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flossdaily

I value intelligent stories with characters I can relate to. I can appreciate good prose, but a captivating plot is way more important.

Bayonne, NJ, United States | Member Since 2011

ratings
123
REVIEWS
96
FOLLOWING
8
FOLLOWERS
6
HELPFUL VOTES
112

  • Ringworld

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Larry Niven
    • Narrated By Tom Parker
    Overall
    (2889)
    Performance
    (1555)
    Story
    (1582)

    Welcome to Ringworld, an intermediate step between Dyson Spheres and planets. The gravitational force created by a rotation on its axis of 770 miles per second means no need for a roof. Walls 1,000 miles high at each rim will let in the sun and prevent much air from escaping. Larry Niven's novel, Ringworld, is the winner of the 1970 Hugo Award for Best Novel, the 1970 Nebula Award for Best Novel, and the 1972 Ditmars, an Australian award for Best International Science Fiction.

    Kennet says: "Genuinely Creative"
    "Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    So, I guess I hate Larry Niven's writing.

    I mean, I've listened to at least three of his best books, and they've all bored me. His characters are people I just can't force myself to care about, and his plots are all pretty dull.

    Once again I've sat through a book where Niven took a perfectly good premise and turned it into a dull experience where none of the dramatic moments have any emotional impact because you simply don't care about any of the characters at all.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Brave New World

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Aldous Huxley
    • Narrated By Michael York
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2665)
    Performance
    (1918)
    Story
    (1935)

    When Lenina and Bernard visit a savage reservation, we experience how Utopia can destroy humanity.

    Cloning, feel-good drugs, anti-aging programs, and total social control through politics, programming, and media: has Aldous Huxley accurately predicted our future? With a storyteller's genius, he weaves these ethical controversies in a compelling narrative that dawns in the year 632 A.F. (After Ford, the deity). When Lenina and Bernard visit a savage reservation, we experience how Utopia can destroy humanity.

    Jefferson says: "“Oh, Ford, Ford Ford, I Wish I Had My Soma!”"
    "Nowhere near as powerful as Orwell's 1984."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Brave New World is often help up as being the partner of 1984. Both have different versions of dystopian futures where humanity loses its individuality to a faceless system that destroys independent thought.

    1984 stuck with me long after I read it, but Brave New World never touched me on an emotional level. I found it redundant, slow and boring. I also think that the book failed to make it's point.

    Huxley examines the world government that is based on control through pleasure-induced apathy, without ever providing evidence as to why it was a bad system. We're just supposed to take it on faith that it is. Art is gone, and passion is gone, even love is gone... which is appalling on its face. But that's a subjective reaction on the part of the reader. I love my family and I can't imagine being happy in world without families... but objectively, and undeniably these people ARE happy.

    What we don't hear about is the progress of the sciences outside of the sciences which support the system of control. Is humanity still exploring the universe? Are we learning and progressing as a species? In 1984, the answer to these questions was an obvious "no". Humans and humanity as a whole were getting stupider. In Brave New World we know they're being systematically cut off from literature and art... basically all the "humanities" subjects. But what about everything else?

    There is plenty to think about here, but while 1984 is a perfect 5-star book in my opinion, Brave New World falls short. Still an important read, and an interesting cautionary tale.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Michelle Alexander
    • Narrated By Karen Chilton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (380)
    Performance
    (325)
    Story
    (327)

    In the era of colorblindness, it is no longer socially permissible to use race, explicitly, as a justification for discrimination, exclusion, and social contempt. Yet, as legal star Michelle Alexander reveals, today it is perfectly legal to discriminate against convicted criminals in nearly all the ways that it was once legal to discriminate against African Americans.

    Jeremy says: "An essential read. A horrifying reality."
    "An extremely well constructed argument"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I heard Michelle Alexander speaking about this book, and immediately her premise intrigued me. I'd always known that our criminal justice system was biased, but the scope of it was shocking... and thinking about it as a system as detrimental as Jim Crow had never even occurred to me.

    Her exploration of the topic in the book is fascinating. I'm halfway through and I'm already amazed, frustrated and enraged. I've always been concerned about social justice and civil rights. I went to law school because of my passion for these issues. But I didn't realize until this book, just how oppressive and racist our supreme court has been. I'd seen all the cases she wrote about, and had been independently outraged at each of them... but I didn't realize how they all worked in concert to leave no judicial remedy to systematic racism.

