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  • The Things They Carried

  • By: Tim O'Brien
  • Narrated by: Bryan Cranston
  • Length: 7 hrs and 47 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 6,545
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,056
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 6,031

Hailed by The New York Times as "a marvel of storytelling", The Things They Carried’s portrayal of the boots-on-the-ground experience of soldiers in the Vietnam War is a landmark in war writing. Now, three-time Emmy Award winner-Bryan Cranston, star of the hit TV series Breaking Bad, delivers an electrifying performance that walks the book’s hallucinatory line between reality and fiction and highlights the emotional power of the spoken word.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Heavy Load

  • By Mel on 10-28-13

A graphic reminder of war

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-14-17

"By telling stories, you objectify your own experience. You separate it from yourself. You pin down certain truths. You make up others. You start sometimes with an incident that truly happened, like the night in the shit field, and you carry it forward by inventing incidents that did not in fact occur but that nonetheless help to clarify what happened."
-Tim O'Brien (The Things they Carried)

Tim O'Brien worked at a meat-packing plant during the summer of his eighteenth birthday. The blood and guts and 'stink' made him smell so bad that he was unable to get a date that year. He felt awkward, and depressed, and was without a clear vision for his life...but he knew he did not want to go to war.

America was at war in Vietnam, and the Draft was in place. Friends and acquaintances were signing up for service, or were otherwise being drafted for a tour in Vietnam. People were also dying, and coming home in coffins.

O'Brien's cathartic prose draws you into the turmoil that a draft letter brings a young man. He reacts against it, despairs because of it, and then he finally faces himself alone. He struggles to do what is right, and ultimately acknowledges he was not brave enough to follow his convictions.

"...many brave men do not win medals for their bravery... others win medals for doing nothing."

O'Brien's stories are visually sweeping. Picture dappled sunlight through trees on balmy summer day. Swaying shadows and gentle breezes near a river bank. The company taking a needed break from the horrors of war. A brief turn and a smile, and then a bullet removes half of his friend's face...pink brain-matter landing on the other men's fatigues. And O'Brien can't stop thinking about the dappled sunlight.

This is a book that examines the effects of PTSD before there were acronyms for it. We live vicariously through O'Brien as he loses an innocence, knowing that a part of him is gone forever. We also jealously witness a bond of friendship that is stronger than the bonds of death.

O'Brien outlives the war, and outlives many of his friends. He marries and appears to have a normal life. And yet, through his books we feel what he suffered having walked through the valley of the shadow of death. We see what he saw. We feel the guilt and shame, and hold the fear and sorrow. We grieve at the love and the loss...and we witness all of the things...good and bad...that a soldier feels who is forced to fight in a war for reasons he does not understand.


“AUDIBLE 20 REVIEW SWEEPSTAKES ENTRY”

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Verdict

  • By: Nick Stone
  • Narrated by: David Thorpe
  • Length: 21 hrs and 20 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,908
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,475
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,454

Terry Flynt is a struggling legal clerk desperately trying to get promoted when he is given the biggest opportunity of his career: to help defend a millionaire accused of murdering a woman in his hotel suite. The only problem is that the accused man, Vernon James, is not only someone he knows but someone he loathes. This case could potentially make Terry's career, but how can he defend a former friend who betrayed him?

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • One of THE best audiobooks ever!

  • By Sarah on 05-22-16

Courtroom Thriller meets Backroom, and Backstreet.

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-25-17

"The Verdict" is an enjoyable courtroom thriller that has several layers to keep it interesting. The 20+ hour long story moves at a good pace, as the protagonist delves into a highly publicized case, and the backgrounds of all parties involved are slowly stripped away.

What do you do if an old acquaintance, one whom you have despised for most of your adult life, is accused of a crime he likely did not commit?

Your firm is defending the accused, and you are prompted to clerk for this important client.

You have an obligation to track down leads that "don't add up", or you can choose to overlook the details knowing they were considered unimportant. Do your personal feelings get in the way of how you do your job?

To make matters worse, your past is mired with that of the defendants, and has the ability to make you look very bad, or even get you fired?

This is the premise that this intriguing book is built upon.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Best of Our Spies

  • By: Alex Gerlis
  • Narrated by: John Lee
  • Length: 15 hrs and 56 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 417
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 387
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 381

France, July 1944: a month after the Allied landings in Normandy, and the liberation of Europe is under way. In the Pas-de-Calais, Nathalie Mercier, a young British Special Operations executive secret agent working with the French Resistance, disappears. In London, her husband, Owen Quinn, an officer with Royal Navy Intelligence, discovers the truth about her role in the Allies' sophisticated deception at the heart of D-Day.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • WWII spy novel

  • By Wayne on 11-25-17

Spies among us.

