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M. S. Cohen

New York, NY USA | Member Since 2003

ratings
83
REVIEWS
42
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
23
HELPFUL VOTES
163

  • Broadway Nights: A Romp of Life, Love, and Musical Theatre

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Seth Rudetsky
    • Narrated By Seth Rudetsky, Kristin Chenoweth, Andrea Martin, and others
    Overall
    (379)
    Performance
    (177)
    Story
    (176)

    Stephen Sheerin was born to play on Broadway - or at least, under it. He's a musician, a conductor, and his dream is to music-direct a big Broadway musical. After years of toiling in the pit of some of the best-loved (and loathed) hits on the Great White Way, he's just been given his big break. Can life really be going that well? Of course not.

    Michael says: "A *must-have* for any fan of Broadway or humor!"
    "Fantastic! As much fun as seeing a Broadway show!"
    Overall

    One of the more delightful books I've listened to from Audible.

    Not only is the story a terrific one, but the cast of the audible book is a real treat. The author reads most of the book with wonderful emotions.

    But the supporting cast is great. Their voices and inflections make the whole book come alive.

    Anyone whose ever been to a Broadway show, visited or lived in New York, or just listened to a show tune will love this insightful story of musical theatre.

    And watching the characters grow and change is wonderful.

    I want more! This universe of characters is too rich to just fritter away.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The Lost Continent: Travels In Small Town America

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Bill Bryson
    • Narrated By William Roberts
    Overall
    (138)
    Performance
    (82)
    Story
    (82)

    Hardly anyone ever leaves Des Moines, Iowa. But Bill Bryson did, and after 10 years in England he decided to go home, to a foreign country. In an ageing Chevrolet Chevette, he drove nearly 14,000 miles through 38 states to compile this hilarious and perceptive state-of-the-nation report on small-town America.

    Lou says: "Bill's sophmoric, condescending journey"
    "Written by Bryson's evil twin"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I have listened to every one of Bryson's audio books here on Audible.com.

    I really like Bryson. He makes even the most mundane topics engrossing.

    And it's not that he completely hates America. A Short Walk where he talks about hiking the Appalacian Trail is wonderful and very positive.

    But in this early book his nastiness on American is not just palpable, it's suffocating.

    In addition, instead of Bryson's warm, folksy reading that I have come to enjoy, William Roberts's reading makes even warm thoughts on America come out snide and snarky.

    I pushed myself to listen to the whole thing so I would feel entitled to write a review.

    But if I could, I would have rewound the tape to erase it from my brain.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Made in America

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Bill Bryson
    • Narrated By William Roberts
    Overall
    (305)
    Performance
    (230)
    Story
    (236)

    In Made in America, Bryson de-mythologizes his native land, explaining how a dusty hamlet with neither woods nor holly became Hollywood, how the Wild West wasn't won, why Americans say 'lootenant' and 'Toosday', how Americans were eating junk food long before the word itself was cooked up, as well as exposing the true origins of the G-string, the original $64,000 question, and Dr Kellogg of cornflakes fame.

    Thomas S Kovacs says: "Bryson OK Roberts not so much"
    "Bill Bryson's evil twin wrote this book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'm so glad I didn't stumble on this book as my first Bryson. What a nasty, arrogant, bigoted, nasty (did I already say nasty?), smarmy man wrote this book. If this had been my first Bryson book I would never have bought another.

    Bryson, originally from Iowa, came back to America after two decades living in England and decides to drive around. Everything he sees, and everywhere he goes disappoints him. Food is greasy, gooey blobs that squirt all over him. Towns are drab, dreary, or filled with tourist attractions that are overpriced and not at all good.

    Bryson tells us about his father and mother driving him and his siblings around when they were young. Bryson's father is a dolt going to the worst of the worst state parks and attractions along their trips. Bryson even manages to make his mother, a saintly woman who never criticizes Bill, into a stupid woman and a doormat. If I were Bryson's family and read this book, I would have told Bill to never get within 500 miles of the family and to change his name so no one would know they are related.

    Don't like the tone of this review? That's because I just finished the audio book and I've got his nasty attitude ringing in my ears.

    Unlike most of the Bryson books I've read, where Bill is the narrator, this book is narrated by William Roberts. Roberts sounds like a cross between a carney huckster and a school yard bully. I kept thinking that most of the nastiness would have been ameliorated had Bryson been the narrator. ... But I doubt it. Williams does nothing to make the book less nasty. But I suspect he was reflecting the nasty attitude in the book.

