LISTENER

Mark

Berlin, MA, United States
  • 47
  • reviews
  • 11
  • helpful votes
  • 83
  • ratings
  • Feeding the Dragon

  • By: Sharon Washington
  • Narrated by: Sharon Washington
  • Length: 1 hr and 17 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,441
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,042
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,021

Sharon Washington’s autobiographical one-woman play, Feeding the Dragon, delighted audiences off-Broadway and is now available exclusively on Audible. The one-act play invites listeners into Sharon’s unorthodox childhood, growing up in an apartment on the top floor of the St. Agnes Branch of the New York Public Library, where her father served as the building’s custodian. A love of literature and boundless imagination helped the playwright as a young woman persevere over dragons of all forms.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Excellent story!

  • By Imara Walker on 09-07-18

Unexpected Delight

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

Reviewed: 09-21-18

After enough people convinced her that her childhood was a fairy tale, because she LIVED IN A LIBRARY!, Sharon Washington finally wrote this beautiful, magical, but most of all real story of her childhood. Perhaps it's because she's roughly my age, I could identify with most of her settings, even though that's just about all we have in common.

Her accents of the various people in her life, most notably her mother, keep everyone involved in her narrative distinct.

I'll be listening to this again.

  • Emma

  • By: Jane Austen
  • Narrated by: Nadia May
  • Length: 15 hrs and 17 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 537
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 334
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 336

First published in 1816 and generally considered Jane Austen's finest work, Emma is a humorous portrayal of a heroine whose injudicious interferences in the life of a young parlour-boarder in a neighboring village often lead to substantial mortification. Austen brings to life a myriad of engaging characters as she presents a mixture of social classes as she did in Pride and Prejudice.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Wonderful!

  • By Kathleen on 07-16-07

Manners

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

Reviewed: 08-31-18

Austen always wrote for the upper-class, and there are many times when that cuts through the narrative. But given that our contemporary middle-class lives at or above the levels of the country aristocracy portrayed here, many of us can still find it relatable.

And it is _so_ relatable! The foibles of young love are on parade here, and nobody, not even the primary protagonist, is spared. While we can watch and sympathize with Emma, we can also feel quite strongly when her behavior is brusquely called out. Correctly. Emma is capable of feeling shame (when it is deserved), and that was probably a rare trait in 1816, and not all that common now.

The narration was great; Nadia May gave distinct voices to the main characters, and even carried off the male voices admirably.

  • City

  • By: Clifford D. Simak
  • Narrated by: Peter Ganim
  • Length: 9 hrs and 48 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 354
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 260
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 266

Jenkins was a robot. He was built to be the perfect worker, tireless and uncomplaining. But, quite unexpectedly, he also became a close companion to generation after generation of his owners as the human race matured, moved beyond the confines of its once tiny planet, and eventually changed beyond all recognition.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Disturbing

  • By Holly Helscher on 06-14-10

Despondent, Yet Uplifting

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

Reviewed: 08-13-18

How can one summarize Simak's "City"? For one thing, the city itself is gone after the first chapter, abandoned and obsolete. For another, it's a long-ranged look at a future in which humanity becomes abandoned and obsolete. Eventually, everything, including the Earth, becomes abandoned and obsolete.

So why does it feel uplifting? The homey touches Simak always brought to his works helps. So do the notions that everyone who abandons our familiar touchstones have all gone on to something better, even if we barely get glimpses of it. And as the familiar is abandoned, the universe (or multiverse) opens up to wider and wider vistas.

Which can leave Jenkins a bit wistful about it all, even as he, too, abandons the familiar.

There are some period (1950) attitudes that a modern adaptation of this book would revise, but the core story is still strong.

  • The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O.

  • A Novel
  • By: Neal Stephenson, Nicole Galland
  • Narrated by: Laurence Bouvard, Shelley Atkinson, Laural Merlington, and others
  • Length: 24 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 6,080
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,636
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 5,620

From best-selling author Neal Stephenson and critically acclaimed historical and contemporary commercial novelist Nicole Galland comes a captivating and complex near-future thriller combining history, science, magic, mystery, intrigue, and adventure that questions the very foundations of the modern world.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Bureaucratic time travel with an eye for details

  • By Matthew on 07-14-17

What a Yarn! What a Great Tangled Yarn!

