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James

Oakville, ON, Canada | Member Since 2001

49
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 15 reviews
  • 390 ratings
  • 1315 titles in library
  • 78 purchased in 2014
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  • Churchill

    • UNABRIDGED (37 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Roy Jenkins
    • Narrated By Robert Whitfield
    Overall
    (515)
    Performance
    (189)
    Story
    (192)

    In this magisterial book, Roy Jenkins' unparalleled command of the political history of Britain and his own high-level government experience combine in a narrative account of Churchill's astounding career that is unmatched in its shrewd insights, its unforgettable anecdotes, the clarity of its overarching themes, and the author's nuanced appreciation of his extraordinary subject.

    Karen says: "Best of British Political Soap Opera"
    "Lengthy, Well Written, Excellent Narration"
    Overall

    If you only want to get an overview of the man's life, this book is not for you. This book is for the reader who knows the basics of Churchill's long career but who would like to learn more (many more) of the details in between.

    Churchill has his strengths and his flaws and this book isn't shy about exploring them in detail through each phase of his life. One quote that stands out in my mind is one where his young grandchild gets through the usual attendants and enters Churchill's study and asks "Grandpapa, is it true that you are the greatest man in the world?" To which his sweet grandfather answered: "Yes, now bugger off".

    I found the narration excellent. Not only did the narrator imitate a good Churchill but he switched to good Scots, Welsh, Afrikaner, American and working class English accents with ease.

    14 of 16 people found this review helpful
  • After the Fire: Hidden Cove Series, Volume 1

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Kathryn Shay
    • Narrated By Jeffrey Kafer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (218)
    Performance
    (191)
    Story
    (186)

    Three firefighters from the Malvaso family are trapped in a burning building and almost lose their lives. After they are rescued, they decide to change the way they've been living. Mitch, the eldest, wants to make some decisions about his dysfunctional marriage and spend more time with his kids. Jenn decides to have a baby - with her best friend, Grady. And Zach, the bad boy of the group, vows to make up for his past sins and become a better man.

    cglewis says: "Could not stop listening!"
    "Straight out Romance Novel"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What disappointed you about After the Fire?

    This is a straight-out romance novel. 80% of the dialogue is about relationships and romance with the occasional non-romance bit of material thrown in (I stuck with it more than 3 hours in, hoping it would evolve but no). I wish that the story was clearly labelled "ROMANCE NOVEL" so those listerners who want such a story can enjoy it and those of us who want mostly story (and are fine with occasional romantic interludes) could avoid it.


    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Keeper of Lost Causes: Department Q, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Jussi Adler-Olsen
    • Narrated By Erik Davies
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1662)
    Performance
    (1441)
    Story
    (1440)

    Jussi Adler-Olsen is Denmark's premier crime writer. His books routinely top the bestseller lists in northern Europe, and he's won just about every Nordic crime-writing award, including the prestigious Glass Key Award-also won by Henning Mankell, Stieg Larsson, and Jo Nesbo. Now, Dutton is thrilled to introduce him to America.

    Ted says: "Dark, Cold, and Danish"
    "Great characters, interesting story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about The Keeper of Lost Causes?

    I'm not sure how I came upon this series but I was very pleasantly surprised by it. The main characters are so interesting and entertaining. I really enjoy the Danish setting of the story .. a country and people I'd previously given little thought to.

    The plot and the solving of the crime are very interesting as well.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Blaze of Glory: A Novel of the Battle of Shiloh

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Jeff Shaara
    • Narrated By Paul Michael
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (157)
    Performance
    (138)
    Story
    (138)

    It's the spring of 1862. The Confederate Army in the West teeters on the brink of collapse following the catastrophic loss of Fort Donelson. Commanding general Albert Sidney Johnston is forced to pull up stakes, abandon the critical city of Nashville, and rally his troops in defense of the Memphis and Charleston Railroad. Hot on Johnston's trail are two of the Union's best generals: the relentless Ulysses Grant, fresh off his career-making victory at Fort Donelson, and Don Carlos Buell.

