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Roger

Lawyer/law professor , I'm interested in science, history, literature. I can tolerate a bad movie, but not bad writing. I read to learn .

oakland, CA, United States | Member Since 2005

39
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 13 reviews
  • 289 ratings
  • 536 titles in library
  • 17 purchased in 2014
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  • Ghost Train to the Eastern Star

    • UNABRIDGED (25 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Paul Theroux
    • Narrated By John McDonough
    Overall
    (87)
    Performance
    (40)
    Story
    (38)

    In Ghost Train to the Eastern Star, Paul Theroux retraces the steps he took thirty years ago in his classic The Great Railway Bazaar. From the Eurostar in London, he once again sets out on a journey to the East, travelling overland through Eastern Europe, India and Asia. Infused with the changes that have shaped the exterior landscape and enriched with developments to his own perceptions and psychology, Ghost Train to the Eastern Star is an absorbing and beautifully written follow-up to The Great Railway Bazaar.

    Roger says: "ghost train to the eastern star"
    "ghost train to the eastern star"
    Overall

    I've always considered Paul Theroux my travel mentor since I hitch hiked half the world at 18. For anyone who has dreamed of revisiting the world they visited more then thirty years ago Ghost Train is a delight. I've read all of Theroux's fiction and non-fiction and this is one of his best non-fiction books. I think Theroux has mellowed a bit. He is not the curmudgeon of Dark Star Safari or other recent non-fiction. I love his observations of people he meets, especially his train companions. The portrait of his Burmese guide and his generosity towards him will always be indelibly etched in my mind. I fantasize that in some far away place I might meet him on a train.(although one should be wary of what he might say about the encounter later in a book) I also appreciated the sense that as one gets older travel is more challenging, but with life's experiences we view the world's people with more compassion and the governments more cynically.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Capital Punishment

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Robert Wilson
    • Narrated By Gildart Jackson
    Overall
    (6)
    Performance
    (6)
    Story
    (6)

    Alyshia D'Cruz, daughter of Indian tycoon Frank D'Cruz, has grown up in London and Mumbai wanting for nothing. But one night, after a boozy evening out, she gets in the wrong cab home. Charles Boxer, ex-army, ex-police, has found his niche in private security. His specialty: kidnap and recovery. When D'Cruz hires Boxer to find Alyshia, Boxer knows Frank's crooked business empire has made him plenty of enemies. MI6 officers in India follow Boxer's leads and soon it seems more lives than Alyshia's are at stake, as the trail crosses paths with a terrorist plot on British soil.

    Roger says: "Realistic,intelligent and exteremly exciting novel"
    "Realistic,intelligent and exteremly exciting novel"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Robert Wilson's novels are throughly researched and realistic. I can imagine this happening in actual life and his protagonist is life like with normal problems and abilities. The best seller writers rely on formulas with characters who are like comic book figures that are unbelievable and too heroic to be real. This book deserves a major award, five stars all around.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Lower River

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Paul Theroux
    • Narrated By Jefferson Mays
    Overall
    (14)
    Performance
    (11)
    Story
    (11)

    A titan of American letters, Paul Theroux wowed audiences and critics with his modern classic The Mosquito Coast. Its captivating thematic cousin, The Lower River, stars Ellis Hock, a man whose dreams of world travel and humanitarianism in the Peace Corps were dashed when he returned home to assume control of his family's business. Now with his wife having left and his life stagnant, Ellis makes the fateful decision to travel back to the small African village he once called home. Yet the happiness and fulfillment he seeks remain elusive.

    R. Jaeger says: "Disappointed"
    "Pathetic character"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'm a huge fan of Paul Theroux and I've read all his fiction and non-fiction, I loved Dark Star, but this book was almost unreadable because his star character is such a weak, pathetic sniveling sob. If it was non fiction it would be good, but why write fiction with such a despicable character? I guess a writer gets to pick his characters and develop them anyway he wants in the name of art, but does the reader have to suffer as a result.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Ben Fountain
    • Narrated By Oliver Wyman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (301)
    Performance
    (270)
    Story
    (271)

    A ferocious firefight with Iraqi insurgents at "the battle of Al-Ansakar Canal" - three minutes and forty-three seconds of intense warfare caught on tape by an embedded Fox News crew - has transformed the eight surviving men of Bravo Squad into America's most sought-after heroes. For the past two weeks, the Bush administration has sent them on a media-intensive nationwide Victory Tour to reinvigorate public support for the war. Now, on this chilly and rainy Thanksgiving, the Bravos are guests of America's Team, the Dallas Cowboys....

    Melinda says: "Oh-ooo Say, Can We See?"
    "hilarious and insightful"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A great satire of the Iraq war and the young men fighting it. A wonderful send up on American values and ignorance of the war's purpose. I loved the whole Dallas Cowboy/money machine riff. I laughed many times at the young soldiers vocabulary and emotions. Great narration. A book better listened to then read.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • The Blackhouse

    • ABRIDGED (6 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Peter May
    • Narrated By Peter Forbes
    Overall
    (107)
    Performance
    (98)
    Story
    (96)

    A brutal killing takes place on the Isle of Lewis, Scotland: a land of harsh beauty and inhabitants of deep-rooted faith. Detective Inspector Fin Macleod is sent from Edinburgh to investigate. For Lewis-born Macleod, the case represents a journey both home and into his past. Something lurks within the close-knit island community. Something sinister. As Fin investigates, old skeletons begin to surface and soon, he, the hunter, becomes the hunted.

    dumbclub says: "Unputdownable"
    "Fascinating story full of Hebrides history"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Peter May tells a thrilling story with believable characters in the stark but beautiful Scottish Hebrides. The mystery is interlaced with the sad and harsh lives of the past in the islands and the present changes that modernity has brought to the islands.. His characters are well developed and realistic with courage, humanity and flaws. The narration is excellent and makes you feel that you are in a Pub listening to a local tell the story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer

    • UNABRIDGED (26 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Kai Bird, Martin J. Sherwin
    • Narrated By Jeff Cummings
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (841)
    Performance
    (454)
    Story
    (463)

    J. Robert Oppenheimer was one of the iconic figures of the 20th century, a brilliant physicist who led the effort to build the atomic bomb but later confronted the moral consequences of scientific progress. When he proposed international controls over atomic materials, opposed the development of the hydrogen bomb, and criticized plans for a nuclear war, his ideas were anathema to powerful advocates of a massive nuclear buildup during the anti-Communist hysteria of the early 1950s.

