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Richard

ratings
10
REVIEWS
6
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
1
HELPFUL VOTES
24

  • Unaccustomed Earth: Stories

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Jhumpa Lahiri
    • Narrated By Sarita Choudhury, Ajay Naidu
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (501)
    Performance
    (107)
    Story
    (109)

    From the internationally best-selling, Pulitzer Prize-winning author, a superbly crafted new work of fiction: eight stories that take us from Cambridge and Seattle to India and Thailand. In the stunning title story, Ruma, a young mother in a new city, is visited by her father, who carefully tends the earth of her garden, where he and his grandson form a special bond. But he's harboring a secret from his daughter, a love affair he's keeping all to himself.

    Eileen says: "Simply Beautiful"
    "Great collection of stories"
    Overall

    I highly recommend this new collection of short stories from Jhumpa Lahiri -- the characters are very authentic and the plots of each story have rich and varied directions and surprises, despite all having a common thread of finding one's way in a new place.

    I should also note that in general I'm not a fan of short stories, however these are almost like mini-novels with fully realized story arcs -- something that I find is often undercut in much short fiction.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Last Night at the Lobster

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By Stewart O'Nan
    • Narrated By Jonathan Davis
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (77)
    Performance
    (31)
    Story
    (34)

    Perched in the far corner of a run-down New England mall, the Red Lobster hasn't been making its numbers, and headquarters has pulled the plug. But manager Manny DeLeon still needs to navigate a tricky last shift. With only four shopping days left until Christmas, Manny must convince his near-mutinous staff to hunker down and serve the final onslaught of hungry retirees, lunatics, and holiday office parties.

    Richard says: "Very good novella"
    "The audio version is terrible"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    This is such a good book to read, but listening to it was so excruciating that I literally could only listen for about 3 minutes...I have read and re-read the print version, but would not recommend the audio version to anyone -- the narration is flat and lacks the necessary nuance to captivate the listener in the way the print version does.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Francis S. Collins
    • Narrated By Francis S. Collins
    Overall
    (754)
    Performance
    (155)
    Story
    (157)

    Dr. Francis Collins, head of the Human Genome Project, is one of the world's leading scientists, yet he is also a man of unshakable faith in God and scripture. Dr. Collins has resolved the dilemma that haunts everyone who believes in God and respects science. Faith in God and faith in science can be harmonious, not separately but together, combined into one worldview. For Collins, science does not conflict with the Bible, science enhances it.

    Stephen says: "For those on the fence"
    "Complete waste of time -- NO science here"
    Overall

    It is astounding to me that someone of such scientific achievement as Mr. Collins applies virtually none of the scientific method to this topic. In a nutshell, he simply could have written "Go read some C.S. Lewis -- I did" and saved his readers a lot of time.

    Every -- EVERY -- shred of "evidence" he trots out that supposedly supports the existence of God or that refutes an objection to organized religion is specious. No credible scientist would EVER make an argument for a scientific principle by saying, basically, "well, it makes sense to me" or "that's what this other guy I know thinks," yet this is in essence what Collins does throughout.

    Also, as other reviewers have mentioned, his knowledge of scripture, theology, cosmology, psychology, and psychiatry is clearly wanting and his dismissal of any relevant issues in these realms is arrogant and without substantiation.

    I had high hopes for this book -- I am always interested in how those with deep scientific backgrounds reconcile religious faith and/or belief in a creator with their scientific knowledge and process...I have yet to find one that has the courage to seriously apply the scientific method to this most intriguing of questions. I'm still waiting.

    If you are a believer with only a passing interest in hard science, this book will probably please you as it is at least an earnest attempt to reconcile science and faith through anecdotal musings on the two, but for those who both believe and want to really find a meaty scientific basis to underpin your faith, you too will have to keep looking.

    2 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Beat the Reaper: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Josh Bazell
    • Narrated By Robert Petkoff
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1131)
    Performance
    (424)
    Story
    (424)

    Meet Peter Brown, a young Manhattan emergency room doctor with an unusual past that is just about to catch up with him. His morning begins with the quick disarming of a would-be mugger, followed by a steamy elevator encounter with a sexy young pharmaceutical rep, topped off by a visit with a new patient - and from there Peter's day is going to get a whole lot worse and a whole lot weirder.

    Chuck says: "Great book and great narrator"
    "Lots of style, a bit short on substance"
    Overall

    This book is a good read with a great pace and narration, however it stretches its premises quite a bit too far to be thoroughly enjoyable if you're the type who likes to think about their stories as if they could actually be somewhat plausible.

    The author here has been compared to Chuck Palahniuk, and while there's some stylistic similarity, what's missing is Palahniuk's ability to tie all the insane plot lines together in way that's almost always satisfying.

    I'd say it's more like 3 1/2 stars, but that's not an option. Definitely a good drive time book to pass the time.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Reliable Wife

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Robert Goolrick
    • Narrated By Mark Feuerstein
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (910)
    Performance
    (296)
    Story
    (296)

    When a wealthy man first meets his mail-order bride in 1907, he realizes this statuesque beauty is anything but a "simple missionary's daughter." But he doesn't know of her devious plan to leave Wisconsin as a rich widow. Nor does she know of the furious demons he longs to unleash during the lonely months of snowbound isolation.

    Richard says: "Intriguing story but only average writing"
    "Intriguing story but only average writing"
    Overall

    The premise of this book is very interesting (I'd sum it up as "sexual sociopaths in turn of the century Wisconsin"), as is much of the detail the author imagines for the characters, however it's clear that a more capable writer would have delivered a far more compelling story: there are a number of inconsistencies in the story where a character thinks or acts as if they don't know some crucial detail about another character, only to have it revealed later that they knew all along. It happens with enough frequency in the story as to be distracting and ultimately to make conclusion of the book pretty clumsy.

    That said, it's a good read, er, listen and is well narrated. For pure escapism you could do worse. Be prepared for a lot of rather explicit and not always savory sex -- the author seems to be downright obsessed.

    16 of 17 people found this review helpful
  • A Short History of Nearly Everything

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Bill Bryson
    • Narrated By Richard Matthews
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (6662)
    Performance
    (2480)
    Story
    (2491)

    Bill Bryson has been an enormously popular author both for his travel books and for his books on the English language. Now, this beloved comic genius turns his attention to science. Although he doesn't know anything about the subject (at first), he is eager to learn, and takes information that he gets from the world's leading experts and explains it to us in a way that makes it exciting and relevant.

    Corby says: "Very informative, fun to listen to"
    "A great whirlwind tour of the universe"
    Overall

    A friend recommended this book to me as a good thought provoking read, and I have to say that it definitely is that...Bryson does a very thorough job of not only surveying the history of the hard sciences, archeology, and cosmology, but does so in a witty and very approachable way.

    If there's one knock on this book I think it would be the narrator -- I'm not sure why some audio book producers think that having someone with a British accent read their books makes them sound more learned, but it seems they do. The end result is just that you end up being distracted at times by the reading of the material and the pronunciations of some things rather than just focusing on the great subject matter. It just seems a bit affected.

    All in all, a very worthy book on some very appropriate topics to consider as we speed into the twenty-first century...and a great way to pass the time in rush hour traffic. Full disclosure however: I already like history and the sciences, so if you're someone who is bored by this kind of stuff, this book isn't going to light a fire for you...it does have a few parts that are a bit slow going, but if you're interested in the subject matter these shouldn't dissuade you.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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