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J. Hill

Atlanta, GA | Listener Since 2003

41
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 8 reviews
  • 124 ratings
  • 1 titles in library
  • 1 purchased in 2014
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  • The Life and Works of Beethoven

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Jeremy Siepmann
    • Narrated By Jeremy Siepmann
    Overall
    (85)
    Performance
    (17)
    Story
    (18)

    For many people, Beethoven is the greatest composer who ever lived. In this portrait-in-sound, actors' readings combine with his music to reveal a titanic personality, vulnerable and belligerent, comic and tragic, and above all, heroic.

    Rand says: "beethoven's life and works"
    "Excellent for non-musicians"
    Overall

    This reminded me of Karl Haas' Adventures in Good Music on NPR. It focuses on Beethoven's character and what was happening in his life when different pieces were composed. It's very accessible to someone unfamiliar with musical terms. Much of the information comes from letters by Beethoven and others, read by various actors.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Buying In: The Secret Dialogue Between What We Buy and Who We Are

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Rob Walker
    • Narrated By Robert Fass
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (131)
    Performance
    (36)
    Story
    (34)

    Marketing executives and consumer advocates alike predict a future of brand-proof consumers, armed with technology and a sophisticated understanding of marketing techniques, who can effectively tune out ad campaigns. But as Rob Walker demonstrates, this widely accepted misconception has eclipsed the real changes in the way modern consumers relate to their brands of choice. Combine this with marketers' new ability to blur the line between advertising, entertainment, and public space, and you have dramatically altered the relationship between consumer and consumed.

    Thomas says: "Its ok, good info, but I had to force my way"
    "Hello Kitty"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I think I'm a slightly more informed consumer after reading this book.


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

    I finally know the history of Hello Kitty!


    Any additional comments?

    Just a heads up if you ever find yourself being interviewed by the author -- if you use the F-word you are practically guaranteed to get quoted in his next book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Star Born

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Andre Norton
    • Narrated By Mark Nelson
    Overall
    (62)
    Performance
    (18)
    Story
    (18)

    When Raf Kurbi's spaceship from Earth burst into unexplored skies of the far planet Astra, it was made welcome by the natives of a once-mighty metropolis. But Kurbi was unaware of three vital things.

    Richard says: "Book is fine, even good, but narration kills it"
    "painful"
    Overall

    Like others, I got this on Orson Scott Card's recommendation. It's horrible. Narrator is the worst. Editing has some problems, too -- phrases that repeat, etc. Probably should read this one instead of listen.

    4 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Guitar: An American Life

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Tim Brookes
    • Narrated By Tim Brookes
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (141)
    Performance
    (38)
    Story
    (40)

    What was it about a small, humble folk instrument that allowed it to become an American icon? The guitar represents freedom, the open road, protest and rebellion, the blues, youth, lost love, and sexuality. Tim Brookes explores with adoration these ideas and how they became entwined with the history of America.

    Colin says: "Amazingly, a real page-turner"
    "Almost excellent"
    Overall

    I really enjoyed this book. I play the guitar, but I've never been interested much in guitar anatomy. This book makes both the history of the guitar and the details of its parts (and how they combine to make music) very interesting. I found particularly intriguing the role Hawaiian music had to play.

    I agree with another reviewer that the book would have benefited greatly from music clips to bring to life the author's descriptions. I quickly grew tired of the blues riff that marks the start of each chapter and would have liked to hear a different riff each time (or a better one repetitively). I could have done without all the f-bombs in the second half. Most of them are quotes when discussing the punk era, but they don't add anything to the narrative.

    Overall, an excellent listen. It's great in 30-minute chunks, which is how I ended up listening during a daily walk.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Le Show, 1-Month Subscription

    • NONE (1 hr)
    • By Harry Shearer
    • Narrated By Harry Shearer
    Overall
    (132)
    Performance
    (0)
    Story
    (0)

    Le Show is a program of satire, humor, and commentary about the week's news. Comedy sketches written and performed by multi-talented multimedia artist Harry Shearer, interwoven with an eclectic, ever-changing blend of music; from world to pop, soul to jazz. Shearer says about Le Show, "I do it because I don't do standup, and I don't do sitcoms, and the radio broadcast enables me to do what I think is funny in a broadcast medium without having to listen either to network executives or Canadian producers."

    David says: "Overpriced!"
    "Yawn. . ."
    Overall

    Maybe I picked a particularly bad episode (March 7, 2004) as my introduction to Le Show, but I couldn't get through the whole hour. The music was good but I guess I didn't "get" the rest of it. I respect the guy for being the voice behind many Simpsons characters (and for his role in A Mighty Wind), but here he just reads stuff from the news with lots of awkward silent pauses where I had to check to make sure it was still playing. I guess he thought the news bits were inherently funny because he didn't really give much commentary -- I felt like I was listening to a bad New York Times audio digest. There were a couple of non-news sketches that were mildly funny.

