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B. W. Larsen


Boynton Beach, FL United States | Listener Since 2000

  • 6 reviews
  • 58 ratings
  • 0 titles in library
  • 1 purchased in 2015

  • Whiteout

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Ken Follett
    • Narrated By Josephine Bailey

    Like no other suspense author in his genre, Follett reinvents the thriller with each new storyline. But nothing matches the intricate, knife-edge drama of Whiteout.

    B. W. Larsen says: "Ken Follett goes Danielle Steeel"
    "Ken Follett goes Danielle Steeel"

    What a dreadful disappointment - after five hours into the book, still NOTHING has happened other than that we have been introduced to half a dozen idle rich women and their dysfunctional male counterparts. The description of the self absorbed lives of these people is what most guys fear from romance novels - and to juxtapose these trivial problems to the potential of a virus on the loose on the British Isles that has a 100 percent mortality rate simply doesn't work.

    The reader does justice to the whiny voices of the cast of unsympathetic characters. She would not work for a thriller, which I incorrectly assumed Whiteout to be, but for the bickering dialog of entitled women and spineless men, she is doing a good job.

    Don't spend your money on this dud!

    59 of 66 people found this review helpful
  • Power Failure: The Inside Story of the Collapse of Enron

    • ABRIDGED (5 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Mimi Swartz, Sherron Watkins
    • Narrated By Henry Leyva

    From inside the walls of Enron, a lone whistleblower attempted to avert the course of events leading to the largest bankruptcy in American history. On August 16, 2001, Sherron Watkins wrote an anonymous letter to Enron's Chairman, Ken Lay, laying out problems with Enron's use of partnerships to hide debt. She warned of a possible scandal that could topple the company if investors and the news media learned of the operations. Then, she revealed her identity and confronted Lay directly.

    Karen says: "ENRON (Light)"
    "A very readable story on a complex subject"

    I really did not believe that it could be possible to tell the Enron story without requiring the reader to take the cpa exam first - not to mention that it would be possible to LISTEN to the story and gain some insight!

    Mostly, the impossible task has been accomplished. The story on greed and criminal conduct is compelling, but what impresses me is that after listening to Power Failure, my own reading of Enron indictments in the business press have been enhanced. To follow the book, there is no need to understand the dirty details of SPEs and accounting entries to understand the reprehensible nature of Enron's officials and the behavior of the public accountants, lawyers, and investment bankers that condoned and promoted the fraud. The book is more setting the scene for judgment of a general corporate behavior rather than revealing and arguing specific transgressions against reigning law.

    Power Failure is surprisingly easy listen - you do not find yourself wishing for a paper book where you can re-read a passage to pick up on a fine line violated by the principals - the book spells out Enron's actions in broad strokes that can be understood by most everyone.

    The vantage point of the authors do make you wish for more, though. It's not that there is a lack of a smoking gun - Enron was a gun range (to torture the analogy). I suppose what I wish for most, would be a "where are they now" - what happened (or, is happening) to the many people feeding off the trough of Enron... And after listening to this book, I tend to believe that there are a large number of people of bad character untouched by the SEC's "dragnet".

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Fierce Invalids Home from Hot Climates

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By Tom Robbins
    • Narrated By Keith Szarabajka
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    In Fierce Invalids Home from Hot Climates, the wise, witty, always gutsy Tom Robbins brings onstage the most complex and compelling character he has ever created. But to describe a Robbins plot does not begin to describe a Robbins novel - you must hear it for yourself! Browse other Tom Robbins at

    Rupa says: "Wildly entertaining-excellent naration!"
    "Funny, outlandish and irreverent"

    This is my favorite Tom Robbins book. I read the book first and truly enjoyed Robbins' unique use of the language and his humor. For some unknown reason I decided to pick up the audible book as well and spend another sixteen hours in Robbins' company.

    While I would have guessed that Robbins is far better read than listened to, Keith Szarabajka proved me wrong. This is a great narrator that gives justice to Robbins' story.

    Don't get turned off by the length of the book if you are not already a Robbins fan. This book might just make you a believer!

