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desert traveler

New Mexico | Listener Since 2005

  • 9 reviews
  • 11 ratings
  • 758 titles in library
  • 0 purchased in 2014

  • Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq

    • ABRIDGED (10 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Thomas E. Ricks
    • Narrated By James Lurie

    The American military is a tightly sealed community, and few outsiders have reason to know that a great many senior officers view the Iraq war with incredulity and dismay. But many officers have shared their anger with renowned military reporter Thomas E. Ricks, and in Fiasco, Ricks combines these astonishing on-the-record military accounts with his own extraordinary on-the-ground reportage to create a spellbinding account of an epic disaster.

    Scott says: "History not Politics"
    "lots of content, well narrated"

    Scary, convincing, tightly written and so efficiently packed full of content that not a word is superfluous. Whoever thinks that Bush is simply a bumbling fool needs to listen to this--although Ricks never comes out and says he's dangerous (or does he?), you know he is after listening/reading this book. I'm surprised that none of the other reviewers so far have mentioned the fine narration: A dry style with a twist of irony, absolutely perfect for this book, the narrator sounded like he was sitting across from me, telling me something he himself had witnessed and quoting the players as if he'd been right there when they said it.

    In short, important subject, well written and well narrated. I'd give it six stars if I could.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The Observations

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Jane Harris
    • Narrated By Jane Harris
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    In this novel, set in Scotland in 1863, Bessy Buckley attempts to escape her past by taking a job as a maid in a big house outside of Edinburgh, where she works for the beautiful Arabella. Bessy is intrigued by her new employer, but puzzled by her increasingly strange requests.

    Angela says: "Great book!"
    "Fine debut novel"

    I was very surprised to find out that this is Ms. Harris' debut novel--the writing is excellent. It took me a while to get into it, but it's intriguing, funny and sad--and most of all, unexpected. As another reviewer wrote, I wasn't sure if it was going to get kinky or psychopathic; it turned out being both, in a non-acted out way. Repressed sexuality is rampant in this book, and the writing is convincingly Victorian (well, at least I think so...). The author also narrates, and does a superb job of it.

    I'm anticipating her next book.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Mark Twain
    • Narrated By Patrick Fraley
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    The idealized childhood of this fictional hero, based on Mark Twain's own early life, is filled with robust good humor and high-spirited adventures. Yet there is also an in-depth experience of the central South of the 1840s. While romping through fun-filled fantasy, Tom Sawyer shows how morally complicated real life can be.

    Andrea says: "Well worth a listen"
    "A Classic"

    Great book, great narration! In the beginning, I feared that the somewhat antiquated American language would turn the kids off, but they quickly got used to it, and now both author and narrator have a 55-year-old woman and 12- and 9-year-old boys hanging on their every word. Warning to parents: The N-word is used frequently, but it belongs to the book, and I think adults should explain to the kids that people used that word back then--my kids were a little shocked (especially since we had talked about Don Imus and his racial slurs) until I explained it to them. It's a good opportunity to show how attitudes change, and that people who held such attitudes back then shouldn't be judged according to our 21st-century views. And it's also a good opportunity to show what doesn't change: children's scrapes and silliness, playing hooky, human degradation and human kindness.
    I'm writing this before we've gotten to the part where the boys go downriver with Jim--I can hardly wait to see how the boys react to that, but I wanted to take this opportunity to go ahead and praise this audiobook.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Inkheart

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Cornelia Funke
    • Narrated By Lynn Redgrave

    Imagine it were possible to bring the characters from a book to life. Not like when you listen to an audiobook with such enchantment that the characters seem to jump off the pages and into your bedroom...but for real. Imagine they could actually climb out of the pages and into our world. Then imagine if those characters brought their world into ours.

    Cynthia Lee Reneau says: "EXCELLENT!!"
    "great reading of an almost-great book"

    Another fine book by Cornelia Funke, the best contemporary children's author around (yes, even better than J.K. rowling, another great one--why weren't there such good children's authors around when I was a kid?), in my opinion. My son and I have been reading Ms. Funke's books since we discovered Drag Rider. And we've been listening to them, too. Brendan Fraser's reading of Dragon Rider was a delight (see my review), but Lynn Redgrave's narration of Inkheart is even better. Their styles are so different, it's hard to compare: like comparing a cartoon with straight literature. Or, in the case of Ms. Redgrave, I'd call it classic literature: Ms. Redgrave is a fine actress and has been at this for a long time, and it shows. Her narration is spellbinding, her voice slides effortlessly between convincingly masculine, feminine, good or evil, without jumping registers or losing its quality of being Lynn Redgrave's voice. And that takes more than talent, that takes skill, and Lynn Redgrave has both. So I've written most of these words in praise of Lynn Redgrave--but it's her narration that made this almost-great book into a great audiobook.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Dragon Rider

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Cornelia Funke
    • Narrated By Brendan Fraser
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Firedrake, a young dragon, receives a frightening warning one night: Humans are planning to destroy the valley in which he lives! All the dragons must flee. Their only refuge is a place above the clouds called the Rim of Heaven, which may not even exist.

