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H. Segal

Cornell Faculty

Ithaca | Member Since 2013

3
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 11 reviews
  • 16 ratings
  • 80 titles in library
  • 19 purchased in 2014
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  • The Broom of the System: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By David Foster Wallace
    • Narrated By Robert Petkoff
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (119)
    Performance
    (66)
    Story
    (71)

    At the center of The Broom of the System is the betwitching (and also bewildered) heroine, Lenore Stonecipher Beadsman. The year is 1990 and the place is a slightly altered Cleveland, Ohio, which sits on the edge of a suburban wasteland-the Great Ohio Desert. Lenore works as a switchboard attendant at a publishing firm, and in addition to her mind-numbing job, she has a few other problems. Her great-grandmother, a one-time student of Wittgenstein, has disappeared with twenty-five other inmates of the Shaker Heights Nursing Home.

    Darwin8u says: "Evidence I WASTED my College years."
    "A brilliant first novel - and a superb reading"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    If you could sum up The Broom of the System in three words, what would they be?

    brilliant, satiric, manic


    What did you like best about this story?

    DFW's first novel, began when he was in graduate school, is a rocket-charged satire of sex, gender politics, and American culture, that manages to create emotional suspense and poignant moments despite its broad humor.


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

    My first time listening to Robert Petkoff, but this is for me the best reading of any of the Audible books I've bought so far.


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

    yes.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Benjamin Franklin: An American Life

    • UNABRIDGED (24 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By Walter Isaacson
    • Narrated By Nelson Runger
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (472)
    Performance
    (406)
    Story
    (402)

    Benjamin Franklin is the founding father who winks at us - an ambitious urban entrepreneur who rose up the social ladder, from leather-aproned shopkeeper to dining with kings. In best-selling author Walter Isaacson's vivid and witty full-scale biography, we discover why Franklin turns to us from history's stage with eyes that twinkle from behind his new-fangled spectacles. In Benjamin Franklin, Isaacson shows how Franklin defines both his own time and ours. The most interesting thing that Franklin invented, and continually reinvented, was himself.

    Jeremy says: "Great read. Some areas disjointed, but solid bio."
    "A bit thin on details and poorly read"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you try another book from Walter Isaacson and/or Nelson Runger?

    It was good to hear the magical life of Ben Franklin, and to discover his selfish as well as generous sides, but Isaacson tends to repeat his formulaic read on Franklin over and over, while clearly hiding some of Franklin's more illicit behaviors in Europe. I found Nelson Runger's reading too slow and, even more irritating, he put on a "folksy" voice any time he quotes Franklin's letters or writings. Might be better to read this volume or find a better biography altogether.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Silkworm

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Robert Galbraith
    • Narrated By Robert Glenister
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2002)
    Performance
    (1865)
    Story
    (1861)

    When novelist Owen Quine goes missing, his wife calls in private detective Cormoran Strike. At first, Mrs. Quine just thinks her husband has gone off by himself for a few days - as he has done before - and she wants Strike to find him and bring him home. But as Strike investigates, it becomes clear that there is more to Quine's disappearance than his wife realizes. The novelist has just completed a manuscript featuring poisonous pen-portraits of almost everyone he knows.

    H James Lucas says: "A well-worn genre enlivened with fresh characters"
    "J.K.Rowling Can Do Anything - including Mysteries"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Where does The Silkworm rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    The Silkworm, written by Rowling under the pen name Robert Galbraith, is a fine sequel to Cucko's Calling, where we first meet Cormoran Strike and his charming Watson, Robin. Very impressed by A Casual Vacancy, Rowling's first outing post-Harry Potter, I find this series showcases her uncanny talent for taking an established genre and making it her own. The book is both funny and suspenseful, and Robert Glenister is the perfect narrator - a "must hear"!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • All the Light We Cannot See: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Anthony Doerr
    • Narrated By Zach Appelman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (585)
    Performance
    (536)
    Story
    (535)

    Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where he works as the master of its thousands of locks. When she is six, Marie-Laure goes blind and her father builds a perfect miniature of their neighborhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home. When she is 12, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great-uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.

    Hank Reads! says: "Completely absorbing!"
    "A Wonderful, Old-Fashioned Novel"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to All the Light We Cannot See again? Why?

    This is a compelling novel that follows two children as they grow up in the midst of WWII. Doerr has respect and compassion for his characters, though he clearly loves Marie best, the blind daughter of the locksmith from the Paris Museum of Natural History. The narrative moves forward and backward in time, always vivid, never heavy-handed.

