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brenty

United States | Member Since 2008

122
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 64 reviews
  • 500 ratings
  • 977 titles in library
  • 172 purchased in 2014
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  • Autobiography of a Yogi

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 36 mins)
    • By Paramahansa Yogananda
    • Narrated By Ben Kingsley
    Overall
    (984)
    Performance
    (483)
    Story
    (486)

    When Autobiography of a Yogi first appeared in 1946, it was acclaimed as a landmark work in its field. The New York Times hailed it as "a rare account". Newsweek pronounced it "fascinating". The San Francisco Chronicle declared, "Yogananda presents a convincing case for yoga, and those who 'came to scoff' may remain 'to pray." Today it is still one of the most widely read and respected books ever published on the wisdom of the East.

    Peter A. says: "One of the finest books on Spirituality ever"
    "Too rich for my mind..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I hate to say anything bad about this book. In fact, I can't. It was charming and insightful. Yet somehow -- in spite of the warm, inviting performance and presence of Ben Kingsley, and the inspiring and playful narrative -- this book just didn't grab me, and it was difficult to get through.

    I will have to revisit this again in the future. Perhaps with age and experience I will grow to appreciate it more next time. :)

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Let Me In

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By John Ajvide Lindqvist
    • Narrated By Steven Pacey
    Overall
    (525)
    Performance
    (345)
    Story
    (346)

    Let Me In is the horrific tale of Oskar and Eli. It begins with the grizzly discovery of the body of a teenage boy, emptied of blood. Twelve-year-old Oskar is personally hoping that revenge has come at long last - revenge for all the bad things the bullies at school do to him. While Oskar is fascinated by the murder, it is not the most important thing in his life. A new girl has moved in next door. They become friends. Then something more. But there is something wrong with her, something odd.

    neil says: "Not for everyone"
    "Weak story, strong writing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The prose here is often breathtaking, but the plot is relatively dull and meandering. Totally worth reading for the quality of writing, but the story itself feels a bit empty -- developing characters that often seem to go nowhere.

    I'll give it a fourth star just for the inventive wordplay and solid narration, but the storytelling falls flat.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Amityville Horror

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Jay Anson
    • Narrated By Ray Porter
    Overall
    (385)
    Performance
    (310)
    Story
    (313)

    In December 1975, the Lutz family moved into their new home on suburban Long Island. George and Kathleen Lutz knew that, one year earlier, Ronald DeFeo had murdered his parents, brothers, and sisters in the house, but the property - complete with boathouse and swimming pool - and the price were too good to pass up. This is the shocking true story of an American dream that turned into a nightmare beyond imagining for the Lutz family, who were forced to flee their new home in terror.

    JRM says: "Maybe, Maybe Not"
    "Solid and unsettling"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It's hard to say for certain since I never read the text myself, but I felt like the writing was a bit dry.

    That said, I thoroughly enjoyed the narration here. It gave me a sense of the steady escalation of horror experienced by those in the house. It was eerie in the methodical terrorizing of family and visitors. Like they must have, I felt like maybe it wasn't really happening -- as if maybe it was all just a misinterpretation of events as they slowly unfolded.

    "The devil's best trick is to persuade you that he doesn't exist!" - Baudelaire

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Hominids: The Neanderthal Parallax, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Robert J. Sawyer
    • Narrated By Jonathan Davis, Robert J. Sawyer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1240)
    Performance
    (586)
    Story
    (592)

    Neanderthals have developed a radically different civilization on a parallel Earth. A Neanderthal physicist, Ponter Boddit, accidentally passes from his universe into a Canadian underground research facility. Fortunately, a team of human scientists, including expert paleo-anthropologist Mary Vaughan, promptly identifies and warmly receives Ponter. Solving the language problem and much else is a mini-computer, called a Companion, implanted in the brain of every Neanderthal. But it can't help his fellow scientist back in his world, Adikor Huld, when the authorities charge Adikor with his murder.