    As a white man, I find that other white men will occasionally make racist comments or jokes around me. I believe that most of these people feel comfortable doing so only because they believe that real institutional racism is a thing of the past, and so that their own bias is benign. "We have a black president, so racism is over". This book is arming me with a fantastic rebuttal to those people.

    This book should be read by every employer, landlord, politician, judge, and prosecutor in the US. Actually it should be read be read by every American, period.

    I've often wondered how so many white people could have stayed silent and complacent in the face of Jim Crow. Now I realize that I am guilty of doing the same under a regime that is just as harmful.

    This book has changed the way I look at the world. Hopefully it will spark serious reform in this country.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Ghost in the Wires: My Adventures as the World’s Most Wanted Hacker

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Kevin Mitnick, William L. Simon
    • Narrated By Ray Porter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3429)
    Performance
    (3045)
    Story
    (3056)

    Kevin Mitnick was the most elusive computer break-in artist in history. He accessed computers and networks at the world’s biggest companies—and however fast the authorities were, Mitnick was faster, sprinting through phone switches, computer systems, and cellular networks. He spent years skipping through cyberspace, always three steps ahead and labeled unstoppable.

    Mikeyxote says: "Great listen for tech fans"
    "For a smart guy, Mitnick was an idiot"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This was an amusing and informative book. I have to say, though, I like Mitnick less now that I've gotten to know him.

    I always thought of Mitnick as a brilliant hacker who was persecuted by a government that didn't understand the technology that they were trying to control. This is half true. The government certainly did overstep the bounds of sanity when they went after Mitnick... but Mitnick was not a brilliant hacker.

    Mitnick spends the book telling us that all his greatest hacking achievements were about "social engineering", which is the marketing term for "lying". He was certainly an intelligent guy who knew how to do research and learn about systems... but all the brilliant computer hacking was actually just him taking advantage of bugs that he read about or was told about.

    What made Mitnick famous wasn't that he was the smartest hacker, it was that he was the dumbest. In spite of constantly being caught in the act, and knowing that he was being watched by the highest echelons of law enforcement, Mitnick kept engaging in very risky hacks. He was the only one stupid enough to apply known bugs to breach security at major institutions, and he told other people about it, and kept hard evidence about it on his person.

    I have lost so much respect for Mitnick after reading this. He wasn't a genius that couldn't be contained. He was a fool who couldn't stop getting himself in trouble.

    The sad thing is that if Mitnick had actually had some brains and self-control he could have been the mastermind that the world mistook him for. At several points he was monitoring the FBI and police as they were tracking him. A sensible person would have kept this card close to the vest. But Mitnick tipped them off by leaving a box of donuts for raiding FBI agents. When I first heard this anecdote, I thought it was awesome, because he was one step ahead of the FBI. The book flushes this out a bit more, and we see that Mitnick didn't really have a plan at this point. This wasn't measured taunting... this was an impulse control problem.

    The list of idiotic things that Mitnick did just goes on and on: he frequently stuck around after he had evidence that his cover was blown; he made no contingency plans; he gave incriminating evidence to people he didn't know, or worse, knew as untrustworthy or suspicious characters; and he always kept damning evidence of his crimes on him... without encrypting it.

    I wanted Mitnick to be just like Richard Feynman mixed with Frank Abagnale. Instead I found out he was a damned fool.



    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Moby-Dick

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By Herman Melville
    • Narrated By Frank Muller
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1217)
    Performance
    (939)
    Story
    (945)

    Labeled variously a realistic story of whaling, a romance of unusual adventure and eccentric characters, a symbolic allegory, and a drama of heroic conflict, Moby Dick is first and foremost a great story. It has both the humor and poignancy of a simple sea ballad, as well as the depth and universality of a grand odyssey.

    Alice says: "I felt totally swept up in this world"
    "Surprisingly funny"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I've been working my way through intimidating classics, and Moby-Dick was near the top of the list. I've heard that it was slow and boring. I was prepared for the worst, but I jumped in anyway.

    I was immediately blown away by the prose. Wow, Herman Melville sure could put a sentence together. I mean, you instantly see why this is such a respected novel. And behind all the elegant phrasing, there is such wit!

