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Lawrence

Charlottesville, VA, United States | Member Since 2006

26
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 14 reviews
  • 84 ratings
  • 0 titles in library
  • 10 purchased in 2014
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FOLLOWERS
3

  • Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs)
    • By Laura Hillenbrand
    • Narrated By Edward Herrmann
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (10826)
    Performance
    (6850)
    Story
    (6882)

    Why we think it’s a great listen: Seabiscuit was a runaway success, and Hillenbrand’s done it again with another true-life account about beating unbelievable odds. On a May afternoon in 1943, an Army Air Forces bomber crashed into the Pacific Ocean and disappeared, leaving only a spray of debris and a slick of oil, gasoline, and blood. Then, on the ocean surface, a face appeared.....

    Anastasia Burke says: "Hillenbrand could make even laundry fascinating!"
    "Intense but ultimately shallow and unsatisfying"
    Overall

    The first half was a detailed and engaging story of the Louis's development, his military training, combat, and survival at sea. The relentless and sadistic brutality of the Japanese captors frankly grew repetitive... I got the picture more than once. (Possible spoiler alert as to what follows...) But the superficial and uncritical handling of his conversion and salvation following a couple encounters with Billy Graham was disappointing.

    2 of 7 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
    (5568)
    Performance
    (5294)
    Story
    (5304)

    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 plainold ""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"
    "How's he going to survive this latest emergency?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    Couldn't put it down. Just a terrific weave of understandable physics, chemistry, and engineering with a good dose of excitement and humor. Really fun.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Susan Cain
    • Narrated By Kathe Mazur
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3699)
    Performance
    (3187)
    Story
    (3158)

    At least one-third of the people we know are introverts. They are the ones who prefer listening to speaking, reading to partying; who innovate and create but dislike self-promotion; who favor working on their own over brainstorming in teams. Although they are often labeled "quiet," it is to introverts that we owe many of the great contributions to society--from van Gogh’s sunflowers to the invention of the personal computer.

    Teddy says: "Thought provoking and Uplifting.... A++++++++!!!!!"
    "Fantastic insights - Legitimate science applied"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    Unlike most popular science works that are actually the result of cherry-picking interesting studies and spinning out cute and surprising yarns (Gladwell anyone?), this is the real thing. As a clinical psychologist who minored in personality assessment, I was familiar with some of the older work she sites... but was thrilled by the newer work and the integration of it all that she accomplished. So it offers rewards at multiple levels: theory (Jung and others), research (brain imaging, genetics, etc.) and application (to oneself, to raising children, to teaching, to leadership and management at work). If you have features of introversion and sensitivity, and you feel somewhat like an unwelcome minority in this land that favors extroverts, then read this book. And maybe re-read it!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Daemon

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Daniel Suarez
    • Narrated By Jeff Gurner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (6732)
    Performance
    (3784)
    Story
    (3810)

    Thousands of autonomous computer programs, or daemons, make our networked world possible, running constantly in the background of our lives, trafficking e-mail, transferring money, and monitoring power grids. For the most part, daemons are benign, but the same can't always be said for the people who design them.

    Erica says: "Possibly The Best Techno-thriller Ever"
    "Mixed: some genius, some silliness"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    Really creative premise: that artificial intelligence in gaming could cross over to (infect and dominate?) real world actions and control. Some outlandish implementation (knife wielding robot motorcycles) and way too much detailed gore and violence ("fetishized" as one other reviewer put it). Although I am a software developer, I am not a game player so maybe all that intense detail comes with that territory. Anyway, the overall ideas are great, the characterization is thin, and the ending shockingly abrupt. It is definitely part 1 of a series; don't even think of reading the first book unless you want to finish the second. And I did just buy the second half (Freedom) and hope the silly and gory details don't outweigh the creative thought. It looks like the premise is getting expanded to a really interesting commentary on the military industrial complex's growing control over the world's economy and politics, rendering the political process (and democratic governments) a sham that simply pacifies an unknowing public. Are we all going through the motions watching a phony show (Matrix anyone?) while the real action is behind the scenes in some hybrid AI networked reality?

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Daniel James Brown
    • Narrated By Edward Herrmann
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (940)
    Performance
    (858)
    Story
    (867)

    Daniel James Brown's robust book tells the story of the University of Washington's 1936 eight-oar crew and their epic quest for an Olympic gold medal, a team that transformed the sport and grabbed the attention of millions of Americans. The sons of loggers, shipyard workers, and farmers, the boys defeated elite rivals first from eastern and British universities and finally the German crew rowing for Adolf Hitler in the Olympic games in Berlin, 1936.

    Benoibe says: "Best book of the year!"
    "Just fantastic - compelling and inspiring"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I would recommend this and in fact, bought two copies for friends/family.


    What did you like best about this story?

