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Nicky Gleason

Tumwater, WA, United States | Member Since 2013

  • 13 reviews
  • 395 ratings
  • 557 titles in library
  • 11 purchased in 2015

  • Bel Canto

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Ann Patchett
    • Narrated By Anna Fields

    Somewhere in South America at the home of the country's vice president, a lavish birthday party is being held in honor of Mr. Hosokawa, a powerful Japanese businessman. Roxanne Coss, opera's most revered soprano, has mesmerized the guests with her singing. It is a perfect evening, until a band of terrorists breaks in, taking the entire party hostage.

    Nicky Gleason says: "Surprisingly engrossing"
    "Surprisingly engrossing"

    I looked at this book about 20 times before finally deciding to download it. Although it received lots of other great reviews, I worried it would either be depressing or hard to get into. It was neither, and was extremely enjoyable -- I'd definitely give this one a thumbs up. One of those books that makes you examine what it means to live in the present moment and enjoy the beauty of every day.

    18 of 19 people found this review helpful
  • Major Pettigrew's Last Stand: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Helen Simonson
    • Narrated By Peter Altschuler
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    You are about to travel to Edgecombe St. Mary, a small village in the English countryside filled with rolling hills, thatched cottages, and a cast of characters both hilariously original and as familiar as the members of your own family. Among them is Major Ernest Pettigrew (retired), the unlikely hero of Helen Simonson's wondrous debut. Wry, courtly, opinionated, and completely endearing, Major Pettigrew is one of the most indelible characters in contemporary fiction.

    Sara says: "A Surprising Treat!"
    What did you love best about Major Pettigrew's Last Stand?

    I'm a big fan of historical novels, and the Major's internal horror at perceived impropriety seemed really believable, and made his character likeable.

    Who was your favorite character and why?

    I really liked the Major, especially his gradual affection for all the other people for whom he was initially dubious.

    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes. I often read several books simultaneously, both regular books and Audible. I found myself getting frustrated with other books I was reading because, "This is not Major Pettigrew! Why was I reading this?"

    Any additional comments?

    Really charming, and just a general "feel good" kind of book without being at all smarmy.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Paying Guests

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Sarah Waters
    • Narrated By Juliet Stevenson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    It is 1922, and London is tense. Ex-servicemen are disillusioned; the out-of-work and the hungry are demanding change. And in South London, in a genteel Camberwell villa, a large silent house now bereft of brothers, husband, and even servants, life is about to be transformed, as impoverished widow Mrs. Wray and her spinster daughter, Frances, are obliged to take in lodgers.

    Iris Pereyra says: "Great Historical Fiction!!"
    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    I'm sure plenty of other folks enjoy this book. I have no quarrel with the quality of the writing -- I love historical fiction, and this met all of my requirements in that regard. That's the main reason I kept listening long after I'd become uncomfortable with the story line. I realized about halfway through that the book had set up a plot device whereby I wouldn't be happy with any conclusion -- there wasn't anything to hope for anymore, it was just watching various characters to whom I'd become attached suffer. It stopped being fun, and finally -- with much persuasion from my husband who could tell I wasn't enjoying it anymore -- I gave myself permission to give up on it and download something else.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Angelmaker

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Nick Harkaway
    • Narrated By Daniel Weyman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Joe Spork repairs clocks, a far cry from his late father, a flashy London gangster. But when Joe fixes one particularly unusual device, his life is suddenly upended. Joe's client, Edie Banister, is more than just a kindly old lady - she's a former superspy. And the device? It's a 1950s doomsday machine. And having triggered it, Joe now faces the wrath of both the government and a diabolical South Asian dictator, Edie's old arch-nemesis.

    Maine Colonial says: "A cure for the modern cynic"
    "Reminds me of Neil Gaiman"
    What made the experience of listening to Angelmaker the most enjoyable?

    I didn't have high expectations for this book. I picked it up, relatively sight unseen, as part of a two-for-one deal. Absolutely loved it. Immediately got a copy for my husband, who also loved it. Can't wait to read other works by this author.

    The tone reminded me very pleasantly of Neil Gaiman, of whom I'm a completely over the top fan.

    Which scene was your favorite?

    The speech where the women explain to the villian that they are not, in fact, the good guys.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By John J. Medina
    • Narrated By John J. Medina

    Most of us have no idea what's really going on inside our heads. Yet brain scientists have uncovered details every business leader, parent, and teacher should know - such as the brain's need for physical activity to work at its best. How do we learn? What exactly do sleep and stress do to our brains? Why is multi-tasking a myth? Why is it so easy to forget - and so important to repeat new information? Is it true that men and women have different brains?

    Beenre says: "My favorite book for students."
    "Learned Nothing New"

    I took one class on neurobiology in college almost 20 years ago, and thought this might be a good book to add to that knowledge.

    Unfortunately, the author didn't have anything insightful to add, since I already knew the difference between a neuron and a synapse. I also felt much of the information was really very basic, but the author's tone was as if each factoid was a massive revelation -- There is a difference between short term and long term memory! Presentations are more interesting when they include personal anecdotes and visual stimuli! Adults learn best in ten minute increments!

    I suppose if I hadn't taken that neurobiology class, or if I was not already reasonably familiar with the principles of public speaking, the book might have been more interesting. I'm usually pretty forgiving of books, but this is the first time in months I felt like I "wasted a credit."

