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Saman

sam_perera

Houston, TX, United States | Member Since 2010

60
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 34 reviews
  • 45 ratings
  • 153 titles in library
  • 6 purchased in 2014
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FOLLOWERS
2

  • We Die Alone: A WWII Epic of Escape and Endurance

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By David Howarth
    • Narrated By Stuart Langton
    Overall
    (92)
    Performance
    (47)
    Story
    (49)

    It begins with an ambushed commando raid that leaves all but one of the expatriate resistance fighters dead or captured. Though wounded, Jan Baalsrud, the sole survivor, takes off on a courageous, incredible trek into the wilds of the Lyngen Alps, while the Nazis pursue him relentlessly. He suffers frostbite, snowblindness, and a terrible fall in an avalanche. At last, delirious and near death, he chances on to a cabin, where the first in a series of remarkably brave and clever men and women come to his aid.

    Erik says: "An unbelievable journey"
    "Terrific story."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Somewhere I was recommended this story as a good read. Since I am a fan of real-life survival stories that included “The Log Walk”, “Unbroken”, and “Lost in Shangri-La”, this book seemed a real good choice. I was not disappointed at all as this is an extremely harrowing and arduous tale with an ultimate happy ending. Man has an incredible will to live through the most harrowing of experiences and this is a tale of the extreme in every sense. Also, this is a story of Norway in WWII in which only small fragments of information exist. This adds to the allure of this incredible story.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Anne Frank Remembered

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Miep Gies, Alison Leslie Gold
    • Narrated By Barbara Rosenblat
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (105)
    Performance
    (54)
    Story
    (53)

    For more than two years, Miep Gies and her husband helped hide the Franks from the Nazis. Like thousands of unsung heroes of the Holocaust, they risked their lives each day to bring food, news, and emotional support to the victims. From her own remarkable childhood as a World War I refugee to the moment she places a small, red-orange, checkered diary -- Anne's legacy -- in Otto Frank's hands, Miep Gies remembers her days with simple honesty and shattering clarity.

    Deidre says: "Thank you Miep Gies"
    "Terrifying, uplifting and emotional!!!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a book that will stay with you for a very long time. Perhaps a life time. As I listened to this, I asked myself a simple question. Could I put my life in danger to save a friend? I do not know the answer. But I thank god, there are others who selflessly sacrifice their own safety for the sake of others. This story is written for all those unsung heroes, past, present and yet to come. Even though we know much about Anne Frank and her diary, this book added an extra perspective on Anne for me. Strictly speaking it is the life story of Miep Gies and her husband Jan Gies. But there were many others who took extraordinary risks for the safety of the hideaways. Their stories are also told. This is more than a play or a movie. This is a life lived in an evil time where trying to feed eight people in an attic can mean life or death. This is true history at its best.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The White Tiger: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Aravind Adiga
    • Narrated By John Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1757)
    Performance
    (624)
    Story
    (620)

    Balram Halwai is a complicated man. Servant. Philosopher. Entrepreneur. Murderer. Balram tells us the terrible and transfixing story of how he came to be a success in life - having nothing but his own wits to help him along. Through Balram's eyes, we see India as we've never seen it before: the cockroaches and the call centers, the prostitutes and the worshippers, the water buffalo and, trapped in so many kinds of cages that escape is (almost) impossible, the white tiger.

    With a charisma as undeniable as it is unexpected, Balram teaches us that religion doesn't create morality and money doesn't solve every problem.

    Mark P. Furlong says: "Entertaining, thought-provoking, darkly funny"
    "Unusual tale of rags to riches."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Continuing my education of books that won the Man Booker price, I picked up White Tiger which won the coveted award in 2008. The synopsis of the book and its setting in bustling Bangalore which I visited recently hooked me into this tale. I really wanted to like this book but the central character, Balram Halwai, never seemed likeable or plausible. He is as usual, in these types of Indian novels, the downtrodden poor village boy with no hope. Yet, he is a masterful schemer, learning from his social status and surroundings with a streak of evil to succeed in the long run. Perhaps that is the reason I did not enjoy the story telling. Or perhaps it was the narrator. Either way, I wanted more out of this book than I received.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The End of the Affair

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Graham Greene
    • Narrated By Colin Firth
    Overall
    (2177)
    Performance
    (2003)
    Story
    (1995)

    Graham Greene’s evocative analysis of the love of self, the love of another, and the love of God is an English classic that has been translated for the stage, the screen, and even the opera house. Academy Award-winning actor Colin Firth (The King’s Speech, A Single Man) turns in an authentic and stirring performance for this distinguished audio release.

