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D. Sevener

Springfield, IL United States | Member Since 2010

ratings
68
REVIEWS
11
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
0
HELPFUL VOTES
10

  • The Oath: The Obama White House and the Supreme Court

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Jeffrey Toobin
    • Narrated By Robertson Dean
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (168)
    Performance
    (141)
    Story
    (142)

    From the moment John Roberts, the chief justice of the United States, blundered through the Oath of Office at Barack Obama's inauguration, the relationship between the Supreme Court and the White House has been confrontational. Both men are young, brilliant, charismatic, charming, determined to change the course of the nation - and completely at odds on almost every major constitutional issue. One is radical; one essentially conservative. The surprise is that Obama is the conservative.

    Jean says: "A look at the Supreme Court"
    "Very insightful"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Where does The Oath rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    In the top five


    Any additional comments?

    A truly gifted writer who tells a fascinating story of the Roberts court and the chief justice's strategic brilliance. Interesting takes on all the sitting justices, and insights as well into Obama's judicial philosophy. There is a noticeable tilt to the left, but Toobin is fair to all and generally balanced. You'll never view the Supreme Court in same way after reading this book.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Center Holds: Obama and His Enemies

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By Jonathan Alter
    • Narrated By Jonathan Alter
    Overall
    (105)
    Performance
    (94)
    Story
    (95)

    In The Center Holds: Obama and His Enemies, Jonathan Alter uses his unmatched access and deep knowledge of politics and history to produce the first full account of America at the crossroads. He pierces the bubble of the White House and of the presidential campaigns with exclusive reporting and rare historical insight. More than a campaign book, this is the epic story of an embattled president facing a historic moment he considered more pivotal than 2008.

    Mike says: "The Best Telling of the 2012 Campaign So Far"
    "Enlightening . . . and maddening"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is an excellent story -- a mural in its comprehensiveness, a portrait in its richness of detail.

    WARNING: if you are a starchly conservative, closed-minded, tea party zealot, you will NOT like this book. All others should thoroughly enjoy the vastness of the historical scope and the crisp analysis of Jonathan Alter.

    The author is not unbiased, and at times inappropriately and unnecessarily subjective. But for the most part, he presents a balanced, thorough, and well-documented account of the 2012 election. But not just the election. One of the book's major strengths is the author's ability to place the campaign in a much larger context, thus giving us a broader and deeper understanding of events, personalities, strategies, and outcomes. For example, he goes to the roots of Republican animus -- what he calls "Obama Derangement Syndrome" -- toward President Obama, the tea party movement, and the congressional gridlock resulting from the attitude of Republican leaders to sacrifice the nation to the aim of making Obama a one-term president.

    All the key events are, of course, expertly covered -- the GOP primaries, the 47% remark, the first debate (and subsequent ones), etc. -- but in a way that puts the reader inside the campaign, and helps you to think: Oh, that's why he did that, or, what were they thinking?
    I particularly enjoyed Alter's description of the Obama field operation and the technical apparatus behind -- simply masterful.

    Finally, and most importantly, this is not just a book of insider politics, or simply those devout followers of Politico. It bears a message, and one that is crucial for politicians and citizens alike.

    Just a brief word about the narration, which is done by the author. I generally think authors should not narrate their books (which may seem counterintuitive because, after all, who knows better how the story should be heard?). But just as Jonathan Alter would not turn to an actor to write his book, he would have been better off to turn to an actor to read his book. He doesn't do a poor job, except perhaps for the passages that sound like he's having an asthma attack, but my preference is for a professional to narrate the story as I rely on a professional to write it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Silken Prey: Lucas Davenport, Book 23

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By John Sandford
    • Narrated By Richard Ferrone
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1201)
    Performance
    (1035)
    Story
    (1028)

    Very early one morning, a Minnesota political fixer answers his doorbell. The next thing he knows, he’s waking up on the floor of a moving car, lying on a plastic sheet, his body wet with blood. When the car stops, a voice says, "Hey, I think he’s breathing." And another voice says, "Yeah? Give me the bat." And that’s the last thing he knows. Davenport is investigating another case when the trail leads to the man’s disappearance, then - very troublingly - to the Minneapolis police department, then - most troublingly of all - to a woman who could give Machiavelli lessons.

    John Norton says: "Still my favorite combo of author and reader"
    "Unbeatable"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to Silken Prey the most enjoyable?

    Narration is superb.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Davenport is not only my favorite character, he is my hero. Well, that's hyperbole, but Lucas is unromanticized as a cop and a human being. He has some rough edges, but they don't dominate his character, rather they round out his character.


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

    This is a book that is hard to put down.


    Any additional comments?