    Christine says: "One of the best books I have read"
    "A great American Hero"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I thoroughly enjoyed this biography of one of our greatest patriots and scientists in the the 20th century. The tragedy for America was that right wing cowards attacked a man who dared to share his opinions of the need for nuclear restraint and control of the military use of mass destruction weapons. The far right does not want freedom and democracy they are terrified of freedom of expression and people who believe in constitutional government..Robert Oppenheimer was attacked for his ideas and beliefs not because he was a security risk. This book brings back the hysteria of the McCarty era and reminds us that it can happen again when right wing thugs scream communist at anyone who disagrees with them.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • For the Time Being

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Annie Dillard
    • Narrated By Tavia Gilbert
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (14)
    Performance
    (12)
    Story
    (11)

    From Annie Dillard, the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Pilgrim at Tinker Creek and one of the most compelling writers of our time, comes For the Time Being, her most profound narrative to date. With her keen eye, penchant for paradox, and yearning for truth, Dillard renews our ability to discover wonder in life’s smallest—and often darkest—corners.

    Kathy Paterson says: "Many mispronunciations"
    "What an Wonder"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Annie Dilliard always impresses with her writing skill and ability to create wonder and beauty out of the incredible good & evil of the world. She makes you think about the past the present and the future of humanity like no other contemporary author.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Holidays in Heck

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By P.J. O'Rourke
    • Narrated By Dan John Miller
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (13)
    Performance
    (13)
    Story
    (11)

    P. J. O’Rourke is one of his generation’s most celebrated political humorists, hailed as “the funniest writer in America” by both Time and The Wall Street Journal. Twenty-three years ago he published the classic travelogue Holidays in Hell, in which he trotted the globe as a “trouble tourist,” a chaos rubberneck, sight-seeing at wars, rebellions, riots, political crises, and other monuments of human folly. After the Iraq War - “too old to keep being scared stiff and too stiff to keep sleeping on the ground” - he retired from what foreign correspondents call “being a s**thole specialist.”

    Roger says: "Holidays in Boredom."
    "Holidays in Boredom."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I loved Holidays in Hell and have remembered several quotes to recite over the years and still laugh at them. O'Rourke has lost his funny edge in this dreary,boring sequel. Don't waste your time and money on this turkey.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Impossible Dead

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By Ian Rankin
    • Narrated By Peter Forbes
    Overall
    (69)
    Performance
    (55)
    Story
    (53)

    Malcolm Fox and his team are back. They've been sent to Fife to investigate whether fellow cops covered up for a corrupt colleague, Detective Paul Carter. Carter has been found guilty of misconduct with his own uncle, also in the force, having proved to be his nemesis. But what should be a simple job is soon complicated by intimations of conspiracy - and a brutal murder committed with a weapon that should not even exist.

    The spiralling investigation takes Fox back to 1985, a year of turmoil in British political life. Terrorists intent on a split between Scotland and the rest of the UK were becoming more ruthless, sending letter-bombs and poisonous spores to government offices, plotting kidnaps and murder, and trying to stay one step ahead of the spies sent to find them. Fox has a duty to get at the truth, while the body count rises, the clock starts ticking, and he fights for his professional and personal life.

    ch says: "Overall good story with some contrivance"
    "Ian rankin's new character is very real."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Ian Rankin always writes a believable and exciting mystery. He does not resort to impossible scenarios like so many popular mystery writers. The police procedures are based on actual procedures and for the knowledgeable reader this makes his characters come to life with human heroics and flaws. It seems today that most mystery writers feel the need to reach over the top fantastic and ultimately unbelievable conclusions which destroy the story and the characters. Rankin sticks to the possible and his story ends in a very satisfying way which makes you want to read the next book with these characters.

    0 of 0 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
    (4155)
    Performance
    (2326)
    Story
    (2327)

    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"
    "Best novel of the Vietam War"
    Overall

    Karl Marlantes's novel truly captures the honor, the horror, the stupidity & the futility of the Vietnam War. The writing is exciting, dramatic & factually accurate. This novel deserves a major prize. The narrator also deserves a prize as it is the best I've heard out of hundreds of readers.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Starvation Lake: A Mystery

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By Bryan Gruley
    • Narrated By Rich Orlow
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (41)
    Performance
    (16)
    Story
    (15)

    Bryan Gruley's debut mystery has received starred reviews from publications such as Booklist and Publishers Weekly. Disgraced reporter Gus Carpenter returns home to his small town and becomes embroiled in a murder investigation.

    A User says: "Slow, juvenile and in desperate need of an editor"
    "Dumb as a hockey puck"
    Overall

    Far too much high school hockey "glory years" and if you write mystery I would expect that you would have some knowledge of criminal law, police procedures, misdemeanors versus felonies, warrants & do you think police have time & resources to have roadblocks & manhunts for insignificant misdemeanors? Purloining telephone messages?

    4 of 8 people found this review helpful

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