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Doug Smith

Doug Smith

Ashland, NE USA | Member Since 2003

2
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 8 reviews
  • 12 ratings
  • 506 titles in library
  • 22 purchased in 2014
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  • Birdseye: The Adventures of a Curious Man

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Mark Kurlansky
    • Narrated By Jon Van Ness
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (41)
    Performance
    (39)
    Story
    (39)

    Break out the TV dinners! From the author who gave us Cod, Salt, and other informative bestsellers, the first biography of Clarence Birdseye, the eccentric genius inventor whose fast-freezing process revolutionized the food industry and American agriculture.

    David says: "Birdseye - one step too far for Kurlansky"
    ""Birdseye" worth a listen"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I've listened to other Mark Kurlansky books and admire his single-mindedness. Really admire that he elevated a truly forgotten inventor and eccentric to a biography-worthy subject. The "inventor" of flash-frozen foods has changed out world dramatically and made us all part of an international food marketplace, yet he is forgotten.

    Fascinating story, but I have to say Kurlansky really just went through the paces. I wonder if he got a bit bored by his subject at some point. Jon Van Ness's narration is also off - stilted and lacking in continuity.

    All that said, what a great story of a great, long-lost American!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Clockwork Universe: Isaac Newton, The Royal Society, and the Birth of the Modern World

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Edward Dolnick
    • Narrated By Alan Sklar
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1088)
    Performance
    (821)
    Story
    (835)

    The Clockwork Universe is the story of a band of men who lived in a world of dirt and disease but pictured a universe that ran like a perfect machine. A meld of history and science, this book is a group portrait of some of the greatest minds who ever lived as they wrestled with natures most sweeping mysteries. The answers they uncovered still hold the key to how we understand the world.

    Alison says: "The Royal Society comes alive."
    "So Sad to Have It End"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Where does The Clockwork Universe rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Just got done listening to "A Clockwork Universe", read by Alan Sklar, for the second time. This book is a masterpiece, one I will always treasure and reread. I just bought two more copies from Amazon, one for me, and one for my scientist son. I love Alan Sklar's reading of such a staggeringly well told story. I completely love this work. I have "read" at least 300 audio books and this is solidly in the Top 5.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The portrait of Isaac Newton is the most astonishing thing I think I have ever read. He was very dysfunctionally male in that he was completely remote and detached from all human emotions. He had no interest in sex, romance, the arts, food, sleep, conversation, friendship, desire to be a father, human contact of any kind, or even recognition. He spent months, years alone with his thoughts, seeking neither praise nor wealth. It could easily have happened that none of his work was ever published without intense pressure by those who recognized his genius. In a sense, he was the only person fit to judge what he had done. Others could only see small pieces of it. In his "Principia Mathematica," he unleashed the vision of a dozen Einsteins, maybe a hundred.


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

    No, but he is brilliant. He adds so much to what is already a great work.


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

    No.


    Any additional comments?

    As one review said, you hated to come to the last line. That's exactly how I felt.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Birth of the Modern: World Society 1815–1830

    • UNABRIDGED (48 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Paul Johnson
    • Narrated By Wanda McCaddon
    Overall
    (16)
    Performance
    (16)
    Story
    (16)

    This is an extraordinary chronicle of the fifteen years, 1815–1830, that laid the foundations of modern society. It is a history of people, ideas, politics, manners, morals, economics, art, science and technology, diplomacy, business and commerce, literature, and revolution.

    Doug Smith says: "Surprised By a Negative Review"
    "Surprised By a Negative Review"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    This is 50 hours of history on the years 1815-1830. The only reason I wouldn't recommend this book is that you have to be a pretty hardcore history buff to want to listen to it. That said, it is written with Paul Johnson's usual sweeping and articulate panache, chock full of things you didn't know, and short biographies of dozens of important figures of the era, from Napoleon to Andrew Jackson.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Birth of the Modern?

    The description of the deaf and off-the-charts eccentric Beethoven, composing while walking though the countryside, scaring the cows and inciting small boys to throw stones at him.


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

    I have heard her as Nadia May, and she is a great talent. Her voice wears very well through 50 hours of hard slogging and you have the sense she is quite literate, knowledgable, and fully up to a very rich text.


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

    No.


    Any additional comments?

