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Ronald

Encino, CA, USA | Member Since 2006

200
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 14 reviews
  • 46 ratings
  • 134 titles in library
  • 0 purchased in 2014
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FOLLOWERS
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  • Thickening the Plot

    • ORIGINAL (1 hr and 30 mins)
    • By Carolyn Banks
    Overall
    (4)
    Performance
    (0)
    Story
    (1)

    Ronald says: "worthless"
    "worthless"
    Overall

    I am a sitcom writer, interested in writing screenplays. I found this lecture to be worthless.

    Most of the time is spent convincing you how important it is to have a good plot. Almost no time spent on how to accomplish this.

    More useful books on writing I found to be:
    Stein on writing - for fiction and non-fiction
    Story by Robert McKee - for screenplays

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Steve Martin
    • Narrated By Steve Martin
    Overall
    (2579)
    Performance
    (1190)
    Story
    (1183)

    In the mid-70s, Steve Martin exploded onto the comedy scene. By 1978 he was the biggest concert draw in the history of stand-up. In 1981 he quit forever. Born Standing Up is, in his own words, the story of "why I did stand-up and why I walked away".

    Andrew says: "Fantastic"
    "warm, funny, touching"
    Overall

    The opening stories during the first hour held my attention, without enthralling me. But then the book really took off when Steve Martin began discussing his standup career, and all the jobs (writing on the Smothers Brothers' Show, etc.) that led up to it. And he discusses the inner workings of his mind during those years, sharing with us the conscious thought process that went into developing his standup persona. All of that was fantastic.

    My only complaint is that I wish the book had been longer. (It’s just over 4 hours). I could have easily listened to him discuss his film career, as well. But this is a memoir about his standup days. And it's an interesting one. It also has a very warm quality. And it's a pleasure to hear Steve Martin deliver various jokes he has made over the years. I’m glad he chose to read his book himself. He did a very good job.

    If you're a fan of Steve Martin, I don't see how you could be disappointed, other than, as I said, it could have been longer.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Killing Rain

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Barry Eisler
    • Narrated By Michael McConnohie
    Overall
    (693)
    Performance
    (287)
    Story
    (289)

    In Killing Rain, Rain has a new employer, the Mossad, which needs an operator who can remove 'problems' in Asia, and a new partner: Dox, the ex-marine sniper and party animal first introduced in Rain Storm. He also has a new hope, that by using his fearsome talents in the service of something good, he might atone for all the lives he has already taken.

    Amazon Customer says: "I give this book my highest rating."
    "A Great Ride, highly recommend"
    Overall

    I just finished listening to all three books written by Barry Eisler, involving the assassin Rain. They all hold your attention from page one. You can’t wait to find out how the story gets resolved. And yet, you don’t want it to end, because you enjoy the ride so much.

    I do recommend reading the books in the order they were written. While it’s not crucial, there are story elements that are given away in the later books about the earlier ones. While it wouldn’t exactly spoil it, it would be better not to know anything before it happens.

    The order is: “Killing Rain,” then “The Last Assassin” and finally “Requiem for an Assassin.”

    It’s a different reader on the last one, Scott Brick. Though he’s excellent as usual, it took an hour or so to get used to, because Michael McConnohie’s reading brought the characters so vividly to life in his own way.

    I highly recommend these books for suspense, plot and characters. It’s hard to describe, but you are just highly interested the whole time, and you never think, “Why would they do that?” Very intelligent and well-crafted. This applies equally to all three books!

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Next

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Michael Crichton
    • Narrated By Dylan Baker
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1553)
    Performance
    (312)
    Story
    (324)

    Devilishly clever, Next blends fact and fiction into a breathless tale of a new world where nothing is what it seems, and a set of new possibilities can open at every turn. Next challenges our sense of reality and notions of morality. Balancing the comic and bizarre with the genuinely frightening and disturbing, Next shatters our assumptions and reveals shocking new choices where we least expect.

    Ronald says: "interesting topic - dull, boring, confusing book"
    "interesting topic - dull, boring, confusing book"
    Overall

    I normally like Michael Crichton's work. But this is not really a novel. It's a series of interspersed short stories on the topic of the science of gene therapy and research. Not one of the individual stories was interesting, but what's worse, the sheer number of them and the frequency of alternating among them, left me constantly wondering for several minutes which storyline we were back to.

    Again, the subject matter was interesting. But the execution was dull and often struck me as if it were written for a much younger audience, like readers 10 – 14 years old.

    This isn’t helped by the reader. Usually, the readers I don't like sound like they are half asleep. This reader is the only one I've come across that is actually overly animated, to the point of being distracting, annoying, and again, as if aimed at young teenagers. Many of his voices just sound winy.

    This is just not worth the money. But it’s an even bigger waste of time. I regret finishing it.

    67 of 69 people found this review helpful
  • The End of Faith

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By Sam Harris
    • Narrated By Brian Emerson
    Overall
    (310)
    Performance
    (48)
    Story
    (51)

    This important and timely book delivers a startling analysis of the clash of faith and reason in today's world. Harris offers a vivid historical tour of mankind's willingness to suspend reason in favor of religious beliefs, even when those beliefs are used to justify harmful behavior and sometimes heinous crimes.

    Ronald says: "Compelling and important – highly recommend"
    "Compelling and important – highly recommend"
    Overall

    This is the best book on the subject of Religion that I have ever read. I have shared the author's point of view for years, prior to reading this, but he has opened my eyes to new arguments.

