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Sam G

Member Since 2009

124
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 37 reviews
  • 63 ratings
  • 357 titles in library
  • 14 purchased in 2015
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5

  • Solaris: The Definitive Edition

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Stanislaw Lem, Bill Johnston (translator)
    • Narrated By Alessandro Juliani
    Overall
    (2481)
    Performance
    (2038)
    Story
    (2058)

    At last, one of the world’s greatest works of science fiction is available - just as author Stanislaw Lem intended it. To mark the 50th anniversary of the publication of Solaris, Audible, in cooperation with the Lem Estate, has commissioned a brand-new translation - complete for the first time, and the first ever directly from the original Polish to English. Beautifully narrated by Alessandro Juliani (Battlestar Galactica), Lem’s provocative novel comes alive for a new generation.

    Burns says: "A comment on negative reviews"
    "Of Archaeological Interest"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    The story Solaris tells is interesting and its point-of-view unique. That which some reviewers found tedious I found quite interesting, namely technological descriptions, historical notes, philosophical reviews, etc. The characters are well-developed, especially the protagonist. And the fact that this book is well over 50 years old now makes it all the more interesting. It was fascinating to hear how people envisioned the technology of "the space age" back around the time I was born. Of particular interest was the notion that a space station would need a library of actual books, because the whole idea of ebooks was inconceivable back then - which made his reference to an "out-of-print" book especially amusing. Or the fact that tests would require print-outs on celluloid, since digital imagery was also unknown. Far from detracting from the book, I paid closer attention to the technology described because listening to it was sort of like an archaeological dig.

    The performance was pretty good, but could've been better.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • State of Nature: Book Three of The Park Service Trilogy

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Ryan Winfield
    • Narrated By Michael Braun
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (125)
    Performance
    (118)
    Story
    (118)

    The final adventure...

    After leaving the Isle of Man, Aubrey and Jimmy return to the Foundation to confront Hannah about her betrayal and to free the people of Holocene II only to find themselves facing new and more difficult challenges in a world where nothing is as it seems.

    Coreyb says: "Please read this series"
    "Surprisingly Good"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    If you could sum up State of Nature in three words, what would they be?

    Surp Risingly Good


    What does Michael Braun bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    I do not know this narrator's age, but his voice is ideal for narrating a book in which a young man is the main character. He's a good reader with a pleasant voice. I'd definitely be drawn to a book he narrated in the future.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The most moving point in the book, I would hope that everyone agrees, was the moment Aubrey made his choice at the matchmaking ceremony. The author handled this beautifully, and the twist was fantastic.


    Any additional comments?

    I bought the first book of this trilogy in one of Audible's sales, even though I'd never heard of it before, and had never read one of Winfield's books. The conceit is different enough to keep things interesting, and the characters (both good and bad) are compelling enough to keep the reader engaged. The second book was good, the first book was better than the second, and the third (this one) is the best of the three.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The History of the Medieval World: From the Conversion of Constantine to the First Crusade

    • UNABRIDGED (22 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By Susan Wise Bauer
    • Narrated By John Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (329)
    Performance
    (213)
    Story
    (216)

    From the schism between Rome and Constantinople to the rise of the T'ang Dynasty, from the birth of Muhammad to the crowning of Charlemagne, this erudite book tells the fascinating, often violent story of kings, generals, and the peoples they ruled.

    Chi-Hung says: "Balanced"
    "Opinion Trumps Scholarship"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you try another book from Susan Wise Bauer and/or John Lee?

    Probably not. The author's scholarship was far from impeccable, sometimes allowing her own prejudices to make connections that simply do not exist. For example, she actually said that the Donatists were the first Puritans. Assuming that she didn't mean to say what it seemed she was saying, I would have let it pass, but she pressed the point further comparing the two groups to an entirely inappropriate degree. In fact, no Puritan would ever have had a belief that the efficacy of the sacraments was in any way dependent upon the person administering them. They certainly promoted the purity of the church, but all sects do to one extent or another. They had no Donatist tendancies whatsoever.


    Would you be willing to try another one of John Lee’s performances?

