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Chris

Los Angeles, CA, United States | Member Since 2002

18
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 4 reviews
  • 5 ratings
  • 561 titles in library
  • 10 purchased in 2014
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  • Without Feathers

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By Woody Allen
    • Narrated By Woody Allen
    Overall
    (417)
    Performance
    (235)
    Story
    (236)

    Now in audio for the first time, Without Feathers is narrated by Woody Allen himself. Here they are: 16 of the funniest tales and ruminations ever recorded, by one of the great comic minds of our time. From "The Whore of Mensa", to "Fabulous Tales & Mythical Beasts", to "No Kaddish for Weinstein", old and new Allen fans will laugh themselves silly over these sparkling gems.

    Vincent says: "Surprisingly good"
    "Inside Jokes, I Guess"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What disappointed you about Without Feathers?

    If you like the New Yorker's "Shouts & Murmurs" section, you might like this. I say that because the writing here reminds the deadpan style that section seems to favor.
    I have never once laughed at Shouts & Murmurs. On the rare occasions when I start something there, I never finish it.
    I'm not going to finish this, either.


    What was most disappointing about Woody Allen’s story?

    It's just not funny. It's a bunch of non sequiturs and inside jokes about psychoanalysis and people failing to get electrocuted when they stick their noses in light sockets. I do like Woody Allen's movies, so I'm not sure why I don't like this. It just seems sort of dumb to me, which is the way I feel about Shouts & Murmurs (see above.) But the New Yorker sells. Somebody must like it. Just not me.


    What three words best describe Woody Allen’s performance?

    Woody Allen Deadpanning.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Boredom, mystification, growing disappointment for about 20 minutes or so followed by , indifference and the choice to try something else. I just returned "Too Big to Fail" because Sorkin is a despicable shill for the banksters and I didn't want him to have my money. I didn't feel that I could get a refund on this in good conscience, at least so soon after getting a refund before, because after all, they do offer an advance listen. But I kind of wish I hadn't bought it.


    Any additional comments?

    If you're not really sure you love "Shouts & Murmurs," don't buy this.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Too Big to Fail

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Andrew Ross Sorkin
    • Narrated By William Hughes
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1113)
    Performance
    (472)
    Story
    (475)

    A real-life thriller about the most tumultuous period in America's financial history by an acclaimed New York Times reporter. Andrew Ross Sorkin delivers the first true, behind-the-scenes, moment-by-moment account of how the greatest financial crisis since the Great Depression developed into a global tsunami.

    Laura says: "Surprisingly Revealing"
    "Say It Ain't So, Joe"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    The headline, of course, is an allusion to that famous question posed to Shoeless Joe Jackson after the Black Sox scandal. It falls a little short of what I'm driving at, but part of what bugs me about this story is Sorkin's inside baseball hero worship. Maybe I could have expected this, but Sorkin seems to see these banksters as larger than life tragic heroes. What I was looking for was some explanation of how it could have been possible for a nation's economy to have come down to the judgment of such flawed characters. In other words, why on earth was anyone considered too big to fail? How did they get such control? How come, after they abused that control, at least some of them aren't in prison?
    I lost my job as a result of their recklessness and the buddy-buddy terms they operated under. It goes down pretty hard to hear about their heartache over the impact on their bonuses and careers as they quaff $180-a-bottle chardonnay. Sorkin pays very brief lip service to "Main Street," but in his myopic focus on his heroes, he doesn't seem to know what it is, or to understand the human consequences of what these clowns, and the clownish "regulators" who were supposed to be watching them, and beyond them, the patsies from Reagan through Obama, Gramm, Leach and Bliley through Chris Dodd, what all these adequately-paid incompetents were doing, and how on earth we can prevent them from getting even more power to screw us even worse.
    One of the reviews mentions the Wall Street titans "staring into the abyss" or words to that effect. In the Depression, Washington got moving partly because farmers in the Midwest were setting up roadblocks. In this case, none of the rich men -- yes, almost exclusively rich, white men -- appear to see any further than a little public embarrassment and a golden parachute to some other similarly powerful job. Boy, that's not the abyss at all. Calling that an abyss likens a worldwide economic catastrophe to a batting slump; it arises from the same blindness that made it possible for Obama, a couple years ago, to compare the obscene salaries paid to the banksters to the money baseball stars earn.
    These guys have very little right, apart from their incomes, to claim to be stars. And they're not playing a harmless game.
    I have to confess, I'm only two thirds of the way through the book. Maybe Sorkin will turn things around. But I'm trying to pay attention to what he has to say because, in large part, what he's writing about has a direct bearing on my trade. I can't imagine why most other people would bother.
    Those positive reviews in big-name publications were written by people who hadn't been laid off yet. Don't believe them.
    Do you care whether these rich guys like each other? I don't. Apparently, Sorkin does.That's the peril of being on a beat too long. He should do a stint covering gang violence.
    The performance is adequate. That's what saves this book from a grade of zero, so far. I'll tough it out to the end in this book, and if I find something different from what I've said so far, I'll eat crow.
    I don't think I'll have to do that.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Andrew Ross Sorkin again?