    For instance, I never considered the role that religious moderates play in permitting the religious extremists a viable platform that cannot be challenged, for they are all based on the same origins and principles.

    The case he makes is extremely well presented, intelligent and logical. This book is dense with ideas. It compels you to contemplate on each well-crafted sentence. I think it’s a very important book. It’s a shame that the people who really should read it will probably never pick it up.

    I find the reader a little dry, but the subject matter and the text far outweigh this. And the reader is certainly adequate.

    43 of 47 people found this review helpful
  • The Last Secret of the Temple

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Paul Sussman
    • Narrated By Gordon Griffin
    Overall
    (191)
    Performance
    (49)
    Story
    (50)

    When the body of hotel owner Piet Jansen is discovered amid the ruins of an archaeological site by the Nile, it looks like a routine investigation for Inspector Yusuf Khalifa of the Luxor Police. But the more he learns about Jansen, the more he is reminded of the brutal murder, some years earlier, of an Israeli woman at Karnak for which he always suspected the wrong man was convicted.

    Barbara Ferrini Hilfiker says: "wonderful book"
    "JUST BARELY PASSIBLE - don't recommend"
    Overall

    I could have stopped listening at any point, including the last few hours, and never wondered about how it ended.

    That said, it was well read, and parts of the book I found well-written and interesting. But at least half the time, I was not engaged.

    Also, if you don't believe in the actual, true power of religious symbols, as I do not, then it's hard to buy into the thrust of the plot.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Goals! How to Get Everything You Want Faster Than You Ever Thought Possible

    • ABRIDGED (3 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By Brian Tracy
    • Narrated By Brian Tracy
    Overall
    (601)
    Performance
    (130)
    Story
    (130)

    Hundred of thousands, even millions, of men and women have started with nothing and achieved great success. Renowned leader Brian Tracy presents the essential principles you need to know to make your dreams come true. Here is the simple, powerful, and effective system for setting and achieving goals.

    J. Sherman says: "Best when listened to many times"
    "solid advice if you follow it."
    Overall

    This book was very well written and presented. With lots of good tips. I haven't followed any of them. But I wish I would.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Writing the Great American Screenplay

    • ORIGINAL (2 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Richard Walter, William Froug
    • Narrated By Richard Walter, William Froug
    Overall
    (7)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (2)

    Writers once dreamed of writing novels. Now screenplays top the dream list. Hear two top teachers explain the sometimes ungentle art of writing salable movie and television scripts.

    Ronald says: "Enjoyable to listen to, but not much use."
    "Enjoyable to listen to, but not much use."
    Overall

    I am a sitcom writer, interested in writing screenplays.

    I found these two lectures to be okay to listen to, but more on a motivational level. There was very little substance and very few practical suggestions. In the end, I thought there was really no merit. (And I found the first lecturer actually annoying).

    More useful books on writing from Audible I found to be:
    Stein on Writing - for fiction and non-fiction
    Story by Robert McKee - for screenplays
    The Hero's 2 Journeys - screenplays, Hauge & Vogler


    20 of 20 people found this review helpful
  • The Ice Man: Confessions of a Mafia Contract Killer

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Philip Carlo
    • Narrated By Michael Prichard
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1062)
    Performance
    (480)
    Story
    (483)

    Richard "The Ice Man" Kuklinski led a double life beyond anything ever seen on The Sopranos, becoming one of the most notorious professional assassins in American history while hosting neighborhood barbecues in suburban New Jersey. Now, after 240 hours of face-to-face interviews with Kuklinski and his wife and daughters, author Philip Carlo tells his extraordinary story.

    Eileen C says: "You must buy this audio only if..."
    "Couldn't stop listening"
    Overall

    I found this book fascinating. Much of it was a detailed, true account of dozens of the individual people that Richard Kuklinski killed. And yet I never found the writing repetitive. I couldn't stop listening. The subject matter is obviously dark and gruesome. But it's a rare glimpse into the life and mind of cold killer with no feelings of remorse.

    The narrator did a very good job. At first I found him a little flat, but he grew on me.

    I think some of the negative reviews that I’ve read online are reviewing the subject matter and Richard Kuklinski himself, who is obviously reprehensible, rather than the quality of the writing and the research, which I thought was excellent.

    And the narrative really picks up speed in the last third, as the authorities get wind of Richard K. and make their efforts to capture and convict him.

    P.S. The last hour or so of the book is an actual interview with Richard Kuklinski, which I found to be very flat. If you are interested in taped interviews and photos, I recommend, “Iceman: Confessions of a Mafia Hitman” available for rent on DVD.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • On Writing Well Audio Collection

    • ABRIDGED (2 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By William Zinsser
    • Narrated By William Zinsser
    Overall
    (230)
    Performance
    (78)
    Story
    (75)

    This expanded audio collection presents William Zinsser's On Writing Well, the classic teaching book that has sold more than 1 million copies, together with a new 90-minute section that tells you how to write a memoir.

    Kindle Customer says: "Zinsser lays out"
    "Not bad."
    Overall

    Worth listening to. I'm a television writer. I found it mildly interesting. I thought Sol Stein's "Stein on Writing" was more worthwhile, giving more pratical suggestions. Still, it was okay.

    28 of 36 people found this review helpful

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