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Hal

Miami, FL, United States | Member Since 2005

89
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 37 reviews
  • 193 ratings
  • 642 titles in library
  • 45 purchased in 2014
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FOLLOWERS
4

  • The Paris Wife: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Paula McLain
    • Narrated By Carrington MacDuffie
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1927)
    Performance
    (1334)
    Story
    (1339)

    Chicago, 1920: Hadley Richardson is a quiet 28eight-year-old who has all but given up on love and happiness—until she meets Ernest Hemingway and her life changes forever. Following a whirlwind courtship and wedding, the pair set sail for Paris, where they become the golden couple in a lively and volatile group—the fabled “Lost Generation”—that includes Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, and F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald.

    Pris says: "Delighted in Del Mar"
    "No depth of character"
    Overall

    I stopped listening to this book a little over half way through the first part. I enjoyed listing to what was going on in her life in the States - where she was living her own life. It was a horrible life, to be sure, but lots was going on, she was climbing out of it into a new life.

    In Paris, where everything was going on, she was unable to make a life of her own, but was only someone else's wife!

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Drinking and Dating: P.S. Social Media Is Ruining Romance

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Brandi Glanville
    • Narrated By Brandi Glanville
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (65)
    Performance
    (63)
    Story
    (63)

    On the heels of her New York Times best-selling book Drinking and Tweeting, Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star Brandi Glanville takes readers on a wild ride through her dating life in this highly entertaining relationship book. Drinking and Dating chronicles Glanville’s misadventures stumbling through today’s dating world. From social media blunders to bedroom escapades, Brandi withholds nothing. Each chapter is inspired by a relationship encounter she has had since her sensational divorce from actor Eddie Cibrian.

    sara says: "Time I'll never get back... dont waste your money."
    "The Perfect Parody of the American Way of Life"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What disappointed you about Drinking and Dating?

    I used to think perfection was something hard to attain. But we have proven, in our own San Fernando Valley that we know how to live a perfectly idiotic, perfectly empty life – and then we know how to brag about it. As this book proves.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Disgust


    Any additional comments?

    America became a child-centered society – where the children were the center of the family – and assumed the rest of the world (including their parents) existed only to please them.

    I watched this in amazement – and could have sworn I heard the parents telling their children “Do not be anything!” Whether they said this or not – this is what their children became – nothing. To the complete satisfaction of their parents.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • After Schizophrenia: The Story of How My Sister Got Help, Got Hope, and Got on With Life

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Margaret Hawkins
    • Narrated By Ann M. Richardson
    Overall
    (5)
    Performance
    (4)
    Story
    (4)

    From her early 30's until her early 60's, Barbara Hawkins lived cloistered in her family home in suburban Chicago, a prisoner of undiagnosed mental illness. Hearing voices and paralyzed with fear, she was never evaluated, never treated, and refused to leave the house. After Schizophrenia is the story of Barb's descent into severe mental illness and the healing that has come only in recent years: after her parents' death, when her sister, Margaret, became her guardian. With uncanny grace and humor, Margaret chronicles her family's struggle with Barb's mental illness.

    Hal says: "A Kinder, Gentler Look at Schizophrenia"
    "A Kinder, Gentler Look at Schizophrenia"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    This book is unusual in two ways – the victim had a mild case which make it easier for her to recover – and the author did a good job of involving the reader in the story – sometimes, too much so, it seemed to me (someone not too skilled emotionally). It took me a while to get through it.

    After listening to a number of these case histories – I have noticed that the survivors (only about 1 out of 5) were good at getting help. In this case, she was saved by her sister – who worked very hard at getting help for her. Most refuse help of any kind.

    And she was lucky in finding a med that worked. Many never find a combination that works very well – and they end up being arrested and institutionalized, over and over.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • With or Without You: A Memoir

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Domenica Ruta
    • Narrated By Domenica Ruta
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (64)
    Performance
    (59)
    Story
    (60)

    Domenica Ruta grew up in a working-class, unforgiving Italian town north of Boston where in the seventeenth century women were hanged as witches. Her mother, Kathi, a notorious figure in this hardscrabble place, was a drug addict and sometime dealer whose life swung between welfare and riches, whose highbrow taste was at odds with her base appetites.

    Courtney says: "A real and riveting story-beautifully written"
    "This is trash"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What disappointed you about With or Without You?