    Enid says: "EXCELLENT!!!"
    "good book, fantastic narrator"

    Having read a few of Cornelia Funke's books in German and in English (and the English translations are very good), I thought that Dragon Rider was good, but not one of her best. It's simpler, and excellent for early primary-grade children. The narrator, however, is magnificent. I've always liked Brendan Fraser as an actor, especially as a comedian, since he's got that boyish charm. After listening to this narration, I believe I know why: he's a kid at heart! His accents, lisps, growls, bellows, gurgles and tongue rolls bring more out of the characters than I ever thought. Mellow voice for the dragon, hysterical lisp for the homunculus, and I like the way he does not do the female characters in a silly falsetto...I could go on listing all the characters. Suffice to say that if Brendan Fraser has kids, they sure are lucky to have this guy reading bedtime stories to them! Let's hope he continues narrating.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By James W. Loewen
    • Narrated By Brian Keeler

    This national best seller is an entertaining, informative, and sometimes shocking expose of the way history is taught to American students. Lies My Teacher Told Me won the American Book Award and the Oliver Cromwell Cox Award for Distinguished Anti-Racist Scholarship.

    Timothy says: "Of course he has an agenda. He wrote a book!"
    "Good idea, mediocre execution."

    Although I didn't have the misfortune of attending American high school, I have a low regard for them. So I agree with Mr. Loewen, who, as a college history teacher, is annually confronted with the product of high school history classes, and I was eager to hear how and why high school deadens any interest in history. Mr. Loewen rightly objects to the two-dimensional view of history and historical figures, to the right-wing slant, and to the ethno- and eurocentricity of high school history courses; he uses 12 high school textbooks to illustrate his point(s), and he goes on and on and on, grinding the same old point home till you just can't stand it anymore...Add to that a pompous narration and you have a bad audiobook. I think the idea's good, though, and would be interested in the author's next book.

    4 of 11 people found this review helpful
  • One God, Three Faiths: Judaism, Christianity, Islam [Portable Professor]

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By F.E. Peters
    • Narrated By F.E. Peters

    The covenant that God made with the patriarch Abraham forms the basis of the three religions that today enjoy the largest followings in the world: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Despite the many common bonds among them, however, the Abrahamic religions have had an extremely complicated relationship, frequently defined by conflict, over the course of millennia of coexistence.

    David says: "No Faith Needed"
    "More, please!"

    I'm very impressed, Professor Peters! This is an excellent survey of how Jews, Christians and Muslims view and act toward their one god. When I saw that the author was also the narrator, I hesitated; however, my interest in the subject matter led me to go ahead and buy the book, and Prof. Peters' voice and intonation is light and charming, his style is almost conversational, and I never for one moment was in danger of nodding off. I highly recommend this book: It's informative, interesting, and you might even find yourself listening to the whole thing more than once.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Aristotle's Children: How Christian, Muslims and Jews Rediscovered Ancient Wisdom

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Richard E. Rubenstein
    • Narrated By Nelson Runger
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Best-selling author Richard E. Rubenstein brings the past to life in this engrossing story of social, religious, and scientific revolution during one of the darkest periods in European history. When a group of Dark Ages scholars rediscovered the works of Aristotle, the great thinker's ideas ignited a firestorm of enlightened thought. This is the endlessly fascinating account of the pivotal period in history when the modern era took root.

    John says: "Interesting story of the rediscovery of Aristotle"
    "Aristotle's reception through the ages."

    Very well done! If you like this kind of history--following one thread through history to see the role it plays in the panorama of culture, politics and society--you'll like this very much. This is a story of reason--in the form of Aristotle's life and work--in European history (up to the Renaissance). It's serious, entertaining without giving the complexity of the subject matter short shrift, well-written and well-narrated; however, if you don't like history, or if you just want a quick cruise through the middle ages, this book will bore you.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • The Da Vinci Code

    • ABRIDGED (7 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Dan Brown
    • Narrated By Paul Michael

    While in Paris on business, Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon receives an urgent late-night phone call. The elderly curator of the Louvre has been murdered inside the museum, a baffling cipher found near the body. As Langdon and gifted French cryptologist, Sophie Neveu, sort through the bizarre riddle, they are stunned to discover a trail of clues hidden in the works of Da Vinci, clues visible for all to see and yet ingeniously disguised by the painter.

    Jonas says: "Overall Good"
    "For a mediocre book, it gripped me."

    Honestly, it was kind of irritating: This book was very suspenseful, and kept me listening right to the (very good) ending. But it's not a good book! It's poorly written, and whenever the author wrote "guilt ripped through him", or about "mind-numbing discoveries" or "burnished hair" (or was it burgundy hair?--something silly like that), it ticked me off that I was in the thrall of a book like this. The idea was real good, so Dan Brown can't be all bad, but he needs better language.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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