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Paul

Bangkok, Thailand | Member Since 2006

23
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 16 reviews
  • 16 ratings
  • 1 titles in library
  • 19 purchased in 2014
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FOLLOWERS
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  • Half Empty

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By David Rakoff
    • Narrated By David Rakoff
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (435)
    Performance
    (289)
    Story
    (287)

    In this deeply funny (and, no kidding, wise and poignant) book, Rakoff examines the realities of our sunny, gosh­ everyone-can-be-a-star contemporary culture and finds that, pretty much as a universal rule, the best is not yet to come, adversity will triumph, justice will not be served, and your dreams won’t come true. The book ranges from the personal to the universal, combining stories from Rakoff’s reporting and accounts of his own experi­ences....

    Maeghan says: "Even better heard than read"
    "Perfect Narration"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It's unusual that works read by the author actually turn out well. Rakoff 's (RIP) reading of Half Empty added and did not detract from the overall enjoyment of the book- a collection of hilarious essays on issues of the day. Rakoff's droll narration matched the witty and enjoyably cynical commentary.

    Rakoff is much like the other "David", David Sedaris, who has entertained us for years on NPR.

    This is a quick and enjoyable listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Things They Carried

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Tim O'Brien
    • Narrated By Bryan Cranston
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (898)
    Performance
    (829)
    Story
    (826)

    Hailed by The New York Times as "a marvel of storytelling", The Things They Carried’s portrayal of the boots-on-the-ground experience of soldiers in the Vietnam War is a landmark in war writing. Now, three-time Emmy Award winner-Bryan Cranston, star of the hit TV series Breaking Bad, delivers an electrifying performance that walks the book’s hallucinatory line between reality and fiction and highlights the emotional power of the spoken word.

    Michelle says: "Stark and poignant!"
    "Yuck"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I was stricken with a case of literary seasickness in listening to this book. The author stitched together a bunch of stories in an incoherent way that left the pitch and roll of this disorganized work most difficult to understand. Worse still, some of the stories, particularly the implausible and belabored recount of a soldier who imported his girlfriend to the front lines, strained credulity beyond the breaking point. Narcissistic diversions into what a "real war story" is or should be was another distraction that did little to help this allegedly authentic personal memoir limp across the finish line.

    Save your money.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Neuromancer

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By William Gibson
    • Narrated By Robertson Dean
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1139)
    Performance
    (1005)
    Story
    (1012)

    Twenty years ago, it was as if someone turned on a light. The future blazed into existence with each deliberate word that William Gibson laid down. The winner of Hugo, Nebula, and Philip K. Dick Awards, Neuromancer didn't just explode onto the science fiction scene - it permeated into the collective consciousness, culture, science, and technology.Today, there is only one science fiction masterpiece to thank for the term "cyberpunk," for easing the way into the information age and Internet society.

    David says: "5 stars for coolness, 3 stars for give-a-heckness"
    "Confused Scribblings"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Mr. Gibson wrote this work in 1984. It was hailed then and now as a an enduring classic in the sci-fi genre and a "seminal work" in the fringe category of "cyberpunk literature" - an oxymoronic phrase if ever there was one. I found it to be a jumble of hebephrenic wanderings, disorganized plot-lines, frenetic and chaotic character development and, ultimately, boring.

    One wonders at the state of Mr. Gibson's neurochemical equilibrium while writing this work, hailed by hipsters in the 80's as breaking new ground.

    Save your money and read Ender's Game.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Dead Mountain: The Untold True Story of the Dyatlov Pass Incident

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Donnie Eichar
    • Narrated By Donnie Eichar
    Overall
    (109)
    Performance
    (100)
    Story
    (99)

    In February 1959, a group of nine experienced hikers in the Russian Ural Mountains died mysteriously on an elevation known as Dead Mountain. Eerie aspects of the incident—unexplained violent injuries, signs that they cut open and fled the tent without proper clothing or shoes, a strange final photograph taken by one of the hikers, and elevated levels of radiation found on some of their clothes—have led to decades of speculation over what really happened.

