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Jonathan Famous

Pennsylvania | Member Since 2009

3
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 12 reviews
  • 30 ratings
  • 237 titles in library
  • 17 purchased in 2014
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  • Flawless: Inside the Largest Diamond Heist in History

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Scott Selby, Greg Campbell
    • Narrated By Don Hagen
    Overall
    (358)
    Performance
    (201)
    Story
    (199)

    On February 15, 2003, a group of thieves broke into an allegedly airtight vault in the international diamond capital of Antwerp, Belgium and made off with over $108 million dollars worth of diamonds and other valuables. They did so without tripping an alarm or injuring a single guard in the process.

    morton says: "An Exciting, Terrific, Nail Biting Ride!"
    "Fascinating story, missing details"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    This is a fascinating true story, and I'd recommend reading about the events to anyone. For this particular telling, I have two complaints: 1) there's a fair amount of intro material about the various cities and state of the diamond industry and such at the time; it's not bad, but it's not directly necessary for the story; on the other hand, it's probably useful if one (like me) has no background or knowledge of that area at all; 2) it's lacking some answers at the end - now, it's a true story, and the world at large doesn't know what happened, so they couldn't have added it, but given how much was learned, it's somewhat disappointing not to get the whole story at the end. It seems they've given everything that's known, though. And the lack of that material is probably why there's more up-front material. Overall worth reading.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • I Suck at Girls

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Justin Halpern
    • Narrated By Sean Schemmel
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (333)
    Performance
    (300)
    Story
    (304)

    Fans of the #1 bests eller Sh*t My Dad Says will recognize the always patient voice of Justin Halpern's dad as it crackles through this hysterical new audiobook. The story begins when Justin announces that he's decided to propose to his girlfriend. "You've been dating her for four years," his dad replies. "It ain't like you found a parallel fucking universe."

    Jay says: "Funny but nowhere like the the first book."
    "Cute but not great"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Which character – as performed by Sean Schemmel – was your favorite?

    The reading of this book is excellent. The portrayal of all characters works, but that of the father is extremely well done. The overall book is decent, cute, but it's not great. It's somewhat of a history of the author's relationships, presumably embellished for humor's sake, but it's really the relationship with the father that makes the book (not surprising from the writer of "Sh*t my dad says"). It's not bad reading, it's humorous at times, it's short and quick to get through. I don't feel like I wasted my time reading it, but I can't think of anything about it that would cause me to recommend it to anyone.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Gripping Hand

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Jerry Pournelle, Larry Niven
    • Narrated By L. J. Ganser
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (686)
    Performance
    (602)
    Story
    (613)

    Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, award-winning authors of such best sellers as Footfall and The Legacy of Heorot, return us to the Mote, and to the universe of Kevin Renner and Horace Bury, of Rod Blaine and Sally Fowler. There, 25 years have passed since humanity quarantined the mysterious aliens known as Moties within the confines of their own solar system. They have spent a quarter century analyzing and agonizing over the deadly threat posed by the only aliens mankind has ever encountered - a race divided into distinct biological forms, each serving a different function: Master, Mediator, Engineer, Warrior.

    James says: "The sequel matches the first book"
    "Good follow-on to Mote in God's Eye"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to The Gripping Hand again? Why?

    Simply put, if you read and like The Mote in God's Eye, you'll want to read this. If you haven't read Mote in God's Eye, you need to read that first. This is a fair follow-on to the original story, not as original (it would be difficult to be), but a good what-would-come-next type of story.


    Any additional comments?

    My only. Complaint. Is that the writing style... is more fragmented, than that of Mote. Clearly one author had a larger part in the first book, and the other this one. I preferred the style of Mote, as this one had a lot of choppy scenes and sentence, enough to become mildly distracting. But the quality of the story is excellent enough and does more than compensate for that weakness.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Drunkard's Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Leonard Mlodinow
    • Narrated By Sean Pratt
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2652)
    Performance
    (1574)
    Story
    (1550)

    In this irreverent and illuminating audiobook, acclaimed writer and scientist Leonard Mlodinow shows us how randomness, chance, and probability reveal a tremendous amount about our daily lives, and how we misunderstand the significance of everything from a casual conversation to a major financial setback. As a result, successes and failures in life are often attributed to clear and obvious causes, when in actuality they are more profoundly influenced by chance.

