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Andrew

Portland, ME, United States | Member Since 2008

6
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 9 reviews
  • 26 ratings
  • 183 titles in library
  • 11 purchased in 2014
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  • This Is How You Lose Her

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Junot Díaz
    • Narrated By Junot Díaz
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (421)
    Performance
    (363)
    Story
    (368)

    The stories in This Is How You Lose Her, by turns hilarious and devastating, raucous and tender, lay bare the infinite longing and inevitable weaknesses of our all-too-human hearts. They capture the heat of new passion, the recklessness with which we betray what we most treasure, and the torture we go through - "the begging, the crawling over glass, the crying" - to try to mend what we've broken beyond repair. They recall the echoes that intimacy leaves behind, even where we thought we did not care.

    josh says: "Good collection of short stories"
    "What a voice! Both figuratively and literally..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It is such a pleasure to hear an author read their own work. And doubly so when the work is of such quality.

    Not all of the interconnected stories in this book are of the high standard f the title story, but Junot Diaz just nails it most of the time. He strips away so much artifice in his writing, and speaks so cleanly and clearly about relationship. His reading of the work is clean and clear and without artifice as well.

    My only complaint is with the producer and director - on a couple of occasions the edits are really sloppy - the pitch of the inserted word or phrase is really off. Just not professional quality work.

    Anyway - it was great to listen to this audiobook and I highly recommend it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Ada, or Ardor: A Family Chronicle

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Vladimir Nabokov
    • Narrated By Arthur Morey
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (31)
    Performance
    (30)
    Story
    (30)

    Published two weeks after Vladimir Nabokov’s seventieth birthday, Ada, or Ardor is one of his greatest masterpieces, the glorious culmination of his career as a novelist. It tells a love story troubled by incest, but it is also at once a fairy tale, epic, philosophical treatise on the nature of time, parody of the history of the novel, and erotic catalogue. Ada, or Ardor is no less than the supreme work of an imagination at white heat. This is the first American edition to include the extensive and ingeniously sardonic appendix by the author, written under the anagrammatic pseudonym Vivian Darkbloom.

    Darwin8u says: "Incest, a game the Whole Family Can Play"
    "Extraordinary work, Extraordinary writer"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I had listened to Jeremy Irons' reading of Lolita with amazement, but I was so taken with his narration that I may have underrated the writer. No longer. Ada, by Nabokov, reminds me of nothing so much as reading Proust when I was 23 - a transcendent experience. His facility with words, his play with time and place and history is flawless.

    But this is not for the meek or faint of heart! It requires attention and devotion. Truly an extraordinary work.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • One Summer: America, 1927

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Bill Bryson
    • Narrated By Bill Bryson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1315)
    Performance
    (1189)
    Story
    (1174)

    One of the most admired nonfiction writers of our time retells the story of one truly fabulous year in the life of his native country - a fascinating and gripping narrative featuring such outsized American heroes as Charles Lindbergh, Babe Ruth, and yes Herbert Hoover, and a gallery of criminals (Al Capone), eccentrics (Shipwreck Kelly), and close-mouthed politicians (Calvin Coolidge). It was the year Americans attempted and accomplished outsized things and came of age in a big, brawling manner. What a country. What a summer. And what a writer to bring it all so vividly alive.

    Mark says: "Why 1927?"
    "A fine book for the less informed"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I read a Bill Bryson book called Home or something like that with great pleasure on vacation once. I opened this book at an airport to a Babe Ruth page and thought 'this looks like fun.' Well, not so much.

    The reading of the book, by author Bill Bryson, is curiously subdued. A bit more energy or enthusiasm or something would be warranted occasionally. He should not be encouraged or even allowed to read his own books; leave this to more accomplished readers like Junot Diaz, please.

    The book itself is a bit drab. I knew a lot of this history already; perhaps if this was your first venture into the world of the teens, twenties, and and thirties it would be wonderful. For me, it wasn't. Pus, the author always seems a bit puzzled by what he is writing about… is he British, perhaps? Anyway - not one of my better audiobook choices, and not one I would recommend to anyone except the casual reader looking for 'popular' history, I think.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Bad Monkey

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Carl Hiaasen
    • Narrated By Arte Johnson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (891)
    Performance
    (787)
    Story
    (796)

    Andrew Yancy - late of the Miami Police and soon-to-be-late of the Monroe County sheriff’s office - has a human arm in his freezer. There’s a logical (Hiaasenian) explanation for that, but not for how and why it parted from its shadowy owner. Yancy thinks the boating-accident/shark-luncheon explanation is full of holes, and if he can prove murder, the sheriff might rescue him from his grisly Health Inspector gig (it’s not called the roach patrol for nothing). But first - this being Hiaasen country - Yancy must negotiate an obstacle course of wildly unpredictable events with a crew of even more wildly unpredictable characters.