    Nope. I read him from time to time because he's more or less relevant to what I do for a "living." But I wouldn't pay for it.


    What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

    It's largely irrelevant


    What character would you cut from Too Big to Fail?

    huh? Let's be serious. Sometimes books are more than entertainment. At least, they're supposed to be.


    Any additional comments?

    I don't think my bitterness over this awful Wall Street-driven economy is unique. The "Occupy" movement got turned into a joke, but I, and other Americans, live by the Democratic principals that gave rise to it. I hope and pray those principals will be widespread enough to force substantive changes.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Simple Courage: A True Story of Peril on the Sea

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Frank Delaney
    • Narrated By Frank Delaney
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (129)
    Performance
    (26)
    Story
    (28)

    Drawing on historical documents and contemporary accounts and on exclusive interviews with Carlsen's family, Delaney opens a window into the world of the merchant marine. With deep affection, and respect, for the weather and all that goes with it, he places us in the heart of the storm, a "biblical tempest" of unimaginable power. He illuminates the bravery and ingenuity of Carlsen and the extraordinary courage that the 37-year-old captain inspired in his stalwart crew.

    Andrew says: "Well written and read"
    "Wonderful"
    Overall

    This is a wonderful book, wonderfully read. It helped me to understand courage in new ways, how what we do from moment to moment draws on our pasts, on the practical balance between fear and perseverance.
    Delaney has the courage and the skill to link Captain Carlsen's performance of his duty with his own struggle to grow to manhood. That venture could have turned maudlin; it never does. This book rings true.
    Delaney's reading is professional. A good journalist knows when to get out of the way and let the story tell itself, and that's what Delaney does.
    Generally, when I read a book, there's a piece of me picking it apart, trying to think how I might have done it better. That didn't happen this time. I would like to be able to write a book like this. I would hope to meet adversity as Carlsen did.
    I've ordered a print copy of "Simple Courage" so I can read it to my son, who also is learning the sea.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Modern Scholar: High Seas, High Stakes: Naval Battles That Changed History

    • ORIGINAL (7 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Timothy B. Shutt
    Overall
    (24)
    Performance
    (10)
    Story
    (10)

    Naval battles have long captured the popular imagination, from confrontations between Athens and Sparta in the ancient world to the epic conflicts that took place during the World Wars and beyond. In this riveting series of lectures, Professor Timothy B. Shutt of Kenyon College explores the naval battles that have helped to establish empires and have changed history.

    Chris says: "Intellectually and technically sloppy"
    "Intellectually and technically sloppy"
    Overall

    I expected a survey course, some direction for additional reading. What Shutt delivered was often intellectually slipshod and technically amateurish.
    As for the mental laziness on display here: Even in a survey course, I expect a lecturer to know how to pronounce the names of the people and places under discussion, not to guess at them, as Shutt repeatedly does.
    In the opening lecture, Shutt suggested that he would explore themes such as the relationship between merchant oligarchies and naval power. Instead, the lectures often delivered score-keeping. This side lost X number of ships. The other side lost a lot fewer, because they had better ships or they practiced more, or some similar generalization that Shutt fails to explore. The effect is disturbing. OK. Some of these battles took place a long time ago. But those were human beings in those fights. They wanted to live, and many suffered terribly. I'm not asking for Shutt to burst into tears over that. I'm asking him to show some discipline, to draw some broader conclusions, to develop a theme. Other historians do that. Score-keeping insults the dead, the reader and history itself.
    On to the technical sloppiness: At the end of the series, a narrator credits three editors. I cannot fathom how they might have spent their time on this project. Certainly not on correcting errors. At one point, I got so exasperated that I actually started keeping a log of Shutt's stumbles, but I kept losing track. There were lots and lots and lots. I can understand that Shutt might stumble in his delivery. What I can't understand is how the publisher could have expected payment for such sloppy editing, or why Audible actually bought it.
    I bought it because I didn't know how awful it would be. I wish I hadn't.

    16 of 19 people found this review helpful

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