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J.

J. Jason Gale

Modesto, CA, United States | Member Since 2011

16
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 14 reviews
  • 34 ratings
  • 149 titles in library
  • 10 purchased in 2014
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  • The Swerve: How the World Became Modern

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Stephen Greenblatt
    • Narrated By Edoardo Ballerini
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (887)
    Performance
    (761)
    Story
    (757)

    Nearly six hundred years ago, a short, genial, cannily alert man in his late 30s took a very old manuscript off a library shelf, saw with excitement what he had discovered, and ordered that it be copied. That book was the last surviving manuscript of an ancient Roman philosophical epic by Lucretius—a beautiful poem containing the most dangerous ideas: that the universe functioned without the aid of gods, that religious fear was damaging to human life, and that matter was made up of very small particles.

    Ethan M. says: "Very compelling history, a less compelling thesis"
    "5-STARS is VERY RARE from ME"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book is lyrical, almost poetic. It is so pleasurable that this reader is stunned that it is deeply profound as well.

    I have a better understanding of ancient and medieval history and philosophy from Swerve than I got in from classes at the University. Stephen made the characters alive and interactive in their political/social environs.

    Thanks to this book, I no longer think modernity evolved into our scientific perception of reality. Instead, it's clear to me that we rediscovered it. And quite accidentally.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Lords of Discipline

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Pat Conroy
    • Narrated By Dan John Miller
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (867)
    Performance
    (561)
    Story
    (561)

    This powerful and breathtaking novel is the story of four cadets who have become bloodbrothers. Together they will encounter the hell of hazing and the rabid, raunchy and dangerously secretive atmosphere of an arrogant and proud military institute. They will experience the violence. The passion. The rage. The friendship. The loyalty. The betrayal. Together, they will brace themselves for the brutal transition to manhood... and one will not survive.

    P. J. Benyei says: "Amazing book superb narrator"
    "A WEAK STORY PROPPED UP BY A PROFUSION OF ADVERBS"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A young man's college career is spent suffering at the hands of a secret society. After four years he discovers the members and leader of the murderous cult. He calls them bad names and graduates. The end. The other eighteen hours are description and narration.

    Okay, I gladly admit the description and narration are very well written; Conroy has a gift for words. And that added to my frustration: I anticipated a more satisfying story.

    Books have two parts: What is said (the story and its structure); and How it's said (the words themselves). This work was a powerhouse of the latter but sorely wanted for the former. In the end, highfalutin words without a story are like boats with fancy sails adrift on the sand dunes in a desert.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Hollywood Animal: A Memoir

    • UNABRIDGED (28 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Joe Eszterhas
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    Overall
    (52)
    Performance
    (18)
    Story
    (19)

    He spent his earliest years in post WWII refugee camps. He came to America and grew up in Cleveland, stealing cars, rolling drunks, battling priests, nearly going to jail. He became the screenwriter of the worldwide hits Basic Instinct, Jagged Edge, and Flashdance. He also wrote the legendary disasters Showgirls and Jade. The rebellion never ended, even as he became the most famous, or infamous, screenwriter in Hollywood.

    J. says: "MEMO to JOE ESZTERHAS"
    "MEMO to JOE ESZTERHAS"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Joe, Baby,

    I just read your “H’wood Animal” script. Fantastic! Perfect! Best script ever!

    The whole office loved it. A script reader peened the IT Guy with a bat. I was laughing so hard I could barely give directions to the ambulance.

    Here are the changes needed before shooting: No one cares that whatshisname, the protagonist (Scott Brick?) pronounces “home run” wrong; lose that. And the ‘50’s ran too long (they dragged back then too).

    You can pad the Rolling Stone gig. Maybe he covered John or Ringo – you can’t overdo The Beatles.

    Market Research says the ending doesn’t work: everyone hates this guy. He can’t play Caligula for 40 years, get a sore throat, find God and then ride off into the sunset. Not a chance.

    We’re thinking Obitz’s Wilshire goons track him down at a homeless shelter after his second wife’s divorce lawyer takes him for all he’s worth. The goons blow his brains out and steal seven dollars from his wallet. Whadda ya think?

    We want to see 100 pages – 110 tops.

    Love ya man!