    10 of 12 people found this review helpful
  • A Beautiful Mind: The Life of Mathematical Genius and Nobel Laureate John Nash

    • ABRIDGED (5 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Sylvia Nasar
    • Narrated By Edward Herrmann

    John Nash was a mathematician teetering on the brink of international acclaim, but he fell instead into madness. Saved by the love of a beautiful woman and the loyalty of the mathematics community, he went on to win a Nobel Prize and worldwide fame. This is his true story - and a new film starring Russell Crowe and Jennifer Connelly.

    B. W. Larsen says: "Abridged vs Unabridged"
    "Abridged vs Unabridged"

    One of the other reviewers stated that she wished she had waited for the unabridged version of Sylvia Nasar's book.

    I listened to this version and had the very same thoughts. What a great story, it provides a different perspective than the movie and if you liked the movie, you will likely not be feeling that the book is a "repeat."

    So - when the unabridged version appeared, I picked it up as well. WHAT A DISAPPOINTMENT.

    Anna Fields is the narrator of the unabridged version and she made me realize what an impact the reader makes on a book. Sorry to say, but this narration (unabridged) cannot hold a candle to the superb job Edward Herrmann does for the abridged version.

    It might be unfair to compare anyone to one of the best in the business (Herrmann), but this is a great example of how important it is to match the narrator to the book.

    So - before you go for the unabridged version, try the samples for both and see if you agree that of the two versions, the narration by Edward Herrmann is absolutely stellar!

    29 of 30 people found this review helpful
  • Shark Trouble: True Stories About Sharks and the Sea

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Peter Benchley
    • Narrated By Peter Benchley
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Master storyteller Peter Benchley, author of Jaws, combines high adventure with practical information in Shark Trouble, a book that is at once a thriller and a valuable guide to being safe in, on, under, and around the sea. Booklist calls this "a suspenseful and resonantly informative overview."

    Amazon Customer says: "Before diving with sharks be sure to read this..."
    "A biography and a collection of anecdotes"

    Although not being a novel, this book is more spellbinding than most of Peter Benchley's later work. Besides a great narration of the "birth of Jaws", this book also provides a very personal glimpse into Benchley's life before and after the watershed event that was Jaws.

    Following the fame of the movie, we are afforded a glimpse into how Benchley turned the Jaws concept into a life pursuit in and around the ocean. We follow a young Benchley uncertain about the underwater world he made famous into a mature man that has made the ocean his domain.

    Shark wrestling hasn't exactly been my life, but Benchley shares a dive in South Florida where he had a Barracuda experience indistinguishable from my own - except Benchley has the power of the master story teller to capture the thoughts and emotions I had in my similar circumstance in a way that, for me, was more than worth the price of admission.

    By the way, Peter Benchley is narrating his own work and he is doing an excellent job. I am normally not a fan of authors reading their own stuff (Stephen King comes to mind), but Benchley is a natural. He has a pleasant voice and he does not "overdo" his thing.

    The book concludes with a section on the "shark summer" of 2001 where Benchley approaches the media hysteria with a journalistic approach, supporting his thoughts and opinions in a competent manner.

    Try the sample, you might like this book!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Cod: A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Mark Kurlansky
    • Narrated By Richard M. Davidson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Talk about a fish story! New York Times and Harper's columnist Mark Kurlansky offers "history filtered through the gills of the fish trade." David McCullough, the historian behind John Adams, says Kurlansky's "charming tale" of a "seemingly improbable idea" will change the way people think of the fish and the history.

    Karen says: "A great fish story"
    "Seven and a half hour about COD???"

    Yep, that's what you get from Mark Kurlansky... over seven hours of engrossing information and storytelling about a fish. What a successful blend of journalist, historian, and novelist Kurlansky turned out to be as proven by this very readable book.

    Who would have thunk that the cod played a significant role in the maintenance of the american slavery trade and keep? That the fish nearly started a war between UK and Iceland in modern time? That the Vikings discovered the American continent because of the darn cod? That our pilgrims of Thanksgiving fame failed to eat the bounty of the sea and elected rather to starve than feast on lobster and cod?

    The chapters on the Basques made me pick up the next book by Kurlanski; he clearly has a tremendous knowledge of the area and the history of the Basque people.

    Each segment is capped off by a number of appropriate recepies based on cod from the area narrated. I guess this is probably better suited to the printed page than in the audible edition.

    The narration is very good and helps keep the attention throughout the story.

    13 of 14 people found this review helpful

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