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Highland Park, IL, USA

  • 40 reviews
  • 73 ratings
  • 238 titles in library
  • 0 purchased in 2014

  • Arch of Triumph

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Erich Maria Remarque
    • Narrated By Ralph Cosham

    It is 1939. Despite a law banning him from performing surgery, Ravic, a German doctor and refugee living in Paris, has been treating some of the city's most elite citizens for two years on the behalf of two less-than-skillful French physicians.

    Paul says: "The Western Front 20 Years Later"
    "The Western Front 20 Years Later"

    Remarque is known for the classic All Quiet on the Western Front, which is one of the greatest war stories ever told. I liked this one as much as All Quiet.

    A German doctor, Ravitch, escapes from Nazi Germany and is living illegally in Paris. He earns a living as a ghost surgeon for French doctors who are not as talented as he is. One night he meets a woman on the street in Paris, and the story takes off from there.

    The characters are the best part of this novel because each one comes across as a distinct individual. You can almost visualize Ravitch, the girl he meets, the French doctor who tries to cheat him and another who defends him, his Russian emigre friend who works as a doorman at a nightclub...each one has a real face. And the narration brings this out.

    And, by the way, they drink Calvados throughout the story. It's French apple Brandy with a bit of a kick to it.

    13 of 14 people found this review helpful
  • Theft: A Love Story

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Peter Carey
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Michael a.k.a. "Butcher" Boone is an ex-"really famous" painter: opinionated, furious, brilliant, and now reduced to living in the remote country house of his biggest collector and acting as caretaker for his younger brother, Hugh, a damaged man of imposing physicality and childlike emotional volatility.

    John says: "Art Appreciation"
    "Guess who's talking?"

    I've been an Audible listener for several years, and this is definitely one of the worst books I've heard.

    The author has not a clue regarding the importance of point of view for a reader. The story begins in the first person POV of the artist-protagonist (or apparent protagonist). Then, without warning, the author shifts gears into the first person POV of the protagonist's disabled brother. Then we're taken back to the artist's POV (also without notice). Whose story is this, Mr. Carey? Adding insult to injury, the narrator gives the two characters exactly the same Australian accent and tone of voice. It's impossible to keep track of who's speaking at any point. I couldn't take it any more and stopped listening.

    Definitely NOT recommended.

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Comrade J: Secrets of Russia's Master Spy in America after the End of the Cold War

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Pete Earley
    • Narrated By Michael Prichard
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Spymaster, defector, double agent....Here is the remarkable true story of the man who ran Russia's post-cold-war spy program in America. The revelations are stunning. Many spies have told their stories. None has the astonishing immediacy, relevance, and cautionary warnings of Comrade J.

    Richard says: "Some Inaccuracies, but still good"
    "The Russians are still coming"

    Here's a work that shows how naive Americans are about the intentions of the Russian state, especially under Vladimir Putin. After Gorbachev and the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Russians were suddenly our friends. Think again. There's a reason why Putin, a former high-ranking KGB officer, still runs the show. This is an excellent story, well told and well-narrated. Strongly recommended for anyone with an interest in current affairs.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • North River

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Pete Hamill
    • Narrated By Henry Strozier
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Haunted by the horrors of World War I, Dr. James Delaney's personal life is a nightmare. But everything changes when he returns home one day to find his three-year-old grandson on his doorstep.

    Rosemary Henson says: "Interesting"
    "Well written, but low stakes"

    Hamill definitely writes well, and the story of a doctor in a downtrodden section of Manhattan during the Depression years has a few heartwarming moments, as well some interesting tidbits of old New York City history. But there is no great suspense here, no feeling that the protagonist is ever in real danger or real trouble. That's why I'd call this "low stakes" as far as suspense is concerned. I finished this one because the characters, even some of the secondary ones, are very well developed, but nothing much happens to them. I could have stopped anywhere along the way and not lost anything.

    One of the characters is toddler boy, and I found the baby voice characterization very annoying. However, that's not the narrator's fault; he's doing the best he can with the material.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Paris Stories

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By Mavis Gallant
    • Narrated By Lorna Raver, Yuri Rasovsky
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Mysterious, funny, insightful, and heartbreaking, these are tales of expatriates and exiles, wise children and straying saints. They compose a secret history, both intimate and panoramic, of modern times, and offer a kaleidoscopic impression of the world within a world that is Paris.

    Dennis says: "beautifully narrated"
    "Sorry, no Chekhov here"

    Or William Trevor, for that matter. I struggled to get through these stories because they were devoid of action. Even in a short story, something - anything - has to happen to somebody. I was expecting a lot more. The narrator is good, but I tired of her voice because I tired of the story, and not the other way 'round.

    2 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • The Teapot Dome Scandal: How Big Oil Bought the Harding White House

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Laton McCartney
    • Narrated By William Hughes

    The Teapot Dome scandal of the early 1920s was all about oil - hundreds of millions of dollars� worth of petroleum. When the scandal finally broke, the consequences were tremendous. President Harding's legacy was forever tarnished, while �Oil Cabinet� member Albert Fall was forced to resign and was imprisoned for a year. Others implicated in the affair suffered prison terms, commitment to mental hospitals, suicide, and even murder.