    I never knew Moby-Dick was supposed to be a funny book, but it is. And I'm just talking about the humor that has stood the test of time. I imagine there were plenty of jokes in here that I totally missed, given how subtle Melville's sense of humor could be.

    Now, the key to listening to Moby-Dick is to forget about the plot. That's not what the book is about. The book is a collection of tangents about the sea and whales in general. If you're waiting for Ahab to battle his whale the whole time, you're going to be bored, and you're going to miss the best stuff. This is why I'm giving the story a 3/5 while I'm giving the book a 4/5. The book isn't about the plot. It's about everything else.

    I'm not giving the story a full 5/5, because even while recognizing that it is brilliant, I have to say that it was still a lot more work to get through than other classics. I enjoyed the book in spite of its meandering, but I need more than pretty prose and wit to be happy. I do need a driving, progressing plot to keep me happy for 20+ hours.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Neverwhere [Adaptation]

    • ORIGINAL (3 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Neil Gaiman
    • Narrated By Christopher Lee, James McAvoy, Natalie Dormer, and others
    Overall
    (912)
    Performance
    (868)
    Story
    (863)

    A BBC Radio six-part adaptation of Neil Gaiman's best-selling novel, starring James McAvoy as Richard and Natalie Dormer as Door. Beneath the streets of London there is another London. A subterranean labyrinth of sewers and abandoned tube stations. A somewhere that is Neverwhere....

    Gayle says: "Superb"
    "Overrate like all Neil Gaiman things"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I don't understand why Gaiman is so beloved. He builds fantasy worlds with no real rules, so basically every plot point is some version of a deus ex machina. The drama is always watered down because the rules of the universe are too amorphous for an peril to feel real.

    I found Neverwhere a bit difficult to follow at first. Once I got into the story I found it to be silly and not particularly compelling. I didn't care about the main character because there was no reason to. He seemed like a nice guy, but he wasn't particularly interesting or likable.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Shane

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Jack Schaefer
    • Narrated By Grover Gardner
    Overall
    (69)
    Performance
    (55)
    Story
    (57)

    Shane, the traveller and ex-gunfighter, a mysterious gunman who enters into the life of Joe Starrett and his family and carves a place for himself in their hearts. Although he tries to leave his gunslinging past behind, refusing to even carry a gun, he decides to fight Fletcher and Wilson, the town enemies, in order to save Joe Starrett’s farm.

    Laura says: "typical coming of age western"
    "A fun story about men being men."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Shane is a relic of a simpler time, when men communicated primarily through grunts and head nods.

    In my high school, many students had Shane as required reading. I unfortunately missed out on this, and instead was assigned Ethan Frome. I can't help but wonder if my love for literature was delayed because of this unfortunate circumstance.

    Shane is a really fun book. Its the first Western I've read, and though I enjoy the Western movie genre (somewhat), I never thought I could get the same experience out of a novel.

    Shane gives us heroes and villains, good men and bad men. The world in which Shane exists is not real life. It's the reality of a Western. Shane is not a man, he's a superman. And relationships don't evolve over time. People meet and know exactly how they feel about each other before a word is spoken.

    I went into this book knowing nothing about it. I thought it would be a bit heavier, but was pleased to find that it was a fun read, with just enough subtext and to keep it feeling sophisticated.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Lock In (Narrated by Amber Benson)

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs)
    • By John Scalzi
    • Narrated By Amber Benson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (143)
    Performance
    (128)
    Story
    (134)

    Not too long from today, a new, highly contagious virus makes its way across the globe. Most who get sick experience nothing worse than flu, fever, and headaches. But for the unlucky one percent - and nearly five million souls in the United States alone - the disease causes "Lock In": Victims fully awake and aware, but unable to move or respond to stimulus. The disease affects young, old, rich, poor, people of every color and creed. The world changes to meet the challenge.

    Bruce Kent says: "Iconic!"
    "Scalzi being Scalzi"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'm a reluctant fan of John Scalzi. I think he has some of the greatest plots in the genre. Unfortunately his writing talent falls far behind his imagination. I keep hoping with every book that he will develop his skills a bit more, but in the end, he remains the same old Scalzi:

    Every plot point is explained and re-explained. Scalzi doesn't trust his readers to understand subtleties, so there are none. Ever.

