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C. O'Keefe

Newfoundland, Canada
  • 13
  • reviews
  • 17
  • helpful votes
  • 27
  • ratings
  • Bible Girl & the Bad Boy

  • By: EC Stilson
  • Narrated by: Anna Christine
  • Length: 6 hrs and 21 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2

Faced by an uncertain future and surrounded by hypocrites, Elisa feels her foundation crumbling. She doesn't know who to turn to. That's when she meets a mysterious man. But maybe she shouldn't trust him after all. Will he help her, or make things even worse than they were before? Find out.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • An entertaining YA tale based on a true story

  • By C. O'Keefe on 10-09-17

An entertaining YA tale based on a true story

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

Reviewed: 10-09-17

The narrator does a good job with this book. She spoke clearly, does ok with other vices and there were no issues with mistakes or volume levels. I thought the characters were well done and I found myself liking Elisa early on. She is an interesting person, strong willed and actually has a lot funny moments. She has a lot of stuff happen to her that test her emotionally but usually she makes the right decisions and has people around to help her.

Some of the stuff that happens seems hard to believe but as it is based on true events that did happen. I liked all the geeky references to things like Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings. I also listen to two podcasts with people who live in Utah, so I appreciated the setting as well. I have to say the exorcism scene was pretty wild, especially considering it was real, just a bizarre thing, I'm always amazed with the crazy stuff people believe. Don't get me wrong, I don't have anything against religion, I'm not religious but I understand it gives people hope, direction and comfort, I just think a lot of people let it consume their life and place far too much significance on it.

My biggest issue with this book was I'm just not the right audience for it. I never had any kind of crisis of faith or with my identity in high school, I had lots of friends, never had a girlfriend or was ever tempted by drugs or alcohol (yes I was and still am a geek, just a much happier one). This book is much more meant for teenagers as it has some important lessons about love, drugs, friendship and school. That said, however, I found she described everything well and there were plenty of twists and turns, enough to make me curious for what would happen next most of the time.

I appreciated the shortness of this book, I often feel many novels are drawn out. As I said I think this would be book enjoyed a lot more by teenage to early 20's woman rather than a forty-something man. For me I did still enjoy it, I just found parts of it so far removed from my own life (and if it wasn't a true story hard to believe) that there were times I lost interest. As before I listen to this on 1.25 speed and it takes nothing away from it. I do really like the way Elisia changes at the end, she becomes a much stronger person. I also really admired the maturity, compassion and understanding she shows for transgender people, the homeless and generally always sees beyond a person's exterior. She was in several ways very mature for her age. I would recommend it, just not to a middle-aged man. I'll also say that I really liked the ending and was pleasantly surprised.

  • The Most Wonderful Tales of the Year

  • Holiday Memories Written and Performed by Our Favorite Narrators
  • By: Audible Narrators
  • Narrated by: Jonathan Davis, Kate Reading, Michael Kramer, and others
  • Length: 1 hr and 48 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 5,736
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,097
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 5,085

Here at Audible, we know just how much of an impact a voice can have on a story - taking simple words and filling them with elation, wonderment, tragedy, or pure satisfaction. We rely on our narrators every day to bring our favorite stories and characters to life - to introduce us to new authors and genres, or even to a new (perhaps longer) commute. And though our narrators are the best story tellers in the business, it's usually someone else's that they're telling.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Is Some Kind of White Elephant Gift?

  • By Dave on 12-12-16

short tales of Xmas memories by Audible narrators

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

Reviewed: 09-07-17

Like everyone else who is an Audible member (though I'll admit I won't be for much longer, I have so many books already paid for and waiting to be listened to I can easily quit for months), I got this book for free. As this summer I am catching up on my reading I finally listened to it last week (though it was weird listening to a Xmas book in summer).

This is an odd collection. It's Xmas memories from narrators who work with Audible. Most of them are interesting, fun and happy, while a few are just odd and others rather sad and depressing. They certainly aren't all wonderful tales but still I found myself enjoying this very short collection.

Under two hours this can easily be finished in one sitting (especially if you speed up the rate as I do do 1.25 speed). I the only ones that stood out for me where Michael Kramer and Kate Reading's holiday tales. Michael Kramer did all the Wheel of Time audio books (several of which I listened to). One the Wheel of Time books was done with Kate, I didn't realize they are husband and wife until I listened to this. Michael's tale was also quite funny and relate-able to me as I live in a place with very long winters, small population and isolated communities.


I enjoyed this for what it is, a freebie at Xmas time for the readers. It obliviously was cheap to produce as they have all these narrators under contracts anyway I would assume and it does seem a little slapped together in terms of themes (and length, why not make it longer and have some other big names like Stacy Keach?). I give it only the mildest recommendation. If you really love these narrators and want to hear about their Christmas stories, maybe give it a listen, it's something to entertain you on a long car rider I suppose.

  • Blaze

  • A Novel
  • By: Richard Bachman, Stephen King
  • Narrated by: Ron McLarty
  • Length: 8 hrs and 12 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,243
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 817
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 820

Blaze is the story of Clayton Blaisdell, Jr., of the crimes committed against him and the crimes he commits, including his last, the kidnapping of a baby heir worth millions. Blaze has been a slow thinker since childhood, when his father threw him down the stairs and then threw him down again. After escaping an abusive institution for boys when he was a teenager, Blaze hooks up with George, a seasoned criminal who thinks he has all the answers.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Good story

  • By Randall on 04-25-09

great short tale by the master of horror

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

Reviewed: 08-31-17

I read a book a long time ago by Richard Bachman; (who is Stephen King for anyone who's really in the dark!) and I enjoyed it. King is the master of horror but everyone makes mistakes (and by that I mean book 6 and 7 of The Dark Tower) and once I finished the Dark Tower series I took a long break from his writing. This one showed up on Audible and as it was short (I prefer short books) and got a good rating I decided to give it a try (plus I had 6 credits and had to use at least 1).

