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Phil Johnson

#1 Aud Bks: T Help,T Darling, All D Sedaris,Prayer for Owen M.All G Flynn ,Secrt Lang of Bees, Bel Canto, 11/22/63 H2O fr Elephants Dog Star

Walnut Creek, CA USA | Member Since 2007

32
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 19 reviews
  • 80 ratings
  • 395 titles in library
  • 20 purchased in 2014
FOLLOWING
23
FOLLOWERS
1

  • A Prayer for Owen Meany

    • UNABRIDGED (26 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By John Irving
    • Narrated By Joe Barrett
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3601)
    Performance
    (2518)
    Story
    (2520)

    Of all of John Irving's books, this is the one that lends itself best to audio. In print, Owen Meany's dialogue is set in capital letters; for this production, Irving himself selected Joe Barrett to deliver Meany's difficult voice as intended. In the summer of 1953, two 11-year-old boys – best friends – are playing in a Little League baseball game in Gravesend, New Hampshire. One of the boys hits a foul ball that kills the other boy's mother. The boy who hits the ball doesn't believe in accidents; Owen Meany believes he is God's instrument. What happens to Owen after that 1953 foul ball is extraordinary and terrifying.

    Alan says: "Outstanding"
    "One of my my all time favorites."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    #1 Aud Bks: T Help, T Darling, All D Sedaris A Prayer for O Meany All G Flynn Lang. of Bees Bel Canto 11/22/63 H2O fr Elephants Dog Stars Pi

    The list above notes my favorite audio books, limited to 140 characters. I would like to add more, and also add a short list of what I did not like (particularly Ken Follett) so that fellow scanners of reviews would have a quick sense of whether to follow a particular reviewers myriad thoughts.

    As for Owen Meany, I had read the book twice before I listened to it, which I have now done twice.
    It swept me away. John Irving has his quirks, but the compassion in this book is quite moving. Most highly recommended.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Earth Abides: The 60th Anniversary Edition

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By George R. Stewart
    • Narrated By Jonathan Davis, Connie Willis
    Overall
    (1429)
    Performance
    (887)
    Story
    (906)

    A disease of unparalleled destructive force has sprung up almost simultaneously in every corner of the globe, all but destroying the human race. One survivor, strangely immune to the effects of the epidemic, ventures forward to experience a world without man. What he ultimately discovers will prove far more astonishing than anything he'd either dreaded or hoped for.

    V. Sharol says: "Thought provoking and entertaining"
    "Don't know what all the fuss is about this book."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I gave up 4+ hours in. Please read the reviews under the "Most Recent" category to get a broad spectrum analysis of this book. The default "Most Helpful" (who decides that?) is full of very positive reviews, undeserved in my opinion.
    This book is full of a lot of dull people. Hard to sympathize with anyone, even the protagonist. He is quite passive, an observer, a Geographer, as was my major in college. he has no huevos.
    All science fiction/ fantasy/ futuristic stories require some level of suspension of belief, but there are way too many just plain stupid and ignorant details that enable these people to survive an Apocalypse. Liking the characters would have helped.
    I recommend "Dog Star" for a great "End of the World" Audible listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Good Son

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Michael Gruber
    • Narrated By Neil Shah
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (148)
    Performance
    (89)
    Story
    (85)

    Somewhere in Pakistan, Sonia Laghari and eight fellow members of a symposium on peace are being held captive by armed terrorists. Laghari, a deeply religious woman as well as a Jungian psychologist, has become the de facto leader of the kidnapped group. While her son, Theo, an ex-Delta soldier, uses his military connections to find and free the victims, Sonia Laghari tries to keep them all alive by working her way into the kidnappers’ psyches and interpreting their dreams.

