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James Abraham

Boston, MA
  • 19
  • reviews
  • 62
  • helpful votes
  • 138
  • ratings
  • Skagboys

  • By: Irvine Welsh
  • Narrated by: Tam Dean Burn
  • Length: 24 hrs and 48 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 113
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 105
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 105

Marked by Irvine Welsh’s scabrous humor and raw Scottish vernacular, Skagboys transports us to 1980s Edinburgh, where the Trainspotting crew is just getting started. Mark Renton has it all: the first in his family to attend university, he has a pretty girlfriend and a great social life. But when economic uncertainties and family problems intervene, Rent succumbs to the defeatism - not to mention the drug use - that has taken hold in Edinburgh’s tougher quarters. His friends are responding according to personality....

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Something to know first for the audible crowd

  • By B on 06-18-14

A Note on the Performance

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

Reviewed: 04-16-14

Irvine Welsh was lauded when Trainspotting came out, for creating the kind of patois we haven't seen since A Clockwork Orange. Tam Dean Burn does a great job of getting the Glaswegian just right. I would say to most prospective buyers -- those who claim the performance is incomprehensible just haven't read any difficult literature. If you've worked your way through a little Chaucer, and especially if you're able to enjoy a Shakespeare play without too much head scratching, you'll do fine. To the others, I say: you need to read more, much more, "difficult" literature, until you've got a mental picture of a larger vocabulary. The latest Sue Monk Kidd or Donna Tartt isn't going to do it. Try Tristram Shandy.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Life

  • By: Keith Richards, James Fox
  • Narrated by: Johnny Depp, Joe Hurley
  • Length: 23 hrs and 5 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 4,067
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,784
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,773

Now at last Keith Richards pauses to tell his story in the most anticipated autobiography in decades. And what a story! Listening obsessively to Chuck Berry and Muddy Waters records in a coldwater flat with Mick Jagger and Brian Jones, building a sound and a band out of music they loved. Finding fame and success as a bad-boy band, only to find themselves challenged by authorities everywhere....

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Ins and outs

  • By Jesse on 11-07-10

Now you know why Johnny Depp can't get movie gigs

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

Reviewed: 12-06-13

Johnny Depp is just the worst narrator ever spawned. He may conjure up a lot of charisma in his pirate movies, but he can't read a book with passion, verve, inflection, or even interest. I know now why nobody takes him seriously, except, unfortunately, Keith Richards, who should have read this book himself.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Things They Carried

  • By: Tim O'Brien
  • Narrated by: Bryan Cranston
  • Length: 7 hrs and 47 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7,037
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,517
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 6,492

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 Good as Matterhorn -- But Which is Accurate?

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

Reviewed: 10-19-13

I have noticed that O'Brien's soldiers do many things that, in Matterhorn, would get them killed. They put light colored objects in their helmet-bands, which the young Matterhorn lieutenant is warned against doing on his first night in the bush; they smoke cigarettes and weed in the bush on operations, which in Matterhorn "an enemy could smell for miles"; they wear machine gun ammo on bandoliers across their chests, while a Matterhorn sergeant warns troops leaving the base "to keep the ammo in the cans, so it won't fail when you need it."

These seem like differences which can get you killed, so who is right? Both O'Brien and served in the bush in Vietnam, but it would seem that one of them was making a lot of mistakes.

Great books, both, though. Great literature, not merely war literature.

8 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • The Wrecking Crew

  • The Inside Story of Rock and Roll's Best-Kept Secret
  • By: Kent Hartman
  • Narrated by: Dan John Miller
  • Length: 9 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 599
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 552
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 555

If you were a fan of popular music in the 1960s and early '70s, you were a fan of the Wrecking Crew - whether you knew it or not. On hit record after hit record by everyone from the Byrds, the Beach Boys, and the Monkees to the Grass Roots, the 5th Dimension, Sonny & Cher, and Simon & Garfunkel, this collection of West Coast studio musicians from diverse backgrounds established themselves as the driving sound of pop music - sometimes over the objection of actual band members....

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Juke Box Documentary

  • By Dubi on 03-31-14

Narrated by Dan "Goober" Miller!

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

Reviewed: 07-04-13

This book is ok. It's overwritten, each sentence laden with cliches and padding, but it's a very fascinating view of the inside of the music production business. Who knew Phil Spector wanted to be a jazz guitarist? Or that Sonny Bono worked for him, and couldn't sing or even keep time? (Actually, anybody listening to Sonny and Cher probably knows that).

