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Nothing really matters

Rob Thomas

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada | Member Since 2013

ratings
44
REVIEWS
40
FOLLOWING
12
FOLLOWERS
7
HELPFUL VOTES
55

  • If This Isn't Nice, What Is: Advice for the Young

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Kurt Vonnegut
    • Narrated By Kevin T. Collins, Scott Brick
    Overall
    (916)
    Performance
    (793)
    Story
    (791)

    Master storyteller and satirist Kurt Vonnegut was one of the most in-demand commencement speakers of his time. For each occasion, Vonnegut’s words were unfailingly unique, insightful, and witty, and they stayed with audience members long after graduation. As edited by Dan Wakefield, this book reads like a narrative in the unique voice that made Vonnegut a hero to readers and listeners of all ages. At times hilarious, razor-sharp, freewheeling, and deeply serious, these reflections are ideal for anyone undergoing what Vonnegut would call their "long-delayed puberty ceremony".

    Joseph Warren says: "Witty Humor and Priceless Insight"
    "Interesting collection of convocation speeches"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Listening to this reminded me of why I really liked Kurt Vonnegut's novels back in the day. He's funny and generally makes his points directly and effectively.

    I found his contrasting of the current acceptance of the "eye-for-an-eye" retribution rule In the Code of Hammurabi and rejection the forgiveness and kindness directives in the Sermon on the Mount particularly interesting.

    NOTE: If you are not a fan of Kurt Vonnegut or are very conservative in your thinking, you will not enjoy this.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • One Man's Initiation

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By John Dos Passos
    • Narrated By Jeff Woodman
    Overall
    (457)
    Performance
    (394)
    Story
    (400)

    Springing from the author's first-hand experience as an ambulance driver and Red Cross worker during World War I, this autobiographical first novel is noteworthy for its vivid and colorful evocation of France at that time and for its passionate indictment of war. The author's disillusionment with war for a time turned him toward socialism and against capitalism.

    Sam Motes says: "A gem in the anti war genre."
    "A little disappointing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This semi-autobiographical novella was written by a noteworthy author in relation to his experiences in and views on the First World War. The narrator read it very well. The story, though, was somehow disappointing. I lost interest and stopped reading about two-thirds of the way through.

    This was John Dos Passos' first book and he went on to enjoy critical acclaim for later books. To be fair, then, I'll chalk this book up as a good freshman effort.

    You may find the book more interesting than I did if you are a fan of the author or just can't read enough about WWI.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Old Man and the Sea

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Ernest Hemingway
    • Narrated By Donald Sutherland
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1389)
    Performance
    (795)
    Story
    (796)

    The Old Man and the Sea is one of Hemingway's most enduring works. Told in language of great simplicity and power, it is the story of an old Cuban fisherman, down on his luck, and his supreme ordeal, a relentless, agonizing battle with a giant marlin far out in the Gulf Stream. Here Hemingway recasts, in strikingly contemporary style, the classic theme of courage in the face of defeat, of personal triumph won from loss.

    Dave says: "Truly a Classic"
    "Lots of story in a small package"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is my favourite type of classic. It is an exciting and thoroughly believable story coupled with a great writing style and profound themes that really resonate. It`s full of action, suspense, hope, fear, love, caring, pride, humility, and insight. I was very impressed and my first thought when I finished the book was: `I have got to share this with my sons`.

    I listened to this classic from start to finish uninterrupted on a long airplane flight. Doing that was a mistake, though. I was cheating myself. For a short book, there is a heck of a lot packed in and its messages are presented quite subtly. Without time to reflect on what I'd just read, I (rightly) suspected I'd missed quite a bit. So, the day after finishing it, I undertook a bit of research to see what themes I had missed. I`m glad I did and now have a much better appreciation of this fine novella. I suggest you do the same if you get a similar feeling when you finish it.

