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Eric

MALIBU, CA, United States | Member Since 2009

123
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 47 reviews
  • 116 ratings
  • 464 titles in library
  • 13 purchased in 2015
FOLLOWING
1
FOLLOWERS
9

  • Unaccustomed Earth: Stories

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Jhumpa Lahiri
    • Narrated By Sarita Choudhury, Ajay Naidu
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (543)
    Performance
    (141)
    Story
    (143)

    From the internationally best-selling, Pulitzer Prize-winning author, a superbly crafted new work of fiction: eight stories that take us from Cambridge and Seattle to India and Thailand. In the stunning title story, Ruma, a young mother in a new city, is visited by her father, who carefully tends the earth of her garden, where he and his grandson form a special bond. But he's harboring a secret from his daughter, a love affair he's keeping all to himself.

    Eileen says: "Simply Beautiful"
    "Not so luminescent"
    Overall

    Well written and narrated but not especially compelling stories. Well, I only made it through first three, so maybe the later ones were better. Sort of like a softer-spoken Anita Shreve.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Patriot Threat: Cotton Malone

    • UNABRIDGED (27 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Steve Berry
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    Overall
    (186)
    Performance
    (157)
    Story
    (154)

    In an innovative new approach, Macmillan Audio and Steve Berry have produced an expanded, annotated writer’s cut audiobook edition of The Patriot Threat. The 16th Amendment to the Constitution legalized federal income tax, but what if there were problems with the 1913 ratification of that amendment? Secrets that call in to question decades of tax collecting. There is a surprising truth to this possibility—a truth wholly entertained by Steve Berry, a top-ten New York Times best-selling writer, in his new thriller, The Patriot Threat.

    Brian Certain says: "Can not tell you how much I LOVE this format"
    "Solid, some great story threads, compelling by end"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Steve Berry is a great historical novelist, and can spin a great yarn. My review is against the backdrop of his excellence - and I think that this offering, while strong, was not his best. The central conflict of the story in terms of an existential threat to the US is unconvincing - it is not really a spoiler to indicate that this conflict is whether the income tax amendment was properly ratified, and if it was not, the premise that the US and Chinese economies would collapse. Perhaps because I saw that as something other than the existential threat it was considered to be, the story lost some verve. Our government is not exactly one that adheres to its own laws, and there are a dozen workarounds to having an improperly ratified amendment. But otherwise, and if you can make that leap of faith, the novel was very well done. I wish the North Korea Hana character was more fully developed, but as it was, she was just a great part of the story. Lots of good interpersonal twists. And once you read it, you'll smile at the mention of Chik-Fil-A man.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Norwegian by Night

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 36 mins)
    • By Derek B. Miller
    • Narrated By Sean Mangan
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (579)
    Performance
    (526)
    Story
    (527)

    Sheldon Horowitz - 82 years old, impatient, and unreasonable - is staying with his granddaughter's family in Norway when he disappears with a stranger's child. Sheldon is an ex-Marine, and he feels responsible for his son's death in Vietnam. Recently widowed and bereft, he talks to the ghosts of his past constantly. To Norway's cops, Sheldon is just an old man who is coming undone at the end of a long and hard life. But Sheldon is clear in his own mind.

    Sara says: "Don't Miss This Amazing Book"
    "loved loved loved it till the last few minutes"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The dry humor that Sheldon displayed was frequently true laugh out loud material. Of course, humor was but one layer a a rich and multilayered elegiac, serious, and suspenseful novel. The historical, cross-cultural, and integenerational landscapes, the interpersonal and intra-personal tensions were superbly drawn, and the story and its complications were believable. That Sheldon was so believable, to others as suffering dementia but in reality a master of the lucid was another feat of great writing. I loved this book, except the note below.



    Spoiler alert. What the heck was with the last two minutes of the book? This was a terrible letdown. It represented none of the literary finesse of the rest of the book. In notes at the end, the author says the idea of the ending just came to him. He should have let the idea of that ending keep going right on by... At the least, the granddaughter learns - by inference only - that Sheldon's Korean sniper experience was not fabricated, but Sheldon going through the entire exercise at the cottage only to end in not one, but two rifle misfires and then to be struck down by Enver - it was not nearly as uplifting as the writer seemed to intend. And to have the child ultimately saved by the relatively minor character of Lars with a crossbow - completely unrelated to the rest of the book - was puzzling. Mostly, it seemed that the great and hazard-filled venture of bringing the child to the cottage, a venture of redemption and vindication for a man who felt that he was a failure, added up to nothing in the end. And Sheldon failed to get Enver, failed to get Mr. Black, and got himself killed.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The Girl on the Train: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Paula Hawkins
    • Narrated By Clare Corbett, Louise Brealey, India Fisher
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (25039)
    Performance
    (20808)
    Story
    (20794)

    Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. "Jess and Jason," she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost. And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel offers what she knows to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in what happens next, as well as in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good? Compulsively readable, The Girl on the Train is an emotionally immersive, Hitchcockian thriller and an electrifying debut.