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-25-17

"The Best of Our Spies" is set during during the later part of World War II.

The story follows a reluctant "sleeper spy" for the Germans, who finally throws herself into her role by pursuing and marrying a naval cartographer for the British Intelligence. As his fondness grows towards her, so too does his intel regarding the British Navy.

The plot becomes complex and muddied. Other spies are introduced, and turned. The outcome of World War II is not certain, and hangs on a knife's edge. Relationships are mired. And, like a good espionage novel should be: not everything is as it seems.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • The Sea Wolf

  • By: Jack London
  • Narrated by: Frank Muller
  • Length: 9 hrs and 17 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 337
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 273
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 274

Wealthy ne'er-do-well Humphrey Van Weyden is a castaway who is put to work on the schooner Ghost, run by brutal Wolf Larsen. Toughened by life at sea, Humphrey develops the strength to protect another castaway, Maud Brewster, and stand up to the increasingly deranged Larsen. Experience the crashing, relentless power of the sea through this compelling story, made hauntingly immediate by author London's vivid prose.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Frank Muller: A Reader of Worth...

  • By Don Abrán on 04-27-12

3.5 - not my favorite Jack London

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-25-17

The book was fairly interesting in that the writing was good and the scenery kept changing, but felt more contrived, and more forced, than London's other more notable works.

Instead of a straight-forward adventure on the high-seas, London created philosophical and religious arguments between the protagonist and the antagonist, which felt out of place on a "Seal Hunting Boat". Possible London was trying to make the antagonist appear more sinister because of his high learning and still wanton evil, but I felt that these random dialogues slowed a good adventure book down with weighty and often pointless philosophical ramblings.

Would rather read Treasure Island or Kidnapped.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • 600 Hours of Edward

  • By: Craig Lancaster
  • Narrated by: Luke Daniels
  • Length: 7 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,384
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,149
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,148

A 39-year-old with Asperger’s syndrome and obsessive-compulsive disorder, Edward Stanton lives alone on a rigid schedule in the Montana town where he grew up. His carefully constructed routine includes tracking his most common waking time (7:38 a.m.), refusing to start his therapy sessions even a minute before the appointed hour (10:00 a.m.), and watching one episode of the 1960s cop show Dragnet each night (10:00 p.m.). But when a single mother and her nine-year-old son move in across the street, Edward’s timetable comes undone....

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A Very Good Book with a Very Difficult Hero

  • By Lulu on 08-27-12

A day in a life with Asperger's

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 04-24-17

Occasionally I will listen to a book like this (and sometimes I will even enjoy it); A book told in first-person narrative about someone struggling through ordinary daily problems, while struggling with extraordinary personal handicaps.

The main character, Edward, is struggling to navigate a world that he doesn't fully relate. His perspective doesn't line up with how other people see the world. From the outside Edward looks like everybody else, except that he does not have a filter for his thoughts, and his logical brain cannot process irrational or disorganized ideas other's may have. He has little patience for other's thoughts if they run contrary to his own. This gets Edward into trouble ("the Garth Brooks incident", for example).

"600 Hours of Edward" is told from the perspective of someone struggling with OCD and Asperger's, but has learned with counselling to be higher-functioning. He displays stereotypical "idiot savant" reactions to the daily perplexities of life, and can sometimes come of simultaneously as absurd, mentally retarded, brilliant, and extremely rude.

There is a misunderstanding in our culture about Asperger's and Autism in general. Most people have some idea what it is, but may not fully understand it. This book does a good job of humanizing the struggle of people who can sometimes come off as insensitive, robotic, or anti-social. In the end, the reader feels strongly for the characters, even though they may not yet understand what makes him tick, because let's face it, they think differently than most people.

