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Rodrigo Braz

Urbana-Champaign, IL | Member Since 2013

2
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 5 reviews
  • 10 ratings
  • 61 titles in library
  • 16 purchased in 2014
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  • I, Claudius

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Robert Graves
    • Narrated By Frederick Davidson
    Overall
    (243)
    Performance
    (190)
    Story
    (187)

    Physically weak and afflicted with stuttering, Claudius is initially despised and dismissed as an idiot. Shunted to the background of imperial affairs by his embarrassed royal family, he becomes a scholar and historian, while palace intrigues and murders surround him. Observing these dramas from beyond the public eye, Claudius escapes the cruelties inflicted on the rest of the royal family by its own members and survives to become emperor of Rome in A.D. 41.

    Robert says: "An..An..Ancient Rome comes to life, brilliantly"
    "Very good book, annoyingly affected reading"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I would not recommend this *audible* book to a friend, even though I would recommend the *book*. I found the narrator's style to get in the way of the story, with a ridiculously affected manner that made the characters sound comical even when they should not (particularly when reading the parts of Augustus and Livia).

    The book itself is good, although I didn't think it was as good as the books in the "Masters of Rome" series by Colleen McCullough or "Imperium" by Robert Harris.

    I listened to the sequel, "Claudius the God" read by Nelson Runger (also from Audible.com) and found it vastly superior. "I, Claudius" is also available by Runger, so I highly recommend that instead.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Golem and the Jinni: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Helene Wecker
    • Narrated By George Guidall
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3006)
    Performance
    (2766)
    Story
    (2767)

    Helene Wecker's dazzling debut novel tells the story of two supernatural creatures who appear mysteriously in 1899 New York. Chava is a golem, a creature made of clay, brought to life by a strange man who dabbles in dark Kabbalistic magic. When her master dies at sea on the voyage from Poland, she is unmoored and adrift as the ship arrives in New York Harbor. Ahmad is a jinni, a being of fire, born in the ancient Syrian Desert. Trapped in an old copper flask by a Bedouin wizard centuries ago, he is released accidentally by a tinsmith in a Lower Manhattan shop.

    Tango says: "Enchanting Debut Novel - Delicious!"
    "Pretty good, a bit too long, missing something"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The book describes a 1899 world in which Golems and Jinnis actually exist. It does a good job at making that interesting and believable, and also paints a good picture of the historical time. It is quite poetic at times.

    The main characters are a little shallow, a little flat (the Golem more than the Jinni). I expected to see some sort of spiritual quest, some development in which they learn how to cope with their own nature, some greater significance in their actions, but the story follows more like a sequence of haphazard events, although it does get a little better at the end.

    At points the books is too long and slow. I love long books but in this one there were parts in which nothing much was actually happening, to the point that listening to it felt a bit like work.

    The narrator performance is very good; he gave very distinct voices to each character and he had this unusual cadence that made his sentences very interesting.

    I am still glad I read it but I was expecting a really top-notch book given all the raving reviews.

    POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD:

    Even though there is a suggestion all along that the Jinni and the Golem will fall in love, there is no romance chemistry in between them. The only thing they share is being mythical creatures in 1899 New York and they *do* have a lot of *friendship* chemistry, but the idea that they would fall in love was very unconvincing to me.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Martian

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Andy Weir
    • Narrated By R. C. Bray
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (10261)
    Performance
    (9763)
    Story
    (9783)

    Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars. Now, he's sure he'll be the first person to die there. After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive—and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive. Chances are, though, he won't have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain old "human error" are much more likely to kill him first. But Mark isn't ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills—and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit—he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?"

    Brian says: "Duct tape is magic and should be worshiped"
    "It's not the them, it's the execution"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Having seen Gravity recently, and Apollo XIII years ago, I was not necessarily looking forward to another space survival story. But this book is great, not because of the theme, but because of how superbly executed it is.

    The book is so realistic that while I was reading it the other day I was having lunch with coworkers and had the impulse to ask them if they have been following the news about the astronaut stranded on Mars. It took me a moment to remind myself it's fiction! That's how crazy good and realistic the book is.

    The narration is also top-notch.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • My Life, Volume I

    • UNABRIDGED (24 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Bill Clinton
    • Narrated By Michael Beck
    Overall
    (258)
    Performance
    (53)
    Story
    (54)

    President Bill Clinton's My Life is the strikingly candid portrait of a global leader who decided early in life to devote his intellectual and political gifts, and his extraordinary capacity for hard work, to serving the public. It is the fullest, most concretely detailed, most nuanced account of a presidency ever written, and a testament to the positive impact on America and on the world of his work and his ideals.

    Gary says: "New found respect for Clinton from a Republican"
    "Yes, it's long... and I enjoyed every bit of it"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The book is long and I see some reviews complain about that. I found every bit of it interesting and I feel I have a much greater understanding of how American politics work, and I like the vision Clinton had for the US and its role in the world. I liked that he tried to provide a unified view of his life and how it all comes together, including his interesting childhood. I can't help believing he is quite sincere and liking him.

    The bits about international relations where particularly interesting to me. Clinton can provide unique insight into how that works, and talks at length about the Israel-Palestine conflict in a way that makes it much more concrete, including how leaders' personalities influence the process.

    One criticism I had is that I think he minced words too much about his sex scandals. It would be important to hear the true story of all that, but especially on the first ones back in Arkansas, he doesn't give details and only talks about "not having had a perfect life". I don't say that out of curiosity for salacious details, but because this is so central in how people think about Bill Clinton and how it would provide a better window into his personality and life.

    The narrator's performance is great, places emphasis on the right places and made me enjoy the Southern American accent quite a bit.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Basic Economics, Fourth Edition: A Common Sense Guide to the Economy

    • UNABRIDGED (23 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Thomas Sowell
    • Narrated By Tom Weiner
    Overall
    (581)
    Performance
    (416)
    Story
    (412)

    The fourth edition of Basic Economics is both expanded and updated. A new chapter on the history of economics itself has been added, and the implications of that history examined. Among other additions throughout the book, a new section on the special role of corporations in the economy has been added to the chapter on government and big business.

    kevin says: "Myth Buster"
    "Very good exposition of basic principles"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The books discusses lots of basic economy principles and that is very well done and instructive, and does make you think about some things in new light. I felt that, while a liberal in social issues, I tended to be more conservative in economic terms and that has been strengthened with this book.

    However, one of my motivations for reading it is to have a greater understanding of economy news such as the financial crisis and the Euro crisis, and I don't think I am closer to that than I was before reading this book. This is a problem I noticed with other introductory economy books; they dwell on the elegant abstract principles but don't help a whole lot in understanding the gritty details in real life.

    Tom Weiner narration is great: elegant, without getting in the way of the content.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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