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Amazon Customer

Spring Valley, CA, United States | Member Since 2005

30
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 15 reviews
  • 19 ratings
  • 638 titles in library
  • 9 purchased in 2015
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  • My French Whore

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Gene Wilder
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (40)
    Performance
    (11)
    Story
    (11)

    The beloved actor and screenwriter's first novel, set during World War I, delicately and elegantly explores a most unusual romance. It's almost the end of the war, and Paul Peachy, a young railway employee and amateur actor, enlists and ships off to France. Peachy instantly realizes how out of his depth he is, and never more so than when he is captured. Risking everything, Peachy, who as a child of immigrants speaks German, makes the reckless decision to impersonate one of the enemy's most famous spies.

    Christopher says: "I fell in Love Over My Ears..."
    "It's Fantastic"
    Overall

    I first read about this novel in the pages of the late (as in deceased, unfortunately) American Heritage magazine. I was intrigued enough by the review and by Wilder's comments that I thought I would give it a try. I am so glad I did. In a beautifully crafted, tight narrative, Wilder weaves a tale that is spellbinding. I admit to being a little skeptical (Willy Wonka has written a novel?)--but I'm glad I took chance. You will too. The only disappointment was the brevity of the novel-- I just didn't want it to end!!

    Without question, this was one of the most enjoyable audio books I've ever listened to.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Things They Carried

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Tim O'Brien
    • Narrated By Bryan Cranston
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1611)
    Performance
    (1486)
    Story
    (1474)

    Hailed by The New York Times as "a marvel of storytelling", The Things They Carried’s portrayal of the boots-on-the-ground experience of soldiers in the Vietnam War is a landmark in war writing. Now, three-time Emmy Award winner-Bryan Cranston, star of the hit TV series Breaking Bad, delivers an electrifying performance that walks the book’s hallucinatory line between reality and fiction and highlights the emotional power of the spoken word.

    Darwin8u says: "Grief, terror, love, longing"
    "Haunting Portrait of War"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    First off, I want to say that Bryan Cranston's narration was spot on. As you would expect his rendition of the characters is one of the huge selling points for this title. Which, if a person is familiar with Tim O'Brien, is a gripping account of life as an ordinary soldier in Viet Nam. The book is composed of a series of short accounts focused on one of the soldiers O'Brien served with. Ted Lavender, Curt Lemon, and the others become very real characters, imbued with tragedy even when they survive the war. This is a short work that in an interesting way is not marred by the frequent repetitions. Finally, the final part is an extended narration by the author which focuses on the impact the war had on his life. This part relates his impressions of things when he returned to the country in the 1990s. Seeing places where he'd fought, and people whom he had fought against. I don't want to spoil things, so let me just say that if you want to gain a sense of how the war impacted Americans and you don't want the stereotypes and cliches this is a great start. And even if all you want is to hear how a great actor can enrich and not overwhelm the text, this is a great selection.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Reporting at Wit's End: Tales from The New Yorker

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By St. Clair McKelway
    • Narrated By John Morgan
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3)
    Performance
    (3)
    Story
    (3)

    "Why does A. J. Liebling remain a vibrant role model for writers while the superb, prolific St. Clair McKelway has been sorely forgotten?" James Wolcott asked this question in a recent review of The Complete New Yorker on DVD. Anyone who has read a single paragraph of McKelway's work would struggle to provide an answer. His articles for The New Yorker were defined by their clean language and incomporable wit, by his love of New York's rough edges and his affection for the working man (whether that work was come by honestly or not).