    Mary Shore says: "A very smart thriller, very well read."
    "Well worth it."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A great, imaginative adventure story. Some necessary violence ( it is the Jihad), but most of the bad guys get there do. Some of the good or innocent are not spared pain, but it is minimal.
    There are some very imaginative takes on Islam and petropolitics that I have never run across before. Great central character. A definite page turner without embarrassment.
    Highly recommended.
    I initially put 3 stars for the story because it strains some credulity. But I changed it to 4 stars. The author requests a little leap of imagination, and he delivers.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Goldfinch

    • UNABRIDGED (32 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Donna Tartt
    • Narrated By David Pittu
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (8692)
    Performance
    (7974)
    Story
    (7980)

    The Goldfinch is a haunted odyssey through present-day America and a drama of enthralling force and acuity. It begins with a boy. Theo Decker, a 13-year-old New Yorker, miraculously survives an accident that kills his mother. Abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. Bewildered by his strange new home on Park Avenue, disturbed by schoolmates who don't know how to talk to him, and tormented above all by his unbearable longing for his mother, he clings to one thing that reminds him of her: a small, mysteriously captivating painting that ultimately draws Theo into the underworld of art.

    B.J. says: "A stunning achievement - for author and narrator"
    "Dull, Dull, Dull"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I cut and pasted the following sentence from another reviewer. It described something that was really bothering me, but I couldn't put my finger on it.
    "This book goes on and on with excruciating, unneeded detail. Ended many sentences with a list of nouns. Like...sidewalk, plant with budding yellow flower, trash bag caught on a nail. It was painful to listen to." There is much more that is dull with this book. I stopped after 3.5 hrs.
    I have learned a lesson here about looking at other reviewer's comments. It is important to change the default ( Most Helpful) to "Most Recent". There is a preponderance of overly positive reviews under Most Helpful- probably most helpful to the author and Audible because people will be inclined to buy the book.
    This is the second book in 2 weeks that I have requested a refund on, and both books were 4+ stars. But when you look at "Most Recent" , you will find articulate reviews that are not always so positive.Thank you to those reviewers who have described well the faults of some so-called good/ popular books. I have not been able to always put my reservations into words, but reservations I have had.

    8 of 10 people found this review helpful
  • Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Tom Franklin
    • Narrated By Kevin Kenerly
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1302)
    Performance
    (720)
    Story
    (729)

    Larry Ott and Silas “32” Jones were unlikely boyhood friends. Larry was the child of lower middle-class white parents, Silas the son of a poor, single, black mother - their worlds as different as night and day. Yet a special bond developed between them in Chabot, Mississippi. But within a few years, tragedy struck. In high school, a girl who lived up the road from Larry had gone to the drive-in movie with him and nobody had seen her again.

    Ann says: "Excellent story, terrific narrator."
    "Well worth it."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A surprise. Good voices, good characters. Quite moving in an odd way.
    Unfortunately, there is violence against women that propels the story, but fortunately, it happens off screen.
    Couldn't wait to get in my car and hear more.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Cuckoo's Calling

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Robert Galbraith
    • Narrated By Robert Glenister
    Overall
    (6625)
    Performance
    (6025)
    Story
    (6032)

    After losing his leg to a land mine in Afghanistan, Cormoran Strike is barely scraping by as a private investigator. Then John Bristow walks through his door with an amazing story: his sister, the legendary supermodel Lula Landry, famously fell to her death a few months earlier. The police ruled it a suicide, but John refuses to believe that. The case plunges Strike into the world of multimillionaire beauties, rock-star boyfriends, and desperate designers, and it introduces him to every variety of pleasure, enticement, seduction, and delusion known to man.

    Tracey says: "Unbelievable debut mystery set in London"
    "Dull as Dirt"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I gave up after 4 hours. The story is repetitive, pedestrian, plodding and , so far, dull as dirt.
    The protagonist is a private detective.The listener (reader) is forced to listen to a long list of questions to a new witness that had already been discussed.. A better writer might have said," After reviewing the comings and goings of the victim with the butler, he (our hero) asked ,pointedly, about .....". But , no, we are force to listen to a long list of dull as dirt questions that eventually lead the story nowhere.

