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Ronald

ROCHESTER, NY, United States | Member Since 2003

46
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 26 reviews
  • 42 ratings
  • 1 titles in library
  • 18 purchased in 2014
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  • Autobiography of Mark Twain, Volume 1: The Complete and Authoritative Edition

    • UNABRIDGED (24 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By Mark Twain
    • Narrated By Grover Gardner
    Overall
    (503)
    Performance
    (212)
    Story
    (214)

    The year 2010 marks the 100th anniversary of Twain’s death. In celebration of this important milestone, here, for the first time, is Mark Twain’s uncensored autobiography, in its entirety, exactly as he left it. This major literary event offers the first of three volumes and presents Mark Twain’s authentic and unsuppressed voice, brimming with humor, ideas, and opinions, and speaking clearly from the grave, as he intended.

    Susan Holland says: "Not what I was expecting..."
    "This literature is comtaminated"
    Overall

    Some works of literature are best read aloud. This is true of most of Mark Twain's writing. Unfortunately this is not true of most scholarly work. I appreciate the amount of scholarly research that was necessary to assemble the Autobiography of Mark Twain. That doesn't mean I want to listen to it. The narrator commences this work with an introduction that contains detailed descriptions of the various hand written and typed manuscripts and the multiple edit marks. After an hour of this tedium, we are finally treated to some of Mark Twain's writings. This might have been tolerable if they had quit there, but each section of each chapter is introduced with more details about how it was selected and assembled. When I go to a concert, I want to hear music. I know there are musicologists who have studied the intimate details of the compositions. There is great skill that goes into this study, but scholarship is not music. Neither is it literature. I have some advice for editors who insert their scholarship into fine literature. Words written about literature are not literature. There are some people who care about these details, but they are exceedingly few in number. This is what post notes are for. If you ever again feel compelled to contaminate a work of literature with your own composition, go take a nap. Bye and Bye, the compulsion will pass. If it doesn't, find another line of work.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Gone Girl: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Gillian Flynn
    • Narrated By Julia Whelan, Kirby Heyborne
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (15354)
    Performance
    (13608)
    Story
    (13639)

    It is Nick and Amy Dunne's fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick's clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn't doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media - as well as Amy's fiercely doting parents - the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he's definitely bitter - but is he really a killer?

    Teddy says: "Demented, twisted, sick and I loved it!"
    "Demented, twisted, sick and a waste of time"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'm disappointed in Audible listeners. This is the first time I've listened to a book with an average rating above 4.0 that I didn't like. One of the main characters is pathetic. The other is diabolical. The lesser characters are one dimensional. The ending was unsatisfying. I finished the book, but wish I hadn't wasted the time.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Matthew Quick
    • Narrated By Noah Galvin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (290)
    Performance
    (266)
    Story
    (263)

    Today is Leonard Peacock's birthday. It is also the day he hides a gun in his backpack. Because today is the day he will kill his former best friend, and then himself, with his grandfather's P-38 pistol. But first he must say good-bye to the four people who matter most to him: his Humphrey Bogart - obsessed next-door neighbor, Walt; his classmate Baback, a violin virtuoso; Lauren, the Christian homeschooler he has a crush on; and Herr Silverman, who teaches the high school's class on the Holocaust.

    L. Gutman says: "Required reading for humans"
    "An honest 5 stars"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a simple story of a troubled youth who is different and considering drastic measures. The plot has some parallels with "Ordinary People", but is far more riveting. All of the characters are extreme, yet they all remind us of people we know. The narration is among the best I've heard. If you are not moved by this story, you have no heart.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Eye of God: A Sigma Force Novel, Book 9

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By James Rollins
    • Narrated By Christian Baskous
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (386)
    Performance
    (347)
    Story
    (351)

    In the wilds of Mongolia, a research satellite has crashed, triggering an explosive search for its valuable cargo: a code-black physics project connected to the study of dark energy...and a shocking image of the eastern seaboard of the United States in utter ruin. At the Vatican, a package arrives containing two strange artifacts: a skull scrawled with ancient Aramaic and a tome bound in human skin. DNA evidence reveals that both came from the same body: the long-dead Mongol king Genghis Khan.

    Patricia says: "Newest Sigma Force is a little off"
    "Good story, poor character development"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It is a tall order to weave the lost treasures of Attila the Hun and Genghis Khan, the approach of Comet Icon (ISON?), dark energy, a wrinkle in the space-time continuum, and the end of the world into one coherent story. Rollins almost manages this feat. My biggest problem was that while the characters were engaged in mortal combat, I didn't care about them. Maybe this is because I'm new to the series. Rollins seemed to assume that I knew and loved them already. Would a bit more character development be too much for the veterans of the series?

