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John

Houston, TX, United States | Member Since 2003

6
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 5 reviews
  • 5 ratings
  • 389 titles in library
  • 21 purchased in 2014
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  • American Rust

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Philipp Meyer
    • Narrated By Tom Stechschulte
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (132)
    Performance
    (78)
    Story
    (77)

    Set in a beautiful but economically devastated Pennsylvania steel town, American Rust is a novel of the lost American dream and the desperation-as well as the acts of friendship, loyalty, and love-that arise from its loss. From local bars to train yards to prison, it is the story of two young men, bound to the town by family, responsibility, inertia, and the beauty around them, who dream of a future beyond the factories and abandoned homes.

    Darwin8u says: "A Web of Despair and Desperation"
    "This Rust Shines"
    Overall

    Wise Sherrif Harris saves two Pennsylvania boys, one of whom done it, from a murder rap by murdering a key witness. He's also bopping one of the boy's mom. The two boys are friends, and one of them is bopping the other's sister before he goes into the clink as the prime suspect while the one who actually done it goes on the lam. Pennsylvania keeps getting rustier. Jaklak gives it five beers on a scale of six. .

    1 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • I Love You More Than You Know: Essays

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By Jonathan Ames
    • Narrated By Jonathan Ames
    Overall
    (52)
    Performance
    (9)
    Story
    (10)

    In his latest collection, I Love You More Than You Know, Ames proves once again his immense talent for turning his own adventures, neuroses, joys, heartaches, and insights into profound and hilarious tales. Alive with love and tenderness for his son, his parents, his great-aunt, and even strangers in bars late at night, in I Love You More Than You Know Ames looks beneath the surface of our world to find the beauty in the perverse, the sweetness in loneliness, and the humor in pain.

    Patricia says: "Just awful!"
    "Wiener Man"
    Overall

    Two or three pieces into this collection, I thought - this is a guy who writes about his wiener. Turns out I was more right than I knew - apparently, Mr. Ames main though not exclusive ouevre in this and other books is his wiener and other humiliating, enslaving parts of anatomy.

    The theme weaving through these essays is doubt at middle age by a writer on the margins, living at times with his parents. Mid-life crisis, as it is more colloquially known. The stories are tidy, engaging, if a little self-obsessive.

    Wileycoyote gives it four beeps and sez check it out if you're a middle-aged guy mostly. I suspect the ladies will have sharply diverging views on this, but what do I know, I'm a guy.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Wasted Beauty

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Eric Bogosian
    • Narrated By Eric Bogosian
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (64)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (2)

    With his dark wit and corrosive dialogue, Eric Bogosian tells a powerful story of two lovers who form a mesmerizing and destructive bond while trying to evade the looming failure of their respective lives.

    Carmela08 says: "Highly recommended"
    "Tried Hard"
    Overall

    This is a novel about trying and failing. I'm not referring to the characters here - I'm referring to the author. Bogosian principally tries hard to imagine the life of a rags to riches to ruin farm girl turned model (discovered homeless! bright lights! big city! drugs! beaches! drugs! meaningless sex! drugs!) and the mid-life crisis of a married doctor with two kids much given to annoying inner dialog (I'm good! I'm bad! I'm a jerk! She loves me! Sho loves me not!) she has an affair with.

    Not for me, anyway. Jaklak sez check it out if you're into this kind of thing. Otherwise, keep walking.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Self-Made Man: One Woman's Journey into Manhood and Back Again

    • ABRIDGED (5 hrs and 36 mins)
    • By Norah Vincent
    • Narrated By Norah Vincent
    Overall
    (242)
    Performance
    (47)
    Story
    (48)

    Following in the tradition of John Howard Griffin (Black Like Me) and Barbara Ehrenreich (Nickel and Dimed), Norah Vincent absorbed a cultural experience and reported back on what she observed incognito. For more than a year and a half she ventured into the world as Ned, with an ever-present five o'clock shadow, a crew cut, wire-rim glasses, and her own size 11 1/2 shoes, a perfect disguise that enabled her to observe the world of men as an insider.

    Holly says: "Abridged"
    "It Took a Woman"
    Overall

    This is a fascinating and somwtimes frustrating read. You know the story, surely - Norah Vincent goes underground as a man named Ned, with some great makeup, expert coaching, and oversized glasses.

    There's a lot of complex interaction in this book, well told. There's the one between woman as man with men; woman as woman with men; woman as man with women; Naroh as man and Ned as woman;woman as lesbian with both men and women. And there's the interaction between any male reader and Norah as woman as man.

    Anyone who reads this book will have a lot to chew on about gender relations. Much of what Norah observes about men is spot on. The great service of this book is that Norah can say what men can't - male insecurity, the humiliation of the dating chase, the conflicting demands women make on men, the stifling cultural cues, and much more.

    The book starts with Ned joining a bowling team. Norah keenly observes male bonding rituals that women simply don't pick up on. Much is good about men in this section. By the end of the book, however, the early part seems long forgotten and men are made to seem to be a bundle of irronciliable pathologies to be rescued from. Hey - we got our own row to hoe just like the ladies do.

    That's a little frustrating, but still - read this book, gents and ladies. It's a doozy.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus

    • ABRIDGED (11 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By Charles C. Mann
    • Narrated By Peter Johnson
    Overall
    (1097)
    Performance
    (573)
    Story
    (579)

    In this riveting, accessible work of science, Charles Mann takes us on an enthralling journey of scientific exploration. We learn that the Indian development of modern corn was one of the most complex feats of genetic engineering ever performed. That the Great Plains are a third smaller today than they were in 1700 because the Indians who maintained them by burning died. And that the Amazon rain forest may be largely a human artifact.

    Case says: "Hotly debated new theories, but NOT revisionism"
    "Listen"
    Overall

    Mann's point in this book is to bring to a wide readership the recent scholarship on the America's prior to Columbus. This is he does, and does well, and the reader is excellent. Still, this may be a book better read than listened to. Necessarily, the author ranges over a wide space both geographically and historically. The strangeness of names of places and people often made it difficult for this lay reader to follow complex passages.

    But I heard enough to know this is a worthy and serious book. What's impressive in the end is how much we still don't know, how impressive is the knowledge gained for this place and time over the last 50 years, and how much is argued over between scholars, Native Americans, and enthusiasts when consensus doesn't exist. An excellent account of a time long past that remains so much a mystery despite the excellent work of many in different fields of expertise.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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