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Thomas More

  • 41
  • reviews
  • 245
  • helpful votes
  • 250
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  • The Ice Storm

  • By: Rick Moody
  • Narrated by: David DeSantos
  • Length: 9 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 86
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 67
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 66

The year is 1973. As a freak winter storm bears down on an exclusive, affluent suburb in Connecticut, cars skid out of control, men and women swap partners, and their children experiment with sex, drugs, and even suicide. Here two families, the Hoods and the Williamses, com face-to-face with the seething emotions behind the well-clipped lawns of their lives-in a novel widely hailed as a funny, acerbic, and moving hymn to a dazed and confused era of American life.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A Stark and Dormy Night

  • By Dubi on 02-01-14

Excellent, interesting novel!

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

Reviewed: 06-08-18

I've had this one on my to-read list for over five years - the story of a single New England night in 1973 in which an ice storm descends and changes the lives of a group of mixed-up humans doing their best to make a go of it. Now just to be clear - it isn't all about the storm. The storm just comes along and weaves its way through the plot. Think, perhaps, of the rain of frogs in Magnolia, as a comparison. I didn't make a firm count, but I think we spend time with roughly six characters during the novel, whom Moody presents to us cloaked in a wise omniscient narrative voice. With this narration, I was reminded of Ann Patchett's Commonwealth, and also, strangely, of George Elliot's books - she was a big proponent of that "eye of God" looking bemusedly over her characters. The Ice Storm finds some middle ground between humor and drama, which is, I think, where most of life takes place. I enjoyed the story a good bit - liked the tapestry of characters, the messiness of their lives and their desires. There's a great deal of sexual activity and sexual thinking - much of it quite unique and interesting. Wendy was my favorite character - as complex a young woman as I've ever run across in literature. You never hear about this book being mentioned as anything special - like "classic" special, and I'm really not sure why - what it is about the writing that holds it back from packing more power or staying with us as readers - and I guess I come back to that narrative voice, which is the heart of the prose, but conversely, holds it back in some way from conveying the emotion of the characters more potently. Or perhaps too many cultural references? I don't know - we Americans are pretty culture-obsessed, so I couldn't tell after a while. All that being said, there are some brilliant passages that I wish I could share a few of here, but they involve a particular plot point that needs to remain hidden. RECOMMENDED.

  • A Separation

  • A Novel
  • By: Katie Kitamura
  • Narrated by: Katherine Waterston
  • Length: 6 hrs and 52 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars 151
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars 142
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars 141

A young woman has agreed with her faithless husband: It's time for them to separate. For the moment it's a private matter, a secret between the two of them. As she begins her new life, she gets word that Christopher has gone missing in a remote region in the rugged south of Greece; she reluctantly agrees to go look for him, still keeping their split to herself. In her heart she's not even sure if she wants to find him.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Not a Thriller, but Still Great

  • By Michael - Audible Editor on 02-09-17

For Lovers of Hemingway and Bowles...

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

Reviewed: 12-30-17

This is an exquisite book. I sometimes forget in my typical trudge through the brambles of popular fiction that some writers are still interested in probing the enigma of the human condition. It's hard to compare Kitamura's striking tone to anything I've read from recent writers, but after finishing a chapter or two, I knew I would love this book. It tickles those same sensibilities I have in reading Farewell to Arms or The Sheltering Sky - that setting of "foreigner among locals," that interior voice that observes without sentimentality. I never highlight anything in books, but there were some ideas here so finely written and considered that I had to stop and note them. Kitamura's writing seems to compel the reader to stop and ponder all the absurdities we find ourselves in, to think about our own foolish choices.

Katherine Watterson makes all the right choices with her narration - nothing showy, nothing inauthentic - and her quiet storytelling adds to the tension and feeling of the story. She is superb and intelligent. This was a truly special listening experience.

  • Face the Music

  • My Improbable Trip to Saturn (or Close Enough) with Sun Ra
  • By: Michael Lowenthal
  • Narrated by: Jeremy Arthur
  • Length: 51 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3

In 1990, the avant-garde jazz musician Sun Ra arrived at Dartmouth to collaborate with the school's jazz band, where Michael Lowenthal - an anxious, 20-year-old senior - played trumpet. As rehearsals got underway and two musical worlds collided, Lowenthal struggled with the improvisation that Sun Ra's sparse, yet spiritual, melodies demanded. In this essay, Lowenthal recounts his "otherworldly" experience with the famous jazz star who claimed to be from Saturn.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Mysteries of Youth and Jazz

  • By Thomas More on 12-10-17

Mysteries of Youth and Jazz

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

Reviewed: 12-10-17

For Sun Ra lovers and jazz lovers - this was a fun and fascinating true account of a college jazz group at Dartmouth and their week-long experience of practicing and playing with Sun Ra and his Arkestra. Very well written by Michael Lowenthal - lots of insights into the process of musical collaboration and of being able to let go and live within the music instead of always having to control and drive it in predetermined directions.