    Stephen says: "Shiloh Brought to Life"
    "Personal thoughts/remininces became very tedious"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What disappointed you about A Blaze of Glory?

    Usually what makes a book better than a story is that the author can not only tell you what is said but what the main characters are thinking. In this story, the personal thoughts/reminisces were dull and poorly written. Instead of finding the story enriched, I kept hoping the author would stop with the latest thoughts/reminisces and get on with some dialogue or other storytelling.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Paddle Your Own Canoe: One Man's Fundamentals for Delicious Living

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Nick Offerman
    • Narrated By Nick Offerman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (855)
    Performance
    (809)
    Story
    (808)

    Growing a perfect moustache, grilling red meat, wooing a woman - who better to deliver this tutelage than the always charming, always manly Nick Offerman, best known as Parks and Recreation's Ron Swanson? Combining his trademark comic voice and very real expertise in woodworking - he runs his own woodshop - Paddle Your Own Canoe features tales from Offerman's childhood in small-town Minooka, Illinois, to his theater days in Chicago, beginnings as a carpenter/actor and the hilarious and magnificent seduction of his now-wife Megan Mullally.

    OpenMindedNotCredulous says: "On the need to acknowledge the role luck plays"
    "Moderately interesting at time but way too preachy"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    OK, so the author isn't into religion or other people who openly profess their beliefs. I get it. But after the sixth time of going onto other topics and coming back to express his dislikes on this topic yet again? You don't see the hypocrisy and banging on and on about the same topic here?

    As for the rest of the story? Moderately interesting and sometimes gave me the odd chuckle. Not great and not terrible.


    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The Cunning Man

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Robertson Davies
    • Narrated By Frederick Davidson
    Overall
    (38)
    Performance
    (15)
    Story
    (16)

    Should I have taken the false teeth?" This is what Dr. Jonathan Hullah, a former police surgeon, thinks after he watches Father Hobbes die in front of the High Altar at Toronto's St. Aidan's on the morning of Good Friday. How did the good father die? We do not learn the answer until the very end of this "Case Book" of a man's rich and highly observant life.

    But we learn much more about many things, and especially about Dr. Hullah.

    victoria says: "What a shame!"
    "Good story but poor narration"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to The Cunning Man again? Why?

    The story is good but the narration is poor. On narration/editing, I counted 9 different occasions where the author re-read the same piece. Usually 1-2 sentences but sometimes up to 5 sentences. The narrator himself has a tone that makes the story seem tiresome rather that interesting of funny.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Nixonland: The Rise of a President and the Fracturing of America

    • UNABRIDGED (36 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Rick Perlstein
    • Narrated By Stephen R. Thorne
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (380)
    Performance
    (189)
    Story
    (196)

    From one of America's most talented historians and winner of a LA Times Book Prize comes a brilliant new account of Richard Nixon that reveals the riveting backstory to the red state/blue state resentments that divide our nation today. Told with urgency and sharp political insight, Nixonland recaptures America's turbulent 1960s and early 1970s and reveals how Richard Nixon rose from the political grave to seize and hold the presidency.

    Frank says: "A 5-Star Book Injured by the Narrator"
    "Good Story but Unfortunate Narrator"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What didn’t you like about Stephen R. Thorne’s performance?

    The narrator mispronounced so many words that I lost count. It must have been more than 20 words (and almost all were English words, not names/surnames). For example, pseudo-intellectual is pronounced "swaydo-intellectual" multiple times instead of "soodo-intellectual". I kept asking myself: isn't there an editor that makes the narrator redo bad portions? Apparently, there wasn't for this story.His expression reading the story is fine but a narrator needs both expression and the ability to pronounce what he is reading.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Winter of the World: The Century Trilogy, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (31 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Ken Follett
    • Narrated By John Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (5247)
    Performance
    (4441)
    Story
    (4454)

    Winter of the World picks up right where the first book left off, as its five interrelated families - American, German, Russian, English, Welsh - enter a time of enormous social, political, and economic turmoil, beginning with the rise of the Third Reich, through the Spanish Civil War and the great dramas of World War II, up to the explosions of the American and Soviet atomic bombs. As always with Ken Follett, the historical background is brilliantly researched and rendered, the action fast-moving, the characters rich in nuance and emotion.

