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Brustar

Beverly Hills, CA, United States | Member Since 2012

8
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 8 reviews
  • 8 ratings
  • 102 titles in library
  • 3 purchased in 2015
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  • Orson Welles: The Ultimate Collection

    • ORIGINAL (60 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Orson Welles
    • Narrated By Orson Welles
    Overall
    (69)
    Performance
    (62)
    Story
    (60)

    If you are a lover of old-time radio and a fan of Orson Welles, you won't want to miss this treasure chest of legendary Orson Welles radio broadcasts! With his flair for the sensational and innovative, Welles captured audiences' attention with his 1930s CBS weekly drama series The Mercury Theatre on the Air, later renamed The Campbell Playhouse, which featured hour-long dramatizations of classic books. His 1938 production, The War of the Worlds (an H. G. Wells adaptation) was especially memorable, as were many other productions, each featuring talented voices and actors.

    Novie says: "It's a time capsule! I love it!"
    "If a tree falls in the forest ..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The Collection was a major disappointment. The low quality recordings defeated every audio system I attempted, I was disappointed that I couldn't hear the recordings without great effort (at best); and disappointed that Audible made the recordings available without a disclaimer.

    Clearly, the performances were recorded in the 20's and 30's by early (READ: bad) equipment; and the recordings have only grown worse over time. Actresses sound like Alvin the Chipmonk; actors appear to be speaking underwater; Orson Welles sounds like he is talking though a hat; and there are numerous incomprehensible off-stage sounds. The recording are a mess.

    This Collection should have been distributed by in-Audible.

    6 of 13 people found this review helpful
  • The Long Embrace: Raymond Chandler and the Woman He Loved

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs)
    • By Judith Freeman
    • Narrated By Suzanne Toren
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (17)
    Performance
    (6)
    Story
    (6)

    Raymond Chandler was one of the most original and enduring crime novelists of the 20th century. Yet much of his pre-writing life, including his unconventional marriage, has remained shrouded in mystery. In this compelling, wholly original book, Judith Freeman sets out to solve the puzzle of who Chandler was and how he became the writer who would create in Philip Marlowe an icon of American culture.

    Chris says: "A fine portrait of Chandler"
    "Separates the Wheat from the Chaff ... and Prints the Chaff"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Raymond Chandler was a seminal author who lived an eccentric, virtually inexplicable, life. How did he become, at age 53, a significant, almost revolutionary, author of film noir after never writing anything more memorable than a spreadsheet for the oil company where he worked as an accountant for his entire pre-writing career? Why did he marry a woman 18 years older than he? Was he gay and, if so, did that affect his writing? Why did Chandler and his equally eccentric wife, Cissy, live a peripatetic life, moving almost every year of their married lives to a succession of 30 or so mostly semi-seedy, apartments?

    These questions are raised, but, mostly unanswered, in “The Long Embrace”, a disjointed, not-exactly-biography that dedicates too many pages (or, if you listen to the audiobook, too many hours) tracking down Chandler and Cissy’s constant, perhaps, obsessive, moves in and around Los Angeles 70-80 years ago. Trust me, that search, loaded with irrelevant detail, is almost completely devoid of interesting information.

    If you can persevere through all those pages about all those apartments, there are some interesting questions that do get somewhat addressed: To what extent can we read the enigmatic Chandler and Cissy into his various characters? How did the reclusive Chandler handle Hollywood, where he became a successful screenwriter? What did the snobbish Chandler think of the movies based on his books and how did he regard Humphrey Bogart, Dick Powell and the other actors who played Chandler’s creation, the iconic detective Philip Marlowe?

    Chandler was such a unique, bizarre, brilliant, flawed character that there are inevitably some worthwhile moments in “The Long Embrace”. But they are overwhelmed by so many trips to so many apartments in so many parts of L.A. that they stand out like "a black widow spider on a piece of angel food cake".

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Edge of Eternity: The Century Trilogy, Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (36 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Ken Follett
    • Narrated By John Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3457)
    Performance
    (3059)
    Story
    (3067)

    Throughout these books, Follett has followed the fortunes of five intertwined families - American, German, Russian, English, and Welsh - as they make their way through the twentieth century. Now they come to one of the most tumultuous eras of all: the enormous social, political, and economic turmoil of the 1960s through the 1980s, from civil rights, assassinations, mass political movements and Vietnam to the Berlin Wall, the Cuban Missile Crisis, presidential impeachment, revolution - and rock and roll.

    Elisa says: "Some good, some bad"
    "It Seems Like an Eternity"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    If you enjoyed the adventures of Ken Follet’s protagonists throughout the first half of the 20th century, (as I did) and looked forward to the adventures of the third generation (as I also did), be forewarned: these apples have fallen very far from the family tree. Just as fortunes are famously lost in three generations, the characters in Ken Follett’s trilogy have lost all vestiges of the gripping personalities of their ancestors. In prior novels, Follett’s five families stood astride history; here, Zelig-like, they seem to be everywhere, but only as observers. The first generation of Edge of Eternity’s protagonists helped shape history; their descendants will not even leave fingerprints. We've gone from Earl Fitz Herbert to Forest Gump.