    I have listened to John Lee narrate before and find his tone unpleasant. It sounds snarky and dismissive. And his repeated mispronunciation of certain words (e.g. Monophysite and Manichean) nearly drove me crazy. From henceforth, I think John Lee will be one of the very few narrators I intentionally avoid.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Douglas Adams
    • Narrated By Stephen Fry
    Overall
    (7975)
    Performance
    (5331)
    Story
    (5360)

    Seconds before the Earth is demolished to make way for a galactic freeway, Arthur Dent is plucked off the planet by his friend Ford Prefect, a researcher for the revised edition of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy who, for the last 15 years, has been posing as an out-of-work actor.

    John says: "HHTGH - Lightly Fried"
    "Snide, Snarky Narration Unnecessary"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    Stephen Fry's snide narration was complete overkill and did nothing to make listening to this classic enjoyable.

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

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Stephen King
    • Narrated By David Morse
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3463)
    Performance
    (3138)
    Story
    (3157)

    In a small New England town, over half a century ago, a shadow falls over a small boy playing with his toy soldiers. Jamie Morton looks up to see a striking man, the new minister. Charles Jacobs, along with his beautiful wife, will transform the local church. The men and boys are all a bit in love with Mrs. Jacobs; the women and girls feel the same about Reverend Jacobs - including Jamie’s mother and beloved sister, Claire. With Jamie, the Reverend shares a deeper bond based on a secret obsession.

    Thug4life says: "Not fit for a King"
    "Falls Short in 2 Ways"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    This novel falls short in two ways. First, King is a master of horror. And yet, the horror found in Revival is mediocre (and that's being generous), and ill explained at that. But worse than the low-grade horror is its utter lack of grace. This is the second area in which King usually excels: Resolving the tragedy and redeeming the horror, finding good in the end. But this book is all bleakness and hopelessness in the end. I can't imagine that I'll hold to my current conviction, but if you asked me right now, I'd tell you I'd never read another Stephen King novel, so bad was this one.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Magician's Land: The Magicians, Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Lev Grossman
    • Narrated By Mark Bramhall
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1421)
    Performance
    (1264)
    Story
    (1268)

    Quentin Coldwater has been cast out of Fillory, the secret magical land of his childhood dreams. With nothing left to lose he returns to where his story began, the Brakebills Preparatory College of Magic. But he can't hide from his past, and it's not long before it comes looking for him. Along with Plum, a brilliant young undergraduate with a dark secret of her own, Quentin sets out on a crooked path through a magical demimonde of grey magic and desperate characters.

    Charles says: "And so, it ends."
    "All Roads Lead to This Book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    I was very much looking forward to the final book in this series. I'm glad I read The Magician's Land, but was a bit disappointed. The characters were further developed from who they were in books 1 & 2 in the series, but I felt the plot got a bit too fantastic for my tastes. Some fantasy readers like "in-you-face" magic, but I'm a fan of a bit more subtlety than this book offers.

    One of the highlights of the book is more of a filling out of the prehistory of the Chatwin family.

    Regardless of any criticism, this book is a must-read: If you've read the first 2 books in the series, you have to close the deal with this one. If you're a fantasy fan and haven't read the first 2 books, then you need to. Either way, all roads lead to The Magician's Land.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Jack Weatherford
    • Narrated By Jonathan Davis, Jack Weatherford
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4724)
    Performance
    (3187)
    Story
    (3214)

    The Mongol army led by Genghis Khan subjugated more lands and people in 25 years than the Romans did in 400. In nearly every country the Mongols conquered, they brought an unprecedented rise in cultural communication, expanded trade, and a blossoming of civilization.

    Peter says: "Brilliant, insightful, intriguing."
    "You'll Be Surprised"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    You'll be surprised at what you learn in this book. Most westerners are more or less ignorant of Genghis Khan and the Mongol empire, and what we think we know is based on negative assumptions. This book brings to light the ways the world was positively impacted by Mongol expansion, and in several places highlights ways in which Mongols were far more advanced than their European counterparts at the time. Some of these include freedom of religion, the equality of women, and the importance of free trade.

    The only criticism I might give the book is the author's introduction which was read at the end. It was very interesting and not to be missed, but much of it seemed to be anticipating what we would read rather than reviewing what we'd already read.

    All in all, I'm glad I listened to this book and would recommend it to anyone who's into history, biography, sociology, political science, comparative religion, or anthropology.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • King Solomon's Mines

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By Henry Rider Haggard
    • Narrated By Simon Prebble
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (363)
    Performance
    (336)
    Story
    (332)

    One of the bestselling novels of the 19th century, King Solomon's Mines has inspired dozens of adventure stories, including Edgar Rice Burroughs's Tarzan books and the Indiana Jones movies. Vivid and enormously action-packed, Henry Rider Haggard's tale of danger and discovery continues to shock and thrill, as it has since it was first presented to the public and heralded as "the most amazing book ever written."