    L. O. Pardue says: ""Rear Window" Meets "Gone Girl""
    "4.5 Stars; only two quibbles; engrossing story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    As others have pointed out, the collection of narrators was excellent and helped pace the book. Many clever twists and plot development lines, and many compelling observations of the interpretations we make of the lives we observe, interpretations that could not be further from the truth.

    Rachel, the flawed amnesiac protagonist, made 1 or 2 too many really bad choices that strained credulity. And though the conclusion was about 85-90% satisfying, I'd love to see it even more satisfying. But twists and turns galore, and a truly wonderful listen.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Cary Elwes, Joe Layden, Rob Reiner (foreword)
    • Narrated By Cary Elwes, Christopher Guest, Carol Kane, and others
    Overall
    (2026)
    Performance
    (1837)
    Story
    (1830)

    From actor Cary Elwes, who played the iconic role of Westley in The Princess Bride, comes a first-person account and behind-the-scenes look at the making of the cult classic film filled with never-before-told stories, exclusive photographs, and interviews with costars Robin Wright, Wallace Shawn, Billy Crystal, Christopher Guest, and Mandy Patinkin, as well as author and screenwriter William Goldman, producer Norman Lear, and director Rob Reiner.

    Anne Morris says: "I don't normally write reviews but..."
    "Four stars, though not inconceivably good"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The Princess Bride is a cult classic in our family, with many parts memorized from multiple watchings of the movie. This was a lovely retrospective led by Cary Elwes. One mystery solved, with a spoiler here --> It finally made sense of why the ROUS - rodents of unusual size - seem so cheesy and campy in the movie scenes in the fire swamp. That is the best the budget would allow, but somehow the campiness worked.

    Anyway,this is a nice family listen on a road trip. It is not as magical as the subject it seeks to share, but few things are.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Children Act

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By Ian McEwan
    • Narrated By Lindsay Duncan
    Overall
    (558)
    Performance
    (498)
    Story
    (495)

    Fiona Maye is a High Court judge in London presiding over cases in family court. She is fiercely intelligent, well respected, and deeply immersed in the nuances of her particular field of law. Often the outcome of a case seems simple from the outside, the course of action to ensure a child's welfare obvious. But the law requires more rigor than mere pragmatism, and Fiona is expert in considering the sensitivities of culture and religion when handing down her verdicts.

    Bonny says: "McEwan has written perfection in this novel."
    "Beautiful and thoughtful; could not put down"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Fiona is a judge called on to arbitrate the ridiculous to the sublime in the complex cases of family court. The pictute McEwan paints is of a consummate and considerate professional, who, like other professionals, has her own turmoil and conflict at home - in this instance, with a husband who is seeking permission to have a fling with a younger woman. It is almost impossible to have this part of the story seem organic or uncontrived, but McEwan mostly pulls it off.

    The case concerning the Jehovah's Witness family becomes the epicenter of the story, and eventually catalyzes an unraveling of sorts in Fiona's psyche. Enough said without a spoiler alert. This was an engrossing and redemptive look into a private and professional life and the relationship between the two. It ended too soon.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Only Time Will Tell: The Clifton Chronicles, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Jeffrey Archer
    • Narrated By Roger Allam, Emilia Fox
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1525)
    Performance
    (1288)
    Story
    (1279)

    From the internationally best-selling author of Kane and Abel and A Prisoner of Birth comes Only Time Will Tell, the first in an ambitious new series that tells the story of one family across generations, across oceans, from heartbreak to triumph. The epic tale of Harry Clifton’s life begins in 1920, with the words "I was told that my father was killed in the war"....

    C. Johnson says: "Standard Archer "class-clash". Stellar narration!!"
    "Good, but not as good as Prisoner of Birth"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This story took a longer time to incubate than the five-star Prisoner of Birth. Once the story of Maisy and Harry took more form, the story became more engrossing. Moving in and out of different points of view, Archer uses the brilliant device of narrating the same story from the vantage of each of the seven main characters in the story. Spoiler coming>


    As a mini-spoiler, the main evil character does not see justice done, for the most part, in this story, though perhaps time will tell, as the title suggests. And the ending, another Count of Monte Cristo/take someone else's identity similar to the one in Prisoner of Birth, is less satisfying, plausible, and wrapped up as Prisoner of Birth. But worth of credit.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • East of Eden

    • UNABRIDGED (25 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By John Steinbeck
    • Narrated By Richard Poe
    Overall
    (1632)
    Performance
    (1401)
    Story
    (1418)

    This sprawling and often brutal novel, set in the rich farmlands of California's Salinas Valley, follows the intertwined destinies of two families - the Trasks and the Hamiltons - whose generations helplessly reenact the fall of Adam and Eve and the poisonous rivalry of Cain and Abel.

    karen says: "American classic, not to be missed."
    "Started slow and then became amazing..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I will start by saying that this book took a bit to get into. My son recommended it, and that created my entree. The narrator (Richard Poe) was outstanding. The story of the Trasks and the Hamiltons held my interest at the beginning, but I kept reserving judgment, wondering why Steinbeck considered this his greatest work. Steinbeck channels different messages through the stories of all the characters, but I think his alter ego was the Chinese character Lee, and it was in a dialog with Lee, about 30% into the story, that EoE started to come together in my mind as a mythic masterpiece. The writing, of course, is amazing. It brings you straight into early 20th century central California, with the same intensity that Larry McMurtry takes you into the old West. (Sorry for those who think it is an unfair comparison to either McMurtry or Steinbeck - Lonesome Dove is unrivaled for making the American past come alive through brilliant writing, even if nothing else by McMurtry was as good.)

