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RYAN

Richmond, VA, United States | Listener Since 2009

33
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 6 reviews
  • 67 ratings
  • 230 titles in library
  • 0 purchased in 2014
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  • The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology

    • UNABRIDGED (24 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Ray Kurzweil
    • Narrated By George K. Wilson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (632)
    Performance
    (506)
    Story
    (501)

    For over three decades, the great inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil has been one of the most respected and provocative advocates of the role of technology in our future. In his classic The Age of Spiritual Machines, he argued that computers would soon rival the full range of human intelligence at its best. Now he examines the next step in this inexorable evolutionary process: the union of human and machine.

    Sean Gately says: "Great Idea, terribly slow and painful listen"
    "I love almost everything about it."
    Overall

    I've been waiting for an audio version of this book for years, and I was already a fan of the work itself. I'm just wondering why Stephen Hawking wasn't credited for doing the voice work.

    22 of 28 people found this review helpful
  • 14

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Peter Clines
    • Narrated By Ray Porter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (11546)
    Performance
    (10492)
    Story
    (10513)

    There are some odd things about Nate’s new apartment. Of course, he has other things on his mind. He hates his job. He has no money in the bank. No girlfriend. No plans for the future. So while his new home isn’t perfect, it’s livable. The rent is low, the property managers are friendly, and the odd little mysteries don’t nag at him too much. At least, not until he meets Mandy, his neighbor across the hall, and notices something unusual about her apartment. And Xela’s apartment. And Tim’s. And Veek’s.

    Magpie says: "Super solid listen!!"
    "Another one who followed a blind recommendation"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I would. It was pretty exciting.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of 14?

    When the gang discovers the secret in Clive and Debbie's apartment. That was when things really got going.


    What about Ray Porter’s performance did you like?

    His accents didn't sound terrible.


    Any additional comments?

    This is a pretty subjective thing, but I wish the book had gone into more detail about certain things. Though the story was pretty great, the pacing was very uneven: very little actually happens in the first half of the book, while too much happens in the second half. I'm okay with it opening slowly, but I came away wishing that more attention had been paid to the really amazing things they discovered later on, when so much was spent on examining the weird little clues which end up revealing the big, world-shaking secret.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Christopher Hitchens
    • Narrated By Christopher Hitchens
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2763)
    Performance
    (1500)
    Story
    (1493)

    In the tradition of Bertrand Russell's Why I Am Not a Christian and Sam Harris' recent best-seller, The End of Faith, Christopher Hitchens makes the ultimate case against religion. With a close and erudite reading of the major religious texts, he documents the ways in which religion is a man-made wish, a cause of dangerous sexual repression, and a distortion of our origins in the cosmos.

    ben capozzi says: "...Though Hitchens Is!"
    "The God of the anti-God crowd."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you like best about this story?

    Hitchens was a master at delivering powerful rhetoric with tones of brilliant understatement.


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

    Yes.


    Any additional comments?

    If you are exploring atheism as someone new to it, this is probably the best introduction. If your faith is wobbling, Hitchens will probably collapse it for you.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The God Delusion

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Richard Dawkins
    • Narrated By Richard Dawkins, Lalla Ward
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4588)
    Performance
    (1966)
    Story
    (1943)

    Discover magazine recently called Richard Dawkins "Darwin's Rottweiler" for his fierce and effective defense of evolution. Prospect magazine voted him among the top three public intellectuals in the world (along with Umberto Eco and Noam Chomsky). Now Dawkins turns his considerable intellect on religion, denouncing its faulty logic and the suffering it causes.

    Rick Just says: "Dangerous Religion"
    "Antitheist-approved!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you consider the audio edition of The God Delusion to be better than the print version?

    It could have been, but I did not enjoy the dual-narrator system. It did not seem consistent, and I think Prof. Dawkins is a fine-enough orator to have done it himself.


    What three words best describe Richard Dawkins and Lalla Ward ’s performance?