    BJ says: "Purchase the Kindle book for free"
    "Great Story, If a Bit Dated"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    This is a very engaging story, and it is admirably narrated by Simon Prebble. The sensitive reader needs, however, to be warned that it was written in the 19th century, and reflects that era's attitudes toward elephant hunting (a noble pursuit that could be carried out by English gentlemen) and, worse yet, Africans. Though the writer clearly admired Africans, he also tended to view them as less than Europeans, and also used the occasional racial slur to refer to them.

    9 of 13 people found this review helpful
  • Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell

    • UNABRIDGED (32 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Susanna Clarke
    • Narrated By Simon Prebble
    Overall
    (3703)
    Performance
    (1663)
    Story
    (1665)

    English magicians were once the wonder of the known world, with fairy servants at their beck and call; they could command winds, mountains, and woods. But by the early 1800s they have long since lost the ability to perform magic. They can only write long, dull papers about it, while fairy servants are nothing but a fading memory.

    David says: "Hang in there!"
    "Fascinating Story, Beautifully Written"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    I admit I'm a fan of epic fantasy, and though this work isn't typical of that genre in many ways, its scope is broad and it's quite lengthy. Despite its length, however, it's very readable. I never felt that the narrative was tedious, and the writing was fresh, descriptive, humorous, and fitting to the story. If you're a fantasy reader who also likes Dickens/Austen/Brontë, then you'll love this book.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Still Foolin' 'Em: Where I've Been, Where I'm Going, and Where the Hell Are My Keys

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Billy Crystal
    • Narrated By Billy Crystal
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2327)
    Performance
    (2116)
    Story
    (2112)

    Billy Crystal is 65, and he's not happy about it. With his trademark wit and heart, he outlines the absurdities and challenges that come with growing old, from insomnia to memory loss to leaving dinners with half your meal on your shirt. In humorous chapters like ""Buying the Plot"" and ""Nodding Off,"" Crystal not only catalogues his physical gripes, but offers a road map to his 77 million fellow baby boomers who are arriving at this milestone age with him. He also looks back at the most powerful and memorable moments of his long and storied life, from entertaining his relatives as a kid in Long Beach, Long Island, and his years doing stand-up in the Village, up through his legendary stint at Saturday Night Live, When Harry Met Sally, and his long run as host of the Academy Awards. Listeners get a front-row seat to his one-day career with the New York Yankees (he was the first player to ever ""test positive for Maalox""), his love affair with Sophia Loren, and his enduring friendships with several of his idols, including Mickey Mantle and Muhammad Ali. He lends a light touch to more serious topics like religion (""the aging friends I know have turned to the Holy Trinity: Advil, bourbon, and Prozac""); grandparenting; and, of course, dentistry. As wise and poignant as they are funny, Crystal's reflections are an unforgettable look at an extraordinary life well lived.

    Pamela J says: "Growing up with Billy Crystal"
    "From Genitalia to Theology..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    You'd think that a book by Billy Crystal narrated by the author himself would be truly entertaining. Unfortunately, its moments of entertainment are rare, and made all the more ephemeral by Crystal's rushed and emotion-free delivery. Much more glaring are his frequent references to his own genitalia, his lack of compassion for others, and his utter lack of respect for others' religious views. His die-hard fans just might make it through this one with a thirst for more. The rest of us had to force ourselves to finish the book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Dear Leader: Poet, Spy, Escapee - A Look inside North Korea

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Jang Jin-sung
    • Narrated By Daniel York
    Overall
    (387)
    Performance
    (356)
    Story
    (360)

    As North Korea's State Poet Laureate, Jang Jin-sung led a charmed life. With food provisions (even as the country suffered through its great famine), a travel pass, access to strictly censored information, and audiences with Kim Jong-il himself, his life in Pyongyang seemed safe and secure. But this privileged existence was about to be shattered. When a strictly forbidden magazine he lent to a friend goes missing, Jang Jin-sung must flee for his life.

    David says: "Stop browsing and get this Book"
    "A Rare Glimpse into the North Korean Psyche"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    This work of non-fiction is not only informative, but it also offers the drama of a novel. It's impossible to stop listening once you start.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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