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D

Coconut Grove, FM, United States | Member Since 2009

72
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 7 reviews
  • 15 ratings
  • 303 titles in library
  • 55 purchased in 2014
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FOLLOWERS
17

  • The Man with Two Left Feet and Other Stories

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By P.G. Wodehouse
    • Narrated By Frederick Davidson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (75)
    Performance
    (29)
    Story
    (28)

    This collection of short stories is a good example of early Wodehouse. It is here that Jeeves makes a brief first appearance with these unremarkable words: "Mrs. Gregson to see you, sir." Years later, when Jeeves became a household name, Wodehouse said he blushed to think of the off-hand way he had treated the man at their first encounter.

    D says: "Chapters don't cue to the stories"
    "Chapters don't cue to the stories"
    Overall

    The narration sounds exemplary so far, but I must complain that the six+ hours of audio is divided into ten "Chapters" that don't cue to the stories. There should be 13 short stories, it would be nice if there were 13 "Chapters" and they each cued to the beginning of a story.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Volume II

    • UNABRIDGED (22 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Edward Gibbon
    • Narrated By David Timson
    Overall
    (11)
    Performance
    (11)
    Story
    (10)

    Some 250 years after its first publication, Gibbon's Decline and Fall is still regarded as one of the greatest histories in Western literature. He reports on more than 1,000 years of an empire which extended from the most northern and western parts of Europe to deep into Asia and Africa and covers not only events but also the cultural and religious developments that effected change during that time.

    D says: "Footnotes included"
    "Footnotes included"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This version includes Gibbon's lengthy (and often essential) footnotes, inserted into the body of the text (with the words "footnote" and "end footnote" before and after). I believe the result is the best audiobook version of this classic. The reader is excellent: always energetic, while bringing the required weight, wit, and occasional sarcasm into his delivery.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Bleeding Edge

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Thomas Pynchon
    • Narrated By Jeannie Berlin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (114)
    Performance
    (109)
    Story
    (98)

    Maxine Tarnow is running a nice little fraud investigation business on the Upper West Side, chasing down different kinds of small-scale con artists. She used to be legally certified but her license got pulled a while back, which has actually turned out to be a blessing because now she can follow her own code of ethics - carry a Beretta, do business with sleazebags, hack into people's bank accounts - without having too much guilt about any of it. Otherwise, just your average working mom - two boys in elementary school, an off-and-on situation with her sort of semi-ex-husband Horst - till Maxine starts looking into the finances of a computer-security firm....

    Robert says: "A fine wine in a dirty and cracked glass"
    "Defending the narrator"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Pynchon (who presumably wrote the jacket copy) says he’s channeling his inner Jewish mother in Bleeding Edge, and I suspect this is what inspired the choice of reader. Jeannie Berlin is soon to be seen as Aunt Reet in the film version of Inherent Vice, and sounds like a middle-aged New York Jew. Older than Maxine, the main character, so perhaps we're hearing Maxine’s chronically disapproving mother tell her story. Like all the other reviewers to date, my initial reaction to the narration of this audiobook was, to quote from the text: Wahhabi Transreligious Friendship (to the unitiated, that’s Whisky Tango Foxtrot)! But I made it to the end, then read through my hard copy, and finally started the audiobook again (yeah, I’m that big a Pynchon fan). Now I’m liking it quite a bit.

    True, the cool jazz rhythms of Pynchon’s prose become jarringly stilted at times, and the characterizations are hit and miss, particularly with the male characters. She doesn’t even try to perform the songs, and I don’t think I’d want to hear her try. Nevertheless, it has grown on me, and I think it got better as it went on. I wouldn’t be too surprised to learn that Pynchon himself advised on and approved this production. It's unique.

    About the book, if you’re not already a Pynchon fan this is a good place to start, though if you’re going to start with an audiobook I’d suggest Inherent Vice, with is masterfully performed. If you’re already a fan you’re going to get it (in one form or another) no matter what I say, so try the sample of the audiobook and decide from there.

    2 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Inherent Vice

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Thomas Pynchon
    • Narrated By Ron McLarty
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (315)
    Performance
    (150)
    Story
    (149)

    It's been awhile since Doc Sportello has seen his ex-girlfriend. Suddenly out of nowhere she shows up with a story about a plot to kidnap a billionaire land developer whom she just happens to be in love with. Easy for her to say. It's the tail end of the psychedelic sixties in L.A., and Doc knows that "love" is another of those words going around at the moment, like "trip" or "groovy", except that this one usually leads to trouble.