I'll say right away, I loved this book. The narrator was excellent doing different voices/characters and he always put in the right out of expression. He sounds just the way I would have pictured the characters. This is a unique book as it's really all about one guy, Blaze. Blaze is an unusual guy, he's a criminal, likes to steal, do con games and plans to (and does) kidnap a baby but you still can't help but like him.

I suppose I'll say to say

SPOILER ALERT!

Blaze is an interesting character, sure he's a criminal and as he has such size and strength he can easily kill someone if provoked or if he's defending a friend. He is fiercely loyal to the few friends he had (both died, one right in front of him) and is capable of showing kindness and humor. Despite the terrible things he does (including murder and kidnapping) you can't help but like him. Blaze initially does the kidnapping for the money and there is even a moment where he nearly kills the kid. After this point, however, Blaze starts to love Joe (the baby) and does his best to love, care and protect him.

King does a great job of a simple back and forth, one chapter is Blaze in the present, one is the past. Eventually both timelines catch up (within a few months) and we are left with the sad fate of Blaze's failed kidnapping attempt.

The interesting part of the book is the voice of George. George is one of the only friend's Blaze ever had and unlike John Chelsman, sticks around even after his death. By this I mean Blaze hear's George's voice in his head, he comes to him when he needs help and advice. There are times he even sees him, times where Blaze talks about a presence and up 'till the end we aren't sure about it.

It's a short listen at under 10 hours and that's the way I like it. Not a complicated story but excellent pacing, well-drawn characters and an exciting conclusion all make this an excellent story for me, one of King's best in my opinion.


At the end the baby seems to get a glimpse of Blaze (who has been killed the FBI, shot in the back numerous times), or is it George? I liked how Blaze also seems to have a connection to the birds, the image of a lone bird on a wire and loneliness is an interesting one. I also loved how secretly a part of Blaze will carry on, in the child he unknowingly fathered. As I said before I loved this book. I've always been fascinated with darker aspects of human nature. Blaze has a darkness inside him, is capable of murder and great violence but still you like him. I wanted Blaze to win and was sad when he didn't. Blaze was a character who suffered (by his father and other figures throughout his life) and ultimately made the wrong decision but he sure makes for a memorable book. I can't find a single thing wrong this and I give it my highest recommendation for any King/crime/ghost story fan. Not for children, I would say ages 14+. I am very glad this book got to see the light of day.



1 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • A Moveable Feast

  • The Restored Edition
  • By: Ernest Hemingway
  • Narrated by: John Bedford Lloyd
  • Length: 6 hrs and 42 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 637
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 517
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 523

When Ernest Hemingway died in 1961 he had nearly completed A Moveable Feast, which eventually was published posthumously in 1964 and edited by his widow Mary Hemingway. This new special edition of Hemingway's classic memoir of his early years in Paris in the 1920's presents the original manuscript as the author intended it to be published at the time of his death.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Perfect complement-Paris Wife & Midnight in Paris

  • By Julie on 06-09-12

Very interesting listen, great for an Ernest fan

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

Reviewed: 08-21-17

I love Hemingway, while I haven't read everything he's done (something I've only the past few months started to work on), I decided that it was time to write the closest he ever came to an autobiography. I don't love everything about him as person (I'm more fascinated with his life than anything else) but he is certainly one of the greatest American writers of the 20th century and well deserving of the Pulitzer and Nobel prize that he received late in life. This book is the only way left to truly get to know him as person (except for what you can infer from many of his books but none so much as this one.) If you're interested in another of his unfinished books, you can read my review of "The Garden of Eden" here. As has been my preference this was an Audio book from Audible (a website I highly recommend). I chose the restored edition as I thought this would be closer to what Hemingway wanted. I had also read on a blog that a true Hemingway fan must read this, so I did.


Normally I wouldn't comment on a forward/introduction but here there are two that are worth a little discussion. This first one is by his son, Patrick. Patrick compares his father's work to the bible (in so much as there are different versions) and goes on to explain how tiny differences in writing can be significant. I would have thought he would have talked about his father, what he meant to him, what kind of man he was, what Paris meant to his Dad but no. It is wonderful that it's here but someone I would have done a lot differently. I just couldn't hear the love in his voice for his father and I am left to wonder how he truly felt about him. It is redeemed, though, by perhaps the most beautiful and saddest lines Hemingway ever wrote (and is genuinely haunting to hear read by his son)

"This book contains material from the remises of my memory and of my heart. Even if the one has been tampered with and the other does not exist."

Then we have Sean, his grandson, do an introduction. This one seems to brim with affection for a grandfather he never knew. This one is filled with information about what was left out and then subsequently put back in "A Moveable Feast". This was fascinating and Sean sounded like a great person who had a lot to say about his grandfather. I thought it was helpful to know which chapters were left out of the original publication and thus letting you know exactly how this was a restored edition. Sean also points out when Hemingway made obvious changes in the narrative about places and names, and explains why he did so.

Well as you can see this will be a very long review. This book is fascinating, sad, thoughtful, at times disturbing, useful to writers and ultimately a glimpse into both Hemingway as a young man in Paris (he was 25 I believe) and what he was like just before his death at 61. It is unusual because Hemingway himself clearly stated that he changed parts of the books, that it is technically fiction but yet I think it speaks volumes about him and his life as a young writer.