    And --no surprise-- Donald Sutherland's narration is thoroughly enjoyable and worthy of this great book. At some points in the book it becomes mesmerizing.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Peter and the Secret of Rundoon: The Starcatchers, Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By Dave Barry, Ridley Pearson
    • Narrated By Jim Dale
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (402)
    Performance
    (244)
    Story
    (244)

    Peter and Molly find themselves in the dangerous land of Rundoon, ruled by the evil King Zarboff, who takes great delight in watching his pet snake, Kundalini, consume anyone who displeases him.

    Richard says: "Peter and the Secret of Rundoon"
    "Another great Peter and the Starcatchers book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is number three of four full length books (and some shorter books) in the Peter Pan / Neverland prequel series. They are very well written, very well narrated, and thoroughly entertaining family reading for kids and adults.

    Treat yourself to this excellent series.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Peter and the Shadow Thieves: The Starcatchers, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By Dave Barry, Ridley Pearson
    • Narrated By Jim Dale
    Overall
    (558)
    Performance
    (337)
    Story
    (334)

    Peter leaves the relative safety of Mollusk Island - along with his trusted companion, Tinker Bell - for the cold, damp, dangerous streets of London. On a difficult journey across the sea, he and Tink discover the dark and deadly slithering part-man/part-creature Lord Ombra, who is intent on recovering the missing starstuff.

    SciFiSurfer says: "My Kids Loved the the Starcatchers Series!"
    "Another great Starcatcher book!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The Starcatcher series tells the tale of Peter Pan before he was Peter Pan. These books (we just started the third in the four-book series) are so well written, I can't understand why they aren't better known than many other similar but less well written series for kids (I won't name any names).

    They are the kind of books both kids and adults can really enjoy and get into. They are packed with suspense and laughs. The characters are extremely engaging and believable. The stories are fantasy and nevertheless are so convincingly set out that you find yourself completely immersed in them.

    The second book in this series is just as enjoyable as the first was. I highly, highly recommend the Starcatcher series for great family listening.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Peter and the Starcatchers: The Starcatchers, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Dave Barry, Ridley Pearson
    • Narrated By Jim Dale
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1102)
    Performance
    (682)
    Story
    (677)

    In an evocative and fast-paced adventure on the high seas and on a faraway island an orphan boy named Peter and his mysterious new friend, Molly, overcome bands of pirates and thieves in their quest to keep a fantastical secret safe and save the world from evil.

    Deborah says: "A fast paced frolic on the high seas!"
    "Why are these books not better known?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The Starcatcher series tells the tale of Peter Pan before he was Peter Pan. These books (we just started the third in the four-book series) are so well written, I can't understand why they aren't better known than many other similar but less well written series for kids (I won't name any names).

    They are the kind of books both kids and adults can really enjoy and get into. They are packed with suspense and laughs. The characters are extremely engaging and believable. The stories are fantasy and nevertheless are so convincingly set out that you find yourself completely immersed in them.

    I highly, highly recommend the Starcatcher series for great family listening.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Brian Tracy
    • Narrated By Brian Tracy
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2249)
    Performance
    (995)
    Story
    (971)

    There's an old saying: if you eat a live frog first thing each morning, you'll have the satisfaction of knowing that it's probably the worst thing you'll do all day. Using "eat that frog" as a metaphor for tackling the most challenging task of your day, the one you are most likely to procrastinate on, but also the one that might have the greatest positive impact on your life, Eat That Frog! shows you how to zero in on these critical tasks and organize your day.

    Bilgin Esme says: "Not only procrastination"
    "Highly recommended, but with a caveat"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book is chock-full of useful advice that can really help you in your day-to-day work life and life outside of work. It is one of a handful of books I try to re-read about every two years or so. And, Brian Tracy reads his materials very well. For those reasons, I highly recommend this book.

    So what’s the caveat? Brian Tracy sells the ideas in this book hard, even though they are good enough that the hard sell is not needed. In this and other books, he oversimplifies the problems, and overstates the potential positive effects of the suggested approaches and techniques.