    Amazon Customer says: "Less would have been more"
    "Less would have been more"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    As a longtime New Yorker subscriber I have always prized the magazine for its great lineup of writers, past and present. So when I heard of this collection I was excited to make the acquaintance of a writer I was only dimly familiar with. Some of the stories in this collection are witty and wonderful. The incompetent counterfeiter. The various petty criminals, arsonists, and crackpots. But there are a couple of longer stories that mar this collection. Partly because there is no editor to explain the context of these stories, both about the author himself (one a story about his accusation that Chester Nimitz was a traitor and the other a meandering story about a possible kidnapping/murder plot which was most likely either a prank or a delusion) but also because it is harder to really understand the point the author was trying to make. Anyway. Leaving these longer stories out would have left the book a couple of hours shorter, but not appreciably less fascinating. McKelway seems to have been most at home with the oddball criminals and either full blown lunatics or at least quite eccentric characters of the era. There is a real fondness for exploring these troubled souls and, especially in the hapless counterfeiter story, it is hard not to feel some genuine sympathy or even liking for them. Also, McKelway was true to the New Yorker tradition for seamless prose. Even the shorter pieces bear the mark of a master. The only other complaint, a mild one surely, is that the narrator is good at description and narrative, but when assuming a character's voice, especially the female characters, his narration begins to falter badly. An enjoyable book but you may want to fast forward some.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Thinking the Twentieth Century

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Tony Judt, Timothy Snyder
    • Narrated By Ralph Cosham
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (33)
    Performance
    (28)
    Story
    (28)

    Here is the final book of unparalleled historian Tony Judt. Where Judt’s masterpiece Postwar redefined the history of modern Europe by uniting the stories of its eastern and western halves, Thinking the Twentieth Century unites the century’s conflicted intellectual history into a single soaring narrative. The 20th century comes to life as the age of ideas - a time when, for good or for ill, the thoughts of the few reigned over the lives of the many.

    Norman says: "UNINTELLIGIBLE"
    "Great Work from a writer lost too soon"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I have been an enormous fan of Tony Judt for a very long time. His brilliant insights into the tumultuous history of the modern world have enlivened many of my days (and nights). He was a brilliant writer who faced death with an incredible amount of courage. What a gift he had, and this book is a worthy addition to his too brief a canon. I was saddened when I read of his death but also relieved that the torment that he faced with such dignity was over. Judt's work here is fine and made more remarkable considering the difficulties he had to endure in the last parts. I know his final work just came out and look forward to adding it to my collection. Brilliant historian whose craftsmanship shows throughout.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Iron Man and Philosophy: Facing the Stark Reality

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Willilam Irwin (Editor), Mark D. White (Editor)
    • Narrated By Adam Verner
    Overall
    (6)
    Performance
    (6)
    Story
    (6)

    On the surface, Iron Man appears to be a straightforward superhero, another rich guy fighting crime with fancy gadgets. But beneath the shiny armor and flashy technology lies Tony Stark, brilliant inventor and eccentric playboy, struggling to balance his desires, addictions, and relationships with his duties as the Armored Avenger. Iron Man and Philosophy explores the many philosophical issues that emerge from the essential conflicts found in the decades of Iron Man stories in comics and movies.

    Eric Knox says: "I am Iron Man!"
    "Philosophy Light"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Or should that be Lite? Because like the beers that label themselves thus, this book is ultimately not unpleasant, but also on the whole left me a little unsatisfied. I think the redeeming aspect of the book are that some of the essays are a little more stimulating than others, but unfortunately there are too many that are so superficial they almost just seem like blog posts that a philosophy undergrad wrote. Don't think that I hated the book. I didn't. I enjoyed it (mostly) but I just wanted more. The best part of the book is the exploration of some of the more interesting Iron Man story lines, such as Tony Stark's alcoholism. These exploration of varied plot devices in the comic books make this a good intro to the world of Iron Man. Thumbs partially up.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • It's Superman!

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Tom De Haven
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    Overall
    (208)
    Performance
    (91)
    Story
    (92)

    Opening with the young Clark Kent on a date, this novel takes an entirely fresh approach to the emergence of his superpowers and the start of his newspaper career, following him from rural 1930s Kansas across America to Hollywood in its golden age and then to New York City. He meets a worldly Lois Lane and conniving political boss Lex Luthor, and begins his battles against criminal masterminds, mad scientists, and super villains inspired by fascists.