    As soon as I started listening to this, my first impulse was to trash it as trash. And I have not changed my opinion – but only put it into context – the natural work of a trashy culture. It is not literature – but people are no longer interested in that. They want trash – and Domenica Ruta knows how to dish that out.

    She has a big advantage over me – she can remember her dysfunctional childhood – in amazing detail. I cannot remember much of anything before I was ten. It was too terrible for me to remember – and no one who was there during that terrible time wanted to remember it either.

    Her family relished their terrible lives and wanted to remember all of it. Not knowing that one of their own would cash in on it with this book.


    5 of 16 people found this review helpful
  • Turing's Cathedral: The Origins of the Digital Universe

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By George Dyson
    • Narrated By Arthur Morey
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (131)
    Performance
    (110)
    Story
    (111)

    In the 1940s and '50s, a group of eccentric geniuses - led by John von Neumann - gathered at the newly created Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey. Their joint project was the realization of the theoretical universal machine, an idea that had been put forth by mathematician Alan Turing. This group of brilliant engineers worked in isolation, almost entirely independent from industry and the traditional academic community. But because they relied exclusively on government funding, the government wanted its share of the results....

    Monte Johnston says: "Needed an editor"
    "Information overload"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The book starts out with a bang: with an explanation of how the atomic bomb and the computer were motivated by the same forces, with the same potential for destruction.

    But it quickly gets bogged down details, instead of keeping the overall story firmly in mind. The author uncovered tons of details, and cannot resist showing them off.

    I didn't even make it though the first part.

    2 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Once Upon a Secret: My Affair with President John F. Kennedy and Its Aftermath

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Mimi Alford
    • Narrated By Susan Denaker
    Overall
    (115)
    Performance
    (97)
    Story
    (99)

    In the summer of 1962, 19-year-old Mimi Beardsley arrived by train in Washington, D.C., to begin an internship in the White House press office. The Kennedy Administration had reinvigorated the capital and the country - and Mimi was eager to contribute. For a young woman from a privileged but sheltered upbringing, the job was the chance of a lifetime. Mimi made an impression on Kennedy's inner circle and, after just three days at the White House, she was presented to the President himself....

    faye says: "Disturbing"
    "I was on her side all the way"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I can’t believe the moral indignation of the other reviewers. Once again, I am reminded that our world regressed in the last century, not progressed.

    I have to admit that after hearing the first chapter, when she tells how the story of her adolescent affair with JFK forty years earlier hit the news, I felt ashamed to be interested in it. But she quickly set me at ease, and make me part of the story – as any good writer can do – and she is a excellent writer. I assumed at first it was ghost-written, but became convinced she wrote it herself – at least most of it.

    This is history, and should be regarded as such – history written by an insider with a special background. That is probably also why I could identify with her, because I had a similar, sexually repressed childhood. Something nearly impossible to get over.

    Back in the early Sixties, when this history was happening, my life was also centered on New York City. Beth and I got married when we were living living in Manhattan. We later moved to California, but our New York years stand out as some of the best in our hectic, short life together.

    In the Sixties America had its last chance to redeem itself – and failed. Mimi’s history is a vital part of that story.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Jon Meacham
    • Narrated By Richard McGondale
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (257)
    Performance
    (128)
    Story
    (128)

    Beloved and hated, venerated and reviled, Andrew Jackson was an orphan who fought his way to the pinnacle of power, bending the nation to his will in the cause of democracy. Jackson's election in 1828 ushered in a new and lasting era in which the people, not distant elites, were the guiding force in American politics. Democracy made its stand in the Jackson years, and he gave voice to the hopes and the fears of a restless, changing nation facing challenging times at home and threats abroad.

    John M says: "Unlikable Old Hickory"
    "Interesting, but depressing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book sounds like it was written by a gossip columnist. I realize it was written by a fine historian, but in dealing with Andrew Jackson, he didn't have much other material to work with.

    When Jackson became President, the era of the Founding Fathers was over, and our modern political system was born. If this had been its purpose, the book could have been much shorter - and for me, more interesting.

    Jackson, to use his words, was a man of the people - of the political mass, which he identified with completely. The American frontiersmen were just that - crude and greedy - as they made clear by their treatment of the Indians.

    This could probably be made into a movie, with the most salacious parts emphasized. The jealousies of the women would provide some interesting character studies, much like a soap opera - which it resembles.