Dan Miller's narration is adequate, though he is overly emphatic with every cliche.The most fascinating thing about Miller narrating this particular book is that he is *THE DAN "GOOBER" MILLER* of Goober and the Peas fame. Who were Goober and the Peas? Only the greatest band you never heard of. They ruled the Detroit music scene in the early 90s. The dressed like Grand Ole Opry cowboys, but their music was a terrific psychobilly-swing-funk, with terrific lyrics and some of the tightest playing I've ever heard live from any band, even the most famous ones. In my mind, Jack White's greatest contribution to music was his drumming for Goober (didn't know that, did you?). Their music is still available on Amazon, and the reviews there are all as glowing as this one.

Goob, I cheered for you harder than anybody, and I traveled all around Michigan to hear you. You were the greatest, and you deserved to be one of the biggest bands of all time. You are very sorely missed.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Washington

  • A Life
  • By: Ron Chernow
  • Narrated by: Scott Brick
  • Length: 41 hrs and 54 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,782
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,838
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,812

In Washington: A Life celebrated biographer Ron Chernow provides a richly nuanced portrait of the father of our nation. This crisply paced narrative carries the reader through his troubled boyhood, his precocious feats in the French and Indian War, his creation of Mount Vernon, his heroic exploits with the Continental Army, his presiding over the Constitutional Convention, and his magnificent performance as America's first president.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great book!

  • By Jack Merritt on 12-24-10

Scott Brick is an Illiterate

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

Reviewed: 05-28-13

I'm going to write this review for all of Scott Brick's books. It honestly doesn't matter how good the book is (in this case, Chernow is, as usual, excellent: he has the telling detail, writes with sweep and verve, excellent anecdotes) -- whatever quality the book may have is destroyed, utterly, by the incompetent narration rendered by someone who must have learned to read late in life. Scott Brick cannot grasp the rhythm of English prose; he seems to think that modifiers are extra important, because he gives each one EXTRA EMPHASIS. The result is this balky, juddering ride over bumpy terrain in an unsprung stagecoach. Let me sum up: Scott Brick is TERRIBLE. The fact that I have several Brick-wrecked titles in my library is a testament to how hope springs eternal in the human breast. He can't be really THAT bad, I tell myself, only to discover, $40 later, that he, in fact, is. Never again, I'd like to think. But, if I do, I'll have my punishment.

4 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • The Devil in the White City

  • Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America
  • By: Erik Larson
  • Narrated by: Scott Brick
  • Length: 14 hrs and 58 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 18,038
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 14,538
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 14,566

In a thrilling narrative showcasing his gifts as storyteller and researcher, Erik Larson recounts the spellbinding tale of the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition. Also available abridged.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Impossible to stop listening

  • By Michael on 05-26-12

Scott Brick is an Illiterate

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

Reviewed: 05-19-13

It always puzzles me how people can stand to listen to Scott Brick. I suspect they are people who have not read much. Scott Brick is unable to approximate ordinary human speech. He is CONstantly overEMphasizing ALMOST Every SYLlable. Get what I mean? It's like listening to most American actors do Shakespeare: most of the words are unfamiliar to them, and it's Shakespeare, right, so they think they're supposed to sound important. As a result, they sound like schoolboys proclaiming their first essay at school. Compare Denzel Washington with Kenneth Branagh.

In short, read like people talk. It's simply said, but, as Scott Brick proves, hard to do. I'm not saying I'd do any better. But at least I know good narration when I hear it. Examples: Christopher Hitchens; Grover Gardner: Master of the Senate; Jeremy Irons: Lolita; Juliet Stephenson: anything she reads; Bronson Pinchot: Matterhorn; John Castle: Vanity Fair; Nigel Graham: Lord Jim. Even Fredrick Davidson, alias David Case, even though his accent is hard to take sometimes, knows when to stress a syllable and when not to. He flows, wheres Scott Brick is constantly stubbing his toe against the English language. Also terrible, for the same reason: John Lee. Stop ruining books by giving them to these people. Just pay Juliet Stephenson whatever she wants to read everything.

