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Invisible Lizard

Matt

Cary, NC | Member Since 2014

13
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 9 reviews
  • 9 ratings
  • 55 titles in library
  • 5 purchased in 2015
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  • Every Love Story Is a Ghost Story: A Life of David Foster Wallace

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By D. T. Max
    • Narrated By Malcolm Hillgartner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (116)
    Performance
    (103)
    Story
    (103)

    David Foster Wallace was the leading literary light of his generation, a man who not only captivated readers with his prose but also mesmerized them with his brilliant mind. In this, the first biography of the writer, D. T. Max sets out to chart Wallace’s tormented, anguished, and often triumphant battle to succeed as a novelist as he fights off depression and addiction to emerge with his masterpiece, Infinite Jest.

    Darwin8u says: "Max avoids hagiography or a sycophant's biography"
    "For those who really love DFW"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Probably not. First of all, I don't have too many friends who are as rabid a David Foster Wallace fan as I am. I don't have too many friends who are DFW fans period, at any level of rabidity. However, (secondly) if I did, I would probably recommend they read the actual book instead of listening to the audiobook. The loss of the (copious) endnotes from the audio kept me going back to the physical book daily to read what I'd missed. I think the producers of this audiobook should have found a way to include them. There were some real gems buried in those notes. For instance, the title is only mentioned/explained in an endnote.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Being (as I am) a rabid DFW fan, I liked best the parts that described his writing experience, especially around the creation of Infinite Jest.


    What three words best describe Malcolm Hillgartner’s performance?

    Let me just say this: the performance was fine, mostly, but I noticed that there were passages, single sentences here and there, that were re-recorded (the tone of voice and background noise changed audibly for an entire sentence and then resumed back to normal afterward) and then I realized that every time this happened, the sentence contained Jay McInerney's name.* Seriously. Every. Single. Time. Then I figured out what had obviously happened. After the entire recording was done, someone realized that Hillgartner had mispronounced McInerney's name all the way through. The index (in my printed copy) shows that McInerney appears on 13 different pages, so that's at least 13 different sentences that needed to be re-recorded and spliced back in. I found that off-putting, to say the least, although (admittedly) a minor gripe.

    However, besides that and to repeat myself, I thought Hillgartner's performance was fine. He did an especially good job of "voicing" DFW himself during passages where his own writing was quoted.

    * McInerney wrote Bright Lights, Big City back in the 80's and was a person whom DFW followed during his early career.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Sure. Any time DFW went off his meds. And obviously the last few pages.


    Any additional comments?

    If you're going to listen to this, get a copy of the actual book and follow along. The endnotes are worth reading.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • All the Light We Cannot See: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Anthony Doerr
    • Narrated By Zach Appelman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (9439)
    Performance
    (8216)
    Story
    (8237)

    Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where he works as the master of its thousands of locks. When she is six, Marie-Laure goes blind and her father builds a perfect miniature of their neighborhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home. When she is 12, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great-uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.

    Annie M. says: "Time well spent"
    "Great book, well read"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about All the Light We Cannot See?

    Fascinating viewpoints to a familiar story. The writing was mostly excellent. Well paced. Engrossing. I kept looking for excuses to get back to it, which is a sign of a really good book in my opinion.


    Any additional comments?

    Good narration. While he didn't try to "do voices" for different characters like some readers do, he did a fine job of keeping me engrossed. I think his reading was quite good.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Martian

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Andy Weir
    • Narrated By R. C. Bray
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (25187)
    Performance
    (23115)
    Story
    (23121)

    Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars. Now, he's sure he'll be the first person to die there. After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive—and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive. Chances are, though, he won't have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain old "human error" are much more likely to kill him first. But Mark isn't ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills—and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit—he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?"

    Michael G. Kurilla says: "Macgyver on Mars"
    "Ton of fun plus a GREAT performance"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to The Martian again? Why?

    I probably would, and I don't say that lightly. I have waaaay more books that I want to read (or listen to) than I have time in my day(s) to read/listen to them. I generally move on to the next in my stack quickly. But this one was so much fun that I might revisit it again down the road.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The sarcastic humor in the voice of the main character, Mark (the guy stuck on Mars), made it for me. Without that edge, the book would have quickly slipped into a depressing montage of loneliness cliches. The parts where he talks about his hatred for disco are priceless.


    Which character – as performed by R. C. Bray – was your favorite?

    The part of Mark was my favorite. Bray has the perfect voice to illustrate Mark's sense of humor.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    I wish I could have. 11 hours would have been one heck of a sitting.


    Any additional comments?

