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ARG

Member Since 2008

13
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 12 reviews
  • 35 ratings
  • 283 titles in library
  • 4 purchased in 2015
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  • The Last Train from Hiroshima: The Survivors Look Back

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Charles Pellegrino
    • Narrated By Arthur Morey
    Overall
    (245)
    Performance
    (83)
    Story
    (83)

    Last Train from Hiroshima offers listeners a stunning "you are there" time capsule, gracefully wrapped in elegant prose. Charles Pellegrino's scientific authority and close relationship with the A-bomb's survivors make his account the most gripping and authoritative ever written. At the narrative's core are eyewitness accounts of those who experienced the atomic explosions firsthand---the Japanese civilians on the ground and the American fliers in the air.

    Daniel says: "Awsome"
    "Hard to Take"
    Overall

    It would not be my goal to criticize this work. It is a story that needs to be told and that we probably haven't heard well enough, having been on the other side. But in the end it is too much for me. At some point the story and informational value add versus the shock and grotesque balance went awry. I had to stop.

    3 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Daemon

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Daniel Suarez
    • Narrated By Jeff Gurner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (8021)
    Performance
    (4977)
    Story
    (5011)

    Thousands of autonomous computer programs, or daemons, make our networked world possible, running constantly in the background of our lives, trafficking e-mail, transferring money, and monitoring power grids. For the most part, daemons are benign, but the same can't always be said for the people who design them.

    Charles Atkinson says: "Really Fast Paced Sci Fi!"
    "It Hooks You... But"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book is certainly entertaining. And a lot of work and imagination went into it. I can even get the appeal, and maybe imagine I understand some of the underlying message? But then something is just kinda of wrong with it. The premise is a little far fetched, the technical characterizations a little trite and patronizing. But don't thing those are the biggest flaws. I sense that at some fundamental level, the story is just plain "wrong". I don't think the author really understands people, human behavior, and how most of us would react to something like this. Perhaps it is just an over confidence in technology. But there is something amoral about the whole story, which if it were on the level of a 1984 or Brave New World, which it isn't, might be easier to take. Instead it just kinda of feels like "hollywood" in a book. Techno for techno sake, gore for gore sake, and superficial characters and motivations to thread together a pretty engaging story line that takes you from one "cool scene" to the next. It certainly isn't "deep".

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Matterhorn: A Novel of the Vietnam War

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Karl Marlantes
    • Narrated By Bronson Pinchot
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4791)
    Performance
    (2903)
    Story
    (2904)

    Why we think it’s a great listen: A performance so poignant, we gave Bronson Pinchot (yes, Balki from Perfect Strangers) our inaugural Narrator of the Year award.... In the monsoon season of 1968-69 at a fire support base called Matterhorn, located in the remote mountains of Vietnam, a young and ambitious Marine lieutenant wants to command a company to further his civilian political ambitions. But two people stand in his way.

    Zachary says: "Matterhorn"
    "A Masterpiece - On Par With the Greats"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I would not normally pick this topic (Vietnam), nor be that attracted to war fiction. And even to start I was a bit wary. But soon the book picks up on you. And then it doesn't let go. The characterizations are wonderful, deep, rich. It has probably some of the better depictions of compromise, contradiction, tension, human failings, and motivations in any book I have read in a while. It stands above most other contemporary works of fiction, and I think you have to go back to more classic authors to match it. The narration is superb. I still have this book in my head, and I finished it over a month ago. A wonderful work.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs)
    • By Jonathan Haidt
    • Narrated By Jonathan Haidt
    Overall
    (849)
    Performance
    (719)
    Story
    (716)

    In The Righteous Mind, social psychologist Jonathan Haidt explores the origins of our divisions and points the way forward to mutual understanding. His starting point is moral intuition - the nearly instantaneous perceptions we all have about other people and the things they do. These intuitions feel like self-evident truths, making us righteously certain that those who see things differently are wrong. Haidt shows us how these intuitions differ across cultures, including the cultures of the political left and right.

