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Gary

I like to listen to audio books whilst mountain biking.

Member Since 2010

ratings
31
REVIEWS
11
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
0
HELPFUL VOTES
7

  • I, Claudius

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Robert Graves
    • Narrated By Frederick Davidson
    Overall
    (230)
    Performance
    (178)
    Story
    (176)

    Physically weak and afflicted with stuttering, Claudius is initially despised and dismissed as an idiot. Shunted to the background of imperial affairs by his embarrassed royal family, he becomes a scholar and historian, while palace intrigues and murders surround him. Observing these dramas from beyond the public eye, Claudius escapes the cruelties inflicted on the rest of the royal family by its own members and survives to become emperor of Rome in A.D. 41.

    Robert says: "An..An..Ancient Rome comes to life, brilliantly"
    "Great read"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I chose this book as I am working through a Christopher Hitchen's reading list. In essence, a fictional "autobiography" by Claudius (Tiberius Claudius Drusus Germanicus) based on historical accounts of the lives of the protagonists. Brutality and cruelty abound, but very educational and quite funny in places. I give it a thumbs up!

    Frederick Davidson narrates this book wonderfully. His Caligula was my favorite, followed closely by the voiced Claudius himself. If you listen carefully with headphones you can hear him turn the pages, but never miss a beat. A true master. RIP.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Aristotle for Everybody: Difficult Thought Made Easy

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Mortimer J. Adler
    • Narrated By Frederick Davidson
    Overall
    (9)
    Performance
    (7)
    Story
    (8)

    “Almost all of the philosophical truths that I have come to know and understand I have learned from Aristotle,” says Mortimer J. Adler. This easy-to-listen-to exposition of Aristotle’s thoughts about nature, human actions, and the conduct of life confirms convictions that most of us hold, though we may not be fully aware of them. This is because Aristotle’s philosophical insights are grounded in the common experience we all possess and because they illuminate the common sense we all rely on.

    Gary says: "Incredibly well read"
    "Incredibly well read"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is actually the first audio book I have listened to over and over (at least a few chapters 5 times). Chapters 12-15 (Audible's numbering) should be required reading for every member of human race. They deal with why we should live well, virtues and vices, making good choices. It amazes me, though it probably shouldn't, that Aristotle was thinking of things like the nature of love and friendship, family, government in 400 BC.

    I also cannot say too much about Frederick Davidson, who has become my favorite narrator. He seems to completely understand the subject matter, which means we listeners are given a great advantage. He paces the text perfectly and puts the right emphasis on the complex parts which helps them sink in.

    Don't be afraid of it. This really is an outstanding piece of work.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Down and Out in Paris and London

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By George Orwell
    • Narrated By Frederick Davidson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (43)
    Performance
    (31)
    Story
    (31)

    Orwell's own experiences inspire this semi-autobiographical novel about a man living in Paris in the early 1930s without a penny. The narrator's poverty brings him into contact with strange incidents and characters, which he manages to chronicle with great sensitivity and graphic power. The latter half of the book takes the English narrator to his home city, London, where the world of poverty is different in externals only.

    Darwin8u says: "The King of Boldness, Clearness, and Audacity"
    "Hilariously enlightening"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Very interesting story on living on the poverty line in the 1920s. Davidson's accents are brilliant.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Claudius the God

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Robert Graves
    • Narrated By Frederick Davidson
    Overall
    (89)
    Performance
    (40)
    Story
    (42)

    In the continuation of his fictional autobiography begun in I, Claudius, Robert Graves tells the dramatic story of Claudius' thirteen-year reign as Emperor of Rome. A must listen before running out to see the new film Gladiator!

    Michael says: "Excellent Historical Novel"
    "Graves brings ancient Rome within easy reach"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I moved onto this immediately after I, Claudius. The book picks up from the end of the aforementioned and initially detours to describe the life of Herod Agrippa. Claudius spends the rest of the book chronicling his reign. There were times in the book that the plot became so complex and what with all the Latin names I completely lost track of it, but these places were few and far between. Otherwise I say it was on par with the previous book. The "3 endings" and "Claudius at Heaven" epilogues were a good bonus. These evoked sympathy for Claudius that many say is not deserved and some cite these books are creating a misleading favorable impression of Claudius. I don't agree with that. So many summary executions, unfair executions, even of his lifelong friends don't leave me in doubt as to his moral character. Perhaps it could be said that he was a clever man that got the ship righted after Caligula's reign. At the end of the book, if you are interested Google the excavations of Ostia to get a sense of Claudia's work.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Kite Runner

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Khaled Hosseini
    • Narrated By Khaled Hosseini
    Overall
    (6578)
    Performance
    (1897)
    Story
    (1918)

    Why we think it’s a great listen: Never before has an author’s narration of his fiction been so important to fully grasping the book’s impact and global implications. Taking us from Afghanistan in the final days of its monarchy to the present, The Kite Runner is the unforgettable story of the friendship between two boys growing up in Kabul. Their intertwined lives, and their fates, reflect the eventual tragedy of the world around them.

    Joseph says: "A storyteller's story"
    "Moving story, well read"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I recently saw a picture taken in the 1970s of a garden with trees and a decorative pool in Kabul. The picture showed young girls playing. Then alongside another photo from the same vantage point today. There is nothing but bare ground and rubble. Although this story is fictional, it depicts the events that create the Afghanistan we see today.