    James says: "Disappointed"
    "Not as good as previous Hiassen's but ..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Any Hiassen is worth a listen, though this isn't one of his best. And the new narrator is not as fun as the one who does the older books.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Nixonland: The Rise of a President and the Fracturing of America

    • UNABRIDGED (36 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Rick Perlstein
    • Narrated By Stephen R. Thorne
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (359)
    Performance
    (170)
    Story
    (177)

    From one of America's most talented historians and winner of a LA Times Book Prize comes a brilliant new account of Richard Nixon that reveals the riveting backstory to the red state/blue state resentments that divide our nation today. Told with urgency and sharp political insight, Nixonland recaptures America's turbulent 1960s and early 1970s and reveals how Richard Nixon rose from the political grave to seize and hold the presidency.

    Frank says: "A 5-Star Book Injured by the Narrator"
    "What a bad production of a good book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A decent history that illuminates the recent origins of the factionalism we see now in our tea party/red states/blue states world. I'd forgotten the demagoguery of Agnew, and the vileness of Reagan and Nixon.

    That said, the production values were TERRIBLE. It would be easy to blame the narrator, but its the producer's job to tell him when he is mispronouncing words. And the editing, with weird silences and bad other bad editing is amateurish.

    But it is history everyone should be reminded of these days.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • George F. Kennan: An American Life

    • UNABRIDGED (31 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By John Lewis Gaddis
    • Narrated By Malcolm Hilgartner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (62)
    Performance
    (51)
    Story
    (50)

    Drawing on extensive interviews with George Kennan and exclusive access to his archives, an eminent scholar of the Cold War delivers a revelatory biography of its troubled mastermind. This is a landmark work of history and biography that reveals the vast influence and rich inner landscape of a life that both mirrored and shaped the century it spanned.

    Amazon Customer says: "Kennan: a man who needs to be studied"
    "Should have been better..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A little repetitive in the writing. The man was interesting, and he lay at the center of some good history. But after spending hours with this biography, I am not sure I learned a great deal. Unlike the great biographers - Robert Caro, for instance - the historical context and monumental sweep of history simply isn't conveyed particularly well.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: A Signature Performance by Elijah Wood

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Mark Twain
    • Narrated By Elijah Wood
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2542)
    Performance
    (2019)
    Story
    (2005)

    A Signature Performance: Elijah Wood becomes the first narrator to bring a youthful voice and energy to the story, perhaps making it the closest interpretation to Twain’s original intent.

    James says: "Worthy "signature" premiere"
    "A little disappointing..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Elijah Wood's narration is a little bland. The novel, too, wasn't as heartfelt as I had hoped. I enjoyed the vernacular, but the words lay a little too much on the surface for me. Other nineteenth century classics - Moby Dick, for instance - don't show their age so badly.

    I didn't feel like it was a waste of time - it just wasn't gripping.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • 1Q84

    • UNABRIDGED (46 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By Haruki Murakami, Jay Rubin (translator), Philip Gabriel (translator)
    • Narrated By Allison Hiroto, Marc Vietor, Mark Boyett
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4094)
    Performance
    (3578)
    Story
    (3546)

    The year is 1984 and the city is Tokyo.

    A young woman named Aomame follows a taxi driver's enigmatic suggestion and begins to notice puzzling discrepancies in the world around her. She has entered, she realizes, a parallel existence, which she calls 1Q84 - "Q" is for "question mark". A world that bears a question....

    Dr. says: "Slow, Strange, and (ultimately) Satisfying"
    "far better than expected..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Recommended to most of my friends. Not a book for dopes, or those looking for "a good read". The author is the real deal, and the book an interesting blend of low brow and high brow. Pleasantly unsensational, sweet, hopeful, and bizarre. Very well voiced by the three readers, be prepared for a long ride through multiple time space continuums.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration

    • UNABRIDGED (22 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Isabel Wilkerson
    • Narrated By Robin Miles, Ken Burns
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (917)
    Performance
    (736)
    Story
    (737)

    In this epic, beautifully written masterwork, Pulitzer Prize–winning author Isabel Wilkerson chronicles one of the great untold stories of American history: the decades-long migration of black citizens who fled the South for northern and western cities in search of a better life. From 1915 to 1970, this exodus of almost six million people changed the face of America. Wilkerson interviewed more than a thousand people, and gained access to previously untapped data and official records, to write this definitive and vividly dramatic account of how these American journeys unfolded, altering our cities, our country, and ourselves.

    Lila says: "Superior non-fiction"
    "Disappointing"
    Overall

    This was a surprisingly poor book. I am inclined to blame its editor, rather than its author. Sentences, phrases, and concepts were repeated in the text to an annoying degree. For a book so lauded, it was surprisingly shallow in its insights. Maybe if I was a teenager it would have been fun, but it is a rehash of fairly well-known history written through a fairly common device - three supposedly first hand histories of three diverse emigres from the Jim Crow south to LA, Chicago, and NYC respectively.

    It wasn't terrible - while I wanted to stop listening, I continued - but not so fun or interesting as, say, The Republic of Suffering by Drew Gilpin. If you are new to this story - which is the great story of my lifetime - then The Warmth of Other Suns will ease you into the great changes that have happened in America in the past 100 years. But if you know the story already, and are looking for new insights, go elsewhere, I think.

    4 of 14 people found this review helpful

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