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Burlingame, CA, USA

  • 14 reviews
  • 38 ratings
  • 48 titles in library
  • 0 purchased in 2015

  • Antarctica: The Last Frontier

    • ORIGINAL (45 mins)
    • By Geoffrey T. Williams
    • Narrated By Full Cast

    Join Jon Michaels and his marine-biologist mother as they battle the 60-foot storm seas around Cape Horn on their way to Antarctica. Near Palmer Station, Jon enjoys an outdoor bath in volcano-heated water. Then he scuba dives in the cold, clear waters off McMurdo Station before braving a deadly whiteout flying to the South Pole.

    Robert says: "Fantastic journey to the far South"
    "Fantastic journey to the far South"

    I heeded the previous reviewers warning about poor sound quality and made sure I downloaded this one as a "4". To me it sounds just fine.

    The story, obviously meant for pre-teen kids, is still quite entertaining & educational for us "big kids" who also love tales about the Polar Regions. Not only were the expected encounters with penguins & seals here, but there was also great moral lessons on global warning and eco-tourism which I was very happy to hear.

    With the recent "hipness" of Antarctica among children thanks to the movies "March of the Penguins" & "Eight Below", this story will certainly be devoured by them. It's also quite a bargain for the less than $7 price!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • San Francisco Is Burning: The Untold Story of the 1906 Earthquake and Fires

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Dennis Smith
    • Narrated By Alan Sklar

    At 5:12 a.m. on the morning of April 18, 1906, San Francisco was struck by one of the worst earthquakes in history, instantly killing hundreds. This watershed event in American history has never before been told with the richness of historical detail and insight that our foremost historian of fire, Dennis Smith, brings to it in San Francisco Is Burning. Smith cinematically recounts this terrible tragedy through the stories of the people who lived through those terrible days...

    Ryan says: "History of the fire!"
    "Lessons from history"

    The story of the 1906 SF Earthquake & Fire is a facinating tale of corruption and incompetance that is eerily reminiscint of the 2005 Hurricane Katrina disaster in New Orleans.

    I found my blood boiling when learing of the arrogance & stupidity of the US Army and its' selective treatment of people (rich & white vs. poor & Asian). I also loved the general history of San Fran's neighborhoods & city founders and whenever I return to the Bay Area I now often think of this disaster as I walk the town.

    My only complaint is the length. An Abridgment would've been nice as this does tend to ramble on at times when describing the various fire fighting methods over & over again.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Honus Wagner

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Dennis DeValeria, Jeanne DeValeria
    • Narrated By Ian Esmo
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Honus Wagner, whose career in baseball (most of it with the Pittsburgh Pirates) stretched from 1895 to 1917, was the first American sports superstar of the twentieth century. One of the first five players to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in its first year (1939), he was probably the best shortstop in baseball's history.

    Robert says: "History comes alive!"
    "History comes alive!"

    The first review I ever did here was for "Clemente" ~ which I loved. However, after listening to "Honus Wagner" I can say that I'm even more impressed! Wagner's career coincided w/ the growth of baseball from a "game" to a "sport" and he was truly its' best ambassador.

    Besides the expected details of The Flying Dutchman's career w/ the Pittsburgh Pirates, we are also introduced to the dramatic changes that were happening in America at the turn of the 20th Century. Automobiles replacing carriages; athletes & actors replacing statesmen & scholars as the public's sweethearts; Coporate mergers & takeovers affecting everday life; etc.

    Plus there is SOOO MUCH I learned about old time baseball that I never knew before: The DH rule nearly introduced in the 1890's; Rabid fans who roadtripped across the circuit to cheer their teams; players suspected of using "performance enhancements" and the public's outcry.

    An INCREDIBLE read that literally brought a tear to my eye when completed. BRAVO HONUS!!

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Salt: A World History

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Mark Kurlansky
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    So much of our human body is made up of salt that we'd be dead without it. The fine balance of nature, the trade of salt as a currency of many nations and empires, the theme of a popular Shakespearean play...Salt is best selling author Mark Kurlansky's story of the only rock we eat.

