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Cecil

PORTLAND, OR, USA | Member Since 2008

16
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 9 reviews
  • 64 ratings
  • 0 titles in library
  • 18 purchased in 2014
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  • The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Junot Diaz
    • Narrated By Jonathan Davis, Staci Snell
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2228)
    Performance
    (950)
    Story
    (958)

    Things have never been easy for Oscar, a sweet but disastrously overweight, lovesick Dominican ghetto nerd. Oscar dreams of becoming the Dominican J. R. R. Tolkien and, most of all, of finding love. But he may never get what he wants, thanks to the Fuku: the curse that has haunted Oscar's family for generations, dooming them to prison, torture, tragic accidents, and, above all, ill-starred love. Oscar, still waiting for his first kiss, is just its most recent victim.

    Kathleen says: "Fabulous listen"
    "Wao? WOW!!!"
    Overall

    This audiobook was, without a doubt, one of the best listening experiences I have had to date. It is the rare combination of excellent writing and excellent narration. I was captivated, start to finish. I know that some customers have expressed concern about the amount of untranslated Spanish in the novel; there is no need to worry about that--even if you do not know the exact translation of the Spanish phrases, the context in which they are used leaves no doubt as to their meaning.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Lionel Asbo: State of England

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By Martin Amis
    • Narrated By Alex Jennings
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (60)
    Performance
    (51)
    Story
    (55)

    Lionel Asbo, a terrifying yet weirdly loyal thug (self-named after England's notorious "Anti-Social Behaviour Order"), has always looked out for his ward and nephew, the orphaned Desmond Pepperdine. He provides him with fatherly career advice (always carry a knife, for example) and is determined they should share the joys of pit bulls (fed with lots of Tabasco sauce), Internet porn, and all manner of more serious criminality. Des, on the other hand, desires nothing more than books to read and a girl to love .

    Darwin8u says: "Jēz...us! Just don't buy it for your Grans."
    "Classic Martin Amis - for better or worse"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    If you liked Keith from London Fields, you'll love Lionel. More to the point, you will love the Lionel presented in the voice of the astonishing Alex Jennings. I am sure that I had simply read this book, I would gave hated it. The story is classic Martin Amis, equal parts silly and mean-spirited, but Jennings's voice put it on a different plane. What was facile became cinematic; I could almost picture Ray Winstone, thick fingers wrapped around a can of Cobra, radiating menace as he explained the facts of life to his young protege . . .

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Inquisitor

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Mark Allen Smith
    • Narrated By Ari Fliakos
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (56)
    Performance
    (49)
    Story
    (50)

    Geiger has a gift: he knows a lie the instant he hears it. And in his business - called "information retrieval" by its practitioners - that gift is invaluable, because truth is the hottest thing on the market. Geiger's clients count on him to extract the truth from even the most reluctant subjects. Unlike most of his competitors, Geiger rarely sheds blood, but he does use a variety of techniques - some physical, many psychological - to push his subjects to a point where pain takes a backseat to fear. Because only then will they finally stop lying.

    Rick Gmail says: "Engaging story wrapped in narrative that hooks you"
    "Walk on by, just walk on by"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book was terrible. The plot was derivative, predictable and, greatest sin of all, boring. The characters were caricatures, with laughably preposterous backstories. The ONLY thing going for this book was the narrator. Oh, Ari, Ari, Ari, I sure hope you got paid big bucks for managing to record this drivel without snorting with laughter.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Lawrence Wright
    • Narrated By Morton Sellers
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1235)
    Performance
    (1106)
    Story
    (1096)

    A clear-sighted revelation, a deep penetration into the world of Scientology by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of the The Looming Tower, the now-classic study of al-Qaeda’s 9/11 attack. Based on more than 200 personal interviews with both current and former Scientologists - both famous and less well known - and years of archival research, Lawrence Wright uses his extraordinary investigative ability to uncover for us the inner workings of the Church of Scientology.

    Chris Reich says: "Scared the Hell Out of Me"
    "Best. Footnotes. Ever."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Okay, I admit it, I am a sucker for books about the weird stuff people choose to believe in, and the origins of those beliefs, so I was definitely in the target audience for this book. I was fascinated by the details of LRH's biography (both the real and invented) and by the details of the Church's workings. But I have to admit, my favorite thing about the book was that, after every claim that might remotely raise an eyebrow, the author would drop a footnote: "[insert celebrity's name here]'s lawyers deny that [celebrity] ever __________." The narration was good, if occasionally monotonous (after all, how many times CAN you say "_____ denies ever doing ____"

    4 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Robin Sloan
    • Narrated By Ari Fliakos
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2495)
    Performance
    (2244)
    Story
    (2230)

    The Great Recession has shuffled Clay Jannon out of his life as a San Francisco Web-design drone - and serendipity, sheer curiosity, and the ability to climb a ladder like a monkey has landed him a new gig working the night shift at Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. But after just a few days on the job, Clay begins to realize that this store is even more curious than the name suggests. There are only a few customers, but they come in repeatedly and never seem to actually buy anything....

