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Doug D. Eigsti

Increasing my ops tempo by allowing storytellers to whisper in my ear(buds).

Colorado Springs, Colorado United States | Member Since 2011

ratings
106
REVIEWS
96
FOLLOWING
25
FOLLOWERS
4
HELPFUL VOTES
90

  • The Second Ship: The Rho Agenda, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Richard Phillips
    • Narrated By MacLeod Andrews
    Overall
    (1082)
    Performance
    (975)
    Story
    (989)

    In 1948, an alien starship crash-landed in the New Mexico desert and brought with it the key to mankind’s future. Code-named the Rho Project, the landing was shrouded in secrecy, and only the highest-ranking US government and military personnel knew it existed. Until now....

    Mike From Mesa says: "Terrific story"
    ".....Solid Science Fiction Story-Telling....."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Tired of authors writing Young Adult stories vying to become the next Heinlein heir apparent? Me too! This was my mindset going in, and that thought carried me about three-quarters of the way into it; then something changed. The realization swept over me that I was engaged with the story. I began to care about the characters, to relate with them, even though I long ago left the “young” phase of my adulthood behind. Some of the elements put me off at first as too much in the superhero vein for my tastes, but Phillips was careful to give them a scientific explanation which dispelled my initial reservations, and kept the story firmly in the Science Fiction camp. This is the main appeal of this novel: it is classic Science Fiction. You get space ships from outer space, advanced technology bordering on magic, and a decent mystery to keep things interesting.

    I can imagine Phillips taking on this book as a writing challenge; to craft a story that will engage the most jaded reader of modern fiction and prove that there is value in a tale told well. Forget gratuitous sex, Phillips doesn’t need it — although there is copious blood and violence. So, while I agree that this has all the characteristics of a Young Adult novel, it also has the features expected from more mature fiction. It does accomplish what novels targeted for any age group strive to do: keeps the listener interested. Young Adult? Yes. Worthy of your attention? Also yes.

    MacLeod Andrews delivers a solid performance. His voice has a youthful timbre fitting for the protagonists. Some of his portrayals of women are a bit too masculine. In the main he does not intrude into the story, allowing the listener to fully interact with the story.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The President's Vampire

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 36 mins)
    • By Christopher Farnsworth
    • Narrated By Bronson Pinchot
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (609)
    Performance
    (506)
    Story
    (504)

    For 140 years, Nathaniel Cade has been the President's Vampire, sworn to protect and serve his country. Cade's existence is the most closely guarded of White House secrets: a superhuman covert agent who is the last line of defense against nightmare scenarios that ordinary citizens only dream of. When a new outbreak of an ancient evil-one that he has seen before- comes to light, Cade and his human handler, Zach Barrows, must track down its source.

    Ryan says: "Excellent series - keep reading"
    ".....If Its Secret, Its Legal—Richard Nixon....."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This second book in the series continues at the same level as the first. The plot gets more complications including a CIA Shadow Company and an extinction level threat. It is enjoyable tracing the story as it unfolds. Bronson Pinchot is again wonderful pitching his voice perfectly for each separate character. His range of voices is truly amazing—seeming like a multi-voice cast production.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Blood Oath

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By Christopher Farnsworth
    • Narrated By Bronson Pinchot
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (719)
    Performance
    (537)
    Story
    (534)

    The ultimate secret. The ultimate agent. The President's vampire. Zach Barrows is an ambitious young White House staffer whose career takes an unexpected turn when he's partnered with Nathaniel Cade, a secret agent sworn to protect the President. But Cade is no ordinary civil servant.

