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Keith

ratings
186
REVIEWS
10
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
0
HELPFUL VOTES
16

  • Crashlander

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Larry Niven
    • Narrated By Christopher Prince
    Overall
    (38)
    Performance
    (31)
    Story
    (31)

    Crashlander Beowulf Shaeffer has long been one of the most popular characters in Known Space. Now, for the first time ever, Larry Niven brings together all the Beowulf Shaeffer stories - including a brand-new one - in one long tale of exploration and adventure! Plus - an all-new framing story that pulls together all of Beowulf Shaeffer's adventures and allows Shaeffer and his family to make a clean start at life once and for all!

    C. Hale says: "Great Story, Stilted Performance."
    ""Neutron Star" "At The Core" are homeruns."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    Not as an audiobook. "Neutron Star" and "At the Core" are good, solid, classic SF stories, and it was incredibly enjoyable listening to them again, but the rest of the collection is very disappointing.

    "Neutron Star," in particular, has the kind of twist ending based on hard science that appeals to so many of us SF fans. The character of Beowulf has certainly gone down in SF lore; whether that character would ever be considered literary is doubtful, but the characterization certainly appeals strongly to this genre.


    What didn’t you like about Christopher Prince’s performance?

    The narrator's voice was okay, but there were clearly many areas where the studio dubbed and spliced the narration, which was very jarring.


    Do you think Crashlander needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    No, what Niven and the publisher *need* to do is re-release the original "Neutron Star" collection both in print and as an audiobook.


    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Parkland

    • ABRIDGED (9 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Vincent Bugliosi
    • Narrated By Edward Herrmann
    Overall
    (5)
    Performance
    (5)
    Story
    (5)

    This audiobook follows a group of individuals making split-second decisions after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963. The doctors and nurses at Parkland Hospital, the chief of the Dallas Secret Service, the cameraman who captured what has become the most examined film in history, the FBI agents who had gunman Lee Harvey Oswald within their grasp, and Vice President Lyndon Johnson who had to take control of the country at a moment's notice.

    Elizabeth says: "Great narration, great book"
    "Just the Facts, Ma'am"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    If you could sum up Parkland in three words, what would they be?

    Thorough, Unambiguous, Fascinating


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    This was nonfiction, there are no characters.


    Have you listened to any of Edward Herrmann’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Yes, and he is incomparable. If I could afford it I'd buy every audiobook he's narrated, whether I like the subject matter or not.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    It's a tad long for that.


    Any additional comments?

    If you want "just the facts" about the JFK assassination, then this is the book for you. It is thoroughly detailed, unambiguous, and simply states what happened, without hyperbole or a conspiracy-driven agenda.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War

    • ABRIDGED (5 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Nathaniel Philbrick
    • Narrated By Edward Herrmann
    Overall
    (43)
    Performance
    (15)
    Story
    (15)

    From the perilous ocean crossing to the shared bounty of the first Thanksgiving, the Pilgrim settlement of New England has become enshrined as our most sacred national myth. Yet, as best-selling author Nathaniel Philbrick reveals in his spellbinding new book, the true story of the Pilgrims is much more than the well-known tale of piety and sacrifice; it is a fifty-five-year epic that is at once tragic, heroic, exhilarating, and profound.

    KMB Consumer says: "Enjoyable Listening"
    "The First Half was Really Good"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    I'd remove the second half.


    Would you be willing to try another book from Nathaniel Philbrick? Why or why not?

    Yes... he's very detail oriented. It was really cool to hear about how and why the Pilgrims got here in the first place. The bummer is that the Indian wars described in the second half of the book are very difficult to follow in audio.


    Have you listened to any of Edward Herrmann’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Edward Hermann is the best audio voice I've ever heard. If I could afford it I'd buy everything he's narrated, whether I like it or not.


    Did Mayflower inspire you to do anything?

    To learn more about how the Pilgrims survived once they were onshore. This part seemed glossed over. Where'd they get food and water? How did they build their houses? What were their schools like?


