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Patrick Ryan

Washington, DC | Member Since 2004


  • Virtually You: The Dangerous Powers of the E-Personality

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Elias Aboujaoude
    • Narrated By Teddy Canez
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    A penetrating examination of the insidious effects of the Internet on our personalities - online and off. Whether sharing photos or following financial markets, many of us spend a shocking amount of time online. While the Internet can enhance well-being, Elias Aboujaoude has spent years treating patients whose lives have been profoundly disturbed by it.

    Roy says: "Very Informative"

    This book has nothing to offer, especially in audiobook form. The Narrator is NOT reading sentences, phrases, and ideas. He is simply reading words. It's as if he's learning how to read so he pauses before big words or reads common phrases quickly while other phrases are disjointed. I'll give him credit for consistency though. He is consistently horrible. The unnatural pauses are just small enough that you can understand the text, but so annoying that after a while the book is completely unlistenable.

    Fine, the narration is bad; that's not the author's fault. So how does this book stand up on content? At best, it is an outsider's misunderstanding of the virtual world. At worst, it is a alarmist attempt to dissuade us from using the internet by telling horror stories. The author is a mental health professional specializing in OCD and compulsive disorders. By the very nature of his job, he sees lots of people with unhealthy relationships to the virtual world. He uses these extreme examples to try and prove that we are all in danger of losing our identities online. He points to changes in communication style, online dating, online gambling, online shopping habits, and our narcissistic tendencies on blogs or social networks. I concede that problematic behavior exists online. And I concede that some people take things too far. But instead of pointing to healthy online behavior and the advantages of moderation, the author seems to be saying that we are all doomed to acquire some form of mental compulsion or psychosis from using the internet.

    In the end, there is no redeeming quality to this book, in audio or paper form. The narration is the worst I've ever heard out of the hundreds of books in my library, and the author is an outsider who thinks the internet can only bring bad. I just want to shake him and say "Please don't write anymore books about the internet. You don't know what you're talking about! Stick to books about OCD and Clinical Depression."

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • A Quest of Heroes: The Sorcerer's Ring, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Morgan Rice
    • Narrated By Wayne Farrell
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    A dazzling new fantasy series. A QUEST OF HEROES (BOOK #1 IN THE SORCERER’S RING) revolves around the epic coming of age story of one special boy, a 14 year old from a small village on the outskirts of the Kingdom of the Ring. Thorgrin senses he is different from the others. He dreams of becoming a great warrior, of joining the King’s men and protecting the Ring. When he comes of age and is forbidden by his father to try out for the King’s Legion, he journeys out on his own, determined to force his way into King’s Court and be taken seriously.

    Samuel says: "Hackneyed, *and* repetitive"
    "Absolutely Awful Writing"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    Pre-teens. But even then I'm thinking more around elementary age. There is so much "wide-eyed" writing that only a third grader could enjoy it. What I mean to say is that the book constantly uses superlative phrases to describe ordinary things: "so much ___ he could hardly believe it!" "he'd heard legends of ___ his whole life but it was the most beautiful ___ he'd ever seen!" It goes on and on like that for hours.

    Again, let me repeat, this book is only suited for elementary schoolers.

    Has A Quest of Heroes turned you off from other books in this genre?

    Genre? No, I read The Hobbit in 4th grade and it was nothing like this trash. Author? most definitely.

    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    Not for an adult. It espoused an egalitarian ethos with regards to women. It also put the gay character in a semi-accepted light. But at the end of the day, the homo was still the villain, and women were still subordinate to men.

    Any additional comments?

    I sped this book up to 2.0x to get past the "wide-eyed" writing of the kid who just got to a castle for the first time. But that style never went away! He was constantly surprised by some old THING that's the most ADJECTIVE he's ever seen!

    The book is predictable. But there were a few surprises (not good ones) like how the Solstice lasted for several days. The joust occurred on the solstice in the beginning but several days later they were just getting around to the solstice celebration feast!

    Lastly, if there wasn't enough wrong with this book already, it was too short. More happens in a single episode of Game of Thrones than in this entire book. It sets up the world, with some incidental actions by Thor, and then ends. The whole book spans about 3 days.

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

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Daniel H. Wilson
    • Narrated By Mike Chamberlain
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    In the near future, at a moment no one will notice, all the dazzling technology that runs our world will unite and turn against us. Taking on the persona of a shy human boy, a childlike but massively powerful artificial intelligence known as Archos comes online and assumes control over the global network of machines that regulate everything from transportation to utilities, defense and communication. In the months leading up to this, sporadic glitches are noticed by a handful of unconnected humans - a single mother, a lonely Japanese bachelor, and an isolated U.S. soldier....

    Raxxillion says: "OMG! The hyperbole is the GREATEST EVER!!!!!"
    "Interesting book, not a must-read"
    Any additional comments?

    Weirdly, the first thing I noticed was Mike Chamberlain's voice. It is mesmerizing and reminds me of Christian Bale's voice. It's something about the soft 't's. However, as the book moved on, I started to get annoyed with the way he was emphasizing emotional thoughts. He was too slow and it broke the pace of the book. Would have been better to say them with meaning and leave a pause instead of emphasizing each word.

    As far as the writing goes... I have to say the storyline is pretty interesting. It keeps you thinking. The protagonist insists that each event was critical to the war effort but you don't really see all the pieces until the very end. I recommend reading this book over a short period of time. This is not the kind of audiobook you can listen to casually. The author leaves out so much detail that you are required to deduce a great deal yourself.

    My last comment about Robopocalypse is about the writing. The wording gets too poetic. Too many times we hear poetic descriptions of emotional scenes. It's okay if one of the crazy characters (perhaps Mr. Namora) get poetic with his thoughts. But for every character to have the same poetic arch is fake and quite distracting. The most compelling thing about this book is the fascinating storyline/premise and all the details he leaves out.

    I would recommend Daniel H Wilson and Mike Chamberlain to others, but I feel that both have some maturing to do.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed

    • ABRIDGED (9 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Jared Diamond
    • Narrated By Christopher Murney

    In his million-copy best seller Guns, Germs, and Steel, Jared Diamond examined how and why Western civilizations developed the technologies and immunities that allowed them to dominate much of the world. Now in this brilliant companion volume, Diamond probes the other side of the equation: what caused some of the great civilizations of the past to collapse into ruin, and what can we learn from their fates?

    Rebecca says: "an fascinating book, but better on paper"
    "amazingly comprehensive"

    He takes examples from throughout history showing us exactly how past societies destroyed themselves. His correlations to today's society are self explanitory and will motivate you to think about many of today's crises in a new light.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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