    Carol says: "Fabulous summer read"
    ".....Nightmare Pet....."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I was drawn to this because Bronson Pinchot is the narrator. This book provides plenty of opportunity for Pinchot to display his characterization skills. For me, a Pinchot devotee, this is enough. I was pleased to discover that this is more like a political thriller than it is a horror novel—think Jack Reacher, Jack Ryan, Mitch Rapp. Plenty of action and life-saving heroics in defense of America. Did I mention sarcasm? There is sarcasm in plenty. This is a fun book. The plot is well constructed with a discernable beginning, middle development, and satisfying ending. Oh yea, did I mention that Bronson Pinchot is excellent? Well he is great. If you have come to the conclusion, as I have, that a great narrator can make almost any book a pleasant listening experience. In this case the book is interesting in its own right—adding Pinchot makes this a movie playing in your head.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Cryptonomicon

    • UNABRIDGED (42 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Neal Stephenson
    • Narrated By William Dufris
    Overall
    (2061)
    Performance
    (1413)
    Story
    (1432)

    Neal Stephenson hacks into the secret histories of nations and the private obsessions of men, decrypting with dazzling virtuosity the forces that shaped this century.

    flaos says: "Finally Audible"
    ".....Van Eck phreaking-tastic!!....."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Science Fiction is whatever SF readers read. Using this definition you may classify this as Science Fiction. But it is really a mainstream novel with extensive flashbacks involving related characters. Heavy doses of math and internet technology protocol lingo may make this seem like SF to those not accustomed to such nerdification, but there are no other SF trappings. In the 1960’s SF readers began reading THE LORD OF THE RINGS and made it into a Science Fiction classic.

    I listened to this book immediately after tackling Stephenson’s ANATHEM—a novel that didn’t strike my fancy. If you read my review of that novel you will know that I am a big fan of Stephenson’s SNOWCRASH, and after being disappointed by his THE DIMOND AGE, decided to give some of his other works a chance in case he had more to offer. ANATHEM almost made me give up on that second chance, but I soldiered on trying to discover the reason so many are so enamored with Neal Stephenson. Listening to CRYPTONOMICON was, for me, a return to the fun and sarcasm that is so evident in SNOWCRASH. The tone of this book is so different than that of ANATHEM that I am left a little baffled as to just what that other book was all about.

    This is twice as long as a typical long novel and even some trilogies are shorter. This is because it is really two novels—each novel being told in parallel to the other. One is among the cryptographers in World War II, and the other in the present day of techno-geeks, with some related characters between the two time tracks. As might be expected by such a lengthy book there is a cast of thousands and the plot is complex and multifaceted. There are so many diversions and rabbit trails that as a listener you must be in the frame of mind to go along for the ride, else you will become impatient waiting for the plot to advance. You will hear forays into various methods of code making and breaking, and will gain an smattering of internet technology along the way—and this is completely relevant to understanding the story. Wait until you learn what van Eck phreaking eavesdropping is all about! This novel brought out the nerd in me and if you have any inkling in that direction this book will strike a chord within you as well.

    Also of note is the fact that both of these two books are narrated by William Dufris. In ANATHEM Dufris adopts, correctly I believe, a far-away sequestered-monk tone of voice with mystical quasi-philosophical Socratic dogmatic smugness. Here in CRYPTONOMICON Dufris has the freedom to fully explore his full range of voice characterization. He is most excellent when portraying various English dialects, clearly differentiating at least a half dozen different dialects—and his Germans immediately put images of crisp SS uniforms and monocles in your mind. I think that because this novel is full of quirky characters that Dufris was given free reign to portray , being allowed to go completely over-the-top in his voicings. His performance here reminds me of another wonderful Dufris-narrated book: WOKEN FURIES. He has delivered a truly wonderful performance that made this a very entertaining listening adventure.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Anathem

    • UNABRIDGED (32 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Neal Stephenson
    • Narrated By Oliver Wyman, Tavia Gilbert, William Dufris, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1818)
    Performance
    (823)
    Story
    (831)

    In celebration of the week-long, once-in-a-decade rite of Apert, the fras and suurs prepare to venture outside the concent's gates - opening them wide at the same time to welcome the curious "extras" in. During his first Apert as a fra, Erasmus eagerly anticipates reconnecting with the landmarks and family he hasn't seen since he was "collected". But before the week is out, both the existence he abandoned and the one he embraced will stand poised on the perilous brink of cataclysmic change.

    Richard says: "Tour de force"
    ".....Attention Surplus Disorder....."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Long ago in a galaxy far, far away lived a race of bipedal humanoids that had survived a slightly different history that that of Earth. Here they engaged in lengthily philosophical discussions on the fine points of logic that exactly mirrors the philosophy of Earth. On this far away planet these people even have historical archetypes that have exact parallels to our Newton, Emerson, Locke and Darwin. So, what this really is amounts to an alternate history of our Earth but with different political forces. For me this is less a Science Fiction novel than it is a Mainstream novel that includes some SF elements. I liken this to the many Romance novels that include SF elements but which are correctly categorized as Futuristic Romance pieces and not really Science Fiction.