    This is an engrossing rendering of many characters but with the archetypes of Cain and Abel through the lens of the Salina Valley in California, via the characters of Charles and Adam and then Caleb and Aron. The C-A initials are a simple device that lets the reader know that when they think Cain and Abel, they have arrived in the author's mental neighborhood, but the layers and complexity from there are amazing, rich, and unpredictable.

    The Hebrew expression "timshel" holds great import in this story, encapsulating a philosophy of human will and potential. I won't presume to know Steinbeck's held meaning, but Lee's exposition of the term is riveting and colors or flavors all of the character development in the story.

    Definitely a high recommend, and a rare (for me) 5-star rating.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • All the Light We Cannot See: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Anthony Doerr
    • Narrated By Zach Appelman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (9319)
    Performance
    (8123)
    Story
    (8144)

    Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where he works as the master of its thousands of locks. When she is six, Marie-Laure goes blind and her father builds a perfect miniature of their neighborhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home. When she is 12, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great-uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.

    Annie M. says: "Time well spent"
    "Poetic, moving, intriguing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I rarely give 5 stars, but this is an excellent and unforgettable listen. It is not just another WWII story, but it certainly takes you inside what it was like to be in France, with both resisters and collaborators. The story of the two protagonists, a blind girl from Paris, and a German orphan, as they enter adolescence during the nightmare years of the Third Reich, is compelling. The story moves back and forth, pivoting from a liberation day for a town just after D-Day back to years from 1934-1944.

    So you have three stories. One is what is happening in a town's liberation shortly after D-Day, the other two track the lives of the French girl and the German boy, as they converge to the liberation day. The story makes clear from the outset that they are in the same town at the end. The character development is deep and rich.

    A wonderful and powerful story, and certainly a way to bring history alive.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Tonight I Said Goodbye

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Michael Koryta
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (805)
    Performance
    (657)
    Story
    (646)

    Investigator Wayne Weston is found dead of an apparent suicide in his home in an upscale Cleveland suburb, and his wife and six-year-old daughter are missing. Weston’s father insists that private investigators Lincoln Perry and Joe Pritchard take the case to exonerate his son and find his granddaughter and daughter-in-law. As they begin to work, they discover there is much more to the situation than has been described in the prevalent media reports.

    Eric says: "Just could not get this engine to rev...."
    "Just could not get this engine to rev...."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I have to agree with many others who felt this audiobook was not helped by Scott Brick's narration. I usually like Brick, but for some reason he was not a good fit here. And the story was not the "remarkably fresh perspective" that the Chicago Tribune review promised. I listened and re-listened to several parts of the first 2-3 hours and then pulled this plug, moving on to another in the same genre that I could not put down. Not enough to hold my interest, though I listen to a lot in this genre.

    21 of 22 people found this review helpful
  • Wildflower Hill

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Kimberley Freeman
    • Narrated By Caroline Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (569)
    Performance
    (487)
    Story
    (488)

    In 1920s Glasgow, Beattie Blaxland falls pregnant to her married lover Henry just before her nineteenth birthday. Abandoned by her family, Beattie and Henry set sail for a new life in Australia. In 2009, London, prima ballerina Lydia Blaxland-Hunter is also discovering that life can also have its ups and downs. Unable to dance again after a fall, Lydia returns home to Australia to recuperate.

    Sara says: "Story telling at its best!"
    "Engaging story with great historical points"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I bought this on a 4.95 sale, and it was a very good choice. I was getting bogged down in "Bleak House" by Dickens, and this really kept me in the story. I was concerned about the reviewer who likened this to a romance novel, and it did have that element in the final third or fourth of the story. Another reviewer commented on the abrupt ending, and I have to agree. It had something of a feel of the author feeling she had done a great multigenerational story, and that was enough - let the readers make up the conclusion.

    This was indeed a great multigenerational story, lots of compelling history about discriminiation against women and aboriginals and the displacements of the second world war. The card game was a great part of it - the most that can be said without a spoiler.

    In addition to the conclusion, there were other abrupt points in the narrative, to me, so I would give the story 3.5 stars on those merits except, no question, it was an interesting story and i wanted to listen to it, so it comes up to four. In my magic scoring scheme, a 5 shows up once for every ten 4's, fwiw.

    The narrator was excellent. I cannot make judgments on Scottish versus Aussie versus Tasmanian accents, and understand one reviewer felt the Scottish was overdone. But to this midwest US guy, it was all good.


    4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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