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

Reviewed: 07-31-18

I was not at all familiar with Nicole Galland, but now I want to be. Her historical fiction roots are clearly the core of this story, which is a post-modern blend of magic and science fiction. (Neal Stephenson probably contributed a bit of the latter, but his influence more greatly appears in the tangled politics and broad-brush villain caricatures, which recent politics have shown us are not actually unrealistic).

That said, the few villains of this piece are quickly overshadowed by opposing factions, and characters who could easily find themselves on either side of the fight (and some do, for perfectly good reasons).

Time travel to the past, known by anyone with a decent knowledge of modern physics to be a fantasy, is exactly magical in nature in this book. Accept that, and you'll love this. If you tend to love magic more than science, this book will tell what magic would have to contend with today.

This book does not require a sequel at all, but I wouldn't be the least bit offended if the authors decided to produce one together.

  • Brave New World

  • By: Aldous Huxley
  • Narrated by: Michael York
  • Length: 8 hrs
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 13,466
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 11,725
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 11,780

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.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • “Oh, Ford, Ford Ford, I Wish I Had My Soma!”

  • By Jefferson on 10-03-11

A Classic for a Reason

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

Reviewed: 06-21-18

Michael York's narration is a treat; he clearly loves this book, and gives his all at bringing the various themes to the forefront.

If you're not familiar with this book, it is a classic of "social Science Fiction", and paved the way for George Orwell's alternate takes on extrapolating the trends of his time. Huxley, however, wasn't so much worried about totalitarianism, but rather about our tendency to just keep making things easier for ourselves. His juxtaposition of "the savage" (a stand-in for the readers of 1932) and "civilization" (his dystopian creation) has a few anachronisms, a few of which now interfere with total enjoyment. The amazing thing is just how few there are.

But the biggest one is basic: if civilization is founded on all people being grown in a lab, and "mother" and "father" become dirty words, why are the roles for men and women still so rigidly segregated? Huxley goes out of his way to talk about class differences (to the point of his dystopia making such differences a biological imperative), but he never examined gender roles.

If that's the most glaring omission in his vision, I think we can safely write that off as a period piece (possibly keeping it relatable to his readers). The rest is still a touchstone of literature and the best jeremiad in science fiction.

  • The Big Over Easy

  • A Nursery Crime
  • By: Jasper Fforde
  • Narrated by: Simon Prebble
  • Length: 11 hrs and 43 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 940
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 529
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 532

It's Easter in Reading, a bad time for eggs, and no one can remember the last sunny day. Ovoid D-class nursery celebrity Humpty Stuyvesant Van Dumpty III, minor baronet, ex-convict, and former millionaire philanthropist, is found shattered to death beneath a wall in a shabby area of town. All the evidence points to his ex-wife, who has conveniently shot herself.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Total Whimsy

  • By Bruce Sabin on 08-10-05

Light-Hearted (Mostly) Murder

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

Reviewed: 06-04-18

I am most familiar with Jasper Fforde from the Thursday Next stories, and much of the wit and literary world-view is also on display here. The Nursery Crime Division focuses on crimes committed by and to nursery rhyme characters, but Jack Spratt doesn't appear to know that he is one. Detective Sargent Mary Mary provides a good foil, but much of the book had me wishing that we were seeing events from her perspective.

While I wasn't blown away by this (as I admit I was by "The Eyre Affair"), this story was a perfectly good romp, and I fully intend to listen to the next in the series, "The Fourth Bear".

  • Six Wakes

  • By: Mur Lafferty
  • Narrated by: Mur Lafferty
  • Length: 9 hrs and 44 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 669
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 614
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 615

It was not common to awaken in a cloning vat streaked with drying blood. At least Maria Arena had never experienced it. She had no memory of how she died. That was also new; before, when she had awakened as a new clone, her first memory was of how she died. Maria's vat was in the front of six vats, each one holding the clone of a crew member of the starship Dormire, each clone waiting for its previous incarnation to die so it could awaken. And Maria wasn't the only one to die recently....

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • I can't listen to this.

  • By Annissa on 05-18-18

This Was Fun!

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

Reviewed: 03-02-18

By the numbers, this starts out as a closed-room mystery, where the "closed room" is a space-ship with six passengers. But because this is real science fiction, and not just a detective story in a science fiction setting, almost nothing about the closed-room mystery trope plays out as expected.