    Joshua Kim says: "Very Very Smart"
    "Good material but without focus"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    This book has a lot of interesting material, although much of it I've seen or heard in other stories and articles. It's got a lot of mathematical concepts (which is fine) that the author attempts to explain just enough to convey a point, but it struggles with whether this is a math book (explaining random number theories) or a psychology book (why we make poor choices associated with randomness) or a history book (the mathematicians who developed the solutions). Given all of that it ends up not focusing on one aspect of it and thus ends up with a lot more words than are really necessary to make his point. That all being said it's interesting, and I'm glad I read it. I would recommend it someone interested in, but without background, in the concepts, but not to a general audience.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Mark of Zorro

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Johnston McCulley
    • Narrated By Armando Durán
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (21)
    Performance
    (21)
    Story
    (21)

    1820s California, in a bygone era of sprawling haciendas and haughty caballeros, suffers beneath the whip of oppression. Missions are pillaged, native peasants are abused, and innocent men and women are persecuted by the corrupt governor and his army. But a champion of freedom rides the highways. His identity hidden behind a mask, the laughing outlaw Zorro defies the tyrant’s might. A deadly marksman and a demon swordsman, his flashing blade strikes down those who exploit the poor and oppressed.

    S. Wells says: "Charming!"
    "Great story, mediocre reading."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What didn’t you like about Armando Durán’s performance?

    The story is fantastic, but the reading is somewhat lacking, in my opinion. Overall it's OK, but it's the voice of Don Diego that's lacking. The character is supposed to be lazy and disinterred, not whiny and weak. There's a difference. Unfortunately the reading of the character comes across as the latter, and it's the wrong sentiment for him. Other than that it was fine, but it's significant enough that I would recommend looking for another narrator if available.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Life of Pi

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Yann Martel
    • Narrated By Jeff Woodman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (11008)
    Performance
    (6198)
    Story
    (6247)

    Pi Patel has been raised in a zoo in India. When his father decides to move the family to Canada and sell the animals to American zoos, everyone boards a Japanese cargo ship. The ship sinks, and 16-year-old Pi finds himself alone on a lifeboat with a hyena, an orangutan, a zebra with a broken leg, and a 450-pound Bengal tiger. Soon it's just Pi, the tiger, and the vast Pacific Ocean - for 227 days. Pi's fear, knowledge, and cunning keep him alive until they reach the coast of Mexico, where the tiger disappears into the jungle.

    Theresa says: "Best audio of the year for me"
    "Interesting, different, worthwhile"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I read this book because it sounded like something different, which it definitely was.

    The story is essentially a parable and advocacy for religion. It's certainly not giving anything away to say that, as the importance of religion (any religion) is highlighted right from the start.

    The reading is well done, in two voices, and the story is captivating.

    I have a problem with only one section towards the end, where the story goes from the possible to the impossible. But that's part of the point of the story, to force the reader to think about what they're willing to accept and why, and the value of accepting what is clearly consistent with reality and what may not be entirely so. One's attitude towards religion will clearly affect your reception to both this section and to the story overall.

    While the book has a clearly religious bent, it's also just an interesting story; the story is captivating and the presentation is among the best to which I've listened.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany

    • UNABRIDGED (57 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By William L. Shirer
    • Narrated By Grover Gardner
    Overall
    (3549)
    Performance
    (2583)
    Story
    (2592)

    Since its publication in 1960, William L. Shirer’s monumental study of Hitler’s German empire has been widely acclaimed as the definitive record of the 20th century’s blackest hours. The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich offers an unparalleled and thrillingly told examination of how Adolf Hitler nearly succeeded in conquering the world. With millions of copies in print around the globe, it has attained the status of a vital and enduring classic.

    G. House Sr. says: "A Tale of Momumental Evil, Stupidity and Hatred"
    "Long but worth every minute"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I was recommended to this book by friends, and I've thanked them for the recommendation. This book is extremely long, but worth every minute of the time invested in it. The author spent many years in Germany leading up to WWII, and he combines personal observation and many of the records from the post-war documents that were recovered to provide terrific insight into the events that led to WWII, it's conduct, and it's conclusion. Time is roughly spent equally per year and the book is actually very light on the war years themselves, focusing instead (as advertised) on the events leading to Nazi rise to power, entering the war, and concluding it.

