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J. Houlding


  • The Metaphysical Club

    • ABRIDGED (6 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Louis Menand
    • Narrated By Henry Leyva

    Hardly a club in the conventional sense, the organization referred to in the title of this superb literary hybrid (part history, part biography, part philosophy) consisted of four members and probably existed for less than nine months.

    Victoria says: "The Great American Experiment"
    "Very interesting listen"

    I really liked this book! Menand provides a compelling narrative that connects history, philosophy and notions of culture and society together in a way that I found fascinating. I was particularly interested in his treatment of Wendel Holmes; his ability to weave together biography and history create a picture of the profound effect this dynamic figure had on American culture. My only criticism of this book is the choice of narrator Henry Leyva. He is the worst narrator of any book i have ever listened to. His bizarre inflections make me cringe. I would give the book 6 stars and his narration one star, but if this is a period of time that you are interested in, the book is a must read (or listen?).

    8 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • I Don't Believe in Atheists

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Chris Hedges
    • Narrated By Chris Hedges
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    There are two radical and dangerous sides to the debate on faith and religion in America: Christian fundamentalists, who see religious faith as their exclusive prerogative, and New Atheists, who brand all religious belief as irrational. Too often, the religious majority - those committed to tolerance and compassion as well as their faith - are caught in the middle.

    Ulrike Nunn says: "Not terrible, a little scrambled ,angry reader."
    "Good book, disappointing listen"

    I think Chris Hedges is an incredible writer and thinker and I recommend all his books.
    He is NOT a good narrator though, I think I would rather have a computer read it because then the pace would be consistent. It actually breaks my heart to say this but want to save others from trying to listen to this book rather than reading it occularly. I wish he hadn't narrated his other books so I could listen to them but I can't stand it.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The Great Influenza: The Epic Story of the Deadliest Plague in History

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By John M. Barry
    • Narrated By Scott Brick

    No disease the world has ever known even remotely resembles the great influenza epidemic of 1918. Presumed to have begun when sick farm animals infected soldiers in Kansas, spreading and mutating into a lethal strain as troops carried it to Europe, it exploded across the world with unequaled ferocity and speed. It killed more people in 20 weeks than AIDS has killed in 20 years; it killed more people in a year than the plagues of the Middle Ages killed in a century.

    Nancy says: "Gripping and Gory"
    "Half a great book"

    The first half of this book is fantastic, I learned so much about american medical/scientific history that I had no idea about. It was really fascinating, well written and I found it riveting and suprising. He weaves a seamless connection between the history of the US medical establishment, the United States in WWI and the science of infectious diseases.

    Unfortunately the second half is just way too long, he should have stopped writing and called it good. I am still recommending it, but when you start getting bored with the endless descriptions of the search for the disease, you can just skip to the last chapter and wrap it up.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Krakatoa: The Day the World Exploded, August 27, 1883

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Simon Winchester
    • Narrated By Simon Winchester

    The legendary annihilation in 1883 of the volcano-island of Krakatoa (the name has since become a by-word for a cataclysmic disaster) was followed by an immense tsunami that killed nearly 40,000 people. Beyond the purely physical horrors of an event which has only very recently become properly understood, the eruption changed the world in more ways than could possibly be imagined. Dust swirled round the world for years, causing temperatures to plummet and sunsets to turn vivid.

    rwise says: "Great subject, great writing, great voice"

    This is a fantastic book! I have read and enjoyed several of Winchester's books and find them all fascinating and well written. He weaves geology and history together in unanticipated ways. Since reading the Map That Changed the World, I have a new found respect/interest in the effects that geology shapes culture, and this book brings this notion to a new level, providing insights that are fundamental to my understaning of both the physical evolution of the planet and human history. I highly recommend this book if you are interested in either understanding how culture/society are shaped and changed and the emergence of the concept of a global village or in the history of our understanding of the earths geology. Also I highly recommend the Map That Changed the Wold as well as (not by Winchester) A History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson. These three books together will gave me a profound respect/understanding of the link between earth history and human history.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Mystery of the Aleph: Mathematics, the Kabbalah, and the Search for Infinity

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Amir D. Aczel
    • Narrated By Henry Leyva

    Best selling author Amir Aczel (God's Equation) delves into the riddle of infinity, religion and science with "mad" mathematician Georg Cantor, in what Booklist calls "an indispensable book for anyone interested in the darker side of intellectual progress."

    Jeffrey says: "beauty in numbers"
    "Great book, interesting and accessible"

    I have enjoyed several of Aczel's books, and this one is especially interesting. He constructs a compelling narrative and explains complicated concepts in a way that I (not a mathemetician) could easily understand. The only downside to this book is that the narrator drives me crazy. I wish audible would stop using him as a narrator. If you can get past his irritating voice and bizarre inflections (he emphasizes words that can detract from the power of a sentence) then you will enjoy this book. I am currently listening to Entanglement, again by Aczel and narrated by the same guy (Leyva) and can't believe i didn't check to see who narrated it. Anyway, this book is really good and I would give it 6 stars if it weren't for Leyva's insane reading style.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Endurance: Shackelton's Incredible Voyage

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Alfred Lansing
    • Narrated By Richard Brown

    This fabulous account of Sir Ernest Shackelton's epic adventure recreates one of the most astonishing feats of exploration and human courage ever recorded. In August, 1914, the Endurance set sail for the South Atlantic. In October, 1915, still half a continent away from its intended base, the ship was trapped, then crushed in the ice. For five months Shackelton and his men, drifting on ice packs, were castaways in one of the most savage regions of the world...

    Timothy C S says: "A wonderfull treatment of a complex story"

    This is an excellent book, and very well performed. If you are interested in this amazing journey, or just looking for an adventure, look no more!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • A Cold Heart

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Jonathan Kellerman
    • Narrated By John Rubinstein
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Alex Delaware is summoned to a trendy gallery where a promising young artist has been brutally garroted on the night of her first major showing. There is no obvious motive, and the careful staging of the murder scene immediately suggests to Alex not an impulsive crime of passion, but the meticulous and taunting modus operandi of a serial killer. As more killings are discovered, unraveling the puzzle assumes a new importance - stopping a vicious psychopath who's made cold-blooded murder his chosen art form.

    Rosie H says: "A Cold Heart"
    "Mostly good"

    I just finished listening to A Cold Heart and liked it for the most part. It was well read, and the voices for the characters were consistent and the pacing was good. The writing is a bit confusing at first, switching between first person and third person, but once you get used to it, it is ok. I haven't read any of Kellermans and after listening to this one, I am not going to download any more. That being said, it was an interesting serial killer, and a good basic detective story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Villa Incognito

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Tom Robbins
    • Narrated By Barrett Whitener
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Imagine that there are American MIAs who chose to remain missing after the Vietnam War. Imagine that there is a family in which four generations of strong, alluring women have shared a mysterious connection to an outlandish figure from Japanese folklore. Imagine just those things (don't even try to imagine the love story) and you'll have a foretaste of Tom Robbins's eighth and perhaps most beautifully crafted novel - a work as timeless as myth yet as topical as the latest international threat.

    J. Houlding says: "More excellent Robbins"
    "More excellent Robbins"

    If you love Tom Robbins, then you will like this book. The narration is fantastic, and the story is compelling. The classic problem is that it is difficult to wrap up so many stories at the end, so he uses an epilogue to finish the book, which was a little bit of a let down. That being said, it has some great characters, storylines and made me laugh out loud.

    17 of 18 people found this review helpful

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