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Jim

Boston, MA, United States | Member Since 2007

128
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 31 reviews
  • 145 ratings
  • 395 titles in library
  • 30 purchased in 2014
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FOLLOWERS
4

  • When We Were Orphans

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Kazuo Ishiguro
    • Narrated By John Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (190)
    Performance
    (62)
    Story
    (62)

    Christopher Banks, an English boy born in early-20th-century Shanghai, is orphaned at age nine when both his mother and father disappear under suspicious circumstances. He grows up to become a renowned detective, and more than 20 years later, returns to Shanghai to solve the mystery of the disappearances.

    Everett Leiter says: "Just short of 5 stars"
    "A Great book well read"
    Overall

    I've read other listeners' comments that the audio quality was bad and, perhaps its been corrected, but the quality and editing on the version I downloaded in Feb. 2010 was great. As for the dropped pot lines, I'm simply baffled. This is not by any stretch a typical mystery novel and perhaps those comments were submitted by disappointed fans of tidy stories where all details are wrapped up in the last chapter by the omniscient sleuth - who usually gets the girl. Here, our hero is a flawed, accidental, and sometimes pompous, British imperialist who just happens to be a detective but is really just a man trying to understand his place in pre-WWII history in Shanghai. Ultimately he is just an orphan who is trying to find out what happened to his parents who disappeared when he was just a boy. A great novel set in an all too neglected setting in 20th century Asia.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Joel Dicker
    • Narrated By Pierce Cravens
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (79)
    Performance
    (73)
    Story
    (71)

    August 30, 1975: The day 15-year-old Nola Kellergan is glimpsed fleeing through the woods before she disappears; the day Somerset, New Hampshire, lost its innocence. Thirty-three years later, Marcus Goldman, a successful young novelist, visits Somerset to see his mentor, Harry Quebert, one of America’s most respected writers, and to find a cure for his writer’s block as his publisher's deadline looms.

    Omie says: "AN INCREDIBLY STUPID BOOK"
    "Sophomoric Claptrap"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I foolishly decided to ignore the member reviews and see for myself. Wooden prose, implausible situations, cartoonish characters.. an effort that Dan Brown would be embarrassed about.

    Save your credits for something worthwhile. Pierce Cravens is a fine narrator but I look forward to hearing him read something that's not complete rubbish.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The Son: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Jo Nesbø
    • Narrated By Gildart Jackson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (714)
    Performance
    (643)
    Story
    (639)

    Sonny Lofthus is a strangely charismatic and complacent young man. Sonny’s been in prison for a dozen years, nearly half his life. The inmates who seek out his uncanny abilities to soothe leave his cell feeling absolved. They don’t know or care that Sonny has a serious heroin habit - or where or how he gets his uninterrupted supply of the drug. Or that he’s serving time for other peoples’ crimes. Sonny took the first steps toward addiction when his father took his own life rather than face exposure as a corrupt cop. Now Sonny is the seemingly malleable center of a whole infrastructure of corruption....

    Charles Atkinson says: "Maybe The Best Mystery Novelist Anywhere"
    "Did NOT like this narrator"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I really liked this story in the typically dark Scandinavian murder tradition, but the narrator was one of the most wooden readers I've ever listened to. In places it really ruined the story for me. I will avoid Gildart Jackson in the future.

    12 of 13 people found this review helpful
  • Beautiful Ruins

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Jess Walter
    • Narrated By Edoardo Ballerini
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (6225)
    Performance
    (5391)
    Story
    (5386)

    The story begins in 1962. On a rocky patch of the sun-drenched Italian coastline, a young innkeeper, chest-deep in daydreams, looks out over the incandescent waters of the Ligurian Sea and spies an apparition: a tall, thin woman, a vision in white, approaching him on a boat. She is an actress, he soon learns, an American starlet, and she is dying. And the story begins again today, half a world away, when an elderly Italian man shows up on a movie studio's back lot - searching for the mysterious woman he last saw at his hotel decades earlier.

    Ella says: "My mind wandered"
    "Melancholic romanticism"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I thoroughly enjoyed the pervasive aura of melancholy and missed opportunities. I thought the twist of meeting up with iconic figures of the 1960s was enjoyable and served to remind that famous people are at once average and yet not. Worth a listen.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill, Volume 3: Defender of the Realm, 1940-1965

    • UNABRIDGED (53 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By William Manchester, Paul Reid
    • Narrated By Clive Chafer, Paul Reid
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (540)
    Performance
    (458)
    Story
    (459)

    Spanning the years 1940 to 1965, Defender of the Realm, the third volume of William Manchester’s The Last Lion, picks up shortly after Winston Churchill became prime minister - when his tiny island nation stood alone against the overwhelming might of Nazi Germany. The Churchill portrayed by Manchester and Reid is a man of indomitable courage, lightning-fast intellect, and an irresistible will to action.

    Mike From Mesa says: "A worthy final volume in a great biography"
    "A Great conclusion to the trilogy"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Paul Reid has done a masterful job with the herculean task of completing volume three in this trilogy. For my taste, there was perhaps a bit too much detail on the war maneuvers and not enough on the politics but it is a minor complaint and I'm sure others will disagree. The narrators do an admirable if not great job, and the introduction by Paul Reid is in my opinion quite nice. Clive Chafer, however, is not my favorite narrator, with the somewhat perfunctory affect of a BBC news reader. Still, the story and the man are so compelling that these minor details can hardly distract from the terrific conclusion to the sweeping saga that was Churchill's life.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • 1861: The Civil War Awakening

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Adam Goodheart
    • Narrated By Jonathan Davis
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (650)
    Performance
    (483)
    Story
    (486)

    As the United States marks the 150th anniversary of our defining national drama, 1861 presents a gripping and original account of how the Civil War began. 1861 is an epic of courage and heroism beyond the battlefields. Early in that fateful year, a second American revolution unfolded, inspiring a new generation to reject their parents' faith in compromise and appeasement, to do the unthinkable in the name of an ideal.