There are parts that are genuinely surprising, like when Hemingway talks about his paranoia with Gertrude Stein (he carried a knife at all times apparently) and had a rather uncomfortable discussion with her about the difference between gay men and women (in regards to how they have sex). Another time he is having dinner and casually compares the way the man with him drinks oyster juice (from an oyster of course) as that of a prostitute swallowing semen. Hemingway changes a few names and places but pulls no punches when he talks about people he didn't like.

I also quite enjoyed the parts when he discussed growing his hair, how it was a small act of rebellion and how he wanted it to be the same length as his wife's. This was a great tie-in for me as I just finished "The Garden of Eden" (which deals with the main character growing his hair) recently. He gives advice to writers and we learn of his writing habits. You also get the distinct impression that Hemingway loved his wives and that he felt regret and guilt over cheating on his wife Hadley.

There are moments that are quite funny with F. Scott Fitzgerald . The famous story (well I heard about it) of Scott asking Ernest to look at his penis is really quite funny and ultimately shows he good a friend Ernest was to him.

Others that are hard to listen to/read, as when he continually mixes of T.S. Elliot with this Major Elliot, why this was not fixed or taken out seems odd to me. He also has a very hate filled talk with a fan after he interrupts him while he is writing (I think he overacted, telling the man to kill himself!) and then finally gives up and says he will be a great critic. Finally other parts are just deeply sad, he talks about how writing is about the struggle with nothingness and how he thought a man could smell dishonest (he even describes the odor). It seems clear that Hemingway not only suffered from depression but may have also had been in the early stages of dementia (perhaps brought on my his shock treatments). Hemingway also gives us a glimpse about how he felt about getting older,

"His talent was as natural as the pattern that was made by the dust on a butterfly's wings. At one time he understood it no more than the butterfly did and he did not know when it was brushed or marred. Later he became conscious of his damaged wings and of their construction and he learned to think and could not fly any more because the love of flight was gone and he could only remember when it had been effortless."


My apologies for such a long review, Hemingway would not have liked it but I had to. I'll add that many parts of the book need to be listened to quite closely. There is this habit of his where he seems to be speaking to his younger self and there is one chapter where this gets mixed up when he was also speaking to a dying friend. This review does need to end though, I'll start with due to language I would have to say ages 17+. If you are a writer or if you want to know the real Hemingway, read this. His descriptions of Paris are wonderful and his life in those early days is fascinating to learn about. I do recommend it, just keep an open mind and remember despite all the incredible things he did Hemingway was just a man, full of flaws and problems just as is anyone. While some parts are amazing, others are just so uncomfortable or sad but I still give the reader does a wonderful job, I think he speaks the way Hemingway himself would have and he puts a lot of emotion into every scene.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Short Stories, Volume II

  • By: Ernest Hemingway
  • Narrated by: Stacy Keach
  • Length: 4 hrs and 43 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 159
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 94
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 93

Before he gained wide fame as a novelist, Ernest Hemingway established his literary reputation with his short stories. Set in the varied landscapes of Spain, Africa, and the Americam Midwest, this definitive audio collection traces the development and maturation of Hemingway's distinct and revolutionary storytelling style: from the plain bald language of the first story to his mastery of seamless prose that contained a spare, eloquent pathos, as well as a sense of expansive solitude.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Flat out amazing

  • By chris on 11-30-07

The weakest of the 3 volumes but still ok listen

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

Reviewed: 08-21-17

I won’t go into a spiel about Hemingway (though I might say a bit later). He’s a writer I’ve always enjoyed and I’ll continue to read (well listen to) until I’ve heard all I want to. If you want to know the real Hemingway, I highly recommend you read (or listen to) A Moveable Feast. I’m lately listening to his short-stories and I must say it’s helping me write short stories myself. I will also say that I was guaranteed to listen to this because of not only Ernest but also because Stacy Keach does an incredible job with the audio. His voice is perfect and I think Hemingway himself would be happy with the emotion, nuance and emotion he puts into every story. The music for this short story collections is also excellent, beautiful, haunting, sad and yet peaceful. It makes it a classy audio book and is another reason why I’ve come to love Audible so much.


While I can’t guarantee I’ll do this for every short story collection, I will give my thoughts on each story found here.

“My old Man”
I really enjoyed this one but I didn’t like the ending. I know, Hemingway was a depressed individual and a good 80% of his stories end with someone’s death but it just stung a lot here. It’s a lovely story about a boy’s love for his father, their life together in Italy and then in Paris. He describes Paris so well (I was there once) and gives you a wonderful glimpse of what life was like there in the 1920’s. The characters here are (for the most part) liable and well developed. That makes it so much harder when the father is literally trampled to death in front of his son’s eyes. I can’t imagine what that would do to a young boy and it’s the kind of thing that while I was listening I hoped it wouldn’t happen, some part of me knew that it would. Still though, a strong start to the collection.

“Big Two-Hearted River Part 1 and 2”
Loved this story, I usually enjoy all the ones with Nick Adams (which is a character Hemingway based on himself). This was was simple, beautiful and parts of it where still sad. It shows what a masterful storyteller Hemingway was even early in his career. It’s just about a guy fishing but everything is described so well, you feel like you’re there and at peace. Always nice for a change to have no one die, no relationship end or anything bad happen.

“The Undefeated”
Didn’t care for it. I found it dragged a lot, most of the characters were unlikable, miserable people and while the bull-fighting scenes were exciting, it was so obvious what would happen in the end. Being an animal activist the descriptions bothered me, as I know this is what real bull-fighting is like (and sadly continues to be like).

