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James

toronto, Ontario, Canada | Member Since 2002

62
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 7 reviews
  • 17 ratings
  • 352 titles in library
  • 15 purchased in 2014
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  • Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer: A Journey Into the Heart of Fan Mania

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Warren St. John
    • Narrated By Michael Kramer
    Overall
    (53)
    Performance
    (18)
    Story
    (17)

    Warren St. John decided to find out why people care so much about the outcomes of games they're not playing in by joining a group where the particulars of the fan psyche would show themselves in sharp relief: the caravan of hundreds of RVs that follow the Alabama Crimson Tide across the South, taking over college towns with a moveable feast of Weber grills, karaoke machines, Igloo coolers, and fast-draining liquor bottles.

    James says: "Well done"
    "Well done"
    Overall

    I don't watch a lot of sports, and especially not football, but I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

    This book is laid out as a documentary in which the author spends a season following the fans of the Alabama Crimson Tide football team. It is very well-written. The author does a fantastic job of painting the picture in your mind. The narrator does a brilliant job of bringing it to life, with good inflection and a talent for replicating deep southern accents.

    Despite what the Publisher's Review says, this book is only sprinkled superficially with anthopological and psychological analyses of fan-mania. Those looking for an in-depth study will want to look elsewhere, but there's enough insight to give die-hard fans some pause to reflect on their behavioural habits.

    4-Stars because it was very enjoyable. Not 5-stars, as those are reserved for classic must-reads, which this is not.

    11 of 11 people found this review helpful
  • Tenth of December: Stories

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By George Saunders
    • Narrated By George Saunders
    Overall
    (456)
    Performance
    (403)
    Story
    (412)

    One of the most important and blazingly original writers of his generation, George Saunders is an undisputed master of the short story, and Tenth of December is his most honest, accessible, and moving collection yet. In the taut opener, "Victory Lap", a boy witnesses the attempted abduction of the girl next door and is faced with a harrowing choice: Does he ignore what he sees, or override years of smothering advice from his parents and act? In "Home", a combat-damaged soldier moves back in with his mother and struggles to reconcile the world he left with the one to which he has returned.

    Molly-o says: "I could never have known"
    "Meh..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What does George Saunders bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    I found the narration to be pretty good. With a few exceptions, I like it when authors read their own material. I think he did a good job with pacing and tone.


    Was Tenth of December worth the listening time?

    To be honest, I wouldn't recommend this book. The first couple of stories are good because they are fresh and new, especially for a first-time Saunders listener. The plots are intriguing and presented in a good way - a key word here, a phrase there - like slowing opening a present by the corners. But it just started getting repetitive. The characters seemed so similar, their situations were different in the details but not that different in the nature of the conflict. The internal conversations of the characters went from interesting and entertaining to repetitive and predictable. A couple of times while I was listening in my car, I found myself talking to the narration saying, "Yes, I get it. Move on!"


    Any additional comments?

    It seems like a lot of people like this book, so who am I to say. I don't usually write reviews, but wanted to give me thoughts, for what they're worth (probably not much).

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • The Confessions of Max Tivoli

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Andrew Sean Greer
    • Narrated By Brian Keeler
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (203)
    Performance
    (20)
    Story
    (21)

    Max Tivoli is uniquely cursed. His mind ages normally, but he is born with the withered body of a 70-year-old man, and his body ages in reverse. Despite this torment, Max manages three times to cross paths with Alice, the woman who captures his heart. Because he appears to be a different person each time they meet, Max has three chances for true love.

    Diana says: "Unfufilling"
    "Incredible"
    Overall

    This is a great book, some of the best story-telling I've ever read. I'm not going to say as good as John Irving, but very worth the time.

    The premise, which at first take seems a bit awkward, is handled very well and in a very engaging way.

    The narration was flawless. What can I say...one of the best selections of fiction I've downloaded from Audible, a grand journey.

    There's really nothing bad to say, except that perhaps that the take-away message is not exceptionally deep and profound.

    Highly recommended!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • JPod

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Douglas Coupland
    • Narrated By Marc Cashman
    Overall
    (114)
    Performance
    (33)
    Story
    (32)

    Ethan Jarlewski and five co-workers whose names start with J are bureaucratically marooned in jPod. jPod is a no-escape architectural limbo on the fringes of a massive Vancouver game design company. The six workers daily confront the forces that define our era: global piracy, boneheaded marketing staff, people smuggling, the rise of China, marijuana grow-ops, Jeff Probst, and the ashes of the 1990s financial tech dream. jPod's universe is amoral and shameless.

