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Graeme

Merrylands, Australia | Member Since 2011

20
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 37 reviews
  • 85 ratings
  • 238 titles in library
  • 10 purchased in 2015
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  • Attempting Normal

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Marc Maron
    • Narrated By Marc Maron
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (437)
    Performance
    (396)
    Story
    (395)

    Marc Maron was a parent-scarred, angst-filled, drug-dabbling, love-starved comedian who dreamed of a simple life: a wife, a home, a sitcom to call his own. But instead he woke up one day to find himself fired from his radio job, surrounded by feral cats, and emotionally and financially annihilated by a divorce from a woman he thought he loved. He tried to heal his broken heart through whatever means he could find - minor-league hoarding, Viagra addiction, accidental racial profiling, cat fancying, flying airplanes with his mind - but nothing seemed to work. It was only when he was stripped down to nothing that he found his way back.

    Amazon Customer says: "Not for everybody"
    "A sad, funny man"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'm sure this book will polarise listeners / readers. If you have your life all together, then you will most likely thoroughly dislike this needy, self centred and often pathetic man, and hate the book. If however, you have you own special basket of issues you wrestle with on a daily basis, chances are you will warm to and be charmed by this needy, self centred and often pathetic man, and love the book.
    I loved the book - its one of the best I've heard on audible. Laugh out loud funny in places.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Banished: Surviving My Years in the Westboro Baptist Church

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Lauren Drain
    • Narrated By Lauren Drain
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (124)
    Performance
    (117)
    Story
    (118)

    You've likely heard of the Westboro Baptist Church. Perhaps you've seen their pickets on the news, the members holding signs with messages that are too offensive to copy here, protesting at events such as the funerals of soldiers, the 9-year old victim of the recent Tucson shooting, and Elizabeth Edwards, all in front of their grieving families. Since no organized religion will claim affiliation with the WBC, it's perhaps more accurate to think of them as a cult. Lauren Drain was thrust into that cult at the age of 15, and then spat back out again seven years later.

    Donald says: "Get Thee Behind Me Phelps"
    "Evil + Stupidity is a bad mix"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I felt like I needed to take a long shower after finishing this book. I considered abandoning it several times as it continually made my skin crawl. It doesn't help that the "victim" of the book is very unlikeable. The title "Surviving My Years in the Westboro Baptist Church" suggests that Lauren Drain was a poor girl trapped in the clutches of this group of evil loonies, whereas she comes across as almost defensive of the heinous behaviour of the WBC often going as far as to attempt to justify it. Its as if her only issue is that she was "banished" from the church rather than its horrid outlook on the world.
    Several times during the book she tells of how "the Holy Ghost" told someone in authority what to do - but completely without irony, her tone is matter of fact and accepting. She describes her thrill of picketing military funerals and telling people they were going to burn in hell by saying "there was so much power in telling someone they were unworthy". Years later, she describes one teenager who refused to accept the WBC's teachings on face value as a trouble maker, saying "He'd always been a trouble maker,saying something absurd like there's no proof" in the middle of bible studies.
    At one point in the book she says that her and her fellow hate mongers were "free thinking, highly intelligent individuals......very educated, well spoken and informed". And she's serious.
    Once she is banished, she is still crazy enough to continue to embrace her religion, with the disclaimer that she no longer believes in picketing funerals or victimising people. My skin crawled all the way through the book.
    I could never listen to this book again - it saps your optimism and your faith in humanity.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • So You've Been Publicly Shamed

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Jon Ronson
    • Narrated By Jon Ronson
    Overall
    (409)
    Performance
    (342)
    Story
    (342)

    From the Sunday Times top ten bestselling author of The Psychopath Test, a captivating and brilliant exploration of one of our world's most underappreciated forces: shame. 'It's about the terror, isn't it?' 'The terror of what?' I said. 'The terror of being found out.' For the past three years, Jon Ronson has travelled the world meeting recipients of high-profile public shamings. The shamed are people like us - people who, say, made a joke on social media that came out badly, or made a mistake at work.

    Megan says: "You'll never look at public shaming the same way"
    "The Mob Mentality"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Jon Ronson books are typically a collection of amusing anecdotes about the lunatic fringe or bizarre situations. This book has a more sinister edge as it delves into the mire of the internet mob mentality. The narration is delivered with the usual seemingly naive earnestness that Jon is known for but in this book there is a sympathy for the victims of public shaming and disgust for the perpetrators that he seems honour bound to step back from straddling the line of journalistic objectivity.
    The stories here stir you up as you hear of people's lives being ruined by the fury of an Internet of pathetic people hiding behind a keyboard. The subject of the first story probably deserved his shaming but stories of some of the poor people that follow make you sick as a private conversation or failed attempt at a joke goes viral and their lives and careers are permanently changed.
    Does the Internet champion free speech or is it just a mouthpiece for cheap speech?