    Let’s do Chili’s next time you’re in Modesto. We’ll go over my latest script.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Mr. American

    • UNABRIDGED (23 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By George MacDonald Fraser
    • Narrated By David Case
    Overall
    (32)
    Performance
    (25)
    Story
    (25)

    Mark Franklin came from the American West to Edwardian England with two long-barrelled .44s in his baggage and a fortune in silver in the bank. Where he had got it and what he was looking for no one could guess, although they wondered -- at Scotland Yard, in City offices, in the glittering theatreland of the West End, in the highest circles of Society (even King Edward was puzzled) and in the humble pub at Castle Lancing.

    John says: "Mr. America you had so much potential."
    "WOW! WHAT A BOOK; WHAT A PERFORMANCE"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This work upset my world for days. It quietly drew me in at first. I thought 'it has no plot at all' -- an accessory well concealed in amongst the ornate language that had already ensnared me beyond any hope of escape. I found it all irresistibly beguiling.

    I was there, in Castle Lancing, England, living a gentry's life of leisure. And 'who's the antagonist' I wondered. But it didn't matter: I was hooked and couldn't stop listening except at gunpoint.

    And in the end I was heartbroken that it was all over. I will listen to this one again.

    PS: The landscape is littered with antagonists: witting and otherwise.



    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Stephen Chbosky
    • Narrated By Noah Galvin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2039)
    Performance
    (1856)
    Story
    (1878)

    Most people think 15-year-old Charlie is a freak. But then seniors Patrick and his beautiful stepsister Sam take Charlie under their wings and introduce him to their eclectic, open-minded, hard-partying friends. It is from these older kids that Charlie learns to live and love.

    FanB14 says: "Intelligent, Absorbing Coming of Age Story"
    "IT WAS OKAY, I GUESS"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The story was adequate, but it was told first-person by a freshman in high school. Therefore, it was written at a high school level. Early on I got tired of sentences ending with "I guess", but the author was just getting warmed up.

    Also, I kept asking myself why socially sophisticated and sexually active teens would suffer the company of a nerdy, cry baby virgin with psychotic episodes.

    I wish I could recommend this book, but alas, such is not the case.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Stephen King
    • Narrated By Stephen King
    Overall
    (2283)
    Performance
    (1160)
    Story
    (1156)

    The prolific, perennially best selling author recounts his early life and writing struggles, gives advice on the crucial aspects of the writing art, and talks about his much-publicized, near-fatal accident.

    Bill says: "Excellent!"
    "STEVE IS A REGULAR GUY, IN A VERY STRANGE WAY"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The book comes in three parts: true vignettes from his life experiences that propelled him to write tales of horror (he insists it's not an autobiography); writing instructions; and a blow-by-blow recount of his run-in with a minivan.

    All three parts are well worth the listening, however, as he notes himself, they are virtually stand-alone units with no through line.

    One delicious thing about this book is Steve narrates it himself. Like a suspect confessing under a naked, over-bright light bulb, the eagerness -- or lack there of -- concealed in his voice paints emotional undertones to his stories.

    The writing instructions section is the lion's share of the book. (Please let me offer this caution: Mr. King has been writing since his was old enough to hold a pen so some of his advise will be strong meat for the beginning writer.) Mr. King taught high school English for years, and so he relaxes, entertains and hammers home a stream of practical points.

    He sorts writers into four types: Bad, Good, Very Good (where he classifies himself) and Magically Gifted. He suggests only the Good can move up to the Very Good; the rest are locked-in. Perhaps if you are not at least a Good writer, you're just wasting your time?

    Steve says writing is telepathy: the writer thinks a thought, then the reader has the same thought. If so, after listening to this book, you will know Mr. King intimately and will be able to write like he does, more or less.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • How Music Works: The Science and Psychology of Beautiful Sounds, from Beethoven to the Beatles and Beyond

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By John Powell
    • Narrated By Walter Dixon
    Overall
    (253)
    Performance
    (199)
    Story
    (194)

    Have you ever wondered how off-key you are while singing in the shower? Or if your Bob Dylan albums really sound better on vinyl? Or why certain songs make you cry? Now, scientist and musician John Powell invites you on an entertaining journey through the world of music. Discover what distinguishes music from plain old noise, how scales help you memorize songs, what the humble recorder teaches you about timbre (assuming your suffering listeners don’t break it first), and more.

    C. Beaton says: "Great book - wrong narrator"
    "GOOD THINGS to KNOW"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is one of those books that you're glad you listened to even if you are well versed in the subject matter already. It covers things like where we get the notes in the modern scale, how speakers work and most stuff in between.

    It's not always easy to stick with it; it gets a little dry in spots.

    The biggest complaint I have is there's not enough musical examples. He mentions music by Beethoven, Pink Floyd and many others, but doesn't play the passage. Of course he can't due to copyright laws.