    Scott says: "Scicen Fiction Can Be Literature"
    "Ended too soon"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I guess that's what sequels are for, but the only thing disappointing about this book is that it ends. This is a eminently believable and intimately humanistic work of science fiction. The beginning is a bit dense, because there is quite a bit to set up. But for all the technical detail and description, this is ultimately a story about personal connections.

    I've had this in my library for years. I don't remember why I bought it, and I'm not sure why I have only read it now after eyeing it curiously every month or so. I only wish I would have read it sooner, because it probably would have given me plenty of time to read it again.

    It isn't something that's often -- if ever -- said about science fiction, but this book is just lovely. And the only other book I can recall being similarly wonderful is Stephen King's 11/22/63.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Land of Painted Caves: Earth's Children, Book 6

    • UNABRIDGED (34 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Jean M. Auel
    • Narrated By Sandra Burr
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1287)
    Performance
    (794)
    Story
    (806)

    Ayla, one of the most remarkable and beloved heroines in contemporary fiction, continues to explore the world and the people around her with curiosity, insight, and, above all, courage. As the story opens, Ayla, Jondalar, and their infant daughter, Jonayla, are living with the Zelandonii in the Ninth Cave - a shelter of stone. Ayla has been chosen as an acolyte and has embarked on the arduous task of training to become a spiritual leader.

    phillip says: "Be careful what you wish for!"
    "Her life with her new people"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book is unlike the rest of the Earth's Children series, in that it doesn't really read like a novel, with a beginning, middle, and end. Instead, it is essentially a sequence of events -- the life and times of the series' beloved protagonist(s).

    It may sound terrible initially, but it's pretty subjective: this book reads more like retelling of events, as in a journal recorded by a third party. My wife and I enjoyed this book, but felt a bit let down because it lacked the narrative weight of the previous books.

    My biggest complaints are the slightly over-the-top accent the narrator does for Ayla (although Sandra Burr is still one of my favorites, and I wouldn't want anyone else to voice these books) and the inconsistency of pronunciations compared to the previous books (which is understandable, after so long, but still distracting).

    I know I would have enjoyed it more if it were more like the previous books -- or separate from the previous books entirely, so that there were no such expectations. Having the others set the bar when it came to conflict and excitement made this book seem less satisfying. But it was still an enjoyable read, and it was nice to spend this time with characters who almost feel like family after so long.

    This book won't be the reason I recommend this series to others -- like the first three books -- but I am glad to have had the experience of reading it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Mark Twain
    • Narrated By Ian Lynch
    Overall
    (9)
    Performance
    (8)
    Story
    (9)

    The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, originally published in 1876, was the first novel written on a typewriter. Mark Twain's lively tale of the scrapes and adventures of boyhood is set in St. Petersburg, Missouri, where Tom Sawyer and his friend Huckleberry Finn have the kinds of adventures many boys can imagine: racing bugs during class, impressing girls (especially Beck Thatcher) with fights and stunts in the schoolyard, getting lost in a cave, and playing pirates on the Mississippi River.

    brenty says: "Charming classic"
    "Charming classic"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    While the narration is a bit over the top (and grating at times: Aunt Polly), it really sets the tone for the tale.

    This book is well written and great fun for all ages. Well worth a listen!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Timothy Egan
    • Narrated By Patrick Lawlor, Ken Burns
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1350)
    Performance
    (768)
    Story
    (780)

    The dust storms that terrorized America's High Plains in the darkest years of the Depression were like nothing ever seen before or since, and the stories of the people that held on have never been fully told. Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times journalist and author Timothy Egan follows a half-dozen families and their communities through the rise and fall of the region.