    True story of character and grit triumphing. Especially like the challenge faced by Joe, the protagonist, as he struggles to be a self-made man while being a true (and trusting) member of a team. Given his history of abandonment, this is no easy task.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Sycamore Row

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By John Grisham
    • Narrated By Michael Beck
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (7745)
    Performance
    (6989)
    Story
    (6990)

    Seth Hubbard is a wealthy man dying of lung cancer. He trusts no one. Before he hangs himself from a sycamore tree, Hubbard leaves a new, handwritten, will. It is an act that drags his adult children, his black maid, and Jake into a conflict as riveting and dramatic as the murder trial that made Brigance one of Ford County's most notorious citizens, just three years earlier. The second will raises far more questions than it answers. Why would Hubbard leave nearly all of his fortune to his maid? Had chemotherapy and painkillers affected his ability to think clearly?

    Brock says: "Grisham at his best (again)"
    "Disappointing - repetitive and obvious"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    Not sure why this is getting rave reviews. The basic premise (that an African-American housekeeper might inherit a gazillion bucks in a deep southern town, and that this might cause a stir...) is repeated over and over. The characters are one dimensional, and the resolution to the big question (why did the dead man give her all this money in his will) is obvious 2/3s of the way through. This is the second recent Grisham book I've been disappointed by... and I'm done.

    11 of 15 people found this review helpful
  • The Likeness

    • UNABRIDGED (22 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Tana French
    • Narrated By Heather O'Neill
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2698)
    Performance
    (1611)
    Story
    (1620)

    Tana French's debut, In the Woods, hit the New York Times best-seller list and drew rave reviews from the Times (London) and Booklist. Picking up six months later, this riveting sequel finds Detective Cassie Maddox still scarred by her last case. When her boyfriend calls her to a chilling murder scene, Cassie is forced to face her inner demons. A young woman has been found stabbed to death outside Dublin, and the victim looks just like Cassie.

    Michael says: "Really on a Different Level"
    "Disappointing: hokey premise and too long"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    The premise, that a murder victim looked exactly like our detective Cassie, was just too far-fetched. Add to that the associated assumptions: that she could impersonate the dead woman among her closest friends, students, and colleagues, and that it was somehow worth risking Cassie's life to send her undercover as the dead woman, and you've got something just too bogus to swallow. I pressed on to the end because I loved the first book in the series ("In the Woods") and I loved the character (Cassie) from it. I had also been captivated by the author's beautiful writing and characterizations, some of which came through in this second book. As a result, I'll consider the next one in the series.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Racketeer

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By John Grisham
    • Narrated By J.D. Jackson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3842)
    Performance
    (3241)
    Story
    (3223)

    Given the importance of what they do, and the controversies that often surround them, and the violent people they sometimes confront, it is remarkable that in the history of this country only four active federal judges have been murdered. Judge Raymond Fawcett has just become number five.... Nothing is as it seems and everything’s fair game in this wickedly clever new novel from John Grisham, the undisputed master of the legal thriller.

    Ed says: "Grisham Light"
    "Disappointing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    Much of the time the main character is off setting up a plan that he knows about, but hasn't shared with the audience. So the big reveal is simply a matter of finally letting us in on what he has known all along. It is far better when the reader and the hero are both discovering new information and sharing in the suspense.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Bel Canto

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Ann Patchett
    • Narrated By Anna Fields
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1622)
    Performance
    (798)
    Story
    (804)

    Somewhere in South America at the home of the country's vice president, a lavish birthday party is being held in honor of Mr. Hosokawa, a powerful Japanese businessman. Roxanne Coss, opera's most revered soprano, has mesmerized the guests with her singing. It is a perfect evening, until a band of terrorists breaks in, taking the entire party hostage.

    Brian says: "Surprisingly engrossing"
    "Tried, but couldn't get into it"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I really wanted to like the book, but it was too slow and after 3 hours of listening (with my iPod turned up to "fast" narration) I gave up, mainly because I realized I didn't care about the characters even after so much time with them. I can generally tolerate and appreciate slow character development, as long as it is sufficiently rewarding. Something about these folks didn't click and I don't really care how their hostage ordeal ends...

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Matterhorn: A Novel of the Vietnam War

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Karl Marlantes
    • Narrated By Bronson Pinchot
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4156)
    Performance
    (2327)
    Story
    (2328)

    Why we think it’s a great listen: A performance so poignant, we gave Bronson Pinchot (yes, Balki from Perfect Strangers) our inaugural Narrator of the Year award.... In the monsoon season of 1968-69 at a fire support base called Matterhorn, located in the remote mountains of Vietnam, a young and ambitious Marine lieutenant wants to command a company to further his civilian political ambitions. But two people stand in his way.

    Zachary says: "Matterhorn"
    "Couldn't put it down - gripping and compelling"
    Overall

    One of the best Audible books I've ever listened to. Great narration. Great story. You really get to know the characters at many levels, magnified by the intensity of warfare. So many big issues (like the meaning of life, good vs. evil, race relations) are woven into exquisitely detailed scenes populated by characters you grow to love. The sights, the smells, the sounds, the terror, the relief, and ultimately the brotherhood of combat are all there. You'll be infuriated by incompetent leaders. You'll laugh and cry along with troops. Hated to see it end.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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