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sgonk

New York, NY USA
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  • The Three-Body Problem

  • By: Cixin Liu
  • Narrated by: Luke Daniels
  • Length: 13 hrs and 26 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 10,693
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9,776
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9,784

Set against the backdrop of China’s Cultural Revolution, a secret military project sends signals into space to establish contact with aliens. An alien civilization on the brink of destruction captures the signal and plans to invade Earth. Meanwhile, on Earth, different camps start forming, planning to either welcome the superior beings and help them take over a world seen as corrupt, or to fight against the invasion.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • They create a computer using a 30 million man Army

  • By Josh P on 12-07-14

Interesting start...

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

Reviewed: 02-20-19

Maybe I should wait until I "read" all 3 parts, as this is clearly an introduction. It is engaging and surprising--I kept failing to predict what will happen next. For a story as sprawling as this one (in terms of time & space, but also in terms of concepts) it isn't surprising that there are a few things to quibble with. Some of the events don't seem possible, even given the context of the book. But maybe these impossibilities will be explained in the next 2 books? Regardless, I'm enjoying this enough to continue.

Luke Daniels does a good job of narration; each character has a unique voice.

  • Empire Falls

  • By: Richard Russo
  • Narrated by: Ron McLarty
  • Length: 20 hrs and 26 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 721
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 660
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 661

Dexter County, Maine, and specifically the town of Empire Falls, has seen better days, and for decades, in fact, only a succession from bad to worse. One by one, its logging and textile enterprises have gone belly-up, and the once vast holdings of the Whiting clan (presided over by the last scion’s widow) now mostly amount to decrepit real estate. The working classes, meanwhile, continue to eke out whatever meager promise isn’t already boarded up. Miles Roby gazes over this ruined kingdom from the Empire Grill, an opportunity of his youth that has become the albatross of his life.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Hugely Enjoyable

  • By margaret on 01-23-12

Engaging, Absorbing

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

Reviewed: 02-20-19

A great story about a place and time as much as about a person or people. That said, you get to know the main characters very well--and care about them.

The book is more character driven than plot driven but the story it tells is a good one. Russo's writing is clear and descriptive and he displays empathy for the residents of Empire Falls. His fictional world feels real.

Ron McLarty does an exceptional job narrating this book. Each character has a different voice and he rarely stumbles or confuses them. He doesn't necessarily "impersonate" each character, but changes his voice just enough. I especially enjoyed his version of Max Roby.

  • Good Omens

  • By: Neil Gaiman, Terry Pratchett
  • Narrated by: Martin Jarvis
  • Length: 12 hrs and 32 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 22,512
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 19,542
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 19,571

The world will end on Saturday. Next Saturday. Just before dinner, according to The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch, the world's only completely accurate book of prophecies, written in 1655. The armies of Good and Evil are amassing and everything appears to be going according to Divine Plan. Except that a somewhat fussy angel and a fast-living demon are not actually looking forward to the coming Rapture. And someone seems to have misplaced the Antichrist.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • You'll laugh yourself silly

  • By goddess_of_pipework on 11-28-15

Good Fun

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

Reviewed: 02-10-19

Super funny! If the idea of misplacing the Anti-Christ at birth doesn't at least make you smile, then maybe you won't agree.

Witches & witch hunters (accidentally real--or really accidental), the end of everything, angels and demons--all the regular stuff is here. Plus Freddy Mercury!

The narration is especially great--each of the many characters had a distinct voice, and the voices always sounded "right."

  • Americana

  • By: Don DeLillo
  • Narrated by: George Newbern
  • Length: 12 hrs and 11 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 26
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 25
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 25

At 28, David Bell is the American dream come true. He has fought his way to the top, surviving office purges and scandals to become a high-powered television executive. David's world is made up of the images that flicker across America's screens, the fantasies that enthrall America's imagination. And then the dream - and the dream making - become a nightmare. At the height of his success, David sets out to rediscover reality.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • DeLillo's Grand First Step

  • By Darwin8u on 06-29-17

DeLillo's Overture

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

Reviewed: 11-15-18

There are some beautiful sentences in this book. The themes, characters, and settings foreshadow the rest of DeLillo's work. Given that this was his first novel, that makes sense, and it also makes sense that he's done better than this. I think White Noise especially does a much better job with some of the main themes of this book.