    Every character speaks with the same voice. Not literally-- the narrator does a fine job of differentiating the characters... I mean, the dialog itself. The speaking style of any Scalzi character from any of his books is completely interchangeable with any other. I used to think that this was partly because Wil Wheaton narrated most of his stuff, and Wil doesn't attempted to do character voices often. But even with Benson as the narrator here, all the character seem like carbon copies of one another.

    The plot is okay, and maybe in the absence of movies like Avatar and Surrogates, the story would be more interesting. Unfortunately the novelty of people using puppet bodies has been fairly well explored at this point. Lock In covered little new ground.

    I've had my Scalzi fix for the year. I'll probably be back in a year or two to be disappointed in the next one.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Her Royal Spyness: A Royal Spyness Mystery

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Rhys Bowen
    • Narrated By Katherine Kellgren
    Overall
    (4471)
    Performance
    (3823)
    Story
    (3802)

    Georgie, aka Lady Victoria Georgiana Charlotte Eugenie, cousin of King George V of England, is penniless and trying to survive on her own as an ordinary person in London in 1932. So far she has managed to light a fire and boil an egg... She's gate-crashed a wedding... She's making money by secretly cleaning houses... And she's been asked to spy for Her Majesty the Queen.

    Alice says: "Happy addition to a difficult genre"
    "A fun read; light and entertaining"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I was attracted to this book from the title alone. Everything else about it was a bit of a turn-off, from the location, era and even to the genre itself; I'm not one for mystery serials. This book came up during a sale, and I wanted to try something a bit different than my usual fare.

    I was very impressed by the writing and the narration. The prose aren't anything amazing, but the story is nicely paced and the characters are a hoot. I also enjoyed the introduction to the crazy little pocket of humanity on the outer fringe of the royal family. It was educational and amusing.

    The mystery at the center of this plot was very interesting, and did keep me guessing for a while. It wasn't the most logical plot in the world, and if I felt like being nit-picky about it, I could probably find several things to be unhappy about.

    As it stands, the book was just the right sort of light read for me at the time. I have put the sequel on my wishlist and I'll probably pick up more of the series if it goes on sale. That about says it all, doesn't it?

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Treasure Island

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Robert Louis Stevenson
    • Narrated By Neil Hunt
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (158)
    Performance
    (126)
    Story
    (125)

    If you happen to find a map in a dead buccaneer's sea trunk, you can't very well ignore it, not if you are Jim Hawkins and his friends Dr. Livesey, Captain Smollett, and Squire Trelawney! But even with a map, buried treasures are not easy things to come by.

    Darwin8u says: "A Pirate's Life Indeed."
    "A fun classic which has aged fairly well"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I wasn't exactly captivated by the story. In fact, it took me a few tries before I was able to really get into the book, and even then, it nearly lost me in the middle.

    That being said, I got a huge kick out of finally meeting the character of Long John Silver, who Neil Hunt brought to life masterfully.

    The tale was pretty interesting, and there were parts that were quite thrilling and engaging. I can see how it would have been an absolute gem in its time. Today's audience has been raised on movies full of epic adventures, so we're a little numb to a simple story like this. That being said, the narration helped to make it very relatable.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Call of the Wild

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Jack London
    • Narrated By Roger Dressler
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (59)
    Performance
    (46)
    Story
    (47)

    In "Call of the Wild", a domestic dog is kidnapped from his comfortable life on a California estate and thrown into the wild north woods. Buck, half St. Bernard and half Scottish shepherd, is a strong dog but not accustomed to the harsh life of the north and he must fight for survival. He learns how to work hard; how to dig a hole in a snowbank to stay warm; how to eat anything no matter how loathsome; how to scent the weather; how to break ice to find water; and most importantly, how to survive cruelty.

    Jefferson says: "A Great Bargain: Four Vigorous Klondike Tales"
    "Did not make a fan out of me"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I remembered enjoying White Fang as a kid, and I purchased this book during a classics binge, without reading the description. I was surprised to find I was reading yet ANOTHER Jack London book about a wolf/dog. Oh well.

    I don't think I found this book as engaging as White Fang, but it's been a decade since I read the latter, so I could be warping things in my mind. Either way, I feel I'm a bit too old to be reading stories about anthropomorphized dogs. It just didn't do anything for me.

    Still, I enjoyed the prose, and this audiobook contained one of the greatest short stories of all time: To Build a Fire. So it was worth my time, I think.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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