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John

San Francisco, CA, USA | Member Since 2004

33
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 10 reviews
  • 26 ratings
  • 268 titles in library
  • 0 purchased in 2014
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  • The Dreaming Void: Void Trilogy, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (22 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Peter F. Hamilton
    • Narrated By John Lee
    Overall
    (2227)
    Performance
    (1381)
    Story
    (1402)

    AD 3580. The Intersolar Commonwealth has spread through the galaxy to over a thousand star systems. It is a culture of rich diversity with a place for everyone. A powerful navy protects it from any hostile species that may lurk among the stars. For Commonwealth citizens, even death has been overcome.

    Ethan M. says: "Solid Hamiltonian Space Opera"
    "Waste of time"
    Overall

    The narrative is disjointed and poorly written. I started this book twice (around an hour and a half into it the first time, I realized that my mind was wandering); the second time I forced myself to listen carefully, and still my mind wanted to wander. It's supposed to be entertaining, not so much work. Skip this one.

    3 of 11 people found this review helpful
  • Midnight's Children

    • UNABRIDGED (24 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Salman Rushdie
    • Narrated By Lyndam Gregory
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (555)
    Performance
    (352)
    Story
    (341)

    Salman Rushdie holds the literary world in awe with a jaw-dropping catalog of critically acclaimed novels that have made him one of the world's most celebrated authors. Winner of the prestigious Booker of Bookers, Midnight's Children tells the story of Saleem Sinai, born on the stroke of India's independence.

    Marc-Fr says: "Outstanding book, superb narration"
    "Form not content"
    Overall

    Midnight's Children is beautifully written and, while I agree that the narrator may overdo it sometimes, the reading works very well for me, transports me to another world.

    But nearly halfway into it, I'm thinking: OK, but so what? So far there have been a string of character studies -- beautiful character studies, to be sure -- all intertwined and related with one another, but ... where's the narrative? Is something happening? Is there a story here somewhere?

    So far, it's mostly form with very little content. So this would be an amusing book for those who are content with character vignettes, and less so for those of us who appreciate a bit of plot.

    5 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • The Forgotten Garden

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Kate Morton
    • Narrated By Caroline Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (5117)
    Performance
    (2902)
    Story
    (2940)

    Thirty-eight year old Cassandra is lost, alone, and grieving. Her much loved grandmother, Nell, has just died and Cassandra, her life already shaken by a tragic accident 10 years ago, feels like she has lost everything known and dear to her.

    avid reader says: "Hours of enjoyable, fun listening"
    "An entertaining experience"
    Overall

    Well read, well written, "The Forgotten Garden" is an enjoyable story that takes place in the early 1900s, the mid 1970s, and in 2005. The main character is a writer of fairy tales; the novel itself is a lot like a fairy tale. Thoroughly enchanting. I definitely recommend it.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Pickwick Papers: Dickens on Dickens

    • UNABRIDGED (32 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Charles Dickens
    • Narrated By Gerald Dickens
    Overall
    (33)
    Performance
    (8)
    Story
    (8)

    For Samuel Pickwick and his friends - Mr. Nathaniel Winkle, Mr. Augustus Snodgrass, and Mr. Tracy Tupman - their wanderings around the English countryside repeatedly land them in comical trouble. Notable adventures include Mr. Pickwick's legal case against his landlady, Mrs Bardell, who (through an apparent misunderstanding on her part) is suing him for the breach of promise to marry her.

    John says: "Horrible, horrible, horrible"
    "Horrible, horrible, horrible"
    Overall

    Don't get me wrong: I love Dickens, and thoroughly enjoyed "The Pickwick Papers" when I read it years ago. The narrator of this audiobook, however, is horrible, notwithstanding the fame of his great great grandfather. He has two voices: Soft, breathy and slow; and (most of the time) a high-pitched screech, much like a carnival hawker, devoid of expression and with cadences unrelated to the content being read, read at an unintelligibly high speed. After an hour of listening, and re-listening (going back over that first hour 4 times), I've given up: A complete waste of time and of my Audible credits.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The Story of Edgar Sawtelle

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By David Wroblewski
    • Narrated By Richard Poe
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2864)
    Performance
    (771)
    Story
    (775)

    Born mute, speaking only in sign, Edgar Sawtelle leads an idyllic life with his parents and an unusual breed of dogs on their farm in remote northern Wisconsin. But when tragedy strikes the Sawtelle family, Edgar flees to the surrounding wilderness. He comes of age in the wild, fighting for his survival and that of the three yearling dogs who follow him.

    Ella says: "Just OK"
    "For the love of dogs"
    Overall

    Beautifully written, lovingly narrated, I enjoyed this book thoroughly. The structure of the plot parallels "Hamlet" -- with ghosts, fratricide, and even similar character-names (Trudy=Gertrude) -- but the stars of the story are the Sawtelle dogs. If you're a dog-lover, you'll be astonished by the detail and clarity of the descriptions of these incredible creatures; if you're not yet a dog-lover, you will be by the end of the book. One of the best Audible experiences yet.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Altered Carbon

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Richard K. Morgan
    • Narrated By Todd McLaren
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3321)
    Performance
    (1537)
    Story
    (1546)

    In the 25th century, humankind has spread throughout the galaxy, monitored by the watchful eye of the U.N. While divisions in race, religion, and class still exist, advances in technology have redefined life itself. Now, assuming one can afford the expensive procedure, a person's consciousness can be stored in a cortical stack at the base of the brain and easily downloaded into a new body (or "sleeve") making death nothing more than a minor blip on a screen.