    Overall the book remains focused on its purpose (having a journalist as author probably helps) and references many other books for additional details on particular aspects of Nazi Germany and the war. The author throws in an occasional stray section, and one stray chapter, but these are very minor and don't at all detract from the overall quality of this book.

    There are excerpts from the diaries of several of the political and military leaders of Nazi Germany, and the book focuses to some extent on Hitler and his own personal rise to power, decisions, successes, and ultimate failures. While certainly biased overall against the Nazi regime and Hitler, the author is not presenting his own opinions, but rather lets historical events and documents speak for themselves and provide a position.

    I could say many good things about this book and have absolutely nothing negative I'd report. I can simply recommend this to anyone with any interest at all in history and assure you that you won't be disappointed.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • David Copperfield

    • UNABRIDGED (36 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Charles Dickens
    • Narrated By Frederick Davidson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (187)
    Performance
    (56)
    Story
    (56)

    Of all Charles Dickens' novels, this is perhaps the most revealing, both of Dickens himself and of the society of his time. It is little wonder that Dickens said of it, "of all my books I like this the best; like many fond parents I have in my heart of hearts a favorite child. And his name is David Copperfield."

    R. H. Krauch says: "Charming & Delightful"
    "Simply terrific"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Pretty-much anything by Dickens is going to be good. This is no exception. This is simply a terrific book from start to finish, a great story. It is, ultimately, a love story (as many books are, though this more so than Dickens' others). As with most Dickens, many storylines are woven together at the end for a wonderful conclusion. If you have any liking for classics, this is most definitely worth reading.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Sex at Dawn: How We Mate, Why We Stray, and What It Means for Modern Relationships

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Christopher Ryan, Cacilda Jetha
    • Narrated By Allyson Johnson, Jonathan Davis, Christopher Ryan
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1771)
    Performance
    (1233)
    Story
    (1231)

    Since Darwin's day, we've been told that sexual monogamy comes naturally to our species. Mainstream science - as well as religious and cultural institutions - has maintained that men and women evolved in families in which a man's possessions and protection were exchanged for a woman's fertility and fidelity. But this narrative is collapsing....

    Mark says: "too much focus on academic in-fighting"
    "Like an collection of college lectures"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    There was a lot good, and a lot not so good, about this book. To summarize my main complaint with it, it's written like a bunch of college lectures from a semester or two that were thrown together. Each chapter is individually viable, but there's little that holds everything together, other than very loosely, and no really good or insightful conclusions or conjectures put forth from the other material in here.

    That being said, some of the material, background research, and case studies are very good. It looks at the less-well-known side of various concepts (mainly the standard narrative of male/female monogamous relationships) and less often cited studies. So if you're looking for different perspectives on relationship and marriage and monogamy, there's a lot of good background material here.

    So it has interesting material; it just doesn't hold well together as a cohesive writing. If you accept that going in, it's certainly not a bad read, and will make you think.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Pride and Prejudice

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Jane Austen
    • Narrated By Lindsay Duncan
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1051)
    Performance
    (556)
    Story
    (569)

    Pride and Prejudice has delighted generations of readers with its unforgettable cast of characters, carefully choreographed plot, and a hugely entertaining view of the world and its absurdities. With the arrival of eligible young men in their neighbourhood, the lives of Mr and Mrs Bennet and their five daughters are turned inside out and upside down.

    Louise says: "excellent reading"
    "Gold-digging drivel"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I read this book simply because it's a classic and I'm a fan of classics, and it's often referenced/well-known, so I thought I'd try it. Do I regret reading it? No. Do I feel like that time could easily have been better spent: absolutely.

    The book is nothing more than a bunch of women who want to get married and to marry as richly as they possibly can. And that's pretty-much all that matters. The only girl marries the worst character in the book, and she's thrilled about it, because her ultimate goal in life was simply to get married. If that's your goal in life for yourself or your children, well, then, you might enjoy this book. If you want anything more out of life than to marry rich (or marry a gold-digger of a wife), then skip this book.

    0 of 5 people found this review helpful

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