    Greg says: "Very Annoying Production"
    "A bit self-indulgent"
    Overall

    I wouldn't say I'm a rabid Coupland fan, but I've enjoyed his works for a number of years, so I have a bit of perspective with regard to his writing. This book was a disappointment. I thoroughly enjoyed Microserfs, and given the comparisons that have been made between that book and this, I was looking forward to the listen.

    It just seemed as though he was patting himself on the back the whole time, making references to himself in his own book, as though he is such a strong presence in the social consciousness. It reminded me of the really cheesy scene in Ocean's Twelve where Julia Roberts dressed up as 'herself' to help out with the heist. It's just not effective and comes off a bit smarmy.

    And his way of writing random pages of words/characters/phrases in his books, which I don't mind, doesn't come across effectively in the audio version.

    I'm giving it 3-stars because it did have a few redeeming qualities and comical aspects to the characters, but definitely not his best effort.

    Should you get it? I don't know....there are better ones out there.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Start Late, Finish Rich: A No-Fail Plan for Achieving Financial Freedom at Any Age

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By David Bach
    • Narrated By Michael Kramer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (106)
    Performance
    (26)
    Story
    (24)

    Start Late, Finish Rich applies David Bach's financial wisdom to all those who forgot to save (or just plain procrastinated) and are worried that it is too late to achieve financial freedom. For those who worry that they'll never be able to retire on their current savings, hope and help have arrived. David's message is that it is never too late to finish rich.

    James says: "Sound advice, but..."
    "Sound advice, but..."
    Overall

    This is a good book, with some solid ideas. The detail with which he explains his theories is both good and bad. For one thing, in the printed version, there are a lot of charts, so in the audiobook the narrator reads off all the repetitive stats from the charts in a very long, monotonous way. In the text version, you would just glance at the chart, get the gist, and move on...in the audiobook, you have to listen to it for over 5 minutes sometimes. A little annoying, because you get the concept after the first few examples, then have to listen to him drone on through the whole chart.

    Also, a lot of the advice relates directly to Americans only. I am Canadian, and though I found the general theories sound, the specific advice (401k, etc) was not as helpful.

    All in all, a worthy buy.

    41 of 43 people found this review helpful
  • My Life as a 10-Year-Old Boy

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Nancy Cartwright
    • Narrated By Nancy Cartwright
    Overall
    (121)
    Performance
    (21)
    Story
    (21)

    Nancy Cartwright is the ultimate Simpsons insider. Her raspy, childlike voice is immediately recognizable as none other than Bart Simpson, the most precocious, irreverent, and intriguing 10-year-old ever to enter the American consciousness.

    Cynthia says: "squeaky fun"
    "Public speaking 101"
    Overall

    I'm a pretty big Simpson's fan, and as soon as I saw this audiobook, I bought it.

    In a word...disappointing. While she does a great job as Bart, Nancy Cartwright is no literary wordsmith. The whole audiobook has the feel of a highschool public speaking presentation. Her narrative voice is unique and somewhat charming for the first 30min, then it sort of grates on the mind. ie. "The B-Sharps"

    With some reasonable "behind-the-scenes" content, I might recommend borrowing the hardcopy version from the library (which would eliminate the voice issue). If it were a movie I saw at the theatre, I'd say wait for the video and rent it. If you're a member, and are at a loss for something to order before your Renewal Date hits, order it with no high expectations. If you're not a member, save your money and go to the library.

    PS. I just finished Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer. If you're looking for an entertaining, well-written audiobook with a great narrator, check it out.

    4 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • A Short History of Nearly Everything

    • ABRIDGED (5 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Bill Bryson
    • Narrated By Bill Bryson
    Overall
    (2310)
    Performance
    (390)
    Story
    (394)

    In A Short History of Nearly Everything, Bill Bryson takes his ultimate journey - into the most intriguing and consequential questions that science seeks to answer. It's a dazzling quest, as this insatiably curious writer attempts to understand everything that has transpired from the Big Bang to the rise of civilization.

    Brent says: "This audio edition is abridged!"
    "Informative and Entertaining"
    Overall

    Enjoyed the listen. Skillfully combined details with easily understandable language, and an ample measure of ironic quips thrown in. The only downside...there's nothing in it you'd care to discuss with anyone else, ie. friends, family or co-workers, unless you're an anthropologist or geologist, in which case you'd be familiar with all the content anyways. Regardless, worth the download.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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