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Brad Barker

Cana Va | Member Since 2012

14
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 9 reviews
  • 13 ratings
  • 192 titles in library
  • 20 purchased in 2014
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  • The Hobbit

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By J. R. R. Tolkien
    • Narrated By Rob Inglis
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (8478)
    Performance
    (7619)
    Story
    (7743)

    Like every other hobbit, Bilbo Baggins likes nothing better than a quiet evening in his snug hole in the ground, dining on a sumptuous dinner in front of a fire. But when a wandering wizard captivates him with tales of the unknown, Bilbo becomes restless. Soon he joins the wizard’s band of homeless dwarves in search of giant spiders, savage wolves, and other dangers. Bilbo quickly tires of the quest for adventure and longs for the security of his familiar home. But before he can return to his life of comfort, he must face the greatest threat of all.

    Darwin8u says: "Victory after all, I suppose!"
    "Really enjoyed it"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This wasn't my first time in Middle Earth. I've been a fan of The Hobbit/Lord if the Rings books for more than 20 years I guess. However, having just seen the first of the 3 Peter Jackson Hobbit movies, I wanted to go back and familiarize myself with the original work, so I could tell what was changed in the movie. This version of the audio book was very pleasant to hear, and I enjoyed it very much.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Queen of Bedlam: A Matthew Corbett Novel, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (23 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Robert McCammon
    • Narrated By Edoardo Ballerini
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1115)
    Performance
    (1013)
    Story
    (1002)

    Robert McCammon brings the hero of his previous novel, Matthew Corbett, to 18th-century New York, where a killer wields a bloody and terrifying power over a bustling city carving out its identity - and over Matthew's own uncertain destiny.

    The unsolved murder of a respected doctor has sent ripples of fear throughout a city teeming with life and noise and commerce. Who snuffed out the good man's life with the slash of a blade on a midnight street? The local printmaster has labeled the fiend "the Masker," adding fuel to a volatile mystery...

    Kathy says: "Addicting"
    "Great book. Can't wait to start the next!"
    Overall
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    Just finished Queen of Bedlam, the second Matthew Corbett book, and I loved it. We begin with Matthew, 3 years after the events in Speaks the Nightbird, working as a legal clerk in New York. Soon though, a murder, then another...both with similar markings cut into their faces. A serial killer in the days before there was a word to describe them. And that's just one of the mysteries Matthew is drawn into. But what is no mystery, is why I like these books. Robert McCammon has a writing style I've been a fan of for more than 20 years. That, along with the historical setting of New York in 1702, the believable characters you meet along the way and their relationships with one another, and just the true mystery of it all. I love a good mystery, and Matthew Corbett is as enjoyable a "Detective", as any I've ever read. I'm a big fan of BBC dramas and Masterpiece Mystery, and I could see these books on the small screen in that regard. Good stuff. I plan to start the next one soon!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • You Are Now Less Dumb: How to Conquer Mob Mentality, How to Buy Happiness, and All the Other Ways to Outsmart Yourself

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By David McRaney
    • Narrated By Don Hagen
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (351)
    Performance
    (305)
    Story
    (304)

    You Are Now Less Dumb is grounded in the idea that we all believe ourselves to be objective observers of reality - except we’re not. But that's okay, because our delusions keep us sane. Expanding on this premise, McRaney provides eye-opening analyses of 15 more ways we fool ourselves every day. This smart and highly entertaining audiobook will be wowing listeners for years to come.

    PHIL says: "Much like "You Are Not So Smart""
    "If you liked Your Not So Smart..."
    Overall
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    I enjoyed this book just as I enjoyed Your Not So Smart. This one is shorter, I think, with only 17 additional psychological bias's, self-delusions and logical fallacies that make us human. Another difference is, this book, unlike Your Not So Smart, comes from the angle of, instead of pretending these brain quirks don't exist or we can't do anything about them as they are simply the human condition, if we can recognize them, we may can possibly avoid the situations and environmental conditions that foster them.

    Like I said. I enjoyed it, and if you liked Your Not So Smart, you'll probably like this one.

    9 of 10 people found this review helpful
  • The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Stephen R. Covey
    • Narrated By Stephen R. Covey
    Overall
    (5294)
    Performance
    (2341)
    Story
    (2335)

    Stephen R. Covey's book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, has been a top seller for the simple reason that it ignores trends and pop psychology for proven principles of fairness, integrity, honesty, and human dignity. Celebrating its 15th year of helping people solve personal and professional problems, this special anniversary edition includes a new forward and afterword written by Covey that explore whether the 7 Habits are still relevant.