    Read any other Bryson book written after 2000. Bill's a much nicer man then.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Death at Wentwater Court

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Carola Dunn
    • Narrated By Bernadette Dunne
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (329)
    Performance
    (136)
    Story
    (134)

    This first installment of a cozy mystery series transports listeners back to the bygone era of 1923 Britain, where unflappable flapper and fledgling journalist Daisy Dalrymple daringly embarks on her first writing assignment, and promptly stumbles across a corpse.

    Mary A. says: "Fun, 20's era mystery-I love Daisy Dalrymple"
    "Stuffy with a very disappointing ending"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I bought two Daisy Dalrymple books hoping for something as good as Kerry Greenwood;s Phryne Fisher mysteries. I was quite disappointed.

    The book cover would have you believe Daisy is similar to Phryne with short, bobbed, black hair. But that is hardly how she is described. And there is none of the decco air shown on the cover. Instead the characters are horribly 19th Century stuffy.

    The mystery is convoluted and I found myself not really caring who the murderer was.

    But without giving away the plot, I was horribly disappointed with the ending. This is NOT the way an amateur detective is supposed to behave. And it is NOT the way a Scotland Yard inspector would behave.

    It was hard for me to start the second book as I couldn't trust Daisy's behavior.

    Meanwhile, the narrator's breathy style is unnerving. And she has given Daisy a very little girl voice. With no feeling of being a grownup.

    I'm giving up on the series.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Cocaine Blues

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By Kerry Greenwood
    • Narrated By Stephanie Daniel
    Overall
    (778)
    Performance
    (552)
    Story
    (554)

    It's the end of the roaring twenties, and the exuberant and Honourable Phryne Fisher is dancing and gaming with gay abandon. But she becomes bored with London and the endless round of parties. In search of excitement, she sets her sights on a spot of detective work in Melbourne, Australia. And so mystery and the beautiful Russian dancer, Sasha de Lisse, appear in her life. From then on it's all cocaine and communism until her adventure reaches its steamy end in the Turkish baths of Little Lonsdale Street.

    Barbara M. Sullivan says: "A series that just gets better"
    "I'm totally hooked!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I started listening to the Phryne Fisher mysteries after watching the television series on Netflix. I was disappointed to find out the series was cancelled.

    So I decided to listen to the books.

    I'm up to book 17 and expect to finish the series in a month or so.

    The books are different from the TV shows, but not disappointing. The stories are complex and fun. Phryne is more sexual than the TV show and travels all around Australia.

    The narrator, Stephanie Daniels, is one of the best I've ever listened to. She does so many variations of English dialects: cultured British, Australian, Cockney, Irish, Scottish, the insanely difficult Welsh, as well as a myriad of Russian, Polish, Austrian, German, French, and (gasp!) even Yiddish!

    The books, especially Ms. Daniels, have done something I never would have expected—gotten me to forget losing the TV series.

    I'm posting this in the first book because I can't be expected to keep writing the same review for all the books in the series.

    (PS: I'm such a nut for the series that my phone ringtone is the first few bars of the TV show theme.)

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Modern Scholar: Visions of Utopia: Philosophy and the Perfect Society

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Fred E. Baumann
    Overall
    (31)
    Performance
    (15)
    Story
    (15)

    Professor Fred E. Baumann looks at what some philosophers have had to say on this subject, mostly in the form of stories about utopias. Five are written by great philosophers and the last by a challenging, nearly contemporary American scholar. All have exerted great influence on the history of thought or have expressed influential currents of thought. Professor Baumann's lectures not only examine these texts, but also address the results of attempting to put these utopias into practice.

    Len says: "Provocative and stimulating, albeit conservative"
    "Not at all what I had hoped for"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I was hoping for a study of the various literature of utopian societies: Brave New World, 1984, Shangri-la, etc.

    Instead this is a study of philosophers comments and debates on utopia.

    It's interesting, but not what I wanted.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Magic of Reality: How We Know What's Really True

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Richard Dawkins
    • Narrated By Richard Dawkins, Lalla Ward
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (879)
    Performance
    (758)
    Story
    (745)

    Richard Dawkins, the world’s most famous evolutionary biologist, presents a gorgeously lucid, science book examining some of the nature’s most fundamental questions both from a mythical and scientific perspective. Science is our most precise and powerful tool for making sense of the world. Before we developed the scientific method, we created rich mythologies to explain the unknown. The pressing questions that primitive men and women asked are the same ones we ask as children. Who was the first person? What is the sun? Why is there night and day?

    Connie says: "Audio version is superb for us grown-ups"
    "It's a science textbook for pre-teens"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The sub-head "How we know what's really true" led me to believe the book would be about how to refute and rebut arguments from the religious right on the validity of the Bible, etc.