    James says: "Fascinating."
    "A well balanced look"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a really well balanced look at the complex forces that shaped the years leading into the Civil War. For me, the most interesting part is the rather ambivalent anti-slavery position of many in the north.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Truman

    • UNABRIDGED (54 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By David McCullough
    • Narrated By Nelson Runger
    Overall
    (417)
    Performance
    (362)
    Story
    (367)

    Hailed by critics as an American masterpiece, David McCullough's sweeping biography of Harry S. Truman captured the heart of the nation. The life and times of the 33rd president of the United States, Truman provides a deeply moving look at an extraordinary, singular American.

    Edith says: "Fascinating"
    "Fabulous!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    An amazing look into just about every detail of Truman's life. My only POSSIBLE criticism is that the description of the whistle stop campaign could have used one or two fewer stops (at least in the book). Still, a wonderful biography and worth every minute.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • James Madison and the Making of America

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Kevin R. C. Gutzman
    • Narrated By Arthur Morey
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (56)
    Performance
    (51)
    Story
    (48)

    In James Madison and the Making of America, historian Kevin Gutzman looks beyond the way James Madison is traditionally seen - as "The Father of the Constitution” - to find a more complex and sometimes contradictory portrait of this influential Founding Father and the ways in which he influenced the spirit of today's United States.

    David says: "Not a traditional biography"
    "James Madison and the Tedium of America's Founding"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    First let me say I love biographies and this is one of the first that I can't get through. I'm stuck at 3/4 of the way and don't know if I can make it. Actually, it's not really a biography at all since you won't really end up knowing Madison the man. However, you will have read the entire transcript of the Constitutional Convention and the Virginia ratification deliberations.

    For all Madison's mental prowess and philosophical rigor, the sheer weight of the author's obsession with the minutiae of the various Conventions is just plain boring. This reads like a very good doctoral dissertation expanded into a not so good book. I will probably finish it just because I got this far, and just to see if Gutzman even mentions James meeting Dolly. But if you download this book, be prepared for a long slog.

    OHHH, and the most annoying thing is the pretentious affect of the narrator who (nearly) always pronounces the many, many days and dates as, "...from January first, seventeen hundred seventy-one to January second, seventeen hundred seventy-one the delegates discussed Article III..." However, sometimes he slips and resorts to the normal, "January first, seventeen seventy-one". After a while I became fixated not on the action (or lack thereof) but on whether he would use the archaic long form or slip and use the contemporary short form.

    I'm currently searching for a another biography that will let me get to know this likely very amazing man and politician.

    11 of 14 people found this review helpful
  • The Rest Is Noise: Listening to the 20th Century

    • UNABRIDGED (23 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Alex Ross
    • Narrated By Grover Gardner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (243)
    Performance
    (93)
    Story
    (92)

    The Rest Is Noise takes the listener inside the labyrinth of modern music, from turn-of-the-century Vienna to downtown New York in the '60s and '70s. We meet the maverick personalities and follow the rise of mass culture on this sweeping tour of 20th-century history through its music.

    Paula says: "Learned so much!"
    "Wonderful if you have some musical training"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I really, really loved this book. However, I think that some other listeners might be put off by the need to really have a musical background to fully enjoy this book. If you don't know what a dominant 7th or a tritone is, for example, you might find long sections of this book tedious. But, if you've studied music or are a really serious aficionado, then this book is hard to put down.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Genghis: Birth of an Empire

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Conn Iggulden
    • Narrated By Stefan Rudnicki
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (949)
    Performance
    (573)
    Story
    (576)

    He was born Temujin, son of a khan, raised in a clan of hunters migrating across the steppe. Temujin's young life was shaped by a series of brutal acts: the betrayal of his father by a neighboring tribe, his family left to die on the harsh plain. But Temujin endured, and from then on, he was driven by a fury to survive in the face of death, to kill before being killed, and to conquer enemies from beyond the horizon.

    David says: "Move over Bernard Cornwell"
    "Should I care?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I thoroughly enjoyed the Caesar series. However, I found books 1 and 2 in the Genghis series to be much less compelling. While the writing is equally as good, the characters, (Temujin/Genghis in particular) are very one-dimensional. Perhaps this is an accurate rendering of the Khan's single minded drive for brutal conquest but I'm not sure that in the 21st century I need this much detail. Khan is depicted as a ruthless and hell-bent despot who cares not a whit for any one or any thing other than dominance of his enemy. After two books, I think I've had enough of that. I get the point of how one of history's greatest murderers conquered millions of peoples yet there's very little in these first two books to make me reflect on anything relating to a contemporary context or the motivations of a complicated character that makes me want to read (listen) to books three and four.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • EMPEROR: The Gods of War, Book 4 (Unabridged)

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Conn Iggulden
    • Narrated By Paul Blake
    Overall
    (138)
    Performance
    (107)
    Story
    (113)

    The fourth volume in the acclaimed Emperor series, in which Conn Iggulden interweaves history and adventure to recreate the astonishing life of Julius Caesar - an epic tale of ambition and rivalry, bravery and betrayal.

    Konrad says: "Interesting novel series. Bad bad Audible service!"
    "I'm addicted"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Can't get enough of these books. Kind of a guilty pleasure but rip roaring good stories. Great book and great narrator.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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