    G. Bledsoe says: "It's Superman!"
    "Hurrah for Superman"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    What a fun book! I admit to being a big fan of comic books but I have never been a huge fan of Superman. I always had a hard time with the fact that he is virtually invincible. But I took a chance because I was looking for something diverting (I had just slogged through a couple of long nonfiction works) and I am very glad I did. Scott Brick does his usual fine job of bringing characters to life and the pacing of this novel was very comic book like. It proceeds quickly and Superman's dual identity, as a man and an extraterrestrial, is actually quite compelling. This is not great literature but it doesn't pretend to be. What it is is a fine story, expertly narrated and of the ideal length for long commutes. I'm hoping for more like this!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Dancing Fish and Ammonites: A Memoir

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Penelope Lively
    • Narrated By Kelly Birch
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (14)
    Performance
    (13)
    Story
    (12)

    Memory and history have been Penelope Lively’s terrain in fiction over a career that has spanned five decades. But she has only rarely given listeners a glimpse into her influences and formative years. Dancing Fish and Ammonites traces the arc of Lively’s life, stretching from her early childhood in Cairo to boarding school in England to the sweeping social changes of Britain’s 20th century. She reflects on her early love of archeology, the fragments of the ancients that have accompanied her journey - including a sherd of Egyptian ceramic depicting dancing fish and ammonites found years ago on a Dorset beach.

    Amazon Customer says: "A most pleasant diversion"
    "A most pleasant diversion"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Okay, lame title for the review. However, I chose it because although I knew nothing of Lively until this book, it sounded interesting. And it was. Not compelling. Not an exciting page turner for certain. Still, there is an incredible amount of insight into the life of a very wise and genteel lady. She sounds to me as if she would be a wonderful person to sit and have a long conversation with. Indeed, I guess that was the attraction of this book for me. It was like having a long but not overly so, conversation with an intelligent and charming member of a distinctive generation. Hard for me to explain, but it made me want to read her fiction to learn if it could match the quiet beauty of her nonfiction. Also, the narrator is one I am unfamiliar with but her voice was soothing without being soporific. Thank you Audible for introducing me to this author. And Kelly Birch, I look forward to more of your narration.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Handmaid's Tale

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs)
    • By Margaret Atwood
    • Narrated By Claire Danes
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4448)
    Performance
    (4008)
    Story
    (4039)

    Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead, serving in the household of the enigmatic Commander and his bitter wife. She may go out once a day to markets whose signs are now pictures because women are not allowed to read. She must pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, for in a time of declining birthrates her value lies in her fertility, and failure means exile to the dangerously polluted Colonies. Offred can remember a time when she lived with her husband and daughter and had a job, before she lost even her own name....

    Emily - Audible says: "My Top Pick for 2012"
    "Intelligent Dystopian Fiction"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Clare Danes truly inhabits this novel. I call it intelligent dystopian fiction because there is so much schlock right now (Google dystopian fiction and you get overwhelmed). But this is a masterpiece. Not just of a genre. That is insulting. This is brilliant, numbing literature. Danes conveys the intensity of this novel perfectly. I worried when I started this that it would be Clare Danes doing her Homeland schtick. Not to worry. Danes takes Atwood's words and breathes honesty and horror into every line. This book imagines a future misogynist society that sadly is not as implausible as many of its critics acknowledge. There is enough antiwoman reality in the world now to make that point. Atwood's novel should be read by everyone who wants to know how literature can convey existential truths better than the best nonfiction ever could. You will be changed by this book and you will never forget it either. Danes is a masterful narrator and I am so grateful that she added this audiobook to her great repertoire.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Adventures of Gerard

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
    • Narrated By John Bolen
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (13)
    Performance
    (5)
    Story
    (5)

    Napoleon's presumptuous but unsung hero, the Brigadier Gerard, faces certain death at every turn while outwitting the enemies of France! Gerard careens across Europe, swept along in the ebb and flow of the Napoleonic wars.

    Lawrence says: "Good Stories, bad Narration"
    "Doyle Strikes Out with Me"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What would have made The Adventures of Gerard better?