    After listening to the amazing SNOWCRASH I felt that Neal Stephenson deserved a second listen. SNOWCRASH is fast-paced, energetic, fanciful, farcical and fun. ANATHEM is extremely slow-paced, ponderous, mundane and tedious. I am now going on to tackle Stephenson’s CRYPTONOMICON just because SNOWCRASH is so good that I want to give him every opportunity to display the brilliance that he is capable of achieving.

    William Dufris is a fine narrator. He has a limited range of character voices, which he recycles on occasion, but these work well for most any conversations. He is easy to understand and always energetic, making a good effort to make this a rewarding listening experience.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Terms of Enlistment

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Marko Kloos
    • Narrated By Luke Daniels
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (618)
    Performance
    (574)
    Story
    (575)

    The year is 2108, and the North American Commonwealth is bursting at the seams. For welfare rats like Andrew Grayson, there are only two ways out of the crime-ridden and filthy welfare tenements, where you’re restricted to 2,000 calories of badly flavored soy every day. You can hope to win the lottery and draw a ticket on a colony ship settling off-world, or you can join the service. With the colony lottery a pipe dream, Andrew chooses to enlist in the armed forces for a shot at real food, a retirement bonus, and maybe a ticket off Earth.

    DAVE says: "Solid military sci-fi."
    "We Take What We’re Served and Ask for Seconds"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I would classify this as a coming-of-age tale, but it does not feel like YA fiction. This is a decent unpretentious entry in the thriving category of formulaic military SF. Of course, there’s a reason there are so many examples of this sub-genre—the almost constant bristling-with-ordinance-action keeps the listener eager to find out what happens next. Kloos provides plenty of stereotyped Drill Sergeant and gung-ho Jar Head types to satisfy us Full Metal Jacket fans. Just don’t expect much deep soul-searching introspection here.

    Luke Daniels’ performance elevates this rather pedestrian Starship Troopers clone into an engaging entertainment that feels like a summer block-buster action movie. The most notable characteristic of Daniels’ performance is that his normal third-person voice-over tone is so different and distinctive from his character voices that when the characters are on stage they really pop out of the background. Based on this performance I will seek out other Luke Daniels books. If I do buy the next book in this series it will be less for the Marko Kloos writing that the Luke Daniels reading.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Sports Gene: Inside the Science of Extraordinary Athletic Performance

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By David Epstein
    • Narrated By David Epstein
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (343)
    Performance
    (299)
    Story
    (300)

    Are stars like Usain Bolt, Michael Phelps, and Serena Williams genetic freaks put on Earth to dominate their respective sports? Or are they simply normal people who overcame their biological limits through sheer force of will and obsessive training? In this controversial and engaging exploration of athletic success, Sports Illustrated senior writer David Epstein tackles the great nature vs. nurture debate and traces how far science has come in solving this great riddle.

    Cynthia says: "Epstein writes! He scores!"
    "Play the Hand You Are Dealt"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I listened to this immediately after finishing INHERITANCE by Sharon Moalem, another fine book concerning genetics and its impact to our lives. This was a great follow-up and interesting in its own right; focusing of athletic ability. I really enjoyed Epstein’s foray into this topic, which provided some plausible explanations for what even we amateurs can plainly see: that different disciplines in sport favor certain body types.

    Towards the end of the book Epstein investigates the effects that breeding for endurance can have on Alaskan sled dogs. One breeder tailored his team by breeding for dogs that had the trait that they pulled for the shear love of running, and not for top speed, as was the conventional wisdom. His team won that thousand-mile race and changed the sport of sled dog racing forever. The results are instructive to understanding the genetically based differences in athletic ability between different people groups: Yes there are some genetic advantages some people groups have over others—but also, yes, these distinctions are essentially the result of breeding to select for genetic characteristics, and potential, that are already present within the genome. What Epstein does not realize is that this is far from support for evolution—it is a problem—because is does not explain how that genetic trait, which when expressed became so beneficial, was present in the genome long before it was needed.

