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Johnathan

Austin, TX, USA

7
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 2 reviews
  • 6 ratings
  • 1 titles in library
  • 0 purchased in 2014
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  • Water for Elephants

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Sara Gruen
    • Narrated By David LeDoux, John Randolph Jones
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (13044)
    Performance
    (5493)
    Story
    (5560)

    Why we think it’s a great listen: Some books are meant to be read; others are meant to be heard – Water for Elephants falls into the second group, and is one of the best examples we have of how a powerful performance enhances a great story. Nonagenarian Jacob Jankowski reflects back on his wild and wondrous days with a circus. It's the Depression Era and Jacob, finding himself parentless and penniless, joins the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth.

    Kindle Customer says: "Great Narration!!"
    "3.51 stars rounds up to 4"
    Overall

    I looked into this title many times before finally giving in and purchasing it. With my commute, it served as a nice mix between thought-provoking and occasionally mindless. The narrators are both good, but the older Jacob is FANTASTIC. I found myself looking forward to the next chapter just so I could get back to his devastatingly realistic portrayal of an old man stuck between comforting reminiscence and disparaging experiences in the now.

    The story itself was entertaining and sometimes had some depth to it that left me pondering, but it was not a book that I would recommend to someone looking for any kind of a head-scratcher. The look into old-timey circus life was apparently informed by Gruen's research, which lent it much credibility as I was listening, but the characters themselves were mostly average in their ability to maintain my interest. I was drawn into the characters of August, Marlena, and Walter, but not nearly as much into characters such as Uncle Al, Camel, and even the young Jacob, who served as the protagoinist but not with a great deal of depth. The older Jacob, however, had a great deal of depth and nuance, which is why I mentioned before my tendency to look forward to his chapters.

    I recommend this book, but know a couple things. It's more of a romance story than "literature", and the ending is one that you will likely either love or hate. For me, a bad ending ruins a book. This ending, well, I appreciated it on some levels and hated it on others. That's all I'm willing to say.
    .

    7 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • Bobby Fischer Goes to War: How the Soviets Lost the Most Extraordinary Chess Match

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By David Edmonds, John Eidinow
    • Narrated By Sam Tsoutsouvas
    Overall
    (82)
    Performance
    (23)
    Story
    (24)

    In the summer of 1972, with a presidential crisis stirring in the United States and the cold war at a pivotal point, two men, the Soviet world chess champion Boris Spassky and his American challenger Bobby Fischer, met in the most notorious chess match of all time. Their showdown in Reykjavik, Iceland, held the world spellbound for two months with reports of psychological warfare, ultimatums, political intrigue, cliffhangers, and farce to rival a Marx Brothers film.

    Gene says: "Engrossing"
    "Great for lovers of chess history."
    Overall

    I am a very dedicated amateur chess player and loved soaking up the historical information in this audiobook. There is an abundance of biographical and political discussion, and very little talk of the chess games themselves, apart from how the two players battled psychologically throughout the match. I was highly intrigued by the extent to which the American and Soviet governments got involved in and placed such value in the outcome of the match. That being said, I would not recommend this book to any of my friends who don't play chess. I think it's a prerequisite for appreciating the mystique of the match. The narrator is somewhat bland and the recording sounds as if it's decades old, but it's not - which makes my previous point even more important. Chess players interested in a fascinating chapter in chess history (and American history as well), you won't be disappointed.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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