    I don't know what the hype about this book is all about.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Looking for Me

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Beth Hoffman
    • Narrated By Jenna Lamia
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (655)
    Performance
    (583)
    Story
    (583)

    Beth Hoffman’s bestselling debut, Saving CeeCee Honeycutt, won admirers and acclaim with its heartwarming story and cast of unforgettable characters. Now her unique flair for evocative settings and richly drawn Southern personalities shines in her compelling new novel, Looking for Me.

    Debra says: "Another fascinating story from Beth Hoffman!"
    "This really is a chick book, despite an auspicious"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Men (and women), be forewarned. The protagonist, up until the end of the book, is a non drinking virgin who describes her lovely antiques, her layers of blush and the fabric of her gently swaying curtains with, I have to admit, a delightful charm. There is a real lost opportunity to make this a grittier story, and lots of groundwork was laid for that. It never pans out.

    The narrator is superb- outstanding. I would have abandoned the book long before the end if not for her.

    Likable characters, but not really worth the time.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Green Mile

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By Stephen King
    • Narrated By Frank Muller
    Overall
    (1719)
    Performance
    (792)
    Story
    (796)

    At Cold Mountain Penitentiary, the convicted killers on E Block await their turn to walk the Green Mile and keep a date with the electric chair. Paul Edgecombe has seen his share of oddities in his years working as a guard on the Mile, but he's never met anyone like John Coffey.

    Orita says: "Both the book and the reader were just plain great"
    "Great Story, great characters, great narrator."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    #1 Aud Bks: T Help, T Darling, All D Sedaris A Prayer for O Meany All G Flynn Lang. of Bees Bel Canto 11/22/63 H2O fr Elephants Dog Stars Pi

    The list above notes my favorite audio books, limited to 140 characters. I would like to add more, and also add a short list of what I did not like (particularly Ken Follett) so that fellow scanners of reviews would have a quick sense of whether to follow a particular reviewers myriad thoughts.

    You will notice Steven King's 11/22/63 on my top Audio list above. This should be there too. I have mixed feelings about King. I cannot tolerate his overly gory or supernatural stuff. There are violent scenes in this book, but they are important to the story and not overdone.This book is filled with so much humanity, it is heartbreaking. Narration that cannot be surpassed.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Broken Harbor: Dublin Murder Squad, Book 4

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Tana French
    • Narrated By Stephen Hogan
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2380)
    Performance
    (2034)
    Story
    (2023)

    In Broken Harbor, all but one member of the Spain family lies dead, and it’s up to Mick “Scorcher” Kennedy to find out why. Mick must piece together why their house is full of cameras pointed at holes in the walls and how a nighttime intruder bypassed all the locks. Meanwhile, the town of Broken Harbor holds something else for Mick: disturbing memories of a childhood summer gone terribly wrong.

    Amazon Customer says: "Best in the Series"
    "Couldn't finish it."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    #1 Aud Bks: T Help, T Darling, All D Sedaris A Prayer for O Meany All G Flynn Lang. of Bees Bel Canto 11/22/63 H2O fr Elephants Dog Stars Pi

    The list above notes my favorite audio books, limited to 140 characters. I would like to add more, and also add a short list of what I did not like (particularly Ken Follett) so that fellow scanners of reviews would have a quick sense of whether to follow a particular reviewers myriad thoughts.

    I liked Tanya French's first book even though it had a poor resolution to the mystery at the end. Somehow this book never caught on with me. I did not feel much empathy for the lead character.

    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
    (1049)
    Performance
    (931)
    Story
    (935)

    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!"
    "Apocalyptic, but worth it."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Apocalyptic stories are not really my style ( I asked for a refund real quickly for xxxxx), but this story was wonderful . I have to admit that there is a real dog central to the story, for which I am often a sucker for. Anyhow, it is done well. Other reviewers are more articulate about writing style (sparse, but great) and plot development. I was swept away.
    Highly recommended.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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