    The characters are not only bereft of personality or any semblance of character development, they are painted in only one dimension. And even that narrow portrait just feels wrong. Unlike previous Follett figures, these characters don’t really converse; they take turns delivering stilted mini-sermons. Lev Peshkov’s African-American grandson is so focused on civil rights that he sounds like an NAACP position paper when he finally gets into bed with a women for whom he has been lusting. Ethel Williams’ 18-year-old grandson and rock star sounds like a character out of “Reefer Madness” when, in 60’s San Francisco he invites a 16-year-old girl to smoke a joint with him by asking, “Have you ever tried marijuana?” Not “dope”, grass”, “a joint”, but “marijuana”.

    Follett’s portrayal of political figures (at least, the American ones) are not only one-dimensional, they are wrong. Clearly, he just doesn’t understand “how Washington works”. And his often loopy and consistently naïve analysis of history betrays his liberal agenda that targets all Republicans as the spawn of the devil. Several times, he quickly mentions Barry Goldwater whom he never fails to explicitly characterize as a racist, ignoring the reality that Goldwater was a founding member of the NAACP and helped integrate the schools in Phoenix. His anti-Republican bias is not diminished by his ugly portrayal of JFK. Certainly JFK is rumored to have had his “women issues”, but Follett’s JFK is an obsessive womanizer whose only political philosophy is expediency. There are credible stories that some American GI’s were guilty of horrendous conduct in Vietnam, but Follett crams every possible abuse into a horrific My Lai-esque event, and then implies that the incident was not an outlier, but characterizes the American experience in Vietnam. Perhaps, bumper-sticker history and over-generalizations are inevitable in a “MacHistory” novel, but they prevented me from enjoying the fiction.

    I can’t decide if the narrator, who is usually excellent, did a yeoman-like job of channeling Follett’s overly-formal, unrealistic, stilted, often cringeworthy syntax or simply came off sounding like a SNL Dan Ackroyd trying to capture too many accents and too many cartoon characters. In either event, it’s hard not to roll your eyes when all southerners, white and black, in even the most intimate settings, orate like Martin Luther King delivering his “I have a dream” speech. Or break into laughter, when the Russians come across like “Rocky the Flying Squirrel’s Boris and Natasha. (I kept waiting for one of the Russian thugs to say, “Get squirrel. Get moose”.)

    I have no problem suspending my disbelief and accepting that these few families could be involved in every seminal event throughout the ‘60’s and 70’s in their Forest Gump-like ways, but the real problem is that they just aren’t interesting. Sadly, these are not people with whom it is worth spending 36 hours of your life.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Black-Eyed Blonde: A Philip Marlowe Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Benjamin Black
    • Narrated By Dennis Boutsikaris
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (90)
    Performance
    (77)
    Story
    (78)

    Raymond Chandler's incomparable private eye is back, pulled by a seductive young heiress into the most difficult and dangerous case of his career. "It was one of those summer Tuesday afternoons when you begin to wonder if the earth has stopped revolving. The telephone on my desk had the look of something that knows it's being watched. Traffic trickled by in the street below, and there were a few pedestrians, too, men in hats going nowhere."

    itinerant says: "best Chandler reboot"
    "Close Your Eyes and Marlowe Is (almost) Back"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Don't don't be put off by the Chandler fanatics who claim that this is ersatz Chandler and nitpick the tortured metaphors that just keep coming like the gimlets in one of Marlowe's favorite dives.

    The convoluted story and Marlowe philosophy are spot on.

    Unfortunately, the narrator/actor is wrong for the character. He certainly speaks well; he just doesn't speak like Philip Marlowe. Elliott Gould owns that voice. He understands that Marlowe has seen too many fat cats get away with corruption, and too many nice girls rubbed out for being at the wrong place and the wrong time. He's smoked too many cigarettes, been sucker-punched too many times; and spent too many nights at the station. This author doesn't sound world-weary; he sounds like he's just come back from "senior year abroad" and is eager to tell you about his adventures.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay

    • UNABRIDGED (26 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By Michael Chabon
    • Narrated By David Colacci
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1055)
    Performance
    (930)
    Story
    (948)

    It's 1939, in New York City. Joe Kavalier, a young artist who has also been trained in the art of Houdiniesque escape, has just pulled off his greatest feat: smuggling himself out of Hitler's Prague. He's looking to make big money, fast, so that he can bring his family to freedom. His cousin, Brooklyn's own Sammy Clay, is looking for a partner in creating the heroes, stories, and art for the latest novelty to hit the American dreamscape: the comic book. Inspired by their own fantasies, fears, and dreams, they create the Escapist.

