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Rob

Madison, WI, United States | Member Since 2004

45
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 17 reviews
  • 491 ratings
  • 1 titles in library
  • 82 purchased in 2014
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  • Former President Bill Clinton's BookExpo America Keynote 6/3/04

    • ORIGINAL (54 mins)
    • By Bill Clinton
    • Narrated By Bill Clinton
    Overall
    (370)
    Performance
    (26)
    Story
    (27)

    At BookExpo America in Chicago, former President Bill Clinton delivers the annual keynote address about his much-anticipated autobiography, My Life. This address, Bill Clinton's first public statements about his memoir, was recorded on June 3, 2004.

    Rob says: "Bill Clinton is a Genius"
    "Bill Clinton is a Genius"
    Overall

    Whether you like him or not, his speech is thoughtful, perceptive and humorous. If his book is anywhere this good (and I hope he is the reader), it should be fascinating.

    23 of 30 people found this review helpful
  • Fuzzy Nation

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By John Scalzi
    • Narrated By Wil Wheaton, John Scalzi
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3776)
    Performance
    (3311)
    Story
    (3310)

    In John Scalzi's re-imagining of H. Beam Piper's 1962 sci-fi classic Little Fuzzy, written with the full cooperation of the Piper Estate, Jack Holloway works alone for reasons he doesnt care to talk about. Hundreds of miles from ZaraCorps headquarters on planet, 178 light-years from the corporations headquarters on Earth, Jack is content as an independent contractor, prospecting and surveying at his own pace. As for his past, thats not up for discussion.

    Samuel Montgomery-Blinn says: "Short, sweet, and satisfying storytelling."
    "A Compelling Listen"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I purchased this book several months ago and then somehow forgot about. I am so happy that I was looking through my library and found it. This was a wonderful listen. Fuzzy Nation is ultimately a story about Jack Holloway, a disbarred attorney who now works as an independent prospector for ZaraCorp on the planet Zarathustra. Jack’s discovery of the mother lode of all mother lodes and his nearly concurrent “discovery” of some small, extremely cute, cat-like creatures, which may or may not be sentient and that he calls the “Fuzzies,” sets the stage for the story.

    While the coincidences abound and I am certain that some will see this tale as too simplistic—the bad guys are indeed very bad and have few (really no) redeeming qualities and the good guys are generally pretty good with some minor flaws thrown in—I found it to be a good tale well told. The story had enough twists and turns with an odd yet interesting legal overlay to make it a compelling listen..

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Dog's Purpose: A Novel for Humans

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By W. Bruce Cameron
    • Narrated By George K. Wilson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2073)
    Performance
    (1376)
    Story
    (1378)

    After a tragically short life as a stray mutt, Bailey is surprised to find himself reborn as a rambunctious golden-haired puppy. Bailey's search for his new life's meaning leads him into the loving arms of eight-year-old Ethan. During their countless adventures, Bailey joyously discovers how to be a good dog. But this life as a beloved family pet is not the end of Bailey's journey. Reborn as a puppy yet again, Bailey wonders, will he ever find his purpose?

    Blythe says: "Best dog book ever!"
    "Told From a Dog's Point of View"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This was a very touching book that was effectively told from the dog's point of view. While I have owned several dogs, listening to this book really helped to give me some fresh insights on their world. Beyond that, the story itself was cleverly done and enjoyable from start to finish.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Lost Fleet: Dauntless

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Jack Campbell
    • Narrated By Christian Rummel, Jack Campbell
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4589)
    Performance
    (3119)
    Story
    (3152)

    Captain John "Black Jack" Geary's legendary exploits are known to every schoolchild. Revered for his heroic "last stand" in the early days of the war, he was presumed dead. But a century later, Geary miraculously returns from survival hibernation and reluctantly takes command of the Alliance fleet as it faces annihilation by the Syndics.