    It is obvious I hope from my uniformly giving this title two stars across the board that I am not a fan of this book. I was not expecting anything as brilliant as Doyle's creation of Sherlock Holmes but this book missed the mark in almost every respect. Except for a few mild chuckles, the book did not elicit much from me. The stories were unremarkable, the narration was inconsistent (changed his pronunciation of cavalry to the common mispronunciation of Calvary and back again, as an example) and passionless. I just could not muster any enthusiasm for this book. Its only virtue was that it was mercifully short.


    Has The Adventures of Gerard turned you off from other books in this genre?

    No, I remain an optimist at heart. But I probably will preview titles more thoroughly in the future.


    Would you be willing to try another one of John Bolen’s performances?

    I will be very wary of subjecting myself to John Bolen again.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    I wish it did make me react with anger, sadness, or disappointment. I just felt blah. Maybe I could call it disappointment at a low frequency. And I wanted to like this book.


    Any additional comments?

    It is rare for me to comment. This book is the first in a long time that I didn't enjoy. At the same time, maybe more sympathetic listeners (or hardcore Doyle enthusiasts) will fancy this book. I didn't.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Her Royal Spyness: A Royal Spyness Mystery

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Rhys Bowen
    • Narrated By Katherine Kellgren
    Overall
    (5172)
    Performance
    (4446)
    Story
    (4427)

    Georgie, aka Lady Victoria Georgiana Charlotte Eugenie, cousin of King George V of England, is penniless and trying to survive on her own as an ordinary person in London in 1932. So far she has managed to light a fire and boil an egg... She's gate-crashed a wedding... She's making money by secretly cleaning houses... And she's been asked to spy for Her Majesty the Queen.

    Alice says: "Happy addition to a difficult genre"
    "Entertaining piece of fluff"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes, if my friend was in the mood for some absolutely delightful yet totally frivolous fiction. I am not trying to sound like a snob, because I truly enjoyed this book, but it is the fluffiest pastry of a book that I've either read or listened to in quite some time. That being said, I bought this book for one reason--the narrator. Katherine Kellgren is one of my absolute favorites (is there a fan club?) and I will purchase almost anything she performs. And performance it is. She is a gifted vocal actress and I recommend her to everyone I know, with the caveat that her books tend to be on the light side. Story was fine, sweetly old fashioned British mystery. Safe enough to recommend to aged parents.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By L. Frank Baum
    • Narrated By Anne Hathaway
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2341)
    Performance
    (2171)
    Story
    (2160)

    One of the best-known stories in American culture, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz has stirred the imagination of young and old alike for over 100 years. Best Actress nominee Anne Hathaway (Rachel Getting Married, Alice In Wonderland), fresh from filming one of this year’s most anticipated films, The Dark Knight Rises, lends her voice to this uniquely American fairy tale.

    Jim "The Impatient" says: "Fantastic"
    "Prepare to fall in love again!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz to be better than the print version?

    Yes, indeed! While I love reading (my favorite activity) I was entranced by Anne Hathaway's spectacular rendition of the various characters in Oz. She brings a liveliness and sparkle to all the voices which makes this one of those books where you deliberately miss the off-ramp just to keep listening a few minutes longer (you know you do it too). The book is a charming little children's tale. The audio version is a breathless leap into a world that defies imagination.


    What other book might you compare The Wonderful Wizard of Oz to and why?

    Nothing really compares to the world of Oz. But, for fun you might like Gregory Maguire's alternate take on the Oz myth, Wicked and the sequels.Not as good as Baum's originals but good nonetheless.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    While it is impossible to pick out a single favorite, I have to say everything with the soft-spoken wizard was delightful. Hathaway's southern inflected wizard is a joy.


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

    It made me grin like a maniac with pleasure. This performance is close to perfect. In fact, give it a ten! Or, maybe an eleven (with apologies to Spinal Tap).


    Any additional comments?

    Don't think this is just for kids. Be warned though. Stodgy people, young or old, will not like or get it. But then, they never did.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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