    The only minor criticism I'll give is that Bray's voice work was stellar for both the 1st person narrative of Mark's log entries on Mars as well as the 3rd person narrative of everybody else. But as a listener, that got a little confusing. The story would switch between the two with no notification, and as I was listening I sometimes thought I was still hearing things from Mark's POV only to realize we'd moved back to 3rd person. How could that have been done differently? I'd hate to suggest a different reader for the different sections because Bray was so good. Maybe if he had used a different voice (accent, tone, intensity, dunno) for the 3rd person narration it would have stood out better. Just a thought. Beyond that minor quibble, he did a great job. Thoroughly enjoyable.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Wolf Winter

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Cecilia Ekback
    • Narrated By Alyssa Bresnahan
    Overall
    (10)
    Performance
    (10)
    Story
    (10)

    Swedish Lapland, 1717. Maija, her husband Paavo and her daughters Frederika and Dorotea arrive from their native Finland, hoping to forget the traumas of their past and put down new roots in this harsh but beautiful land. Above them looms BlackAsen, a mountain whose foreboding presence looms over the valley and whose dark history seems to haunt the lives of those who live in its shadow.

    Invisible Lizard says: "Gripping tale, well executed"
    "Gripping tale, well executed"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you consider the audio edition of Wolf Winter to be better than the print version?

    I appreciated the narrator helping me pronounce some of Swedish words that I was unaccustomed to, but over all no, not better. About the same. Bresnahan did a great job reading the story and I was certainly enthralled, but I don't think she added anything to it that wasn't already on the page.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Toss up between Fredericka and the Priest, neither of whom impressed me much for the first half of the book, but both really came into their own by the end.


    Any additional comments?

    Great story. The pacing is slow and deliberate for the first three-quarters of the book. At times almost painfully slow. But events start snowballing (pardon the pun) into a rush of revelations at the end. Others have griped about this, but I found that perfectly in line with standard mystery plots. While this story feels more like historical fiction, it is, at its heart, a mystery to be solved.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Veronica Mars: Mr. Kiss and Tell: An Original Mystery by Rob Thomas

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Rob Thomas, Jennifer Graham
    • Narrated By Rebecca Lowman
    Overall
    (661)
    Performance
    (585)
    Story
    (586)

    The Neptune Grand has always been the seaside town's ritziest hotel, despite the shady dealings and high-profile scandals that seem to follow its elite guests. When a woman claims that she was brutally assaulted in one of its rooms and left for dead by a staff member, the owners know that they have a potential powder keg on their hands. They turn to Veronica to disprove - or prove - the woman's story.

    SamOfSiam says: "Could not finish audio book, will be reading it."
    "The narrator was fine"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you be willing to try another book from Rob Thomas and Jennifer Graham ? Why or why not?

    I'm a fan of the TV show. As long as Rob Thomas (and Jennifer Graham) continue to churn out these books, I'll likely keep reading them so I can find out what new mysteries our witty heroine tackles, how her love life shapes up (Logan, so far away; Leo, so close), and what happens with the sheriff. These are my guilty pleasures. I make no excuses.


    What does Rebecca Lowman bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    OF COURSE everybody who loves the VM character and listened to the first audiobook would have preferred Kristen Bell to return for the second, but honestly we all had to know that was wishful thinking, at best. Lowman does a fine job distinguishing between different characters, and once you get used to the fact that her voice is different from KB's, she draws you into the story nicely. Honestly her only flaw was that she was not Kristen Bell, and if that's going to turn you off, then don't listen. I enjoyed her reading.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs)
    • By Jonas Jonasson
    • Narrated By Steven Crossley
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2615)
    Performance
    (2346)
    Story
    (2364)

    After a long and eventful life, Allan Karlsson ends up in a nursing home, believing it to be his last stop. The only problem is that he's still in good health, and in one day, he turns 100. A big celebration is in the works, but Allan really isn't interested (and he'd like a bit more control over his vodka consumption). So he decides to escape. He climbs out the window in his slippers and embarks on a hilarious and entirely unexpected journey, involving, among other surprises, a suitcase stuffed with cash.

    Sylvia says: "Full of Surprises and Unexpected Events"
    "Great story, well read"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared again? Why?

    Sure, I would. It was a blast, and the reader did a fine job (especially pronouncing all of those Swedish/foreign names that I would have struggled with).


    What other book might you compare The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared to and why?

    It reminded me of Forrest Gump (the movie, I haven't read the book) and I'm sure comparisons have already been made, but it also had the humor (sometimes dark humor) of light Monty Python. I'm not sure if I can think of anything that would serve as a direct comparison.