    Scott says: "A true guide for life"
    "Pretty good stuff."
    Overall
    Performance
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    I started this book because it's been around so long, (1989), and it's so popular that I've seen references to it in comics, tv and movies, that I thought I'd give it a read, or "listen" in this case to see what's the buzz. (I had the audio book.) All in all I enjoyed the book and thought, over all, there is some solid advice that can be gained from it. I've even determined to incorporate the basics of the concepts into my life. I would recommend this book to a friend.

    That said, I only gave it three stars for a couple of reasons. The anecdotes about family members seemed to drag out a bit for my taste, and I don't believe any of them ended in a non-positive way. Which isn't realistic. For instance, part of the wisdom the book teaches is that sometimes you just need to let your children live their own lives, and accept it. Then goes on with an example where a parent did just that, and the child ended up deciding to go to college after all, exactly what the parent wanted. A few examples thrown into the mix where the subjects actually had to live with things that didn't go their way in the end would have been a bit more realistic. Secondly, a little less specific religious references would have been less distracting. I believe this book would benefit most anyone of any religion or spiritual disposition, as the author states early in the book. I personally just didn't find the reading of his beliefs as beneficial to the books basic concepts. Maybe and abridged version would have earned more stars from me. Lastly...and it didn't affect my rating or liking of the book, some of the jargon is dated...naturally being published first in 1989. Again, that shouldn't cloud the premise 7 habits. Overall, good habits.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Benjamin Franklin: An American Life

    • UNABRIDGED (24 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By Walter Isaacson
    • Narrated By Nelson Runger
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (452)
    Performance
    (388)
    Story
    (384)

    Benjamin Franklin is the founding father who winks at us - an ambitious urban entrepreneur who rose up the social ladder, from leather-aproned shopkeeper to dining with kings. In best-selling author Walter Isaacson's vivid and witty full-scale biography, we discover why Franklin turns to us from history's stage with eyes that twinkle from behind his new-fangled spectacles. In Benjamin Franklin, Isaacson shows how Franklin defines both his own time and ours. The most interesting thing that Franklin invented, and continually reinvented, was himself.

    E. A. Palmer says: "A Master of Biography"
    "My kinda founding father...mostly..."
    Overall
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    This was a very good biography, which is something I've come to pleasingly expect when I start a Walter Isaacson work. My knowledge of Benjamin Franklin was limited to the near caricature of him taught in school back in my day, along with little bits and pieces from various documentaries I've watched during my adult life. I had no feeling for who the real person was behind the historical figure. Now, I believe I do, somewhat. Which, in itself reflects a good review of this book. Without going into too much of a summary of Benjamin Franklin himself, I think it's worth noting the light that the book shines on him. Ben Franklin was a practical man. A man who, when he saw a need, tried to find a practical solution to address that need. Whether it be protecting a house from bolts of lightning with his lightning rod, to helping design a constitution for a fledgling country whose states were in dire need of it. He believed in the middle class, and believed that excessive wealth, luxury, idleness and inheritable elitism was the root of much of the corruption in England at the time. He was a man who believed in religious tolerance, like many of the founding fathers, because religious dogma could be divisive, and not conducive democratic public discourse. He was a man who understood compromise and the need for it in a true democracy. Personally, he had vices like anyone else. He tended to enjoy spending time with his friends abroad better than his family back home. He often enjoyed the company various women throughout his life, to the dismay of some of his more puritanical political opponents. Contrary to many of his "Poor Richard" aphorisms, in his later years Franklin enjoyed late evenings with friends, wine, and chess. In the end, the book leaves you with the feeling that you may have known person behind the image a bit. He was a remarkable person, and this book is an excellent read for anyone interested in Benjamin Franklin, the man, and the historical figure.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • You Are Not So Smart: Why You Have Too Many Friends on Facebook, Why Your Memory Is Mostly Fiction, and 46 Other Ways You're Deluding Yourself

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By David McRaney
    • Narrated By Don Hagen
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (796)
    Performance
    (692)
    Story
    (689)

    An entertaining illumination of the stupid beliefs that make us feel wise. You believe you are a rational, logical being who sees the world as it really is, but journalist David McRaney is here to tell you that you're as deluded as the rest of us. But that's OK - delusions keep us sane. You Are Not So Smart is a celebration of self-delusion. It's like a psychology class, with all the boring parts taken out, and with no homework. Based on the popular blog of the same name, You Are Not So Smart collects more than 46 of the lies we tell ourselves everyday.

