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Phoenix, AZ, USA | Member Since 2005

  • 43 reviews
  • 107 ratings
  • 268 titles in library
  • 3 purchased in 2015

  • Calculating God

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By Robert J. Sawyer
    • Narrated By Jonathan Davis, Robert J. Sawyer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    In this Hugo-nominated novel, an alien walks into a museum and asks if he can see a paleontologist. But the arachnid ET hasn't come aboard a rowboat with the Pope and Stephen Hawking (although His Holiness does request an audience later). Landing at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, the spacefarer, Hollus, asks to compare notes on mass extinctions with resident dino-scientist Thomas Jericho.

    Ione says: "Interesting book, very enjoyable narration"

    I am a fan of Sawyer's Neanderthal Parallax, so I went into this with an open mind, but also high expectations.

    I will not admit to being swayed from my personal belief that there is no God. However, Sawyer makes a really interesting case for the possibility -- with a lot of math/science backing him up. He also helped me to understand how science and faith might find common ground.

    I doubt believers will be satisfied with Sawyer's logic, but I think it could make the non-believers think twice. I suspect many more of us will read this book anyway.

    Sawyer takes care to wrap personal human/alien drama around these complex ideas to make them easier to understand. And, if you overlook the simplicity of the plot, the concepts discussed in this book are definitely worth hearing if not study.

    35 of 40 people found this review helpful
  • The Lost Symbol

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Dan Brown
    • Narrated By Paul Michael
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon is summoned to deliver an evening lecture in the U.S. Capitol. Within minutes of his arrival, the night takes a bizarre turn. A disturbing object is discovered in the Capitol Building. The object is an ancient invitation, meant to usher its recipient into a long-lost world of hidden esoteric wisdom. And when Langdon's mentor is kidnapped, Langdon's only hope of saving him is to accept this invitation and follow wherever it leads him.

    Paul says: "In love with books again"
    "Action Packed"

    If you liked Angels & Demons, you might appreciate this Dan Brown novel, which offers the same sort of labrynthine mystery and mayhem but on American soil.

    Whether you buy into the symbology/beliefs ascribed to the Free Masons in this book, the puzzle that Brown places in the nation's capital city is nonetheless fascinating.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Graveyard Book

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Neil Gaiman
    • Narrated By Neil Gaiman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Why we think it’s a great listen: Gaiman’s not just an award-winning author, but a narrator who earns rave reviews – and fields requests from other authors to perform their books, too! Nobody Owens, known to his friends as Bod, is a normal boy. He would be completely normal if he didn't live in a sprawling graveyard, being raised and educated by ghosts, with a solitary guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor of the dead....

    Guillermo says: "Masterful Fantasy for the Jaded Heart"
    "Good YA "Ghost Story""

    If you are looking for American Gods revisited, this is not it. If you are looking for a good YA story, this is a good option.

    It's a turnabout novel -- instead of ghosts haunting the living. The living is "haunting" the graveyard. But all the demons and ghosts are simply a backdrop to a coming of age story.

    And, BTW, the author does a nice job of narrating.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The History of Love

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Nicole Krauss
    • Narrated By George Guidall, Barbara Caruso, Julia Gibson, and others

    Nicole Krauss' first novel, Man Walks Into a Room, was shortlisted for the Los Angeles Times Book Award and her short fiction has been collected in Best American Short Stories. Now The History of Love proves Krauss is among our finest and freshest literary voices.

    KLBrookline says: "Beautiful story, beautifully written."
    "Not chick lit"

    I hate chick lit. So, with a title like the History of Love, you might expect chick lit. Not so. Does this mean dudes will like it? Probably not, but it's not that ridiculous self-obsessed Sex in the City crap. This is a very touching book about love and a book about love. (You read that right.)

    I was charmed by both Leo and Alma. I was convinced of their ages and emotional states as much by the writing as the excellent narration. Alma's list-making was a particularly inventive way to tell her parts of the tale.

    Although, it seems a small part of the story, the book within a book also has some imaginative prose/ideas.

