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W. Morgan

I favor history, non-fiction, lectures, and the occasional purely fictitious work. I also listen to many children's books with my family.

Tennesse | Member Since 2005

15
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 19 reviews
  • 68 ratings
  • 0 titles in library
  • 44 purchased in 2014
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  • Steelheart

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Brandon Sanderson
    • Narrated By Macleod Andrews
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (5744)
    Performance
    (5359)
    Story
    (5379)

    Ten years ago, Calamity came. It was a burst in the sky that gave ordinary men and women extraordinary powers. The awed public started calling them Epics. But Epics are no friend of man. With incredible gifts came the desire to rule. And to rule man you must crush his wills. Nobody fights the Epics...nobody but the Reckoners. A shadowy group of ordinary humans, they spend their lives studying Epics, finding their weaknesses, and then assassinating them. And David wants in. He wants Steelheart - the Epic who is said to be invincible. The Epic who killed David's father.

    D says: "He got the idea from a near traffic accident"
    "I should have *loved* this ... 3.5 stars"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    First let me say that a three start book for me is pretty solid and four and five stars for me are reserved for my favorites or those books I will likely return to (possibly repeatedly). Secondly, the narration is perfectly good - but doesn't fall into the five star area for me either - with a half-point scale I would have gone 3.5. Finally - my overall reflects the slight failure of the book to live up to the story/premise in it's actual implementation (the writing) - I wish I could give it a 3.5 as I think 3 comes across as slightly harsh - but I ended up liking but not *really* liking it.

    I don't think the below spoils anything - and the plot has been documented elsewhere - so on with some pure opinion:

    I should have *loved* this book. The premise is right up my alley - Super-humans have run amok and basically rule the Earth and have territorial battles etc. Mere mortals are left as, basically, serfs in these different 'Epic's' territories. People, as we know, don't tend to love to be treated in such a fashion - so there are some who rise up. Neat setup - love it. The problem I have is the quality of the dialogue and, to a lesser extent, the prose itself.

    Anyway - I burned through the book on 3x speed and enjoyed it. It is what we call a 'vacation book' here in my house - it's not meaty, just for fun and entertainment and I think it accomplishes that pretty well.

    Thanks - hope this helps,
    Will

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • A Feast for Crows: A Song of Ice and Fire: Book 4

    • UNABRIDGED (33 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By George R. R. Martin
    • Narrated By Roy Dotrice
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (7958)
    Performance
    (7293)
    Story
    (7320)

    Few books have captivated the imagination and won the devotion and praise of readers and critics everywhere as has George R. R. Martin’s monumental epic cycle of high fantasy that began with A Game of Thrones. Now, in A Feast for Crows, Martin delivers the long-awaited fourth book of his landmark series, as a kingdom torn asunder finds itself at last on the brink of peace . . . only to be launched on an even more terrifying course of destruction.

    Pi says: "Jarring change in Dotrice's performance"
    "This one drags a bit - still good."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Honestly, I had to push through this one a bit. There were parts which were engaging and characters I was glad to hear tales of, but the best bits were a bit sparse and, especially when compared to book three, it didn't move things a long as much as I'd like - and it's a pretty lengthy read/listen.

    Still, there is a lot to like if you're a fan of Westeros - and in most good series there are installments which don't live up to their surrounding books. All in all I'm certainly happy with it - just not *as* happy as I was with books one, two and especially three.

    Hope this helps,
    Will

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Gettysburg

    • UNABRIDGED (23 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Stephen Sears
    • Narrated By Ed Sala
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (86)
    Performance
    (75)
    Story
    (76)

    Best-selling author and acclaimed Civil War expert Stephen W. Sears, hailed by The New York Times Book Review as “arguably the preeminent living historian of the war’s eastern theater,” crafts what will stand the test of time as the definitive history of the greatest battle ever fought on American soil. Drawing on years of research, Sears focuses on the big picture, capturing the entire essence of the momentous three day struggle while offering fresh insights that will surprise even the best versed Civil War buffs.

    John says: "a couple of grating mispronunciations"
    "I loved this detailed account of the battle"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I've seen some complaints about the author's perspective or personal feelings about various leaders in the battle and campaign, but find them basically uninteresting. This was a superb and detailed account of the battle and it's consequences and aftermath. It's astonishing how many mistakes, miscues and missed opportunities there were in this battle - inlcuding the somewhat accidental initiation of general battle at a site not to Lee's liking.

    Keeping it brief - I give it 4 stars as a book I would listen to again, but may not find the time for. It did keep me listening and I did not want to turn the book off - but it didn't drive me mad with the desire to continue the way some books do. I don't fault the book for this - it's tougher to pull off that kind of engagement with historical non-fiction (even though I love the genre).

    Highly recommended - especially for those with interest in the battle and it's main leaders or those with a general notion of the battle looking for details.