    Philipp Marian Selman says: "If you enjoyed The Crying of Lot 49..."
    "It's what you can't avoid..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is probably the single best audiobook I’ve gotten from Audible. The narraration is exceptional, I very much wish this reader would also record Pynchon’s earlier novel Vineland. McLarty’s performance of the songs is all one could ask for, the many characters are distinctly rendered, and he simply breathes the rhythm of the prose. The story itself is Pynchon’s most accessible, relatively short and with an ideal balance of straightforward plotting offset with the characteristic comic digressions that one expects from the author. If you haven’t tried him before, this is a good place to start.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Hunter: A Thriller

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By Robert Bidinotto
    • Narrated By Conor Hall
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (80)
    Performance
    (66)
    Story
    (64)

    From its first moments, Hunter takes you on a nonstop thrill ride: from the top floor of the CIA, to the marbled corridors of Capitol Hill...from the posh hotels of downtown Washington, to the city's mean, violent streets. It introduces a colorful new hero for our time - and a dazzling heroine every bit his equal. A spy mystery...a crime thriller...a passionate romance: Hunter is a genre-bending novel unlike any you've read. Deviously plotted, filled with vivid characters, and propelled at a breakneck pace.

    Michael F. Dickey says: "A great philosophical action romance..."
    "An extra-judicial Javert"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is an enabler.”

    Taking in the story of Hunter it occurred to me that it is, perhaps by design, an almost perfect inversion of Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables. Where Hugo exposes a bygone criminal justice system that victimized the “guilty”, all out of proportion to their crimes, Bidinotto exposes a contemporary system that actually enables fearsome criminals, and has become part of the violent crime problem in a different way.

    Bidinotto is famous (or infamous, depending on your perspective) for exposing the Willie Horton case that defined the failed Presidential candidacy of Michael Dukakis in 1988. Here he is, decades later, distilling the same outrage into an effective work of fiction, his first. He’s a long time admirer (devotee?) of Ayn Rand, and the influence shows, a particular scene late in the book evokes the hijacked radio address at the climax of Atlas Shrugged, though Bidinotto’s version is blessedly shorter. Above all the influence shows in the clarity of the prose, and the fact that while Hunter has the elements of a thriller, it’s ultimately a morality tale.

    The narrator does a fine job, though I have a minor quibble. For most of the book, there’s little question who “the killer” is. This isn’t an Agatha Christie mystery, building to a big reveal at the end. However, early on, the grammar used to refer to the killer is strictly pronouns, I believe the author doesn’t want you to have ID’d which character it is, yet. The narrator, however, uses the same distinct timbre he used for the killer for another major character, so even if Bidinotto had employed all of Agatha Christie’s gifts for misdirection, you’d have to know who it is. It's certainly a characterful narration however, all the way down to the stubborn feline.


    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The Prague Cemetery

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Umberto Eco
    • Narrated By George Guidall
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (277)
    Performance
    (240)
    Story
    (238)

    Whether it’s a critically acclaimed novel or provocative collection of essays, every work from best-selling author Umberto Eco is a highly anticipated publishing event. The Prague Cemetery is set amid conspiracy-rich 19th century Europe, where intrigue abounds—and where a lone, evil genius may be pulling all the strings.

    Melinda says: "Umbrage and Umberto; Peanut Butter and Jelly"
    "Just terrific"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a very challenging book, as are all of Eco’s previous ones. I particularly want to praise here the fantastic job reader George Guidall has done bringing the book to life. This is one of the best audiobook presentations I’ve heard. So many distinct characters, the felicitous vocal inflections, the pacing, I can’t recommend it enough.

    54 of 58 people found this review helpful
  • Foucault's Pendulum

    • ABRIDGED (6 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Umberto Eco
    • Narrated By Tim Curry
    Overall
    (218)
    Performance
    (88)
    Story
    (86)

    One Colonel Ardenti, who has unnaturally black, brilliantined hair, a carefully groomed mustache, wears maroon socks, and who once served in the Foreign Legion, starts it all. He tells three Milan book editors that he has discovered a coded message about a Templar Plan, centuries old and involving Stonehenge, a plan to tap a mystic source of power far greater than atomic energy.

    Kenneth says: "too much missing"
    "Too much missing"
    Overall

    This version is too heavily abridged, the unabridged version by Alexander Adams (aka Grover Gardner) is superior in every way. Too bad it’s not available, it was only ever available on cassette tapes. Tim Curry brings drama to this version, though he mispronounces some names (notably Wagner, where the desired pronunciation is specified in the text) and his vigorous inflection of the key phrase “Ma gavte la nata” is completely wrong.

    Some of the book is retranslated, and some foreign phrases that, in the text, remain as foreign phrases, are instead translated into English. One egregious case of mistranslation comes near the end, during Casaubon’s final meeting with Wagner, whose reply “Monsieur, vous etes fou”, is rendered as “Monsieur, you are a fool” (it should be: Sir, you are insane).

    Another complaint is about the distorted sound quality of the transitional music, which I regard as extraneous in any event. Nevertheless, on balance I did enjoy listening to this, being quite fanatical about the book. Hopefully the unabridged versions of Eco’s novels will reappear.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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