    Which character – as performed by Steven Crossley – was your favorite?

    Allan, the main character.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Moved me to roll on the floor laughing out loud? Sure. Allan's first meeting with Stalin, his escape from prison in Tehran, when Mr. Dollars tried to land the plane in Bali. Too many to mention


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Threats

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Amelia Gray
    • Narrated By Hillary Huber
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (14)
    Performance
    (13)
    Story
    (13)

    A blazingly original, electrifying mystery of love and loss from the haunted imagination of Amelia Gray. In the dead of winter, David, a retired dentist in an unnamed town in Ohio, is pretty sure his wife, Franny, is dead. But he can’t quite figure out what killed her or why she had to die. Disoriented by grief, David struggles to unravel these mysteries - which become increasingly baffling when he starts finding a series of elaborate and escalating threats hidden around his home.

    Invisible Lizard says: "Experimental Fiction"
    "Experimental Fiction"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Where does Threats rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    I'm glad it was short. Threats features some of the best writing I've come across in a while. However, the story itself was lacking. Great atmosphere, creepy characters, chilling setup, building tension, and then... poof. It suddenly ended. Readers smarter than I probably appreciated it for that very fact, but I prefer a little more payoff in the books I choose to read. Luckily it was short, and I don't really feel I wasted 7 hours of my life. I will keep thinking on this one and maybe revisit it down the road.


    If you’ve listened to books by Amelia Gray before, how does this one compare?

    My first Amelia Gray book. I will probably investigate some of her short stories down the road, just for curiosity's sake.


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

    Don't think I've heard Hillary Huber before, but she did a great job with this one. Her forced, dry tone added to the atmosphere of the novel in a meaningful way.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Sure, I kept hoping it was going somewhere.


    Any additional comments?

    Don't buy this unless you're fan of experimental fiction.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Hemlock Grove: or, The Wise Wolf

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Brian McGreevy
    • Narrated By Sean Runnette
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (160)
    Performance
    (151)
    Story
    (151)

    The body of a young girl is found mangled and murdered in the woods of Hemlock Grove, Pennsylvania, in the shadow of the abandoned Godfrey Steel Mill. A manhunt ensues - though the authorities aren’t sure if it's a man they should be looking for.

    Erin says: "Very similar to the TV show"
    "Mostly fun, entertaining, not bad"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you try another book from Brian McGreevy and/or Sean Runnette?

    Sure. I think McGreevy's got this one laid out read for sequels. I'll probably give (at least one of) them a try, especially if the Netflix series is any good.


    What about Sean Runnette’s performance did you like?

    Even paced. Nothing glaring about it. The best performances enhance the book. This one didn't quite do that, but it didn't distract from it either. It was a pleasurable listen.


    Do you think Hemlock Grove needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    No, probably doesn't need it. But I think it's primed for one.


    Any additional comments?

    Do we need another variation on the werewolf story? (As well as other plot lines the reader/listener will find familiar that I won't spoil here.) McGreevy does try to be clever by throwing in everything including the kitchen sink into this horror/gothic/occult story, and I'm not sure he completely succeeds. But it was fun and probably a good thing that it was a brief.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • And So It Goes: Kurt Vonnegut: A Life

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Charles J. Shields
    • Narrated By Fred Berman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (25)
    Performance
    (23)
    Story
    (24)

    New York Times best-selling author and biographer Charles J. Shields crafts this fascinating portrait of literary icon Kurt Vonnegut. The first authorized biography of the influential American writer, And So It Goes examines Vonnegut’s life, from his childhood to his death in 2007, and explores how the author changed the conversation of American literature.

    Invisible Lizard says: "Probably only for die hard Vonnegut fans"
    "Probably only for die hard Vonnegut fans"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What aspect of Fred Berman’s performance would you have changed?

    I've listened to a fair number of audio books, and this was the first one where I could hear the narrator take very loud audible breaths in between sentences, almost as it to alert you that a new sentence was starting. I found this very distracting. Even odder was the fact that that this was inconsistent throughout the narration. It came and went, almost as if this sort of thing is cleaned up digitally before releasing the recording and whoever was cleaning it up missed huge sections. Or the producer used different microphone equipment for different sessions. I don't know what goes on behind the scenes, but this was highly annoying to listen to.


    Any additional comments?

    Vonnegut is very different from the public persona he created over the decades. He was, in fact, a miserable man who seemed to enjoy making people around him miserable as well. Not a particularly fun book to read, but being a huge Vonnegut fan, I'm still glad I read it.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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