    K. Cunningham says: "Why Good People Are Divided - Good for whom?"
    "A Welcome and Comprehensive Effort"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    First, I applaud the author for being open about his own biases and perspectives, and in his attempt at objective discovery and understanding. And overall I am a big fan of "centrist" dialog, trying to get off the treadmill of fixed narratives and agendas that so pervade our current culture. The effort is comprehensive, well researched, and the author is enthusiastic. I would probably ponder some aspects, but who am I to say. The one concern I might have is that it took someone this much effort, this much research and time, to actually start to admit his own limitations in perspective, and to acknowledge his own biases. That part is worrisome, not as a reflection on the author, but on the challenge of getting others to see other points of view, to be more respectful, to understand they might not see things that others see. But at least this book is a good contribution overall in that effort.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Destiny Disrupted: A History of the World through Islamic Eyes

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Tamim Ansary
    • Narrated By Tamim Ansary
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (639)
    Performance
    (475)
    Story
    (465)

    Until about 1800, the West and the Islamic realm were like two adjacent, parallel universes, each assuming itself to be the center of the world while ignoring the other. As Europeans colonized the globe, the two world histories intersected and the Western narrative drove the other one under. The West hardly noticed, but the Islamic world found the encounter profoundly disrupting.

    David says: "A history of the world before the West mattered"
    "Very Educational"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is an outstanding summary of a culture. It isn't in any way an apology, it doesn't preach, and is quite objective. It provides a clear and interesting summary for those who aren't part of that culture. And as such hopefully contributes a bit more to some perspective and understanding.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs)
    • By Matt Taibbi
    • Narrated By Ray Porter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (606)
    Performance
    (539)
    Story
    (547)

    Poverty goes up. Crime goes down. The prison population doubles. Fraud by the rich wipes out 40 percent of the world’s wealth. The rich get massively richer. No one goes to jail. In search of a solution, journalist Matt Taibbi discovered the Divide, the seam in American life where our two most troubling trends - growing wealth inequality and mass incarceration - come together, driven by a dramatic shift in American citizenship: Our basic rights are now determined by our wealth or poverty.

    Michael says: "Capitalism and Democracy Collide"
    "No One is Spared"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Taibbi does his work, and he doesn't really hold back from criticizing anyone if he feels it is justified. Have to give him credit on this front. And the book overall does a very good job of broadening perspectives. I read it just pre-Ferguson. Dang.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Detroit: An American Autopsy

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Charlie LeDuff
    • Narrated By Eric Martin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (376)
    Performance
    (335)
    Story
    (337)

    In the heart of America, a metropolis is quietly destroying itself. Detroit, once the richest city in the nation, is now its poorest. Once the vanguard of America’s machine age - mass production, automobiles, and blue-collar jobs - Detroit is now America’s capital for unemployment, illiteracy, foreclosure, and dropouts. With the steel-eyed reportage that has become his trademark and the righteous indignation that only a native son can possess, journalist Charlie LeDuff sets out to uncover what has brought low this once-vibrant city, his city.

    Stacee says: "Great performance, squandered opportunity"
    "Nailed It"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Where does Detroit rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    It is top 10% experience. The only reason I didn't want to listen to it at times was because it was so real, and so poignant that it would burn you out a bit.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    The political operative who characterized the auto execs while asking for federal subsidies. For being so spot on.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    It's a pretty sad and disturbing book. But it also has hope. And it is very real. This is the world we live in, whether we "see" it or not.


    Any additional comments?

    Charlie LeDuff should be commended, for the effort he has put back into his community. And for his very basic, down to earth tell it like it is effort. In a weird way, there is one big agenda here, but it isn't any of the agendas that so often dominate our world of discourse today. It is one rooted in realities, and trying to get some, any, concrete results.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Plato at the Googleplex: Why Philosophy Won't Go Away

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Rebecca Goldstein
    • Narrated By Dennis Holland
    Overall
    (45)
    Performance
    (34)
    Story
    (36)

    Is philosophy obsolete? Are the ancient questions still relevant in the age of cosmology and neuroscience, not to mention crowd-sourcing and cable news? The acclaimed philosopher and novelist Rebecca Newberger Goldstein provides a dazzlingly original plunge into the drama of philosophy, revealing its hidden role in today’s debates on religion, morality, politics, and science.

    ARG says: "Was looking forward to it, can't bear it"
    "Was looking forward to it, can't bear it"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What disappointed you about Plato at the Googleplex?

    I really looked forward to this. And there are some good parts, leading to introspection and deeper thought. But in some unfortunate convergence of story and narration the result is quite annoying. The voices make me cringe. The characters in the dialogs are horrible. And the overall impression is kinda of well, just downright annoying. Preachy, trite, a bit silly. It is in the end, perhaps just too patronizing. Like the author and/or narrator is "talking down" to the listener.


    Would you be willing to try another book from Rebecca Goldstein? Why or why not?

    Probably not, but can't say for sure.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Dennis Holland’s performances?

    Not so sure about that. I have developed a pretty bad association at this point with some of the voices in this book.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    Yes, the subject matter is potentially interesting, the context is a great idea, and at times it does deliver. It stretches you to think a little more about both yourself, the world around you and your reaction to it. But you pay a high price to get there, too high.


