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Matthew

Los Angeles, CA, United States

108
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 50 reviews
  • 61 ratings
  • 178 titles in library
  • 0 purchased in 2014
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FOLLOWERS
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  • The Kite Runner

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Khaled Hosseini
    • Narrated By Khaled Hosseini
    Overall
    (6658)
    Performance
    (1972)
    Story
    (1989)

    Why we think it’s a great listen: Never before has an author’s narration of his fiction been so important to fully grasping the book’s impact and global implications. Taking us from Afghanistan in the final days of its monarchy to the present, The Kite Runner is the unforgettable story of the friendship between two boys growing up in Kabul. Their intertwined lives, and their fates, reflect the eventual tragedy of the world around them.

    Joseph says: "A storyteller's story"
    "Dramatic window into another life."
    Overall

    This book is worth a listen for the window it opens upon a life not lived by the majority of Americans going about our lives with our ipods and books-on-tape: a hard life, a basic one, yet filled with humanity and wisdom. The writing is good, and having the author read the tape-version helps keep the pronunciations accurate and the sentiment honest. The plotting has both predictable turns, and surprising ones where the author refuses to take the easy way out. This, more than anything, kept me reading because I was always certain there would be an element of the story I could not foresee. The last two hours of the book feel a little like a denoument that takes too long to resolve itself but upon further reflection I don't think there is any other way to tell the tale while being true to the characters. Amir's relationship with Hassan is heartbreaking and satisfying, alternately confusing and then brought into crystal clear focus by a plot turn. The brutality of the situation is Afghanistan is painted bluntly but not without artistry. Listen to this book if you like stories about foreign places and customs and tales of sons and their fathers. Overall, after listening to this book you will feel as if you have a friend from that part of the world. The author succeeds in putting the listener into the shoes of his characters. Finally, don't be surprised if you find yourself practicing the language of the characters while you're listening. There is something inherently fascinating about listening to the words spoken again and again.

    10 of 10 people found this review helpful
  • Deep Storm

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Lincoln Child
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2111)
    Performance
    (721)
    Story
    (728)

    Former naval doctor Peter Crane is summoned to a remote oil platform in the North Atlantic to help diagnose a bizarre medical condition. But when he arrives, Crane learns that the real trouble lies far below on "Deep Storm", a stunningly advanced science-research facility built two miles beneath the surface on the ocean floor. The top-secret structure has been designed for one purpose: to excavate a recently discovered undersea site that may hold the answers to an ancient mystery.

    Tom says: "Must Read"
    "Average potboiler..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Deep Storm is not bad, but it is certainly not special. Even the great Scott Brick can't work enough magic to take what amounts to a version of Chrichton's "Sphere" (and Cameron's "The Abyss") and elevate it into great literature. The reveals at the end are creative, but they also feel disengaged from the main character's journey. We never really understand why THESE characters are in THIS novel... the action around them does not really seem to elucidate much about them. They seem deep enough to breathe and bleed, but not much more than that. It's a lightweight thriller with science fiction undertones, but it reinvents nothing.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Thirteenth Tale: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Diane Setterfield
    • Narrated By Bianca Amato, Jill Tanner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4814)
    Performance
    (1698)
    Story
    (1706)

    All children mythologize their birth... So begins the prologue of reclusive author Vida Winter's beloved collection of stories, long famous for the mystery of the missing thirteenth tale. The enigmatic Winter has always kept her violent and tragic past a secret. Now old and ailing, she summons a biographer to tell the truth about her extraordinary life: Margaret Lea, a young woman for whom the secret of her own birth remains an ever-present pain.

    PA Law says: "Haunting and beautiful tale"
    "Good mystery for Book Lovers"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The novel is a fun listen for book lovers as it centers around a famous author, her mysterious past, and a spooky house filled with secrets. Her biographer unravels the tale and its filled with heartache and not a little bit of cruelty. Yet there's a magical quality in peeling back the layers of a story, and of a storyteller's life, separating fact from fiction and uncovering the source of creativity, be it a well of creativity or one of darkness. The reader is reserved, but good. The missing fifth star in my rating is for a lack of... innovation. The story is engaging, but it can't be said that it breaks new ground.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Ready Player One

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Ernest Cline
    • Narrated By Wil Wheaton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (10798)
    Performance
    (10056)
    Story
    (10061)

    At once wildly original and stuffed with irresistible nostalgia, Ready Player One is a spectacularly genre-busting, ambitious, and charming debut—part quest novel, part love story, and part virtual space opera set in a universe where spell-slinging mages battle giant Japanese robots, entire planets are inspired by Blade Runner, and flying DeLoreans achieve light speed.

