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Peter J. Maerz

South Florida | Member Since 2004

  • 4 reviews
  • 4 ratings
  • 208 titles in library
  • 2 purchased in 2015

  • The New Yorker, 1-Month Subscription

    • ORIGINAL (1 hr and 3 mins)
    • By The New Yorker
    • Narrated By Todd Mundt, Dan Bernard, Christine Marshall

    The New Yorker's blend of reporting, commentary, criticism, fiction, and cartoons has garnered 36 National Magazine Awards since its debut in 1925 - more than any other publication. Edited by Pulitzer Prize winner David Remnick, the magazine has had only five editors in its 80-year history. Each week, Audible and the editorial staff of The New Yorker work together to select a variety of the issue's best articles from The Talk of the Town, Fiction, The Critics, and more. Each article is read in its entirety. The New Yorker is available in audio exclusively at

    Jessie says: "Finally!"
    "Wonderful Addition to Audible's catalogue"

    Before downloading Audible's New Yorker sampler, I hadn't actively read the magazine in decades. Oh what I've been missing! The literature, the commentary, the reviews... all so splendidly intelligent and insightful. And all so downright entertaining!

    In the editions I've downloaded, I've found the selections to be excellent. I feel as though they're the perfect blend of varied content and tone. The narration is equally laudable. Our reader's voice is pleasant, friendly and clear, with just the right amount of inflection and emphasis to bring the writing to life without intruding upon it.

    I've been devouring Fresh Air interviews for almost two years, aside from my audio book downloads and the ever-entertaining "Says You" from NPR. The New Yorker is a great addition to my Audible listening!

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Absurdistan

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Gary Shteyngart
    • Narrated By Arte Johnson

    Shteyngart's second novel (The Russian Debutante's Handbook, 2002, was the first) is a wild ride that follows its protagonist and narrator, Misha Vainburg, from St. Petersburg (or St. Leninsburg as he prefers to call it) to a tiny country in the Caucasus called Absurdsvani.

    Alan says: "True Footrest Posse"
    "Great writing, poor editing"

    I'm very much enjoying Gary Shteyngart's Absurdistan. The writing is excellent; bone-dry irony is in abundance and our fatuous (and fat) 1st person narrator illuminates both himself and his world with his gritty descriptions of life inside and outside his natrive Russia. This story of the son of a post-Soviet gangster is both a real hoot and a melancholy lament; the gales of internal (and sometimes out-loud) laughter the story elicits from me are always tinged with sadness. The book seems also to be a real lesson in post-modern Russian culture.

    Arte Johnson's inflections and accent seem perfectly suited to the character. BUT, and here's a big one, the editing of this audio book is very poor. Obviously, no narrator can read non-stop without a flub here and there. He/she is then obliged to pick up where he/she left off and correct the mistake. It's the editor's job to delete the offending material and "stitch together" the newly recorded passage with the end of the previously read passage. It's also her/his job to join together a newly recorded passage with the previously recorded. In these days of digital editing, that's a relatively quick and easy task. Unfortunately, time and again in Absurdistan, the new material is attached directly to the end of the old. The effect is to create a seeming run-on sentence. The listener is afforded no opportunity to grasp the fact that a phrase or sentence has just come to an end, since it's instantly followed by another. This is more than unnatural; it affects comprehension and certainly disturbs the listener's absorbtion into the tale.

    It's this distraction that subtracts a star from my review. That aside, the book is a very engaging and thoroughly original work.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Jonathan Safran Foer
    • Narrated By Jeff Woodman, Barbara Caruso, Richard Ferrone

    Jonathan Safran Foer's best-selling debut novel, Everything Is Illuminated, wowed critics on its way to winning several literary prizes, including Book of the Year honors from the Los Angeles Times. It has been published in 24 countries and will soon be a major motion picture. Foer's talent continues to shine in this sometimes hilarious and always heartfelt follow-up.

    Peter J. Maerz says: "Suffused my being..."
    "Suffused my being..."

    By far the best audio book I've experienced thus far. I have not read the print version and so, perhaps, am not prone to the sense of "something missing" in the verbalization of what, I assume, are visual representations in the book. I found the book to be more like a play in that the narrators are more like fantastic "radio" actors. They perfectly evoke their characters without over-emoting.

    As for the content of the book, it's breathtaking. My favorite character is the child, Oskar. Here's an example of the warped mirror of dry irony created when a child views the world with intelligent eyes. Oskar's so very active and acute mind is unsullied by adult resignation. That's why he breaks your heart with his unrelenting and purely innocent attempts to understand his unbearable loss. I found myself rooting furiously for success in Oskar's mission, knowing all the while that it was, of course, futile.

    The other characters are also very compelling, involved as they are in their own crushing losses, confusions and disappointments. Their tales unfold more subtlely than Oskar's. At their first introductions, I found myself somewhat at sea, not certain as to what was "going on". Have faith, dear listener, because the mosaic becomes a clear picture as time goes by and all the characters become enmeshed in a greater story.

    There is much sadness in this book, but it is elevated to a kind of ecstatic melancholy by the objective simplicity of the writing. I found my emotions fully engaged but never manipulated or exploited. I was not depressed by the experience, but exhillerated. And there's a fair amount of redemption at the end of the book.

    This book is positively magic, made all the more so by the exquisite performances of the narrators. Can't recommend it highly enough!


    59 of 62 people found this review helpful
  • Little Children

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Tom Perrotta
    • Narrated By George Wilson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Tom Perrotta's thirtysomething parents of young children are a varied and surprising bunch. There's Todd, the handsome stay-at-home dad dubbed "The Prom King" by the moms of the playground; Sarah, a lapsed feminist with a bisexual past, who seems to have stumbled into a traditional marriage; Richard, Sarah's husband, who has found himself more and more involved with a fantasy life on the Internet than with the flesh and blood in his own house; and Mary Ann, who thinks she has it all figured out.

    Ashley says: "Distracting..."
    "Surprise amid a seemingly mundane environment"

    I was a bit wary as I began listening: the wry style and, on the surface at least, typical characters made me think that the author would spend his time ridiculing the archetypes of American suburbia. This notion was quickly dispelled, though, as each character was more fully fleshed out, not only through the revelations of their inner workings provided by the omniscient narrator, but through their actions.

    Even the most seemingly predictable characters--the frustrated, tough-guy ex-cop, the internet-sex-addicted husband, and even the sex offender--acted in completely unpredictable ways and had subtle and complex nuances of personality and behavior. I found myself repeatedly predicting an outcome as a particular scene unfolded, only to find myself surprised and intrigued by the actual path the story took. The result is a very unique and thought-provoking look at what has become a cliche of American life, as well as a very illuminating and engaging look at a half dozen fascinating characters. Sensationalism is certainly not a virtue, but rather the exploration of personality and motivation.

    I hate to read reviews which spill the story so I won't. But, I will offer a caveat to audible listeners. I use high-end, in-ear ear buds which transmit every nuance of a reader's voice right into my head. I have to say that our narrator took some serious getting-used-to on my part. He makes a lot of noise: very noticable and noisy swallowing, gulping and wheezing sounds that, at times, were quite distracting. I found his narration style to be excellent and very apropos for the story. And I did get more used to the extraneous sounds as I went along. Just be prepared!

    All things considered, a very entertaining, often thought-provoking book that I found perfect for rush-hour commuting.

    17 of 19 people found this review helpful

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