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Kirk

Pawleys Island, SC, USA

75
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 10 reviews
  • 156 ratings
  • 281 titles in library
  • 0 purchased in 2014
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  • Raintree County

    • UNABRIDGED (43 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Ross Lockridge
    • Narrated By Lloyd James
    Overall
    (55)
    Performance
    (19)
    Story
    (17)

    Throughout a single day in 1892, John Shawnessy recalls the great moments of his life - from the battles of the Civil War to the politics of the Gilded Age, from the love affairs of his youth in Indiana to his homecoming as schoolteacher, husband, and father.

    Kirk says: "A great American novel, seriously!"
    "A great American novel, seriously!"
    Overall

    If there's even been a candidate for the great American novel, this is certainly one of the front-runners. The only novel written by Ross Lockridge, Jr., who committed suicide shortly after publication, this tale of the United States and its history, seen from 1876, is as broad and deep as the Mississippi, and elevated as a New York skyscraper, and as full of wonder as any novel one can imagine. Both an intelligent book and one that is accessible to all, in spite of its length, Raintree County is my personal favorite American novel of all time. It combines the introspection of Emerson with the vast characterization of John Irving; the humor of Fitzgerald (when he was funny), with the seriousness of Steinbeck. In short, this is a novel not to miss. Don't be dissuaded by its length; it flies by, and you'll not regret reading (or listening to) it.

    20 of 22 people found this review helpful
  • Hot, Flat, and Crowded Part 1: Why We Need a Green Revolution - and How It Can Renew America

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Thomas L. Friedman
    • Narrated By Oliver Wyman
    Overall
    (526)
    Performance
    (0)
    Story
    (0)

    Friedman brings a fresh outlook to the crises of destabilizing climate change and rising competition for energy - both of which could poison our world if we do not act quickly and collectively. His argument speaks to all of us who are concerned about the state of America in the global future.

    John says: "A Good Read"
    "Is it worth finishing?"
    Overall

    I'm currently more than halfway through this book, and I'm wondering whether it's worth finishing. There are two problems with this book: one with the book itself, the other with the narrator. For the latter, the problem is that he drones on and on, and is relatively hypnotic. In addition, he has the annoying - and insulting - habit of using bogus accents when foreigners are quoted. It's insulting because the accents are bad, and are stereotypes of what he thinks these foreigners sound like.
    But on to the book itself. It drags on and on, saying the same thing over and over and over. The World is Flat was similar, but each chapter covered different places, ideas, and examples. In this book, I can't tell one chapter from another. Friedman would have done better to make a much shorter book. Perhaps, for a change, the abridged version of this book would be a better choice. I'm usually dead-set against abridgments, but this book is just too tedious.
    To be fair, Friedman says a lot of interesting things; it's just that after the first three times you hear them, they get stale.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Lush Life: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Richard Price
    • Narrated By Bobby Cannavale
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (602)
    Performance
    (116)
    Story
    (115)

    What do you do? Whenever people asked him, Eric Cash used to have a dozen answers. Artist, actor, screenwriter...But now he's 35 years old and he's still living downtown, still in the restaurant business, working night shifts and serving the people he always wanted to be. What does Eric do? He manages.

    Richard Delman says: "Eerily real"
    "The best reading I've ever heard"
    Overall

    Without doubt, this is the best reading of any audiobook I've heard. The narrator performs this book rather than simply reading it, using a variety of voices, accents and tones to draw the portraits of the various characters. The story itself is interesting, looking at the human side of a murder, but it's the narrator that makes it worth listening to.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • American Studies

    • ABRIDGED (6 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Louis Menand
    • Narrated By Ron McLarty
    Overall
    (23)
    Performance
    (0)
    Story
    (0)

    What was the real significance of William James's breakdown? Of the anti-Semitism in T.S. Eliot's writing? At each step in his latest journey through American cultural history, Menand has an original point to make.

    Kirk says: "Abridged, but doesn't say so"
    "Abridged, but doesn't say so"
    Overall

    I'm very disappoined - this book is not unabridged, and contains only about half the essays in the "real" book. I was especially disappointed that it doesn't contain Menand's essay about William James, which is what interested me most in this book. Caveat emptor.

    17 of 17 people found this review helpful
  • Amsterdam

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Ian McEwan
    • Narrated By Maxwell Caulfield
    Overall
    (304)
    Performance
    (25)
    Story
    (27)

    The action in this Booker Prize-winning story unfolds after the funeral of Molly Lane, when Molly's former lovers, newspaper editor Vernon Halliday and composer Clive Linley make a fateful pact, and another ex, prime-minister hopeful Julian Garmony, finds himself struggling for his political life.

    Everett Leiter says: "Great fun to read, but flawed novel"
    "Bad sound quality, terrible reading"
    Overall

    While this is an extremely interesting book- if you like Ian McEwan - it is marred by terrible sound quality (sounds like a telephone, but worse) and a reader who is in such a rush to get finished that he doesn't allow any nuances or emotions to get in his way. A shame.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Getting Unstuck: Breaking Your Habitual Patterns and Encountering Naked Reality

    • ORIGINAL (3 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Pema Chodron
    • Narrated By Pema Chodron
    Overall
    (840)
    Performance
    (282)
    Story
    (271)

    On Getting Unstuck, Pema Chodron introduces a rare Tibetan teaching she received from her teacher, Dzigar Kontrul Rinpoche, and one that has become critical to her practice. Here, she unveils the mystery of an ineffable quality; a "pre-emotional" feeling that arises in us, brings us discomfort, and causes us to react by escaping the discomfort, often with harmful habits. With Getting Unstuck, she offers us a first look at "both the itch and the scratch": what Tibetan Buddhists call shenpa.

