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Mark

MTF

Waltham, MA, United States | Member Since 2010

171
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 109 reviews
  • 135 ratings
  • 297 titles in library
  • 31 purchased in 2014
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FOLLOWERS
36

  • Still Foolin' 'Em: Where I've Been, Where I'm Going, and Where the Hell Are My Keys

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Billy Crystal
    • Narrated By Billy Crystal
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1694)
    Performance
    (1543)
    Story
    (1538)

    Billy Crystal is 65, and he's not happy about it. With his trademark wit and heart, he outlines the absurdities and challenges that come with growing old, from insomnia to memory loss to leaving dinners with half your meal on your shirt. In humorous chapters like ""Buying the Plot"" and ""Nodding Off,"" Crystal not only catalogues his physical gripes, but offers a road map to his 77 million fellow baby boomers who are arriving at this milestone age with him. He also looks back at the most powerful and memorable moments of his long and storied life, from entertaining his relatives as a kid in Long Beach, Long Island, and his years doing stand-up in the Village, up through his legendary stint at Saturday Night Live, When Harry Met Sally, and his long run as host of the Academy Awards. Listeners get a front-row seat to his one-day career with the New York Yankees (he was the first player to ever ""test positive for Maalox""), his love affair with Sophia Loren, and his enduring friendships with several of his idols, including Mickey Mantle and Muhammad Ali. He lends a light touch to more serious topics like religion (""the aging friends I know have turned to the Holy Trinity: Advil, bourbon, and Prozac""); grandparenting; and, of course, dentistry. As wise and poignant as they are funny, Crystal's reflections are an unforgettable look at an extraordinary life well lived.

    Pamela says: "Growing up with Billy Crystal"
    "engaging comedy/memoir"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Billy Crystal tells the story of his life in short vignettes. Some are stand-up comedy routines in front of a live audience; some of more serious (always with some humor) autobiographical pieces. This covers his growing up, his career in entertainment, life as a parent, middle age, turning 65, family, death, baseball, etc.. Rarely do these kinds of memoirs sustain my interest as something to listen to or read from start to end. While there were a few parts that felt repetitive, the next piece invariably touched me or made me laugh. You should know that there is no "tell all" aspect to this (except for his boy obsessions as a 13 year-old). Billy Crystal seems to be that rare entertainment star who had one wife and no children in trouble. Too perfect to believe? Maybe or maybe not. I did not let this bother me. His life is amazingly ordinary and extraordinary, and he comes across as such a likeable guy. I liked this quite a bit. Needless the say, the narrator (Billy Crystal!) delivers this book perfectly.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • One Plus One: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Jojo Moyes
    • Narrated By Elizabeth Bower, Ben Elliot, Nicola Stanton, and others
    Overall
    (620)
    Performance
    (567)
    Story
    (574)

    Suppose your life sucks. A lot. Your husband has done a vanishing act, your teenage stepson is being bullied, and your math-whiz daughter has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that you can't afford to pay for. That's Jess' life in a nutshell - until an unexpected knight-in-shining-armor offers to rescue them. Only Jess' knight turns out to be Geeky Ed, the obnoxious tech millionaire whose vacation home she happens to clean. But Ed has big problems of his own, and driving the dysfunctional family to the Math Olympiad feels like his first unselfish act in ages...maybe ever.

    Kathy says: "Sometimes I need a book that is just fun to read."
    "a fun, feel-good novel"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    As a math guy, I was drawn to the novel because it was about a genius girl being taken to a math competition in Scotland. The first two hours did not grab my interest and I was almost ready to stop listening, but then the road trip began, and I was quickly hooked. I really enjoyed the rest of the novel. It's really about a single mother and her two quirky kids trying to scrape by in life. Those characters were great, and the road trip with a virtual stranger was funny and heart-warming, and the rest of the book was great, too. The author found the right balance between interesting and believable (like Anne Tyler usually does), with an energy and sense of humor that made this book a lot of fun.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • AWOL on the Appalachian Trail

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By David Miller
    • Narrated By Christopher Lane
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (488)
    Performance
    (448)
    Story
    (446)

    In 2003, software engineer David Miller left his job, family, and friends to hike 2,172 miles of the Appalachian Trail. AWOL on the Appalachian Trail is Miller’s account of this thru-hike from Georgia to Maine. Listeners are treated to rich descriptions of the Appalachian Mountains, the isolation and reverie, the inspiration that fueled his quest, and the rewards of taking a less conventional path through life. While this book abounds with introspection and perseverance, it also provides useful passages about hiking gear and planning.

