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Fred Pike

Milwaukee, WI | Member Since 2003

11
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 5 reviews
  • 32 ratings
  • 238 titles in library
  • 2 purchased in 2014
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  • Naked in Baghdad: The Iraq War as Seen by National Public Radio's Correspondent

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Anne Garrels
    • Narrated By Anne Garrels
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (664)
    Performance
    (102)
    Story
    (102)

    One of only sixteen unembedded American journalists who stayed in Baghdad's now-legendary Palestine Hotel throughout the American invasion of Iraq, NPR's Anne Garrels was at the very center of the storm. She brings us the sights, sounds, and smells of our latest war with unparalleled vividness and immediacy.

    Native Texan says: "My favorite book of the year!"
    "Interesting, but tedious at times"
    Overall

    This is the first time I wish I had bought an abridged version of a book. Garrels' experience leading up to the Iraq war is very interesting, and during that period I listened to her NPR reporting on a regular basis. I knew what to expect from her and was not disappointed in the way she told the story or her narration. In fact, I found the additional background information in the book to be fascinating.
    The book goes back and forth between Garrels' story and her husband Vint's (sp?) take on same (about an 85/15% split). Midway through I was about ready to shoot Vint. Many of his "Brenda Bulletins" were repetitions of things we'd just heard Garrels talk about, but told at about 1/4 speed. While there were some interesting nuggets in the Bulletins, in general I thought they destroyed the pace of the book, and I came to dread them. I even fast-forwarded past a couple of them (something I hate doing).
    Things got better by the end - even the Brenda Bulletins became more interesting. It's eerie to listen to the book and then listen to the Iraq reporting today (often by Garrels), because Garrels correctly predicts many of the situations we are facing in Iraq today.
    Overall, I'm glad I listened to the book, and found it to be as relevant today as it was a year ago. I just wish a decent editor had cut out about 20% of the material - it would have made for a much better read.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Crime and Punishment (Recorded Books Edition)

    • UNABRIDGED (25 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Fyodor Dostoevsky
    • Narrated By George Guidall
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1379)
    Performance
    (582)
    Story
    (579)

    Fyodor Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment is universally regarded as one of literature's finest achievements, as the great Russian novelist explores the inner workings of a troubled intellectual. Raskolnikov, a nihilistic young man in the midst of a spiritual crisis, makes the fateful decision to murder a cruel pawnbroker, justifying his actions by relying on science and reason, and creating his own morality system. Dehumanized yet sympathetic, exhausted yet hopeful, Raskolnikov represents the best and worst elements of modern intellectualism. The aftermath of his crime and Petrovich's murder investigation result in an utterly compelling, truly unforgettable cat-and-mouse game. This stunning dramatization of Dostoevsky's magnum opus brings the slums of St. Petersburg and the demons of Raskolnikov's tortured mind vividly to life.

    Greg says: "Wonderful Book"
    "Very good if you have the time"
    Overall

    This book requires time and patience, but it rewards both. I struggled initially to settle into the pace and let it unfold as it wished, but once I did, I enjoyed it quite a bit.
    The narrator was excellent - very clear, wonderful use of pauses, well paced.
    My only complaint is that it was hard to learn the Russian names of the characters, many of whom have two different names. I often had to guess which character was whom based on how the narrator acted that character - so it helped to have a very good narrator.
    Ultimately, I'm glad I invested the time in the book, though I almost gave up at the beginning.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • That Old Cape Magic

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Richard Russo
    • Narrated By Arthur Morey
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (242)
    Performance
    (51)
    Story
    (52)

    That Old Cape Magic is a novel of deep introspection and every family feeling imaginable, with a middle-aged man confronting his parents and their failed marriage, his own troubled one, his daughter's new life and, finally, what it was he thought he wanted and what in fact he has.

    Fred Pike says: "Instantly-recognizable Richard Russo book"
    "Instantly-recognizable Richard Russo book"
    Overall

    I really like Richard Russo and, while this book is not as good as "Nobody's Fool" or "Empire Falls", it's recognizably Russo and very satisfying.
    Russo takes a long time to develop his characters - that's part of his style and charm. If you're not willing to be patient and let the story unfold, then you probably won't like this book (or any of his other ones).
    That said, this book struck me almost like "Russo Abridged". There were some time and character jumps that, in previous books, would have been explored in much more detail. The other books were all at least twice as long, and the difference shows.
    Even without the normal depth of character development, I liked these characters, cared what happened to them, and didn't want the book to end.
    While it's not the best Russo book ever, I found it enjoyable and extremely easy to slip back into Russo's world and way of writing. Also, it's narrated well, which always helps. I recommend it, particularly if you've read and enjoyed any of his other books.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Ten Big Ones

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Janet Evanovich
    • Narrated By Lorelei King
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1159)
    Performance
    (450)
    Story
    (452)

    Take an exit off the Jersey Turnpike to the irresistible world of Stephanie Plum, America's favorite bounty hunter, where she gets into more trouble than ever. This time, she faces a notorious gang in Trenton who wants her dead. Morelli warns that she's in too deep, and Stephanie more than agrees.

    John says: "A Fun Story with distinct characters"
    "What a waste"
    Overall

    I realize I'm in the minority, but how can so many people like a book with:
    - almost no plot or sense of movement
    - a ridiculous ending with no resolution
    - one-dimensional characters (two dimensions is what these characters aspire to)?

    I'll agree that there were some funny scenes and about 90 seconds of suspense, but seven+ hours is a lot to invest for such little return.

    The narrator was decent - a little overblown on some of the accents, but she did a nice job of nailing the accents on the main characters. (However, am I the only one who noticed that Ranger's and Junkman's accents were virtually identical? What are they - flip sides of the same coin?)

    I wish I could return this book and get a refund from Audible.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Middlesex

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Jeffrey Eugenides
    • Narrated By Kristoffer Tabori
    Overall
    (5949)
    Performance
    (2139)
    Story
    (2163)

    In the spring of 1974, Calliope Stephanides, a student at a girls' school in Grosse Pointe, finds herself drawn to a chain-smoking, strawberry-blonde classmate with a gift for acting. The passion that furtively develops between them - along with Callie's failure to develop physically - leads Callie to suspect that she is not like other girls. In fact, she is not really a girl at all.

    Chris says: "Great Pulitzer Winning novel!"
    "Wonderful book"
    Overall

    Wonderful book and story, with the best narrator I've ever heard. The story takes its time unwinding, with past and present scenes interspersed liberally. Don't get this book if you want a quick, uncomplicated, straightforward plot. But if you have the time, like good character development and enjoy a great story, then I highly recommend this book.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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