    Karen says: "More than SALT"
    "Abridgement needed!"

    While there are certainly some interesting & informative facts in this book, 13 hours is far too long and I found myself "zoning out" after a while. A 5 hour abridgement would've been nice.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Antarctica on a Plate

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By Alexa Thomson
    • Narrated By Caroline Lee

    Antarctica lends itself to tales of adventure and heartbreak. The landscape is polarized, beautiful and deadly in equal measure. But Alexa doesn't scale mountains or trek to the Pole. Instead, armed with an old cookbook, she attempts to create three-course meals with no electricity or running water and struggles to defrost meat in sub-zero temperatures. Life in a thin nylon tent in the company of scientists, explorers, and eccentrics soon begins to take on extraordinary dimensions.

    Amazon Customer says: "Shallow as hoar frost"
    "The best polar adventure book ~ EVER!"

    I have recently become hooked on Arctic/Antarctic adventure stories and while there have been some that are indeed quite interesting, none of them come close to Alexa Thomson's tale!

    Most of us will never be a scientist or an explorer, yet it IS possible to live in Antarctica for months on end as a Regular Joe!

    As "regular" people most of us would want to know EXACTLY what Alexa tells us in her memoir ~ blunt, vivid descriptions of Polar life such as bathing, getting drunk, flirting & using the toilet. John Glenn once remarked that he gets more questions about how he went to the bathroom in outerspace than anything else. Alexa's tale is like that!

    I honestly learned far more about life in the Polar Regions from Alexa than from Shackleton, Amundson or Scott!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Last Kingdom: The Saxon Chronicles, Book 1

    • ABRIDGED (5 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Bernard Cornwell
    • Narrated By Jamie Glover

    From Bernard Cornwell, the New York Times best-selling author whom the Washington Post calls "perhaps the greatest writer of historical adventure novels today", comes a saga of blood, rage, fidelity, and betrayal. In the 9th and 10th centuries, King Alfred and his heirs fought to secure the survival of the last outpost of Anglo-Saxon culture by battling the ferocious Vikings, whose invading warriors had already captured and occupied three of England's four kingdoms.

    Stephen says: "Great Historical Fiction!"
    "Vikings vs. Saxons! Sex, Blood, & Rock N' Roll!!"

    I have known about Bernard Cornwell for quite some time but only when I saw the premise of "The Last Kingdom" did I finally bite: and now I'm addicted!

    This is a real "Guy's Tale": if you loved the film "Braveheart" you'll love "The Last Kingdom". Gory details about the sword & axe battles; the burning & looting of villages; the scams & schemes from both the Danish & the English lords; the kidnapping and enslaving of the defeated. On top of all that the narrator is top-notch and I even laughed out loud at many of the little jokes thrown in between the heavy action!

    I am downloading the 2nd book in this trilogy ASAP: "The Pale Horseman", and I'm thrilled to learn that the final part, "The Lords of The North" has just been released in the U.K. and will be in the USA in early '07!

    Can't wait to hear the next round of blood spilling, gut churning, butt-kicking adventures of Utread Utreadsson!

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Gregory Maguire
    • Narrated By John McDonough
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Heralded as an instant classic of fantasy literature, Maguire has written a wonderfully imaginative retelling of The Wizard of Oz told from the Wicked Witch's point of view. More than just a fairy tale for adults, Wicked is a meditation on the nature of good and evil.

    Kathleen says: "It's not easy being green"
    "Don't believe the hype: this book stinks!"

    Bo Dylan said it best, "Just because something's popular doesn't mean it's good."

    I had long been very curious about "Wicked" due to it's insane million selling status and subsequent Broadway musical. In fact it was the very first Audible title I downloaded when I first joined.

    It look me over a month to get thru just the first 5 hours since it was SO INCREDIBLY BORING that I lost interest and avoided it for days at a time.