6 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Matterhorn

  • A Novel of the Vietnam War
  • By: Karl Marlantes
  • Narrated by: Bronson Pinchot
  • Length: 21 hrs and 11 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7,420
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,334
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,331

Why we think it’s a great listen: A performance so poignant, we gave Bronson Pinchot (yes, Balki from Perfect Strangers) our inaugural Narrator of the Year award.... In the monsoon season of 1968-69 at a fire support base called Matterhorn, located in the remote mountains of Vietnam, a young and ambitious Marine lieutenant wants to command a company to further his civilian political ambitions. But two people stand in his way.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Matterhorn

  • By Zachary on 04-20-10

One of the Greatest Novels of War

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

Reviewed: 05-19-13

I thought the novel was excellent. The dialogue is pitch perfect, the characterization very well done, the tension between the Marines in the company, and toward the battalion commander, was kept at just the right pitch. The entire shipboard experience seemed unrealistic, but that was a minor defect.

Bronson Pinchot, who was terrible narrating Marlantes' nonfiction account "What it is Like to Go to War" (he's overly emphatic, constantly overstressing words, like the execrable illiterate Scott Brick), is absolutely amazing here. His third-person narration was poignant, and I've never heard anybody do so many voices so convincingly. You'd swear there was a cast of thousands narrating this book. Really remarkable.

  • Vanity Fair

  • By: William Makepeace Thackeray
  • Narrated by: John Castle
  • Length: 31 hrs and 1 min
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 591
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 491
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 485

Set during the time of the Napoleonic Wars, this classic gives a satirical picture of a worldly society. The novel revolves around the exploits of the impoverished but beautiful and devious Becky Sharp who craves wealth and a position in society. Calculating and determined to succeed, she charms, deceives and manipulates everyone she meets. A novel of early 19th-century English society, it takes its title from the place designated as the centre of human corruption in John Bunyan's 17th-century allegory.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A book that was meant to be read aloud!

  • By Constance on 02-03-11

The Best Narration, One of the Greats

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

Reviewed: 05-18-13

I agree with the reviewer who said that John Castle was born to narrate this book. I don't think his performance can be bettered. I had no idea that Vanity Fair was so good, or that Thackeray was such an interesting writer. It's hard to be in Dicken's shadow, I suppose. This was a great buy.

19 of 19 people found this review helpful

  • Lord Jim

  • By: Joseph Conrad
  • Narrated by: Nigel Graham
  • Length: 14 hrs and 14 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 105
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 71
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 72

The story tells of Jim, a young, good-looking, genial, and naive water-clerk on the Patna, a cargo ship plying Asian waters. One night, when the ship collides with an obstacle and begins to sink, acting on impulse, Jim jumps overboard and lands in a lifeboat, which happens to be bearing the unscrupulous captain and his cohorts away from the disaster.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great novel, stunning narration.

  • By John on 05-09-10

This is the Best Reading

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

Reviewed: 05-18-13

Nigel Graham's performance could not be improved upon. It's like Jeremy Irons' performance of Lolita, or Juliet Stephenson reading Pride and Prejudice. This is the version to get, unusual in that it's also the cheapest. Too bad Nigel Graham only read one more book worth reading.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Into the Silence

  • The Great War, Mallory, and the Conquest of Everest
  • By: Wade Davis
  • Narrated by: Enn Reitel
  • Length: 28 hrs and 53 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 275
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 231
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 233

In this magisterial work of history and adventure, based on more than a decade of prodigious research in British, Canadian, and European archives, and months in the field in Nepal and Tibet, Wade Davis vividly re-creates British climbers’ epic attempts to scale Mount Everest in the early 1920s. With new access to letters and diaries, Davis recounts the heroic efforts of George Mallory and his fellow climbers to conquer the mountain in the face of treacherous terrain and furious weather.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Really enjoyed it

  • By Tara on 02-14-12

One of the Great Narrative Histories of All Time

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

Reviewed: 05-18-13

I'm not kidding about the title. Wade Davis' other titles gave no indication that he would or could produce such a tour de force, but this book is remarkable. In my opinion, it's the greatest piece of narrative history since "The Guns of August", even though this book is only tangentially about WWI. Davis has Tuchman's ability to weave biography into historical narrative, to give comprehensive detail and broad overview simultaneously, and his prose is assertive and yet sometimes poetic. This is a really brilliant book, far greater than the sum of its parts. Maybe one of the hundred greatest works of historical literature.