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Nothing really matters

Rob Thomas

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada | Member Since 2014

306
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 74 reviews
  • 78 ratings
  • 553 titles in library
  • 31 purchased in 2015
FOLLOWING
35
FOLLOWERS
40

  • Setting Limits with Your Strong-Willed Child: Eliminating Conflict by Establishing Clear, Firm, and Respectful Boundaries

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Robert J. MacKenzie
    • Narrated By Alan Sklar
    Overall
    (103)
    Performance
    (93)
    Story
    (89)

    Here is an essential manual for creating a positive, respectful, and rewarding relationship with a strong-willed child. Based on proven techniques and procedures, parents and teachers alike will welcome this book.

    Nothing really matters says: "Finally - advice that works for hard cases!"
    "Finally - advice that works for hard cases!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The advice in this book is the only advice I've gotten from a parenting book (and I've read quite a few) that has been effective almost from the moment I started to try it out with my strong-willed daughter.

    It espouses, among other things, time-outs and natural consequences which are frowned upon by the more modern books I've read. But it stresses that this type of discipline must NOT be meted out in a punitive, angry, or mean-spirited way. And that, I believe, keeps this kind of effective discipline from crossing the line into cruelty.

    I HIGHLY recommend this book if you have a strong-willed child. But do read other, newer books that set out very different but still very valuable approaches. No one book has all the answers or the one right approach, but this one works both well and fairly quickly with the kids who are less naturally compliant.

    Note that it's approach might be a bit over-the-top for compliant children. Still, meaning what you say and using less words with compliant children probably won't hurt...

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • I, Robot

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Isaac Asimov
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1915)
    Performance
    (858)
    Story
    (880)

    They mustn't harm a human being, they must obey human orders, and they must protect their own existence...but only so long as that doesn't violate rules one and two. With these Three Laws of Robotics, humanity embarked on a bold new era of evolution that would open up enormous possibilities, and unforeseen risks.

    Herb says: "Forget the violence - Read this one for the humor"
    "Classic Old School Science Fiction"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a collection of short stories revolving around a central character, a robot psychologist who is about to retire. She reminisces to a reporter and the stories represent the events she is telling the reporter about, although as told by a narrator other than the psychologist. All of the stories turn on the Three Rules of Robotics, which I’m sure another review or two have spelled out elsewhere.

    This book in the first in the series and although I have not read the others (yet), I can tell you the story in the Will Smith movie is not found in this book or any of the others. Characters, situations, and ideas from this book do appear in that movie, but the idea of a violent robot uprising runs contrary to the theme in this book of robots not generally being able to harm humans. Though, the final story in this book suggests robots may be able to subtly manipulate mankind to their mutual benefit.

    The stories are mostly clever and fun. The dialogue, the ways the characters interact, and the underlying “science”, now seem quaint of course. But younger readers will still enjoy this sci-fi classic if they suspend the part of their mind struggling with that and just enjoy the stories themselves.

    I recommend this book, especially if you are a fan of vintage sci fi.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A River Runs Through It and Other Stories

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Norman Maclean
    • Narrated By David Manis
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (237)
    Performance
    (204)
    Story
    (210)

    In A River Runs Through It, Norman Maclean claims that “in my family, there is no clear line between religion and fly-fishing.” Nor is there a clear line between family and fly-fishing. It is the one activity where brother can connect with brother and father with son, bridging troubled relationships at the junction of great trout rivers in western Montana. In Maclean’s autobiographical novella, it is the river that makes them realize that life continues and all things are related.

    Joe says: "Loved the Movie- and the Short Story is Better!"
    "Fly-fishing, US Forest Service, and Life."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    As others have noted, there are parts of these stories that are very beautifully written. I rushed through the book, though, and missed some of the finer points. My loss. On the other hand, perhaps some of the points were too subtle for me to catch. I wonder it it’d become more clear to me if I saw the movie...

    In any case, the descriptions the author provides of life in small-town Montana and working in the woods with the US Forest Service in the early twentieth century were very interesting. And the fact these details were worked into the stories was neat.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Little Prince

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs)
    • By Antoine de Saint-Exupery
    • Narrated By Humphrey Bower
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (766)
    Performance
    (586)
    Story
    (587)

    A pilot stranded in the desert awakes one morning to see, standing before him, the most extraordinary little fellow. "Please," asks the stranger, "draw me a sheep." And the pilot realizes that when life's events are too difficult to understand, there is no choice but to succumb to their mysteries. He pulls out pencil and paper... And thus begins this wise and enchanting fable that, in teaching the secret of what is really important in life, has changed forever the world for its readers.

    Heather says: "A children's story for adults"
    "Wow."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I bought this classic book (in paper format) many years ago to read to my kids. I started reading it to them twice, but never got far before giving up. To be honest, I wondered what the fuss was about. But then I never got past the first quarter or so of the book.