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Man Who Killed Kennedy: The Case Against LBJ

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Roger Stone
    • Narrated By David Rapkin
    Overall
    (106)
    Performance
    (94)
    Story
    (96)

    Lyndon Baines Johnson was a man of great ambition and enormous greed, both of which, in 1963, would threaten to destroy him. In the end, President Johnson would use power from his personal connections in Texas and from the underworld and from the government to escape an untimely end in politics and to seize even greater power. President Johnson, the thirty-sixth president of the United States, was the driving force behind a conspiracy to murder President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963. In The Man Who Killed Kennedy, you will find out how and why he did it. Political consultant, strategist, and Libertarian Roger Stone has gathered documents and used his firsthand knowledge to construct the ultimate tome to prove that LBJ was not only involved in JFK's assassination, but was in fact the mastermind. With 2013 being the fiftieth anniversary of JFK's assassination, this is the perfect time for The Man Who Killed Kennedy to be available to readers. The research and information in this book is unprecedented, and as Roger Stone lived through it, he's the perfect person to bring it to everyone's attention.

    Theo Tsourdalakis says: "COMPELLING BOOK - THE CROOKS ARE IN POWER"
    "Convoluted and choppy"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you like best about The Man Who Killed Kennedy? What did you like least?

    The best thing is that it's a "kitchen sink" collection of every political scandal from 1959 to 1974. If you want to know who stuffed a ballot box or hired a prostitute then this book is a decent info dump.But, like many others, I found many of Stone's "facts" to be circumstantial claims and speculation.


    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    It is interesting how many of the players in the Bay of Pigs wound up involved in Watergate.The least interesting part is Stone's lack of a convincing argument. Since this is an audiobook I could not check sources, obviously, while driving, but I've read about a lot of these claims, and most ring hollow.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    I did not have one.


    Was The Man Who Killed Kennedy worth the listening time?

    No, not really. However, none of my criticism is directed at the narrator, who did an excellent job.


    Any additional comments?

    I kinda wish I had my money back.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Calculating God

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By Robert J. Sawyer
    • Narrated By Jonathan Davis, Robert J. Sawyer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2139)
    Performance
    (1519)
    Story
    (1533)

    In this Hugo-nominated novel, an alien walks into a museum and asks if he can see a paleontologist. But the arachnid ET hasn't come aboard a rowboat with the Pope and Stephen Hawking (although His Holiness does request an audience later). Landing at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, the spacefarer, Hollus, asks to compare notes on mass extinctions with resident dino-scientist Thomas Jericho.

    Ione says: "Interesting book, very enjoyable narration"
    "Why the Siege Mentality?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes. It asks many of the important questions of our age, including why scientists (I'm one myself) have developed a siege mentality when it comes to discussing the possibility that the universe was designed by an intelligence 13 billion years ago. The answer, of course, is that the ongoing war on science by the rightwing has created an "us versus them" mentality in both groups, which makes this a fairly important novel: It asks questions that neither the science community nor the religious community are willing to publically address.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Tom Jericho, because of his struggle with cancer. I have to admit, this part of his character was unbelievably frightening to me. Who isn't scared of the notion of finding out you have a terminal disease with nine months to live?


    Which character – as performed by Jonathan Davis and Robert J. Sawyer – was your favorite?

    Probably Jericho, as well. The narration of the rednecks was particularly poor, however.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    The way Sawyer wrote about the protagonist's cancer really was frightening to me. I guess that kind of thing is subjective for each reader, but it really did *get to me.* Otherwise, no, I did not have an extreme reaction. The book, via its characters, asks lots of questions, some deep, some shallow, all important.


    Any additional comments?

    It is a true shame that the Hugo Award was denied to this novel. It is Sawyer's masterpiece. I believe it lost to one of Rowling's Harry Potter novels. I have no issue with her work, but it isn't nearly the quality of this novel.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Ringworld

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Larry Niven
    • Narrated By Tom Parker
    Overall
    (2983)
    Performance
    (1641)
    Story
    (1668)

    Welcome to Ringworld, an intermediate step between Dyson Spheres and planets. The gravitational force created by a rotation on its axis of 770 miles per second means no need for a roof. Walls 1,000 miles high at each rim will let in the sun and prevent much air from escaping. Larry Niven's novel, Ringworld, is the winner of the 1970 Hugo Award for Best Novel, the 1970 Nebula Award for Best Novel, and the 1972 Ditmars, an Australian award for Best International Science Fiction.