    Travis says: "ADD TO CART, POWER UP +10000"
    "Fun for the right generation."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book was written for people who in 2012 are anywhere from 38-45 years old... who grew up with the era of videogames (the 80s). It certainly can be enjoyed by others, but that's the target audience. The story is filled with references to videogames, role-playing games, MMORPGs and the like. Fans will be thrilled by the references throughout and Wil Wheaton does a nice job making the main character feel real. The story is complex, woven as it is into the fabric of a virtual computer game, but to listen is to go on an adventure and the book satisfies in its conclusion.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Ringworld

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Larry Niven
    • Narrated By Tom Parker
    Overall
    (2905)
    Performance
    (1570)
    Story
    (1596)

    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"
    "Classic Ideas; Decent execution"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a famous sci-fi title and award winner that should be celebrated for its big ideas more so than its drama. The concept of the Ringworld is big, fun, and treated in a realistic manner -- we 'discover' the physics of this impossible world along with the characters and are left to wonder how it was built like they do. My fourth star in the overall rating is for this concept alone. The drama leaves a little to be desired. There are a couple far-fetched plot points (the Puppeteers breeding program) and more than a few times when the dialogue feels stilted. It was definitely written to be read, not heard. Some of the book feels like antiquated science fiction and we can imagine that the same novel written today would look a lot more like Alastair Reynolds, for instance. But it's still a major work in the canon, and should be read by all science fiction fans. The audiobook reader is okay, but could be better.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Cloud Atlas

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By David Mitchell
    • Narrated By Scott Brick, Cassandra Campbell, Kim Mai Guest, and others
    Overall
    (3242)
    Performance
    (2434)
    Story
    (2444)

    A reluctant voyager crossing the Pacific in 1850; a disinherited composer blagging a precarious livelihood in between-the-wars Belgium; a high-minded journalist in Governor Reagan's California; a vanity publisher fleeing his gangland creditors; a genetically modified "dinery server" on death-row; and Zachry, a young Pacific Islander witnessing the nightfall of science and civilisation: the narrators of Cloud Atlas hear each other's echoes down the corridor of history.

    Elizabeth says: "thoroughly enjoyed"
    "Intriguing and well read."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book is essentially an updated version of Italio Calvnio's "If On A Winter's Night A Traveler." It nestles several stories into one another, stopping each halfway through and only picking them back up after perspective on each story has been added from the first half of the other tales. The readers are fantastic. Listen to it just for them. In addition, it's a pretty intriguing story. It is a challenge to the listening because of many proper nouns and made-up names in the more futuristic parts (it spans distant past to far future in terms of setting). But it is well-worth it. Highly recommended for people who like stories that move through big chunks of time, lovers of science fiction or light science fiction, and lovers of mystery.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Confederacy of Dunces

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By John Kennedy Toole
    • Narrated By Barrett Whitener
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1923)
    Performance
    (941)
    Story
    (945)

    The hero of John Kennedy Toole's incomparable, Pulitzer Prize-winning comic classic is one Ignatius J. Reilly, "huge, obese, fractious, fastidious, a latter-day Gargantua, a Don Quixote of the French Quarter". His story bursts with wholly original characters, denizens of New Orleans' lower depths, incredibly true-to-life dialogue, and the zaniest series of high and low comic adventures.

