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Ryan

Mill Creek, WA, United States
  • 32
  • reviews
  • 31
  • helpful votes
  • 74
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  • Siddhartha

  • By: Hermann Hesse
  • Narrated by: Ron Welch
  • Length: 5 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 27
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 24
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 24

Perhaps Hermann Hesse's most influential and acclaimed work, Siddhartha is a Nobel Prize-winning work originally published in 1922. The protagonist for whom the book is named lives with his father in ancient India and by all accounts is a faithful and devout son. However, he finds himself "going through the motions" so to speak and longs for a deeper meaning and purpose. One day, as he is traveling, Samanas passes through town preaching the enlightenment of asceticism, a rejection of physical desire.

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • Lost in Translation

  • By Patrick on 10-24-18

Good Book, Poor Reading

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

Reviewed: 06-18-19

The book is timeless and wonderful, however the narrator in this version wavers from "Lord of the Rings" epic style voices to questionably racist Asian accents and speech impediments. It turns a meaningful novel into a slightly cringey experience.

  • The Path Made Clear

  • Discovering Your Life's Direction and Purpose
  • By: Oprah Winfrey
  • Narrated by: Oprah Winfrey, full cast
  • Length: 2 hrs and 55 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 4,507
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 3,903
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 3,882

Oprah Winfrey shares what she sees as a guide for activating your deepest vision of yourself, offering the framework for creating not just a life of success, but one of significance. The audiobook’s 10 chapters are organized to help you recognize the important milestones along the road to self-discovery, laying out what you really need in order to achieve personal contentment and what life’s detours are there to teach us.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Wisdom from a collection of spiritual thinkers

  • By CJ H. in AZ on 03-28-19

Junk Food for Your Soul

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

Reviewed: 06-08-19

From the person who brought into the spotlight the charlatans Dr. Phil and Dr. Oz, this is an extension of vapid and feckless faux-solutions to all problems and ailments.

There are snippets of truth and self-healing here, similar to what one could find in a book of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or group discussion sessions. Unfortunately this product waters those methods down and packages in a form that serves the capitalist interests of Oprah's brand rather than for the benefit of her admirers. It is a shame that someone who legitimately achieved greatness from a place of poverty and social difficulty has created a product line that serves those who need it least, and blames the victims for being in similar circumstances that she was so *lucky* to have escaped.

-- Should you trust your instincts above all else? Not everyone has good instincts, otherwise we wouldn't need the scientific method.

-- Is the only obstacle in life your own hesitation and self-doubt? For those with real world issues, this is folly. Those with terminal illness, those held in the social bondage of their familial or fiscal situations, and for those with circumstances contrary to the social norm and are held back by institutionalized racism, sexism, ageism, or bigotry, the idea that you are holding yourself back is nothing more than blaming the victim of poor fortune.

This is a book that could benefit a bored member of the idle rich, toiling away their life in gossip magazines and white wine. These kinds of people need this type of spiritual awakening to help them find purpose and motivation. For everyone else, whose purpose involves the struggle of real problems and distant solutions, this is a short jaunt through masochistic self-loathing and a path to lugubrious futility.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • You Do You

  • Proud to Be Fabulous
  • By: Tan France, Nikki Levy, Janine Brito, and others
  • Narrated by: Tan France, Nikki Levy, full cast
  • Length: 1 hr and 47 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,505
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,178
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,161

Jump into Pride with Tan France (Queer Eye), Nikki Levy, and seven fabulous storytellers as they share true tales of exploring, embracing, and celebrating queer identity. You Do You, produced especially for Pride Month, brings Audible Members a collection of uplifting, raw, and hilarious stories from queer actors, comedians, and personalities. Co-hosted by French-tuck aficionado and super-stylist Tan France, and storytelling maven Nikki Levy, You Do You is a fierce, unfiltered celebration of LGBTQIA+ realness.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Uplifting yet hilarious

  • By CB on 06-16-19

Short but Enjoyable LGBT Comedy

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

Reviewed: 06-06-19

This is a short collection of stories by men and women in the LGBT community. It is worth listening to for the comedy elements alone, but it might even leave a lasting impression on you by the descriptions of these unique experiences. I would definitely like to see more of this content in the future.

17 of 23 people found this review helpful

  • Evil Eye

  • By: Madhuri Shekar
  • Narrated by: Nick Choksi, Harsh Nayaar, Annapurna Sriram, and others
  • Length: 1 hr and 38 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 17,534
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 16,300
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 16,212

Pallavi is an aspiring writer living in California. Her mother, Usha, is thousands of miles away in Delhi - and obsessed with finding her daughter a husband. In Madhuri Shekar’s ingenious Evil Eye, hilarious back-and-forth via phone and social media takes a shocking, supernatural twist when Pallavi meets the perfect man - leading to a climactic showdown that will leave listeners on the edges of their seats.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Does anyone remember party lines?