Maybe the biggest problem I had with this is that I didn't like the main character. I don't think he--David Bell--was meant to be likable, but I stopped and restarted this book because I found Bell so distasteful. (Well, stopped because I found him distasteful. Started again because I like DeLillo's prose).

The book has (at least) 2 distinct sections. It starts on Madison Avenue in NYC, with a sort of Mad Men feel. Then it becomes On The Road (ish). The second part also reminds me of Universal Harvester by John Darnielle. Something about the atmosphere in the two books is similar.

The narration was appropriate for this material.

  • Elevation

  • By: Stephen King
  • Narrated by: Stephen King
  • Length: 3 hrs and 46 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,653
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,416
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 2,402

Although Scott Carey doesn’t look any different, he’s been steadily losing weight. There are a couple of other odd things, too. He weighs the same in his clothes and out of them, no matter how heavy they are. Scott doesn’t want to be poked and prodded. He mostly just wants someone else to know, and he trusts Doctor Bob Ellis. In the small town of Castle Rock, the setting of many of King’s most iconic stories, Scott is engaged in a low-grade - but escalating - battle with the lesbians next door whose dog regularly drops his business on Scott’s lawn. One of the women is friendly; the other, cold as ice.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Terrible

  • By Marine C. on 01-13-19

A Quick One

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

Reviewed: 11-15-18

Short, and therefore not as satisfying as it could be. This is a decent Stephen King story, but it feels more like the beginning of a longer story. It would also make sense as one of 4 novellas published together like Four After Midnight or Different seasons.

I'm not always a fan of Stephen King reading his own material, but he did a great job with this one.

Spoiler alert(?). The included extra story (previously published) is a good one.

6 of 46 people found this review helpful

  • A Head Full of Ghosts

  • By: Paul Tremblay
  • Narrated by: Joy Osmanski
  • Length: 8 hrs and 49 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 2,341
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 2,181
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 2,178

The lives of the Barretts, a normal suburban New England family, are torn apart when 14-year-old Marjorie begins to display signs of acute schizophrenia. To her parents' despair, the doctors are unable to stop Marjorie's descent into madness. As their stable home devolves into a house of horrors, they reluctantly turn to a local Catholic priest for help. Father Wanderly suggests an exorcism; he believes the vulnerable teenager is the victim of demonic possession.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Page turner

  • By E.C. on 07-31-15

Better and Better

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

Reviewed: 10-28-18

This started a bit rough for me; I wasn't impressed with the opening third of the book. The "meta-ness" of the story helped, though, and the book got better and better. If I wrote a review when I was half way though, I probably would have given it 2 or maybe (barely) 3 stars. It earned the 4th by the end, though. The novel does a good job of pointing out its own cliches--and then it subverts them. Nice job.

The narration is generally very good. Male voices are the exception.

  • The Goldfinch

  • By: Donna Tartt
  • Narrated by: David Pittu
  • Length: 32 hrs and 24 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 26,694
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 24,281
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 24,307

The Goldfinch is a haunted odyssey through present-day America and a drama of enthralling force and acuity. It begins with a boy. Theo Decker, a 13-year-old New Yorker, miraculously survives an accident that kills his mother. Abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. Bewildered by his strange new home on Park Avenue, disturbed by schoolmates who don't know how to talk to him, and tormented above all by his unbearable longing for his mother, he clings to one thing that reminds him of her: a small, mysteriously captivating painting that ultimately draws Theo into the underworld of art.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Wow

  • By j phillips on 05-28-17

Great, good, or...?

