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Colorado Springs, CO, United States | Member Since 2007

  • 6 reviews
  • 303 ratings
  • 637 titles in library
  • 0 purchased in 2015

  • 1Q84

    • UNABRIDGED (46 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By Haruki Murakami, Jay Rubin (translator), Philip Gabriel (translator)
    • Narrated By Allison Hiroto, Marc Vietor, Mark Boyett
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    The year is 1984 and the city is Tokyo.

    A young woman named Aomame follows a taxi driver's enigmatic suggestion and begins to notice puzzling discrepancies in the world around her. She has entered, she realizes, a parallel existence, which she calls 1Q84 - "Q" is for "question mark". A world that bears a question....

    Dr. says: "Slow, Strange, and (ultimately) Satisfying"
    ""Lucid Dreamism" - Great Murakami Newness"
    Where does 1Q84 rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    This story was a true event. It is disturbing in points, hilarious, oddly raunchy every now and then, but for the most part this was amazing storytelling. As promised, it is a whole new world, and Murakami can never be accused of predictability.

    What did you like best about this story?

    If you want to read something that is like something else, especially something mainstream, then Murakami probably is not what you are desperately seeking in an author. 1Q84 is not science fiction, nor is it “magical realism,” although a whole bunch of those key elements are swirled into the mix. This is something quirkily new, a lot of it bizarrely disorienting, but always fascinating, and it draws you on. 1Q84 is story of soul mates, and destiny, and the “unknown” barging into our lives to get us back on track (those silly little people, yo ho!) and free will versus pre-programmed packaging, you know, all that good stuff that plagues us throughout our lives (regardless of which world we are currently stumbling through).

    Have you listened to any of the narrators’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    On the narration, the two male readers, Vietor and Boyett, are adept pros who stay out of the way of the story. Allison Hiroto is masterful, crisp and almost as unique in reading as Haruki Murakami is in storytelling (and it must be the reason she was chosen) but she does dish out a tad too much of a good thing, over-enunciating her “ing” endings so that the word “ending” becomes “ending-GUH” or at other times “ending-KUH”) which creates more than a little auditory dissonance, I often found myself disoriented while wondering what in the world a “ring-KUH” is, and at first I figured this was intentional, to give a bizarre spin on certain characters, but then it kept popping up throughout (and to her credit, this distraction could have been handled in post-production, as the exaggerated consonant endings can be toned down, or clipped). This over-enunciation is a technique that works well on live stage, but up close and personal with earbuds, it can tend to distract. Do not let this distract you (and do not punch anyone in the face!). Stick with the story, and allow Hiroto to teach you some patience!

    If you could take any character from 1Q84 out to dinner, who would it be and why?

    My favorite character by far (well, other than Tengo, as characters just do not get much better than Tengo) is Ushikawa (though I doubt I'd like to go out to dinner with him, although it would certainly be interesting), better known as Ushi (and what a difference in interpretation compared to Ushi’s stint in the Audible version of “The Wind-Up Bird”), he is hilarious, and sometimes evokes huge empathy (even as repulsively as he is represented) and deep sadness.

    Any additional comments?

    As long as the book is, even including the passages where the characters repeat their stories, like electricity sparking along neural pathways in the creation re-telling of memory (and Tango did program the ability to rewrite one’s own history, didn’t he?), I still wanted the story to continue at its end. If I had to categorize Haruki Murakami’s “genre” I would lean toward “Lucid Dreamism.” Art et Amour Toujours

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • The Magician King: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Lev Grossman
    • Narrated By Mark Bramhall
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Quentin and his friends are now the kings and queens of Fillory, but the days and nights of royal luxury are starting to pall. After a morning hunt takes a sinister turn, Quentin and his old friend Julia charter a magical sailing ship and set out on an errand to the wild outer reaches of their kingdom. Their pleasure cruise becomes an adventure when the two are unceremoniously dumped back into the last place Quentin ever wants to see: his parent's house in Chesterton, Massachusetts.

    Douglas says: "King Grossman the Magician"
    "King Grossman the Magician"

    It is unusual when a following book is better than the original, and even more rare when considering that the first book is marvelous in its own right. In the first book Quentin was somewhat pathetic, but you loved him even so (one of those negative people who is never satisfied, regardless), he was an antihero who yearned to be a hero. But discovering Breakbills through Quentin's eyes was nonetheless magical, and haunting, and when the first book ends you pretty much have to go back and read it again. Book 2, The Magician King is even more all that than the first book, replete with Julia's experiences, and Julia is probably even a better character than Quentin, although her unbelievable constant fury matches Quentin's omnipresent ingratitude and teenage lack of direction. Julia and Quentin are both utterly believable as highly intelligent, unique-thinking braniacs (Grossman is brilliant, in dialogue, characterization, and plotting). Fillory is much more engrossing in this second book and finally provides a worthy contender to C.S. Lewis' Narnia (albeit a raunchy, F-bomb laced Narnia, drunken and drugged). There is a lot of raunchy language, but The Magician King is haunting and beautiful, and quite a read, and more satisfying than the first book (which was quite satisfying, read it first). Mark Bramhall as narrator is skilled and sophisticated (and I keep thinking I'm listening to David Hyde Pierce's Niles Crane, with a slight cold, and a little drunk on cough syrup, but his voice changes and delivery is masterful). Great book, and worth the wait! Art et Amour Toujours

    21 of 22 people found this review helpful
  • Chapters from My Autobiography

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Mark Twain
    • Narrated By Bronson Pinchot
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    This book is part memoir, part philosophical text, part study in human behavior, from one of America's greatest literary treasures. Narrated masterfully by Bronson Pinchot, this audiobook also includes Twain’s popular short story, "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County".