“In Another Country”
Also not my cup of tea (especially since I don’t even drink tea!). While the descriptions of the machines and the injuries is a little interesting I was mostly bored. This could be Nick Adams (the man isn’t named) but still, it just doesn’t do it for me.

“Hills Like White Elephants”
This one was ok. To be honest I never caught on what the actual operation was until I looked the story up, so I’ll leave that for you to discover. Hemingway loves to write about couples arguing and generally having relationship troubles. I didn’t like the ending much but Ernest often seems to leave someone unsaid for a lot of his stories.

“The Killers”
Excellent story, this is the first one (and possibly the only one) where Hemingway really get’s into the mindset of a killer. He also makes you really hate the two hit men, which is the sign of a good story (usually). It’s a Nick Adams one and while the ending is not happy, it’s different from what I expected so that was good. I’ll not here that Hemingway certainly uses a lot of racially offensive terms. N word, wop and others propagate his text. I can see sometimes it fits for the characters but I think even for stories written in the 20’s and 30’s it’s way too often.

“Che Ti Dice La Patria?”
A good one, I always enjoy writing when it has a strong political voice (in support of freedom of course). For a story about the horrors of fascism it also has a really funny part at a whore house (which is pretending to be a cafe). Hemingway shows his talent for writing realistic and snappy dialogue. It’s great to hear stories about Italy from the 30’s, he describes a way of life that will never happen again (and shouldn’t of course, Mussolini was terrible!).

“Fifty Grand,”
Good story, though I thought the dialogue (and story) slowed down to a crawl in spots. It’s an unusually longer story for Hemingway. Once we finally get to the fight though, just wow! Hemingway was an amateur boxer himself and saw (and refereed) plenty of fights. He really makes it exciting and for a change it doesn’t end it tragedy. While it’s unusual (a guy bets against himself to make a lot of money) he may even still have a boxing career afterwards. Excellent descriptions and good characters. We are left to wonder if the fight was really fixed, though I vote that it was.

“A Simple Enquiry”
Very good, while this is a very short story it gives you plenty to think about. Of course there is homosexuality in the military (and always has been, just much more covered up). The interesting part is what this means for Hemingway. I think this is evidence that Hemingway was gay and his used all his womanizing and hyper-masculine activities to both cover it up and suppress it inside. It may also explain why he often makes his female characters very 1-dimensional and has men be very mean to them. It may be because Hemingway was always miserable with girlfriends and wives and just never had the courage to come out as a gay man.

“Ten Indians”
This is an odd story. I like the parts with Nick but there is such terrible racism towards Native people that it’s hard to listen (or if you bought the book, read) it. I like when Nick get’s home and he has a nice chat with his Dad about women, about a native woman Nick likes in particular. It’s ultimately about heartbreak and the loss of innocence but the ending is fitting.

“A Canary for One”
Didn’t like this one, it’s just really dull. It’s about an American woman on a train with a canary. She talks about how only American men are worth marrying and how she made her daughter miserable by forcing her to leave a foreign man, a poor way to end the collection.


Whew! That was a really long review. For volume 3 I won’t be nearly so detailed. Again I find I only like just over half the stories (7 of 11). So I can only give this a mild recommendation. If you’re a Hemingway fan, certainly give it a listen but it’s not a great place to start. I’m hoping volume 3 is the best of the lot. Due to language, violence, some sexual situations and a lot of racist language I would say ages 17+. Someone who listens to this need to not use words like squaw, wop and the N word.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • By-Line Ernest Hemingway

  • Selected Articles and Dispatches of Four Decades
  • By: Ernest Hemingway
  • Narrated by: Campbell Scott
  • Length: 15 hrs and 2 mins
  • Abridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 68
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 46
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 47

Here is Hemingway: the adventurer, the reporter, the man! More intimately than all his fiction, Hemingway the reporter reveals Hemingway the man, driving an ambulance through a bullet-barrage or leading guerrilla forces into Paris, always in the thick of the action. Here are his most sensational dispatches, the behind-the-scenes stories that became For Whom the Bell Tolls, A Farewell to Arms, and The Sun Also Rises.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A really interesting listen on the life of Ernest

  • By C. O'Keefe on 08-21-17

A really interesting listen on the life of Ernest

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

Reviewed: 08-21-17

I will get to all of Hemingway someday and I think the fact that he’s been dead over 50 years (’62) and I am still learning about him make him an incredible literary and historical figure. This book got good reviews, was on Audible and of course is about Papa, so I was in.

There are way too many articles for me to talk about each one. So instead I’ll give thoughts on each time period that is covered here (its over 4 decades and 5 parts).

Part 1:

This is a young Hemingway taking place 1920-1924. While there were many articles I enjoyed, some others were rather dull and tedious. I love a light-hearted Hemingway doing things like getting a shave from a barber college and getting a tooth pulled by a student (these were both funny). As time passes we already get to see glimpses, though, of his realistic views of the world, the state of other countries, his hatred for Mussolini (if only he really had been a bluff as Hemingway stated) and of course his fascination with bull-fighting. The weird part with the bull-fighting is that he admits its a tragedy, the bull always dies of course and sometimes even the matador but he still finds it incredibly exciting and loves to watch.