    Any additional comments?

    Don't talk down to your audience!

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • The Martian

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Andy Weir
    • Narrated By R. C. Bray
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (24889)
    Performance
    (22849)
    Story
    (22854)

    Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars. Now, he's sure he'll be the first person to die there. After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive—and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive. Chances are, though, he won't have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain old "human error" are much more likely to kill him first. But Mark isn't ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills—and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit—he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?"

    Michael G. Kurilla says: "Macgyver on Mars"
    "Entertaining but no masterpiece or deep work"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    Yes, good for driving or a summer read. Not a deep work.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Venkat, the realities of being an administrator


    What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

    Read cleanly, but some of the voices did make me cringe a bit, particularly of women.


    Did The Martian inspire you to do anything?

    No


    Any additional comments?

    This is NOT a masterpiece. It is entertaining comic book sci fi adventure done well. It's fun. But some of the characters, and some of the situations and inter-personal stuff made me cringe, as being a little trite or thin, or worse implausible.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Art of Racing in the Rain

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Garth Stein
    • Narrated By Christopher Evan Welch
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (6402)
    Performance
    (4262)
    Story
    (4276)

    Why we think it’s a great listen: If you’ve ever loved a dog - or even patted a dog - this book, told from the perspective of man’s best friend, will tug at your heartstrings...and won’t let go until long after Welch performs the last word. Enzo knows he is different from other dogs: a philosopher with a nearly human soul (and an obsession with opposable thumbs), he has educated himself by watching television extensively and by listening very closely to the words of his master.

    FanB14 says: "Artful Surprise"
    "Bamn!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to The Art of Racing in the Rain the most enjoyable?

    Great performance, great story, entertaining. Sure it was a little cute, but very good. This isn't a story about a dog, it is a story about life. Good characters, believable real world stuff. Insights and observations we all know and share, but packaged and delivered in very entertaining and enjoyable story. Great perspective.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Art of Racing in the Rain?

    There are a number, mostly revolving around the triumphs or critical turning points. Enzo out the window is one. Outside the courtroom is another. The walk to the funeral.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The Zebra!


    If you could take any character from The Art of Racing in the Rain out to dinner, who would it be and why?

    Why Enzo of course!


    Any additional comments?

    Highly recommend this book. Loved it!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Cloud Atlas

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By David Mitchell
    • Narrated By Scott Brick, Cassandra Campbell, Kim Mai Guest, and others
    Overall
    (3607)
    Performance
    (2756)
    Story
    (2768)

    A reluctant voyager crossing the Pacific in 1850; a disinherited composer blagging a precarious livelihood in between-the-wars Belgium; a high-minded journalist in Governor Reagan's California; a vanity publisher fleeing his gangland creditors; a genetically modified "dinery server" on death-row; and Zachry, a young Pacific Islander witnessing the nightfall of science and civilisation: the narrators of Cloud Atlas hear each other's echoes down the corridor of history.

    Elizabeth says: "thoroughly enjoyed"
    "Spare me the agenda, show some real insight"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you try another book from David Mitchell and/or the narrators?

    No. My impression is his perceptions are thin, and he is captive to a world view / cultural identity (liberal) which blinds him for truly perceptive and creative work. Nothing wrong with the identity, but the author needs to move beyond it's limitations if he is going to offer anything really interesting, inspiring or creative. Section 3 was so trite I wanted to scream.


    Has Cloud Atlas turned you off from other books in this genre?

    No, my assumption is this author is just limited in his abilities.


    Have you listened to any of the narrators???s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    This was multi-narrator book. They all do a very good job.


    What character would you cut from Cloud Atlas?

    The entire 3rd segment is insipid and thin. It relies on superficial tropes about corporate conspiracy and evil doing that is unbelievable. I couldn't bear it. Don't just give me a rehash construct of cultural war perspectives. Give me something that is truly observant of our world, of life, of human nature and of people. I can do with out the superficial rehash of the liberal culture war. It isn't the fact that it is liberal. I would be just as harsh on such a silly effort by someone captive to the conservative agenda. It isn't what I read fiction for. I get enough of this garbage in the news and general media, don't want it


    Any additional comments?

    One of the more disappointing titles I have ever experienced from Audible. Some others have been a little flat or boring, had other limits. But given the reviews for this I expected a lot more. Note sure why people think this one is particularly interesting. Found it quite shallow, predictable, and thin.

    5 of 11 people found this review helpful

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