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Marriage Plot

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Jeffrey Eugenides
    • Narrated By David Pittu
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    It’s the early 1980s—the country is in a deep recession, and life after college is harder than ever. In the cafés on College Hill, the wised-up kids are inhaling Derrida and listening to Talking Heads. But Madeleine Hanna, dutiful English major, is writing her senior thesis on Jane Austen and George Eliot, purveyors of the marriage plot that lies at the heart of the greatest English novels.

    FanB14 says: "Esoteric, Vapid, Trite"

    I'm a big fan of Jeffrey Eugenides, so I was delighted to see The Marriage Plot available on Audible, and couldn't wait to download it. Unfortunately, and much to my sad surprise, I never really made a real connection with any of the main characters. I found most of the characters distinctly unpleasant, so it became more and more difficult to understand why they all were falling in love with each other, or even why any of them were friends. All of the characters' attitudes of "better than" -- culturally, intellectually, romantically, spiritually -- were too thick for me to feel anything like compassion for them. They weren't the three dimensional, complicated characters I'm used to meeting in Eugenides books.

    8 of 11 people found this review helpful
  • The Road

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Cormac McCarthy
    • Narrated By Tom Stechschulte
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    America is a barren landscape of smoldering ashes, devoid of life except for those people still struggling to scratch out some type of existence. Amidst this destruction, a father and his young son walk, always toward the coast, but with no real understanding that circumstances will improve once they arrive. Still, they persevere, and their relationship comes to represent goodness in a world of utter devastation.

    Steven says: "Spellbinding"
    "Dark but moving"

    I was so moved by this book. I got it because I like "post apocalyptic" stories, but this was very different. Most end of the world stories are ultimately about starting over, going back to Eden, building a better world than the old one, etc. This was much more an allegory about the nature of hope, and what it means to be "one of the good guys."

    Seriously dark, like extra dark with a side of dark, but beautiful and poignant, in a way that it couldn't be if it wasn't in that stark contrast with darkness and despair. The story strips away all the trappings of the world until all that's left is who we are and what we believe in. I didn't take it especially literally, but wondered if we aren't each of us both "the man" and "the boy" and our lives are "the road." That's probably just me being flaky though.

    I thought it was really really good, but man, I'm planning to follow it up with something mindless and perky!

    17 of 19 people found this review helpful
  • Treasure Box

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Orson Scott Card
    • Narrated By Stefan Rudnicki

    A shattering childhood tragedy left Quentin Fears devastated. But the wealthy, enigmatic recluse has experienced the extraordinarily unexpected: love at first sight, with Madeleine. Now he must meet his new wife's family. A bizarre, dysfunctional collection of extreme characters, they are guarding a secret both shocking and terrifying, as is Madeleine herself. And suddenly Quentin Fears must prevent his dream woman from unleashing an ageless malevolence intent on ruling the world.

    DMHVetSurveyor says: "OSC at his best!!!"
    "Just didn't do it for me"

    This book just didn't do it for me. While I loved Ender's Game and Lost Boys, and enjoyed Homebody, this story just seemed a Really hard to maintain a sense of "suspended disbelief" -- I found myself wondering what was going on in the author's life that made him choose the story line and word choices that he did. Wish I'd used my credits elsewhere.

    6 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • LA Theatre Works: Modern Classics Vol. 1

    • ORIGINAL (4 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By John Guare, John Pielmeier, Sam Shepard
    • Narrated By Alan Alda, Swoosie Kurtz, Barbara Bain, and others

    This collection features three modern classics of drama: "Six Degrees of Separation", "Agnes of God", and "True West".

    Nicky Gleason says: "Fantastic series"
    "Fantastic series"

    This was my first listen to the LA Theatre Works series, and I was pretty reluctant to use up two of my precious subscriber credits on one download. However, it was completely worth it, and I plan to download more in the series.

    I usually listen to novels, and this was a completely different experience -- much more like the actual theater than an audiobook. I was really surprised by how engrossed I was in these performances. Although a certificable audiobook addict, I usually listen to audio books while doing another activity. These, however, would have been enough to keep me completely occupied in their own right.

    Wonderful experience, wonderful performances, and one of the few downloads I fully intend to listen to again and again. Bravo!

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Malcolm Gladwell
    • Narrated By Malcolm Gladwell

    In his landmark best seller The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell redefined how we understand the world around us. Now, in Blink, he revolutionizes the way we understand the world within. Blink is a book about how we think without thinking, about choices that seem to be made in an instant, in the blink of an eye, that actually aren't as simple as they seem. Why are some people brilliant decision makers, while others are consistently inept?

    Rebecca says: "A Blinkin' Good Read"
    "Very fun listen"

    Loved this book -- totally accessible, lively, and interesting. Before listening to this book, I didn't believe I was much of a nonfiction fan, but now I stand corrected, and am so glad I gave this book a try. I kept having to pause, rewind, and hand my earphones to my husband to listen to certain sections so we could discuss.

    This was one of those books I looked at many times and didn't get for months, and now wonder why in the world I waited as long as I did.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • A Tale of Two Cities

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Charles Dickens
    • Narrated By Martin Jarvis
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times"; "It is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known"; so the novel begins and ends with some of Dicken's best-known words, and between the two is every Briton's view of the worst excesses of the French Revolution.

    K. Hicks says: "A Rediscovery of an Old Friend"
    "Highly recommended"

    Loved this book on audio -- one of my favorite audio book experiences, a very pleasant surprise. Took me an hour or two of listening to become completely hooked, but after that I literally couldn't put it down -- stayed up till all hours to hear the final passages. The only audio book that ever made me cry. Just lovely.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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