    Just one, please.


    If you could give The God Delusion a new subtitle, what would it be?

    If Christopher Hitchens hadn't used the title for his own book, "How Religion Poisons Everything" would have worked for this one.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Washington: A Life

    • UNABRIDGED (41 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Ron Chernow
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    Overall
    (1720)
    Performance
    (1196)
    Story
    (1193)

    In Washington: A Life celebrated biographer Ron Chernow provides a richly nuanced portrait of the father of our nation. This crisply paced narrative carries the reader through his troubled boyhood, his precocious feats in the French and Indian War, his creation of Mount Vernon, his heroic exploits with the Continental Army, his presiding over the Constitutional Convention, and his magnificent performance as America's first president.

    ButterLegume says: "A sad day when my book was done!"
    "Masterfully narrated and very educational"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    If you could sum up Washington: A Life in three words, what would they be?

    Better than expected.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Probably that Washington fellow.


    Have you listened to any of Scott Brick???s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    n/a


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I have to admit I felt tingly when describing some of the heroic exploits of the Revolution, such as the Battle of Trenton.


    Any additional comments?

    Historical biographies are often a crapshoot, some being dull but informative, some being interesting but thin on the ground. This may be one of the best I've ever read, or listened, to. I came away frankly amazed by how little I previously knew about the Father of America, and by how the common, apocryphal legends of the man persist in the national consciousness while he essentially spent close to half a century pulling off one amazing, incredible and innovative exploit after another, even in the midst of his failures, and quite a few of them I had barely heard of, if at all. While there was easily detectable bias in that the narrative takes an unabashedly favorable view of the man and his achievements, it still leaves the reader in no doubt that, while Washington is appreciated as being a Founding Father and the leader of the Continental Army, this book makes it quite clear that few, if any, individuals were more personally responsible for the success of the American experiment, and by extension, helping to shape the world as we today know it. It was a success both in writing and in narration and I highly recommend it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Human Stain

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Philip Roth
    • Narrated By Dennis Boutsikaris
    Overall
    (36)
    Performance
    (9)
    Story
    (9)

    It is 1998, the year in which America is whipped into a frenzy of prurience by the impeachment of a president, and in a small New England town, an aging classics professor, Coleman Silk, is forced to retire when his colleagues decree that he is a racist. The charge is a lie, but the real truth about Silk would have astonished even his most virulent accuser.

    RYAN says: "There's a good story in there. Somewhere."
    "There's a good story in there. Somewhere."
    Overall

    I will admit that I found myself intrigued by the story of Coleman Silk, and the manner in which his colorful past influenced his entire life. However, I was turned off by how frequently Philip Roth gets lost. He is a writer who is clearly too in love with his vocabulary and descriptive abilities, and therefore finds it imperative to describe even minor details to an almost-nauseating degree. This happens so frequently that I found myself having gone from one plot point to another without having any idea how I got there. There is also a large amount of repetition involved with his descriptions, as Roth often finds it necessary to take a single subject and compare it to five or six other subjects in a single, breathless burst. Another example of this can be found in dialogue. I can accept that college professors and novelists, such as Coleman and Nathan, respectively, will converse using florid phrases and turns of speech. The problem is, he often has characters such as the illiterate Faunia talking in a similar manner.

    Worse still, Roth further takes us on political tangents. Since the modern-day Coleman Silk faces a situation similar to that of Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky, and at the same time, we are repeatedly subjected to long-winded diatribes on the subject. There is easily ten times as much focus on this subject as is necessary to understand the simple connection Roth is trying to make.

    That all said, the characters are, for the most part, honestly compelling and driven by motives that are made intricately clear. I enjoyed the story itself for what it was. I also think it could have been edited down to probably 60% of its length without losing anything substantial.

    No problems with the narration. Boutsikaris is effective and clear, and handles accents properly. And, there are a blessed lack of musical interludes interspersed in the narrative.

    11 of 13 people found this review helpful

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