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Marietta, GA, USA | Member Since 2002


  • Anathem

    • UNABRIDGED (32 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Neal Stephenson
    • Narrated By Oliver Wyman, Tavia Gilbert, William Dufris, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    In celebration of the week-long, once-in-a-decade rite of Apert, the fras and suurs prepare to venture outside the concent's gates - opening them wide at the same time to welcome the curious "extras" in. During his first Apert as a fra, Erasmus eagerly anticipates reconnecting with the landmarks and family he hasn't seen since he was "collected". But before the week is out, both the existence he abandoned and the one he embraced will stand poised on the perilous brink of cataclysmic change.

    Richard says: "Tour de force"
    "Am only one third done"

    I've listened to "Snow Crash" and "Diamond Age" before this, and despite the weird words thrown in, I'm finding Anathem to be Stephenson's most accessible work that I've ever read (as well as the funniest.) The idea of cloistering the scientists instead of the religious just tickles me, for some reason and Stephenson drops plenty of hints as to why this works best in the world he's creating.

    If anyone is hesitant to try this due to the criticisms online of the jargon or made-up words, rest easy. Each chapter opens with an entry from the Dictionary, and they usually define any word that is going to have significance in the coming text. Through those entries and "Apert," I feel Stephenson has told me everything I need to know to make sense of the story. As part of the underlying theme appears to be a criticism of our "just Google it" mentality, I don't have a problem with needing to work for some of what I'm reading.

    The reader's voice fits the first person point of view character very well, as does the author's deadpan delivery of the Dictionary entries. (I especially enjoyed the entry on "going Hundred.")

    Not only am I looking forward to finishing this book, I'd dearly love for Stephenson to write the story of how that statue got to the Concent of Saunt Edhar--he can't just leave it at being a long and lively tale!

    11 of 11 people found this review helpful
  • The Astronomer: A Novel of Suspense

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Lawrence Goldstone
    • Narrated By Robert Vaughn
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Paris, 1534. A student at the Catholic Collge de Montaigu, serving as a courier for the Inquisition, is murdered by members of an extreme Lutheran sect for the packet of letters he is carrying. His friend and fellow classmate Amaury de Faverges, the illegitimate son of the Duke of Savoy and an expert in astronomy and natural science, is recruited as his replacement and promised a decree of legitimacy if he can uncover the secret that threatens to overturn Catholicism and the reign of Franois I.

    Christi says: "At the edge of change"
    "At the edge of change"

    The author's descriptions of the action occasionally kept me more engaged than the action itself in this historic thriller that puts a human face on what can happen when science runs afoul of dogma. The plot and characterizations sometimes charge forward with more enthusiasm that purpose, and not always in the same direction, leaving me to wonder if the author changed his mind about who the heroes and villains of the piece were. The story came together where it needed to go and covered a lot of historical and scientific ground getting there, so I'm looking forward to hearing more of Goldstone's work.

    Robert Vaughn did a good job with narration -- I had no trouble understanding him, and he certainly puts fire into the action sequences.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Soon I Will Be Invincible: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Austin Grossman
    • Narrated By Coleen Marlo, Paul Boehmer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Doctor Impossible, evil genius and diabolical scientist, has tried to take over the world in every way imaginable, but this time is going to be different. He'll have to contend with Fatale, however, a rookie superhero on her first day with the Champions, the world's most famous superteam. She's a patchwork woman of skin and chrome, a gleaming technological marvel built for the next generation of warfare.

    Brad says: "Now that I have you at my mercy. . ."
    "Maniacal laughter"

    An amazing audio experience! The readers are having all kinds of fun with this, right down to the maniacal laughter from Doctor Impossible. It's hard to believe this is a debut novel, and I'm glad I took a chance on the recommendation from It's a comic book in prose form, and it works.

    Doctor Impossible is getting the lion's share of the raves here, but let's not short-change the superheroes! Fatale is a great balance of nerves and cool, and the behind-the-scenes interactions of the rest of the "New Champions" are priceless. Great fun for fans of classic comic books everywhere.

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

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Steve Berry
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Cotton Malone retired from the high-risk world of elite operatives to lead the life of a rare-book dealer. But his quiet existence is shattered when he receives an anonymous e-mail: "You have something I want. You're the only person on earth who knows where to find it. If I don't hear from you, you will be childless." His ex-wife confirms that their teenage son has been kidnapped, and it becomes clear that those responsible will stop at nothing to get what they want: the lost library of Alexandria.

    Glenda says: "Very Entertaining"
    "Enjoyable, if unchallenging, thriller"

    Steve Berry has been putting together continent-spanning, history-spinning stories for a while now, and The Alexandria Link is no exception. The book is a work of fiction, and the author takes some pains in a note at the end to underscore what all is based on his research and what is pure fabrication. Given the highly sensitive nature of some of the subject matter, I'm wondering if his enumeration is too little, too late.

    The parts that tickled me most were:

    1. The fate of the world hinging on a library.

    2. Twin scenes of unadulterated wish fulfilment for anyone who has ever been divorced.

    3. Comments in the author interview at the end indicating we'll see even more of Cotton and his friends in future books.

    I quite enjoyed this outing with Cotton, Stephanie, Henrik & Casseopeia, and look forward to more in the future.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Classical Music 101

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Fred Plotkin
    • Narrated By Fred Plotkin

    In clear and entertaining prose, Plotkin explores a thousand years of music, introduces listeners to more than 100 great works, and profiles in depth many significant composers, including Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Berlioz, Tchaikovsky, Dvoxak, and Mahler. He describes all the musical instruments in the orchestra, defines major musical terms, and makes music theory comprehensible for the uninitiated. There are also conversations with important musicians who offer fascinating insights about their art.

    Kenneth says: "Musical lecture"
    "Very, very thorough"

    There's a fine line between assuming nothing about a listener's prior knowledge of a subject and treating them like a dummy. Fred Plotkin stayed on the high side of that line, in my opinion. "...allowing the strings to be tightened or loosened. This is called tuning." Yes, I knew that, but Plotkin is assuming nothing about my prior exposure to music, musical instruments or the business end of the industry.

    Fred Plotkin's love of music shines through every word of the book, I'll give him that. This is the first time I've ever found a description of a musical instrument in need of a PG rating. ;) His is not necessarily the voice of a professional reader, but he adds a fair about of expression to a heavily academic discussion.

    No, the book is not a thrill a minute, but it isn't intended to be. Almost too dry for a popular audience, but not quite dry enough for a textbook. Definitely an education in classical music for the uninitiated, though.

    15 of 15 people found this review helpful

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