    The nice thing about audible books is, unlike a regular book, it's easier to keep reading than it is to stop. So, I decided to give this book a second chance yesterday when Audible put it on sale. I bought it and listened from start to finish. Wow, I'm sure glad I did.

    The story is very original. It tells the tale of a space-travelling child who meets an air-travelling adult. The final three quarters of the book sets out a profound and poignant view of life and does so in such a way that you can never quite decide whether it's aimed at children or adults.

    The story is very touching and thought-provoking and a good use of two hours of your life (or your kids’ lives). Highly recommended.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • All Quiet on the Western Front

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Erich Maria Remarque
    • Narrated By Frank Muller
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1153)
    Performance
    (1009)
    Story
    (1015)

    Paul Bäumer is just 19 years old when he and his classmates enlist. They are Germany’s Iron Youth who enter the war with high ideals and leave it disillusioned or dead. As Paul struggles with the realities of the man he has become, and the world to which he must return, he is led like a ghost of his former self into the war’s final hours. All Quiet is one of the greatest war novels of all time, an eloquent expression of the futility, hopelessness and irreparable losses of war.

    Alan says: "My Choice for Frank Muller's Best"
    "You think war is all glory, but it is all hell."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book moved me in the way the movie “Saving Pvt. Ryan” did (especially that movie’s initial D-Day scene). There are countless war movies and books, but these are the only two I am familiar with that were capable of bringing home the horror of war. My father fought in WWII and never told war stories or even talked about combat other than in vague ways. In his view war was a senseless “meat grinder”. I never felt I knew what he was getting at until after I'd seen Saving Pvt. Ryan and read “All Quiet on the Western Front”.

    All Quiet is written by a WWI combat veteran and tells tells the story of Paul Baumer who, along with his classmates is encouraged to join the war with a great deal of patriotic talk by those who, by virtue of their age or position, need never fight themselves. Paul soon discovers that, as U.S. Gen. Sherman said:

    "I am tired and sick of war. Its glory is all moonshine. It is only those who have neither fired a shot nor heard the shrieks and groans of the wounded who cry aloud for blood, for vengeance, for desolation. War is hell."

    and

    "There is many a boy here today who looks on war as all glory, but, boys, it is all hell."

    I finished this book thinking, for mankind to evolve, wars should simply be banned (or, as suggested by Paul and his comrades, turned into life-and-death tournaments between the world leaders and generals who declare them).

    The narrator is perfect and really does the material justice. And the writing itself is beautiful. Unreservedly recommended. A+

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Kiss Before Dying

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Ira Levin
    • Narrated By Mauro Hantman
    Overall
    (480)
    Performance
    (431)
    Story
    (434)

    Now a modern classic, as gripping in its tautly plotted action as it is penetrating in its exploration of a criminal mind, it tells the shocking tale of a young man who will stop at nothing--not even murder--to get where he wants to go. For he has dreams; plans. He also has charm, good looks, sex appeal, intelligence. And he has a problem. Her name is Dorothy; she loves him, and she's pregnant. The solution may demand desperate measures.

    karen says: "Nothing like a classic....."
    "Don’t get between a narcissist/psycho & his goals"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I don’t usually read crime or suspense novels, but I read this one because of its author’s reputation and the reputation of the novel itself. I’m glad I did. Nothing impresses me more than when an author can really surprise you. And Ira Levin really delivers in this suspense classic. That’s all I’ll say about surprises.

    One of the reasons I usually don’t enjoy suspense novels is because they are, obviously, designed to make you tense. And, if you can’t keep reading, say because you have to go to work, then you remain in suspense. This book did keep me in suspense, but it was a fun ride, so no regrets.

    I recommend this book, especially if you are a crime/suspense fan and would like to read an early example of top notch suspense writing.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Forever War

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Joe Haldeman
    • Narrated By George Wilson
    Overall
    (1566)
    Performance
    (967)
    Story
    (981)

    William Mandella is a soldier in Earth's elite brigade. As the war against the Taurans sends him from galaxy to galaxy, he learns to use protective body shells and sophisticated weapons. He adapts to the cultures and terrains of distant outposts. But with each month in space, years are passing on Earth. Where will he call home when (and if) the Forever War ends?

    John says: "A classic."
    "The Terrans vs the Taurans, + lots of weird stuff"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A fun read. It takes a realistic-feeling approach to the physics of war in space. The politics as well. The characters are refreshingly down-to-earth (no apologies, pun-haters), instead of someone's fantasy of what a cool and macho space warrior should be like.

    It's really an amazing book if you take into account that it was written in the 1970s. Until I finished reading it and checked, I had assumed it was written later.

    Final note: at double speed, which is how I often listen to fiction, the narrator sounded like Peter Parker from the 1960s Spider-Man cartoon. Funny. I kept waiting to hear him say, 'Wallopping web-snappers!'