    Paul Johnson fills in for all those history classes we skipped in college. He is absolutely brilliant.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Jeeves in the Offing

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By P. G. Wodehouse
    • Narrated By Frederick Davidson
    Overall
    (45)
    Performance
    (28)
    Story
    (28)

    Someone has stolen - yet again - Uncle Tom's antique silver cow-creamer. Suspicions fall on Wilbert Cream, believed to be a wealthy American practical joker and kleptomaniac known as Broadway Willie. But the incident only marks the beginning of Bertie Wooster's problems. It is only by a stroke of rare - very rare - genius that Bertie Wooster finds a solution. He recalls Jeeves, his incomparable manservant, from his annual holiday at Herne Bay, and Jeeves sorts out everybody and everything in his usual inimitable style.

    Sarah says: "Same book as "How Right You Are, Jeeves""
    "Love Frederick Davidson! (And Wodehouse!)"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you consider the audio edition of Jeeves in the Offing to be better than the print version?

    Prefer audio books because I have a lot more listening time than reading time.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Bertie Wooster- always funny - and fun!


    Which character ??? as performed by Frederick Davidson ??? was your favorite?

    See above.


    Any additional comments?

    One of the better entires in the vast Wodehouse offering, but with Frederick Davidson as narrator, it jumps to the top!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Hilliker Curse: My Pursuit of Women

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By James Ellroy
    • Narrated By James Ellroy
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (8)
    Performance
    (3)
    Story
    (3)

    The legendary crime writer gives us a raw, brutally candid memoir—as high intensity and as riveting as any of his novels—about his obsessive search for “atonement in women.” The year was 1958. Jean Hilliker had divorced her fast-buck hustler husband and resurrected her maiden name. Her son, James, was ten years old. He hated and lusted after his mother and “summoned her dead.” She was murdered three months later.

    Charles LaBorde says: "Jim, Hire an Actor"
    "Annoying, Degrading"
    Overall

    Ellroy's delivery is comically bad. The book itself is degrading to one's soul. That sounds corny but his content is trashy, pre-adolescent, not even a titillating peek into a pervert's mind, but a flat-out mud wrestle. It's like sitting next to a drunk in a bar telling his disgusting life story.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Life of Charles Dickens

    • UNABRIDGED (39 hrs and 1 min)
    • By John Forster
    • Narrated By Flo Gibson
    Overall
    (8)
    Performance
    (4)
    Story
    (4)

    John Forster, Charles Dickens' best friend and literary executor, compiled this treasure trove of letters, anecdotes, and personal recollections. They give us a fascinating insight into the life of one of literature's most beloved authors.

    G. Hall says: "Disgraceful Audio Quality"
    "Skip This!"
    Overall

    This is actually a pseudo biography, a novelization of Dickens' life. The audio quality is so poor, listening is a chore. I gave up after an hour. Very disappointed.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Eating the Dinosaur

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Chuck Klosterman
    • Narrated By Chuck Klosterman, Ira Glass, Errol Morris, and others
    Overall
    (275)
    Performance
    (123)
    Story
    (123)

    In Eating the Dinosaur, Klosterman is more entertaining and incisive than ever. Whether he's dissecting the boredom of voyeurism, the reason why music fan's inevitably hate their favorite band's latest album, or why we love watching can't-miss superstars fail spectacularly, Klosterman remains obsessed with the relationship between expectation, reality, and living history. It's amateur anthropology for the present tense, and sometimes it's incredibly funny.

    Mark says: "Enlightening, entertaining and very well produced"
    "Self-absorbed Twaddle"
    Overall

    I patiently waited for Klosterman to get beyond a streak of obsessive navel-gazing about his singularly uninteresting experiences. He never did.

    0 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Closing Time: A Memoir

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Joe Queenan
    • Narrated By Johnny Heller
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (9)
    Performance
    (1)
    Story
    (1)

    Joe Queenan's acerbic riffs on movies, sports, books, politics, and many of the least forgivable phenomena of pop culture have made him one of the most popular humorists and commentators of our time. In Closing Time, Queenan turns his sights on a more serious and personal topic: his childhood in a Philadelphia housing project in the early 1960s.

    Sandra says: "I don't understand"
    "Mediocre writing, great autobiography"
    Overall

    Joe Queenan's lifelong struggle with the demons of his father's alcoholism makes for fascinating listening. I really love this writer. Unfortunately, this book needs heavy editing. There are hundreds if not thousands of trite phrases. Things stink to high heaven. People are mad as hatters. Queenan's attempt here to exercise his powers as a writer results in an overwriting that is undermined by his curious reluctance to strike out cliches.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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