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Michael Cox

Audiophile

San Diego, CA USA | Member Since 2005

92
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 26 reviews
  • 41 ratings
  • 268 titles in library
  • 14 purchased in 2014
FOLLOWING
82
FOLLOWERS
3

  • The Financier

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Theodore Dreiser
    • Narrated By Geoffrey Blaisdell
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (82)
    Performance
    (44)
    Story
    (43)

    The first in a "trilogy of desire", The Financier tells the story of the ruthlessly dominating broker Frank Cowperwood as he climbs the ladder of success, his adoring mistress championing his every move. Based on the life of flamboyant finance captain C. T. Yerkes, Theodore Dreiser's cutting portrayal of the unscrupulous magnate Cowperwood embodies the idea that behind every great fortune there is a crime.

    Peter says: "Outstanding classic, great narrator"
    "Dull Dull Dull"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Almost stopped listening when, after 15 chapters, the setup had not concluded; but it was at that point when the story began to pick up so I continued. I should have not wasted my time.

    The story fits together too perfectly and drones on from one unsurprising resolution to the next, with hardly a blink.

    The Civil war is mentioned, in passing, and while it is hard to believe that the world of east coast finance wasn’t turned on its head during this period in our history the author passed over it as though it was nothing more than a minor skirmish; which had little, to no, effect on the protagonists world. There is nothing in this story that doesn’t work itself out and doesn’t end in a “happy ever after” way.

    There were beautiful descriptions home architecture and clothing, and of people, but beyond that it was pretty bland,

    The reading left much to be desired and starting in the middle of the book sections appeared to have been inserted; as though something was wrong with sections of the original reading and needed to be re-read. It was very obvious, and rather distracting, because the tone and cadence of fhe reader's voice was so different in these inserted segments. I sometimes wondered if they were read by someone else.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Year of Magical Thinking

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Joan Didion
    • Narrated By Barbara Caruso
    Overall
    (1340)
    Performance
    (461)
    Story
    (465)

    "Life changes fast....You sit down to dinner and life as you know it ends." These were among the first words Joan Didion wrote in January 2004. Her daughter was lying unconscious in an intensive care unit, a victim of pneumonia and septic shock. Her husband, John Gregory Dunne, was dead. The night before New Year's Eve, while they were sitting down to dinner, he suffered a massive and fatal coronary. The two had lived and worked side by side for nearly 40 years.

    Darwin8u says: "Sharp, sometimes funny, but always clear & precise"
    "Depressing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    I have no idea


    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    I found the character annoying, and presumptuous; especially when she started dictating to the hospital staff


    What about Barbara Caruso’s performance did you like?

    It really reflected the depressing character of the protagonist


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Year of Magical Thinking?

    The ones referred to above; but then that would take away from the controlling nature of the character, which I suspect is key to understanding her.


    Any additional comments?

    It's a sad, depressing, story told from the point of view of a highly intelligent, controlling, character and was interesting only so far as it described just how far out such a person can can find oneself after a devastating loss of this this kind. It seemed to me that her intellect was her own worse enemy.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Burnable Book: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Bruce Holsinger
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (94)
    Performance
    (82)
    Story
    (81)

    London, 1385: Surrounded by ruthless courtiers - including his powerful uncle, John of Gaunt, and Gaunt's artful mistress, Katherine Swynford - England's young king, Richard II, is in mortal peril. Songs are heard across London - catchy verses said to originate from an ancient book that prophesies the ends of England's kings - and among the book's predictions is Richard's assassination. Only a few powerful men know that the cryptic lines derive from a "burnable book", a seditious work that threatens the stability of the realm.

    Patrick M. Dennis says: "Couldn't Be Better!"
    "Rich in period detail"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about A Burnable Book?

    How richly the period was portrayed. Sometimes it gave me pause because the author didn't always explain some of the language; leaving it to context. But I liked that and it didn't detract; once I accepted that I would understand in good time.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    There were so many interesting, well developed, characters that I couldn't say which was my favorite. Each has his own special appeal and there were about 5 on my "favorites" list.


    What about Simon Vance’s performance did you like?

    I was struck my his truly amazing "performance". He didn't just read his characters, he inhabited them, giving each it's own unique voice and doing it seamlessly. Simon is now on the top of my favorite performer list.


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

    When Garrow's wife, unexpectedly expressed her remorse over the loss of their child


    Any additional comments?

    I found this book richer, and more polished, than Ken Follett's Pillars; which will always be a favorite of mine, but if you like Follett I can't help but believe you will love Holsinger, who's prose are just a bit more complex and sophisticated than Follett's.