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Way Station

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Clifford D. Simak
    • Narrated By Eric Michael Summerer
    Overall
    (1185)
    Performance
    (769)
    Story
    (781)

    In this Hugo Award-winning classic, Enoch Wallace is an ageless hermit, striding across his untended farm as he had done for over a century, still carrying the gun with which he had served in the Civil War. But what his neighbors must never know is that, inside his unchanging house, he meets with a host of unimaginable friends from the farthest stars.

    Noe says: "A very special novel that will inspire you."
    "A old fashioned sci fi story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    The story has a certain old fashioned charm but lacks subtlety (for example - what is going to happen to Lucy, one of the main characters is obvious half way through the tale). Children interested in sci-fi might like this story as long as they are not expecting a lot of action and excitement.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Clifford D. Simak again?

    Probably not.


    What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

    The narration is ok, a little hokey, which suited the old fashioned feel of the story.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    Like a lot of books, the story begins with an interesting principle, that aliens are using Earth as a kind of interstellar "airport" and one man, a civil war survivor has been chosen to oversee their facility. He only ages when outside the facility the aliens have built inside his old farmhouse.
    There are a lot of problems with the internal logic of the story - e.g.. aliens of varying species can breathe our air with no problem, characters meeting aliens with no real surprise or shock or awe etc.
    Apart from the interesting premise, the book meekly meanders along until the feel good optimistic ending of no real substance.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Inverted World

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Christopher Priest
    • Narrated By Steven Cree
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (33)
    Performance
    (28)
    Story
    (29)

    A uniquely powerful novel of a society in decay. On a planet whose very nature is a mystery a massive decrepit city is pulled along a massive railway track, laying the line down before it as it progresses into the wilderness. The society within toils under an oppressive regime, its structures always on the point of collapse, the lives of its individuals lived in misery. No one knows where they are going, why they are going or what they will find when they get there.

    Eric says: "mind altering fun"
    "Underwhelming-did Priest only write 1 good novel?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you try another book from Christopher Priest and/or Steven Cree?

    Christopher Priest books are a mixed bag - The Prestige was excellent, but the 2 others I've read are mediocre.


    What was most disappointing about Christopher Priest’s story?

    The premise is intriguing but the story is boring and the ending is really soft and lame.


    What didn’t you like about Steven Cree’s performance?

    The thick Scottish accent is really off-putting. I kept expecting him to start singing a Proclaimers song.....


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    I think the author wrote this book for the right reasons - for art's sake - but its just a boring and unsatisfying tale.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Revival: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Stephen King
    • Narrated By David Morse
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3287)
    Performance
    (2979)
    Story
    (2999)

    In a small New England town, over half a century ago, a shadow falls over a small boy playing with his toy soldiers. Jamie Morton looks up to see a striking man, the new minister. Charles Jacobs, along with his beautiful wife, will transform the local church. The men and boys are all a bit in love with Mrs. Jacobs; the women and girls feel the same about Reverend Jacobs - including Jamie’s mother and beloved sister, Claire. With Jamie, the Reverend shares a deeper bond based on a secret obsession.

    Thug4life says: "Not fit for a King"
    "Something happened - a great return to form by Stephen King"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It's been a while since King has written a book this good from start to finish.
    The story follows Jamie Morton, whom we meet as a young boy and he finds his life interconnected with a young pastor named Charles Jacobs with a fascination for the power of electricity. After tragedy strikes the young Jacobs, he understandably loses his faith and leaves town but the lives of Jamie and Charles will be intertwined from that time on. Jamie grows up to become a musician who succumbs to drug addiction, while ex-Pastor Jacobs goes on to experiment with the "healing" powers of electricity. Jacobs believes he can heal a variety of conditions and his experiments grow larger and more daring as his life goes on, but as Jamie gets drawn back into his old pastors's life, he begins to learn that the cures Jacobs performs come with consequences.
    The story moves along quite briskly and there's no wasted time with unnecessary narrative as a few of the last King books have been guilty of (except Under The Dome). The narration is understated and laid back - the only thing that threw me at the beginning of the book was that the narration is performed by an older man - until silly me realised the book was written from the perspective of an old man.
    What makes a great Stephen King book is when you read a scene and you can imagine King sitting at his computer grinning at what he has just typed. There's a few of those type of scenes in Revival, my favourite being a re-worked version of Happy Birthday sung to Jamie in a dream. Something happened!
    I liked that the "bad guy" of the story, Charles Jacobs isn't the stereotypical villain. He's a man beset with tragedy while only a young man, and while he cynically "preys" on the gullible to fund his lifelong experiments with electricity and healing, its in order to find out one of life's great questions - what waits for us after death.
    For me, what's revealed at the end of Charles Jacobs' quest is where the real boogie man of the story had been waiting for us all along.