    Kennet says: "Genuinely Creative"
    "Uneven characterization, but a fun novel"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to Ringworld again? Why?

    Yes, because Niven has a knack for storytelling. And make no mistake, it is a great story. Is it great literature? No. There is no significant character arc. Louis Wu may be iconic, but he does not really change. And that's a shame.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The interplay among Wu, the Puppeteer and the Kzin. And, of course, Ringworld itself is an amazing setting to immerse yourself in.


    Have you listened to any of Tom Parker’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Sociopath Next Door

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Martha Stout
    • Narrated By Shelly Frasier
    Overall
    (2753)
    Performance
    (1737)
    Story
    (1735)

    We are accustomed to think of sociopaths as violent criminals, but in The Sociopath Next Door, Harvard psychologist Martha Stout reveals that a shocking 4 percent of ordinary people, one in 25, has an often undetected mental disorder, the chief symptom of which is that that person possesses no conscience. He or she has no ability whatsoever to feel shame, guilt, or remorse. One in 25 everyday Americans, therefore, is secretly a sociopath.

    Taryn says: "Reinforces what you have already known"
    "I did not like the composite characters"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Stout is addressing a very unnerving topic, one which many of us who are not mental health professionals may not have a good grasp of. However dire her observations may be -- and this is not a lighthearted book -- it is still worth your time. I will note that, like others, I was put off by Stout's decision to create composite characters instead of using real case studies. I believe this decision seriously detracts from the main theme: Showing us how we deal with sociopaths on a day-to-day basis.

    However, the book is still well worth a read, or a listen. It may not have clinical perfection, but that's okay. If this were an academic/professional publication it'd probably be unreadable (unlistenable?).

    Her keys to identifying those among us who do not have conscience is worth the price of admission alone. I know I've met and worked with at least one person who has sociopathy, and now that I have listened to Stout's book, I can say that with increased confidence. The identifiers she cites (especially the need for pity) provide us with very useful guidelines as we try to live our lives and minimize the hurt we experience at the hands of others.

    Again, it's a layman's book, and should be taken as such. But within its niche it is a solid introduction to a very creepy side of humanity.

    The narrator does an outstanding job; she has a very pleasing voice.

    I would give the story 3.5 stars if Audible.com were set up that way, but because of certain weaknesses in the narrative I chose to round down instead of up.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Ghost in the Wires: My Adventures as the World’s Most Wanted Hacker

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Kevin Mitnick, William L. Simon
    • Narrated By Ray Porter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3690)
    Performance
    (3289)
    Story
    (3301)

    Kevin Mitnick was the most elusive computer break-in artist in history. He accessed computers and networks at the world’s biggest companies—and however fast the authorities were, Mitnick was faster, sprinting through phone switches, computer systems, and cellular networks. He spent years skipping through cyberspace, always three steps ahead and labeled unstoppable.

    Mikeyxote says: "Great listen for tech fans"
    "I don't suffer narcissism well ..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I find myself almost scared to write this review for fear that Kevin Mitnick will hack into my life and -- using some contorted interpretation of ethics -- make my life a living hell.

    I do not care for his brand of nerdy selfishness, which sets its own rules at the emotional expense of others. While true that Mitnick may not have stolen material possessions from the people whose privacy he intruded on, I must say that I really feel bad for his victims, and the turmoil that resulted (I especially feel bad for his family, "Ann" at the SSA, et al, and the others he manipulated over and over again).

    The story is one of a kid who becomes a hacker back in the pre-Internet days of dial-up telephones, old-school modems, and mainframe computer systems, although his primary means of law-breaking was through manipulation of people's trust (his social engineering practices). At first I found his story entertaining because it had sentimental quality, and a childlike innocence that, perhaps, could've been forgiven. But as the story wore on I found myself hoping he would get busted.

