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D. Simons

ratings
51
REVIEWS
7
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
0
HELPFUL VOTES
8

  • Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Steven Johnson
    • Narrated By Eric Singer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (353)
    Performance
    (175)
    Story
    (169)

    What sparks the flash of brilliance? How does groundbreaking innovation happen? Answering in his infectious, culturally omnivorous style, using his fluency in fields from neurobiology to popular culture, Johnson provides the complete, exciting, and encouraging story of how we generate the ideas that push our careers, our lives, our society, and our culture forward.

    Roy says: "Ambitious"
    "interesting enough"
    Overall

    Overall, this book was interesting, albeit repetitive. The author's belief that open platforms lead to more innovation was clear throughout, at times to the neglect of alternatives. The arguments could have used more evidence and fewer platitudes. It was strongest when it focused on biological innovation as a metaphor for ideas.

    The reading was less than ideal, at least for my taste. I tend to like dramatic readings, but this one was over the top even for me. His voice and pronunciation were pleasant enough, but he felt it necessary to fake accents for every quote. I wouldn't say that it disrupted my ability to enjoy the book, but it didn't help, and I did find myself groaning with each "impression."

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • The Circle

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Dave Eggers
    • Narrated By Dion Graham
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1013)
    Performance
    (922)
    Story
    (932)

    When Mae Holland is hired to work for the Circle, the world's most powerful internet company, she feels she's been given the opportunity of a lifetime. The Circle, run out of a sprawling California campus, links users' personal emails, social media, banking, and purchasing with their universal operating system, resulting in one online identity and a new age of civility and transparency. As Mae tours the open-plan office spaces, the towering glass dining facilities, the cozy dorms for those who spend nights at work, she is thrilled with the company's modernity and activity.

    Darwin8u says: "A solid, just not great social network dystopia"
    "simplistic characters, okay story."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    Warning: mild spoilers.

    The characters in this story just weren't believable -- they were unidimensional and seemed incapable of internal conflict or questioning (the lead character is nothing like a former liberal arts grad from a top academic school, the sort of place that trains critical thinking). It's just not plausible that the best minds and most talented people at such a company wouldn't have any independent thoughts or, really, do any questioning at all.

    I expected much more conflict to emerge in the story, perhaps hidden inner turmoil or corporate intrigue boiling under the surface, hidden from view of the company itself. Nope. The only surprising thing in the book was just how predictable the entire plotline was. There were no real twists or surprises, and the few elements that were supposed to be surprising were pretty transparent from the start. Basically, the entire book is little more than a way of saying it's bad to give up privacy in favor of convenience. Not nearly as much depth as I would have expected.

    The narration was good, but given that the major characters were female, it was a bit odd to have a man with a deep voice reading it. It would have worked better with a female reader.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Dave Eggers again?

    Nope.


    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Warrior's Apprentice: A Miles Vorkosigan Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Lois McMaster Bujold
    • Narrated By Grover Gardner
    Overall
    (1644)
    Performance
    (781)
    Story
    (791)

    Miles Vorkosigan makes his debut in this frenetic coming-of-age tale. At age 17, Miles is allowed to take the entrance exams to the elite military academy; he passes the written but manages, through miscalculation in a moment of anger, to break both his legs on the obstacle course, washing out before he begins. His aged grandfather dies in his sleep shortly after, for which Miles blames himself.

    Readalot says: "What a great character!"
    "Engaging, plot driven story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    The performer's voice takes a little getting used to, but I came to like it after a while. This isn't a particularly deep book, but it's engaging and kept my interest.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Pandora's Star

    • UNABRIDGED (37 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Peter F. Hamilton
    • Narrated By John Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4278)
    Performance
    (2584)
    Story
    (2623)

    The year is 2380. The Intersolar Commonwealth, a sphere of stars some 400 light-years in diameter, contains more than 600 worlds, interconnected by a web of transport "tunnels" known as wormholes. At the farthest edge of the Commonwealth, astronomer Dudley Bose observes the impossible: Over 1,000 light-years away, a star...vanishes. It does not go supernova. It does not collapse into a black hole. It simply disappears.

    Devin says: "Great Epic Scifi"
    "Interesting ideas, but incomplete and imbalanced"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you try another book from Peter F. Hamilton and/or John Lee?

    Not from Hamilton. Yes from Lee


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

    The narration helps. Good voicing. The production quality wasn't good, though. The volume fluctuated, and there were no pauses between changes in story line. At times, it took a few minutes to figure out when it had switched lines and what was happening. This book might have been better in print because it would have been possible to skip much of the needless detail in descriptions (see below).


