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harry

PLEASANTON, CA, United States | Member Since 2010

139
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 32 reviews
  • 32 ratings
  • 345 titles in library
  • 14 purchased in 2015
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19

  • Guns

    • UNABRIDGED (49 mins)
    • By Stephen King
    • Narrated By Christian Rummel
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (981)
    Performance
    (889)
    Story
    (874)

    In a pulls-no-punches essay intended to provoke rational discussion, Stephen King sets down his thoughts about gun violence in America. Anger and grief in the wake of the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School are palpable in this urgent piece of writing, but no less remarkable are King's keen thoughtfulness and composure as he explores the contours of the gun-control issue and constructs his argument for what can and should be done.

    Daniel E. Jacobs says: "putting his voice on what people have been saying"
    "Very Well Disguised Liberal Agenda"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I really enjoyed the first 3/4 of this essay -- a sober and cogent look
    and gun violence and the media's love affair with it.

    Mr. King's thoughts are particularly interesting given his own "connection" to gun violence with young people and his book Rage.

    Just as I was beginning to think that I was going to continue to receive a thoughtful and balanced conclusion to this essay Mr. King takes a decided left turn and suggests that the answer to this societal ill is to ban the ownership of certain forms of firearms and high capacity magazines.

    How disappointing that this entire essay, which offers such a brilliant personal reflection on the subject of gun violence, ends with the parroting of the standard liberal mantra of banning guns. I was hoping for more.

    45 of 70 people found this review helpful
  • The Beam: Season 2

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Sean Platt, Johnny B. Truant
    • Narrated By Rachel Fulginiti, Julia Whelan, R.C. Bray, and others
    Overall
    (93)
    Performance
    (84)
    Story
    (84)

    Picking up just two weeks after the end of The Beam's first groundbreaking season, we reenter our future history with new characters, fresh discoveries, bigger ideas, and a more unsettling (yet eerily real) vision of the world, warped by another eight decades of accelerated tech.

    Scott Pike says: "The story deapens"
    "Almost...."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I really enjoyed Season One of The Beam and was eager to listen to Season Two...

    I had high hopes that Season Two would continue at the incredibly high level of plot and character development that Season One set as a benchmark. Unfortunately, Season Two mires itself in a little too much in some complex intertwining of the main characters we've come to know in Season One, perhaps unnecessarily so as to challenge my suspension of disbelief.

    I also would have to say that any listener will get more out of Season Two after listening to Season One.

    All this being said, the narration(s) are still absolutely first rate and compelling, and the story lines are advanced a considerable distance past where they left off in Season One.

    I'm still enough of a fan to want to hear what comes next.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Whites: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Richard Price, Harry Brandt
    • Narrated By Ari Fliakos
    Overall
    (302)
    Performance
    (267)
    Story
    (265)

    Back in the run-and-gun days of the mid-'90s, when Billy Graves worked in the South Bronx as part of an anticrime unit known as the Wild Geese, he made headlines by accidentally shooting a 10-year-old boy while stopping an angel-dusted berserker in the street. Branded as a cowboy by his higher-ups, for the next 18 years Billy endured one dead-end posting after another.

    Bradley P. Valentine says: "Richard Price sets the high water mark in genre"
    "Wow !"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The Whites is a masterful high wire act by a world class writer.

    Price / Brandt is incredibly gifted in his presentation of dialogue and scenes, but it is this skill and literally showmanship that nearly steals the book away from its central themes and characters. Very nearly.

    What the listener receives is a wonderful aural banquet of images and descriptions.

    This being said, The Whites is not a perfect audiobook as I occasionally got distracted by the narrator's off tempo inflections and pacing. Eventually, this seemed to melt away, overpowered by the book itself.

    Part police procedural, part morality play, this book evokes the best of authors such as Cormac McCarthy and Truman Capote but is far more accessible.

    I loved it!

    :h

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Arisen Omnibus Edition: Books 1-3

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Michael Stephen Fuchs, Glynn James
    • Narrated By R.C. Bray
    Overall
    (359)
    Performance
    (335)
    Story
    (331)

    When the Zombie Apocalypse came, one country had shut down its borders in response to a major terrorist attack. Now Fortress Britain is the last bastion of the living - with 50 million beleaguered survivors facing down a world of seven billion animated corpses. And one international team of elite special operators - supremely trained and armed, always the most skilled, resolved, and unstoppable amongst us - are humanity's last best hope for survival....

    harry says: "RC Bray At His Best !!"
    "RC Bray At His Best !!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I am a fan of the ZA genre, but I find that most ZA books follow a very similar
    format. Something like bad ass ex-military guys try to survive through skill and guile while helping other survivors along the way...or...unlikely anti hero emerges and summons his inner McGyver, etc...