    Appalled by the hero-worship around him, Geary is nevertheless a man who will do his duty. And he knows that bringing the stolen Syndic hypernet key safely home is the Alliance's one chance to win the war. But to do that, Geary will have to live up to the impossibly heroic "Black Jack" legend.

    AudioAddict says: "A hero with a sexy voice!"
    "Entertaining Sci-Fi Adventure With Some Twists"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I picked up this book at Audible about a month ago and now have the entire series. They have been hard to put down because they have a plausible premise that is extremely well executed by the author. The premise: a ship captain who was presumed killed after a heroic battle at the beginning of a war that still continues 100 years later and who has been built up as a mythic hero over those years "returns from the dead" (in a reasonably plausible way, given the genre).

    The hero is Captain John “Black Jack" Geary. He has been discovered in the long lost escape capsule he used as his ship was destroyed at the end of the now famous battle. The capsule has kept him in suspended animation for 100 years.

    He returns to a world that is dramatically different from the one he left. 100 years of war have made casual brutality commonplace and all important decisions of the fleet are voted on by the commanders of the fleet. Black Jack’s return is certainly timely and possibly even providential. It occurs just as the fleet admiral leaves to discuss the terms of the fleet’s surrender. It seems the “Alliance" (his side of the war) has taken a risky bet to win the war and has lost the bet. The admiral’s last act is to appoint Jack as fleet commander (he thinks of Jack as a hero too, Jack does not think of himself that way) should he not return from the discussions, which, as you should expect, he does not.

    Everything that flows this set of event - the struggles to get the fleet back from behind enemy lines, the envy and suspicion of Jack by other officers, etc., - make sense to me as do the changes the author describes as having happened over the past 100 years. The battle scenes are exciting and realistically written. The interpersonal relationships and how they evolve make sense. If you want Tolstoy, get War and Peace. If you want a really nifty piece of military sci-fi adventure, this is a good place to start and you won't go wrong with the rest of the series either.

    In addition to a good story, I thought the performance by Mr. Rummel was nicely done.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Theft of Swords: Riyria Revelations, Volume 1

    • UNABRIDGED (22 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Michael J. Sullivan
    • Narrated By Tim Gerard Reynolds
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4726)
    Performance
    (4345)
    Story
    (4345)

    Acclaimed author Michael J. Sullivan created instant best sellers with his spellbinding Riyria Revelations series. This first volume introduces Royce Melborn and Hadrian Blackwater, two enterprising thieves who end up running for their lives when they’re framed for the death of the king. Trapped in a conspiracy bigger than they can imagine, their only hope is unraveling an ancient mystery - before it’s too late.

    Magpie says: "Two books in one - keep listening!!"
    "An Intricate Story Made Clear - And Fun Too"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this book. Quite a lot happens to our "heroes" Royce and Hadrian (who happen to be very good thieves). They take on a job that sounds too good to be true and without even knowing it quickly get scooped up in a plot to kill the King. The plot succeeds and King is murdered. Suddenly Royce and Hadrian aren't thieves, they are assassins, caught and to be painfully executed the next day. The King's daughter, Princess Arista, who loved him greatly and was not involved in the murder, plots to release the assassins and have them kidnap her brother. Before you know it a monastery is destroyed, a magician known to have terrible power is unchained, people die in gruesome ways and some mysteries (big and little) are solved while new ones arise. This barely scratches the surface of a nicely complicated plot (that is still a fairly easy listen) in which our heroes take most events with good sense, great ability and an entertaining if not yet fully revealed relationship. If you want your fantasy books to reveal some deep truth or to bubble over with magic, this book probably won't do it for you. But if you want an entertaining read with two enjoyable rogues and a bit of magic, this is a fine place to stop.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Twilight of the Elites: America after Meritocracy

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Christopher Hayes
    • Narrated By Christopher Hayes
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (333)
    Performance
    (310)
    Story
    (306)

    Over the past decade, Americans watched in bafflement and rage as one institution after another - from Wall Street to Congress, the Catholic Church to corporate America, even Major League Baseball - imploded under the weight of corruption and incompetence. In the wake of the Fail Decade, Americans have historically low levels of trust in their institutions; the social contract between ordinary citizens and elites lies in tatters. How did we get here? Christopher Hayes offers a radically novel answer.