    I was struck my the fact that there was no reference made of Richards trials and tribulations; especially his dependence on the "favorites" that got him into so much trouble. But this wasn't really about him, so I didn't make too much of it.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Flight Behavior

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Barbara Kingsolver
    • Narrated By Barbara Kingsolver
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1666)
    Performance
    (1451)
    Story
    (1469)

    Dellarobia Turnbow is a restless farm wife who gave up her own plans when she accidentally became pregnant at 17. Now, after a decade of domestic disharmony on a failing farm, she encounters a shocking sight: a silent, forested valley filled with what looks like a lake of fire. She can only understand it as a cautionary miracle, but it sparks a raft of other explanations from scientists, religious leaders, and the media.

    mj says: "Tough Message Delivered in Silk"
    "Brillient"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Where does Flight Behavior rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    At the top


    What about Barbara Kingsolver’s performance did you like?

    Warm and believable


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

    Well no, but I wouldn't consider doing that with any book. But I did, very often, have a hard time shutting it off.


    Any additional comments?

    My first impression of this story, based on just a few minutes of listening, was: “chick flick”, and I came very close to turning it off and giving it a single star rating; so I could get a refund! I was not up for True Romance! How glad I am that I didn’t do that, because this story turned out to be one of the most entertaining stories I’ve listened to from Audible.

    Half way through the book I realized it wasn’t just the telling story of a farm family, revealed in a remarkably warm and realistic way; detailing the most intimate aspects of life on a sheep farm, and inside the workings of a nuclear family struggling to stay afloat; but a story with a message.

    That message began to evolve somewhere in the middle of the book, and was inserted so cleverly that it seemed to appear full blown; in an instant, out of nowhere, and with such skill that it did not shatter it’s container; the story that could have very well stood on its own.

    I highly recommend this title; in fact, I believe it should be required reading!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 36 mins)
    • By Therese Anne Fowler
    • Narrated By Jenna Lamia
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (451)
    Performance
    (399)
    Story
    (399)

    Picture a late-May morning in 1918, a time when Montgomery wore her prettiest spring dress and finest floral perfume - same as I would wear that evening.... Thus begins the story of beautiful, reckless, 17-year-old Zelda Sayre on the day she meets Lieutenant Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald at a country club dance. Fitzgerald isn’t rich or settled; no one knows his people; and he wants, of all things, to be a writer in New York. No matter how wildly in love they may be, Zelda’s father firmly opposes the match....

    L.W. says: "Great! From the first page to the last....."
    "Finally... the truth about poor Z"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I was fascinated by this book and pleased with the reading; over all it was a satisfying read, that inspired me to check out "Paradise".

    She lived a very complicated life with a very complicated, and rather self destructive, man. My heart went out to her and I wonder if she would have become so emotionally unbalanced if she had married someone else.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • This Side of Paradise

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By F. Scott Fitzgerald
    • Narrated By Brian D'eon
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (101)
    Performance
    (79)
    Story
    (80)

    F. Scott Fitzgerald’s pseudo- autobiographical first novel. It describes life at Princeton among the glittering, bored, and disillusioned “lost generation” of post World War1 America. Published in 1920, when he was just 23, the novel was an overnight success and propelled Fitzgerald to instant stardom as spokesman of the Jazz Age.

    Parola138 says: "pre-WWI joy"
    "I just let it wash over me."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It's not a book I would normally read, but I just finished "Z", so I just had to see what it was all about. I didn't try to follow the story or look too deeply into any of it, I just let it wash over me and I found myself enjoying the experience. I would not have had the patients to actually read it, but having it read; and read so beautifully, was a truly pleasant experience. I think was the pros, it just flowed...

    Over all it was a very nice experience. Can't wait to read Gatsby.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Heft

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Liz Moore
    • Narrated By Kirby Heyborne, Keith Szarabajka
    Overall
    (1802)
    Performance
    (1630)
    Story
    (1634)

    Forrmer academic Arthur Opp weighs 550 pounds and hasn’t left his rambling Brooklyn home in a decade. Twenty miles away in Yonkers, seventeen-year-old Kel Keller navigates life as the poor kid in a rich school and pins his hopes on what seems like a promising baseball career - if he can untangle himself from his family drama.

    Kathy says: "I couldn't stop listening"
    "Fascinating"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The author creates a several fascinating characters; one of which is morbidly obese, thus the title.

    I opted for this book because I was curious about how someone could allow themselves to get to such a state; and how to they managed, physically and emotionally.

    I found this story is most fascinating, and I found; to my surprise, that I was quite easily able to empathize with him. He is a sad, but quite likable character.

    As each character in this story enters, and reveals their roll in his life; always in the first person, they all, ever so slowly, come together in frequently surprising, and unexpected ways.

    It’s a touching story which held me in its grip to the very end, and when it came I was sad, because I wanted it to go on.
    I would count this book as one of the most fascinating and enjoyable all the I’ve read on Audible.

    The reading was flawless, you could almost feel the weight of the protagonist and the callow youth of :"the other Arthur"

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Me Before You: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Jojo Moyes
    • Narrated By Susan Lyons, Anna Bentink, Steven Crossley, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3574)
    Performance
    (3240)
    Story
    (3258)

    Louisa Clark is an ordinary girl living an exceedingly ordinary life - steady boyfriend, close family - who has never been farther afield than her tiny village. She takes a badly needed job working for ex-Master of the Universe Will Traynor, who is wheelchair bound after an accident. Will has always lived a huge life - big deals, extreme sports, worldwide travel - and now he's pretty sure he cannot live the way he is. Will is acerbic, moody, bossy - but Lou refuses to treat him with kid gloves, and soon his happiness means more to her than she expected.

    Michael says: "Who or What defines Quality of Life?"
    "Harlequinesque"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    As a clinician I found this novel trite, overly Romantic, inadiquetly researched and Harlequinesque.

    The medical aspects; of both the condition and the care, were poorly researched and grossly inaccurate, the primary caregiver; who was never identified as the professional he clearly was; no doubt a “Trained Nurse”, failed to warn our protagonist against the pitfalls of romantic involvements which; for all the wrong reasons, sometimes develop between patient and caregiver; and which almost always end in disaster; which is why medical professionals avoid them like the plague.

    But more disturbing than the romantic silliness, was the selfish, overzealous, anti “self-deliverance”, position taken by both the caregivers and the parents. That position was so out of line with current position on self-deliverance and the concept of the “Advanced Directive” as to make this story completely implausible.

    I found it very difficult to handle the intensely, selfish, attitudes toward the right of a patient to make an end of life decision without being burdened by the judgment of all those around him!

    I did stick with this story to the end. The transparent episode with the visitor from London was exactly what I expected it to be, and the end was exactly what I expected it to be.

    This story was very formulaic and delivered no surprises.

    My only objection to the reading, which was quite good in general, was the introduction of the primary caregiver, who's voice boomed onto the scene as if out of nowhere; abrupt, too loud, and generally out of sync with the gentle flow of the narrative.

    My guess is that, if you’re a woman, and a romantic, with no medically training, and you are oblivious to the current trends on end of life issues, you will probably love this book .

    4 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By David Mitchell
    • Narrated By Jonathan Aris, Paula Wilcox
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1506)
    Performance
    (731)
    Story
    (731)

    In 1799, the artificial island of Dejima lies in Nagasaki Harbor as Japan’s outpost for the Dutch East Indies Company. There, Jacob de Zoet has come to make a fortune large enough to return to Holland and marry the woman he loves.

    Michael Cox says: "Less about the arrival more about the ride"
    "Less about the arrival more about the ride"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Exquisitely crafted and beautifully performed!

    I confess to getting lost among the plethora of characters and situations; often struggling to remember who was who and what they were up to. I sometimes felt as though I were sitting too close to a large painting, only able to see details but unable to see the big picture.

    In the beginning I occasionally felt like giving up, but decided to simply step back and enjoy the ride; hoping that, eventually, things would come together and the fog would clear.

    The ride was fascinating; even when I wasn't always following the intrigues. Just being in this place; witnessing this culture, and its characters, was enough to keep me listening. I left like an observer who, while I didn't always know what it was all about, was fascinated by the personalities, the voices, the conditions and the strangeness of the Japanese culture of the period.

    As it turned out I found myself enjoying many Aha moments, as pieces suddenly fell into place and situations became clear.

    13 of 14 people found this review helpful
  • The Great Influenza: The Epic Story of the Deadliest Plague in History

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By John M. Barry
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    Overall
    (1296)
    Performance
    (644)
    Story
    (653)

    No disease the world has ever known even remotely resembles the great influenza epidemic of 1918. Presumed to have begun when sick farm animals infected soldiers in Kansas, spreading and mutating into a lethal strain as troops carried it to Europe, it exploded across the world with unequaled ferocity and speed. It killed more people in 20 weeks than AIDS has killed in 20 years; it killed more people in a year than the plagues of the Middle Ages killed in a century.

    Nancy says: "Gripping and Gory"
    "Riviting"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book would easily qualify as a required text in a course on the History of Modern Medicine in America, as a primer on Epidemiology, microbiology and the Scientific Method. I think it should be required reading for anyone planing to make a career in health care.

    It is truly mind boggling to comprehend how poorly educated, and resistant the American medical establishment was at the end of the 19th century or how much resistance there was to the changes that would make us #1 in the world by the middle of the 20th.

    There is no telling how much worse things might have been if it had not been for "The Hopkins", and the creation of Johns Hopkins University, in pre-Civil war America.

    This story; which reads like a well written mystery novel, of the struggle to modernize medicine, and of the incredible gains, and the unforgivable failures, that occurred along with way; mostly due to large than life egos, and the self interests of politicians and civilians alike, is so mind blowing that it's difficult to imagine how we got to where we are today; or survived "The Great Epidemic"

    This is a fascinating read; especially for those of us in the medical professions, but surely, just as fascinating for those who are not.

    I never imagined that this book would be so enlightening or so spellbinding!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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