    Instead it's a rather dull science textbook written for pre-teenagers.

    And unfortunately the woman's voice and intonation makes it seem that she is speaking to someone who doesn't understand English.

    I like Hawkins, but not this.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Shall We Tell the President?: Kane & Abel, Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Jeffrey Archer
    • Narrated By Lorelei King
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (34)
    Performance
    (29)
    Story
    (29)

    Florentyna Kane has finally become the first woman president in America. But on the very day that she is sworn into office, powerful forces are already in motion to take her life. The FBI investigates 1000s of false threats every year. This time, a reliable source has tipped them off about an assassination attempt. One hour later, the informant and all but one of the investigating agents are dead. The lone survivor: FBI Special Agent Mark Andrews. Now, only he knows when the killers will strike. But how can he alone unravel a ruthless conspiracy - in less than one week?

    M. S. Cohen says: "Recorded in 2013, but WRITTEN in 1977"
    "Recorded in 2013, but WRITTEN in 1977"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It's not a terrible book, but not great. But I spent a long time at the top of the book trying to understand why FBI agents always carried 20 quarters for pay phones. And no one seemed to include Reagan as part of Presidential assasination history.

    God, things have really changed since 1977. And much of the book feels dated because of it. Even the plot against the President is dated.

    Also, I wish someone was a little more careful with details of the recording. Senator Birch Bayh name was pronounced "Bye" not "Bay."

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Myths, Lies, and Half-Truths of Language Usage

    • ORIGINAL (12 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor John McWhorter
    Overall
    (55)
    Performance
    (54)
    Story
    (50)

    Conventional wisdom suggests English is going to the dogs, that bad grammar, slang, and illogical constructions signal a decline in standards of usage - to say nothing of the corruption wrought by email and text messages. But English is a complicated, marvelous language. Far from being a language in decline, English is the product of surprisingly varied linguistic forces, some of which have only recently come to light. And these forces continue to push English in exciting new directions.

    Tony says: "Easy Introduction to Linguistics"
    "Fantastic! Never expected this to be so much fun"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    McWhorter is one of the best teachers I have ever had.

    Energetic. Funny. Spontaneous! Educational!

    Even if you never wanted to learn about the English language, you should listen to this book.

    There are so many things in it about history, social history, language (of course), and grammar.

    And I will try to use the phrase "obsessive progressive" as much as I can in daily life. (You'll understand when you listen to the book.)

    Please, don't let the fact that this is a language course stop you. It's well worth every minute. (Although I confess I listen at 1.5 speed, but his voice doesn't suffer.)

    Anyone who enjoys bill Bryson will enjoy Professor McWhorter

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination

    • UNABRIDGED (33 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Neal Gabler
    • Narrated By Arthur Morey
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (377)
    Performance
    (227)
    Story
    (231)

    Seven years in the making and meticulously researched - Gabler is the first writer to be given complete access to the Disney archives - this is the full story of a man whose work left an ineradicable brand on our culture but whose life has largely been enshrouded in myth.

    Amanda says: "Diane Disney"
    "Best biography I've listened to in a long time"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    From the first sentence, this book hooked me in.

    Disney's life and struggle to succeed is fascinating.

    What I really appreciated was reading how he ran his company. He pushed his employees, artists and animators, to do more than they thought they could do.

    He also started the company with pool tables, fun events, and other diversions.

    I was surprised at this. In so many descriptions of how he ran the company, it sounded like the genius and drive of Steve Jobs combined with the fun of Google's offices.

    It made me realize that today's pioneers sometimes ride down the same road already paved in the past.

    Get the book. Listen to it. You'll never look at "the mouse" the same way again.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Year Zero: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Rob Reid
    • Narrated By John Hodgman
    Overall
    (1061)
    Performance
    (969)
    Story
    (967)

    Low-level entertainment lawyer Nick Carter thinks it's a prank, not an alien encounter, when a redheaded mullah and a curvaceous nun show up at his office. But Frampton and Carly are highly advanced (if bumbling) extraterrestrials. And boy, do they have news. The entire cosmos, they tell him, has been hopelessly hooked on humanity's music ever since "Year Zero" (1977 to us), when American pop songs first reached alien ears. This addiction has driven a vast intergalactic society to commit the biggest copyright violation since the Big Bang.

    Robert says: "Fantastic Performance by Hodgman"
    "Fun, Fun, Fun"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Pure fluff. Pure diversion. Pure entertainment.

    The mix of aliens and cut-throat lawyering makes this the best Sci-Fi I've read in a long time.

    Think all the fun of Douglas Adams's Hitchiker's Guide

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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