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  • The Pleasure of My Company

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Steve Martin
    • Narrated By Steve Martin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Daniel Pecan Cambridge, 30, 35, 38 or 27, depending on how he feels that day, is a young man whose life is rich and full, provided he never leaves his Santa Monica apartment. After all, outside there are 8-inch-high curbs and there's always the horrible chance he might see a gas station attendant wearing a blue hat. So, except for the occasional trip to the Rite Aid to admire the California girl Zandy and to buy earplugs because they're on sale, he stays home a lot. And good thing, too.

    John says: "An Odd, Compelling Story"
    "Martin at His Best"

    No, this isn't arrow-through-the-head or wild-and-craaazy-guy stuff. Martin here inhabits the mind of an OCD man whose obsessions merely exaggerate our own (well, men's anyway). It's a funny, moving story that Martin reads in his own inimitable way of spitting consonants and odd inflections. Highly recommended.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Hobbit

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By J. R. R. Tolkien
    • Narrated By Rob Inglis
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Like every other hobbit, Bilbo Baggins likes nothing better than a quiet evening in his snug hole in the ground, dining on a sumptuous dinner in front of a fire. But when a wandering wizard captivates him with tales of the unknown, Bilbo becomes restless. Soon he joins the wizard’s band of homeless dwarves in search of giant spiders, savage wolves, and other dangers. Bilbo quickly tires of the quest for adventure and longs for the security of his familiar home. But before he can return to his life of comfort, he must face the greatest threat of all.

    Derek B. says: "A grand literary adventure!"
    "Better than the movie(s)"

    After seeing the Hobbit movie, I was left with the unsettling feeling something was missing. As soon as Inglis began reading, I remembered what it was: The Hobbit has a sweetness and optimism. It's really not the first book of Lord of the Rings, a much darker and more serious tale. The very lighthearted Hobbit stands on its own, and Bilbo's main contribution is his buoyant spirit. The plot of the Hobbit is not particularly important -- again, unlike LOTR -- but the storytelling is great. And the greatest of these pleasures is Inglis's beautiful singing of the songs. Whether it's an elf ballad or a goblin taunt, the songs are the best part of this audio book. Highly recommended, especially if like me you hadn't read the Hobbit in many years.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Hard-boiled Wonderland and the End of the World

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs)
    • By Haruki Murakami
    • Narrated By Adam Sims, Ian Porter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Information is everything in Hard-boiled Wonderland. A specialist encrypter is attacked by thugs with orders from an unknown source, is chased by invisible predators, and dates an insatiably hungry librarian who never puts on weight. In the End of the World a new arrival is learning his role as dream-reader. But there is something eerily disquieting about the changeless nature of the town and its fable-like inhabitants.

    Darwin8u says: "A TWISTED Carnival Mirror of the Mind"
    "Classic Murakami, No Ultraviolence"

    No spoilers in this review -- important as this book is full of surprises.

    It gives nothing away to say that there are two side-by-side realities in this novel, neither of which is the one we live in. Or think we live in, which is a major theme of Hardboiled Wonderland.

    If you only read one Murakami novel, this may not be the place to start (I'd recommend Kafka by the Shore). But Murakami enthusiasts should love this one. So should those interested in depth psychology.

    There's little actual violence in this one, at least compared to, say, Wind-Up Bird Chronicle. Not the same as no violence, but nothing that horrified me.

    Without giving anything away, I should note that the ending of this book keeps opening up in your mind long after you finish the novel. In short, it's not over when you get to the end.

    10 of 11 people found this review helpful
  • All the Pretty Horses

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Cormac McCarthy
    • Narrated By Frank Muller
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    All the Pretty Horses, the first volume of the Borders Trilogy, tells of young John Grady Cole, the last of a long line of Texas ranchers. Across the border Mexico beckons; beautiful and desolate, rugged and cruelly civilized. With two companions, he sets off on an idyllic, sometimes comic adventure, to a place where dreams are paid for in blood.

    Gene says: "A Super-Listen"
    "Best Read Novel"

    This may be the best reading I've ever heard. The book is a knockout, of course, although McCarthy is not for the faint of heart. I only wish Audible had the same reader do the rest of the Border Trilogy.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus

    • ABRIDGED (11 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By Charles C. Mann
    • Narrated By Peter Johnson

    In this riveting, accessible work of science, Charles Mann takes us on an enthralling journey of scientific exploration. We learn that the Indian development of modern corn was one of the most complex feats of genetic engineering ever performed. That the Great Plains are a third smaller today than they were in 1700 because the Indians who maintained them by burning died. And that the Amazon rain forest may be largely a human artifact.

    Case says: "Hotly debated new theories, but NOT revisionism"
    "Blame Environmentalists"

    1491 is less a history than an argument for the theory that the New World was vastly more populated than we all learned in school. Where did everyone go? Unimaginable epidemics. But that's not the real point of the book. The real point is betrayed by the way the author uses the word "environmentalist" as a slur. His thesis is that man has been altering the New World environment since time zero, and that efforts to preserve the environment are foolish attempts to return to a Neverland that never was. The antienvironmentalist screed becomes cloying long before one gets through this very long book. Also annoying, as another reviewer has noted, is the author's frequent technique of desribing -- at length -- the history of a period or place and then saying "NOT!" and giving quite a different set of interpretations.

    6 of 20 people found this review helpful
  • The Golden Compass: His Dark Materials, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Philip Pullman
    • Narrated By Philip Pullman, full cast

    When Lyra and her daemon Pantalaimon decide to spy on a presentation her uncle, the commanding Lord Asriel, is making to the elders of Jordan College they have no idea that they will become witnesses to an attempted murder, and even less that they are taking the first steps in a journey that will lead them into danger and adventure unlike anything Lyra's unfettered imagination has conjured up.

    Arnold says: "A Terrific Book"
    "Antidote for Apocalyptic Fiction"

    If you're looking for an antidote to those awful "Left Behind" books -- His Dark Materials is it. There are no easy answers here -- but a treasure trove of wonderful characters, a surprisingly mature theology, and deeply accurate (if disturbing) psychology. The bonus for listeners is not only Pullman's terrific narration (he's a born storyteller) but the wonderful cast of actors that play characters ranging from armored bears to the angels above. Probably the best books on tape I've ever heard. Plug this one in and you won't want your daily commute to end.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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