    Thanks - hope this review helps!
    Will

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Great Ideas of Philosophy, 2nd Edition

    • ORIGINAL (30 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Daniel N. Robinson
    Overall
    (145)
    Performance
    (124)
    Story
    (121)

    Grasp the important ideas that have served as the backbone of philosophy across the ages with this extraordinary 60-lecture series. This is your opportunity to explore the enormous range of philosophical perspectives and ponder the most important and enduring of human questions-without spending your life poring over dense philosophical texts.

    W. Morgan says: "Great overview with some degree of detail"
    "Great overview with some degree of detail"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I found this to be a thought-provoking and interesting overview of many of the major philosophers and their respective reasonings and arguments. This isn't a scant overview where you get a handful of minutes on profound thinkers, you get a little bit more than - usually at least one full lecture and often more when the philosopher or philosophy is refered back to in later lectures.

    The Professor clearly has mastery over his course and it's a pleasure to have had he opportunity to sit in on his classes while in my car, or on my lawn mower.... or layed out on the couch/floor.

    I definitely recommend this as a great starting point and believe it will push you to consider or read/listen to more writings/lectures on the subject or, at least, on a particular philosophy or philosopher.

    4/5 stars represents something I'd possibly listen to again - and I very well may - probbaly selectively based upon interest in a particular lecture or two. Trying to get away from LOVING everything I hear - but I'm frequently failing. This one slips to just shy of 5 because it didn't have me so 'eager' to continue listening at every breath of my day.

    Thanks,
    Will

    10 of 10 people found this review helpful
  • The Great Gatsby

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By F. Scott Fitzgerald
    • Narrated By Jake Gyllenhaal
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2973)
    Performance
    (2716)
    Story
    (2737)

    F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic American novel of the Roaring Twenties is beloved by generations of readers and stands as his crowning work. This new audio edition, authorized by the Fitzgerald estate, is narrated by Oscar-nominated actor Jake Gyllenhaal (Brokeback Mountain). Gyllenhaal's performance is a faithful delivery in the voice of Nick Carraway, the Midwesterner turned New York bond salesman, who rents a small house next door to the mysterious millionaire Jay Gatsby....

    Darwin8u says: "Simple, Beautiful, and Exquisitely Textured"
    "Love the book - overall would be a 4.5"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I am a big fan of the book. I've listened to it in audible form at least sixe times and revisit it pretty regularly. This particular recording is my second favorite fof the three I have listened to.

    I think the narration here is stellar - it falls short of Frank Muller for me, but I think the style may please some listeners more than Muller's reading. Jake reads it almost as the embodiment of Nick, which he pulls off very well. The reading is a disaffected and has a pretentiousness to it that suits the character perectly. I can't mark this book down for it's performance at all - it's great, just not my personal favorite.

    So my personal picks of the three audio versions I have listened to:

    1) Frank Muller's read (is this unavailable now!?!?)
    2) Jake Gyllenhaal (this book - great)
    3) Tim Robbins (good - not quite up to the above in my mind)

    I have sampled many other narrations and found them lacking - but I would have to check them again to provide details. There are recordings I plan to check out as well - but none have warranted the buy yet since I have such good listens available already.

    Anyway - hope this helps!
    Will

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Ramona Quimby Audio Collection

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs)
    • By Beverly Cleary, Tracy Dockray
    • Narrated By Stockard Channing
    Overall
    (174)
    Performance
    (146)
    Story
    (149)

    Meet Ramona. She lives on Klickitat Street with her mother, father and big sister, Beezus. She’s not afraid of anything and is always up to something. And that’s just the beginning…. In this audio collection, join Ramona, one of Beverly Cleary’s most beloved characters, on all her wacky adventures!

    Christopher says: "Very entertaining and delightful listen"
    "We love Ramona... all five of us!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I read Ramona as a kid and so did my wife. I'm pleased to say the stories hold up ... more than hold up, they are great.

    We listened to all 19 hours on a couple of road trips we took over the past year and there was never a time when any of my kids (boy 5, boy 7 and girl 10) complained about listening to tales about Ramona.

    I was relatively familiar with the older books, having read them forever ago, but the newer ones were (un-shockingly) excellent.

    Stockard Channing's narration is perfect and the tales have ups and downs for the Quimby family, but they learn and love and live and we laugh and cry and smile.

    Thanks Beverly Cleary for giving us Ramona and Beezus and Henry and Risby and Picky-Picky and "Yard Ape" and all the rest!


    *Highly Recommended* for families and kids of all ages (even pushing 40).

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Lords of Discipline

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Pat Conroy
    • Narrated By Dan John Miller
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (820)
    Performance
    (520)
    Story
    (519)

    This powerful and breathtaking novel is the story of four cadets who have become bloodbrothers. Together they will encounter the hell of hazing and the rabid, raunchy and dangerously secretive atmosphere of an arrogant and proud military institute. They will experience the violence. The passion. The rage. The friendship. The loyalty. The betrayal. Together, they will brace themselves for the brutal transition to manhood... and one will not survive.

    P. J. Benyei says: "Amazing book superb narrator"
    "Hated it before I loved it..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Well ... no.. not hated... but thought I wouldn't complete.

