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Scott

Santa Clara, CA, United States | Member Since 2011

33
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 62 reviews
  • 76 ratings
  • 385 titles in library
  • 44 purchased in 2014
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  • The Magic of Reality: How We Know What's Really True

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Richard Dawkins
    • Narrated By Richard Dawkins, Lalla Ward
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (868)
    Performance
    (752)
    Story
    (739)

    Richard Dawkins, the world’s most famous evolutionary biologist, presents a gorgeously lucid, science book examining some of the nature’s most fundamental questions both from a mythical and scientific perspective. Science is our most precise and powerful tool for making sense of the world. Before we developed the scientific method, we created rich mythologies to explain the unknown. The pressing questions that primitive men and women asked are the same ones we ask as children. Who was the first person? What is the sun? Why is there night and day?

    Connie says: "Audio version is superb for us grown-ups"
    "Should be on every high school reading list."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Pretty basic stuff if you are a science buff. However, pass this one along to one of those adults who really didn't pay attention in school, or to an adolescent that you care about. A great superstition-buster.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Origin: A Technothriller

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By J. A. Konrath
    • Narrated By Luke Daniels
    Overall
    (376)
    Performance
    (346)
    Story
    (349)

    When linguist Andrew Dennison is yanked from his bed by the Secret Service and taken to a top secret facility in the desert, he has no idea he’s been brought there to translate the words of an ancient demon. He joins pretty but cold veterinarian Sun Jones, eccentric molecular biologist Dr. Frank Belgium, and a hodge-podge of religious, military, and science personnel to try and figure out if the creature is, indeed, Satan. But things quickly go bad, and very soon Andy isn’t just fighting for his life, but the lives of everyone on earth.

    Nathan says: "Awesome!"
    "Religious bombasity disguised as science fiction"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I hated this book for so many reasons, not the least of which is that the title is misleading—it's a morality play, not a technothriller.

    I got so tired of all the drivel about who's religion is correct, together with all the characters' guilt, remorse, and desiring repentance. That same theme is played out over and over with every single character—far too improbably to represent any real collection of people.

    Before the end of the first chapter it became obvious—the book is just a blatant excuse for J. A. Konrath to burden us with his narrow-minded views on religion, Jesus, God, the Devil, God—and Jesus. Sound good to you? Okay—lap it up. For my part, I skipped most of the book to find out if any possible ending could justify all the tedious religiosity that drips from every chapter. And the answer is—NO!

    Some folks who reviewed this book seem to be impressed that it was gory, or creepy. For me, it was far less gory or creepy than just about any realistic history of WWI. I can only assume that the people who liked this book are mired in the same kind of religious conundrum that compelled Konrath write the book in the first place.

    Oh—Luke Daniels is a terrific narrator.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany

    • UNABRIDGED (57 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By William L. Shirer
    • Narrated By Grover Gardner
    Overall
    (3249)
    Performance
    (2307)
    Story
    (2316)

    Since its publication in 1960, William L. Shirer’s monumental study of Hitler’s German empire has been widely acclaimed as the definitive record of the 20th century’s blackest hours. The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich offers an unparalleled and thrillingly told examination of how Adolf Hitler nearly succeeded in conquering the world. With millions of copies in print around the globe, it has attained the status of a vital and enduring classic.

    G. House Sr. says: "A Tale of Momumental Evil, Stupidity and Hatred"
    "Excellent"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a chilling and superlative insight into the politics of the Third Reich. We've heard of the battles, the bombings, the Holocaust, the slaughter—but this book details the political maneuvering of Adolph Hitler and his gang of pseudo-idealogues in a very unique way.
    William L. Shirer was there, and his perspective as a correspondent through the rise, the fall, and the war trials, carries intrigue, adventure, and fascination.
    Grover Gardner is, of course, the best at this kind of reading, and is flawless.
    Highly disturbing, highly recommended.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Destiny's Road

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Larry Niven
    • Narrated By Paul Michael Garcia
    Overall
    (92)
    Performance
    (84)
    Story
    (86)

    Wide and smooth, the Road was seared into planet Destiny’s rocky surface by the fusion drive of the powered landing craft, Cavorite. The Cavorite deserted the original interstellar colonists, stranding them without hope of contacting Earth. Now, descendants of those pioneers have many questions about the Road, but no settler who has gone down it has ever returned. For Jemmy Bloocher, a young farm boy, the questions burn too hot - and he sets out to uncover the many mysteries of Destiny’s Road.