Part 2:

Here we see Hemingway’s long-standing love for Cuba and of course for fishing and hunting. We also see where he gets the inspiration for “The Old Man and the Sea” , I had always thought this was something Hemingway did but it turns out it was a story about a fisherman off Cuba who struggled with a huge fish for days, only to have it eaten away by sharks. His love of Key West (and boxing) show up here, along with some unexpected humor about birds. Again not the best section of the book, some parts were dull but as a big fan of Papa I still enjoyed it.
Also in this section there is a wonderful part where Ernest gives advice to a young writer. It is similar to things he said in “A Moveable Feast” but still just wonderful for me as a writer myself. He actually gives a long list of books to read and perhaps his best advice (which I’ll paraphrase). “Whatever you write about you have to capture the emotion of it. Whatever it felt like to be there, do to the act, what the other people felt, what they said. If you can capture the feeling of act and make it true, make the reader believe it, then you’re done your job as a writer.”

Part 3:

Hemingway, despite his flaws like animal cruelty, a huge amount of hunting, womanizing, alcoholism, racist tendencies and by some accounts misogyny, was a true patriot, brave, heroic and a great reporter will do go in the most dangerous places to get the truth.
In this part we see Ernest in the Spanish Civil War and right on the front lines. Here we get descriptions of the gruesome sights of war but also the heroics and the strange way life carries on. He also manages to bring us some humor along with the importance of true reporting. He talks of one reporter who wanted a false story reported, a story that had it been discovered would have been death for the poor female tricked into taking it out of the country. Here also we see keen Ernest views of the world have become, he predicts the start of WWII within six months. Even Ernest could not have predicted Pearl Harbor, though, and along with many other Americans feel they should have stayed out of a war in Europe.

Part 4:

This is the best part of the book for me. It starts with a something I’ve never heard before, an interview with Ernest, which I had hoped would actually be audio somehow preserved but no. Still the incredible part is that he corrected it himself, even with just an interview he was always the perfectionist and the storyteller.
His assessment of Japan-China relations is very interesting and it gives details to the war I didn’t know, that Russia was making money by funding both the Axis and the Allies. Again here we are left to wonder if his advice was correct, Japan had some skirmishes with China but never did invade a country so large. If Japan had taken China, they may have continued inland and the whole course of the war may have been different (perhaps its a good thing he was wrong).
He also shows the incredible determination and resourcefulness of the Chinese with a great story of how they build a massive runway with almost no tools, just a lot of people working night and day as hard as they can.
Speaking of, I knew that Hemingway was there in WWII but I didn’t know all the details. His descriptions of his landing on D-Day in France was amazing, how close he came to death just to get a story is nothing short of astounding. He said himself that he could have wrote a book on D-Day, it’s sad that it never happened.
Hemingway was in WWII as a reporter but he stayed so long that the men started to think of him as an officer. He even had fun by telling one man that he couldn’t rise above the rank of Captain because he couldn’t read or write.
This review has gotten long but as always it shows my love of Hemingway and I was on vacation when I wrote this with lots of time to spare. His descriptions of the fight for Paris and then for Germany are incredible to listen to. Especially when they are getting German’s out of this entrenched bunkers. Hemingway, whom I read did fight but got away with it when discovered, threw a grenade and even shot and killed German soldiers. They way I read it, he was defending himself in a time of war and would not have been charged with anything, still though he acted like a solider and really became one that day, when he was a reporter. For me, though, it just cements by vision of him as a hero. How many reporters have you heard of fighting right alongside of troops? I’ve never heard of anyone, except Hemingway.

Part 5:

With the war over we see Hemingway return to what he loves, exploring the world, hunting, fishing and writing. His description of Cuba is wonderful and makes me wish I could have seen the countryside as he did back then (I’ve been to Havana and a resort on Cuba but wasn’t overly impressed). We see Hemingway now as he becomes weary with the world, he gives hints that he is drinking more and that he wants to see people less. He talks about several places he has lived as being ruined and says that Cuba is one of the only true places left for him but even there he knows it will change and he’ll have to leave.
He made me sad when he talks about cock fighting, not just watching it but raising his own roosters just to have them fight and die. It’s always hard to comprehend who someone who loved cats and dogs would want to watch (and participate in) such a brutal act. Some would say it was Hemingway repressing his feelings, that perhaps he was homosexual or at least curious, maybe they are right, I’ve come to see his hyper-masculine activities were certainly a cover for some kind of issue (or issues) he had.

The book ends with another incredible (and sad) story. How he and his wife survived not one, but two plane crashes. Hemingway tells us of a time he was trapped by an angry elephant on top of a small hill, without his gun all he could do was fling rocks at the animal until it finally gave up. The saddest part is that once he does make it out of the wilderness of Africa he has to prove that he is still alive and later becomes obsessed with reading his own obituaries. In fact he wrote this final report to clarify all the mistakes made in the obituaries! Hemingway is in his 50’s here and he knows he is getting older, can feel himself slipping. Still he doesn’t seem like a man who would later take his own life, it is a tragedy that more people couldn’t have helped him after this point, maybe he could have written another masterpiece? He at least could have finish several stories of his. Despite all the sadness here I was also amused at a tale of how he finally agrees to get a bodyguard/assistant. It shows us that Hemingway was an intensely private man and didn’t like all the fame he would get in public places. He loved those friends and associates close to him and he makes an incredibly sad (and true) statement towards the end. Once more I’m paraphrasing, “All of the jerks, idiots and losers live on and on, yet the ones we love, the special people in our lives die all the time. As the years, months and days go by we continue to lose them, their lights forever snuffed out and never to return.” As someone who has recently lost his father I couldn’t agree more, life is terribly unfair and it’s true that the good people seem to die first, old assholes seem to hang on forever.