All of the surprises and twists are consistent with everything you'd been told up to that point. Lafferty does an excellent job of playing off expectations.

I don't know whether Lafferty would necessarily be a good narrator for others' works, but she obviously knows the mindsets of her own characters very well, and expresses them in distinguishable fashions.

  • Furiously Happy

  • A Funny Book About Horrible Things
  • By: Jenny Lawson
  • Narrated by: Jenny Lawson
  • Length: 8 hrs and 20 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9,386
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,646
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,622

Audie Award, Humor, 2016. In Furiously Happy, number-one New York Times best-selling author Jenny Lawson explores her lifelong battle with mental illness. A hysterical, ridiculous book about crippling depression and anxiety? That sounds like a terrible idea. But terrible ideas are what Jenny does best.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Small doses.

  • By Shawna on 10-18-15

Laughing Out Loud at Crying Inside

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

Reviewed: 02-08-18

Mental illness is nothing to laugh at. Actually, it is; it's the mentally ill that we shouldn't laugh at. So Jenny Lawson gives us the opportunity to laugh _with_ her _at_ her illness. Because even if we don't have her illness, we still have some of the symptoms from time to time, because mental illness isn't well-understood, because historically we considered it a character flaw, and the only flaws in Jenny's character are that she isn't able to bless us with rambling, meandering, chaotic bursts of insight and humor like this more often.

She may not be the perfect narrator, or even a good narrator, for "War and Peace" or other books, but for this one, she can pretend she's good at it, so she is.

She also allows me to enjoy taxidermy by proxy, because I really don't enjoy it in person. Or in raccoons. Or in 1/3 of a giraffe. But she does, and her enjoyment is contagious, which is probably not the best way to describe it in flu season. Sorry.

  • The Witches of Echo Park

  • By: Amber Benson
  • Narrated by: Amber Benson
  • Length: 9 hrs and 21 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 107
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 95
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 97

Unbeknownst to most of humankind, a powerful network of witches thrives within the shadows of society, using their magic to keep the world in balance. But they are being eliminated - and we will all pay if their power falls... When Elyse MacAllister's great-aunt Eleanora, the woman who raised her, becomes deathly ill, Lyse puts her comfortable life in Georgia on hold to rush back to Los Angeles. And once she returns to Echo Park, Lyse discovers her great-aunt has been keeping secrets.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Enjoyable Light Story

  • By Mark on 01-31-18

Enjoyable Light Story

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

Reviewed: 01-31-18

This book introduces us to the Echo Park coven in Los Angeles, focusing mostly on its newest (and somewhat reluctant) member. The supernatural elements are mostly kept to a minimum, which strengthens the story itself.

Unfortunately, this is the only book of the series available from Audible (at this time), but the sequels would certainly make good airplane reading.

As a narrator, Benson is quite good with character voices and narrative voice. (I know this is true from works that she herself didn't write, as well.)

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Artemis

  • By: Andy Weir
  • Narrated by: Rosario Dawson
  • Length: 8 hrs and 57 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 56,767
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 52,946
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 52,800

Jazz Bashara is a criminal. Well, sort of. Life on Artemis, the first and only city on the moon, is tough if you're not a rich tourist or an eccentric billionaire. So smuggling in the occasional harmless bit of contraband barely counts, right? Not when you've got debts to pay and your job as a porter barely covers the rent. Everything changes when Jazz sees the chance to commit the perfect crime, with a reward too lucrative to turn down.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • A ferrari with no motor

  • By will on 11-18-17

Plans Are Made, Plans Go Awry

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

Reviewed: 01-18-18

Weir is possibly the best hard-science SF author currently writing. Every bit of living on the moon (lesser gravity, lesser atmospheric pressure inside the domes, EVA in vacuum, etc.) are the everyday reality for the city of Artemis, and he never lets it slip.

Jazz Bashara is a refreshing protagonist (can't really call her a "heroine", and she'd kick you if you tried), and Rosario Dawson brings her to life. But Dawson is just as adept at the other voices in this story; crucially, you'll have no problem keeping track of who is who in a multi-person conversation.

And, as will be familiar to anyone who read (or saw) "The Martian", Weir is still quite adept at laying out perfectly good plans, and then having reality screw them up.