I had to go out and buy three of Sun Ra's CDs after listening to this. Three down, 150 or so to go.

  • The Power

  • By: Naomi Alderman
  • Narrated by: Adjoa Andoh
  • Length: 12 hrs and 5 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,265
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,098
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,093

In The Power, the world is a recognizable place: There's a rich Nigerian boy who lounges around the family pool; a foster kid whose religious parents hide their true nature; an ambitious American politician; a tough London girl from a tricky family. But then a vital new force takes root and flourishes, causing their lives to converge with devastating effect. Teenage girls now have immense physical power - they can cause agonizing pain and even death. And, with this small twist of nature, the world drastically resets.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A necessary read

  • By Grace on 11-22-17

Superb and Thought Provoking

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

Reviewed: 11-27-17

I loved everything about this story, and think it's one of the major works of fiction right now illuminating our society. It horrifies, it thrills, but there are also comic moments that work as clever satire.The narration was superb - I loved Adjoa Andoh's work in listening to Americanah, and she's even better here, juggling a host of characters and accents with consummate skill. Can't recommend more highly - not a single dull moment.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Refugees

  • By: Viet Thanh Nguyen
  • Narrated by: Viet Thanh Nguyen
  • Length: 5 hrs and 5 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 593
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 540
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 545

With the coruscating gaze that informed The Sympathizer, in The Refugees Viet Thanh Nguyen gives voice to lives led between two worlds, the adopted homeland and the country of birth. From a young Vietnamese refugee who suffers profound culture shock when he comes to live with two gay men in San Francisco, to a woman whose husband is suffering from dementia and starts to confuse her for a former lover, to a girl living in Ho Chi Minh City whose older half sister comes back from America having seemingly accomplished everything she never will.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Good collection of short stories

  • By Thomas More on 03-19-17

Good collection of short stories

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

Reviewed: 03-19-17

After reading his award-winning The Sympathizer, I wanted to follow it up by looking at some more stories from Viet Thanh Nguyen. The Refugees is a collection of eight or nine stories that saw original publication in order sources. After the success of The Sympathizer, his publisher brought these works together into this collection. All the stories feature Vietnamese characters and are set either in America as immigrant tales, or in Vietnam, as is the case with the last story of the collection featuring a father who receives a visit from a daughter who has "made it big" in the states as a pediatrician. Themes such as aging, young love, regret, and deceit work strongly throughout the collection. All of the stories are excellent and help to illuminate the lives of Vietnamese immigrants.

The author narrates the collection himself, and as is often the case with such things (SEE "The Lovely Bones," as an example) the results are good, but not great. Great narration is an art in itself, and sometimes the best idea is to bring in a hired gun for the job.

42 of 44 people found this review helpful

  • Lincoln in the Bardo

  • A Novel
  • By: George Saunders
  • Narrated by: Nick Offerman, David Sedaris, George Saunders, and others
  • Length: 7 hrs and 25 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 5,979
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,616
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 5,589

The long-awaited first novel from the author of Tenth of December: a moving and original father-son story featuring none other than Abraham Lincoln, as well as an unforgettable cast of supporting characters, living and dead, historical and invented. February 1862. The Civil War is less than one year old. The fighting has begun in earnest, and the nation has begun to realize it is in for a long, bloody struggle. Meanwhile, President Lincoln's beloved eleven-year-old son, Willie, lies upstairs in the White House, gravely ill.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • George Saunders answer to Dante's Inferno

  • By Betty Vance on 10-02-17

A Mixed Bag

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

Reviewed: 02-24-17

I found the audiobook to be frustrating, to say the least. I love Saunders' work and know that the printed version of this novel is likely much better than this audiobook version indicates. As is, there are some good narrators (Nick Offerman), some decent ones (David Sedaris), and some utterly terrible ones, who feel like they are reading their lines with a gun to their heads. I think the stilted language of the 1860s was too much an impediment to some of these voices. Another problem is that the actors were not recording a shared experience - in other words, they were not together at the time and were not able to fully feed off each other's lines and work as a true ensemble. Few actors enjoy working under those conditions. The story rambles and ambles about, speakers are interrupted, and there is no cohesive emotional center sustained throughout. I felt at times that I was in the audience of a bad high school play. That said, there are some beautiful moments and funny moments, too. Too bad they're buried amidst the mess.

