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Helen Olmsted

San Diego, CA, US | Member Since 2010

  • 11 reviews
  • 114 ratings
  • 329 titles in library
  • 7 purchased in 2015

  • The Sound and the Fury

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By William Faulkner
    • Narrated By Grover Gardner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    First published in 1929, Faulkner created his "heart's darling", the beautiful and tragic Caddy Compson, whose story Faulkner told through separate monologues by her three brothers: the idiot Benjy, the neurotic suicidal Quentin, and the monstrous Jason.

    W.Denis says: "Hang in"
    "Well Read Classic"

    The book is very well read. The story is difficult to follow, but that is not because it is in audio form. It would be just as hard to follow in print. It doesn't help that the first part of the story is told from the perspective of a mentally retarded member of the family. Also, the story is not in chronological order. I had to stop a little way into the book and do some internet research on the characters and plot. After that, I was able to appreciate this classic for what it is.

    15 of 16 people found this review helpful
  • You Suck: A Love Story

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Christopher Moore
    • Narrated By Susan Bennett
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Being dead sucks. Make that being undead sucks. Literally. Just ask Thomas C. Flood. Waking up after a fantastic night unlike anything he's ever experienced, he discovers that his girlfriend, Jody, the woman of his dreams, is a vampire. And surprise! Now he's one, too.

    Deborah says: "Do They Give Awards For "Best Reader"?"

    Good story, and the characters are interesting and amusing. The reader does an excellent job with characters' voices.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Stranger in a Strange Land

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Robert A. Heinlein
    • Narrated By Christopher Hurt
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Stranger in a Strange Land tells the story of Valentine Michael Smith, an earthling born and educated on Mars, who arrives on Earth with superhuman powers and a total ignorance of the mores of man. Smith is destined to become a freak, a media commodity, a scam artist, a searcher, and finally, a messiah.

    Connie says: "Enhanced version seems to correct audio defects"
    "Narrator A+/Story B-"

    The main character is an orphan brought up Tarzan-style by ancient Martians, who teach him to flex innate supernatural powers muscles that the rest of us don't know we have. The story starts out fascinating and ends up weird. Ever wonder what you'd get if you combined Jesus with Ron Jeremy? Probably not, but this author pegged it for sure.

    The narrator does excellent work. The other reviewer's comments about modulating sound quality and background noise is accurate, but in my opinion it is tolerable.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Mastery of Love: A Practical Guide to the Art of Relationship

    • ABRIDGED (2 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By don Miguel Ruiz
    • Narrated By Jill Eikenberry, Michael Tucker

    In The Mastery of Love, don Miguel Ruiz illuminates the fear-based beliefs and assumptions that undermine love and lead to suffering and drama in our relationships. Using insightful stories to bring his message to life, Ruiz shows us how to heal our emotional wounds, recover the freedom and joy that are our birthright, and restore the spirit of playfulness that is vital to loving relationships.

    Diane says: "Fabulous!"
    "Didn't Master It"

    I've read very few "philosophy of relationships" books, but I can say that this one is interesting. It was a little too new age/free-to-be-you-and-me/I-am the-center-of-the-universe/all-I-can-do-is-accept-you-for-who-you-are for my own tastes. I can't claim that the book changed my life like some other reviewers claim, but it did get me thinking about relationships in a new way. To me that made it worth while.

    The reading style is ok. The male and female reader read alternate chapters, which I found a little distracting.

    7 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • On the Road

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Jack Kerouac
    • Narrated By Matt Dillon
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    On the Road chronicles Jack Kerouac's years traveling the North American continent with his friend Neal Cassady, "a sideburned hero of the snowy West". As "Sal Paradise" and "Dean Moriarty", the two roam the country in a quest for self-knowledge and experience. Kerouac's love of America, his compassion for humanity, and his sense of language as jazz combine to make On the Road an inspirational work of lasting importance.

    Brian says: "nicely written, nicely read"
    "Well done!"