    Darwin8u says: "A World I DON'T Ever Want to Escape From."
    "Excellent ... but there's just one thing."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Chabon creates a story and characters that are so real and so richly fleshed out that you are drawn into their lives and left hanging on his every word. Against an existential backdrop that would be more appropriate to a Gothic novel if it weren't true, his characters are almost Zelig-like in their interaction with historical events.

    Many of my friends who read the book had a difficult time dealing with the sentences that seem to go on as long as the trials and tribulations of the characters. But the audio version makes it not only an easy, but an emotionally compelling, way to spend 26 hours and 20 minutes of your life.

    I couldn't decide whether the narrator was terrific or terrible; and decided that he was a bit of both. On the one hand, it is generally quite enjoyable listening to him and he easily handles the frequently-convoluted prose in a way that mades it simple to follow the story. However, his accents are too often cringe-worthy. Joe Kavalier's Czechoslovakian accent, sounding more like a bad caricature of a Russian cab driver, almost ruined this richly drawn, romantic, character for me. Even worse, what the narrator did to Yiddish is what Hitler did to the Jews of Czechoslovakia. Chutzpah (which I am sure the narrator would have pronounced "joots-puh") can be a good thing, but trying to bluff/wing his way through "bubeleh", "kenehora", et al? Not so good.

    Memo to Audible - your narrators don't have to be fluent in all the languages appearing in a book, but they do have to have the common sense to ask for help when they encounter unfamiliar words.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Michael Lewis
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    Overall
    (1342)
    Performance
    (1146)
    Story
    (1161)

    Moneyball reveals a quest for something as elusive as the Holy Grail, something that money apparently can't buy: the secret of success in baseball. The logical places to look would be the giant offices of major league teams and the dugouts. But the real jackpot is a cache of numbers collected over the years by a strange brotherhood of amateur baseball enthusiasts: software engineers, statisticians, Wall Street analysts, lawyers, and physics professors.

    Gordon Lamb says: "Excellent Book, Outstanding Narration, Sloppy Edit"
    "Great for baseball fans; for others? Not so much"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    I would recommend the book to baseball fans and statistic junkies. Not others.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Michael Lewis again?

    Yes, I think he is a very interesting writer.


    What about Scott Brick’s performance did you like?

    Sounded like he was talking to me and teling me a story. Emotional, easy to understand


    Was Moneyball worth the listening time?

    Yes.


    Any additional comments?

    A few people wrote that the book would be interesting even to people who do not like baseball. That is ludicrous. It is a very interesting application of statistics used for an objective analysis of the factors leading to success in baseball. If you like that, you will enjoy this book. If you don't like baseball and numbers, your eyes will roll back in your head by the second chapter.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Boomerang: Travels in the New Third World

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Michael Lewis
    • Narrated By Dylan Baker
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2028)
    Performance
    (1671)
    Story
    (1687)

    The tsunami of cheap credit that rolled across the planet between 2002 and 2008 was more than a simple financial phenomenon: it was temptation, offering entire societies the chance to reveal aspects of their characters they could not normally afford to indulge. The Greeks wanted to turn their country into a pinata stuffed with cash and allow as many citizens as possible to take a whack at it. The Germans wanted to be even more German; the Irish wanted to stop being Irish.

    Andy says: "we may not be the most stupid kids on the planet"
    "Financial Debacles Made Easy"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you consider the audio edition of Boomerang to be better than the print version?

    Yes.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Boomerang?

    The manipulation by the Greeks to get into the euro financial community.


    Have you listened to any of Dylan Baker’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Excellent presentation, but I do not know if I have heard him before.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    It is not that kind of book. It is more the kind of book where you slap your forehead wondering how they could have done what they did.


    Any additional comments?

    If the financial idiocy of other people and other countries make your life seem, somehow, or comforting, you also quite sure after reading this book. Even if the United States torpedoed its own economy, Michael Lewis makes it clear that we were not alone.

    The US section was a bit odd. Fun, but out of sync with the rest of the book.

    All in all, a fun book to listen to. It feels like Lewis is whispering stores in your ear.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Killing Lincoln: The Shocking Assassination That Changed America Forever

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Bill O'Reilly, Martin Dugard
    • Narrated By Bill O'Reilly
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4355)
    Performance
    (3858)
    Story
    (3877)

    The anchor of The O'Reilly Factor recounts one of the most dramatic stories in American history—how one gunshot changed the country forever. In the spring of 1865, the bloody saga of America's Civil War finally comes to an end after a series of increasingly harrowing battles. President Abraham Lincoln's generous terms for Robert E. Lee's surrender are devised to fulfill Lincoln's dream of healing a divided nation. But one man and his band of murderous accomplices are not appeased....

    Daniel says: "History Made Interesting"
    "Cavalry to the Rescue??"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Where does Killing Lincoln rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Very good.


    What about Bill O'Reilly’s performance did you like?

    Conversational and animated.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    You Couldn't Make This Stuff Up


    Any additional comments?

    O'Reilly constantly pronounced "cavalry" as "Calvary". After the 50th time, that mispronunciation truly gets old.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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