    This series, and the burgeoning one with that f***king Flowers, is my favorite. I've been trying to analyze how Sandford does it, and I keep coming back to character. Even the minor characters are well developed, believable, and instrumental to understanding the chief character, Davenport. It is more than a collection of well-wrought scenes; it is a compelling story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Watergate: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Thomas Mallon
    • Narrated By Joe Barrett
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (108)
    Performance
    (97)
    Story
    (94)

    For all the monumental documentation that Watergate generated - uncountable volumes of committee records, court transcripts, and memoirs - it falls at last to a novelist to perform the work of inference (and invention) that allows us to solve some of the scandal’s greatest mysteries - who did erase those eighteen-and-a-half minutes of tape? - and to see this gaudy American catastrophe in its human entirety. In Watergate, Thomas Mallon conveys the drama and high comedy of the Nixon presidency through the urgent perspectives of seven characters we only thought we knew.

    Tad Davis says: "A great listen"
    "Read this book!!!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What about Joe Barrett’s performance did you like?

    He is awesome. He uses a pitch perfect inflection to convey shades or irony, bemusement, and sarcasm, not to mention a full range of other emotions.


    Any additional comments?

    This is a wonderful book, particuarly if you lived through Watergate, and even if you didn't. Mallon tackles the whole affairs from the viewpoint of richly drawn characters who come right out of the pages of newspapers -- E. Howard Hunt, Mrs. Nixon, Alice Longworth Roosevelt, Magruder, Dean, Woods, and of course Nixon himself. Though the story is imagined, at least from the inner thoughts of the characters, Mallon's imagination is as sharp and plausible as a scapel. You come to think: Oh, so that's why Mitchell did that, or: Well, now we know what Rosemary Woods was doing. And Mallon's scapel slices deep -- poor Tricia, poor Elliott Richardson.

    If you lived through Watergate, it's fun to be the fly on the imaginative wall of Thomas Mallon. If not, here's a better window into Washington than any civics textbook.

    Read this book! Please.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Into the Darkest Corner

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Elizabeth Haynes
    • Narrated By David Thorpe, Karen Cass
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1135)
    Performance
    (953)
    Story
    (956)

    Catherine has been enjoying the single life for long enough to know a good catch when she sees one. Gorgeous, charismatic, spontaneous – Lee seems almost too perfect to be true. And her friends clearly agree, as each in turn falls under his spell. But there is a darker side to Lee. His erratic, controlling and sometimes frightening behaviour means that Catherine is increasingly isolated. Driven into the darkest corner of her world, and trusting no one, she plans a meticulous escape.

    Betty says: "AN OCD IS STALKED BY A PSYCHOPATH"
    "Worth your time"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    I enjoy reading/listening to novels for many reasons, but two come to mind with this book: 1. I like an intriguing story, and 2. I enjoy learning about real world problems, issues, conditions, etc. from characters who can teach me something I don't know. Darkest Corner scores on both those points.

    Case in point: I probably would never read a nonfiction book (maybe not even an article) about OCD. But I learned so much from Catherine, not only about the behavior of those who suffer but the backstory that adds the causal dimension, not to mention the remedies that help someone escape the clutches of OCD. You can feel her anguish, grasp her (sometimes bizarre) behavior, even sympathesize with the impatience of her psychologist/boyfriend. You also learn (as Catherine does as well) why a woman finds it difficult to impossible to escape an abusive relationship.

    Elizabeth Haynes has done an effective job of organizing the story by switching back and forth between two time periods, four years apart, to explore how Catherine gets drawn into a relationship that turns (almost) deadly, and how she copes with its aftermath. (I am also a sucker for the quaint and generally more accurate language and idioms of the British, which makes this a more enjoyable listen than a read.) Even when the story drags occasionally, you get the sense that it's supposed to drag because the pace reinforces the endless "checking" Catherine must undertake to feel safe.

    This is a winner!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Back to Blood: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Tom Wolfe
    • Narrated By Lou Diamond Phillips
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (529)
    Performance
    (435)
    Story
    (439)

    As a police launch speeds across Miami's Biscayne Bay - with officer Nestor Camacho on board - Tom Wolfe is off and running. Here is a big, panoramic story of the new America, as told by our master chronicler of the way we live now. Based on the same sort of detailed, on-scene, high-energy reporting that powered Tom Wolfe's previous best-selling novels, Back to Blood is another brilliant, spot-on, scrupulous, and often hilarious reckoning with our times.

    Cynthia says: "Masterful Story-tel!ing & Great Narration!"
    "Worth a listen, but . . ."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    This is mostly a compelling read/listen. The story and subplots are captivating and the characters are well-drawn. As always, Wolfe is a provocative thinker and writer who has a fresh way of looking at old, seemingly settled aspects of American life and culture. So, definitely would recommend.

