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James

Williamstown, NJ, USA

45
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 6 reviews
  • 38 ratings
  • 154 titles in library
  • 0 purchased in 2014
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  • Shakespeare: The Biography

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Peter Ackroyd
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (115)
    Performance
    (38)
    Story
    (39)

    In a magnificent feat of re-creating sixteenth-century London and Stratford, best-selling biographer and novelist Peter Ackroyd brings William Shakespeare to life in the manner of a contemporary rather than a biographer. Following his magisterial and ingenious re-creations of the lives of Chaucer, Dickens, T. S. Eliot, William Blake, and Sir Thomas More, Ackroyd delivers his crowning achievement with this definitive and imaginative biographical masterpiece.

    Susan says: "Shakespeare by Peter Ackroyd"
    "What about Bill?"
    Overall

    The book tells us little about Shakespeare himself. Rather, it is a chronicle of Elizabethan times in England. We learn more about his contemporaries, e.g. Johnson, than we do about Shakespeare. There is even more information in the book that touches on the physical layout of the Globe Theater than the playwrite. The book is, however, a fairly concise, yet informative listing of his plays.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Sinatra: The Life

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Anthony Summers, Robbyn Swan
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    Overall
    (48)
    Performance
    (11)
    Story
    (12)

    Sinatra is the story of an American icon who held the imagination of millions for more than 50 years and whose influence in popular music was unsurpassed in the 20th century. As a child, he said, he had heard "symphonies from the universe" in his head. No one could have imagined where those sounds would lead him.

    James says: "Summers the suspect"
    "Summers the suspect"
    Overall

    During the opening parts of this audio book, I was amazed at how much private information the author (Summers) seemed to have accumulated on the Sinatra Family. As I got further into the book, I began to feel a little “suspect” of the growing amount of intelligence he had gathered. By the time I was halfway through, I had begun to suspect just about anything Summers was saying.

    Although the publicity statement on the book labels it as “unfailingly fair-minded,” after finishing the book, I think it’s safe to say that such accolades are seriously off-target. This biography is anything but “fair-minded.”

    Summers’ bias trickles through in the first third of the book (he obviously didn’t like Sinatra, the man), then runs more steadily in the book’s middle before it grows to a torrent by the last third.

    For instance, Summers obviously approves of Sinatra’s political dalliances with the Roosevelts and the Kennedys, but repels at his alignment with Nixon later in his life. He makes light of Sinatra’s failure to condemn the burglary of Nixon’s doctor’s office by Kennedy henchmen during the 1960 presidential campaign (Frank’s mob connections may have even helped), but is offended by Frank’s cavalier opinion about the Watergate burglary by Nixon henchmen during the 1972 campaign.

    And some of Summers’ assertions are just too improbable, such as the allegation that Sinatra turned to forcible rape when he was a mega-star in his 50s.

    The book is entertaining, and well written (and narrated), but I would take about 80 percent of it with a grain of salt—maybe even a whole saltshaker. In fact, if just 20 percent of the contents can be called factual, then Sinatra has to be discussed in the same vein as Ted Bundy, Son of Sam, and Jack the Ripper. If I thought the information was more accurate, I would have graded it a star higher.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The Great Controversy: The Conflict Between Good and Evil

    • UNABRIDGED (24 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Ellen G. White
    • Narrated By Eddie Hernandez
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (113)
    Performance
    (45)
    Story
    (45)

    Few people today realize that this earth is the primary battle zone of a cosmic war that erupted years ago. But, after listening to this book, you will know why it is being fought, how and when it will end. The Great Controversy begins at the dawning of the Christian era, traces the rise and fall of nations and religious powers down to our day, then plunges ahead to preview the future. And what this book sees coming is not based on guesswork.

    Hartley says: "historical masterpice"
    "Horrible Narrator"
    Overall

    The subject is interesting enough, albeit delivered with some pretention, but the reader--ugh! He mispronounces many simple words, and sounds like a 12 year old reading to a group of 6 year olds in a terribly condescending tone. He actually made this sound like a children's book instead of the somewhat scholarly work it was intended to be. I couldn't finish it.