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

Reviewed: 10-28-18

I finished this one a few weeks ago. I'm still not sure how I feel about the book. It tells an interesting story, and there are some beautiful parts. Taken as something more than a (long) story, though--I don't know. Typically the language is descriptive and pedestrian, but fits the scenes and characters At times the language gets more abstract and less descriptive. Often, that works. But not always.

This is a book with ambitions, but it doesn't quite achieve its goals. Or maybe I am imposing ambitions on it; the book won the Pulitzer Prize, and perhaps I'm not judging it on its own merit because of that?

So. This is a good, interesting read. I may have reacted differently if I didn't know anything about it before I read it, but it left me feeling like it could somehow have been a bit more.

That said, the narration is almost perfect. David Pittu has a talent with voices. When he narrates conversations, it really sounds like different people are talking. His accents are fantastic, and he can sound like a 3rd generation Park Avenue resident as easily as a Vegas cocktail waitress or a Polish Ukrainian Australian teenager.

  • Lock In (Narrated by Wil Wheaton)

  • By: John Scalzi
  • Narrated by: Wil Wheaton
  • Length: 9 hrs and 56 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 12,877
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 12,087
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 12,063

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.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Fun! Things you might want to know:

  • By Alexis on 08-29-14

Realistic Sci Fi Detective Story

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

Reviewed: 08-24-18

A short, entertaining novel by Scalzi; this is a detective novel wrapped in science fiction. The science fiction in this book feels like something that could be science fact in the very near future--and the biological conditions that drive the technology seem real in a scary way.

Scalzi's writing is well done, if sometimes over-explanatory. He creates believable characters and keeps the story moving. The novel is engaging to the point that I found myself walking around the block a few times--after I arrived--to keep listening to the current chapter.

Wil Wheaton's narration is good. He is not the type to try different voices for each character, which is generally correct, unless the narrator is exceptionally talented with voices. (I don't think most narrators are). Sometimes this makes conversations with a lot of back-and-forth dialogue a bit harder to follow, but this is a minor complaint.

Highly recommended.

  • Noir

  • A Novel
  • By: Christopher Moore
  • Narrated by: Johnny Heller
  • Length: 9 hrs and 3 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,877
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,755
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,745

It's not every afternoon that an enigmatic, comely blonde named Stilton (like the cheese) walks into the scruffy gin joint where Sammy "Two Toes" Tiffin tends bar. It's love at first sight, but before Sammy can make his move, an air force general named Remy arrives with some urgent business. 'Cause when you need something done, Sammy is the guy to go to; he's got the connections on the street.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A Laugh Riot, Inconsistently Delivered

  • By Maggie May on 04-18-18

Fun, but takes a while

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

Reviewed: 08-16-18

This is a fun spoof of noir novels; like many of them, it takes a bit to really get started. About 1/3 or 1/2 of the way in, the book stops meandering so much and story threads start coming together. The book is entertaining and worth following the twisting trails to the end.

Heller's narration was decent, but he tried too hard to maintain a Mike Hammer voice--mostly successful but sometimes annoying.

  • The Outsider

  • By: Stephen King
  • Narrated by: Will Patton
  • Length: 18 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 37,971
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 34,747
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 34,597

An 11-year-old boy's violated corpse is found in a town park. Eyewitnesses and fingerprints point unmistakably to one of Flint City's most popular citizens. He is Terry Maitland, Little League coach, English teacher, husband, and father of two girls. Detective Ralph Anderson, whose son Maitland once coached, orders a quick and very public arrest. Maitland has an alibi, but Anderson and the district attorney soon add DNA evidence to go with the fingerprints and witnesses. Their case seems ironclad.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Will Patton great - story so so

  • By Randall on 06-19-18

Another solid King

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

Reviewed: 07-02-18

This book is a good read; you'll like this if you like King. This has many of his trademarks, and as usual, it is well written. I did not find this as suspenseful as his best, but it is definitely worth it.

Will Patton is again a great King narrator.

1 of 11 people found this review helpful