    Bruce says: "Fascinating and compassionate investigation"
    "A Great Antidote For Insomnia"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This story is further proof, if further proof is needed, of the rule that authors should stick to writing and leave narrations of their stories to the pros. Donnie Elchar, perhaps afflicted with a temporary spasm of narcissism, decided to read his own work.

    "Monotone" is defined as "a vocal utterance or series of speech sounds in one unvaried tone." Yet, "monotone" seems to fall short as an adjective appropriate to the audible edition of this work. "Mumbling", "muttering" and "stammering" are verbs that might assist.

    Tragically, Mr. Elchar's reading was so annoying and so ineffective that it completely obscured the superhuman effort he put into researching this alluring tale that persists on the fringes of conspiracy/UFO/government coverup literature.

    My advice: buy the Kindle or print edition and read it, if you like this kind of story.

    2 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • White Fire: Agent Pendergast, Book 13

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Douglas Preston, Lincoln Child
    • Narrated By Rene Auberjonois
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1639)
    Performance
    (1457)
    Story
    (1468)

    Special Agent Pendergast arrives at an exclusive Colorado ski resort to rescue his protégée, Corrie Swanson, from serious trouble with the law. His sudden appearance coincides with the first attack of a murderous arsonist who - with brutal precision - begins burning down multimillion-dollar mansions with the families locked inside. After springing Corrie from jail, Pendergast learns she made a discovery while examining the bones of several miners who were killed 150 years earlier by a rogue grizzly bear.

    G. House Sr. says: "A Grand Slam Tale of Terror"
    "More Irritating Than Entertaining"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    White Fire is the latest installment in the successful Pendergast series of novels for which the authors Preston and Child collaborate. I thought advertising this work as a Pendergast book bordered on bait-and-switch marketing. Pendergast indeed eventually arrives on the scene, but a major portion of this story, and the entire early setup of the novel, is devoted to Corrie Swanson, a minor character who appeared in earlier works in this series.

    The authors did not develop Corrie as a character. Instead, she is used as a theatrical prop and counterpoint to Pendergast's brief appearances to lend the novel an unrealistic if not implausible sense of danger and drama. In sum, Corrie is a one-trick pony whose default response to all situations is simply to do the opposite of what she is told or what makes sense. She is a literary stick figure and caricature of a restless young woman who brings little to the table as a principal character whom the reader might like, dislike, sympathize with, root for or relate to in any satisfying way.

    I wonder if the authors are running out new ideas for the Pendergast series?

    I would give White Fire a pass and perhaps re-read (or re-listen to) an earlier and more entertaining Pendergast novel.

    Rene Auberjonois performs well in this work, capturing the unique southern drawl of Pendergast, the alleged protagonist in this work, as well as a myriad of other characters who come and go in this novel.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Doctor Sleep: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Stephen King
    • Narrated By Will Patton
    Overall
    (5930)
    Performance
    (5493)
    Story
    (5512)

    Stephen King returns to the characters and territory of one of his most popular novels ever, The Shining, in this instantly riveting novel about the now middle-aged Dan Torrance (the boy protagonist of The Shining) and the very special 12-year-old girl he must save from a tribe of murderous paranormals. This is an epic war between good and evil, a gory, glorious story that will thrill the millions of hyper-devoted fans of The Shining and wildly satisfy anyone new to the territory of this icon in the King canon.

    D says: "The sequel to the book; not the movie"
    "All "5"s"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Stephen King is the Master. And by that I mean THE Master. I've read and listened to all of his works. In his recorded remarks at the end of this work Mr. King said, "...and I'm pretty good at what I do." Yes, he is.

    The book is masterfully performed by Will Patton. As I'm an avid fan of Mr. Patton and his readings of James Lee Burke's Dave Robicheaux novels, I enjoyed hearing echoes of Clete Purcell in some of the dialogue in Dr. Sleep.

    While long, the book is perfectly paced, excruciatingly well-organized (and that's a good thing- there are a lot of moving parts here), exquisitely edited and totally addictive. As with athletes, artists, craftsmen and statesmen, one would expect talent to wane over the decades. The opposite seems to be the case with Mr. King.

    Mr. King's magic, it seems to me, is in carefully cultivating terror on the margins of one's mind - not so much from what is said or done or happens, but instead by something else that resonates just outside of one's mental peripheral vision.