    Andrew J. Jackson says: "A 'road' worth travelling"
    "The story might be great—the narration isn't"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is like listening to a completely disconnected set of phrases. I bet the book is okay, but I can't stand more than a few paragraphs before switching to something else. How is it possible to take a collection of sentences and read them without any of the original meaning intact? Poo!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Sacred Texts of the World

    • ORIGINAL (18 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Grant Hardy, Ph.D., Yale University
    Overall
    (49)
    Performance
    (43)
    Story
    (44)

    With few exceptions, the world's religions are anchored in their sacred texts-core writings that express the ideals and vision of the faiths, forming a basis for belief and action. Humanity's library of sacred writings is a huge canon that includes many of the most influential books ever written.

    Jacobus says: "An excellent introduction to various religions"
    "Another great series from The Great Courses"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I found this series of lectures to be enlightening and informative, and Professor Hardy is a very competent narrator and communicator.
    The religious texts discussed in this series are treated with the utmost of respect—and, although I suspect the professor could take cheap shots at any of them—perhaps by focusing on some more unusual or arcane aspects—there is a strictly professional approach to them all. In the end, one can only say that the treatment of all the texts is reverential, if somewhat detached.
    Not to say that Professor Hardy doesn't love these works—he absolutely does. I suppose it would be a high compliment to say that these lectures helped to dismantle my own prejudices, yet this is not quite true. At the end of the day, the sheer diversity of the texts—and the belief systems they embody, it seems to me—cannot be a recommendation for any one of them

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Murder By the Book

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Rex Stout
    • Narrated By Michael Prichard
    Overall
    (153)
    Performance
    (94)
    Story
    (96)

    Leonard Dyke's writing style didn't offend. But all of his work featured unhappy endings: murders. When four people die, including the author, police finally call on Nero Wolfe. Wolfe baits a trap, and when it springs shut, he finds that truth is stranger (and bloodier) than fiction.

    M. W. Baker says: "Good stuff"
    "Not quite up to modern scrutiny"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Okay—a decent detective novel, pretty well written, and pretty well read.
    Still, there's something old-fashioned about the writing—it's not quite as crisp or as tight as one might like.
    That aside, the characters are fun, the situations interesting, and there's enough action to keep it going.
    Michael Prichard's reading is mostly inoffensive, which I gather is high praise from the likes of me, but his rich bass voice doesn't match all the characters well. His interpretation of Nero Wolf, however, is spot on.
    Overall, this audiobook is a decent companion, as long as there's something else to do while listening to it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • His Master's Voice

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Stanislaw Lem
    • Narrated By Nick Sullivan
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (22)
    Performance
    (15)
    Story
    (15)

    A witty and inventive satire of "men of science" and their thinking, as a team of scientists races to decode a mysterious message from space. "I had the feeling that I was standing at the cradle of a new mythology. A last will and testament...we as the posthumous heirs of Them...."

    Jakub says: "Excelent and entertaining"
    "Waiting for something to happen"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    If there were a contest to see how many words could transpire before ANYTHING happened in a novel, this book would certainly be a contender.
    Stanislaw Lem is undoubtedly one of the most intellectual and competent of Sci-Fi writers, but in His Master's Voice, it's as though he challenged himself to present absolutely nothing but ideas, devoid of action or physical reality. Unfortunately, this writing style leads to obsolete scientific perspectives in short order. I found I really didn't care about this book, or whether anything was eventually going to happen or not. No characters caught my fancy, no events peaked my interest.
    Nick Sullivan's reading is fairly impressive, although I would like to hear him describe some real action, or maybe something funny. There is one down side to the recording—his voice is unnaturally compressed, and the sound of it gets fatiguing after only a short while.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Have Space Suit - Will Travel

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Robert A. Heinlein
    • Narrated By Mark Turetsky
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (18)
    Performance
    (17)
    Story
    (16)

    First prize in the Skyway Soap slogan contest was an all-expenses-paid trip to the moon. The consolation prize was an authenticspace suit, and when scientifically minded high school senior Kip Russell wonit, he knew for certain he would use it one day to make a sojourn of his own tothe stars. But "one day" comes sooner than he thinks when he tries the suit on in his backyard - and finds himself worlds away, a prisoner aboard a space pirate's ship.