    Another lesson I learned form Epstein’s account of sled-dog breeding was that: dogs are much better athletes than are humans. Sometimes I go to Manitou Springs, Colorado and hike up the Manitou Incline. I am always amazed how the people are always pushing themselves at the very limit of their ability, joking with one another about just trying to survive, but that every dog I have ever seen is just running up and down the railroad ties as if to say to their master, “this is fun, come on go faster so we can have more fun!” Some abilities are genetic.

    David Epstein narrates his own book. This is an advantage, since he is clearly familiar with the material. I always prefer this when the author of a non-fiction book is capable of narrating. Epstein is easy to understand and knows just what words to emphasize to make his point. What is more: Epstein is that rare non-fiction narrator who will even attempt doing different character voices; oftentimes for people he has met. For this he gets kudos. His accents are always distinctive, and at times, provide some unintentional, but welcome, comic relief.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Inheritance: How Our Genes Change Our Lives - and Our Lives Change Our Genes

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Sharon Moalem, MD, PhD
    • Narrated By Sharon Moalem, MD, PhD
    Overall
    (42)
    Performance
    (38)
    Story
    (40)

    Conventional wisdom dictates that our genetic destiny is fixed at conception. But Dr. Moalem's groundbreaking book shows us that the human genome is far more fluid and fascinating than your ninth grade biology teacher ever imagined. By bringing us to the bedside of his unique and complex patients, he masterfully demonstrates what rare genetic conditions can teach us all about our own health and well-being. In the brave new world we're rapidly rocketing into, genetic knowledge has become absolutely crucial. Inheritance provides an indispensable roadmap for this journey.

    Joseph G. Weigel says: "Not science writing"
    "Intriguing Account of Epigenetics & Dismorphology"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I found this to be a fascinating look into the world of Epigenetics. This is the idea that one’s DNA is not completely fixed at birth but can be altered. More correctly, it is the expression of one’s DNA that can be altered during the course of one’s lifetime based on various environmental factors. This confirms what many have believed for years that proper nutrition, regular exercise and adhering to an all-around healthy lifestyle can, indeed, contribute to better quality of life; and not just for yourself, but for your children, your unborn children, as well.

    Dismorphology is the study of external body features that can lead to a diagnosis of one’s genetic make-up. You will never again be able to look and your friend’s toes without playing the diagnostician.

    Sharon Moalen narrate his own book. And unlike some others I have listened to recently, he is a very good narrator. He avoids the common pitfall of reading in a monotone, as if they were not familiar with their own material, but has the delivery of an expert giving a lecture. An exercise in which I am sure he has a fair amount of experience.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Civil War: A Narrative, Volume III, Red River to Appomattox

    • UNABRIDGED (48 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Shelby Foote
    • Narrated By Grover Gardner, Ken Burns
    Overall
    (840)
    Performance
    (386)
    Story
    (387)

    In the third and last volume of this vivid history, Shelby Foote brings to a close the story of four years of turmoil and strife which altered American life forever. Here, told in rich narrative and as seen from both sides, are those climactic struggles, great and small, on and off the field of battle, which finally decided the fate of this nation.

    Tad Davis says: "Incredible"
    ".....Compendium of Facial Hair and Human Tragedy ."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Compendium of Facial Hair and Human Tragedy Dispassionately Told

    This is a review of all three volumes, consisting as they do, one massive narrative history. Having read several listener reviews and having watched Ken Burns’ PBS series on the Civil War in which Shelby Foote is a frequent contributor, I was anticipating a masterful immersion into Civil War history. I was, however, disappointed at the disjointed and disoriented feeling these books gave me. Hearing brief segments of Shelby Foote on video explaining the stories of the Civil War is rich and fantastic. His Southern drawl is warm and interesting. But hearing Grover Gardner read Shelby Foote’s words is a quite different experience.

    Perhaps it is the massive scope that this work attempt to encompass. There are a very great number of military campaigns to relate and a cast of thousands to profile. The political currents are covered and are the best parts of this work. The battles scenes seem to blur together—this could very well be an accurate sensation of the confusion and fog of was—but as a listening experience, confusion is not one of my goals.