    As other reviews have noted, the narration was not good. Not only did all of the Asian voices sounded the same, they all sounded like a bad kung fu movie.

    The book also suffers by trying to be both a suspense novel and a science fiction novel. It falls a little short on both counts. Good science fiction (IMHO) only breaks one law of physics. This story invents quite a bit of "physics" surrounding dark energy.

    I did finish the book. I wasn't wild about the magic in the last chapter either.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Inferno: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Dan Brown
    • Narrated By Paul Michael
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (9382)
    Performance
    (8518)
    Story
    (8583)

    In the heart of Italy, Harvard professor of symbology, Robert Langdon, is drawn into a harrowing world centered on one of history’s most enduring and mysterious literary masterpieces: Dante’s Inferno. Against this backdrop, Langdon battles a chilling adversary and grapples with an ingenious riddle that pulls him into a landscape of classic art, secret passageways, and futuristic science. Drawing from Dante’s dark epic poem, Langdon races to find answers and decide whom to trust...before the world is irrevocably altered.

    linda says: "Well, I don't know what I was expecting"
    "A Good Summer Listen"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    If you are looking for one breathless chase after another, this is not your book. Brown spends more time describing renaissance works of art than action sequences. There was still intrigue and mystery enough to hold my interest. As with all books by Dan Brown, one has to wonder which characters are not what they seem. The art descriptions were also interesting. Florence, Venice, and Istanbul will probably have "Inferno" tours. I might be tempted to join them if I were in one of these cities. A slightly annoying habit continued from other books--Brown attempts to create suspense by telling you that something happend and then waiting a chapter or more to tell you what happened. Overall I found the book enjoyable and looked for opportunities to continue listening.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Earth Afire

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By Orson Scott Card, Aaron Johnston
    • Narrated By Stephen Hoye, Arthur Morey, Stefan Rudnicki, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1121)
    Performance
    (1031)
    Story
    (1037)

    One hundred years before Ender's Game, the aliens arrived on Earth with fire and death. Earth Afire by Orson Scott Card and Aaron Johnston is the story of the First Formic War. Victor Delgado beat the alien ship to Earth, but just barely. Not soon enough to convince skeptical governments that there was a threat. They didn’t believe that until space stations and ships and colonies went up in sudden flame. And when that happened, only Mazer Rackham and the Mobile Operations Police could move fast enough to meet the threat.

    DocJim says: "This is a GREAT adventure Sci-Fi Book. Masterful!"
    "Engaging"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Get this book, but only if you have listened to Earth Unaware. Earth Afire could stand on its own, but it is better when you already know some of the characters. There are several plot lines and many characters in this book. Some characters like Victor and Mazer were introduced in the previous book. A major new character is Bingwen, a 10-year old Chinese boy who is wise beyond his years. I don't know how precocious Orson Scott Card was as a child, but it is clear he likes to write about extraordinary children. One plot line involving Rena and the other survivors of the El Cavador has no intersection with the other elements in this book. I prefer books where the story is resolved at the end, but this is the second part of a trilogy so the cliffhanger end is not a surprise.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail - but Some Don't

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Nate Silver
    • Narrated By Mike Chamberlain
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1114)
    Performance
    (929)
    Story
    (928)

    Nate Silver built an innovative system for predicting baseball performance, predicted the 2008 election within a hair’s breadth, and became a national sensation as a blogger - all by the time he was 30. The New York Times now publishes FiveThirtyEight.com, where Silver is one of the nation’s most influential political forecasters. Drawing on his own groundbreaking work, Silver examines the world of prediction, investigating how we can distinguish a true signal from a universe of noisy data.

    Grant says: "Hot"
    "Numbers junkie explains addiction in plain English"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    I enjoyed this book, but I'm a bit of a numbers junkie myself. Silver does a great job of explaining complicated subjects in plain English--good enough to make best-seller lists. He explains predictions for politics, weather, baseball, poker, economics including the stock market, earthquakes, global climate change, and terrorism. He ties this together with Bayesian statistics. He describes this in terms that anyone can apply. Along the way he explains over fitting and under fitting of models. He describes the advantages of models based on physical principles. I enjoyed the way he used betting terms (hedgehog and fox) to describe political pundits. I would make this book required reading for a statistics class. It won't thrill everyone, but anyone who is curious about predictions will enjoy it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Jack of Diamonds

    • UNABRIDGED (26 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By Bryce Courtenay
    • Narrated By Humphrey Bower
    Overall
    (588)
    Performance
    (507)
    Story
    (504)

    Born and raised in a poor, working-class family in Toronto, Jack Spayd is the son of an unhappy marriage. After being taken under the wing of "Miss Frostbite", the owner of a local jazz club, Jack becomes a gifted musician, playing piano and harmonica. Fame and the allure of gambling takes him to Vegas, and prospects of fortune take him to the Belgian Congo, where he's heard it's possible to earn big money working in the most dangerous parts of the local copper mines.

    Brodie says: "On the Day we lost Bryce"
    "An astonishing farewell from Bryce Courtenay"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    This is another excellent story form Bryce Courtenay. Fans of his books will recognize familiar themes from previous books. The characters are engaging and the narration by Humphrey Bower is excellent (although many of the female voice characterizations sound similar). The real impact comes in the epilog where the author, "facing his own use-by date", outlines the plot for the remainder of the never-to-be-completed trilogy. Few people leave this earth with as much grace and completeness as Bryce Courtenay.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Mockingjay: The Final Book of The Hunger Games

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Suzanne Collins
    • Narrated By Carolyn McCormick
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (26086)
    Performance
    (20032)
    Story
    (20216)

    Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has survived the Hunger Games twice. But now that she's made it out of the bloody arena live, she's still not safe. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge....

    Sue Schreiber says: "A very satisfying ending"
    "A poor end to a fine trilogy"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I was ready for a classic finale including the ultimate confrontation between Katniss and President Snow. What I got was more teenage angst and "who do I like" questions. The end leaves enough threads hanging to allow for a 4th installment, but Suzanne Collins has lost me with this mediocre effort.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Shadows in Flight

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Orson Scott Card
    • Narrated By Stefan Rudnicki, Emily Janice Card, Scott Brick, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1471)
    Performance
    (1325)
    Story
    (1337)

    At the end of Shadow of the Giant, Bean flees to the stars with three of his children--the three who share the engineered genes that gave him both hyper-intelligence and a short, cruel physical life. The time dilation granted by the speed of their travel gives Earth’s scientists generations to seek a cure, to no avail. In time, they are forgotten - a fading ansible signal speaking of events lost to Earth’s history. But the Delphikis are about to make a discovery that will let them save themselves, and perhaps all of humanity in days to come.

    joshua says: "OSC again conveys his clear insight into humanity."
    "Good, but too short"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    As I started listening it felt like a homecoming with familiar characters and familiar narrators continuing a story I had listened too years ago. When I finished, I wasn't fully satisfied--I wanted to spend more time with this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Atlas Shrugged

    • UNABRIDGED (63 hrs)
    • By Ayn Rand
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    Overall
    (5187)
    Performance
    (3160)
    Story
    (3172)

    In a scrap heap within an abandoned factory, the greatest invention in history lies dormant and unused. By what fatal error of judgment has its value gone unrecognized, its brilliant inventor punished rather than rewarded for his efforts? In defense of those greatest of human qualities that have made civilization possible, one man sets out to show what would happen to the world if all the heroes of innovation and industry went on strike.

    Mica says: "Hurt version decidedly superior"
    "This book owes a debt to "The Wizard of Oz""
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    All of the characters seem to be descendants of either the tin woodsman, the scarecrow, or the cowardly lion. In this world where everyone suffers from a major personality flaw, it is no wonder that the heroes are those with brains and courage, and no heart. All of the characters suffer from verbal diarrhea. A homeless stowaway on board a train talks for an hour about the takeover of a motor plant by brain-dead descendants of the founder. He has them quoting Karl Marx (without attribution): "From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs." One of the main characters delivers a national radio address that would make Bill Clinton or Fidel Castro seem like models of brevity. I've enjoyed Scott Brick in many other books. In this case his characters either speak in a monotone or are constantly whining. Maybe this was just a faithful representation of Rand's characters. Before you buy this book, you should look up Ayn Rand's views on objectivism. If you have serious problems with this philosophy, you will have serious problems with this book. Personally, I find some elements of objectivism useful, but taken as a whole, the philosophy is woefully inadequate. One of the protagonists directly attacks St. Paul's treatise on love: ("The kind who never asked you for faith, hope, and charity, but offered you facts, proof, and profit."). I don't believe that my highest calling is personal pleasure. I also found Rand's foray into science fiction wanting (a motor that gets its energy from static electricity in the air?) I rated this book a 2 rather than 1 because I managed to finish all 63 hours of it. There is a narrative that has a reasonable conclusion.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful

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