    Matt says: "Listen To This Immediately!"
    "Excellent and Insightful"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Chris Hayes is very bright and I really enjoyed this book. He has many keen insights on just how a system seemingly based on merit has dug us into a whole that looks pretty tough to get out of at this moment. I didn't mind Hayes' narration of the book, but he would have done himself and the book a favor by getting a professional. I think he was trying to emulate Rachel Maddow's success in narrating her brilliant work, Drift, but he just didn't pull it off.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • It's Even Worse Than It Looks: How the American Constitutional System Collided with the New Politics of Extremism

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Thomas E. Mann, Norman J. Ornstein
    • Narrated By William Hughes
    Overall
    (148)
    Performance
    (124)
    Story
    (126)

    Congressional scholars Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein identify two overriding problems that have led Congress—and the United States—to the brink of institutional collapse. But they offer a panoply of useful ideas and reforms, endorsing some solutions, like greater public participation and institutional restructuring, while debunking others, like independent or third-party candidates. Above all, they call on the media as well as the public to focus on the true causes of dysfunction rather than just throwing the bums out every election cycle.

    Scott says: "A No-Nonsense Look at our Current Political Crisis"
    "Even the well-informed will learn something here"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Mann and Ornstein have done the country a great service with this book. I follow politics relatively closely and there were some eye-openers for me in this thoughtful and well-written book. While it is not a surprise that both Mann and Ornstein (a liberal and conservative) share a common view about just how seriously dysfunctional the federal government is, what is a surprise is that they place most of the blame squarely on the extremism in the Republican party. They note that Republican extremism is not directed toward advancing their policies so much as toward advancing personal interest of their leaders or the political (not ideological) interests of their party. Multiple examples of how Republicans in the Senate have used the filibuster and other parliamentary tools to delay votes on bills or on appointments - taking up huge amounts of valuable time that should be spent on the important business of the country - that ultimately passed with votes along the lines of 95-2. What could the point of this be? Only to make the government and the majority party look ineffective. Shame on the Republicans.

    Mann and Ornstein offer a variety of ideas to address the problems.They look for ideas that have been tried around the world but they have been in this business for a long time and have a clear-eyed view of what is likely to fly in the U.S. and what probably won't. They propose a range of ideas that can at least begin to counter the Republican's "gum up the works" efforts.

    16 of 20 people found this review helpful
  • The Sibling Effect: What the Bonds among Brothers and Sisters Reveal about Us

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Jeffrey Kluger
    • Narrated By Pete Larkin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (32)
    Performance
    (25)
    Story
    (22)

    Nobody affects us as deeply as our brothers and sisters - not parents, not children, not friends. From the time we - and they - are born, our siblings are our collaborators and co-conspirators, our role models and cautionary tales. They teach us how to resolve conflicts and how not to, how to conduct friendships and when to walk away.

    Hank says: "No Malcolm Gladwell"
    "This is the only book I never finished"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I have several hundred audio books in a wide range of areas in my Library and I have enjoyed almost every one of them. I am a certified soft touch as a listener and reviewer. So here is the bad news. This is the only book out of the hundreds that I disliked enough not to finish. I should have been the target audience for this book (seven kids in the family). Instead I found the book to be simplistic, mostly wrong and excruciatingly dull.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Randy O. Frost, Gail Stekeete
    • Narrated By Joe Caron
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (584)
    Performance
    (361)
    Story
    (362)

    What possesses someone to save every scrap of paper thats ever come into his home? What compulsions drive a woman like Irene, whose hoarding cost her her marriage? Or Ralph, whose imagined uses for castoff items like leaky old buckets almost lost him his house?