    13 of 15 people found this review helpful
  • Zelda

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Nancy Milford
    • Narrated By Johanna Ward
    Overall
    (8)
    Performance
    (0)
    Story
    (0)

    Witty, indulged, capricious, Zelda Sayre's escapades were the scandal of her hometown of Montgomery, Alabama. When she married F. Scott Fitzgerald they were played on a larger stage - New York, Paris, the Riviera. The epitome of the Jazz Age, she and Scott rode the crest of the era to its collapse, and their own.

    James says: "Not Zelda; Scott"
    "Not Zelda; Scott"
    Overall

    This book is mistitled. It should be "Scott and Zelda," with Scott's name first, since the novel is weighted toward his life more than hers. It is informative, but could have been 150 pages shorter and still not suffered, if the author would have omitted the large portions she includes from Zelda's novels. I would like to have seen more documentation and interviews from first person witnesses to their lives, many of whom were still available when the book was written.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Hoover's FBI: The Inside Story by Hoover's Trusted Lieutenant

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Cartha D. DeLoach
    • Narrated By Jeff Riggenbach
    Overall
    (48)
    Performance
    (15)
    Story
    (15)

    As director of the FBI for over five decades, J. Edgar Hoover left a profound and lasting legacy on this most celebrated institution. Only the few who were part of Hoover's inner circle know the truth about his controversial years of authoritarian rule and the organization's inmost secrets.

    Mark says: "good FBI stories mixed with apology for hoover"
    "Fairly obvious"
    Overall

    The story being told by the author is fairly obvious (especially to those of us who were adults during much of that time and realized the truth), but it's one that must be told.

    It's hard to believe that this book was published over 10 years ago, and still the media and the entertainment industry insist on portraying Hoover as a cross-dresser and one who spied capriciously on "law-abiding US citizens."

    The violence inherent in the policies of the protestors of the 60s and 70s warranted keeping an eye on them ("burn down the cities; kill members of the establishment, etc." As I said, we who remember those things which were being advocated by these groups, saw no reason why such violence-prone organizations should have went unwatched.)

    And the fact that the Attorney General has to approve of wiretaps is something that Hoover's detractors always overlook. Especially since the Attorney General that approved many of the wire taps--even on Martin Luther King's phone--was none other than Bobby Kennedy.

    Nor is DeLoach afraid to show Hoover's warts and faults along with his dedication. He points out Hoover's egocentric nature, his petty grudges and his biases.

    Sometimes the truth hurts, and the many truths contained in this book, though painful to some cultural icons, needed to see the light of day.

    3 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • The Inner Art of Meditation

    • NONE (7 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Jack Kornfield
    Overall
    (186)
    Performance
    (45)
    Story
    (46)

    Now you can transform driving, shopping, or waiting in line into calming experiences of mindfulness. This unique audio course was carefully distilled from Jack Kornfield's most popular retreat, a 5-week workshop on mindful meditation. Kornfield shows listeners how to benefit from the 2,500-year-old system for becoming fully aware of how our actions in each moment create the fabric of our lives.

    Nikos says: "Excellent!!!"
    "Save your time and money"
    Overall

    This is truly the first audio book for which I anxiously waited for the end. It was that annoying! The author's "insight" consisted of little else other than having his audience "listen to yourself breathe." This is not a book, per-se, but a live recording of several talks the author gave to audiences. Consequently, he actually has them meditate five or six times throughout the eight-hour recording. Each meditation lasts 10-15 minutes. That means there is anywhere from 50 to 90 minutes of dead air on the recording! What a waste of time! (for an audio book) The author's voice only added to the discomfort. It is high-pitched, whiney, and he has an infuriating habit of sometimes pronoucing one syllable words as two (e.g. learn is ocassionally pronounced as: 'lear-ern' or see is pronounced 'see-ee') This man is certainly no public speaker. Opt instead for Eckard Tolle's "The Power of Now." It is far more insightful, far more interesting and far more meaningful. And Tolle's smooth voice--unlike that of Kornfield's--will not sound like fingernails being drawn across a chalkboard.

    20 of 35 people found this review helpful

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