    My only hesitation is a growing impatience with Wolfe's writing style -- the Electric Kool-Aid schtick that was innovative in the '70s, and still refreshing in the '90s, but now is more distracting and annoying than illuminating, like a monotonous drumbeat. Perhaps that comment simply shows my age, but Wolfe's stories with, say, Elmore Leonard's sparse story-telling would be a terrific combination.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Increment: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By David Ignatius
    • Narrated By Dick Hill
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (149)
    Performance
    (58)
    Story
    (61)

    From a hidden enclave in the maze of Tehran, an Iranian scientist who calls himself "Dr. Ali" sends an encrypted message to the CIA. It falls to Harry Pappas to decide if it's for real.

    Dr. Ali sends more secrets of the Iranian bomb program to the agency, then panics. He's being followed, but he doesn't know who's onto him, and neither does Pappas. The White House is no help---they're looking for a pretext to attack Tehran. To get his agent out, Pappas turns to a secret British spy team known as "The Increment".

    John says: "A Real Thriller"
    "Good story, awful narration"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    Ignatius does a very credible job of crafting and telling his story, with characters who are believable and who matter. But the narration of this book detracted from the story rather than enhancing it. His attempt to alter his voice for different characters, while appreciated from a more skilled narrator, here was annoying, very off-key. And his voice was tuned to hyper-dramatic, which was irritating enough as his default persona, but was even worse in that he made even scene-setting or background explaining narrative sound breathless and urgent. Like an actor trying to perform stage directions.

    The story is worth reading, but in this instance, not worth listening to.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Swag

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Elmore Leonard
    • Narrated By Frank Muller
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (123)
    Performance
    (107)
    Story
    (107)

    The smallest of small-time criminals, Ernest Stickley Jr. figures his luck's about to change when Detroit used-car salesman Frank Ryan catches him trying to boost a ride from Ryan's lot. Frank's got some surefire schemes for getting rich quick - all of them involving guns - and all Stickley has to do is follow "Ryan's Rules" to share the wealth. But sometimes rules need to be bent, maybe even broken, if one is to succeed in the world of crime, especially if the "brains" of the operation knows less than nothing.

    D. Sevener says: "Fun tale, well told, great narration"
    "Fun tale, well told, great narration"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    I love Elmore Leonard, and his books are almost more fun to listen to than to read, especially when the narration is as superb as Frank Muller's. These are not sophisticated, serpentine whodunits. They are really more character driven than plot oriented. But Leonard has such an engaging and economical way of characterization that you feel these people really exist -- a feeling enhanced by a narrator who makes each character come alive.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Killing Lincoln: The Shocking Assassination That Changed America Forever

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Bill O'Reilly, Martin Dugard
    • Narrated By Bill O'Reilly
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3793)
    Performance
    (3379)
    Story
    (3393)

    The anchor of The O'Reilly Factor recounts one of the most dramatic stories in American history—how one gunshot changed the country forever. In the spring of 1865, the bloody saga of America's Civil War finally comes to an end after a series of increasingly harrowing battles. President Abraham Lincoln's generous terms for Robert E. Lee's surrender are devised to fulfill Lincoln's dream of healing a divided nation. But one man and his band of murderous accomplices are not appeased....

    Daniel says: "History Made Interesting"
    "Not bad, pretty good"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The story is quite good, and I learned some history that I didn't know about Lincoln and the Civil War. But I wish I had read, rather than listened, to the book. Bill O'Reilly warned in the intro that he was reading this as a thriller, rather than a historical narrative. But the book didn't need that breathless tone and breakneck pace. The story itself was thrilling enough, so his over-the-top narration actually detracted, rather than enhanced the story. Except when his voice expressed his incredulity at the lax protection the president had; that was hilarious.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Gone Girl: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Gillian Flynn
    • Narrated By Julia Whelan, Kirby Heyborne
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (16522)
    Performance
    (14688)
    Story
    (14730)

    It is Nick and Amy Dunne's fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick's clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn't doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media - as well as Amy's fiercely doting parents - the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he's definitely bitter - but is he really a killer?

    Teddy says: "Demented, twisted, sick and I loved it!"
    "Exceptional"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    At first, I thought: oh-oh, I'm not liking this and there are about 20 hours left. I was really turned off by the female narrator, whose chirpy voice seemed out of character for the nature of Amy's character. There was also some clunky writing. But the more I listened, the more I became hooked by the plot, and the narration didn't bother me. I came to see that the characters were well drawn, and I appreciated the major plot twists and turns that I never saw coming. I thought the ending was superb; again, not what I expected but perfect pitch.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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