    Dillon did an excellent job reading this book. I don't think I'd have enjoyed the book half as much if I had read it in print form. The one drawback is that this is the type of story that you could read twice as fast as you can listen to it. Despite the fast pace of reading, the unabridged story does feel a few hours too long in verbal form.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • All the Shah's Men: An American Coup and the Roots of Middle East Terror

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Stephen Kinzer
    • Narrated By Michael Prichard

    In a cloak-and-dagger story of spies, saboteurs, and secret agents, Kinzer reveals the involvement of Eisenhower, Churchill, Kermit Roosevelt, and the CIA in Operation Ajax, which restored Mohammad Reza Shah to power. Reza imposed a tyranny that ultimately sparked the Islamic Revolution of 1979 which, in turn, inspired fundamentalists throughout the Muslim world, including the Taliban and terrorists who thrived under its protection.

    amazonman says: "Fascinating & Insightful View of US/ Iran History"
    "You need to hear this history"

    The history of U.S. involvement in Iran is largely unknown to Americans. This book is very enlightening with respect to the U.S. involvement in the Iranian coup in the 1950's. The author does an excellent job of describing the events leading up to and immediately following the coup. The history of Iran following these events is glossed over (and I would have liked to hear more on this), but that is not the focus of the book. I now have a much better understanding of the roots of the current relationship between Iran and the U.S.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Walden

    • ABRIDGED (5 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Henry David Thoreau
    • Narrated By William Hope

    In 1845 Henry David Thoreau, one of the principal New England Transcendentalists, left the town for the country. Beside the lake of Walden, he built himself a log cabin and returned to nature, to observe and reflect, while surviving on $8 a year. From this experience emerged one of the great classics of American literature, a deeply personal reaction against the commercialism and materialism that he saw as the main impulses of mid-19th century America.

    Helen Olmsted says: "A little dry"
    "A little dry"

    I'm on a classics kick so I picked this one too. I have to give this one a big YAWN. But the book does have redeeming qualities from philosophical standpoint. The author's desire to "live life on purpose" and to question the precepts of modern society is relevant 160 years later.

    10 of 13 people found this review helpful
  • A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By James Joyce
    • Narrated By Donal Donnelly
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Helen Olmsted says: "Great classic, hard to listen"
    "Great classic, hard to listen"

    I can understand why literary critics and English majors speak so highly of this book. On the other hand, I'm not either of those, and that is probably why I found it so difficult to maintain an interest. Try other classics first if you are just looking for a good story. Also, the sound quality is a little murky and heavy on the bass, but it was tolerable.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Ken Kesey
    • Narrated By Tom Parker

    You've never met anyone like Randle Patrick McMurphy. He's a lusty, profane, life-loving fighter who rallies the other patients around him by challenging the dictatorship of Big Nurse. The contest starts as sport (with McMurphy taking bets on the outcome) but soon it develops into a grim struggle for the minds and hearts of the men, into an all-out war between 2 relentless opponents: Big Nurse, backed by the full power of authority, and McMurphy, who has only his own indomitable will.

    Ingrid says: "Better in audio than in print"
    "Enjoyed it"

    I thought this book was very well read. Great story; a classic for obvious reasons.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Master and Commander: Aubrey/Maturin Series, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Patrick O'Brian
    • Narrated By Patrick Tull

    This, the first in the splendid series of Jack Aubrey novels, establishes the friendship between Captain Aubrey, Royal Navy, and Stephen Maturin, ship's surgeon and intelligence agent, against the thrilling backdrop of the Napoleonic wars. Details of life aboard a man-of-war in Nelson's navy are faultlessly rendered: the conversational idiom of the officers in the ward room and the men on the lower deck, the food, the floggings, the mysteries of the wind and the rigging, and the road of broadsides as the great ships close in battle.

    Frank says: "Choice of Narrators"
    "Great story"

    You don't need to be a historical novel fan or a fan of military or maritime themes to enjoy this book. The story was quite engaging and also well read. I was interested enough to come away wanting to listen to/read the other books in the series at some point.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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