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Park City, UT, United States | Member Since 2000

  • 10 reviews
  • 175 ratings
  • 374 titles in library
  • 0 purchased in 2015

  • Daemon

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Daniel Suarez
    • Narrated By Jeff Gurner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Thousands of autonomous computer programs, or daemons, make our networked world possible, running constantly in the background of our lives, trafficking e-mail, transferring money, and monitoring power grids. For the most part, daemons are benign, but the same can't always be said for the people who design them.

    Charles Atkinson says: "Really Fast Paced Sci Fi!"
    "Rape is not Entertainment"

    Audible: I want a refund.

    Early in the book, Suarez narrates the coerced gang rape of a drugged 17-year-old girl. He presents her as deserving of this crime simply because she is sexually attractive. Suarez uses the his book as a platform to describe his own male power fantasy, one that epitomizes the worst brand of dehumanizing sexual degradation.

    Please do not rationalize Suarez's intent: this material must not become an accepted norm in the science fiction genre. We men have a responsibility to reject it as entertainment.

    17 of 68 people found this review helpful
  • The Lost Dinosaurs of Egypt

    • ABRIDGED (6 hrs and 1 min)
    • By William Nothdurft, Josh Smith
    • Narrated By Michael C. Hall

    Masterfully tying together history, science, and human drama, The Lost Dinosaurs of Egypt is the gripping account of two of the 20th century's great expeditions of discovery. In 1911 a German paleontologist found the remains of four entirely new dinosaurs in the Egyptian desert, but in a single night, all of his work was destroyed. Eighty-nine years later, an American grad student leads an expedition to unearth Stromer's dinosaur graveyard, and in doing so, he stuns the scientific world.

    Alyssa says: "Both my 4 year old son & I enjoyed this book!"
    "Great Book!"

    This paleontological adventure-mystery crafts a story in a fashion similar to "The Lost City of Z" and "Into Africa," weaving between modern day research in Egypt and the history of a 20th century German scientist who pioneered research in the same area.
    A couple reviews say it is slow. Perhaps it starts slowly, but the beginning provides context for the field of research. But the beginning sets up the rest of the tale, and the story soon moves along well. Also, the narrator's voice is well suited to tell it.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Google Bomb: The Untold Story of the 11.3M Verdict That Changed the Way We Use the Internet

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By John W. Dozier, Sue Scheff
    • Narrated By Susan Bennet
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    In today's technology-dependent world, the Internet has become a legal but lethal weapon against the privacy and reputations of its users. Based on Sue Scheff's landmark Internet defamation case, which gave a face to online harassment, cyberbulling, privacy invasion, and Google bombs, and stirred Internet regulation and free-speech debates, Google Bomb arms listeners with information, legal advice, and reputation-defense tips.

    Ted says: "Not worth the time or money..."
    "Not worth the time or money..."

    This audiobook seems to be an advertisement for a law firm and for Reputation Defender. While it does provide some practical advice for online reputation management, it uses "scare the hell out of 'em" fear tactics to make small steps seem inadequate.
    The book is seems very unbalanced. For example, the authors frequently use of pejorative terms such as "free speech expansionists," providing only nebulous, negative examples of what they might mean by the term. They largely avoid granting any merit to the ethics of open culture and how Internet technologies are helping promote democratic values.
    I would have rather spent my time and monthly credit some other way.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Fight Terrorism and Build Nations

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Greg Mortenson, David Oliver Relin
    • Narrated By Patrick Lawlor
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    In 1993 Greg Mortenson was the exhausted survivor of a failed attempt to ascend K2, an American climbing bum wandering emaciated and lost through Pakistan's Karakoram Himalaya. After he was taken in and nursed back to health by the people of an impoverished Pakistani village, Mortenson promised to return one day and build them a school. From that rash, earnest promise grew one of the most incredible humanitarian campaigns of our time: Greg Mortenson's one-man mission to counteract extremism by building schools, especially for girls, throughout the breeding ground of the Taliban.

    Karl says: "An education and inspiration"
    "Disappointing to Learn of its Falsehoods"

    A 60 Minutes investigation challenges Mortenson's integrity.

    I *want* Mortenson's stories to be true, and I enjoyed listening to this book. But after learning that he has most likely fabricated many of his stories, I now have no confidence in which parts of his stories are true, and which are false.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Paleontology: A Brief History of Life

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Ian Tattersall
    • Narrated By Brett Barry
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Ian Tattersall, a highly esteemed figure in the fields of anthropology, archaeology, and paleontology, leads a fascinating tour of the history of life and the evolution of human beings. Starting at the very beginning, Tattersall examines patterns of change in the biosphere over time, and the correlations of biological events with physical changes in the Earth's environment.

    david says: "great summary of where we are with understanding"
    "I wanted much more..."

    This book is less about the field of Paleontology than it is the findings of the field. I had hoped for insight into the field's history and methodologies. Instead, it provides a lengthy summary of the History of Life, with very little contextual information about how the knowledge was gained.
    I would have greatly preferred if Tattersal had explained more about how the field began, how its scientists refined it over many decades, and who they were. Without learning about, for example, *who* Cuvier was and how people thought in his day, how can one appreciate his early contribution to the depth of this exciting field of research? And how can one understand the ethical significance of The Bone Wars without knowing much more about the two men involved? There are too many interesting stories about how the field has advanced to focus just on its findings. This feels like a classic history textbook: just "one damned fact after another."

    5 of 13 people found this review helpful
  • What Technology Wants

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Kevin Kelly
    • Narrated By Paul Boehmer

    This provocative book introduces a brand-new view of technology. It suggests that technology as a whole is not a jumble of wires and metal but a living, evolving organism that has its own unconscious needs and tendencies. Kevin Kelly looks out through the eyes of this global technological system to discover "what it wants." He uses vivid examples from the past to trace technology's long course and then follows a dozen trajectories of technology into the near future to project where technology is headed.

    David Everling says: "Sprawling scope, an ambivalent thesis"
    "Poor Science to Back a Solid Thesis"

    "If there's justice, it will win the Pulitzer Prize." --Seth Godin
    "Nuh uh." -- me
    I was suprised at how many scientific errors Mr. Kelly commits in laying out his thesis for this book. His thesis is solid, but he frequently and unnecessarily distorts scientific theory to support it. He clumsily argues that evolution has direction, citing prominent scientists like Richard Dawkins, despite that Dawkins has long asserted that any perceived destination for evolution results simply from our own narcissistic perspective. Kelly also uses several erroneous cliches about the history of human evolution to support his thesis. By the end of the book, I was disappointed that Kelly so poorly argued such an important thesis. For lack of better editors, this book ends up stuck between popular psychology and scholarly thought.

    11 of 12 people found this review helpful
  • The History of Witchcraft

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Lois Martin
    • Narrated By Brogan West

    Witchcraft has recently been undergoing a huge popular revival, but does modern pagan witchcraft really bear any resemblance to its historical antecedents? The witch in history was a very different creature from her modern counterpart, and this book sets out to explore the historical background to the European witchcraft phenomenon.

    Steve says: "A brief look at the history of Witchcraft"
    "Bad Narrator"

    Good book. In fact, I really enjoyed the topic. However, the narrator's monotone delivery and Scottish brogue make it a tough run through. It's a shame when an author's good labor doesn't get its match in audio production.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Endless Forms Most Beautiful: The New Science of Evo Devo and the Making of the Animal Kingdom

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Sean B. Carroll
    • Narrated By Arthur Morey

    For over a century, opening the black box of embryonic development was the holy grail of biology. Evo Devo--Evolutionary Developmental Biology--is the new science that has finally cracked open the box. Within the pages of his rich and riveting book, Sean B. Carroll explains how we are discovering that complex life is ironically much simpler than anyone ever expected.

    Terry A. Gray says: "Challenging but rewarding"
    "Carroll deserves Better Narration"

    Carroll's other books on Audible ("Remarkable Creatures" and "The Making of the Fittest") were well produced audio books. This one is not. Although not quite monotonous, the reader lacks adequate inflection to bring this text alive. Consequently, it loses the zest that the text should otherwise evoke. If you like Carroll's other works, then give this a go, but only if you can withstand a lackluster production.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Confederacy of Dunces: Free Version

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By John Kennedy Toole
    • Narrated By Barrett Whitener

    The hero of John Kennedy Toole's incomparable, Pulitzer Prize-winning comic classic is one Ignatius J. Reilly, "huge, obese, fractious, fastidious, a latter-day Gargantua, a Don Quixote of the French Quarter". His story bursts with wholly original characters, denizens of New Orleans' lower depths, incredibly true-to-life dialogue, and the zaniest series of high and low comic adventures.

    Margot says: "Audio improves upon print"
    "Great Book...Lesser Production"

    I first read this many years ago, and could not put it down--even though I had to squirm my way through its uncomfortable, abandon-all-hope humor. When I finished it, I found that I had unwittingly joined a secret club of readers, bonded through the recollection of the dark and (now) hilarious farcical world of Ignatius J. Reilly. I strongly recommend the book. However, I recommend the *audiobook* with some resignation.

    The production of the audiobook is merely adequate. The narrator Barrett Whitener has a good voice--he would likely do an excellent job with almost any other book. However, I sensed a hurried pace to the storytelling, as if the producers were churning out product rather than coaching the narrator to achieve the full dramatic effect that this story deserves. Consequently, the richness of Toole's many colorful characters come through only partially, and the various elaborate scenarios that Toole so carefully crafts come to life somewhat less sharply than a better production would allow.

    I enjoyed the listen, but throughout its course I longed for its presentation to bring out more of the replete pageantry of Toole's work. Unfortunately, Blackstone Audiobooks took the factory approach and left us with "just another audiobook."

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The First Human: The Race to Discover Our Earliest Ancestors

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Ann Gibbons
    • Narrated By Renee Raudman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    This dynamic chronicle of the race to find the "missing links" between humans and apes transports readers into the highly competitive world of fossil hunting and into the lives of the ambitious scientists intent on pinpointing the dawn of humankind. The quest to find where and when the earliest human ancestors first appeared is one of the most exciting and challenging of all scientific pursuits.

    Eric Berger says: "Interesting subject, poor execution"
    "Good Content, Bad Narration"

    Gibbons covers her topic thoroughly and weaves together the complete story so that it keeps the listener's attention throughout. I agree with Michael from Baltimore's review that the tensions among paleanthropologists is one of the fascinating aspects of the whole story.

    However, be advised that the narration has problems. This production needed much better editorial oversight. Raudman's peculiar inflections frequently over-emphasize a word, disrupting the flow. She sometimes sounded as though she were reading a children's story. Raudman also mis-pronounces various words: Oligocene (ollie GOH seen?), Poitiers, and many other words throughout. The result for me was that at certain moments, I had to mentally replay sentences in order to repair the author's original meaning. The issue is actually not a problem of having a bad narrator. Rather, it shows that the producers of the audio program did not pay sufficient attention to editorial detail--certainly not to the level warranted by the author's effort to produce an excellent popular science narrative.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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