    I normally appreciate understated humor, but this was a little too understated for me.

    11 of 24 people found this review helpful
  • Pompeii: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Robert Harris
    • Narrated By John Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1196)
    Performance
    (275)
    Story
    (274)

    All along the Mediterranean coast, the Roman Empire's richest citizens are relaxing in their luxurious villas, enjoying the last days of summer. But the carefree lifestyle and gorgeous weather belie an impending cataclysm, and only one man is worried. The young engineer Marcus Attilius Primus has just taken charge of the Aqua Augusta, the enormous aqueduct that brings fresh water to a quarter of a million people in nine towns around the Bay of Naples. His predecessor has disappeared.

    Marty-Seattle says: "Brought my visit to Pompeii back to life"
    "Good book with some unnecessary junk"
    Overall

    The narrator is excellent - it's easy to keep track of the characters thanks to his skill with multiple voices.

    Harris is a great writer, but -- and I realize I'm going to sound prudish here -- there's some junk in there I could have done without. It's almost like he had an f-word count requirement he had to meet, forcing him to have characters say things like "you and your [eff-ing] mother" when the protagonist asked if he were strong enough to pull him out of a pit. (Wouldn't a simple "you and your mother" have worked fine?) There's also a lot of locker room talk about male (and some female) anatomy and awkwardly placed homoerotic episodes that I suppose are in there to further establish the debauchery of the "bad guys" in the story.

    None of this was needed to further the plot, in my opinion, and even seemed to interrupt the flow -- "we interrupt this story to briefly talk about erections again". Harris is a good enough writer to not need to fall back on the cheap titillation and shock value that seem to be all the rage these days.

    It would have been a great book without it.

    9 of 16 people found this review helpful
  • Don't Know Much About History: Everything You Need to Know About American History

    • UNABRIDGED (23 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Kenneth C. Davis
    • Narrated By Jeff Wooden
    Overall
    (541)
    Performance
    (89)
    Story
    (91)

    When Don't Know Much About History first appeared, it created a sensation. With humor, great stories, and a trademark conversational style, the audiobook brought Americans a fresh new take on history. Davis proved that Americans don't hate history - they just hate the dull textbook version they were force-fed in school.

    Tom says: "Great listen. Great information."
    "The first half is pretty good"
    Overall

    I'm a little more than halfway through this audiobook and it's starting to wear on me. Up through the Civil War the author seemed pretty level-headed, although he likes to hold 19th century people to 21st century standards of political correctness. Now that I'm up to the Spanish-American War, the Panama Canal, and Teddy Roosevelt (a man the author apparently despises), he's a lot more cynical and less concerned with presenting fact over opinion.

    He glosses over details behind conclusions that I'm guessing must be difficult to substantiate and expects the reader to 'trust me on this'. More and more, the author implies that every intelligent person agrees with his take without presenting details for the reader to decide.

    Since I'm listening to this book because I "don't know much about history" it's frustrating to realize that I'm really getting "what Kenneth Davis thinks about history". I'm not sure if I'll be able to make it much further, not because I'm conservative and prefer a sugar-coated summary of history but because uninteresting opinion is taking the place of interesting fact as the book progresses.

    12 of 14 people found this review helpful
  • John Adams

    • ABRIDGED (9 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By David McCullough
    • Narrated By Edward Herrmann
    Overall
    (1097)
    Performance
    (189)
    Story
    (188)

    With the sweep and vitality of a great novel, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian David McCullough presents the enthralling story of John Adams. This is history on a grand scale - an audiobook about politics, war, and social issues, but also about human nature, love, religious faith, virtue, ambition, friendship and betrayal, and the far-reaching consequences of noble ideas. Read by History Channel host Edward Herrmann!

    Thomas says: "fantastic"
    "Fascinating!"
    Overall

    This book is fascinating. If my high school history courses had been this absorbing I wouldn't be so ignorant of history today. McCullough is adept at drawing out the details that interest me rather than getting bogged down in dates and facts.

    The book is a great review of early American history with some new insights provided by Adams on old characters, especially Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson. The letters between Jefferson and Adams in their later years are particularly interesting, as well as the amazing relationship between John and Abigail.

    The reader's voice is great. I'm glad my wife has a copy of the book so I can fill in the gaps left out of this abridgement (although the flow of the audiobook doesn't suffer because of it).

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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