    Emily - Audible says: "Colin Firth Kills It"
    "Smashing listen - loved it."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is my first Graham Greene novel. I have seen a number of movies based on his books but never really listened to a novel. Seeing that this was narrated by Colin Firth, I dived in. What an experience. It’s a remarkable story from an incredible story teller. The narration is expertly delivered by Firth which really adds to the authenticity of Maurice Bendix – a not so nice chap who is a bit of a schemer and writer. I was certainly engrossed in the strong love affair between Maurice and Sarah Miles during WWII and its abrupt and mysterious ending. The mix of religion and faith plays really well into the storyline whether you yourself is a believer. Based on many writings about the novel, this is really a self expose of Green’s own life and experiences including his religious views and his affair with Catherine Walston.

    Ofcourse, it really helped to know that this production won ‘Audiobook of the Year’ at the Audie Awards in 2013.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Foreign Country

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Charles Cumming
    • Narrated By Jot Davies
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (75)
    Performance
    (63)
    Story
    (61)

    On the vacation of a lifetime in Egypt, an elderly French couple are brutally murdered. Days later, a meticulously planned kidnapping takes place on the streets of Paris. Amelia Levene, the first female Chief of MI6, has disappeared without a trace, six weeks before she is due to take over as the most influential spy in Europe. It is the gravest crisis MI6 has faced in more than a decade. Desperate not only to find her, but to keep her disappearance a secret, Britain’s top intelligence agents turn to one of their own: disgraced MI6 officer Thomas Kell.

    John says: "After a good start, story drifts"
    "Ugh! Not great."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    After searching for awhile on Audible for a good spy thriller and reviewing the many positives for this book, I eventually spent my credit. My interest piqued on the summary of the book from Audible also and it seemed that an interesting page tuner was in-hand. Oh dear! This book is actually quite interesting on the first few chapters and utterly disappointing the remainder. Sadly, there is no mystery as it is solved early on and the remainder of the plot becomes quite tedious and boring. I don’t think there is anything else to say really.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Wolf Hall

    • UNABRIDGED (24 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Hilary Mantel
    • Narrated By Simon Slater
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1769)
    Performance
    (1057)
    Story
    (1058)

    In the ruthless arena of King Henry VIII's court, only one man dares to gamble his life to win the king's favor and ascend to the heights of political powerEngland in the 1520s is a heartbeat from disaster. If the king dies without a male heir, the country could be destroyed by civil war. Henry VIII wants to annul his marriage of twenty years, and marry Anne Boleyn.

    S. Marie says: "A unique perspective of history"
    "Long but mesmerizing ..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I admit, I was a little apprehensive listening to this book. Sure, I have a fascination with the Man Booker prize book winners and their fantastic story telling gifts but I really had a disdain for Cromwell from my early childhood. Cromwell never got a positive look-in through my history lessons at school and always looked like an overgrown Friar Tuck. After watching ‘Man for All Seasons” which paints Sir Thomas More as an angel, I had some doubts about the Tudors and their times. So, putting my prejudices aside I gave a chance to Hillary Mantel to provide her own fictionalized story of a reviled figure in English history. I was surprised how much I enjoyed it. Yes, it is long and arduous at times and quite detailed on historical names and places. But it is never boring. You always wanted to know the next chapter in the intrigue and poor More does get a good bashing – especially by the narrator. There are no heroes in this book – just old fashioned conniving royals in their fancy Court trying to upend each other. A thoroughly good read and I will now have to see what happens to Ann Boleyn in “Bringing up the Bodies”. I hear it’s a trilogy and Cromwell will get his just deserts soon enough.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Bend in the River

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By V.S. Naipaul
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (217)
    Performance
    (73)
    Story
    (76)

    In this incandescent novel, V.S. Naipaul takes us deeply into the life of one man, an Indian who, uprooted by the bloody tides of Third World history, has come to live in an isolated town at the bend of a great river in a newly independent African nation. Naipaul gives us the most convincing and disturbing vision yet of what happens in a place caught between the dangerously alluring modern world and its own tenacious past and traditions.