    The whole story is nothing but a feeble attempt to be sly & witty, but is really just a thinly disguised Christian morality warning akin to C.S. Lewis' "Narnia" books. Gregory MaGuire is incredibly pompus and EXTREMELY long-winded and I have no doubt that L. Frank Baum is spinning in his grave right now in the REAL Land of Oz that we all know and love.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • J.D.V., M.I.A.: A Free Excerpt from Don't Get Too Comfortable (Unabridged Selection)

    • UNABRIDGED (17 mins)
    • By David Rakoff
    • Narrated By David Rakoff

    David Rakoff's bestselling collection of autobiographical essays, Fraud, established him as one of today's funniest and most insightful writers. Now, in Don't Get Too Comfortable, Rakoff moves from the personal to the public, journeying into the land of unchecked plenty that is contemporary America. Rarely have greed, vanity, selfishness, and vapidity been so mercilessly and wittily skewered.

    Charleston Jeeper says: "Pseudo-intellectual crap."
    "My first one star rating!"

    Perhaps some of the other stories in this collection are good (I'd like to have heard the one comparing The Concorde to Hooters Air), but this one may as well be a 4th Graders 'What I Did Over Summer Vacation' essay.

    The event that is discussed is uninteresting, childish, and pointless. Some pointless events are actually fun in a strange sort of way, but this one bored me to tears. I can not believe that this story was the one given to us as a "teaser" 'cause it certainly doesn't make me want to hear the rest of the book...

    3 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • The Coffee Trader: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By David Liss
    • Narrated By John Lee

    On the world's first commodities exchange, fortunes are won and lost in an instant. Miguel Lienzo, a sharp-witted trader in the city's close-knit community of Portuguese Jews, knows this only too well. Once among the city's most envied merchants, Miguel has lost everything in a sudden shift in the sugar markets. Now, impoverished and humiliated, living on the charity of his petty younger brother, Miguel must find a way to restore his wealth and reputation.

    Robert says: "Flawless!"

    I've rated everything I've ever downloaded from Audible and this is only the second time I've given a 5 Star (the previous being a Jules Verne classic from 150 years ago!). Perhaps it's because I related to the novel's elements so much: Once upon a time I was a Foreign Exhange Trader; a Cafe Barrista; and have spent many, many nights in Amsterdam!

    "The Coffee Trader" is one of those super-rare stories which sticks in my head long after listening to it on my morning & evening work commutes. I've had to snap myself out of a daze at work many mornings after listening to this on the way in. I noticed I was counting down the hours till closing time so I could hear what would happen to Miguel next!

    David Liss' tale has it all: lust, greed, envy, humor, tension, you name it. Grind some dark roast beans; take a deep sip; and transport yourself to 17th Century Holland for a few hours. It'll be a journey you won't soon forget!

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • Nordic Tales

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Selma Lagerlof, Bjornstjerne Bjornson
    • Narrated By Walter Zimmerman

    Selma Lagerlöf and Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson were two of the greatest nineteenth centurey Nordic authors who were both awarded the Nobel Prize for literature. Lagerlof was a Swedish novelist, who in 1909 became the first woman writer to win the Nobel Prize for literature. Her work is deeply rooted in Nordic legends and history. She turned away from the dominating realistic movement and wrote in a romantic and imaginative manner about the peasant life and landscape of Northern Sweden.

    Robert says: "Transports one to The North"
    "Transports one to The North"

    I've recently started reading/listening to anything I come across regarding Scandinavia after falling in love with the Nordic countries on recent trips. This collection of short stories is among the best "true" Scandinavian ones yet.

    A lot of you may not like the slow moving, seemingly uninteresting characters. But the characters in all 4 stories are very much like real Scandinavians that I know. It takes a lot of time & patience getting a feel for them and then *BANG!* the real personalities come out and blossom in a wide array of colors.

    My favorite story is "Railroad & Churchyard" which at first seems like a droning, pointless account of two life long pals (one of which, Knute, is a true "man of few words"). Suddenly even the more talkative of the two buddies is shocked when his friend that he's know for decades suddenly opens up and radically changes everyone's life in their small far north village.

    Knute's sudden over-eagerness eventually nearly destroys himself and the town. The moral of it being (at least the way I interpret things), "don't get too cocky." A valuable lesson we should all take away from the Nordic peoples.

    15 of 15 people found this review helpful

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