    I thought the author particularly bold in one instance to suggest that an obituary Leo has written is a superior and inspired piece of writing. We accept this as fact, forgetting that its author is not the fictional Leo, but Ms. Krauss. Suffice it to say, she is a talent.

    So, if you appreciate a creative yarn that's well written with quirky characters and NOT chick lit, this is a good option.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • METAtropolis

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Jay Lake, Tobias Buckell, Elizabeth Bear, and others
    • Narrated By Michael Hogan, Scott Brick, Kandyse McClure, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Armed camps of eco-survivalists battle purveyors of technology in this exclusive, original production featuring five sci-fi masters and five all-star narrators.

    Karen says: "Fascinating stories"

    I'm not a big short story reader, but this collection -- with its common themes -- was an exception. I liked the fact that there were different voices and styles (including one I would classify as a comedy). My favorite was definitely the last one. I wished that story was a full-blown novel. I hated to leave its concepts explored only at a surface level. The anthology's editor conceded that the final story's author was the most prolific in the idea dept and you can definitely see that in his story.
    This is for you if you like sci fi -- not the stories set in space, but the ones that really get you thinking about the sociology and the human condition. Plus it's got some good geek stuff in it too.

    6 of 10 people found this review helpful
  • Insomnia

    • UNABRIDGED (25 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Stephen King
    • Narrated By Eli Wallach

    Ralph Roberts has an incurable case of insomnia, but lack of sleep is the least of his worries. Each night he stays awake, Ralph witnesses more of the odd activity taking place in Derry after dark than he wants to know. The nice young chemist up the street beats his wife and has delusions about beings he calls "The Centurions".

    Karen says: "Very Good Book"
    "Slow Beginning"

    Most of the recent King books I've read have been detailed in the extreme. This can work really well is some stories like Duma Key, but it didn't work so well in Lisey's Story or, I'm afraid, in Insomnia.

    The beginning of the story plods along with seemingly unending minutia. The story does pick up, though it remains detailed. So, I wonder if it was a stylistic device -- start things off really slow when Ralph, the insomniac, is old and speed things up as he starts to encounter other "levels" of reality and his age is rolled back.

    I could argue the case, but I still think this story could have been told with similar result with 25-50 percent fewer words.

    The mythology in the book is interesting -- Purpose vs. Random -- so it's worth reading on that account. And, because I've not read many stories with elderly characters, I quite enjoyed that viewpoint. And, I found the narrator just fine thank you very much. You can tell all the characters apart and there was no lisp or whistle -- I'm really not sure what all the whining is about.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Life of Pi

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Yann Martel
    • Narrated By Jeff Woodman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Pi Patel has been raised in a zoo in India. When his father decides to move the family to Canada and sell the animals to American zoos, everyone boards a Japanese cargo ship. The ship sinks, and 16-year-old Pi finds himself alone on a lifeboat with a hyena, an orangutan, a zebra with a broken leg, and a 450-pound Bengal tiger. Soon it's just Pi, the tiger, and the vast Pacific Ocean - for 227 days. Pi's fear, knowledge, and cunning keep him alive until they reach the coast of Mexico, where the tiger disappears into the jungle.

    Theresa says: "Best audio of the year for me"

    I had this book in my wish list for a really long time, always finding something (usually sci-fi) more to my taste. Finally, when I read Stephen King's review, I downloaded the book.
    Although I thoroughly enjoyed the first part of the book where we get to know Pi, I kept wondering if I has misread the plot summary. Where was the boat? Was it just a metaphor?
    The whole second part of the book is devoted to the boy's harrowing journey with Richard Parker. I found Pi endearing and ingenious. Whether his tale was fact or fiction, I was rooting for him the entire way.
    The narrator captured his innocence an optimism perfectly. I can't imagine reading it myself and hearing the voice so well.
    I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to be inspired or entertained in an entirely different way than the typical narrative.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Life Expectancy

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Dean Koontz
    • Narrated By John Bedford Lloyd
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Jimmy Tock comes into the world on the very night his grandfather leaves it. As a violent storm rages outside the hospital, Rudy Tock spends long hours walking the corridors between the expectant fathers' waiting room and his dying father's bedside. It's a strange vigil made all the stranger when, at the very height of the storm's fury, Josef Tock suddenly sits up in bed and speaks coherently for the first and last time since his stroke.

    mdd says: "New life for Koontz"
    "Is this a farce?"