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

    Frustration. I'm a big fan of idea-based hard sci-fi. The ideas in this book are terrific. The execution was awful. The book could have been half the length had Hamilton spent less time on scene setting and more time on the ideas, characters, and plot. If you enjoyed Moby Dick and 20 pages of text describing a whale's teeth, you might like this one. But, if you don't really care about the model number of every piece of equipment or the landscaping around every single building, or the life history of every minor character, you'll find it frustrating. Hamilton clearly had a rich, detailed world in his head and he tried to convey every single detail of it in the book without filtering to the important ones. As a result, 2/3 of the writing was about scene setting rather than fleshing out the implications of the really creative ideas. It got to the point that every time the book introduced a new world, character, or scene, I'd cringe as I had to slog through unnecessarily detailed and irrelevant description.I've only given up on an audiobook once, but I was sorely tempted to do so multiple times in this one. But, I stuck with it to see how the story line ended. Unfortunately, I didn't eve get that satisfaction. There was no attempt to make it a self-contained novel -- it just ended in the middle of a scene. It wasn't even a cliff-hanger. It was as if Hamilton decided that it was long enough and just stopped mid-thought. As much as I'd like to know how it the story ends, there's no chance I'll spend another credit and 15-20 hours to find out. The writing just isn't good enough to carry it.As I mentioned, I am a fan of hard sci fi, which is why I thought I'd like this one. The ideas are really compelling. The opening scene is fantastic, and I can see why a publisher bought it with that premise. There are some compelling plot lines in the book, and Hamilton does flesh out the implications of his ideas. But, in doing so, the book does not maintain the necessary plotting. It was disappointing because, as I noted, the ideas, characters, and plot are all compelling. Had it been a complete story and edited to about half its length by cutting all the irrelevant description, it would have conveyed all three more compellingly.If you're going to read this one, I'd recommend the print version instead -- that way, you can skim through the irrelevant details to get to the interesting stuff. Lee's effective narration wasn't enough to overcome the disadvantage of having to listen through long passages of tedious prose.


    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Reamde

    • UNABRIDGED (38 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Neal Stephenson
    • Narrated By Malcolm Hillgartner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3744)
    Performance
    (3273)
    Story
    (3310)

    Richard Forthrast created T’Rain, a multibillion-dollar, massively multiplayer online role-playing game. But T’Rain’s success has also made it a target. Hackers have struck gold by unleashing REAMDE, a virus that encrypts all of a player’s electronic files and holds them for ransom. They have also unwittingly triggered a deadly war beyond the boundaries of the game’s virtual universe - and Richard is at ground zero.

    ShySusan says: "Not perfect, but worth a listen."
    "fast paced plot-driven story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This isn't the typical Stephenson book. I've found his recent work to be somewhat plodding. This one is a fast-paced thriller with good characters and an enjoyable performance. It has the pacing of his earlier books (Snowcrash, Zodiac) rather than the more recent work.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • All Clear

    • UNABRIDGED (23 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Connie Willis
    • Narrated By Katherine Kellgren, Connie Willis
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1625)
    Performance
    (1075)
    Story
    (1097)

    Three time-traveling historians are visiting World War II England: Michael Davies, intent on observing heroism during the Miracle of Dunkirk; Merope Ward, studying children evacuated from London; and Polly Churchill, posing as a shopgirl in the middle of the Blitz. But when the three become unexpectedly trapped in 1940, they struggle not only to find their way home but to survive as Hitler's bombers attempt to pummel London into submission.

    Mike From Mesa says: "Rescued by the second half"
    "Could have used some editing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    All Clear is the second book in a 2-book series. It's really one book broken into two largish volumes (the first is Blackout). The main problem is that the two books really are just one and they should have been just one. The combo would have benefited from some vigorous editing to cut the total length by 30-40%. At times, the plotting seemed plodding, with characters going from one incident to the next.

    As always, Willis does a great job giving readers a feel for what it must have been like to live in that time period. And, the extent of her "blitz" research was impressive. If you're looking for a way to get the "feel" for living in the blitz, this is an entertaining way to do it.

    I found the performance a bit flat, but okay. The female characters were a bit too whiney for my tastes, and the children were annoying. But, they were distinct enough to tell apart.

    Overall, I didn't think this was Willis's best work. Doomsday Book was a better read. I thought it was better than some of her others (e.g., Say Nothing of the Dog). Had it been 30% shorter, it would have been a classic. I'm not sure it was worth paying for two volume to get one book, though.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Ready Player One

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Ernest Cline
    • Narrated By Wil Wheaton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (11086)
    Performance
    (10335)
    Story
    (10340)

    At once wildly original and stuffed with irresistible nostalgia, Ready Player One is a spectacularly genre-busting, ambitious, and charming debut—part quest novel, part love story, and part virtual space opera set in a universe where spell-slinging mages battle giant Japanese robots, entire planets are inspired by Blade Runner, and flying DeLoreans achieve light speed.

    Travis says: "ADD TO CART, POWER UP +10000"
    "Excellent performance and a fast-paced read"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Wil Weaton does a terrific job of reading this book. The story is fast-paced and engaging. I found it to be a great book to run to, and often extended my run to keep listening. At times, the lists of '80s references were a bit much, but still fun for anyone born in the late '60s or early '70s. Excellent story telling and fun characters. If you like sci-fi, the 80s, or adventure stories in the young-adult-style genre, you'll like this one. If you grew up playing atari or visiting arcades, you'll really like it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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