    Foote is obsessed with the descriptions of the men involved in the great struggle. His description of the facial hair of the various military commanders borders on obsessive and would be sufficient for a police sketch-artist to provide an accurate drawing of the perpetrators General—would that he spent as much of his talents on providing equally perspicacious accounts of the details of the various military campaigns.

    In all, the trilogy covers a lot of ground, relating the Civil War in a series of smaller anecdotal accounts of various other elements, political campaigns, military campaigns, and soldiers camping out in the field waiting for the order to suffer the pains of battle. I can say that I learned a lot from this work but I found myself trying to place the various tidbits of knowledge within the framework of the Civil War that I already had in my head. This work did nothing to modify or improve the framework of Civil War understanding that watching Ken Burn’s PBS documentary had placed there years ago, and so I consider it a failure in being a definitive history of the War Between the States. I just finished listening to 132 hours of material on the Civil War and I feel as if I need to again watch the Ken Burns documentary to put thins back in historical perspective.

    For examples of successful narrative histories in three volumes you may want to listen to Richard J. Evans’ insightful Nazi history in three volumes: THE COMING OF THE THRID REICH, THE THIRD REICH IN POWER, and THE THIRD REICH AT WAR. If biography is what you are seeking look no further than William Manchester’s account of the life of Winston Churchill: THE LAST LION: VISIONS OF GLORY, THE LAST LION: ALONE, and THE LAST LION: DEFENDER OF THE REALM—the last co-written with Paul Reid.

    The production values displayed in Shelby Foote’s Civil War audiobook are not up to the average book available here on Audible, or even the average Blackstone audiobook. There are many shifts in voice tone and timber that are characteristic of the breaks where edits are made between recording sessions. In places the edits occur several times within a paragraph. It seems that the editing choice was made to re-record a little as possible, choosing instead to insert the corrected words and phrases in place of having the narrator re-read a corrected section entire. Sadly, this is not the most discouraging word I have on the subject.

    Grover Gardner delivers his usual perfect diction and impassive monotone delivery. If you love him this will be fantastic for you. I know he is very popular, the past winner of several Audie awards. He, for me, is always an obstacle to be overcome. Sorry. find that hearing his nasally voice in my head for several hours causes my soft palate to elevate as I unconsciously attempt to sub-vocalize his high-pitch intonations along with his voice in my ear. To be fair, he is always easy to understand and reads with great pacing. The timbre of his voice carries well, making it a good choice for listening in a noisy environment. In fact, having loud ambient noise helps take the focus off of the voice quality making it easier to tolerate. The problem is that Mr. Gardner never becomes “the voice in my head” that some listeners find so desirable. He is too intrusive, an alien infringement on the solace of my mind. And, what is more, he does not do character voices. I prefer a more dramatic performance, one that does not try to read to me but that tries to paint visual images with different voices and characterizations on the canvas of my mind—a performance. I prize many fiction narrators for their dramatic talent. Some may say that such melodrama may be fine for fiction but not for non-fiction. They seek someone to just read the words on the page. I disagree, seeking over-the-top performances in all my audiobooks.

    Yesterday when I knew that my time with Mr. Gardner was coming to a much anticipated end, I took the opportunity to play sections of several audiobooks that I had loaded on my phone, to my daughters at the dinner table to elicit their reactions. (I am trying to cultivate the next generation of Audible customers.) First I played a brief section of Christopher Aruffo reading POE, then I played Tavia Gilbert in HALFWAY TO THE GRAVE, both of whom they thought were excellent. I followed that with Jonathan Davis’ inspired rendering of SNOWCRASH, Wil Wheaton in READY PLAYER ONE , Charles Stransky reading RED MOON RISING, Jack Vance delivering SHERLOCK HOLMES, and then Rob Inglis doing Tolkein. These garnered less enthusiastic reactions but all were deemed worthy. After these we excerpted Bronson Pinchot reciting ON STRANGER TIDES and Todd Mclaren doing ALTERED CARBON, two of my absolute favorites: my daughters concurred. Then, without fanfare, or warning, I played a bit of THE CIVIL WAR, narrated by the award winning Grover Gardner… All three of them burst out laughing. One daughter described the experience as, and I quote, “like a man with a frog in his throat talking while pinching his nose.” Aptly put.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Civil War: A Narrative, Volume I, Fort Sumter to Perryville