    Tim says: "Brilliant Sequel"
    "Annoying Politics"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    The author is a long-time supporter of Britain's Labour party and it sure shows in the way that he tells the story. All supporters of the Labour Party are intelligent, articulate, kind, etc. Any supporters of other parties are foolish, vain and wrong-headed. And it doesn't stop in Britain. Labour's closest equivalent in Germany (i.e. left of centre) are the Social Democratic Party. All Social Democrats in the books share all of the sterling qualities of Labour party supporters mentioned above. No other German party (including other democratic ones) has any good qualities, intelligent or thoughtful supporters.

    I get that the author doesn't like Nazism or communism but that he paints such a black-and-white picture of democratic parties and all of their supporters that it becomes tiresome to say the least.

    The ridiculous number of coincidences (the 4-5 main characters experience so many of the major episode/issue over the 1933-49) that it becomes laughable. Walk down the street in Berlin to see the commotion? Happen to overhear Hitler discuss the Reichstag fire in the Reichstag itself. Short trip to Hawaii? That turns out to be the weekend of bombing of Pearl Harbour. And on and on.

    Interesting story in places but it comes across as being amateurish in so many ways.


    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Music: A Very Short Introduction

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Nicholas Cook
    • Narrated By Suzanne Toren
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (24)
    Performance
    (12)
    Story
    (12)

    This very short introduction, written with both humor and flair, begins with a sampling of music as human activity and then goes on to consider the slippery phenomenon of how music has become an object of thought. Covering not only Western and classical music, Cook touches on all types from rock to Indonesian music and beyond. Incorporating musical forms from every continent, Music will make enjoyable reading for beginner and expert alike.

    James says: "Very academic and dull treatment of topic"
    "Very academic and dull treatment of topic"
    Overall

    First of all, this is not an introduction to music. This is a book where the author discusses competing models for understanding music. It is not very exicting.

    Then the author makes selective use of facts to back up his assertions. I'm no music expert but he leaves out obvious examples when they don't agree with what he is trying to present.

    Moving onto the narrative. I feel like I am being lectured for the bad things that I have done while listening to her. I could tolerate her reading in another book where the topic was of particular interest to me. But her reading combined with content that was annoying me was too much.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Day By Day Armageddon

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By J L Bourne
    • Narrated By Jay Snyder
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3293)
    Performance
    (2381)
    Story
    (2378)

    In your hands is the handwritten journal depicting one man's struggle for survival. Trapped in the midst of global disaster, he must make decisions; choices that ultimately mean life, or the eternal curse to walk as one of them. Enter, if you will, into the world of the undead.

    rob haight says: "Great book! More more more!!"
    "Low calibre of writing"
    Overall

    I must have bought this book during one of the periodic site sales. The calibre of writing for this book was low in many places. The book would have benefited from a good deal more attention from a decent editor.

    0 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • A Thousand Splendid Suns

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Khaled Hosseini
    • Narrated By Atossa Leoni
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (5214)
    Performance
    (1436)
    Story
    (1439)

    Born a generation apart and with very different ideas about love and family, Mariam and Laila are two women brought jarringly together by war, by loss, and by fate. As they endure the ever escalating dangers around them, in their home as well as in the streets of Kabul, they come to form a bond that makes them both sisters and mother-daughter to each other, and that will ultimately alter the course not just of their own lives but of the next generation.

    David says: "Somber but gripping"
    "Even better"
    Overall

    This story is even better than The Kite Runner. Again, the story is set in Afganistan but this time it follows two women and their trials over 30 years.

    The characters were believable. Both the good and bad people in the story had nuianced personalities, each with some positive and negative aspects to their personalities.

    Set in a strife-torn country with changing laws and government, it makes for a cracking good story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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