    The story line(s) of the Arisen Omnibus trilogy is somewhat more sophisticated as it carefully intertwines several personal narratives within a broader survival story.

    I clearly see that a Book 4 will be necessary to tie-up all the lose ends that the first three books leave behind.

    So the story is worth 3 stars. The brilliant narration by RC Bray is worth at least an additional two stars! Simply put, Bray's narration elevates Arisen from good to exceptional.

    Bray's narration of the Martian was very good, but I think Arisen is even more of a showcase for his talent.

    Arisen Omnibus is one of those rare audiobooks that grabbed me immediately and never disappointed.

    Well worth you time and credit!

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Dust and Shadow: An Account of the Ripper Killings by Dr. John H. Watson

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Lyndsay Faye
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1587)
    Performance
    (1228)
    Story
    (1219)

    Breathless and painstakingly researched, this is a stunning debut mystery in which Sherlock Holmes unmasks Jack the Ripper. Lyndsay Faye perfectly captures all the color and syntax of Conan Doyle’s distinctive nineteenth-century London.

    connie says: "the best of both Holmes"
    "Good Story and Great Read !"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I really enjoyed this audio book.

    Lindsay Faye also does an admirable job of extending the Sherlock Holmes narrative as well as expanding on things such as the relationship between Holmes and Inspector Lestrade.

    Simon Vance delivers a perfectly nuanced narration that pulls the entire audiobook together in great fashion.

    Simply put, this is a great listen !

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • How the White Trash Zombie Got Her Groove Back

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Diana Rowland
    • Narrated By Allison McLemore
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (817)
    Performance
    (744)
    Story
    (742)

    It’s zombie versus zombie as the Saberton Corporation declares war against the Zombie Mafia, kidnapping several of their party. It falls to Angel to lead the remnants of her gang halfway across the country to claw their way through corporate intrigue, zombie drugs, and undead trafficking to rescue her friends - and expose the traitor responsible for their abduction.

    Marci says: "Can I give it six stars?"
    "Angel is Back !"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Angel Crawford and the Zombie Tribe are back in the fourth WTZ installment from Diana Rowland.

    I am always cautious when a book series begins to stretch past two or even three novels as plot lines usually begin to lose credibility and character development often stalls.

    Fortunately for WTZ fans this is not the case with Groove! If anything, Rowland deepens her development of Angel and the main characters from the first three books and introduces us to a few interesting new ones.

    As before, driving Groove is Allison McLemore's outstanding narration. At this point in the WTZ series McLemore IS Angel Crawford.

    Although Groove does a good job of bringing a listener new to the WTZ series up to speed regarding important previous events, I would really recommend that any listener new to the WTZ series begin with the series' first book, "My Life as a White Trash Zombie", to get a good background on Angel and the locals in St. Edwards Parish.

    The WTZ series continues to be really fresh take on Zombies in modern life and Groove is a great addition the Diana Rowland's series.


    5 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • The Counselor

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Cormac McCarthy
    • Narrated By Jonathan Davis
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (27)
    Performance
    (27)
    Story
    (27)

    Along the gritty terrain of the Texas- Mexico border, a respected and recently engaged lawyer throws his stakes into a cocaine trade worth millions. His hope is that it will be a one-time deal and that, afterward, he can settle into life with his beloved fiancée. But instead, the Counselor finds himself mired in a brutal and dangerous game - one that threatens to destroy everything and everyone he loves.

    harry says: "A Screenplay Not a Novel Better than the Movie !!"
    "A Screenplay Not a Novel Better than the Movie !!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I am a big Cormac McCarthy fan so I decided to give this audiobook a try.

    This audiobook is a narrated screenplay, not a narrated novel or short story.

    The format and tempo of the content is different. Once you settle into following the dialogue and script notes this is a very good listen.

    I want to mention that I found the screenplay narration far more enjoyable than the recent movie. The movie is a jumbled mess of characters and lacks the nuance that was needed to make the film truly effective.

    Like all of McCarthy's books The Counselor is rich in dialogue as it probes the darker corners of the human condition.

    The movie version of The Counselor an over-acted mess. This screenplay will give you an idea of what might have been.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Old Man's War

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By John Scalzi
    • Narrated By William Dufris
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4984)
    Performance
    (3838)
    Story
    (3863)

    John Perry did two things on his 75th birthday. First, he visited his wife's grave. Then he joined the army. The good news is that humanity finally made it into interstellar space. The bad news is that planets fit to live on are scarce - and alien races willing to fight us for them are common. So, we fight, to defend Earth and to stake our own claim to planetary real estate. Far from Earth, the war has been going on for decades: brutal, bloody, unyielding.