    Joann says: "Utterly fascinating"
    "Lots of Stuff About Stuff"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    By way of background, I have several hundred audio books in a wide range of areas in my Library. It is a pretty eclectic collection and I have enjoyed almost every one of them so I am, no doubt, a soft touch as a listener and review. I am deeply thankful for the reviewers who have the time, energy and ability to write thorough and insightful reviews. Sadly that is not me. What I can say is that I liked Stuff. It held my attention and I learned considerably more than I thought I would about a not so small part of our world. By the way, the narrator was excellent. It was well worth the credit.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Rachel Maddow
    • Narrated By Rachel Maddow
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1410)
    Performance
    (1285)
    Story
    (1277)

    Rachel Maddow's Drift argues that we've drifted away from America's original ideals and become a nation weirdly at peace with perpetual war, with all the financial and human costs that entails. Sensible yet provocative, dead serious yet seriously funny, Drift will reinvigorate a "loud and jangly" political debate about how, when, and where to apply America's strength and power - and who gets to make those decisions.

    Dolf says: "Half the National Debt?"
    "Much, Much better than expected."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Where does Drift rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Top 5 political books.


    What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

    I enjoy Maddow on MSNBC but the subject of this book didn't sound that compelling to me. Boy was I wrong. This was a thought provoking analysis of how the U.S.'s "drift" into becoming a military/industrial state happened (power grabbed by the executive branch) and how it has harmed us. Ms. Maddow is a superb narrator and she is funny too, which is handy given what might otherwise have been a tedious subject.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Maddow's ongoing discussion of General Abrams (he commanded military operations in Vietnam from 1968-72) and his idea of how to avoid giving the President the ability to easily enter into future wars by forcing the President to call up the National Guard was something I wasn't aware of. It was a stroke of genius and I was surprised at how perceptive Abrams was. Too bad the idea didn't work longer.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Discovery of Witches

    • UNABRIDGED (24 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Deborah Harkness
    • Narrated By Jennifer Ikeda
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (9171)
    Performance
    (6696)
    Story
    (6736)

    Deep in the stacks of Oxford's Bodleian Library, young scholar Diana Bishop unwittingly calls up a bewitched alchemical manuscript in the course of her research. Descended from an old and distinguished line of witches, Diana wants nothing to do with sorcery; so after a furtive glance and a few notes, she banishes the book to the stacks. But her discovery sets a fantastical underworld stirring, and a horde of daemons, witches, and vampires soon descends upon the library.

    Tim says: "True Blood PG13"
    "Witches, Vampires and (surprise) Some Romance"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I enjoyed the story, but I thought the narrator was the best part of this audiobook. I have over 700 audiobook in my library here at Audible and have listened to many, many audiobooks. Experience has taught me what a good narrator does to bring a story to life. Ms. Ikeda did a remarkable job narrating this book. There was never a moment when I didn't know which character was speaking and she conveyed the feelings of the characters (e.g., fatigue, fear, joy) very nicely. I was not expecting this book to be a romance novel and it dances around being one (romance novels are not my thing). Ms. Harkness seemed unsure of what genre she was writing in and as a result, the romance/sexual part of the story was rather juvenile. It would be a better story if the entire book was written for adults. Even so, I was entertained and that is what I look for in fiction. I enjoyed the history and didn't mind the detailed exposition that seemed so disturbing to some reviewers. As I said, romance novels aren't my thing. There is one semi-romance novel (Diana Gabaldon's Outlander) that Ms. Harkenss could take a lesson from because it drew me into the story in a way that was similar to what the author tried to do here (albeit Outlander did it far more successfully). The romance/sexual element of Outlander was an intriguing part of the reason why I enjoyed that listen. Perhaps Ms. Harkness might consider strengthening that element of her next book since it is now a part of her tale.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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