I’ve always been fascinated with WWII and Nazi Germany in particular. So for me learning more details of the war both the political aspects and the first hand accounts of Hemingway, was wonderful. I’ve always love Hemingway, despite all his flaws. He was an incredible man, an amazing writer and ultimately a sad and tragic figure. Like most great writers he was tortured, in mind, body and spirit and ultimately those demons won. This is an excellent non-fiction collection of Hemingway’s life and his adventures as a reporter. I’ll admit there were times I was bored and I did find it long in places. Still though I highly recommend it. I was sad to have it end. Not for children, due to graphic violence and language I would say ages 16+.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • The Short Stories, Volume III

  • By: Ernest Hemingway
  • Narrated by: Stacy Keach
  • Length: 4 hrs and 50 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 69
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 55
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 54

Before he gained wide fame as a novelist, Ernest Hemingway established his literary reputation with his short stories. Set in the varied landscapes of Spain, Africa, and the American Midwest, this definitive audio collection traces the development and maturation of Hemingway's distinct and revolutionary storytelling style - from the plain bold language of this first story to his mastery of seamless prose that contained a spare, eloquent pathos, as well as a sense of expansive solitude.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Best of the three but still not perfect

  • By C. O'Keefe on 05-25-17

Best of the three but still not perfect

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

Reviewed: 05-25-17

So as before I decided to continue to listen to Ernest Hemingway’s short stories (which as a writer have taught me a lot). The fact that Stacey Keach does an amazing job reading them made my decision easy. As per usual this is an audio from from Audible.


As before I will take the time to talk about each story. I probably won’t do this every short-story collection I read but since these are short, I’ll do it once more.
“An Alpine Idyll”
Really enjoyed it. This is a story about some American friends, one of them being the recurring character Nick Adams, who have come down form the mountains after a month long skiing trip. Even though it’s depressing I have to say this was well written. Soon we get into a discussion about death, funerals and the beastly things people are capable of doing. Ernest say some terrible things in his life, so I have no doubt someone using a corpse to hold up a lantern could certainly be true.
“A pursuit race”
I like this story but didn’t like the ending. It’s a very simple one, basically a drunk/high man talking to the owner of the hotel. There are some funny moments but ultimately it’s depressing. I would have liked it more if there had been some kind of resolution but as Hemingway often does, the story just ends. As Hemingway was a long time drinker himself, he can write a drunk man well.
“Today is Friday”
Loved this story. It has some dark humor and a lot of dark moments but I like it when a writer does something controversial. I’m sure at the time this came out, 1926, it must have ruffled a few feathers. It is a story of Roman soldiers, who had crucified Jesus earlier in the day, are drinking to let off some steam. I was surprised to find Hemingway did an anti-religious, I would call it, story and one set so far in the past. It was a welcome change from the ones I’ve read so far. Sure it has the usual no resolution ending but I forgive it here.
“Banal Story”
I liked this one too. It’s always good to hear Hemingway’s thoughts on life, death and romance. I know the story is meant to poke fun at a magazine and ultimately picks realism over romance but still it was enjoyable.
“Now I Lay Me”
Good story, Hemingway draws on his military experience to show what happens to a solider after he is shell-shocked (what we would now call PTSD). It’s just two guys chatting until one of them falls asleep, as usual he does great, realistic dialogue. While he never uses the name Nick, it is believed this is about the Nick Adams character which is basically Hemingway.
“After the Storm”
Loved this story. Starts off with action and a bar fight. Then ends up with a guy trying to get into a ship for sunken treasure. He later gets arrested, released and laments how when he got back to the ship it was cleaned out. Depressing sure but with such great description and an actual conclusion (along with an imagining of how the ship went down), very satisfying.
“A Clean, Well-Lighted Place”
Good story, I’m not sure if it’s the best Hemingway has every done but as usual realistic dialogue and characters. It made me feel good to be more like the younger waiter, who had a wife to go home to, than the older one who will go home alone to his insomnia. It also made me think I hope I’ve never the old man getting drunk in a cafe by himself with nowhere else to go.
“The Light of the World”
Didn’t like this one. The homosexual remarks are offensive, as if the way he talks about Native people. I know Hemingway lived in a different time but even he knew this was wrong. Then there is the long conversation with two prostitutes and two young men. I can see it has to do with them seeing what the world is really like (and small loss of their innocence) but it’s just dull.
“God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen”
Not very fond of this one either. It’s such a weird story about a boy who wants to be castrated, is refused by two doctors and then tries to do it himself (with obviously bad results). At least Hemingway doesn’t show anti-antisemitism here and brings up notions of what a Christian nature really means.
“The Sea Change”
Loved this one. We see Hemingway’s ideas on homosexuality and bisexuality. He also always does a great job when it comes to a couple arguing or having a discussion. Ultimately the main character is saddened by his wife leaving him for a woman but has grown as a person and is wiser.
“A Way You’ll Never Be”
Another excellent story. Again we get Nick Adams, this time he is suffering from shell-shock and traveling through Italy. Despite his troubles Nick is still trying to follow orders. Hemingway does, what we would call PTSD, so well. I’ve never had it but from movies I’ve seen it is spot-on. You feel bad for Nick, you feel good about the care the Italian officer shows Nick and of course you get the both terrible and haunting image of the thousands of corpses in the field along with all the scattered papers.
“The Mother of a Queen”
An ok story. I know this has all sorts of references to homosexuality but mostly it’s just a story about a bullfighter and his manager. The bullfight won’t pay for his mother’s burial and she is exhumed. He also won’t pay the manager back any money. Hemingway certainly describes annoyance and (later) hatred well but I just couldn’t make myself care for either character.
“One Reader Writes”
Crappy story. It’s just about a woman who is worried about staying (and sleeping) with her husband after he contracts syphilis. I just couldn’t make myself care about her.
“Homage to Switzerland”
An ok story. I know it has deeper meaning (as all 3 characters are Hemingway at different stages in his life) but mainly it just shows how you can be a decent person with a waitress, a total asshole or someone in between. The dialogue is well done as if the description but the repetition involved was a surprise and, for me, made the story a little boring.
“A Day’s Wait”
Another ok story. I know this gets into the misunderstanding and lack of connection between father and son but on the surface it’s just about a son who’s sick, thinks he will die and (thankfully) doesn’t. At least it had a happy ending, which is rare for Hemingway.
“A Natural History of the Dead”
Loved this story. It is a scientific paper where Hemingway examines dead bodies from a completely detached and scientific point of view. I know that doesn’t sound entertaining but it is full of dark humor, which I love and highlights just how intelligent an thoughtful Hemingway could be in his writing.
“Wine of Wyoming”
Ok story that I mostly liked. I found the French to be very distracting (as I don’t speak it) but I loved the characters. It is a tale of the differences between American’s and French (at the time in the 1930’s at least). I didn’t like the ending as I felt it was greatly exaggerated, just because they couldn’t give this American couple one last drink they are ruined? Again I know it has deeper meaning but sometimes that gets frustrating.
“The Gambler, the Nun, and the Radio”
Didn’t like this much. The Nun is so incredibly annoying that I almost stopped listening. It’s fine to make you hate a character but the way she talked just grated on my nerves. The talk about radio waves and hospitals was better but still a disappointing story.
“Fathers and Sons”
Final story in the collection. I liked this one, though as is the case I really don’t like the terribly racist way he talks about Native people. I’m lucky to have a good relationship with my dad but I have heard that it is a difficult thing for many people. Good dialogue (this is a Nick Adams story by the way) and interesting characters. It stays true to the less is more Hemingway style, as we are left to wonder if Nick will have a better relationship with his son, than he had with his own father.