    Brad says: "A Light Hearted Space Fantasy, Just a fun Read"
    "Wry humor obliterated by inept reading"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is my favorite Heinlein book since I first read it in the 1960's. A fun and entertaining story with the kind of snide humor that only first-person telling can capture.
    The narration, however, is just not professional quality. Mark Turetsky's voice has an adolescent twang, which is fine, considering the age of the main character, but his inability to read fluently totally trashes some of the best and funniest lines in the book. The narration starts out okay, but seems to become more and more distracted as the book nears the end, demolishing the imagery as it goes.
    I guessed all this before purchasing the book, but went ahead anyway. Many parts of it are read just fine, and I can't express any real regret at listening to it—only the regret that they couldn't find a more competent narrator.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Saucer

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Stephen Coonts
    • Narrated By Dick Hill
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (232)
    Performance
    (132)
    Story
    (132)

    When Rip Cantrell, a seismic survey worker in the Sahara, spots a glint of reflected light in the distance - he investigates and finds a piece of metal apparently entombed in the sandstone. Before long, Rip and his colleagues uncover a flying saucer that has been resting there for 140,000 years.

    Bob says: "A Fun Read"
    "Maybe nice for teenagers"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The first problem with "Saucer" is its completely predictable plot, which is 100% linear from beginning to end. The second problem is the lack of depth of its characters. None of them come across as very unique or engaging.
    On the positive side, the story moves along at a fairly consistent pace, without getting too bogged down in irrelevant details.
    And, although Dick Hill is a competent narrator, his nasal, whiny-sounding portrayal of women really gets on your nerves after a while.
    Overall, this book doesn't even come up the level of brain candy—more like brain pablum.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Battle: The Story of the Bulge

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By John Toland
    • Narrated By Dan Butler
    Overall
    (80)
    Performance
    (74)
    Story
    (72)

    Battle: The Story of the Bulge, John Toland's first work of military history, recounts the saga of beleaguered American troops as they resisted Hitler's deadly counter offensive in World War II's Battle of the Bulge - and turned it into an Allied victory. It is a gripping work, painstakingly researched and imbued with such vivid detail that listeners will feel as though they themselves witnessed these events. This is a book not to be missed by anyone interested in this tumultuous era of our world's history.

    Joseph says: "Wonderful Account"
    "Amateurish narration, and a frustrating experience"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Most history is told top-down—giving the reader an overview, then more detail, then another overview, then more detail. "Battle," however, never really re-orients the listener with the perspective necessary to understand exactly what's going on. It's told like a collection of independent vignettes—episodic, and not well connected—like a series of isolated incidents, lacking in cohesive structure.

    Furthermore, unless the listener has a fairly detailed map of Germany and Belgium in his head, there's little guidance as to where the action is, or which direction it's headed. There simply isn't enough geographical or strategic detail to help the listener get a handle on why things happened as they did.

    Unfortunately, Dan Butler's narration does nothing to improve this. His constant pausing mid-phrase makes it clear he has minimal comprehension of what he's reading. The resulting lack of continuity renders the story quite difficult to follow—and even more difficult to care about. At some level, I'm sympathetic to Mr. Butler's apparent lack of experience, but this is a huge assignment, given his level of talent—and it's clear he's bitten off way more than he can chew.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Post Captain: Aubrey/Maturin Series, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Patrick O'Brian
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (416)
    Performance
    (187)
    Story
    (184)

    Post Captain is the second novel in Patrick O'Brian's beloved adventure series. In 1803 Napoleon smashes the Peace of Amiens, and Captain Jack Aubrey, Royal Navy, taking refuge in France from his creditors, is interned. He escapes from France, from debtors' prison, from a possible mutiny, and pursues his quarry straight into the mouth of a French-held-harbor.

    Joel says: "Good story, but better narrator available."
    "Didn't really hold my attention"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    After "Master and Commander," I looked forward to this book, but it left me feeling unfulfilled.
    Not to say there aren't wonderful characters, hilarious situations, true adventures, and tense moments—but there's also a lot of silliness about the marriageability of this or that daughter, some scenes that border on slapstick, and irrelevant detail that doesn't seem to contribute in any significant way.

    I still love the characters—not just Aubrey and Maturin, but all the delightful people they encounter. However, there's a pretty large cast of characters, and it's something of a puzzle why some of them are there at all.

    Overall, one senses a lack of direction to the plot, leaving the listener completely unaware of what's significant and what isn't. As things begin to drag, the narrator gets stuck with the impossible task of trying to maintain energy.

    With very few exceptions, I enjoy Simon Vance as a narrator, but it's hard to believe he found this book any more compelling than I did. I found my attention wandering constantly, waiting for something—anything—to happen that was relevant to the plot.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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