    Is Koontz a comedy writer now? I could see this one fitting into the Scary Movie genre.

    Some of the dialogue makes me think that it was written with that in mind.

    It's almost as if he were dared by a friend to write a story that included a circus clown and a baker as its main characters. He certainly did it, but the result while well written is just plain bizarre.

    Not my favorite Koontz by a long shot.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • 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

    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.

    Robert says: "Wondrous Book!!!"

    I can't decide if I liked this book. There were aspects of it the writing/execution that were interesting, e.g. the justaposition of the DR culture and the nerd culture. It was always a welcome surprise to hear references to LOTR and other sci-fi/fantasy in the middle of this tragic story. And that's what this story is -- a tragedy. There are a few comedic moments, but these are very few. It's mostly heart-breaking.

    While I found Oscar a sympathetic character, his mother was not. Nearly half the story focuses on her life and that of her parents, who brought on the family curse from which Oscar comes to believe he also suffers.

    I found the preoccupation with sex monotonous, but it certainly is central to the plot. It's almost funny when it's to do with Oscar's prolonged virginity, but it's also a driving force behind the demise of most of the characters.

    On the upside, I thought the narrators were excellent, so it's an easy listen. However, if your Spanish is rusty, there will be a number of asides that you won't understand or will have to glean from the context.

    6 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • Born on a Blue Day: A Memoir

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Daniel Tammet
    • Narrated By Simon Vance

    One of the world's 50 living autistic savants is the first and only to tell his compelling and inspiring life story and explain how his incredible mind works. Worldwide, there are fewer than 50 living savants, those autistic individuals who can perform miraculous mental calculations or artistic feats. (Think Dustin Hoffman's character in Rain Man.) None of them has been able to discuss his or her thought processes, much less write a book. Until now.

    J. Cline says: "Ordinary Life Through Unordinary Eyes"
    "B for Brainman"

    I don't read much nonfiction, but this biography had me hooked. I was so fascinated by Daniel's perceptions about numbers and language, I couldn't stop thinking about it. I shared all the really interesting insights about how Daniel's brain works with my family over dinner. They were equally surprised by the contrast.

    I can't say that I relate to Daniel, but I think I understand him better and I appreciate the way he thinks and feel it could be beneficial to others who struggle with math or language.

    I am looking forward to watching the documentary, Brainman, to find out more about Daniel and "see" the things he describes in the audio book.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Fahrenheit 451

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Ray Bradbury
    • Narrated By Christopher Hurt
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    The system was simple. Everyone understood it. Books were for burning, along with the houses in which they were hidden. Guy Montag was a fireman whose job it was to start fires, and he enjoyed his job. He had been a fireman for 10 years, and never questioned the pleasure of the midnight runs, nor the joy of watching pages consumed by flames. He never questioned anything, until he met a 17-year-old girl who told him of a past when people were not afraid, and a professor who told him of a future in which people could think. Guy Montag suddenly realized what he had to do.

    Casey says: "Still Relevant"
    "Still Relevant"

    Do I dare admit to not having read this book in high school? Wasn't it required reading? Anyway, it should be. It's as relevant as ever.

    In the epilogue, Bradbury said he didn't change one word or the original manuscript for this reprinting even though stage plays have had additional scenes answering inevitable questions about pivotal characters.

    Reading this in 2008 for the first time, I found the entertainment culture described in this tale to be eerily near to reality. Our flat screens are similar to Bradbury's wall screens. The constant input from TV, Internet, iPod, radio makes it so that you can almost completely avoid serious conversation or reading -- two of the things missing, sadly, in Bradbury's alternate and untenable reality.

    I just hope that we all don't become so numbed like Montag's friends, that we can be unaffected by war and death ... oops, I think we may already have done that.

    13 of 13 people found this review helpful

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