    Jon says: "Well Done"
    "One of the best audiobooks ever."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It's already a favorite among avid readers, and the novel is just as great as it was when it made its posthumous debut in the early 80s... but the Narrator Barrett Whitener takes the novel above and beyond the printed word with his tone and dialect. It is absolutely splendid. I find myself wandering around repeating character's expressions and exclamations just to hear the delightful sound of the words that Mr. Whitener has infused in them. Listen to this next.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Outliers: The Story of Success

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Malcolm Gladwell
    • Narrated By Malcolm Gladwell
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (9964)
    Performance
    (4463)
    Story
    (4476)

    In this stunning new book, Malcolm Gladwell takes us on an intellectual journey through the world of "outliers"--the best and the brightest, the most famous and the most successful. He asks the question: what makes high-achievers different? His answer is that we pay too much attention to what successful people are like, and too little attention to where they are from: that is, their culture, their family, their generation, and the idiosyncratic experiences of their upbringing.

    S Prabhu says: "Excellent book; well adapted for the audio format"
    "Fun and Informative"
    Overall

    Although Gladwell has been taken to task for over simplifying things, Outliers is still intriguing because it gives you a glimpse of processes that happen invisibly in our daily lives. It will also make you count up how many hours you've been practicing certain things and maybe decide whether it's worth it to continue... Gladwell reads his own book well. Listen if you enjoy learning about all those little things you may have once wondered about successful people but never had the time to go find out yourself.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo: The Millennium Trilogy, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Stieg Larsson
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (23328)
    Performance
    (9945)
    Story
    (10017)

    Why we think it’s a great listen: How do you one-up a book that’s already a global literary phenomenon? Hire Simon Vance to (flawlessly) interpret the loves, lives, and murders of Sweden’s cold and secret-filled world. A spellbinding amalgam of murder mystery, family saga, love story, and financial intrigue. It's about the disappearance 40 years ago of Harriet Vanger, a young scion of one of the wealthiest families in Sweden.

    Pamela Murphy says: "COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN"
    "Characters are key."
    Overall

    Hard to say more than what's been said about this enormously successful book and series, and now two different film adaptations. I was not sold on it though, until halfway through, when I was hooked not by the turns of the mystery, but by the eventual first-meeting of two well-drawn characters who seem entirely alone, yet are actually kind of perfect for one another. Thus the characters turn what would otherwise be a "good" mystery book, into a great one. The reader gets all of the pronunciations right and was a good choice for this novel.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Freedom: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (24 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Jonathan Franzen
    • Narrated By David LeDoux
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3498)
    Performance
    (1216)
    Story
    (1220)

    Patty and Walter Berglund were the new pioneers of old St. Paul - the gentrifiers, the hands-on parents, the Whole Foods generation. Patty was the ideal sort of neighbor, who could tell you where to recycle your batteries and how to get the local cops to do their job. She was an enviably perfect mother and the wife of Walter's dreams. Together with Walter - environmental lawyer, commuter cyclist, total family man - she was doing her small part to build a better world.

    Lawrence says: "Believe the Hype"
    "Great characters; very good reader"
    Overall

    Franzen does a great job of painting a portrait of a modern family. They're not really so likeable, yet at the same time you will find yourself wanting to know what happens to them. And you'll see part of yourself in them -- that's the writer's gift. The reader is excellent at infusing meaning and inflection in the words, and the turns of phrase Franzen comes up with are regularly entertaining and evocative.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Poison Study

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Maria V. Snyder
    • Narrated By Gabra Zackman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2189)
    Performance
    (937)
    Story
    (943)

    About to be executed for murder, Yelena is offered an extraordinary reprieve. She'll eat the best meals, have rooms in the palace, and risk assassination by anyone trying to kill the Commander of Ixia. And so Yelena chooses to become a food taster.

    A says: "Fantasy, with a touch of romance."
    "Weak writing, corny reading."
    Overall

    The story itself has an intriguing premise but the author is not up to the task. The writing is stilted and simplistic. The characterizations sometimes feel like the fantasy novel they should be, and other times read like they are from a pulp-romance novel. The story veers from its most intriguing set-up: a condemned prisoner getting the job of food-taster because it doesn't matter if they die from poison... and then branches out unnecessarily into magic and other elements that the writer doesn't have a feel for. Sophomoric is the word that comes to mind. The reader doesn't help -- she is corny, "acting" every moment, and it comes off like bad regional theater.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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