    Jake Williams says: "Altered Carbon"
    "Decent story, inaudible narrator"
    Overall

    As someone who mostly listens to books either at my noisy health club or during my commute on public transit to and from work, I'm especially attuned to the voice qualities of the narrator. Many Audibe narrators are superb. However, I found this narrator's voice very difficult to listen to, and annoying: He speaks in a monotone; his male characters all sound like smart-asses; and his female characters all speak in a breathy, "Talulah Bankhead" bass. Long stretches of the book were completely inaudible, and only slightly better when listened to in a quiet room. The book itself was relatively fun and engaging, but I'll be on the lookout for this narrator, and will avoid him.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Alexander Hamilton

    • UNABRIDGED (36 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Ron Chernow
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    Overall
    (1135)
    Performance
    (383)
    Story
    (381)

    Ron Chernow, whom the New York Times called "as elegant an architect of monumental histories as we've seen in decades", now brings to startling life the man who was arguably the most important figure in American history, who never attained the presidency, but who had a far more lasting impact than many who did.

    Robert says: "Captivating & Fluid Bio Unique American immigrant"
    "I had no idea I was interested in American history"
    Overall

    I don't think of myself as a fan of history or of biographies -- I can't explain, really, what made me decide to listen to this book. But I'm SO glad I did! Well-researched, well-written and extremely well-read, Hamilton came to life in this book: By the end, I felt like I knew him personally, and felt truly privileged to know him, warts and all. I was especially impressed by how the author managed to weave such an engaging and coherent story entirely on the basis of letters and contemporary documents -- to his credit, it was Hamilton himself, not the author, who came through. Despite its daunting length, I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in the birth of this country, and in the intelligence, vision and idealism of those who founded it.

    14 of 14 people found this review helpful
  • Ender's Game: Special 20th Anniversary Edition

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Orson Scott Card
    • Narrated By Stefan Rudnicki, Harlan Ellison, Gabrielle de Cuir
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (22244)
    Performance
    (13651)
    Story
    (13792)

    Why we think it’s a great listen: It’s easy to say that when it comes to sci-fi you either love it or you hate it. But with Ender’s Game, it seems to be you either love it or you love it.... The war with the Buggers has been raging for a hundred years, and the quest for the perfect general has been underway for almost as long. Enter Andrew "Ender" Wiggin, the result of decades of genetic experimentation.

    Kapila says: "6 titles in the series so far"
    "A story for the 21st century (and beyond?)"
    Overall

    I've just started listening to the 3rd book in this series, and am still completely engaged. "Ender's Game" tackles some of the really big issues facing us humans -- things like good vs. evil, us-vs.them-ism, free will, the nature of love -- inside a fast-moving, exciting story: These are clearly issues for our times, complex issues, and the author's treatment of them was anything but superficial. Never once did I feel I was being preached to, and I was never bored. The audio version of the book is very well produced and is performed by excellent readers with strong, clear voices. I whole-heartedly recommend it, if for no other reason than to set the stage for the author's *superb* second book in the series, "Speaker for the Dead".

    I only allow myself to listen to my audiobooks at the gym (one of my rewards for staying in shape), and since I started listening to the Ender series I've been exercising more than ever. In my case, the Ender books have been good for my soul, mind AND body.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Timeline

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Michael Crichton
    • Narrated By John Bedford Lloyd
    Overall
    (2444)
    Performance
    (729)
    Story
    (743)

    Modern science meets feudal France...dinosaurs still walk the Earth...a secret world of killer gorillas...only in a Michael Crichton thriller! Check out our full selection in our Crichton store!

    Charles Stembridge says: "Narrator"
    "Entertaining book, disappointing performance"
    Overall

    I enjoyed the story -- fast-moving, entertaining, perhaps a bit far-fetched but, well ... it *is* sci fi. The performance was disappointing, though: the reader uses accents and modulations in tone volume to represent the different characters, and I found this (cheesey) device to be distracting, and often made it difficult to hear/understand. Plan to listen in a quiet place, not (for example) a noisy gym, and try to listen past the performance, it really is a fun book.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Fresh Air, 1-Month Subscription

    • NONE (1 hr)
    • By Terry Gross
    Overall
    (177)
    Performance
    (0)
    Story
    (0)

    This Peabody Award-winning weekday magazine of contemporary arts and issues is hosted by the inimitable Terry Gross. Get the latest issue or subscribe!

    Lori says: "usually a surprise, always interesting"
    "Smart, snappy, enormous breadth"
    Overall

    Terry Gross is my idea of a near-perfect interviewer: She's smart, well-informed, uninterested in sparring or in proving anything, clearly focussed on getting good quality information from her interviewees and maintaining rapport. In the 3 or so weeks I've subscribed, there has been a huge breadth of subjects. Give this show a listen.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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