    Paul says: "Harding's return to normalcy: corruption"
    "Harding's return to normalcy: corruption"

    We can complain a lot about present day government corruption, but until you read this book you have no idea how bad it can get. The story almost sounds like a novel - except it's true. And if you thought OJ's trial had a strange result (not guilty in the criminal trial, liable in the civil), Teapot Dome easily tops that. The Interior Secretary, Albert Fall, was convicted of taking a bribe from an oil man who, in a separate trial, was acquitted of bribing Fall. Fall really was a fall guy. (I'm not giving anything away here -- the characters make the story here, not the legal verdicts).
    The narration is very good. The only quibble I have is that the narrator sometimes sounded as if he were going a bit too fast. A great listen.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Reminiscences of a Stock Operator

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Edwin Lefevre
    • Narrated By Rick Rohan

    First published in 1923, this lightly fictionalized biography of Jesse Livermore, one of the greatest market speculators ever, is widely regarded as one of best investment books of all time. Reminiscences of a Stock Operator is the resource that generations of investors have turned to when they needed deeper insight into their own investing habits and those of others. Listen to this work, featuring narrator Rick Rohan, and you'll soon discover your portfolio growing in new and unexpected ways!

    Mike says: "A Good Listen"
    "Buy this stock!"

    Although most of the stock manipulations described in Reminiscences are now illegal, the stories in this book are really fascinating. The author was a trader in the days when the Big Board was just that: a big chalk board with clerks running around writing in share prices. Still, this is a fascinating read, and you don't have to be a subscriber to Investors Business Daily to enjoy this. He begins in bucket shops before the turn of the last century, takes you through the Panic of 1907 and goes up to the 1929 crash. The observations of the author, who made and lost fortunes, are relevant to anybody who confronts risk on a daily basis. The narration is very clear, very well done.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Natalie Goldberg
    • Narrated By Natalie Goldberg

    Over a decade ago, when Writing Down the Bones first appeared, Natalie Goldberg started a revolution in the way we practice writing. Now, for the first time, Goldberg reads her classic work, while offering new commentary about the creative, spiritual, and practical dimensions of writing. This collector's edition also includes an exclusive interview with the author.

    Charlie says: "Didn't Get Much From It"
    "Inspiration to write"

    Highly recommended for people who want to write, but who are suffering from crises of self-confidence. The author's approach is practical and inspiring, esp. if you feel like you've got a bad case of writer's block. Very down to earth narration.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Haunted

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Chuck Palahniuk
    • Narrated By Scott Brick, Marc Cashman, Erik Davies, and others

    Haunted by Chuck Palahniuk is a novel made up of stories: 23 of them, to be precise. Twenty-three of the most horrifying, hilarious, mind-blowing, stomach-churning tales you'll ever encounter, sometimes all at once. They are told by people who have answered an ad headlined "Writers' Retreat: Abandon Your Life for Three Months", and who are led to believe that here they will leave behind all the distractions of "real life" that are keeping them from creating the masterpiece that is in them.

    Dominique says: "True Horror -- Not for the faint of heart, stomach"
    "The Decameron Meets Hollywood Special Effects"

    The author appears to follow a venerable tradition of people stuck somewhere (Boccacio's Decameron) or traveling (Chaucer's Canterbury Tales) having to amuse themselves by telling short stories to each other. Here, though, there's a much higher gross-out factor, so if you're squeamish about horror story details, this one's not for you. I really enjoyed the stories, which are more horror than suspense, IMHO. Note that each of the characters/narrators has a nickname, rather than a real name, which makes following the narration a bit tough for the first hour, but you get used to it.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Simple Courage: A True Story of Peril on the Sea

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Frank Delaney
    • Narrated By Frank Delaney
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Drawing on historical documents and contemporary accounts and on exclusive interviews with Carlsen's family, Delaney opens a window into the world of the merchant marine. With deep affection, and respect, for the weather and all that goes with it, he places us in the heart of the storm, a "biblical tempest" of unimaginable power. He illuminates the bravery and ingenuity of Carlsen and the extraordinary courage that the 37-year-old captain inspired in his stalwart crew.

    Andrew says: "Well written and read"
    "Genuinely inspiring story"

    I'd never heard of Flying Enterprise before seeing this book on Audible, but it was one of the biggest stories of the early 1950s, and one of the biggest sea stories ever. The courage and endurance of one man come across really clearly, and the author/narrator has a personal connection to the events and some of the people who were involved. Be sure to listen to the epilogue as well, because even after the man was long gone, his wife helped the family to whom she sold her house.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • My Other Life

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs)
    • By Paul Theroux
    • Narrated By David Dukes, Introduction by Paul Theroux

    Jeff says: "Boring!"
    "Great content, lousy audio"

    This recording must have been made on one of the original etching tins used by Thomas Edison in 1877, when sound was first recorded. Then, it was fed into the Audible files by a wire buried in 10 tons of wool. The audio is the worst I have ever listened to since I've been an Audible customer.

    Solution: This one either needs to be re-recorded or digitally remastered, or something else to bring it up to snuff. I had to constantly back up to catch what was said. It's an insult to have to listen to a writer of Theroux's caliber through a medium like this. The narrator is not at fault here, he does a great job and brings some of the crazier characters to life. And this is a really entertaining series of vignettes and stories about Theroux's coming of age as a writer. As he himself says in this one, there is no English word for bildungsroman, but this may be as close as we get.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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