    Sarah Dumoulin says: "Covers a lot of old territory"
    "Now I know how smart I ain't...."
    Overall
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    I really enjoyed this book. Each chapter discusses some condition, brain quirk or tendency we all share, and makes us all, "Not So Smart". There's a new show on National Geographic Channel that touches on many of the same topics you can find in this book. If your interested in such things, or just want a book to point out that you aren't nearly as smart as you think you are, (and who doesn't love that), this is definitely worth the read.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • 1984: New Classic Edition

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By George Orwell
    • Narrated By Simon Prebble
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3778)
    Performance
    (2343)
    Story
    (2376)

    George Orwell depicts a gray, totalitarian world dominated by Big Brother and its vast network of agents, including the Thought Police - a world in which news is manufactured according to the authorities' will and people live tepid lives by rote. Winston Smith, a hero with no heroic qualities, longs only for truth and decency. But living in a social system in which privacy does not exist and where those with unorthodox ideas are brainwashed or put to death, he knows there is no hope for him.

    Jay Stone says: "Enduring Classic"
    "Great performance! Story was a downer...."
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    Ok, I know this book is a classic. That's why I decided to read it. You know, see what all the hubbub is about. But I have to say that I didn't really enjoy the book very much. It's not a bad book, .. I think I just read it 60 years too late. Had I read it around 1949 when it first was published, I probably would have been drawn deeper into the whole "Big Brother", "The Party" fears and really gotten into the book more. Also, I kind of like a story that has some good things to happen to the protagonists. However, Winston Smith has no such luck. He lives in a society that controls everything to the extreme. Even certain thoughts are illegal. It is truly a negative Utopia. I don't think it's giving anything away, (the book is over 60 years old after all), to say that Winston Smith isn't a hero and he doesn't change the world he lives in. This is the story of Winston Smith and his relationship Big Brother. Worth a read, but not at the top of my list.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Charles Duhigg
    • Narrated By Mike Chamberlain
    Overall
    (4636)
    Performance
    (3916)
    Story
    (3886)

    At its core, The Power of Habit contains an exhilarating argument: The key to exercising regularly, losing weight, raising exceptional children, becoming more productive, building revolutionary companies and social movements, and achieving success is understanding how habits work. Habits aren’t destiny. As Charles Duhigg shows, by harnessing this new science, we can transform our businesses, our communities, and our lives.

    Mehra says: "Nice! A guide on how to change"
    "A really good read. Mostly..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to The Power of Habit again? Why?

    I really enjoyed this book...mostly. The beginning where habit, what it is and where it resides was very interesting. Everything from personal habit to work habits and how one can work to change those habits I found intriguing and fascinating. However, the part about social habits I found boring and had a hard time getting through. Understanding community or societal social habits would probably be interesting to many, but that just wasn't what I was looking for myself. But outside of those social habits chapter(s)...(which seemed inordinately long me), I really enjoyed the book. In fact, I had a hard time staying away from it for any length of time. Almost like a habit....


    Would you recommend The Power of Habit to your friends? Why or why not?

    Yes I would. Although I found parts dull, many would probably not. There a lot of good stuff in here, either for someone just interested in habits in general, or someone trying to figure out how to change some of those bad habits we all carry around with us.


    What about Mike Chamberlain’s performance did you like?

    I though he was great. If I didn't know better I would have thought he wrote the book. The performance was great. I felt like I was listening to someone who was actually interested in what he was telling, and that made me enjoy it all the more.


    What’s an idea from the book that you will remember?

    We are all a bundle of habits, and recognizing habits is the beginning of changing them.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Dune

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Frank Herbert
    • Narrated By Scott Brick, Orlagh Cassidy, Euan Morton, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (9176)
    Performance
    (4881)
    Story
    (4950)

    Here is the novel that will be forever considered a triumph of the imagination. Set on the desert planet Arrakis, Dune is the story of the boy Paul Atreides, who would become the mysterious man known as Maud'dib. He would avenge the traitorous plot against his noble family and would bring to fruition humankind's most ancient and unattainable dream.

    Joshua says: "Wonderful production!"
    "Loved the story!"
    Overall
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    Would you listen to Dune again? Why?

    Not this production. At times I found the performances distracting, and the voice acting just didn't fit in places. I enjoy Simon Vance's work, and had the book been entirely read by him, and some character parts not preformed by other voice actors, I may would have given it more stars in that area.


    What did you like best about this story?

    I like the story in that the tale is intimate, in an epic setting. There's no point in covering details of this classic, well known tale, but I will say that there are several things the story left me wanting answers to, and I look forward to finding those answers other books in the series.


    Did the narrators do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

    Yes, and no. I liked Simon's portrayal of all the characters he did, but some of the voice acting of the other characters just wasn't good at all.


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

    "My brother comes now."


    Any additional comments?

    I really liked the book, but if I ever "read" it again, it'll likely be a different production. And maybe one that is Whispersync compatible.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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