    I surround myself with music constantly and often I recall John's references so it's well worth the listening.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Speak Like Churchill, Stand Like Lincoln: 21 Powerful Secrets of History's Greatest Speakers

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By James C. Humes
    • Narrated By Norman Dietz
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (163)
    Performance
    (142)
    Story
    (137)

    In this book, you'll discover how Napoleon Bonaparte mastered the use of the pregnant pause to grab attention, how Lady Margaret Thatcher punctuated her most serious speeches with the use of subtle props, how Ronald Reagan could win even the most hostile crowd with carefully timed wit, and much, much more. Whether you're addressing a small nation or a large staff meeting, you'll want to master the tips and tricks in Speak Like Churchill, Stand Like Lincoln.

    J. says: "WHAT SPEAKING IS ALL ABOUT"
    "WHAT SPEAKING IS ALL ABOUT"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I've heard about a dozen books on speaking and this work contains the best advice I've ever heard. Mr. Humes draws on his decades of experience of writing speeches for Presidents to cut through the little mechanical details where most books get bogged down and hit the essence of audience reaction.

    21 points are probably more than can be memorized. Don't worry about that; you won't use all those points. You'll likely use more than 10 of Humes' secrets depending on the type of speaking required in your engagements. But any 5 points will more than justify the time it takes to wade through the other ones.

    Whether you speak to a small team or an arena, don't skip this book.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Stephen R. Covey
    • Narrated By Stephen R. Covey
    Overall
    (5463)
    Performance
    (2488)
    Story
    (2486)

    Stephen R. Covey's book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, has been a top seller for the simple reason that it ignores trends and pop psychology for proven principles of fairness, integrity, honesty, and human dignity. Celebrating its 15th year of helping people solve personal and professional problems, this special anniversary edition includes a new forward and afterword written by Covey that explore whether the 7 Habits are still relevant.

    Scott says: "A true guide for life"
    "GOOD IDEA; WRONG BOOK"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Dr. Covey says he has studied the body of self-help literature (presumably prior to 1989) and the information overload is evident in his work. He denigrates most of the literature for being “personality” based instead of “character” based.

    Character development is important. Improvement in character will probably make an improvement in most lives and in society on the whole. However, this treatment falls short of leading this reader towards that end in four areas.

    1. Dr. Covey reads the book himself. It would take a miracle for any self-read character-improvement book to avoid sounding preachy and sometimes he doesn't seem to even try. When he holds character improvement to have moral value, he comes off sounding messianic. On one instance, he alters the Golden Rule to make his point.

    2. The premise of his philosophy is that the goal of life is to have good eulogies at your funeral. (Insert your favorite “Over my dead body” joke here.) My philosophy of life is markedly different from that.

    3. Any book telling people how to live is bound to be vague and overreaching, and "The 7 Habits" is a shining example. Dr. Covey uses far more metaphors to explain his theses than I cared for, and sometimes the correlations were a little obscure.

    4. The delivery was monotonous. He didn’t have the sense of drama to reach a climax at his main points. And at the end of his thesis, he neglects the use of cadence, so he announces (seemingly hundreds of times) “New Heading.”

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Back to Work: Why We Need Smart Government for a Strong Economy

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Bill Clinton
    • Narrated By Bill Clinton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (489)
    Performance
    (417)
    Story
    (414)

    President Bill Clinton gives us his views on the challenges facing the United States today and why government matters—presenting his ideas on restoring economic growth, energy, job creation, financial responsibility, resolving the mortgage crisis, and financial responsibility, and offering a plan to get us "back in the future business".

    Christine A. Haimann says: "Great and it all makes sense"
    "Some Good Ideas Hidden In There"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Unfortunately, the first part of this book is burdened with self-promotion and catelogs of Mr. President's accomplishments while in office. This was overdone and not presented with a balance of what worked and what fell short. I found myself saying, "Enough already; get to the point!". I voted for him twice. I was generally okay with his performance of his official duties. But some mistakes were made: most notably the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act which contributed to our current meltdown.

    The second half of the book is a rapid-fire list of over 40 proposals for Congress to increase employment. Many of these are excellent ideas. The bad news is that Congress will do nothing due to more ideology than patriotism (don't get me started on that bunch of #*$&%'s). But being an ex-president, Bill can make any proposal he wants without actually getting his hands dirty with all the negotiating and warfare required to pass legislation.

    It made me pine for the good old days when there was real drama in politics.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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