    • UNABRIDGED (37 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Shelby Foote, Ken Burns (introduction)
    • Narrated By Grover Gardner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1621)
    Performance
    (728)
    Story
    (733)

    Here begins one of the most remarkable works of history ever fashioned. All the great battles are here, of course, from Bull Run through Shiloh, the Seven Days, Second Manassas to Antietam, and Perryville in the fall of 1862, but so are the smaller and often equally important engagements on both land and sea: Ball's Bluff, Fort Donelson, Pea Ridge, Island Ten, New Orleans, Monitor versus Merimac, and Stonewall Jackson's Valley Campaign, to mention only a few.

    Jeanne says: "The best"
    ".....Compendium of Facial Hair and Human Tragedy.."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Compendium of Facial Hair and Human Tragedy Dispassionately Told

    This is a review of all three volumes, consisting as they do, one massive narrative history. Having read several listener reviews and having watched Ken Burns’ PBS series on the Civil War in which Shelby Foote is a frequent contributor, I was anticipating a masterful immersion into Civil War history. I was, however, disappointed at the disjointed and disoriented feeling these books gave me. Hearing brief segments of Shelby Foote on video explaining the stories of the Civil War is rich and fantastic. His Southern drawl is warm and interesting. But hearing Grover Gardner read Shelby Foote’s words is a quite different experience.

    Perhaps it is the massive scope that this work attempt to encompass. There are a very great number of military campaigns to relate and a cast of thousands to profile. The political currents are covered and are the best parts of this work. The battles scenes seem to blur together—this could very well be an accurate sensation of the confusion and fog of was—but as a listening experience, confusion is not one of my goals.

    Foote is obsessed with the descriptions of the men involved in the great struggle. His description of the facial hair of the various military commanders borders on obsessive and would be sufficient for a police sketch-artist to provide an accurate drawing of the perpetrators General—would that he spent as much of his talents on providing equally perspicacious accounts of the details of the various military campaigns.

    In all, the trilogy covers a lot of ground, relating the Civil War in a series of smaller anecdotal accounts of various other elements, political campaigns, military campaigns, and soldiers camping out in the field waiting for the order to suffer the pains of battle. I can say that I learned a lot from this work but I found myself trying to place the various tidbits of knowledge within the framework of the Civil War that I already had in my head. This work did nothing to modify or improve the framework of Civil War understanding that watching Ken Burn’s PBS documentary had placed there years ago, and so I consider it a failure in being a definitive history of the War Between the States. I just finished listening to 132 hours of material on the Civil War and I feel as if I need to again watch the Ken Burns documentary to put thins back in historical perspective.

    For examples of successful narrative histories in three volumes you may want to listen to Richard J. Evans’ insightful Nazi history in three volumes: THE COMING OF THE THRID REICH, THE THIRD REICH IN POWER, and THE THIRD REICH AT WAR. If biography is what you are seeking look no further than William Manchester’s account of the life of Winston Churchill: THE LAST LION: VISIONS OF GLORY, THE LAST LION: ALONE, and THE LAST LION: DEFENDER OF THE REALM—the last co-written with Paul Reid.

    The production values displayed in Shelby Foote’s Civil War audiobook are not up to the average book available here on Audible, or even the average Blackstone audiobook. There are many shifts in voice tone and timber that are characteristic of the breaks where edits are made between recording sessions. In places the edits occur several times within a paragraph. It seems that the editing choice was made to re-record a little as possible, choosing instead to insert the corrected words and phrases in place of having the narrator re-read a corrected section entire. Sadly, this is not the most discouraging word I have on the subject.