75 of 83 people found this review helpful

  • The Liar's Key

  • By: Mark Lawrence
  • Narrated by: Tim Gerard Reynolds
  • Length: 19 hrs and 59 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,846
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 1,728
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,727

After harrowing adventure and near-death, Prince Jalan Kendeth and the Viking Snorri ver Snagason find themselves in possession of Loki's Key, an artefact capable of opening any door and sought by the most dangerous beings in the Broken Empire - including The Dead King. Jal wants only to return home to his wine, women, and song, but Snorri has his own purpose for the key: to find the very door into death, throw it wide, and bring his family back into the land of the living.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Never disappoints

  • By charles on 06-28-15

Squandering Good Characters

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

Reviewed: 02-18-17

Mark Lawrence had the idea of squandering all the delight readers found in his fantasy odd couple by taking them on a pointless quest. Bad idea.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Parasite

  • By: Mira Grant
  • Narrated by: Christine Lakin
  • Length: 16 hrs and 11 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 573
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 546
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 546

A decade in the future, humanity thrives in the absence of sickness and disease. We owe our good health to a humble parasite - a genetically engineered tapeworm developed by the pioneering SymboGen Corporation. When implanted, the Intestinal Bodyguard worm protects us from illness, boosts our immune system - even secretes designer drugs. It's been successful beyond the scientists' wildest dreams

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • You Want To Put A What... Where?

  • By Kim Venatries on 12-04-13

Parasite rejected by host

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

Reviewed: 01-14-17

I can't tell you how excited I was to begin this book, only to realize what a special brand of awful it is. The story prides itself on certain incredible revelations, all of which a third grader could see coming from the first couple of chapters. The main character is that type of clueless, helpless weakling who is always the last one to realize what's going on. She must ask others "Would anyone care to tell me what's going on?" roughly twenty times during the story. She supposedly has the mentality of a child, but has learned enough sassy banter to create one of those inexplicable romantic relationships that authors feel duty bound to include in the middle of earth-shattering events. Readers are supposed to buy the fact that both the military and hospitals are so medically ignorant that only our heroine has the brilliance to bring to light what any fool would already have realized. What's worse, Christine Lakin brings out all that sass, without breathing any sort of intelligence into the rest of the story. Her attempt at an accent for one of the minor characters was excruciating to listen to.
This story is an insult to any intelligent listener. Look elsewhere for your bioterror-themed thriller.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • The Golden Notebook

  • By: Doris Lessing
  • Narrated by: Juliet Stevenson
  • Length: 27 hrs and 37 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 291
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 241
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 240

Author Anna Wulf attempts to overcome writer’s block by writing a comprehensive "golden notebook" that draws together the preoccupations of her life, each of which is examined in a different notebook. Anna’s struggle to unify the various strands of her life – emotional, political, and professional – amasses into a fascinating encyclopaedia of female experience in the ‘50s.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Transcendent narration of a masterpiece.

  • By Victoria on 07-03-12

Even Months Later, I Keep Thinking About It...

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

Reviewed: 08-16-16

It took some time for me to make my way through this incredible book. It's the sort of work, deeply intelligent in its design and execution, that deserves a lot of thought and percolation. It was months ago that I finished it, yet even now when I think of the story told here, flawlessly delivered by Juliet Stevenson, I remember the excitement of knowing I was wrapped up in truly great storytelling. I had to acquire more Stevenson after falling in love with her voice and the skill of her execution, and went on to her readings of Woolf (also great). I will definitely come back to this again in the future when I once again have the time to savor it.

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Call for the Dead

  • A George Smiley Novel
  • By: John le Carré
  • Narrated by: Michael Jayston
  • Length: 4 hrs and 44 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,150
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,041
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,033

George Smiley is no one's idea of a spy - which is perhaps why he's such a natural. But Smiley apparently made a mistake. After a routine security interview, he concluded that the affable Samuel Fennan had nothing to hide. Why, then, did the man from the Foreign Office shoot himself in the head only hours later? Or did he? The heart-stopping tale of intrigue that launched both novelist and spy, Call for the Dead is an essential introduction to le Carre's chillingly amoral universe.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Great Entry to le Carré

  • By Caroline on 08-06-13

Masterful

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

Reviewed: 12-13-15

This is my first time listening to a John le Carre novel and I came away seriously impressed and impacted by the experience. These are the treasures that keep me coming back to audiobooks. There is that feeling I get sometimes, listening to the perfect marriage of a storyteller and narrator both at the height of their talents, which bring such pleasure that I sigh aloud. I don't believe that I've ever listened to something from Michael Jayston before, but I will certainly look for his work in the future. And as for le Carre, I haven't read something this intelligent in the thriller genre - he bests Ian Fleming, in my opinion.

3 of 6 people found this review helpful