    While some of his earlier books seemed to be written with the movie rights and adaptation to screen in mind, this was not the case with Dr. Sleep.

    Finally, I enjoyed very much Mr. King's references to AA wisdom, the nuggets of which were, like acorns, strewn along the path of this tale, adding to both the depth of the characters and the enjoyment of the reader.

    Very, very well done.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Exposed: The Secret Life of Jodi Arias

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Jane Velez-Mitchell
    • Narrated By Elizabeth White
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (81)
    Performance
    (77)
    Story
    (75)

    On June 9, 2008, the butchered body of Travis Alexander was found in his Mesa, Arizona, home. The grisly nature of his death made instant headlines: With 29 knife wounds, his throat slit, and a gunshot to the head, Travis was left to die. The prime suspect in the case was Alexander's ex-girlfriend, the attractive and soft-spoken Jodi Arias. Though Arias initially said that she was nowhere near the scene of crime, little about this case was as it seemed, and before long she had been caught lying to police. As the investigation progressed, her lies evolved multiple times before finally resting on an appalling claim: She had killed Travis in self-defense.

    Tracy says: "Intriguing!"
    "More Tabloid Than Literary"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The sordid crime and lurid sexual details described in this work would have been more suitable for a piece in Vanity Fair, where one might distractedly read it while waiting for a dental appointment. At its essence, the book describes the murder of a young man by his habitually distrustful girlfriend, an occurrence barely noticed in our modern world. Excursions into the the family history and psychological profile of Jodi Arias, as well as that of her victim - Travis Alexander - were confusing distractions that further obscured the point of this work.

    The author seemed to rely on a rehash of publicly available documents and evidence produced at trial in a beleaguered effort to sensationalize a routine homicide caused by a relationship gone bad. Interestingly, and in the author's preface to the work, Ms. Velez-Mitchel displayed an unseemly personal distaste for Ms. Arias that seemed unprofessional and out-of-place.


    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • NOS4A2: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Joe Hill
    • Narrated By Kate Mulgrew
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2697)
    Performance
    (2496)
    Story
    (2501)

    Victoria McQueen has an uncanny knack for finding things: a misplaced bracelet, a missing photograph, answers to unanswerable questions. When she rides her bicycle over the rickety old covered bridge in the woods near her house, she always emerges in the places she needs to be. Vic doesn't tell anyone about her unusual ability, because she knows no one will believe her. She has trouble understanding it herself.

    Christopher Barnes says: "D*mn near flawless"
    "A Great Story - Until The Wheels Came Off"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I enjoyed the opening sections of this work. The author did a good job setting up the plot and outlining the characters and their respective roles in the action. As the story lumbered on, however, it seemed as if Mr. Hill had no idea where he was taking this tale when he first put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) in Chapter 1. As Mr. Hill lost his compass heading, the story line unraveled under the weight of a poorly organized work of fiction. A good story has a beginning, a middle and an end; Mr. Hill's work was just endless middle.

    The characters were the saving grace of this book, more due to the excellent performance of Ms.Kate Mulgrew than creative portrayals by Mr. Hill. I've not yet been inclined in my 10-year membership to listen to other works based on the performance of the reader alone. For Ms. Mulgrew, I plan to make an exception and will soon look to see what else she has done. She did a great job.

    My advice: Save your money and look for Kate Mulgrew to read something else.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Whitey: The Life of America's Most Notorious Mob Boss

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Dick Lehr, Gerard O'Neill
    • Narrated By John Rubinstein
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (59)
    Performance
    (50)
    Story
    (50)

    Drawing on a trove of sealed files and previously classified material, Whitey digs deep into the mind of James J. "Whitey" Bulger, the crime boss and killer who brought the FBI to its knees. He is an American original - a psychopath who fostered a following with a frightening mix of terror, deadly intimidation, and the deft touch of a politician who often helped a family in need meet their monthly rent. But the history shows that despite the early false myths portraying him as a Robin Hood figure, Whitey was a supreme narcissist, and everything was always about him.

    Paul says: "NOT Osama bin-Laden"
    "NOT Osama bin-Laden"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The opening segment of this work claimed that James J. "Whitey" Bulger was, after Osama bin-Laden, "America's most notorious criminal."