    J. Becker says: "Don't Need A Crowbar"
    "So-so..."
    Overall

    I've read a fair number of books on Buddhism, and find it interesting to listen to teachings given extemporaneaously as well. I had never read or heard Pema Chodron before this, and find her spoken style to be quite attractive. However, there is little Buddhism in this recording, and little about meditation - there is much more what would, in different trappings, be called "pop psychology" than anything else. Sure, she gives some interesting insights, but not much of what she says really has a lot to do with Buddhism or meditation.

    I'm sure others will feel differently, and perhaps this is the direction in which western Buddhism is moving - a merging of pop psychology and meditation with an emphasis on the former. Or, at least, perhaps this is what people want to hear under the category "Buddhism". I don't know; to each their own.

    5 of 14 people found this review helpful
  • Against the Day: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (53 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Thomas Pynchon
    • Narrated By Dick Hill
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (208)
    Performance
    (75)
    Story
    (77)

    This novel spans the period between the Chicago World's Fair of 1893 and the years just after World War I. With a worldwide disaster looming just a few years ahead, it is a time of unrestrained corporate greed, false religiosity, moronic fecklessness, and evil intent in high places. No reference to the present day is intended or should be inferred.

    Rebecca Lindroos says: "brilliant!"
    "Excellent book, but minor quality issues"
    Overall

    This is an excellent book, but not for everyone. Some other reviewers pointed out that they couldn't follow it, and, yes, Pynchon is hard to follow. I'm actually listening after reading the book (I read a couple of chapters then listen to the same parts.) With the strange character names, obscure ideas, and many twisted concepts, this is probably not a good choice for something to listen to in the car.

    The narrator, however, turns this into a tour de force - his reading is inspired, and his wide variety of voices fits perfectly with the variegated characters.

    The only issue I have is with the sound quality of the book. When listening on headphones, there is noticable distortion when the reader's voice gets louder than normal. I don't notice this on speakers, but it does detract slightly from the enjoyment of this book when I listen on my iPod. Also, there are a couple of points where you hear a voice saying "This is the end of CD X." Apparently, the file wasn't perfectly cleaned up when Audible put it up for sale. Finally, there is no cover art attached to the files - no big deal, but another minor quality issue.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Meet You in Hell: Carnegie, Frick, and the Bitter Partnership That Transformed America

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Les Standiford
    • Narrated By John H. Mayer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (80)
    Performance
    (26)
    Story
    (27)

    Here is history that reads like fiction: the riveting story of two founding fathers of American industry, Andrew Carnegie and Henry Clay Frick, and the bloody steelworkers' strike that transformed their fabled partnership into a furious rivalry. Author Les Standiford begins at the bitter end, when the dying Carnegie proposes a final meeting after two decades of separation. Frick's reply: "Tell him that I'll meet him in hell."

    D. Littman says: "an extended journalistic tour"
    "Pretty boring..."
    Overall

    I don't know if it's the reader or the story, but I couldn't even make it halfway through this book. I'm very interested in this period of US history, but this book just slogged on, trying to fit into the template of best-selling popular history books with narrative, background info, biography, etc.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Life and Work of Marcel Proust

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Neville Jason
    • Narrated By Neville Jason
    Overall
    (27)
    Performance
    (12)
    Story
    (11)

    This, the first audio-biography of Marcel Proust, tells the story of one of the world's most original and admired literary geniuses. From his youth in the salons of Belle Epoque Paris, we follow his progress through to his later years when, as a near recluse, he writes through the nights in his cork-lined bedroom.

    Kirk says: "A fine intro to Proust"
    "A fine intro to Proust"
    Overall

    I don't know why people have rated this so low; it's an excellent intro to the life and work of Proust, one of the greatest novelists of the 20th century. I have read Proust both in English and in French, as well as several biographies, and this audiobook (it was conceived for audio, and there is no paper edition) is certain to give enough information for the casual reader. In addition, its use of music helps enlighten listeners about the music that was important in Proust's oeuvre.

    Good job, Naxos.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • Nobody's Fool

    • UNABRIDGED (24 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Richard Russo
    • Narrated By Ron McLarty
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (555)
    Performance
    (180)
    Story
    (183)

    Divorced from his own wife and carrying on halfheartedly with another man's, saddled with a bum knee and friends who make enemies redundant, Sully now has one new problem to cope with: a long-estranged son who is in imminent danger of following in his father's footsteps. With its sly and uproarious humor and a heart that embraces humanity's follies as well as its triumphs, Nobody's Fool is storytelling at its most generous.

    Steve says: "Russo is a genious."
    "A truly great book!"
    Overall

    This is one of the finest books I've read in many years. After reading Empire Falls, I picked up all of Russo's books, and Nobody's Fool is by far the most accomplished. The portrayals of both the main character, a 60-something guy whose life has passed him by, and the minor characters, are brilliant. Nothing much happens in this book, whose story covers just a few days, but it is a heart-warming, humanist story.

    Listening to this audiobook version brought back all the subtleties in Russo's writing. While it took me a while to get used to the reader, in the end I feel he has the perfect voice for this story. This book is long, and slow, and you just want it to continue for a longer time. But it's about real life, and life doesn't last forever.

    10 of 10 people found this review helpful

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