Phew! Every story reviewed. I’ll state here now that I don’t plan on ever doing that again, it’s too time consuming. Out of the 20 stories I really enjoyed 10 of them and found 5 more to be ok. So as usual a mixed bag (but mostly good stuff) from me. Please don’t let children listen to this, ages 16+ please. As I predicted I did enjoy this volume the most out the three. So I give this a medium recommendation if you’re a shorty story fan and of course If you’re Hemingway fan it’s a must listen, though I would do yourself a favor and just skip the 5 I didn’t like.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • How to Be a Poker Player

  • The Philosophy of Poker
  • By: Haseeb Qureshi
  • Narrated by: Haseeb Qureshi
  • Length: 9 hrs and 45 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 214
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 185
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 185

It's no secret that masters of poker think differently than ordinary people. In this truly groundbreaking audiobook, Haseeb Qureshi, retired world-class high stakes poker pro and instructor, takes you on a journey of rediscovering the game of poker from the inside out. He explores the depths of strategy, psychology, and philosophy within poker, and teaches you his uniquely scientific perspective on approaching the game.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Not what you will expect

  • By Arturo on 04-10-15

Good poker for an experienced poker player

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

Reviewed: 04-20-17

I've been a poker player over 20 years now, that said I know I'm very much an amateur. I've made plenty of efforts to improve, I've watched videos, watched the WSOP, High Stakes Poker, lots of interviews, documentaries, played free poker, online for money, in person with friends, at bars and at casinos and of course read and listen to books on poker. This one got a high rating on Audible and sounded different, so I gave it a try.

This is a different kind of poker book. There is not a lot in terms of hand analysis, tournament tips, figuring out value bets and other strategies. What is here is an overall guide in how poker players think and act both at the table and away from it. I did a minor in Philosophy at university and I haven't read a book on it in a long time, so I appreciated all the tips he gives on being healthier and productive both as a poker player and overall as a human being.

To be honest the one chapter that he does get really technical with stuff like expected value and betting patterns, I found that despite all my knowledge and experience (which I'll admit isn't huge as their isn't a casino where I live) it went way over my head and got very complicated. Haseeb does give a warning before the chapter though and says that this part if for experienced players (which I thought I was).

In terms of the production, excellent sound quality and the author has a great speaking voice. It's always nice to have an author read their own material and it often feels at time that it's just Haseeb chatting with you rather than a book (which is a good thing!). I'm a slow listener and it took me months to get through this but that certainly doesn't mean the book was too long.

While I found most of his advice excellent (I should get back into meditating) I am forced to disagree with him on an the end. He says that if you have never been obsessed with poker than you will never be a poker player and that you should, in fact, quit! I suppose he could mean I'll never be a professional poker player and that I'll admit it true. Still I think this is a serious flaw, I'd bet 80-90% who read his book will never turn pro, so he is effectively trying to discourage people from playing poker at all. He doesn't know me and as poker is just a hobby for me (and will remain so) it has no negative effect on my family, social life, marriage or bank account, I have never had a problem quitting when I'm down.


I'm not saying I didn't enjoy this book, for the most part I really did. He also gives great tips on dealing with downswings, managing your bankroll, dealing with tilt (both yourself and other players) and how to get in the right mindset to play poker. I do, however, don't think there's anything wrong with playing poker and having the goal of winning money. Yes you're supposed to be enjoying the game but, for me anyway, I enjoy it a lot more when I'm winning. So I do recommend this book to anyone who is serious about poker, though perhaps skipping the chapter on expected value, just be prepared to take parts of it with a grain of salt. This is one of the best poker books I've listened to and I will even be contacting the author (as he asked everyone to). I was really fascinated when he got into a discussion about happiness and money. The fact that most lotto winners (like 80%) lose are their money within a few years and become miserable is both sad and fascinating. I agree with him that there is certainly a point where money (if you have enough to not even work) has no meaning and is no longer your goal in life (by that I mean you need it to travel, pay bills, look after your spouse/family). There certainly is the trap that someone who has money only wants more and can never truly be happy. I agree that within reason you should be happy with what you have (not discarding ambition) rather than always wanting more. This book is suitable for any age but unless you are some kind of poker savant, I would say ages 25+ just because you need to play a lot of poker to get the most of out this.