    Michael says: "As good as Heinlein"
    "Brilliant at all levels!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I really loved this audio book. This was my fourth Scalzi audiobook, and by far his best.

    What set's Old Man's War apart from most science fiction is the way in which Scalzi creates a complete universe of characters and consequences, so well integrated that you do not find yourself even wondering if you are suspending your disbelief. You are simply fully drawn into the story.

    If I were to point a listener to one audiobook by John Scalzi this would be it.

    William Dufris's narration is absolutely pitch perfect and seamless, which only adds to the enjoyment of listening to this audiobook.

    Well worth your time and credit!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Journey to the Center of the Earth: A Signature Performance by Tim Curry

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By Jules Verne
    • Narrated By Tim Curry
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1409)
    Performance
    (1201)
    Story
    (1190)

    A Signature Performance: Tim Curry, the source of our inspiration, returns – this time, he captures the quirky enthusiasm of this goofily visionary adventure.

    Ramon says: "Feels like Jules Verne"
    "Tim Curry is Masterful !!!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a classic Jules Verne story brought to brilliant life through Tim Curry's narration.

    Any minor criticisms I might have with the story line of "Journey" are completely swept aside by the wonderful pitch-perfect narration of Tim Curry. As others have mentioned, it's like settling down in a large leather chair in Verne's study as he reads to you.

    I can almost smell the cigars and brandy! Fantastic.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Wild Tales: A Rock & Roll Life

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Graham Nash
    • Narrated By Graham Nash
    Overall
    (252)
    Performance
    (233)
    Story
    (236)

    From Graham Nash - the legendary musician and founding member of the iconic bands Crosby, Stills & Nash and The Hollies - comes a candid and riveting autobiography that belongs on the reading list of every classic rock fan.

    James says: "A Great Story for fans of the Hollies and CSN!"
    "Just OK as Rock Star Bios Go..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I was somewhat disappointed in the content of this audiobook. It's like a never-ending story of a dysfunctional family. CSN / CSNY get together and make great music...do tons of drugs, fight and go their separate ways only to come back together to repeat the cycle over again...

    Don't get me wrong, there are some real gems on information such as how the Hollies got their name as well as some great anecdotes such as how "Just A Song Before I Go" was written, but overall this bio is just not in the same league as those by Eric Clapton and Pete Townshend for example.

    Not sure I'd recommend this.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Big History: The Big Bang, Life on Earth, and the Rise of Humanity

    • ORIGINAL (24 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor David Christian
    Overall
    (489)
    Performance
    (440)
    Story
    (437)

    How is it possible for the disciplines of cosmology, geology, anthropology, biology, and history to fit together? These 48 lectures answer that question by weaving a single story from accounts of the past developed by a variety of scholarly disciplines. The result is a story stretching from the origins of the universe to the present day and beyond, in which human history is seen as part of the history of our Earth and biosphere, and the Earth's history, in turn, is seen as part of the history of the universe.

    John P. Gillespie says: "The Big Picture of Big History"
    "A Great Lecture Series !"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I have been wanting to try one of the "Great Courses" lecture series for some time. I had a little working knowledge of the Big History concepts so I decided to use a credit on this audio course.

    Initially I was a little concerned about whether or not these lectures would hold my attention for nearly 25 hours that would be required for the entire course. This concern turned out to be totally unfounded as I was completely taken in by the end of the very first 30 minute lecture!

    The scope of the material is vast and wondrous: From the Big Bang to our present technology driven civilization. Throughout the entire series of lectures David Christian moves just fast enough to instill excitement, always reviewing the material every few lectures and previewing what's to come.

    Because these lectures are only about 30 minutes in length they offer nice sized info-bites for the listener to digest. You can have as much or a little Big History as you want in nicely packaged increments. In fact, I think that the organization of the lectures in these easily digested increments is one of the more impressive elements of this audiobook as a whole.

    The narration is also absolutely first rate. Christian is a practiced speaker and this really shows in his wonderful delivery.

    If I have any criticism to offer it is on just two points:
    First, these lectures were obviously recorded in a studio environment so I don't see why Great Courses saw the need to dub in the same applause sound track at the end of each lecture. It's distraction and not necessary. Likewise the trumpet fanfare that precedes each lecture is completely unnecessary and artificial.

    My second criticism is aimed at the tact that I felt that Christian gets a little too "preachy" when discussing his ideas surrounding global warming. This is limited to only elements of one or two lectures but I did think that it marred an otherwise completely politically neutral outlook.

    On balance these are very very minor points of criticism. This is a masterwork that is matched with a flawless delivery and format and well wort one credit!

    18 of 20 people found this review helpful

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