    My teenage niece read this book at school, which surprised me as there are some disturbing parts in it.

    I didn't like the author's voice in the beginning, but it grew on me and in the in end he does a fine job. It general it's a net-positive when the author reads his/her own work.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Death in the Afternoon

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Ernest Hemingway
    • Narrated By Boyd Gaines
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (70)
    Performance
    (31)
    Story
    (30)

    Still considered one of the best books ever written about bullfighting, Death in the Afternoon reflects Hemingway's belief that bullfighting was more than mere sport. Here he describes and explains the technical aspects of this dangerous ritual, and "the emotional and spiritual intensity and pure classic beauty that can be produced by a man, an animal, and a piece of scarlet serge draped on a stick."

    Charles says: "A Long Trip Through Bull Fighting"
    "No previous interest in bullfighting required"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    No fan of bullfighting here. If anything I came into this with a negative opinion. I choose this book, because I felt Hemingway would do something great with it and he doesn't disappoint. Boyd Gaines delivers a fantastic read, with perfect Spanish pronunciations. It doesn't change my opinion on bullfighting much, but maybe a little on life and death.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Kill Decision

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Daniel Suarez
    • Narrated By Jeff Gurner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2709)
    Performance
    (2419)
    Story
    (2425)

    Linda McKinney is a myrmecologist, a scientist who studies the social structure of ants. Her academic career has left her entirely unprepared for the day her sophisticated research is conscripted by unknown forces to help run an unmanned - and thanks to her research, automated - drone army. Odin is the secretive Special Ops soldier with a unique insight into the faceless enemy who has begun to attack the American homeland with drones programmed to seek, identify, and execute targets.

    Madeleine says: "What's that droning sound?"
    "A disturbing use of a new technology"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Dan Suarez creates stories in which he imagines technology that's a little more than one step ahead of where it is today in 2012 (a statement like that needs a time stamp!).

    This book follows on from earlier work, depicting a frightening abuse of a new technology. Today many countries have drone programs including Iran, and groups like Hamas. Very few Americans care when a US drone missile wipes out a terrorist and his family. It's about "bad guys" and it's a new warfare, detached, remote, fire and forget. Suarez takes this paradigm and turns it around, forcing us to consider how we'd feel being on the end of those missiles.

    The plot and storyline are superb, but I didn't enjoy this book as much as Daemon and Freedom, Inc. For me it boils down to the "John Wayne" dialog, and the perpetually astonished female protagonist. I think the author can do better. The dialog started to really annoy me and became reflexive reaction as the book progressed.

    That said, I really did enjoy this work and recommend it wholeheartedly. Dan Suarez embraces and extends the genre created by Clancy and Larry Bond in the 80s. Looking forward to the next one.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Sun Also Rises

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Ernest Hemingway
    • Narrated By William Hurt
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (941)
    Performance
    (584)
    Story
    (598)

    The Sun Also Rises is one of Ernest Hemingway's masterpieces and a classic example of his spare but powerful style. A poignant look at the disillusionment and angst of the post-World War I generation, the story introduces two of Hemingway's most unforgettable characters: Jake Barnes and Lady Brett Ashley. Follow the flamboyant Brett and the hapless Jake as they journey from the wild nightlife of the 1920s Paris to the brutal bullfighting rings of Spain with a motley group of expatriates.

    Gerald says: "Bravo Papa!"
    "Superb story, well read"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The definitive novel of the Lost Generation. Fast, promiscuous lives in Paris, Spain. Bullfighting and infighting, told in Hemingway's trademark understated, elegant way. Simply outstanding.

    William Hurt's choice of emphasis on parts of the sentence struck me as odd at first. Pauses and emphasis where you don't expect it give a feeling of awkwardness, like Macon Leary was reading this book.

    As he is vocalizing Hemingway's inner voice I am not sure this is entirely out of place, but it took me a while to get used to it. Overall I really enjoyed the narration. The character voices were simply superb. Mr Hurt does a mean Scottish accent.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Old Man and the Sea

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Ernest Hemingway
    • Narrated By Donald Sutherland
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1392)
    Performance
    (798)
    Story
    (799)

    The Old Man and the Sea is one of Hemingway's most enduring works. Told in language of great simplicity and power, it is the story of an old Cuban fisherman, down on his luck, and his supreme ordeal, a relentless, agonizing battle with a giant marlin far out in the Gulf Stream. Here Hemingway recasts, in strikingly contemporary style, the classic theme of courage in the face of defeat, of personal triumph won from loss.

    Dave says: "Truly a Classic"
    "Superbly read"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Donald Sutherland's tired, smokey voice is perfect for this reading. You can almost feel the tired, aching old body. Loved it.

    4 of 4 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
    (1412)
    Performance
    (697)
    Story
    (707)

    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"
    "A wonderful and stimulating experience"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    My second Hemingway in a month in a life that previously had ignored this great man. Lovely performance by Mr Scott. I guess that's in his genes.

    Because of this book I have been to Wikipedia so many times, from articles on the Spanish Civil War, to the page dedicated to Spanish profanity. When you listen, you 'll see why. This book is entertains and moves you, but also broadens you knowledge of world history. What more could you ask for? I thought about the famous Chapter 10 for days afterward.

    Now I am moving on to The Old Man and the Sea.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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