    For example, he likes to throw out statistics (“this technique will boost your productivity 25%!”) that make you go, “Huh!? Where’d he get that from and what’s it based on?” And he makes wild promises like, “Do this, and you’ll triple your income!” This is really unfortunate because it makes him sound like a huckster and I don’t believe he is. It’s also unfortunate because the techniques and approaches are really good, do work, and so don’t require the puffing up. If he could just be more realistic and modest (“This technique can boost your productivity noticeably.” “Do this consistently, and you will increase the odds you’ll get noticed and you may even get a raise.”), the book would read much better.

    All that said, I highly recommend this book.

    Brian Tracy’s “No Excuses!: The Power of Self-Discipline” is a very, very useful as well. But, again, be prepared for a hard sell throughout. That’s a small matter, though, when you realise that you will actually benefit from applying the suggestions.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Mark Twain
    • Narrated By Dick Hill
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (122)
    Performance
    (94)
    Story
    (96)

    Generations of readers have enjoyed the ingenuous triumphs and feckless mishaps of boyhood days on the Mississippi. This classic of American wit and storytelling introduced Tom Sawyer, Becky Thatcher, Aunt Polly, the Widow Douglas, and many other characters to the world; including, of course, the boy who "was cordially hated and dreaded by all the mothers of the town, because he was idle and lawless and vulgar and bad - and because all their children admired him so," Huckleberry Finn.

    Rickapolis says: "AVOID THIS VERSION"
    "Never thought I'd read this, but very glad I did"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Tim Sawyer is one of those classics of literature I supposed I should read, but never got very far into. My dad loved Mark Twain and encouraged me to read Tom Sawyer. But, being a strong-willed boy, I typically wanted to do the opposite of whatever my dad recommended. Big mistake.

    This story is really timeless and thoroughly enjoyable. I laughed out loud at many points during Dick Hill's fantastic narration. He does all the characters and accents perfectly. Mark Twain's insights into human nature are dead on and he illustrates them in very entertaining ways in this tale of boyhood adventure.

    Don't pass up the opportunity to enjoy this classic, and Dick Hill's fantastic rendition of it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Mark Twain
    • Narrated By Dick Hill
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (29)
    Performance
    (12)
    Story
    (12)

    Tom was "under strict orders not to play with him", so he played with him every time he got the chance. Mark Twain took his most outrageous and outcast character (and perhaps the one he loved the most), Huckleberry Finn, from the book and wrote his own Adventures. This giant work, in addition to entertaining boys and girls for generations, has defined the first-person novel in America, and continues to demand study, inspire reverence and stir controversy in our time.

    Nothing really matters says: "Great story, wonderfully narrated."
    "Great story, wonderfully narrated."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It's trite to call this a classic, so let me remind you why it's a classic. It's an engaging, fun, and beautifully written adventure story. It'll make you laugh out loud. It'll have you on the edge of your seat. It'll make you wish you could write like that.

    Dick Hill does a really amazing job of narrating. He deserves a ton of credit for doing justice to this great story.

    I suggest you listen to Dick Hill's Tom Sawyer before listening to this story so you'll know who all the characters are and you'll know the back story.

    Highly recommended.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Alfred Lansing
    • Narrated By Simon Prebble
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2058)
    Performance
    (1394)
    Story
    (1403)

    In August of 1914, the British ship Endurance set sail for the South Atlantic. In October, 1915, still half a continent away from its intended base, the ship was trapped, then crushed in the ice. For five months, Sir Ernest Shackleton and his men, drifting on ice packs, were castaways in one of the most savage regions of the world.

    russell says: "Endurance"
    "Exciting tale of survival (and narcissism)"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is an amazing tale of survival. It is riveting and, at points, agonizing. What's amazing is that it's a work of non-fiction. Truth is more fascinating than fiction at times because as Mark Twain is quoted as saying, unlike fiction, truth doesn't have to stick with what's possible.

    One interesting aspect of this story is how Shackleton, who the author calls a probable egomaniac and who we might say had a serous dose of narcissistic personality disorder, really cared about his men. Maybe he did so for selfish reasons, but I'd prefer to think he did so for the right reasons.

    Also interesting was how many of these gents were early proponents of relentlessly positive thinking. I have my doubts about this approach, but there's no doubt that it helped these men do as well as they did.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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