    2 of 2 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
    (4761)
    Performance
    (4206)
    Story
    (4206)

    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."
    "Hard-bitten anti-hero saves Ewoks from Bill Gates"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    First, I have not read “Little Fuzzy” of which this book is an updated version. Second, this is the first John Scalzi book I have read. Third, I enjoyed this book and would recommend it to sci-fi fans with one reservation.

    My reservation is that this is yet another sci-fi tale with a hard-bitten, anti-hero main character. Yup, the main character is a grizzled veteran of court-room battles who uses his superior intellect and knowledge to flummox the bad guys. And, of course, he isn’t afraid to throw a manly punch when needed.

    To John Scalzi’s credit, the fact that the main character is an antihero actually is relevant to the plot. At least at the very end. Okay, that’s good. But, still, I’m very tired of the macho outsider main characters that are almost standard in sci-fi, crime novels, and the like. I hope he does not use that sort of main character in all his books. Maybe he just inherited this character from Little Fuzzy, right? Otherwise, I guess I’m done with his books.

    A final thought. Little Fuzzy was published in the early 60s and you have to wonder if it was George Lucas’s inspiration for the Ewoks battling the empire and the basic plot elements in James Cameron’s Avatar.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Caine Mutiny

    • UNABRIDGED (26 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Herman Wouk
    • Narrated By Kevin Pariseau
    Overall
    (1104)
    Performance
    (967)
    Story
    (968)

    Having inspired a classic film and Broadway play, The Caine Mutiny is Herman Wouk's boldly dramatic, brilliantly entertaining novel of life—and mutiny—on a Navy warship in the Pacific theater. It was immediately embraced upon its original publication as one of the first serious works of American fiction to grapple with the moral complexities and the human consequences of the Second World War. In the intervening half century, this gripping story has become a perennial favorite, selling millions throughout the world, and claiming the Pulitzer Prize for fiction.

    James says: "Even Better than the Movie"
    "What is the right approach to poor leadership?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a fascinating war story with several layers that are not initially apparent. The story starts off focussed on the main character and his entry into, and activities in, the US Navy during WWII. But with the introduction of new characters and changing circumstances, things get much more and interesting and complicated.

    It struck me as primarily a tale of bad leadership and subordinates' reactions to it and how young men mature in tough circumstances and possibly gain resulting wisdom. It takes a stand on what the right approach to weak leadership ought be. I found the suggested answer pretty much impossible to argue with. I also found it disturbing when I recalled how I’ve handled such situations through the years.

    It’s a long book, but rewarding and worth the time. It’s very well narrated and I highly recommend it.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • An Unwelcome Quest: Magic 2.0, Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Scott Meyer
    • Narrated By Luke Daniels
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1995)
    Performance
    (1812)
    Story
    (1807)

    Ever since Martin Banks and his fellow computer geeks discovered that reality is just a computer program to be happily hacked, they've been jaunting back and forth through time, posing as medieval wizards and having the epic adventures that other nerds can only dream of having. But even in their wildest fantasies, they never expected to end up at the mercy of the former apprentice whom they sent to prison for gross misuse of magic and all-around evil behavior.

    Chris says: "Happy to see more, but not as fun as the first two"
    "Unwelcome Quest is welcome addition to the series"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The Magic 2.0 series is the most fun series I've read in ages. This third installment brings back all your favourite characters and sets them off on a new, nerdy adventure.

    The story was great fun and the main characters are very likeable. The narration is excellent and makes the story even more enjoyable.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • For Whom the Bell Tolls

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Ernest Hemingway
    • Narrated By Campbell Scott
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1772)
    Performance
    (1016)
    Story
    (1031)

    In 1937, Ernest Hemingway traveled to Spain to cover the civil war there for the North American Newspaper Alliance. Three years later he completed the greatest novel to emerge from "the good fight", For Whom the Bell Tolls.

    A User says: "The Mountains of Spain"
    "Great story, great writing, really enjoyable."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Everyone has a different concept of what makes great literature. For at least one friend of mine it has a lot to do with the use of literary devices and surprising twists. That's fine, but I think to be great literature, you have to start with a great story. Without a satisfying and sensible story, you've got nothing no matter how cleverly the story is constructed.

    Fortunately, For Whom the Bell Tolls is, in my books, great literature. It is a compelling war story and it is superbly told (and very well narrated as well).

    It is the story of an American who volunteers to fight in the Spanish Civil War against the fascists and with (are you sitting down, my American friends?) the communists. He is assigned a very difficult mission and faces serious challenges created by a key member of his team, among other causes. The story takes place over a couple of days, but there is a lot of drama and genuine-feeling emotion packed into those days. I don't want to spoil the story, so I'll stop there.

    If you want to read a great war story and enjoy some great writing, look no further! I really enjoyed it, as have generations before me have and as generations after me will. Don't miss out.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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