    Phillip says: "Most Informative Book on the AT"
    "Like the trail, a bit repetitve"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    If you want to learn about what it's like to hike the Appalachian Trail, you might really like this book. If you want to get into the mind of the hiker, read Cheryl Strayed "Wild" instead. David Miller, in AWOL, steered clear of most of his personal thoughts. He played it safe, and I don't really feel I know him after listening to this book. He wrote a diary of his daily experiences and published it as a book. I enjoy the outdoors and enjoyed comparing his hike with my cross country bike tours (you eat better bike touring). I ended out skipping a few parts in the middle because it was too repetitive. At the end, the author says he'd like to do the hike again, but I never gathered that from his daily entries. By the way, AWOL is his trail name. It's not about getting lost. Finally, the wrong narrator read this. His smooth voice never matched the character writing those words.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Snow Child

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Eowyn Ivey
    • Narrated By Debra Monk
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1348)
    Performance
    (1176)
    Story
    (1163)

    Debut novelist Eowyn ivey’s experience living in the Alaskan wilderness brings a palpable authenticity to The Snow Child. Alaska in the 1920s is a difficult place for Jack and Mabel. Drifting apart, the childless couple discover Faina, a young girl living alone in the wilderness. Soon, Jack and Mabel come to love Faina as their own. But when they learn a surprising truth about the girl, their lives change in profound ways.

    Bonny says: "Magical, realistic and well worth listening to"
    "good at times (to a guy)"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'm guessing that women might like this more than men. A middle aged couple connected with a young girl who may be real or may be their snow girl come-to-life.My sister recommended it and I gave it a shot. I was intrigued with a book about the Alaska wilderness in the early 20th century. I was okay with a fairy tale aspect, and this drew me in at times, while at other times I thought it was too much. The characters seemed a little "light" with the men too often portrayed as stereotypically dense compared to women (maybe men are, which is why women would like this more). There were enough parts that worked, though, that I stayed with this until the end. I did not think this was too slow, a common criticism of others. The pacing seemed right for this story. I liked the fine line this walked between fairy tale and true-life. It keeps one guessing.This felt a bit like a Young Adult novel, and a good one at times. Not my favorite but somewhat entertaining.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Dog Stars

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Peter Heller
    • Narrated By Mark Deakins
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1066)
    Performance
    (947)
    Story
    (951)

    Hig survived the flu that killed everyone he knows. His wife is gone, his friends are dead, he lives in the hangar of a small abandoned airport with his dog, his only neighbor a gun-toting misanthrope. In his 1956 Cessna, Hig flies the perimeter of the airfield or sneaks off to the mountains to fish and to pretend that things are the way they used to be. But when a random transmission somehow beams through his radio, the voice ignites a hope deep inside him that a better life exists beyond the airport.

    Melinda says: "Absolutely Stellar!"
    "a great novel!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I loved The Dog Stars. It felt like a fresh take on a post apocalyptic world (a flu variation wiped out most of humanity). This first person narrative focused more on the narrator's state of mind, past and present. This story transplanted me to his world. While there are scenes of action and violence, they are few and far between, with the horror of the world being more psychological. It's a tale of Hig, his beloved dog, his airplane, and his brilliant and angry survivalist partner Bangley. I was fascinated with the relationship between Hig and Bangley. While there were some times when the narration was a little over-the-top wistful, I still loved this book. It has stayed with me in a way that few books do. This lends itself especially well to the audio format. This had a bit of the feel of The Road by Cormac McCarthy, with The Dog Stars being more engaging.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Accounting

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By William Lashner
    • Narrated By Eric G. Dove
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (211)
    Performance
    (191)
    Story
    (193)

    Jon Willing was just a teenager when he and his buddies Augie and Ben stole a fortune in drug money. Brazen with youth and stoned out of their gourds, they thought they had the perfect plan for getting away with it. They were wrong. Twenty-five years later, Jon’s marriage is in ruins, his kids are virtual strangers, and the recession has decimated his finances. When he finds Augie murdered in Vegas, Jon knows his past has risen from the grave to grab him by the throat. Now Jon Willing faces a choice: run to a paradise of wine and women and endless sunshine or confront the demons from his past and fight for what’s left of his imperfect suburban life.

    Charles Atkinson says: "A Great Suspense With Great Depth of Character"
    "I couldn't put this down"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This novel grabbed me from the start. I found myself really caring about the protagonist, who narrated the story. He's a middle-aged guy who made a mistake as a teen which continues to haunt him and his family. I was engaged with his present and past life, and was surprised with how much I loved this story. It was heading towards a 5 star review for me, but the exciting, action-packed climax did disappoint me, feeling like something I have read in so many thrillers. The mystery and characters drew me in, but the end just went for the action. Still, I strongly recommend this 4.5 star novel.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Brothers: On His Brothers and Brothers in History

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By George Howe Colt
    • Narrated By David Drummond
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (12)
    Performance
    (12)
    Story
    (12)

    George Howe Colt believes that he would be an entirely different man had he not grown up in a family of four brothers. In Brothers, he movingly recounts the adoration, envy, rivalry, affection, anger, and compassion in their shifting relationships from childhood through middle age. In alternate chapters, Colt moves from a quest to understand how his own brothers shaped his life to an examination of the complex relationships between iconic brothers in history.