    Zach Appelman does a fine job reading the novel. His subtlety is a good match for the novel, perhaps a challenge to most actors but not for him.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Crossing to Safety

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Wallace Stegner
    • Narrated By Richard Poe
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (285)
    Performance
    (212)
    Story
    (216)

    One of the finest American authors of the 20th century, Wallace Stegner compiled an impressive collection of accolades during his lifetime, including a Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, a National Book Award, and three O. Henry Awards. His final novel, Crossing to Safety is the quiet yet stirring tale of two couples that meet during the Great Depression and form a lifelong bond.

    Barbara says: "Real characters dealing with life & death."
    "A Tour de Force from a Master"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about Crossing to Safety?

    It's a beautifully written novel, psychological and reflective, that follows a friendship between two couples over forty years. Richard Poe's reading is as close to perfect as it can be.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Weather in Berlin

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Ward Just
    • Narrated By Robertson Dean
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (8)
    Performance
    (4)
    Story
    (4)

    On a whim, aging director Dixon Greenhouse accepted the three month fellowship in Berlin, with a promise that nothing would be required of him but an interview about his moviemaking career. Thirty years have passed since he directed his greatest film, a cult classic called Summer, about a group of German artists between the wars.

    H. Segal says: "A Wonderful Novel, Beautifully Narrated"
    "A Wonderful Novel, Beautifully Narrated"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Where does The Weather in Berlin rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    It is certainly one of the best I've listened to in the past year. This was the first work by Ward Just that I've come across, and I'm surprised that I had never heard of him ... none of my friends are familiar with him, either. What a loss for us all, since his is one of the more powerful American voices of the past generation. Although he cites Henry James as a major influence - and certainly the subtle ways that we enter the minds of the characters is Jamesian -- his prose reminds me of F Scott Fitzgerald who appears in the novel briefly in a story told by the narrator's father. Ward Just was a journalist in the 1960s and left the newspaper business to write novels and short stories. This book centers on an aging film director, Dixon Greenwood, spending three months at a humanities colony in Berlin, not too far from where he directed his best film some thirty years earlier. What happens during his stay, and what he remembers, is what the book is about. Greenwood is a wonderful character, compelling as much as for what he does and says as for what he holds back.


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

    Given the subject matter, Dean's voice, who here sounds a good deal like Orson Wells, is perfectly suited. His performance is powerfully convincing.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The General: Charles De Gaulle and the France He Saved

    • UNABRIDGED (28 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By Jonathan Fenby
    • Narrated By Robin Bloodworth
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (20)
    Performance
    (17)
    Story
    (18)

    No leader of modern times was more uniquely patriotic than Charles de Gaulle. As founder and first president of the Fifth Republic, General de Gaulle saw himself as "carrying France on [his] shoulders." In his 20s, he fought for France in the trenches and at the epic battle of Verdun. In the 1930s, he waged a lonely battle to enable France to better resist Hitler's Germany. Thereafter, he twice rescued the nation from defeat and decline by extraordinary displays of leadership, political acumen, daring, and bluff, heading off civil war and leaving a heritage adopted by his successors of right and left.

    H. Segal says: "Slavishly written, Unreflective but Interesting"
    "Slavishly written, Unreflective but Interesting"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you like best about The General? What did you like least?

    it's a comprehensive biography, and since De Gaulle dedicated himself to France (as a version of himself) it's a good account of France in the aftermath of WWII and the occupation. De Gaulle was a remarkable figure - principled, politically brilliant, rigid and narcissistic. Fenby gets you all the facts, but rarely reflects or interprets the history he presents. Ultimately, the life of De Gaulle becomes a bit of a blur, even though I listened to all 16 hours.


    Would you recommend The General to your friends? Why or why not?

    I don't think so. I listened to it following Charles Glass' book on Americans in Paris during the occupation, and for that book De Gaulle is an intriguing absent presence -- we only hear of him when broadcasting from London on the BBC. This book provided me with more history, but I found it a bit of slog.


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Robin Bloodworth?