    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • December

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Phil Rickman
    • Narrated By Seán Barrett
    Overall
    (56)
    Performance
    (52)
    Story
    (52)

    In the ruins of a haunted medieval abbey, four musicians hope to tap into the site's dark history. The experience almost destroys them.

    Diane says: "Ghosts of Decembers Past and Present"
    "Good story but disappointing adaptation"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    Not the audiobook. Narration is hamfisted and the music to add drama is embarrassing.


    If you’ve listened to books by Phil Rickman before, how does this one compare?

    Have read others but not listened


    What didn’t you like about Seán Barrett’s performance?

    It's heavy handed. Groans and screams etc are over acted.


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    Possibly if directed by right person


    Any additional comments?

    The first 50 minutes of the audiobook is almost unlistenable. It is a chaotic mix of visions and terrible Celtic music interruptions and I nearly gave up on it as I tried to remember why I had liked the book so much when I read it over 10 years ago. It eventually settles into a more traditional narrative but the occasional further bursts of bad Celtic music that are there to "add to the mood" are amateur and annoying.
    The Deus ex machina ending to the story is disappointing and does not close all the loose ends that the plot and the final scenes build up to.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Haruki Murakami
    • Narrated By Michael Fenton Stevens
    Overall
    (26)
    Performance
    (24)
    Story
    (24)

    Tsukuru Tazaki's life was irreparably changed when his relationships with his high school best friends became severed during Tsukuru's college days, with no explanation. Now at 35, Tsukuru's girlfriend Sara suggests he goes to talk to these high school friends in person to mend the relationships. Tsukuru visited his friends in Nagoya and Finland one by one, and uncovers the real reason as to why their relations were broken off.

    Heather says: "Murakami in contemplative mode"
    "Tsukuru gets on with life"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This was my third Murakami novel, prior to this I've read 1Q84 and The Wind Up Bird Chronicle. By the half way point I realised this book was very different from my previous experiences with Murakami, in that this is a fairly straight forward novel, where as both Wind Up Bird and 1Q84 are long, sprawling and surreal. There are still hints of the surreal here, but there is never any melding between the plot and fantasy as I've read in his other work.
    The plot for Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage is very simple - Tsukuru is a man nearing middle age who lives a solitary life when he starts dating a woman named Sarah. After getting together a few times, Tsukuru tells Sarah that he had once been part of a close group of 5 school friends, but as they approached adulthood, he was suddenly evicted from the group one day for no apparent reason. He becomes depressed and lives the rest of his life from this point almost friendless, working as a train station designer with a resigned acceptance of how things have turned out for him.
    Sarah tells him that she doesn't want to continue the relationship until he deals with his past so she convinces him to go back and visit his old friends to find out why they had rejected him so suddenly and strongly. With this, Tsukuru sets off to talk to his old friends individually and finally learns why they had abandoned him.
    Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage is a meditative exploration of a man's loneliness, confusion and search for a spark to re-ignite his enthusiasm for life after the hurt of being abandoned so unfairly by his friends. Having read 2 Murakami books previously, I wasn't expecting an ending where everything or at least something ends up neatly resolved, but this comes close at least, and for that reason the ending is more satisfying than both Wind Up Bird and 1Q84.
    I wasn't a fan of the narration - the "Britishness" and "properness" of it was a mistake - Murakami is a writer of quirkiness, and while the words and characters in the novel express that, the narration doesn't.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Martian

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Andy Weir
    • Narrated By R. C. Bray
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (23352)
    Performance
    (21468)
    Story
    (21476)

    Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars. Now, he's sure he'll be the first person to die there. After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive—and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive. Chances are, though, he won't have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain old "human error" are much more likely to kill him first. But Mark isn't ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills—and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit—he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?"