    I felt that this book wouldn't be for me at all after listening for a hour or two, but I really loved Prince of Tides, and I listened on. The book was quite harsh in it's descriptions of the hazing and treatment of cadets and had me on the fence as to where things were headed. I would be reluctant to recommend this to folks who are easily put off by mental and physical torment, I know my wife wouldn't want to push through these.

    Anyway, it didn't take Pat much longer to have me completely as he did with Tides. The story really is great and I was compelled to listen at every opportunity. One thing about the two Conroy books I have had the pleasure of listening to is that they are not feel-good books... and that's actually refreshing.

    Well - I'm not really offering you much to go on here I guess... the story is, I guess, a coming of age tale set in a southern military institute (The Citadel) prior to the Vietnam War. The tale revolves around the narrator and a few key friends who must face a flawed system bent on creating 'the whole man'.

    Still this does nothing but set the story a bit ... and I'm not sure how much more to provide in a review so i will just end by saying I highly recommend this book. It's one of my favorites of the past year. It lands just south of Prince of Tides - which surprised me since I found the beginning a challenge.



    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Ready Player One

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Ernest Cline
    • Narrated By Wil Wheaton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (9781)
    Performance
    (9100)
    Story
    (9100)

    At once wildly original and stuffed with irresistible nostalgia, Ready Player One is a spectacularly genre-busting, ambitious, and charming debut—part quest novel, part love story, and part virtual space opera set in a universe where spell-slinging mages battle giant Japanese robots, entire planets are inspired by Blade Runner, and flying DeLoreans achieve light speed.

    Travis says: "ADD TO CART, POWER UP +10000"
    "Entertaining"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I feel a little harsh giving only three stars for the story, but honestly, the story was pretty standard fare - the interest for me came from my personal geekdom and my sentimentality. The 70's and 80's marked my soul and the book is rife with video game history and nods to nerds of my age.

    Beyond that .... well I think maybe the last quarter of the book fell a little flat. Perhaps the novelty of the 80's references wore off a bit and, for me, the story just went downhill towards the end.

    I felt the book started pretty strong and it's got some fun winks and nudges along the way. I wasn't sure if I should pat myself or hang my head at the sheer number of things I knew EXACTLY what the characters were talking about often before the reference was named.

    Don't let this dissuade you from a listen - Wil Wheaton does a really great job... I mean, he's 'one of us' after all. The book isn't so long that the culmination kills it - just weakens it and left me on a bit of a low with respect to the book.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Willoughbys

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Lois Lowry
    • Narrated By Arte Johnson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (52)
    Performance
    (36)
    Story
    (37)

    Abandoned by their ill-humored parents to the care of an odious nanny, Tim, the twins, Barnaby A and Barnaby B, and their sister, Jane, attempt to fulfill their roles as good old-fashioned children.

    Fay says: "Unexpectedly delightful! A treasured keeper!"
    "Fun and humorous book for pre-teens (and parents!)"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to The Willoughbys the most enjoyable?

    The narration was very good and the story was entertaining and had ample humor - especially 'inside jokes' for readers of classic children's literature. The glossary at the end was a very nice and funny touch.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Willoughbys?

    The entire development of a nameless candy bar to potentially be named after the baby, Ruth. Additionally the nods to classic books and the characters and traits found therein. I also found the glossary at the end quite fun for us and my eight year old.


    Which character – as performed by Arte Johnson – was your favorite?

    Hmm.. this book doesn't have any 'stand out' characters in my mind. Nanny was quite good and Jane - but none really are spotlighted. The book is more a story-driven story (?) Anyway - it's a mix of tales we all know with a dose of humor.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Well I found the entire book fun and amusing - it's a short one after all!


    Any additional comments?

    Great short listen for children 8 and up I'd say.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs)
    • By Laura Hillenbrand
    • Narrated By Edward Herrmann
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (10774)
    Performance
    (6805)
    Story
    (6835)

    Why we think it’s a great listen: Seabiscuit was a runaway success, and Hillenbrand’s done it again with another true-life account about beating unbelievable odds. On a May afternoon in 1943, an Army Air Forces bomber crashed into the Pacific Ocean and disappeared, leaving only a spray of debris and a slick of oil, gasoline, and blood. Then, on the ocean surface, a face appeared.....

    Anastasia Burke says: "Hillenbrand could make even laundry fascinating!"
    "Best listen this year, and that's saying a lot!!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to Unbroken the most enjoyable?

    The story was, simply put, amazingly well told. The narration was perfect. I found the tale so moving that I have talked it up to a number of friends.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Really the only character of note is Zamperini - what an amazing person and amazing life.


    What does Edward Herrmann bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    I'm a big fan of Edward's readings. He reads Unbroken incredibly well and can be equally brilliant on children's stories like Geronimo Stilton... what a great reader.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Yes... this book is very moving. If this story doesn't move you then I suggest you check for paralysis.


    Any additional comments?

    Just get the book ... it's not a top Audible audiobook for no reason. I was, foolishly, reluctant but fell into the deep end in just a few minutes.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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