    2 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • An American Tragedy

    • UNABRIDGED (34 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Theodore Dreiser
    • Narrated By Dan John Miller
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (210)
    Performance
    (182)
    Story
    (185)

    An American Tragedy is the story of Clyde Griffiths, who spends his life in the desperate pursuit of success. On a deeper, more profound level, it is the masterful portrayal of the society whose values both shape Clyde's ambitions and seal his fate; it is an unsurpassed depiction of the harsh realities of American life and of the dark side of the American dream.

    beatrice says: "a period piece, still resonant"
    "Too long, too slow, too detailed"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    Only it they had plenty of time on their hands.


    What was most disappointing about Theodore Dreiser’s story?

    The young man kept making the same mistakes, over and over.


    What does Dan John Miller bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    His voice.


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    Only it it were abridged.


    Any additional comments?

    This was originally published as three volumes. The first one would have been adequate.

    0 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Macbeth: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By A. J. Hartley, David Hewson
    • Narrated By Alan Cumming
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1343)
    Performance
    (1113)
    Story
    (1110)

    Macbeth: A Novel brings the intricacy and grit of the historical thriller to Shakespeare’s tale of political intrigue, treachery, and murder. In this full-length novel written exclusively for audio, authors A. J. Hartley and David Hewson rethink literature’s most infamous married couple, grounding them in a medieval Scotland whose military and political upheavals are as stark and dramatic as the landscape in which they are played.

    Beverly says: "Narrator choice inspired"
    "Lively start, but weak ending"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you like best about Macbeth: A Novel? What did you like least?

    If blood, gore, and witches are your taste, you will get plenty of these. I enjoyed all the action, blood and all.

    It must have been written with a movie in mind, and I am sure the scenery was magnificent - and the heavy-handed plot (lots of muscle, but little brain) would be no difficulty there.

    After MacBeth became King, the story started falling apart, and I stopped listening to it.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Macbeth: A Novel?

    Where he killed the traitor, realized he had probably made a mistake, but put it out of his mind.


    Have you listened to any of the narrators’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Narration is excellent, sounds like a Scot


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    Yes


    0 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • A Moveable Feast: The Restored Edition

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Ernest Hemingway
    • Narrated By John Bedford Lloyd
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (289)
    Performance
    (204)
    Story
    (208)

    When Ernest Hemingway died in 1961 he had nearly completed A Moveable Feast, which eventually was published posthumously in 1964 and edited by his widow Mary Hemingway. This new special edition of Hemingway's classic memoir of his early years in Paris in the 1920's presents the original manuscript as the author intended it to be published at the time of his death.

    Julie says: "Perfect complement-Paris Wife & Midnight in Paris"
    "The Fitzgerald story is one of his best"
    Overall

    His story about his experiences with Fitzgerald in Paris is the largest of these stories, and it really a biography in its own right. His ability to describe Fitzgerald’s looks and quirks shows his own writing genius. This is Hemingway at his personal best: the man who supported another genius even though that genius had severe mental handicaps.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • The House of Mirth

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Edith Wharton
    • Narrated By Barbarra Caruso
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (137)
    Performance
    (59)
    Story
    (59)

    Lily Bart, a beautiful, intelligent, but penniless young woman, lives on the outskirts of New York's high society, craving the luxurious lifestyle of her wealthy contacts. But while Lily possesses the grace, taste, and morality of the ideal turn-of-the-century lady, her delicate innocence threatens her survival in that very world. As she fights to maintain her newfound place among the aristocracy, Lily struggles mightily against what lurks beneath all the glitter and gold - greed, vulgarity, and ruthless competition. In her brilliantly perceptive novel, The House of Mirth, Edith Wharton, the peerless, Pulitzer Prize-winning chronicler of Old New York, provides yet another heartbreaking glimpse into the world of manners, privilege, betrayal, and shocking falls from grace.

    Melanie says: "Beautiful Tragedy"
    "Brilliant writing, but limited subject matter"
    Overall

    The character of Lily is never developed consistently - and the changes in her moods, which form much of the novel, were often baffling to this male reader. This was not helped by the narrator - who in the long dialogues, does not make it clear which person is speaking. I was often left in the dark about what was going on.

    I was not interested in the habits of the rich either - which must have been of great interest to many of the readers of this novel of manners.

    One thing I did not miss, however, was the obligatory sexuality that now prevails. It was refreshing to hear of intense affairs between men and women without overt sexuality ever being mentioned.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful

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