    Susan says: "Fun, thought-provoking, mysterious.... and FUN !"
    "Ari Fliakos, where have you been all my life?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The key to a good audiobook is not only must the story be good, but the narrator must make you want to keep listening. A bad narrator can destroy a good book, and a good narrator can do wonders for a mediocre book. In this case, we have the rare combination of a pretty good book and an incredibly good narrator. I probably would have liked the book okay if I read it, but not as much as I enjoyed having Ari F. read it to me. The plot of the book was relatively intriguing, and the characters interesting, but it really was the narration that brought it to life. All in all, this was one of the best audiobooks I've listened to so far this year (and I listen to a lot).

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Operation Mincemeat: How a Dead Man and a Bizarre Plan Fooled the Nazis and Assured an Allied Victory

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Ben Macintyre
    • Narrated By John Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (725)
    Performance
    (342)
    Story
    (345)

    As plans got under way for the Allied invasion of Sicily in June 1943, British counter-intelligence agent Ewen Montagu masterminded a scheme to mislead the Germans into thinking the next landing would occur in Greece. This extraordinary operation called for a dead body, dressed as a Royal Marine officer and carrying false information about a pending Allied invasion of Greece, to wash up on a Spanish shore near the town of a known Nazi agent.

    Jack M says: "Better than the movie"
    "Wonderfully diverting"
    Overall

    I found this book to be extremely interesting and entertaining - and a terrific accompaniment to "The Irregulars," by Jennent Connant, another history of British spy-dom. My only quibble is that the narrator's attempts to do Spanish and German accents all ended up sounding like bad Bela Lugosi/Dracula imitations. I kept expecting one of the German spymasters to say "I vant to suck your blooood."

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Oliver Twist: Dickens on Dickens

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Charles Dickens
    • Narrated By Gerald Dickens
    Overall
    (6)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (2)

    Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens is brought to life by his great great grandson Gerald Dickens in this, the 2nd of his novels published as an audiobook.

    This Dickens classic is set in Victorian London and follows the life of little orphan Oliver Twist from the parochial workhouse to the care of an old crook named Fagin. Could Oliver have a happy ending?

    Cecil says: "So there were some editing errors - so what"
    "So there were some editing errors - so what"
    Overall

    I just finished listening to this audiobook and loved it. Yes, there were some times in which the reader flubbed a line and started over that could or should have been edited out, especially toward the end (perhaps he was tiring after all those cliffhangers), but on the whole it was a very pleasant listening experience. I've listened to just about all the Dickens books available on audio, and Gerald Dickens's ability to create consistent aural personae for all the characters is top notch.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo: The Millennium Trilogy, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Stieg Larsson
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (23279)
    Performance
    (9900)
    Story
    (9972)

    Why we think it’s a great listen: How do you one-up a book that’s already a global literary phenomenon? Hire Simon Vance to (flawlessly) interpret the loves, lives, and murders of Sweden’s cold and secret-filled world. A spellbinding amalgam of murder mystery, family saga, love story, and financial intrigue. It's about the disappearance 40 years ago of Harriet Vanger, a young scion of one of the wealthiest families in Sweden.

    Pamela Murphy says: "COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN"
    "Disappointing"
    Overall

    After reading all the rave reviews, I decided to give this book a try. I found it trite and predictable. The narrator's choice of a Thames Estuary accent for the title character was off-putting, but not nearly so off-putting as the gratuitous violence against women and rampant product placement.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Great Influenza: The Epic Story of the Deadliest Plague in History

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By John M. Barry
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    Overall
    (1253)
    Performance
    (603)
    Story
    (613)

    No disease the world has ever known even remotely resembles the great influenza epidemic of 1918. Presumed to have begun when sick farm animals infected soldiers in Kansas, spreading and mutating into a lethal strain as troops carried it to Europe, it exploded across the world with unequaled ferocity and speed. It killed more people in 20 weeks than AIDS has killed in 20 years; it killed more people in a year than the plagues of the Middle Ages killed in a century.

    Nancy says: "Gripping and Gory"
    "Maybe it's better in print"
    Overall

    I don't know what annoyed me most about listening to this audiobook - the extreme repetitiveness and heavy-handed foreshadowing of the text, or Scott Brick's over-the-top breathless narration. I was constantly being distracted from the very interesting information that the author was imparting by the very annoying way in which that information was being imparted. It's really too bad, because the topic is interesting and parts of the story well-told (when Barry (and Brick) were not waxing hyperbolic ). One significant problem I noted with an audio version of this book is that in many parts Barry will be quoting from a series of primary sources, each of which says much the same thing -his purpose is to show what the various media were reporting, or scientists saying, but without being able to see on the page that it is a series of quotes, and without introductory passages for each quote, it comes across as if the "repeat" button got stuck.

    4 of 8 people found this review helpful

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