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Saman

sam_perera

Houston, TX, United States | Member Since 2010

61
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 37 reviews
  • 49 ratings
  • 163 titles in library
  • 11 purchased in 2014
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FOLLOWERS
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  • Sole Survivor: The True Account of 133 Days Adrift

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Ruthanne Lum McCunn
    • Narrated By Johanna Ward
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (120)
    Performance
    (27)
    Story
    (26)

    On November 23, 1942, German U-Boats torpedoed the British ship Benlomond, and it sank in the Atlantic in two minutes. The sole survivor was a second steward named Poon Lim, who, with no knowledge of the sea, managed to stay alive for 133 days on a small wooden raft.

    Michael says: "Suspensfully Calm"
    "Remarkable yet underwhelming."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I really wanted to read this book after some recommendations from readers who enjoyed books like Unbroken, Lost in Shangri-La, Long Walk and We Die Alone. It is no doubt a remarkable story of resilience against the harsh sea. A man surviving for 130+ days at sea on rain water, fish and occasional birds seems unbelievable but it is a true story that solely belongs to a remarkable human being - Poon Lim. Unfortunately, the book does little credit to this man’s incredible journey through lackluster writing and the vocal performance on the audiobook is less than stellar. Yet, it is still an engrossing listen and I recommend it because of its remarkable subject matter.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Alone on the Ice: The Greatest Survival Story in the History of Exploration

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By David Roberts
    • Narrated By Matthew Brenher
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (97)
    Performance
    (85)
    Story
    (87)

    On January 17, 1913, alone and near starvation, Douglas Mawson, leader of the Australasian Antarctic Expedition, was hauling a sledge to get back to base camp - the dogs were gone. Mawson plunged through a snow bridge, dangling over an abyss by the sledge harness. A line of poetry gave him the will to haul himself back to the surface. On February 8, when he staggered back to base, his features unrecognizable, the first teammate to reach him blurted out, "Which one are you?"

    Jacqueline says: "Historic Death-defying Antarctic Expedition"
    "Title is misleading …"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    We have all heard about Scott, Shackleton and Amundsen and their heroic journeys and sacrifices during the golden age of Antarctic exploration. But who has really heard of Douglas Mawson? I certainly did not know of this man’s escapades during the early part of the 20th century until I heard this book recently. It is a painstakingly researched, well written story of Mawson’s adventures trying to explore the unexplored regions of Antartica. The Australasian Antarctic Expedition (AED) was a remarkable scientific foray into the hellishly cold and windy regions of the south pole. Many remarkable characters make up the expeditionary party and crew of the steamer Aurora as they journey towards packed ice fields, stormy seas and the hurricane gusts of Commonwealth Bay. Many early chapters of the book is devoted to Mawson’s earlier life as an explorer and his ambitions to create the AED. Individual party members are also studied in detail and described. I particularly enjoyed the stories of Frank Hurley, the expedition photographer. The actual harrowing story of how Mawson survives the perilous journey on the ice alone for 30 days after his two compatriots die is remarkable but only plays a smaller part of this book. That is the reason I think the book was mistitled. Nevertheless, the story is an amazing piece of history that needed to be told for future generations.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Lost Wife: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Alyson Richman
    • Narrated By George Guidall, Suzanne Toren
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1088)
    Performance
    (967)
    Story
    (972)

    In pre-war Prague, the dreams of two young lovers are shattered when they are separated by the Nazi invasion. Then, decades later, thousands of miles away in New York, there's an inescapable glance of recognition between two strangers. Providence is giving Lenka and Josef one more chance. From the glamorous ease of life in Prague before the Occupation, to the horrors of Nazi Europe, The Lost Wife explores the power of first love, the resilience of the human spirit, and the strength of memory.

    Sister Mary Kelly says: "Not my favorite book."
    "Somber and reflective …"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This was another recommendation based on my reading history on Audible. Specifically I think it was based on my love for ‘Beautiful Ruins’ which was a spectacular novel. There is so much to grasp in this novel which floats between two human beings, Lenka and Josef, forever joined through love in a tumultuous time. Separated and lost, they continue their lives into the future still longing for the times they had spent together during the early part of WWII. Remarkable research on the Theresienstadt concentration camp is embedded in the novel where Lenka suffers through the Nazi occupation. Both believe the other has perished and only a chance encounter many decades ahead will fulfill their eternal love. The story is very believable since millions were separated through anguish, hatred and circumstance during WWII. The author specifically mentions that she was inspired by a similar event that was conveyed to her. It is a beautiful story and well written. Sadly, the narration is so so. But it is worth a listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Soldat: Reflections of a German Soldier, 1936-1949

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Siegfried Knappe, Ted Brusaw
    • Narrated By John Wray
    Overall
    (317)
    Performance
    (284)
    Story
    (282)

    A German soldier during World War II offers an inside look at the Nazi war machine, using his wartime diaries to describe how a ruthless psychopath motivated an entire generation of ordinary Germans to carry out his monstrous schemes.

    Erik says: "An incredible true story"
    "Enticing ..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    There is no doubt that this is a remarkable story. A man situated at the right place at the right time? Perhaps not! Still, there is so much of information here from Siegfried Knappe. Even though he was not necessarily fighting house to house in Stalingrad or facing the D-Day landings from the cliffs, he was close to the major operations as an officer. Especially telling is the last days of the battle of Berlin and the fight to defend the last vestige of the Third Reich. I read that part atleast twice to understand the mental pressures of the last men standing. However, as with other memoirs of the German soldiers, it is troubling to always note the absence of knowledge of the holocaust. Numerous times, he briefly mentions momentous occasions such as Kristallnacht, or his memory of a Jewish friend. But it is unconvincing, atleast to me. Yet, it is about country, family, and honor that drives Knappe to the end. Problems aside, it is a remarkable piece of history.

    0 of 0 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
    (128)
    Performance
    (76)
    Story
    (75)

    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
    (1837)
    Performance
    (696)
    Story
    (689)

    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
    (2389)
    Performance
    (2194)
    Story
    (2186)

    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
    (79)
    Performance
    (67)
    Story
    (65)

    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
    (1866)
    Performance
    (1143)
    Story
    (1149)

    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
    (226)
    Performance
    (79)
    Story
    (83)

    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
    (78)
    Performance
    (70)
    Story
    (69)

    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

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