    Avid Reader and Listener says: "Good stuff!"
    "Fabulous Performance AND Read"

    I have to admit I was a tad put off that "Cousin Balky" was the narrator, until I began to listen, and without exaggeration, this has to be about the best, most consistent long-term performance I've ever heard. This is probably as close as currently possible to actually sit down in Samuel Clemens' presence and hear him humorously relate hitherto unknown details of his life. Pinchot is that good in his reading. Remarkable feat. The southern-fried accent is never overdone, but more growled and grumbled in a lovable singularity (you can almost smell the cigar smoke). Mark Twain's material is wonderful, as always, but Bronson Pinchot's performance is what both seals and steals this production as an classic (and it should win many awards). Heart-breaking in parts, laugh-out-funny in many parts (and that's not the usual review hyperbole), and always historically engrossing, I highly recommend "Chapters from My Autobiography" (and keep your eyes, especially ears, on Bronson Pinchot). Art et Amour Toujours

    20 of 21 people found this review helpful
  • The Story Sisters: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Alice Hoffman
    • Narrated By Nancy Travis
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    The Story Sisters charts the lives of three sisters, Elv, Claire, and Meg. Each has a fate she must meet alone: one on a country road, one in the streets of Paris, and one in the corridors of her own imagination. Inhabiting their world are a charismatic man who cannot tell the truth, a neighbor who is not who he appears to be, a clumsy boy in Paris who falls in love and stays there, a detective who finds his heart's desire, and a demon who will not let go.

    L. Calder says: "Another great Hoffman story but not the narrator"
    "Haunting Hoffman"

    A quick, happy fix? Not this novel, but magically like life, if you can endure and hold on through the dark, rough squalls of the storm, you will find rich, warm yellow light on the other side. I find this a more satisfying read than "The Third Angel," which I loved, but this "The Story Sisters" is more lyrical, despite the tragedy lurking around every echoing corridor, beauty survives, joy bursts up like tomatoes of gold and green and brown in surprising places. Elv and Meg are fully drawn characters, even if they frustrate you to near death with their angst and self-loathing. But life has bad things, and often we lie to ourselves, hardly admitting that dark secret from back when, but it is always there, the demonic shadow, following along, pouncing upon every doubt, whispering in punctuation to every flaw. Alice Hoffman shows us that despite the bad things in every story, life is worth living, it is magical, and to my heart this story comes close to my two favorites "The Probable Future" and "Practical Magic." No romantic fluff here, but true romance, bone deep, painful, mysterious and haunting. There are funerals, and hardly a wedding, and more than a couple of calamities. But there is also invented language, fireflies of crystalline enchantment flitting all about the story. Read this novel once, and it is assured you will read it again. Art et Amour Toujours

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Now with Ultraviolent Zombie Mayhem!

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Seth Grahame-Smith, Jane Austen
    • Narrated By Katherine Kellgren

    "It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains." So begins Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, an expanded edition of the beloved Jane Austen novel featuring all-new scenes of bone-crunching zombie mayhem.

    Katelyn says: "One word - Awesome!"
    "Fun, Zany, Silly, but never boring..."

    I think it would have been a much better book if Grahame-Smith had presented his fractured fairytale more seriously...what IF a plague of zombies invaded the tale of "Pride and Prejudice" and how would have strong characters such as Darcy and Lizzie reacted to such an horrific ordeal? Instead it is equal parts kung fu chopsocky and through-the-shattered-looking-glass Austen. But still, it IS a fun tale, never quite "laugh-out-loud" funny, but surprisingly witty in some places, as the world of Jane Austen goes goth (and Jackie Chan). Uma Thurman, oops, I mean Lizzie, is just too far-gone "Kill Bill," but it does make for a hilarious fantasy sequence when a put-out Lizzie beheads her gabby punk of a little sister. Darcy, I guess due to the "plauge," has taken a puerile air, frequently making word plays on the ever-present frequent balls (stacking up some impressive frequent ball mileage). To Grahame-Smith's credit, frequently I would forget that I was listening to a lampoon of "Pride and Prejudice" and for an hour I'd truly enjoy the story, with even a minor few revelations and perspectives (but if you really want to be dazzled by Neo Austen, try Pamela Aidan's "An Assembly Such as This"). Never quite "Mad" magazine (but generally close), the story juggles classical beauty, very familiar archetypes, and a big bag of constant silliness. Never as witty as Jasper Fforde's "Thursday Next" novels, still, sometimes Seth Grahame-Smith is pretty witty. I have to admit (and I'm perfectly ready to duck tomatoes) I liked the story, and Katherine Kellgren's narration is as good as I've ever heard, beautiful in fact, and perhaps the reason that I enjoyed the book as much as I did. As a whole I'd rank the novel a 4 (out of 5), but the narration is a perfect 10 (out of 4). Art et Amour Toujours

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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