    Everett Leiter says: "Highly recommended"
    "Amazing prose"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    What an amazing listen this book was. Totally engrossing! Salim’s life starts as an adventure, an escape from the mundane, and yet becomes colorful, complex and hectic. The writing is the true champion here and the surroundings, the people, politics and Africa, the supporting pillar. You really aren’t quite sure how it will all end but as the narrator is telling us of his past, we can only deduce that no calamity occurs. This was my first Naipaul and I hope to engross myself in more of his tales. Ah, the ending – was that an ending? We will never know I guess.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Voyagers of the Titanic: Passengers, Sailors, Shipbuilders, Aristocrats, and the Worlds They Came From

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Richard Davenport-Hines
    • Narrated By Robin Sachs
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (75)
    Performance
    (67)
    Story
    (66)

    Late in the night of April 14, 1912, the mighty Titanic, a passenger liner traveling from Southampton, England, to New York City, struck an iceberg four hundred miles south of Newfoundland. Its sinking over the next two and a half hours brought the ship—mythological in name and size—100 years of infamy.

    Tad Davis says: "Thorough, panoramic"
    "A missed opportunity ..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    History is fascinating! No more than the sinking of the Titanic. I really wanted to get into this book and find out more about its passengers and the horrors they faced. The sacrifice with a stiff upper lip! It is all here except that the narrative is so dry and the performance sub-par. What a shame! There are parts within the book that is so harrowing and heart breaking as I knew it would be. As I listened, I lost my way due to the excruciating detail of names, places and relationships. Perhaps I need to listen to it again with a different mindset to capture the background of the individuals of first class through steerage. The story deserves it.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The House at Riverton

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Kate Morton
    • Narrated By Caroline Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2143)
    Performance
    (1275)
    Story
    (1266)

    Summer 1924: On the eve of a glittering Society party, by the lake of a grand English country house, a young poet takes his life. The only witnesses, sisters Hannah and Emmeline Hartford, will never speak to each other again....Winter 1999: Grace Bradley, 98, one-time housemaid of Riverton Manor, is visited by a young director making a film about the poet's suicide. Ghosts awaken, and memories, long consigned to the dark reaches of Grace's mind, begin to sneak back through the cracks.

    Cathy says: "superbly written mystery"
    "Beautiful tale ..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This was my third Morton after Forgotten Garden and Distant Hours. After the Forgotten Garden, which I believe is her best, I was completely hooked on her story telling. I am always absorbed by her characters, locale and period. My love for the early 20th century of Britain is always beautifully captured by her mystical storytelling and they always involve a truly believable heroine. House at Riverton is such a novel and amply captures the sentiment of the ‘Upstairs Downstairs’ period. I simply loved this book. As always, the narration goes a long way to sell the words and Lee, yet again, delivers. Great, great book …

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Jane Eyre [Brilliance Edition]

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Charlotte Bronte
    • Narrated By Susan Ericksen
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1013)
    Performance
    (723)
    Story
    (730)

    After a sad and neglected childhood as an orphan, Jane Eyre was hired by Edward Rochester as governess for his ward. Jane was pleased with the quiet country life at Thornfield, with the beautiful old manor house and gardens, with the book-filled library, and with her own comfortable room. But there were stories of a strange tenant, a woman who laughed like a maniac, and who stayed in rooms on the third floor.

    bebe says: "a book that can be heard/read again and again"
    "Classic love story for all time …"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I picked this novel up for free recently. The adage “you get what you pay for” is so wrong in this context. Charlotte Bronte’s superlative love story captures your heart from its very first few pages. Remember that this story was written when women struggled to find literary publishers and their artistic powers were subjugated by convention and prejudice. That is why this story is so remarkable with its passion, mystery, religion, and even such controversial topics as bigamy and living as a mistress. An incredible story from an incredible literary family.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Inheritance of Loss

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Kiran Desai
    • Narrated By Meera Simhan
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (335)
    Performance
    (97)
    Story
    (98)

    In a crumbling, isolated house at the foot of Mount Kanchenjunga lives an embittered old judge. He only wants to retire in peace, but then his orphaned granddaughter, Sai, arrives on his doorstep. The judge's chatty cook watches over her, but his thoughts are mostly with his son, Biju, who is hop-scotching from one New York restaurant job to another. A novel of depth and emotion, Desai's second, long-awaited novel fulfills the grand promise established by her first.

    Bob says: "Gorgeous prose but grim"
    "Smashing read!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    As an Asian immigrant myself who grew up most of his life in London and went to University there, I immediately connected with the story and the old judge. I now live in the USA and the story of Biju struggling to earn his keep seems so real in so many ways for new migrants. There are so many beautiful and colorful characters in this story each with their own wonderful tales and I was totally lost in nostalgia for the old “Raj”. The English certainly left an indelible mark in India and post-independent India never recovered. In one sense, this is the story of moving-on and yet it is also the story of longing for the old ways. The vocal delivery is absolutely top-notch in this release. I loved this book and it should not be missed!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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