  • By Mary V. on 05-03-19

Hindu No-Sleep

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

Reviewed: 06-06-19

This kind of book is definitely not within my wheelhouse and I went into this knowing nothing, so keep that in mind with this review.

Essentially this is a no-sleep short horror story. It is short enough to be a single podcast episode, which makes it hard to recommend as a buy even if you like the genre.

To enjoy this, I would recommend that you like (or tolerate at the very least) both astrology and reincarnation. If you cannot take those topics seriously then this book will be one giant eyeroll with a side dish of cringe.


  • The Secret History of Wonder Woman

  • By: Jill Lepore
  • Narrated by: Jill Lepore
  • Length: 9 hrs and 5 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 626
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 565
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 565

Like every other superhero, Wonder Woman has a secret identity. Unlike every other superhero, she has also has a secret history. Harvard historian and New Yorker staff writer Jill Lepore has uncovered an astonishing trove of documents, including the never-before-seen private papers of William Moulton Marston, Wonder Woman's creator.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Narration ruined it for me

  • By Julia on 11-09-14

Great Material, Poor Execution

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

Reviewed: 05-29-19

I wanted to love this book. I really did.

As a lifelong nerd and feminist I found the concept of this book fascinating, and the story around it is still captivating. The execution here, however, leaves a lot to be desired.

The book itself feels disjointed, following a winding thread through time and tangentially hitting the mark from time to time. It seems more like a rough draft, in serious need of an editor to clean up the progression. Chapters do not feel cohesive, rather they seem like they were written as self-contained articles that the author slapped together as an afterthought. This may make listening to this book easier if you do it slowly, but listening to it in long stints makes it seem very chaotic. The narrator makes it all the more difficult.

The narration is somehow good and bad at the same time. It is read in an old-timey fashion, with the quality sounding somewhat tinny and the voice reading with dispassionate alacrity. It makes it feel like it's being read to you on an old radio show from the 1950's. It certainly fits with the subject of the book, but it is not pleasant to the ear.

Overall I cannot recommend this book, even if I do recommend that everyone make themselves aware of the subject matter, because that remains the best part. However it is probably best if you seek the information elsewhere. The experience here is not great.

  • Battle Royale

  • By: Koushun Takami, Yuji Oniki (translator)
  • Narrated by: Mark Dacascos
  • Length: 19 hrs and 29 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 733
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 669
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 672

As part of a ruthless program by the totalitarian government, ninth-grade students are taken to a small isolated island with a map, food, and various weapons. Forced to wear special collars that explode when they break a rule, they must fight each other for three days until only one "winner" remains. The elimination contest becomes the ultimate in must-see reality television. A Japanese pulp classic available in English-language audio for the first time, Battle Royale is a potent allegory of what it means to be young and survive in today's dog-eat-dog world.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Not for those with a weak stomach!

  • By TCL on 09-15-12

Great Story With Minor Audio Issues

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

Reviewed: 05-21-19

Amazing story with visceral descriptions of harrowing and horrifying action. The audio is a bit on the low quality side, but you probably wont notice unless you listen at high volume. There's an audio hitch in Chapter 70 and I'm not sure how much of the story is missing, but from the context it seems like it isn't missing much. Overall I could easily recommend this to others, as long as you have the stomach for it.

  • The Coilhunter Chronicles - Omnibus (Books 1-3)

  • By: Dean F. Wilson
  • Narrated by: R.C. Bray
  • Length: 13 hrs and 59 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 389
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 381
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 381

Three audiobooks from the Coilhunter Chronicles: Coilhunter, Rustkiller, and Dustrunner. Welcome to the Wild North, a desolate wasteland where criminals go to hide - if they can outlast the drought and the dangers of the desert. Or the dangers of something else.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Dean F Wilson, starting off great!

  • By Jessica Bond on 11-06-18

Nothing Gambled, Nothing Gained

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

Reviewed: 05-13-19

TL;DR: The story takes no risks and therefore presents low stakes for the reader. If you are looking for an episodic story about a gritty lone gunman in a morally ambiguous world then you have probably found exactly what you were looking for. Anyone wanting deeper meaning will undoubtedly be disappointed.

If you would like a complete review, I have split it into two parts, one part for the audio performance of the narrator and one part for the story and quality of writing.