    Michael G. Kurilla says: "Macgyver on Mars"
    "Mars Attacks! Astronaut fights back."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is one of the best audiobooks I've listened to in my time as an Audible member. Don't get me wrong - this is not high literature or a work of art - but it is one of the most fun listening experiences I've had with audiobooks.
    The Martian is a sci-fi potboiler but with plenty of smarts and humour. Astronaut Mark Whatley is stranded on Mars after his crew, believing him to be dead, have left him behind as Nasa orders them to evacuate as a storm approaches. He is left with a damaged spacesuit, limited air, and his wits. The story is mostly told by Mark in the form of mission logs, with occasional details told from the point of view of a small group of people on Earth involved in his rescue.
    Mark spends over 500 days stranded on Mars while a rescue mission is worked out and dispatched, and the poor guy has to survive many mishaps, setbacks and perhaps worst of all, has only Agatha Christie novels, 70's TV shows and disco music to keep him from going insane. Mark is a thoroughly likeable character, and the story keeps chugging along without any boring parts and I'd be surprised if someone hasn't already picked this up to make it into a movie.
    The narration is excellent - the best I've heard on Audible - R C Bray nails Mark's roguish charm and wit perfectly, and for this reason this is one of those books that really might be better in audio form than print.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Autobiography

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Morrissey
    • Narrated By David Morrissey
    Overall
    (7)
    Performance
    (7)
    Story
    (7)

    Steven Patrick Morrissey was born in Manchester on May 22nd 1959. Singer-songwriter and co-founder of the Smiths (1982-1987), Morrissey has been a solo artist for twenty-six years, during which time he has had three number 1 albums in England in three different decades.Achieving eleven Top 10 albums (plus nine with the Smiths), his songs have been recorded by David Bowie, Nancy Sinatra, Marianne Faithfull, Chrissie Hynde, Thelma Houston, My Chemical Romance and Christy Moore, amongst others.

    Graeme says: "Why People Call Morrissey A Twat"
    "Why People Call Morrissey A Twat"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I came to this audiobook not knowing very much about Morrissey except what I had interpreted from his music.
    The first section of the book was fascinating, his childhood, schooldays and I particularly enjoyed the story of how Morrissey began to fall in love with music and the music that inspired him to become a singer. The writing is heartfelt, warm and leads you into a possibly premature fondness for the guy.
    The Story of the Smiths formation and career though is terribly underdone. You would imagine The Smiths period of his life would take quite some time to detail but it is almost casually slapped down - a collection of random anecdotes which make no linear sense and give improper credit to the legacy of the band and its place as a stepping stone into his solo work. At this point in the book, Morrissey does goes to some effort to almost fondly credit the other members of the Smiths for their various contributions to the music, despite the acrimonious issues that were to follow after the breakup of the band.
    What follows after the "story of the Smiths" is confusing though. The book continues as a random collection of anecdotes and characters weaving in and out of and between his long lines of solo albums. That's not to say there is nothing of value in the content, but again there does not seem to be any linear sense to things - he will start talking about people who weren't introduced to the reader properly and random events take on an importance which they shouldn't have. e.g a long and completely unnecessary ghost story!
    After this there is a long, long section detailing Morrissey's side of the famous court case brought about by the Smith's drummer. This was actually quite fascinating (as is Morrissey's view from inside the insidious world of the business of music) and as a musician myself, I can certainly sympathise with his despair at how horrible the people in the music business can be.
    While the book up to this point had certainly had its faults, it was nevertheless an entertaining and sometimes fascinating listen. Despite Morrissey's notoriety, I discovered nothing that had made me think less of him.
    It is the final part of the book however that will have Morrissey haters licking their lips, and I have to say he gives them plenty of ammunition! The final section of this book seems to be written by someone either blissfully unaware or uncaring of how he comes across. Written almost as a travelogue, the book becomes quite literally a long and boring list of cities he performs in and how he, the apparently magnificent and heroic artist journeys the world in a rapturous travelling communion with his fans. It goes on for so long and just becomes so absurd in its world weary grandioseness that you find the words "what a twat" unconsciously leave your mouth several times through the telling.
    Its an odd feeling to end the book with as it is really hard to erase the bad taste in your mouth from the final section of the book. Of course, it wouldn't be Morrissey without the melodrama, but for this reviewer, I'll settle for the melodrama in his songs - its more palatable.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Douglas Adams
    • Narrated By Stephen Fry
    Overall
    (134)
    Performance
    (123)
    Story
    (125)

    One Thursday lunchtime the Earth gets unexpectedly demolished to make way for a new hyperspace bypass. For Arthur Dent, who has only just had his house demolished that morning, this seems already to be more than he can cope with.

    Matthew says: "Stephen Fry is so, so good"
    "Revisiting an old friend and bravo Stephen Fry!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    So many great lines in this book.
    Completely silly and completely perfect. Have read this many times, but just finished audio book version read by Stephen Fry, which is a lot like having a bowl of the the best ice cream in the world and adding lots of yummy freckles and chic chips!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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