    No ... although he has a fine French accent, he narrates so slowly I had to listen to the book on 1.25x, something I've never had to do before.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Casual Vacancy

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By J. K. Rowling
    • Narrated By Tom Hollander
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2797)
    Performance
    (2457)
    Story
    (2473)

    When Barry Fairweather dies unexpectedly in his early 40s, the little town of Pagford is left in shock. Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty façade is a town at war. Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils.... Pagford is not what it at first seems. And the empty seat left by Barry on the town's council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen.

    cristina says: "I was surprised by how much I liked it"
    "Rowling Shows She's a Great Writer"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Absolutely. Rowling remains a fine storyteller, though this book is actually a remarkable and profound work of fiction. It is funny, moving, appalling -- she's found a way to take a middle-class English town, with a horrible ghetto nearby, and extract from it psychologically complex characters determined by their upbringing, social class, and most of all, by their individual traumas. Indeed, Rowling is the modern master of trauma, individual, interpersonal, and familial ... and The Casual Vacancy is all about it. It begins with the death of a man who, we come to learn, has been important, both negatively and positively, for so many others. As the narrative progresses, so our appreciation of him and our sense of loss grows. And so Rowling manages to have us experience grief with a novel at times funny, at others tragic, written with perfect tempo and with unflagging suspense. I enjoyed the week or two that it took for me to listen to it, and I was very moved by the last scenes.


    Any additional comments?

    A real achievement - a must read!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Americans in Paris: Life and Death under Nazi Occupation

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Charles Glass
    • Narrated By Malcolm Hillgartner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (21)
    Performance
    (13)
    Story
    (13)

    In Americans in Paris, tales of adventure, intrigue, passion, deceit, and survival unfold season by season as renowned journalist Charles Glass tells the story of a remarkable cast of expatriates and their struggles in Nazi Paris. Before the Second World War began, approximately thirty thousand Americans lived in Paris, and when war broke out in 1939 almost five thousand remained.

    H. Segal says: "An Interesting, if Superficial History"
    "An Interesting, if Superficial History"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    I was disappointed by how thin the narrative was. Glass follows some very interesting characters - and I was glad to listen to the book - but he rarely took up the moral and political questions raised by the characters' choices and behaviors. His account of Sumner Jackson, the medical director of the American Hospital in Paris, is eye-opening because of Jackson's remarkable heroism. His account of Charles Bedaux, on the other hand, seems almost naive in his support of him. Glass could have taken the time to grapple with the ways that Bedaux dealt with his relationship with the Nazis and the collaborationists in Paris. Since he didn't, we're left with an uncomfortably thin narrative.Hillgartner has a wonderful French accent, and his voice his compelling ... I think the text itself, and its lack of complexity, would've been a challenge for any narrator.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Johnny Carson

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Henry Bushkin
    • Narrated By Dick Hill
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (305)
    Performance
    (273)
    Story
    (274)

    From 1962 until 1992, Johnny Carson hosted The Tonight Show and permeated the American consciousness. In the ’70s and ’80s he was the country’s highest-paid entertainer and its most enigmatic. He was notoriously inscrutable, as mercurial (and sometimes cruel) off-camera as he was charming and hilarious onstage. During the apex of his reign, Carson’s longtime lawyer and best friend was Henry Bushkin, who now shows us Johnny Carson with a breathtaking clarity and depth that nobody else could.

    Pi says: "Not for the uninitiated"
    "Revealing, Compelling Story of Johnny Carson"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to another book narrated by Dick Hill?

    I wasn't wild about Hill's idiosyncratic reading, though I felt he really understood Bushkin's story.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I've always been an admirer of Carson's genius, and I heard of the terrible difficulties in his personal life. This book, admittedly from a close friend and business associate with his own issues, does open a large window on Carson's troubles. I was saddened by Carson's loneliness and aggressive rejection of people he tried to love.Bushkin's prose is clear and direct, funny and personal. The descriptions of his first meetings with Carson are suspenseful and surprising.

    I was also moved by Bushkin's honesty and especially by the way he ends the book.


    Any additional comments?

    A great book for anyone interested in Johnny Carson.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By James Gleick
    • Narrated By Rob Shapiro
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (757)
    Performance
    (466)
    Story
    (473)

    James Gleick, the author of the best sellers Chaos and Ge­nius, brings us his crowning work: a revelatory chronicle that shows how information has become the modern era’s defining quality—the blood, the fuel, the vital principle of our world.

    Ethan M. says: "Brilliant book, heroic reader, better in print?"
    "Brilliant, enlightening, beautifully written"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to The Information again? Why?

    Sure - the book unfolds and builds so effectively.


    What other book might you compare The Information to and why?

    I read Chaos Theory by Gleick after listening to The Information -- another fascinating book. Gleick is the new voice of the history of science.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Gleick's description of how scientists figured out how the talking drums in Africa communicated.


    Any additional comments?

    A must read for anyone interested in science and the culture at large. Also Rob Shapiro voices the book perfectly - a pleasure to hear him read.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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