    Mark says: "Memoir combined with history"
    "Memoir combined with history"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    George Colt mixes the story of his life as one of four brothers (coming of age in the 60's and 70's) along with famous and infamous brothers throughout history. The author's own life story is fascinating, and was my favorite part of this book (it was about a third of the book). This would have been a 5 star pure memoir. Stories of different brothers in history are woven throughout the book - some being major chapters and others being shorter references. These include The Booth brothers, the Thoreaus, the Marx Brothers, and the Kelloggs Brothers. Some of the historical pieces are more interesting than others (the Kelloggs chapter was the most interesting). The way the author left and then returned to a set of brothers was a bit disconcerting. I am close in age to the author, and I enjoyed listening to this book and thinking of my own brother and myself, as well as my own three sons. While this could have been better edited, with some slow parts here and there, I still liked much of it, and loved a lot too. It's a book that stays with me more than other books.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • A Reason to Live (Marty Singer Mystery #1)

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Matthew Iden
    • Narrated By Lloyd Sherr
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (421)
    Performance
    (358)
    Story
    (356)

    In the late 90s, a bad cop killed a good woman and DC Homicide Detective Marty Singer got to watch as the murderer walked out of the courtroom a free man. Twelve years later, the victim's daughter comes to Marty begging for help: the killer is stalking her now. There's just one problem: Marty's retired...and he's retired because he's battling cancer.

    William says: "This book was a distraction"
    "predictable but enjoyable mystery"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This very formulaic mystery is about a retired police detective fighting cancer and getting dragged back into a former case where the murderer seemed to walk free. The main character is likeable and believable, and the narrator is very easy to listen to. This novel was a pleasant, fun way to pass the time. There is mystery, action, and romance. This was good "escape fiction."

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Breakfast at Tiffany's

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Truman Capote
    • Narrated By Michael C. Hall
    Overall
    (1031)
    Performance
    (946)
    Story
    (953)

    Golden Globe-winning actor Michael C. Hall (Dexter, Six Feet Under) performs Truman Capote's masterstroke about a young writer's charmed fascination with his unorthodox neighbor, the "American geisha" Holly Golightly. Holly - a World War II-era society girl in her late teens - survives via socialization, attending parties and restaurants with men from the wealthy upper class who also provide her with money and expensive gifts. Over the course of the novella, the seemingly shallow Holly slowly opens up to the curious protagonist.

    Michael says: "Subtle yet Extravagant"
    "Great writing, boring story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I think that this story would be better to read, given the great writing Capote uses for his descriptions. It is harder to savor great writing on audio, I think. I never really cared about any characters, and quit halfway through. I understand that the author is a great writer, but that was not enough for me to keep my interest in this book.

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Blessings

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Anna Quindlen
    • Narrated By Joan Allen
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (294)
    Performance
    (63)
    Story
    (60)

    Anna Quindlen, best selling author of A Short Guide to a Happy Life, returns with this "immensely appealing" novel. The secrets of the past, how they affect the decisions and lives of people in the present; what makes a person, a life, legitimate or illegitimate, and who decides; the unique resources people find in themselves and in a community - these are at the center of this story of love, redemption, and personal change.

    Marilyn M Felix says: "A book club favorite"
    "Very boring!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I had read or listened to other books by Anna Quindlen and loved them (One True Thing and Black and Blue). This was just boring. Half the book is flashbacks, and I never cared much about characters from the past. Even the modern story, which had my interest for a while, lot its momentum. In this story, a young man finds a baby in a basket and wants to raise it on his own. He befriends his boss, a strict 80 year-old. None of these characters were realistic to me, and so my heart was not broken, as happened with so many readers and listeners.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • An Officer and a Spy: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By Robert Harris
    • Narrated By David Rintoul
    Overall
    (308)
    Performance
    (268)
    Story
    (267)

    Paris in 1895: Alfred Dreyfus, a young Jewish officer, has just been convicted of treason, sentenced to life imprisonment at Devil's Island, and stripped of his rank in front of a baying crowd of 20,000. Among the witnesses to his humiliation is Georges Picquart, the ambitious, intellectual, recently promoted head of the counterespionage agency that Dreyfus had passed secrets to the Germans. At first, Picquart firmly believes in Dreyfus' guilt. But it is not long after Dreyfus is delivered to his desolate prison that Picquart stumbles on information that leads him to suspect that there is still a spy at large in the French military.

    Ryan says: "Top Notch Historical Fiction"
    "History comes to life in this true life spy novel"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This novel tells the tale of Alfred Dreyfus, a Frenchman convicted of treason in the 1890's. It's a tale of politics, the French secret service, injustice, and whistle-blowing. It is a dramatic legal thriller at times. I did not know the history well enough, so I was riveted to this saga, not sure of the outcome. The second half was great! The first half was so slow, I was tempted to stop listening and get my credit back. The story is told through the eyes of Georges Picquart, the a high level French spy in the army. Much of the first half was too much about Picquart's life, and only when it swung back to the Dreyfus tale did it get really good. I am glad that I stayed with this because the second half of the novel is very good, great at times. It is also a story that has stayed with me since I finished a day ago. This was a little bit of work for me to stay with, but the payoff was very big. The parallels to modern US politics (the rift between the parties) and whistle-blowing were uncanny.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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