    Laurie says: "more than grapes of wrath"
    "Compellingly bleak"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This historical account of the people, places, and events surrounding the Dust Bowl was surprisingly easy to get into and hard to turn away from. It really gave me an appreciation for the hardships of the time -- and their origins. This is a book I nearly didn't pick up, but I'm glad I did.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Mary Roach
    • Narrated By Emily Woo Zeller
    Overall
    (1476)
    Performance
    (1305)
    Story
    (1314)

    Best-selling author Mary Roach returns with a new adventure to the invisible realm we carry around inside. Roach takes us down the hatch on an unforgettable tour. The alimentary canal is classic Mary Roach terrain: The questions explored in Gulp are as taboo, in their way, as the cadavers in Stiff and every bit as surreal as the universe of zero gravity explored in Packing for Mars. Why is crunchy food so appealing? Why is it so hard to find words for flavors and smells? Why doesn’t the stomach digest itself? How much can you eat before your stomach bursts?

    Kirstin says: "Mary Roach Does Not Disappoint!"
    "Fascinating"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    While the subject matter itself is not inherently appealing (or palatable), both the style of writing and the narration enjoyable and entertaining.

    If you are a fan of her previous works, I think you will find this a worthwhile entry in the catalogue. And for those unfamiliar with the author but interested in a lighthearted tour of digestive matters -- both scientific and historical -- you likely won't find a more varied and engaging book on the subject.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Stuff White People Like: The Definitive Guide to the Unique Taste of Millions

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs)
    • By Christian Lander
    • Narrated By Victor Bevine
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (397)
    Performance
    (146)
    Story
    (145)

    They love nothing better than sipping free-trade gourmet coffee, leafing through the Sunday New York Times, and listening to David Sedaris on NPR (ideally all at the same time). Apple products, indie music, food co-ops, and vintage T-shirts make them weak in the knees. They believe they're unique, yet somehow they're all exactly the same.

    Miguel says: "Bland simply bland!!!!"
    "Hilarious...but maybe not for everyone"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I laughed out loud throughout when listening to this book. It really hits home, with both obvious and insightful observations of 'white culture' that helped me see the humour in myself and others.

    But when I went to write a review and rate the audiobook I saw that perhaps the style of humour (and the dead-on tone of narration) is not universal. Definitely check out the sample; if you think this sounds like your cup of tea after that, you won't be disappointed!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Reason I Jump: The Inner Voice of a Thirteen-Year-Old Boy with Autism

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Naoki Higashida
    • Narrated By Tom Picasso
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (842)
    Performance
    (751)
    Story
    (752)

    Written by Naoki Higashida, a very smart, very self-aware, and very charming thirteen-year-old boy with autism, The Reason I Jumpis a one-of-a-kind memoir that demonstrates how an autistic mind thinks, feels, perceives, and responds in ways few of us can imagine. Parents and family members who never thought they could get inside the head of their autistic loved one at last have a way to break through to the curious, subtle, and complex life within.

    Janice says: "Cracking the code"
    "Right on"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    As an adult male 'on the spectrum', to have a thirteen-year-old boy express 80% of my existence better than I am able to do myself is both depressing and refreshing, because

    As books go, this isn't classic literature or anything; but for an unfiltered glimpse into the mind of an autistic person, look no further. If someone close to you is on the autistic spectrum, you owe it to both yourself and them to read this book.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War

    • ABRIDGED (6 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Max Brooks
    • Narrated By Max Brooks, Alan Alda, John Turturro, and others
    Overall
    (5541)
    Performance
    (3792)
    Story
    (3803)

    The Zombie War came unthinkably close to eradicating humanity. Max Brooks, driven by the urgency of preserving the acid-etched first-hand experiences of the survivors from those apocalyptic years, traveled across the United States of America and throughout the world, from decimated cities that once teemed with upwards of 30 million souls, to the most remote and inhospitable areas of the planet.

    Steve says: "Good but Too Short!"
    "All you need!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    While the Complete Edition contains the material left out of this original abridged recording, I didn't find that it added anything particularly compelling.

    This is a great book with some great performances (Mark Hamill did an INCREDIBLE job, and I didn't even know it was him until the credits at the end), but -- unlike nearly every other audio book -- I found this abridged version was better by keeping it concise and having only the strongest performances.

    Had I not listened to this original abridged recording first I may have felt differently, though.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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