible and detracted from the story, but Lee Child tried his best. Alfred Molina's narration was superior and I hope that he makes a career move of this. If you have a "free" credit, go for it, otherwise spend it elsewhere.

    10 of 14 people found this review helpful
  • No Way to Treat a First Lady

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Christopher Buckley
    • Narrated By Grover Gardner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    One of this country's leading political satirists dangles before us a tantalizing novel whose protagonist has a great deal in common with a recent First Lady. Beth MacIntyre, First Lady of the United States, has been charged with the murder of her husband, a Presidential Lothario of the first water. She is accused of throwing a historic Paul Revere spittoon during a bedroom spat, putting an unfortunately fatal dent in the President's lust-filled head.

    M. S. Cohen says: "Buckley has no endgame"
    "political satire with no peer"

    If you're looking for the next tome on what's wrong with the world, how to make money without trying, or by-the-numbers sadists trying to destroy the world, you need Christopher Buckley to teach you how to listen to a book and just LAUGH. Oh, the rest of us need it too. The guy is hilarious. I don't recommend driving while you listen, it could be hazardous to your health. If you have no sense of humour, don't waste your money because you'll hate it, but maybe Buckley can teach you something about enjoying your life more.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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