    Grover Gardner delivers his usual perfect diction and impassive monotone delivery. If you love him this will be fantastic for you. I know he is very popular, the past winner of several Audie awards. He, for me, is always an obstacle to be overcome. Sorry. find that hearing his nasally voice in my head for several hours causes my soft palate to elevate as I unconsciously attempt to sub-vocalize his high-pitch intonations along with his voice in my ear. To be fair, he is always easy to understand and reads with great pacing. The timbre of his voice carries well, making it a good choice for listening in a noisy environment. In fact, having loud ambient noise helps take the focus off of the voice quality making it easier to tolerate. The problem is that Mr. Gardner never becomes “the voice in my head” that some listeners find so desirable. He is too intrusive, an alien infringement on the solace of my mind. And, what is more, he does not do character voices. I prefer a more dramatic performance, one that does not try to read to me but that tries to paint visual images with different voices and characterizations on the canvas of my mind—a performance. I prize many fiction narrators for their dramatic talent. Some may say that such melodrama may be fine for fiction but not for non-fiction. They seek someone to just read the words on the page. I disagree, seeking over-the-top performances in all my audiobooks.

    Yesterday when I knew that my time with Mr. Gardner was coming to a much anticipated end, I took the opportunity to play sections of several audiobooks that I had loaded on my phone, to my daughters at the dinner table to elicit their reactions. (I am trying to cultivate the next generation of Audible customers.) First I played a brief section of Christopher Aruffo reading POE, then I played Tavia Gilbert in HALFWAY TO THE GRAVE, both of whom they thought were excellent. I followed that with Jonathan Davis’ inspired rendering of SNOWCRASH, Wil Wheaton in READY PLAYER ONE , Charles Stransky reading RED MOON RISING, Jack Vance delivering SHERLOCK HOLMES, and then Rob Inglis doing Tolkein. These garnered less enthusiastic reactions but all were deemed worthy. After these we excerpted Bronson Pinchot reciting ON STRANGER TIDES and Todd Mclaren doing ALTERED CARBON, two of my absolute favorites: my daughters concurred. Then, without fanfare, or warning, I played a bit of THE CIVIL WAR, narrated by the award winning Grover Gardner… All three of them burst out laughing. One daughter described the experience as, and I quote, “like a man with a frog in his throat talking while pinching his nose.” Aptly put.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Double Helix: A Personal Account of the Discovery of the Structure of DNA

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By James D. Watson
    • Narrated By Grover Gardner, Roger Clark
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (291)
    Performance
    (251)
    Story
    (253)

    By identifying the structure of DNA, the molecule of life, Francis Crick and James Watson revolutionized biochemistry and won themselves a Nobel Prize. At the time, Watson was only 24, a young scientist hungry to make his mark. His uncompromisingly honest account of the heady days of their thrilling sprint against other world-class researchers to solve one of science's greatest mysteries gives a dazzlingly clear picture of a world of brilliant scientists with great gifts, very human ambitions, and bitter rivalries.

    A. Lai says: "Fabulous book!"
    "..Candid Account of the Men in the White Lab Coats"
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    An insider’s look into the cloistered realm of peer reviewed scientific establishment from one of the icons of the 20th century. Every schoolboy knows of Watson and Crick; what I didn’t know is that there was a scientist out there willing to expose his shortcomings in the very field for which his prestige is derived. Watson reveals his weakness in organic chemistry, X-ray crystallography, and an inability to think is three dimensions, all disciplines critical to the discovery of the structure of the DNA molecule, the discovery for which he is most famous. Watson is also not shy of depicting his fellows in all their personality quirks and professional blind spots, and, to be fair, even their times of intuitive brilliance. This account should completely dispel the idea that scientists are infallible.

    Roger Clark narrates his own Afterward with a rich deep sonorous voice.

    Grover Gardner delivers his usual perfect diction and impassive monotone delivery. If you love him this will be fantastic for you. He, for me, is always an obstacle to be overcome. I find that hearing his nasally voice in my head for several hours causes my soft palate to elevate as I subconsciously attempt to sub-vocalize his high-pitch intonations along with his voice in my ear. To be fair, he is always easy to understand and reads with great pacing. The problem is that Mr. Gardner never becomes “the voice in my head” that some listeners find so desirable. I prefer a more dramatic performance. Many fiction narrators are prized for their dramatic talent. Some may say that drama may be good for fiction but not for non-fiction. I disagree, seeking over-the-top performances in all my audiobooks. A recent non-fiction example comes to mind: Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue by John McWhirter.

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