    Hardly.

    That attempt at puffing up Whitey's imprint on our country, however, did not detract from the overall enjoyment of the book. This is the third in a trilogy of works devoted to the life and times of Whitey. This final installment, like the previous "Black Mass", is more an indictment of FBI corruption than a frightening account of a notorious Irish gangster.

    In fact, rather than a "criminal mastermind" as described by the authors, Whitey turns out to be simply a local Boston-based hoodlum, with a penchant for hands-on violence, surrounded by a gang that couldn't shoot straight.

    The authors' discursions into topical events of the 1960s, 70s and 80s are enjoyable and do not detract from the pace or direction of the story. Whitey's participation in CIA backed LSD experimentation on prisoners is one example of hidden nuggets in this work, otherwise freighted with minutia about Whitey, his family and criminal associates.

    John Rubenstein does an outstanding job of reading this work. His delivery carried me over passages bloated with detail and historical data that, after a while, left me overwhelmed and numb.

    In sum, a good story about a small time crook, whose grasp eventually exceeded his reach.

    Worth the money and time.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Mount Dragon

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Douglas Preston, Lincoln Child
    • Narrated By David Colacci
    Overall
    (1321)
    Performance
    (616)
    Story
    (629)

    Guy Carson is a brilliant scientist at GeneDyne, one of the world's foremost biochemical companies. When he is transferred to Mount Dragon, GeneDyne's high-security genetic engineering lab, his good fortune seems too good to be true.

    Carson soon finds that it is. He learns that GeneDyne geneticists are tinkering with a common virus with an eye on the enormous profit to be had from a cure for the flu. Their cure involves permanently altering DNA in humans. What's more, Mount Dragon harbors another secret that puts the world at horrifying risk.

    Kathy says: "Great grab-you-in-plot!"
    "A Thinking Man's Thriller"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I liked this 2008 work by Preston and Child. The plot was a bit freighted with bio-tech and IT jargon before hitting air speed about 1/3 of the way in. It's an exciting story, with unpredictable plot twists and an all-too-frightening resemblance to our modern world. If the reader is willing to devote time and patience as the book sets up, the subsequent ride is well worth the effort.

    With a few exceptions, the protagonist Guy Carson and his friends and foes are well- placed, believable characters deftly manipulated by the authors to maximum effect. The sole exception is Guy's female sidekick, whose ethnic rants and extraneous social commentary were an irritating distraction after a while.

    All in all, a great book and a good read too by David Colacci.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Ghostman

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By Roger Hobbs
    • Narrated By Jake Weber
    Overall
    (337)
    Performance
    (295)
    Story
    (297)

    When a casino robbery in Atlantic City goes horribly awry, the man who orchestrated it is obliged to call in a favor from someone who's occasionally called Jack. While it's doubtful that anyone knows his actual name or anything at all about his true identity, or even if he's still alive, he's in his mid-30s and lives completely off the grid, a criminal's criminal who does entirely as he pleases and is almost impossible to get in touch with.

    Hassan says: "Authentic And Full of Action!!"
    "Must Miss Breakout Thriller"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Simply put: The story, characters, venue and performance of this book were predictable, threadbare and ultimately boring. The dialogue was so laden with crime novel cliches that I had to occasionally take a break to avoid the temptation to erase the entire book before continuing. Predictable tough guys with no depth of character litter this work throughout. Lecturing tomes about "how to", " only two ways to do", etc., ripped off from Lee Child and his Jack Reacher series, here fell flat and came across as condescending.

    Geeky descriptions of fearsome weapons and unnecessarily graphic descriptions of grisly acts of violence could not compensate for shallow characters, shaky story line and cringe-inducing dialogue.

    Jake Weber's performance was more distraction than entertainment. His efforts to portray hardened criminals as well as world-weary but soft-harted characters from society's fringe lacked subtlety and resulted in caricatures of criminals instead of believable persons. To be fair, the dialogue he was forced to work with inexorably led to this result.

    Mr. Hobb's literary agent turned in the best performance here by somehow convincing Audible to showcase this first book as a must-read, breakout thriller.


    6 of 8 people found this review helpful

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