    He did, eventually get busted, but Mitnick seems to lack a sense of self-reflection necessary to make his plight sympathetic; in fact, just the opposite is the case here: He is arrogant, self-righteous and condescending. He seems to seek sympathy and understanding for being treated unfairly while failing to realize that trust has to be earned. During the course of this memoir he did not earn my trust. The book consists of far too much whining, not enough contrition.

    Would I recommend it? In a way, yes, because it is a solid warning to others not to venture down the road of the hacker and, much more importantly, a cautionary tale about the fact that our actions really and truly can hurt others even if we do not gain wealth from those actions.

    The narrator, by the way, is outstanding. His reading of this biography made it a worthwhile purchase.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Steve Jobs

    • UNABRIDGED (25 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Walter Isaacson
    • Narrated By Dylan Baker
    Overall
    (11988)
    Performance
    (10384)
    Story
    (10360)

    Based on more than 40 interviews with Jobs conducted over two years—as well as interviews with more than a hundred family members, friends, adversaries, competitors, and colleagues—Walter Isaacson has written a riveting story of the roller-coaster life and searingly intense personality of a creative entrepreneur whose passion for perfection and ferocious drive revolutionized six industries: personal computers, animated movies, music, phones, tablet computing, and digital publishing.

    Jeanne says: "Interesting man"
    "It was like hearing about myself except ..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This biography was like hearing about myself, except that Steve Jobs could be a very cruel person. So, if you are in love the myth of Steve Jobs, then you should brace yourself for a reality check. The man could fly-off-the-handle, both in anger and heartlessness.

    Basically, his mental switch for empathy just didn't seem to work quite right, as if there were a short circuit in his wiring.

    But that aspect of his life notwithstanding, Jobs' personality -- with his left-brain-right-brain balance -- should give hope to all of us who live in that Twilight Zone between technology and art.

    Not only is this biography a fascinating retreat into the history of the personal computer, it also provides well-crafted insight into the thought-process behind Apple's famous (or infamous) computer ecosystem.

    And Jobs' conflict with Bill Gates gives this biography an antagonist that you don't often find in this type of book.

    Isaacson is able to capture a very complete story of Jobs' life -- warts and all -- and make him seem like a guy who lives in the house next door. In fact, you get to know Steve Jobs so well that it is a shock when Isaacson follows an anecdote with a description of the way one of his decisions affected Wall Street.

    Prior to purchasing this, I had heard mixed reviews on the narration.
    And the narrator does tend to use the wrong inflection at times, but that did not detract from the overall quality of the book.

    I really wish more boards of directors would listen and learn when someone draws a simple quad chart on a white board; if they did, they could change the future the way Steve Jobs' did.

    Here's hoping we none of us has an "on/off switch" :-)

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Killing Lincoln: The Shocking Assassination That Changed America Forever

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Bill O'Reilly, Martin Dugard
    • Narrated By Bill O'Reilly
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4021)
    Performance
    (3579)
    Story
    (3601)

    The anchor of The O'Reilly Factor recounts one of the most dramatic stories in American history—how one gunshot changed the country forever. In the spring of 1865, the bloody saga of America's Civil War finally comes to an end after a series of increasingly harrowing battles. President Abraham Lincoln's generous terms for Robert E. Lee's surrender are devised to fulfill Lincoln's dream of healing a divided nation. But one man and his band of murderous accomplices are not appeased....

    Daniel says: "History Made Interesting"
    "If it weren't such an fascinating event ..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The narration of this audio book is, as others have said, abysmal.
    The mispronunciations are so bad it's almost comical.

    Far worse, though, are the varying verb tenses, inconsistent points of view (or lack thereof), flashforwards, flashbacks, and flashes-sideways. The author needs to understand the critical importance of "reading history forward".

    Having said all that, it is still a fascinating historical event.

    The timeline format -- counting down day-by-day until the fateful day -- is compelling. There were many facts presented in this book that are worth researching, e.g., the monetary transactions between the Canadian company and Secretary of War Stanton.

    But it’s been my experience that Bill O'Reilly and facts are often strangers.
    So, while I do recommend this book (especially if you can get it for cheap), I would definitely recommend doing your own research after listening to this.

    10 of 13 people found this review helpful

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