-- Audio Performance: The audio performance is exceptional. It is read by a single narrator, but he gives the audience exactly what is appropriate, assigning uniqueness to each character but without pigeonholing them into a single emotion. I could always tell who was talking, but I never felt that a voice too unique just for the sake of uniqueness. I would wholeheartedly recommend any book read by this same narrator, and I know that he would be able to carry the work through to completion, even if the work itself couldn't carry itself on its own.

-- Story / Writing: These stories are somewhat like a heroic epic, except the character experiences no growth. It uses familiar tropes, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it also means that it challenges nothing for the reader. The story about Nox the Coilhunter is more akin to a comic book character, in that all change is merely an illusion. All conflict is to exemplify character traits already innate within Nox, all supporting characters serve to further Nox and reinforce his already held beliefs. Every story arc resets the field to the same clean slate that existed before it started, giving the audience a safe space to become attached to a singular character in perpetuity.

I have to admit that this is not within my interests. I do love science fiction and fantasy, but I prefer stories which have a greater meaning, or that write about a world moreso than a character. The author has a good grasp of descriptive vocabulary, so the wording doesn't become redundant. But the author also leans heavily on that strength, which ends up with more "telling" than "showing", leaving the audience with nothing beyond its face value. The naming conventions of the supporting characters were the only truly aggravating aspect of the writing, with alliterative names like "Lawless Lyle", "Tinhead Tim", "Debtmaker Dan", "Shotgun Sampson", "Wet Warren", "Sourface Saul", and on and on. It makes it feel as if it is a children's novel, which conflicts with the machismo throughout the story.

If I had to force a comparison, I would safely categorize the Coilhunter series somewhere between The Dark Tower books and the Borderlands videogame, with the appeal of an episodic comic book. I could recommend this to a young adult reader who doesn't want to search for meaning in their entertainment, but this work will likely fall flat for those who understand intimately how derivative it is.

**DISCLAIMER: I received a free copy of this audiobook with the expectation I would provide a review.**

  • International Economic Institutions

  • Globalism vs. Nationalism
  • By: Ramon P. DeGennaro, The Great Courses
  • Narrated by: Ramon P. DeGennaro
  • Length: 12 hrs and 20 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 109
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 98
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 98

Since the end of World War II, groups such as the World Trade Organization, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, European Union, and G-20 have sprung up with a variety of missions, including promoting trade, ensuring financial stability, eradicating poverty, and advancing sustainable economic growth. Behind these worthy goals is the ultimate aim: preventing the kind of global economic instability that can easily lead to war.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Not a Great Course

  • By Doctor Bob on 12-01-17

Pretty Insightful

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

Reviewed: 05-12-19

I would recommend this to anyone with a basic interest in economics, but most audiences would find this work a little dry. It's definitely insightful, and I think it does a decent job of reducing complex ideas to manageable parts.

  • Debt - Updated and Expanded

  • The First 5,000 Years
  • By: David Graeber
  • Narrated by: Grover Gardner
  • Length: 17 hrs and 48 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,647
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,445
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,440

Here, anthropologist David Graeber presents a stunning reversal of conventional wisdom: He shows that before there was money, there was debt. For more than 5,000 years, since the beginnings of the first agrarian empires, humans have used elaborate credit systems to buy and sell goods - that is, long before the invention of coins or cash. It is in this era, Graeber argues, that we also first encounter a society divided into debtors and creditors.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Transformative to the point of being revolutionary

  • By James C. Samans on 08-14-16

Absolutely Worth a Read

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

Reviewed: 05-12-19

The overlap between economists and anthropologists is a narrow one, but luckily this book approaches its subject matter in a very digestible manner. On its face, this is a survey of the history (and prehistory) of debt, but underlying the economic veneer is an explanation of the rich tapestry of human social networks that use indebtedness as a mechanism of influence and cohesion. It is revelatory to those who care for the subject of human interaction.

  • Foundations of Economic Prosperity

  • By: Daniel W. Drezner, The Great Courses
  • Narrated by: Daniel W. Drezner
  • Length: 12 hrs and 17 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 351
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 305
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 297

Prosperity has transformed the world. But the story of prosperity is far from simple-or complete. These 24 lectures give you an unrivaled overview of one of the most pressing issues of our day and take you behind the headlines and into the debates to dispel some common myths about prosperity and get at deeper truths.In this stimulating, wide-ranging course, Professor Drezner shows that achieving prosperity involves more than economics.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Very interesting.

  • By Jennifer on 11-18-13

Good Breakdown of Complex Ideas

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

Reviewed: 05-12-19

This combines macroeconomics and political science into a digestible package. It might seem a bit abstract at times but the author provides plenty of historical examples.