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Mark

English Lit BA highest honors UC Berkeley, 1974. Listening to books for pleasure or education is fun and it separates good writing from bad.

Tempe, AZ, United States | Member Since 2006

12
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 8 reviews
  • 229 ratings
  • 1 titles in library
  • 19 purchased in 2014
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  • The Book of Air and Shadows: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Michael Gruber
    • Narrated By Stephen Hoye
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (400)
    Performance
    (78)
    Story
    (77)

    Jake Mishkin's seemingly innocent job as an intellectual property lawyer has put him at the center of a deadly conspiracy and a chase to find a priceless treasure involving William Shakespeare. As he awaits a killer (or killers) unknown, Jake writes an account of the events that led to this deadly endgame, a frantic chase that began when a fire in an antiquarian bookstore revealed the hiding place of letters containing a shocking secret, concealed for 400 years.

    Nicholas Winn says: "Not your average story."
    "Post-Modern Pollution"
    Overall

    This is some of the most self-indulgent prose I've seen (heard) in a while. He has the elements of a good story buried in the whiney narration. Because of the self-conscious feel, it seems like it was written by the Lit. professor rather than the attorney.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Douglas A. Blackmon
    • Narrated By Dennis Boutsikaris
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (234)
    Performance
    (157)
    Story
    (159)

    In this groundbreaking historical expose, Douglas A. Blackmon brings to light one of the most shameful chapters in American history - an Age of Neoslavery that thrived from the aftermath of the Civil War through the dawn of World War II.

    Roy says: "Will Take Your Breath Away"
    "Steel Yourself"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The story of how the US let itself and its African-American people down after Reconstruction and Emancipation is more nasty and bitter than the Civil War itself. All the Civil War ended up doing was preventing the spread of slavery to the new territories and states. Once the US Army left, the racist White Supremacist southerners found clever new ways of re-instituting their hateful practice of getting cheap labor, and their sadistic jollies at the same time.

    I am conservative as they come, but if anybody tells you that Affirmative Action or Reparations are wrong, I will hereafter reply that they are a blunt instrument, but not half so blunt as those which beat upon the backs of the Grandfathers, and Great-Grandfathers of my African-American fellows.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Wanted Man: A Jack Reacher Novel, Book 17

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Lee Child
    • Narrated By Dick Hill
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2240)
    Performance
    (1907)
    Story
    (1896)

    Four people in a car, hoping to make Chicago by morning. An hour behind them, a man lies stabbed to death in an old pumping station. He was seen going in with two others, but he never came out. He has been executed, the knife work professional, the killers vanished. Within minutes, the police are notified. Within hours, the FBI descends, laying claim to the victim without ever saying who he was or why he was there. All Reacher wanted was a ride to Virginia. All he did was stick out his thumb. But he soon discovers he has hitched more than a ride.

    Bill says: "Wanted Man is Wanting ~ And I Want 14 Hours Back"
    "Jack Fights the Cobwebs"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Having the FBI as the antagonist in a Reacher novel gives us a very un-concrete un-villainous villain. Not one that inspires passionate hatred in Reacher. Although Mr. Child, being a Brit may see these agencies as being the ultimate 'dark side'. I'll have to wait and see.

    Dick Hill brings his great gifts to a story without much momentum, and tries his level best to give it some of the old Reacher swagger, but I think the material fails him. There is only so much narration can do.

    Others have thought that Lee Child's gifts may be dwindling, I ( hope) and say, nay, nay, in the last two novels he has had these U.S. governmental villains. He's done such great work before, with such believable villains. But if this is all we get in the next ones; it's so long Reacher, it's been really nice hanging out with you.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • In Session: Dr. Morgan Snow with Steve Berry's Cotton Malone, Lee Child's Jack Reacher & Barry Eisler's John Rain

    • UNABRIDGED (1 hr and 44 mins)
    • By M. J. Rose
    • Narrated By Natalie Ross, Phil Gigante, Scott Brick, and others
    Overall
    (1016)
    Performance
    (830)
    Story
    (853)

    As a therapist specializing in sexual issues, psychiatrist Dr. Morgan Snow isn't easily shocked, or shaken, as readers of the popular "Butterfield Institute" novels know. There are times, however, when the need for her services leads her out of the office... and into unfamiliar worlds. In these stories, the therapist matches her wits -and her training - against three men of mystery: Jack Reacher, John Rain, and Cotton Malone.

    Rose says: "Thank you for the free story, however........"
    "Analyze This!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The concept of psychotherapy for these hard-asses is very funny. The fact that it is a woman psychotherapist who self confidently believes that her analytic style just might yield better results than the practitioners of violence, and certainly without so much collateral damage adds to the tension. And then you have the sexual tension. Dr. Snow is not embarrassed to use all the tools at her disposal to straighten out these psycho-killers.

    By the end she's only straightened out one thing on each. . .this was an entertaining listen; but don't make this your one credit for the month. It disappeared on a puff of wind.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Pawn

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Steven James
    • Narrated By Richard Ferrone
    Overall
    (177)
    Performance
    (105)
    Story
    (104)

    Steven James' Christy Award-nominated crime thriller pits FBI Special Agent Bowers against a serial killer who enjoys torturing women. After visiting the mountain vistas where the murderer posed his dead victims, Bowers receives a taunting call from the "Illusionist." Although Bowers gets close, his insidious foe continues to elude him.

    Bill says: "Entertaining Enough, But Don't Listen Too Closely"
    "A Nasty Piece of Work"
    Overall

    If you are into hunting down killers who have offered the reader/listener really vile and despicable descriptions of gruesome slasher scenes you might like this. Truly repugnant.

    0 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The Devil’s Redhead

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By David Corbett
    • Narrated By Kevin T. Collins
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (5)
    Performance
    (1)
    Story
    (1)

    Freelance photographer and wildcat smuggler Dan Abatangelo blows into Vegas to hit the tables and taste the night life. In his path waits Shel Beaudry, a knockout redhead with a smile that says, "Gentlemen, start your engines." The attraction is instant - and soon the two are living the gypsy life on the West Coast, where Dan captains a distribution ring for premium Thai marijuana, His credo: "No guns, no gangsters, it's only money." But the trade is changing.

    Mary says: "The Devil's Redhead"
    "Unfulfilled Promise"
    Overall

    David Corbett had the plot elements of both an Elmore Leonard caper novel and an Oprah book club weeper. He couldn't decide which one he was going to write, and the book doesn't work either way. Instead he gives us throw away political correctness of the Northern California school and turns "The Devil's Redhead" herself into helpless trailer trash.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Satanic Verses

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Salman Rushdie
    • Narrated By Sam Dastor
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (278)
    Performance
    (84)
    Story
    (87)

    No book in modern times has matched the uproar sparked by The Satanic Verses. Furore aside, it is a marvellously erudite study of good and evil. The book begins with two Indians plummeting from the sky after the explosion of their airliner, and proceeds through a series of metamorphoses, dreams and revelations. Rushdie's powers of invention are astonishing in this Whitbread Prize winner.

    BoulderPhysicist says: "Superb reading."
    "Modern Masterpiece Part 1"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I am almost finished listening to this, but at this point I am completely blown away! Rushdie is great. The narrator is a man of many voices (just like Saladin Chumcha), and brings forth the comic, the serious, the seriously comic and the positively transcendent from the book. I am both vastly entertained, amused and inspired.

    4 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Anathem

    • UNABRIDGED (32 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Neal Stephenson
    • Narrated By Oliver Wyman, Tavia Gilbert, William Dufris, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1764)
    Performance
    (776)
    Story
    (783)

    In celebration of the week-long, once-in-a-decade rite of Apert, the fras and suurs prepare to venture outside the concent's gates - opening them wide at the same time to welcome the curious "extras" in. During his first Apert as a fra, Erasmus eagerly anticipates reconnecting with the landmarks and family he hasn't seen since he was "collected". But before the week is out, both the existence he abandoned and the one he embraced will stand poised on the perilous brink of cataclysmic change.

    Richard says: "Tour de force"
    "Novel of Ideas"
    Overall

    "One must have a mind of winter
    . . .
    For the listener, who listens in the snow,
    And, nothing himself, beholds
    Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is."

    I give you lines from Stevens' The Snow Man to remind gentle readers that the works of a novelist of ideas, as Neal S. has become, are all about what the reader/listener brings to them. At the very least, you have to pay close attention. To get even more out of the books, you should be familiar with the history of philosophy and the history of science. And in the case of Anathem, a more than passing acquaintance with the philosophy of Edmund Husserl is recommended, as well as the basics of Geometry.

    Stephenson's novels are most entertaining to the readers who are prepared to do some work, to try to catch up a bit with the author's fantastic education and intelligence.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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