The plot has enough continuous forward momentum as to keep the story interesting. It starts during a very tumultuous time in the character's life, so we learn how he responds to change (a very difficult thing for Edward to do), and are not certain what effect this shakeup will ultimately have on Edward's life and emotional stability.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • An Accidental Death

  • A DC Smith Investigation Series, Book 1
  • By: Peter Grainger
  • Narrated by: Gildart Jackson
  • Length: 6 hrs and 52 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 2,951
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,740
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 2,724

The story opens with the apparently accidental drowning of a sixth form student in the Norfolk countryside. As a matter of routine, or so it seems, the case passes across the desk of Detective Sergeant Smith, recently returned to work after an internal investigation into another case that has led to tensions between officers at Kings Lake police headquarters. As an ex-DCI, Smith could have retired by now, and it is clear that some of his superiors wish that he would do so.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • An Accidental Read

  • By Lulu on 08-29-16

Good Police Procedural

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-30-17

An even-paced investigation into a boys "accidental" drowning, turns into something more. A grizzled cop (on the verge of retirement) is given a rubber-stamp case that just doesn't add up.

2 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • A Dangerous Fortune

  • By: Ken Follett
  • Narrated by: Michael Page
  • Length: 16 hrs and 21 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 4,322
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,829
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,841

In 1866 tragedy strikes at the exclusive Windfield School when a mysterious accident takes the life of a student. Among the student's circle of friends are Hugh Pilaster; Hugh's older cousin Edward, dissolute heir to the Pilaster banking fortune; and Micky Miranda, the handsome son of a brutal South American oligarchy. The death and its aftermath begin the spiraling circle of treachery that will span three decades and entwine many lives.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Predictable Fun

  • By Rebecarol on 05-24-08

Underdog Story

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-30-17

This story ticks all the boxes if you like the classic "Dickensonian Struggles" (if you will). The writing is superb, and the narration is consistent.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • A Spy's Guide to Thinking

  • By: John Braddock
  • Narrated by: Kevin Pierce
  • Length: 1 hr and 2 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 783
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 691
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 692

In this 45-minute listen, a former spy introduces two simple tools for thinking. The first describes how we think. The second helps us think ahead. They are the essential tools for getting things done. The tools are applied to an incident in a subway car in Europe where a spy faces a new enemy. Then, they're reapplied to Saddam Hussein's stockpiling (or not) of weapons of mass destruction.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A Smart Guide to Thinking

  • By Kindle Customer on 10-05-15

Just Not Enough

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-25-17

This is a good listen, but there is just not enough content to make a complete statement.

There is only one example given from which to draw all of the author's conclusions. This example is broken down bit-by-bit, move-by-move, piece-by-piece - which is great! The only problem, is that this book really needed (a minimum) of about three examples to clarify and drive home the author's points.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Smoke and Whispers

  • By: Mick Herron
  • Narrated by: Anna Bentinck
  • Length: 10 hrs and 9 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 50
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 42
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 42

When a body is hauled from the River Tyne, Sarah Tucker heads North for a closer look. She identifies the dead woman as private detective Zöe Boehm, but putting a name to the corpse only raises further questions. Did Zöe kill herself, or did one of her old cases come looking for her? And what's brought Sarah's former sparring partner Gerard Inchon to the same broken-down hotel?

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Top of the Class

  • By Aaron on 03-25-17

Top of the Class

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-25-17

Herron writes masterfully.

It is nice to see a talented writer in the "Crime Fiction" genre. Plot is coherent, prose is beautiful, plenty of atmosphere, good dialogue, story moves forward at a good pace, memorable characters. Herron is a fun writer to read, and I'm not exactly sure why. His voice is distinct, but not forced. He is daring with his choice of words, but not forced. He has a style, but each book I read stands enough on its own to at least not 'seem' formulaic.

I hope Mr. Herron's writing continues to get better and better.

I look forward to reading his next book. (or as in this case listening to it) Anna Bentinck did a good job reading. I have no complaints, and for me that is high praise.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • The Painted Veil

  • By: W. Somerset Maugham
  • Narrated by: Kate Reading
  • Length: 7 hrs and 19 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,843
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,400
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,389

First published in 1925, The Painted Veil is an affirmation of the human capacity to grow, change, and forgive. Set in England and Hong Kong in the 1920s, it is the story of the beautiful but shallow young Kitty Fane. When her husband discovers her adulterous affair, he forces her to accompany him to a remote region of China ravaged by a cholera epidemic.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • What An Unexpected Delight!

  • By Cathy on 10-22-08

Infidelity and Redemption

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-25-17

Deep, sad and poignant. This is a masterpiece of tragic literature. If you have not read The Painted Veil, I recommend it as a character study alone. The language is elegant. The reading by Kate reading is touching, yet does not distract from the story.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful