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William

Tupelo, MS, United States | Member Since 2004

36
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 14 reviews
  • 365 ratings
  • 0 titles in library
  • 36 purchased in 2014
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  • The Sagan Diary

    • UNABRIDGED (1 hr and 34 mins)
    • By John Scalzi
    • Narrated By Stephanie Wolfe, John Scalzi
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (371)
    Performance
    (244)
    Story
    (245)

    Jane Sagan: Soldier. Killer. Lover. Dreamer. In John Scalzi's best-selling Old Man's War series of science-fiction novels, we see this warrior woman as the other characters see her - silent and strong, from the outside. But now The Sagan Diary shows us Sagan from another point of view: her own, as she prepares to leave military life and join her new husband and adopted daughter on a colony world.

    wyatt says: "It's a Poem"
    "No action, no dialogue"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    If you're like me, you are looking at this book because you loved old man's war, ghost brigades, and the lost colony, and you're hoping to get another entertaining, thought-provoking story. Here's a warning that I wish someone had given me:
    In a prologue, the author basically states that he's good at writing dialogue and action, and wants to try a story without those elements. I wish I had just deleted the book at that point. I forced myself to listen to the entire book, although my mind kept wandering to topics it found more entertaining, such as fruit fly genetics. I kept hoping there would be something good later on, but there wasn't. If listening to a woman talk about her feelings for an hour and a half sounds like entertainment to you, maybe you'll enjoy this book, but I'm guessing that isn't the case for most fans of old man's war.

    11 of 14 people found this review helpful
  • Whipping Star

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Frank Herbert
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (96)
    Performance
    (56)
    Story
    (62)

    In the far future, humankind has made contact with numerous other species - and has helped to form the ConSentiency to govern between the species. After suffering under a tyrannous pure democracy that had the power to create laws so fast that no thought could be given to the effects, the sentients of the galaxy found a need for the Bureau of Sabotage (BuSab) to slow the wheels of government, thereby preventing it from legislating recklessly.

    William says: "Zero Star"
    "Zero Star"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book doesn't even deserve the one star which I've given it. It seems like at least half the book is human characters communicating with aliens telepathically, yet the conversations get hung up on English words with multiple definitions. If that's not enough to make you avoid the book, try this: the main characters are hunting a villain who is going to end all sentient life in the universe within days, yet they keep tip-toeing around what the villain's lawyers might do in response to their actions. Since it's a relatively short book, I decided to finish it, hoping there might be some interesting twist at the end, but I was disappointed once again.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • They Poured Fire on Us From the Sky: The True Story of Three Lost Boys from Sudan

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Benson Deng, Alephonsion Deng, Benjamin Ajak, and others
    • Narrated By David Henry, David Zinn, Augustino Mayai, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (41)
    Performance
    (27)
    Story
    (27)

    Benjamin, Alepho, and Benson were raised among the Dinka tribe of Sudan. Their world was an insulated, close-knit community of grass-roofed cottages, cattle herders, and tribal councils. The lions and pythons that prowled beyond the village fences were the greatest threat they knew. All that changed the night the government-armed Murahiliin began attacking their villages.

    Jane Lee says: "what's happening in the rest of the world"
    "Important History"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I think books like this are important to show people that atrocities still happen in modern times. If enough people were aware of such things, maybe in the future they would say "don't let there be another (Sudan, Rwanda, etc.)"

    This book shows you what it was like to be a refugee by providing stories from 3 survivors. There are cases of surprising kindness and pointless cruelty, and many small details that caused me to imagine myself in the refugees' situations. While there is no actual discussion of the "history", I feel that the stories do a fairly good job giving the overall picture of the situation in Southern Sudan at that time.

    I only had a couple of minor problems with the book. The story switched among the accounts of the 3 boys frequently, and this combined with my broken up listening during commutes and the fact that the boys' paths sometimes intersected, made it hard for me to distinguish between the three as individuals, even though each had their own narrator. One of the narrators has a strong African accent, which some people might have trouble understanding, but I felt it really added to the listening experience. One of the American narrators (at least on my audio device) made a sharp whistling noise every time he pronounced an "s".

    Other audible books with stories of people surviving and escaping horrible situations include Long Way Gone about Sierra Leone and Nothing to Envy about North Korea. Going a little further back in history is The Rape of Nanking, but that one has a lot more victim stories than survivors, so it's really hard to stomach.



    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Texas Rangers: Wearing the Cinco Peso, 1821-1900

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Mike Cox
    • Narrated By Jonathan Hogan
    Overall
    (37)
    Performance
    (24)
    Story
    (23)

    Mike Cox, journalist and Texas Ranger grand master, recounts enthralling tales of men who proudly wore the silver Lone Star - once hand-carved from the Mexican five peso. Whether facing Indians, banditos, or Yankees, TexasRangers earned a reputation for being some of the most formidable lawmen in U.S. history.

    William says: "Like reading case reports"
    "Like reading case reports"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Unfortunately, this book reads like a series of case reports. There isn't much background to most of the incidents described, so you feel like you've gotten the facts, but not much of a "story".

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Arabian Nights: Their Best Known Tales

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Kate Douglas Wiggin, Nora A. Smith
    • Narrated By Johanna Ward
    Overall
    (164)
    Performance
    (46)
    Story
    (45)

    Here is a selection of some of the best-known and best-loved tales of The Arabian Nights, including "Sinbad", "Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves", "Aladdin", "The Talking Bird", and the "Fisherman and the Genie". In this "treasure house of pleasant things" you will find golden palaces, gem studded caves, and breathtaking gardens.

    Joe Pawlowski says: "Lively Nights"
    "Why didn't I press delete?"
    Overall

    After each of these stories, I thought about deleting the audiobook, only my stubbornness stopped me. These stories are so slowly paced and repetitive that they quickly lost my interest and had no entertainment value. They didn't have interesting characters, thought-provoking plot twists, or any kind or moral or message, so I can't imagine what anyone would like about them. I'm surprised that anyone ever thought they were worth writing down on paper, and doubly surprised that a second person then thought they were worth making into an audiobook.

    1 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Camouflage

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Joe Haldeman
    • Narrated By Eric Michael Summerer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (498)
    Performance
    (240)
    Story
    (249)

    The artifact is found seven miles below the surface of the sea and beneath 40 more feet of sand. The Navy's efforts to raise a wrecked submarine uncover it - and set in motion a scientific race to retrieve it, to discover just what it is and where it came from. Denser than any substance known to man, it has broken every drill bit they've tried on it and will not budge an inch. It resists every effort to breach it - or communicate with it.

    Deborah Thompson says: "Grows on you"
    "Dull and unnecessary"
    Overall

    I bought this because some time ago, I had read 'The Forever War' and enjoyed it, and also because the plot summary sounded interesting. However, there was nothing interesting beyond the summary in the book, and I had to sit through numerous explicit descriptions of sexual encounters.

    9 of 24 people found this review helpful
  • The Airmen and the Headhunters: The Unlikeliest Rescue of World War II

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Judith M. Heimann
    • Narrated By Susan Ericksen
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (29)
    Performance
    (9)
    Story
    (11)

    November 1944: Army airmen set out in a B-24 bomber on what should have been an easy mission off the Borneo coast. Instead they found themselves unexpectedly facing a Japanese fleet: and were shot down. When they cut themselves loose from their parachutes, they were scattered across the island's mountainous interior. Then a group of loincloth-wearing natives silently materialized out of the jungle. Would these Dayak tribesmen turn the starving airmen over to the hostile Japanese occupiers?

    She says: "Spellbinding"
    "Great wartime survival story"
    Overall

    This is an interesting and suspenseful story. I've been to Borneo recently, and had the benefit of guidebooks and the internet to learn about the island before I went, so it was interesting to hear that the airmen didn't have access to similar information before flying missions over the island.

    As a side note, ignore the reviewer who complains about the narrator's accents. The accents are fairly mild, and not used very frequently. I can't believe someone could read this incredible story of courage and survival, and then whine about some accents.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Snakes and Ladders: Glimpses of Modern India

    • ABRIDGED (3 hrs)
    • By Gita Mehta
    • Narrated By Gita Mehta
    Overall
    (10)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (2)

    A series of engrossing sketches reveals an India that may be surprising to many Westerners. Instead of a single country, the listener will discover, India is a nation of several civilizations in different states of development. The author covers the country from its ancient cultures to her encounters with the film directors and poets and the complicated machination of the world's largest democracy.

    Joan says: "Pleasant Mistake"
    "Brief Overview"
    Overall

    For someone unfamiliar with post-colonial indian history and culture, this book would make a good introduction. I was a little disappointed, as I was expecting more anecdotes and local color. Perhaps I would have enjoyed this audiobook more if it had been unabridged.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Best of Analog Science Fiction and Fact Magazine

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Michael Swanwick, Adam-Troy Castro, Jerry Oltion, and others
    • Narrated By Stefan Rudnicki, Gabrielle de Cuir, Amanda Karr
    Overall
    (131)
    Performance
    (16)
    Story
    (16)

    Analog Science Fiction & Fact Magazine has provided four edgy stories about heroism, each exploring emotional dimensions uncommon in this or any other genre.

    William T. Katz says: "Highly entertaining"
    "Disappointing"
    Overall

    I love collections of science fiction short stories, even if they aren't the greatest stories, they are one of my favorite things to read or listen to. Even so, I did not find this collection very entertaining. The "Astronaut from Wyoming" is an average story, worth killing some time with while commuting. The story about 9/11 brought up some emotions, but there wasn't much of anything to it. After listening to the other two stories in the collection, I felt as if I'd rather have rolled the window down and listened to the wind, I just couldn't find anything entertaining or original about either one of them.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Cry, the Beloved Country

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Alan Paton
    • Narrated By Michael York
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (548)
    Performance
    (222)
    Story
    (221)

    This is the most distinguished novel that has come out of South Africa in the 20th century, and it is one of the most important novels of the modern era. Cry, the Beloved Country is in some ways a sad book; it is an indictment of a social system that drives native races into resentment and crime; it is a story of Fate, as inevitable, as relentless, as anything of Thomas Hardy's. Beautifully wrought with high poetic compassion, Cry, the Beloved Country is more than just a story, it is a profound experience of the human spirit.

    Penny says: "Two Words"
    "Not what I expected"
    Overall

    When I got this book, I assumed it would be just an account of atrocities, and although the book could be classified as a tragedy, that's not its whole point. There are many characters who are positive role models dealing with difficult circumstances.

    I was also surprised to learn to what extent modern South Africa's problems existed when this book was written.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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