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Harry Levinson

Boston, MA United States

  • 2 reviews
  • 2 ratings
  • 16 titles in library
  • 0 purchased in 2015

  • Big Sur

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Jack Kerouac
    • Narrated By Tom Parker

    "Big Sur's a humane, precise account of the extraordinary ravages of alcohol delirium tremens on Kerouac, a superior novelist who had strength to complete his poetic narrative, a task few scribes so afflicted have accomplished...others crack up. Here we meet San Francisco's poets and recognize hero Dean Moriarty 10 years after On the Road. Jack Kerouac was a 'writer,' as his great peer W.S. Burroughs says, and here at the peak of his suffering humorous genius he wrote through his misery to end with 'Sea,' a brilliant poem appended, on the hallucinatory sounds of the Pacific Ocean at Big Sur." - Allen Ginsberg

    SHAWN says: "A great listen"
    "Great book, annoying narrator"
    Would you listen to Big Sur again? Why?

    I might listen to it again because Kerouac is my favorite writer... BUT Tom Parker's nasally voice is really hard to take.

    I don't know anything about Parker's audiobook resume, but he sounds like he probably is a former sports announcer or something. Nothing against him personally, but how he was selected to read a classic novel such as "Big Sur" is beyond me. He certainly has the dramatic skill, but I found the sound of his voice to be almost unbearable.

    What was one of the most memorable moments of Big Sur?

    There is a part in the middle of the story where he describes the waves of twenty-something hipsters who find him, expecting to see the young Kerouac of yore, but instead meet this ailing, alcoholic middle-aged guy. The emotional impact of this was very strong for me -- Jack's sadness and despair, telling the story from the standpoint of the downward arc of his career, after the peak of his fame during his lifetime. As Natalie Merchant & Rob Buck wrote in the song "Hey Jack Kerouac", he "chose his words from mouths of babes got lost in the wood", and there he was himself wandering around the dark woods near Big Sur.

    What aspect of Tom Parker’s performance would you have changed?

    Replace him with another narrator.

    If you could take any character from Big Sur out to dinner, who would it be and why?

    Jack Duluoz, Kerouac's alter ego character, of course.

    Any additional comments?

    I'm hoping this is not a trend regarding books on, narrators with annoying voices.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Eminent Hipsters

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Donald Fagen
    • Narrated By Donald Fagen

    A witty, revealing, sharply written work of memoir and criticism by the cofounder of Steely Dan. Musician and songwriter Donald Fagen presents a group of vivid set pieces in his entertaining debut as an author, from portraits of the cultural figures and currents that shaped him as a youth to an account of his college days and of life on the road.

    Rusty says: "Fascinating insights."
    "Must-listen for Steely Dan or Donald Fagen fans"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    If you've ever wondered about Donald Fagan or Steely Dan's origins, this is the book for you! The fact that it is narrated by Fagen himself is a major bonus. While some might not care for the sound of his voice or his laconic manner, I found it to be integral to enjoying the text.

    Fagen was born just a few years before me, but the touchpoints of his youth resonated with me. Listening to a transistor radio, transitioning through listening to different styles of music, etc.

    As a former performing musician myself, I enjoyed hearing his tales of life on the road -- the good and the bad... well, mostly the bad. But even the bad is funny the way he tells it. Any musician who aspires to be famous enough to tour for a living (or whatever reason) should certainly listen to Fagen's story before getting too excited about what awaits them on the road.

    What did you like best about this story?

    The scope, from youth to Steely Dan reunion tours, and told by the man himself.

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

    I'd only heard his music (recordings, radio, one live concert in 2013) and one radio interview. All great stuff, but don't pass over this audiobook.

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

    I listened while commuting. Most audiobooks are way too long to even contemplate sitting or even listening to for 10-30 hours.

    Any additional comments?

    Buy this audiobook!

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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