  • Open All the Way

  • Confessions from My Open Marriage
  • By: Sadie Smythe
  • Narrated by: Sadie Smythe
  • Length: 7 hrs and 33 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 63
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 56
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 58

Open All the Way marks Sadie Smythe's foray into long-range storytelling. Most well known for her outspoken commentary on her blog, about relationship paradigms and the navigation through her own alternative arrangement with her husband Scott, Sadie is very excited to offer her loyal readers a larger-lensed view into her openly married life. Each chapter of Open All the Way is an individual story in itself. But the combined ensemble compellingly chronicles her journey.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Don't bother with the audio version, annoying!

  • By C. O'Keefe on 11-13-16

Don't bother with the audio version, annoying!

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

Reviewed: 11-13-16

As per my usual I went with Audible (with a membership I always have at least 1 credit to spare). So as for the book, well first off I have to say Sadie does have a nice sexy voice, I'm sure it helped her flirt with and seduce men (and women) BUT she has this super-annoying habit of pausing frequently throughout. It was weird as it reminded me of the way William Shatner did Star Trek back in the 60's. It is also obvious at times that the book is stitched together and whole chapters were not recorded in one go (which is also a drawback). As other reviewers have pointed out Sadie also does this incredibly amateurish (and also annoying) of using the word "fuck" constantly. Curse words are supposed to add emphasis to a story and to be used sparingly, when you use them constantly they lose all effect and just bore the reader. That is another serious problem that an editor (if she had one) should have picked up on and fixed.

Enough though about technical issues. The story itself is interesting (at times) and also quite arousing (at times). It's more than about her open marriage, she also discusses being sick for 2 years (don't remember the name of the condition), having a child, moving, different jobs, alcoholism, treatment, sobriety and briefly her Mom. While the book focuses on her sexual exploits, the other material is thrown in (I would say tacked on) perhaps unnecessarily.

I found myself bored with a lot of the book. Several of the men she meets turn out different than she expected (with at least two he ran away from as it seemed a dangerous situation) and for a book about sex, most of the time she isn't nearly descriptive enough. She does provide insight into why she chose an open marriage, how it affected her husband (most of the time quite well as he finds plenty of women) and ultimately why she became an alcoholic and ultimately how she makes her marriage successful.

If Sadie reads this I do want to say I have nothing against you personally. She sounds like a very sexy person, intelligent, friendly, very outgoing and obviously quite open-minded. My issue is only with the way this book was written (and spoken, perhaps someone other than the author would have been a better choice). I think with the right editor she could become a good writer but has a ways to go yet. Also I have to say that the little music at the start of each chapter? Terrible, just annoying and the end it is even longer with some kind of rap crap thrown in!

Parts of the book did make me think about relationships and sexuality (and a few chapters did turn me on) but with all the detractors mentioned above it took away from the overall experience. Please don't let children read this, ages 19+. I would recommend this but only as a paper copy, that way you could only read the chapters that were of interest to you.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Insatiable

  • Porn - A Love Story
  • By: Asa Akira
  • Narrated by: Asa Akira
  • Length: 5 hrs and 31 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 510
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 477
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 480

Asa Akira (28) has already had an extremely unusual life. Educated at the United Nations International School in Manhattan, she soon was earning a good living by stripping and working as a dominatrix at a sex dungeon. Akira has now built up a reputation for being of the most popular, hardworking, and extreme actors in the business, winning dozens of awards for her 330+ movies, including her number-one best-selling adult film series Asa Akira Is Insatiable.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Entertaining. Exactly what you'd expect.

  • By Amazon Customer on 05-28-14

Very graphic biography, needed more editing but ok

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

Reviewed: 11-13-16

As you can see from this blog I am a little fascinated by porn. I still watch (though not as much, I'm 40 as I write this and I find usually it just doesn't do much for me, no substitute for the real thing :) I think the fact that I had never seen any of Asa's movies proves that I'm not much into porn the past few years, still I was interested enough to get this from Audible (with the monthly credit system I just go by ratings, interest and length).

The book starts out with a description of a hard core sex scene from a porn movie (I tried to figure out which one I'll admit, but the answer was nowhere to be found, I might e-mail her and ask). Asa has a nice speaking voice and she can describe a sex scene well but that's not the makings of a good biography. I found that the chapters which focus on her childhood, teenage and pre-porn years were the worst in the book.

Obviously it's very hard to relate to a porn star (unless you're in the industry of course, or lead a really wild life) and you get the impression that her childhood and early teenage years were a mess, filled with crime (shoplifting for years she says), drugs, sex (she gave her first blowjob at 13, which I think is too young) and even a creepy tale of her babysitter molesting her at a young age. Thankfully the molestation story doesn't give details and, in fact, it happened when she was so young she is never completely sure anything truly sexual happened, which doesn't make it any less wrong, it's just another strange part of her life. She lived with a married couple (and had sex with both of them), worked as a stripper, a prostitute and of course does incredibly hard core porn. She just paints a picture as a very unlikable/hypocritical person. For example she condemns people in Florida and yet she lived there, for two years! Personally I've been to FL over 30 times (and once stayed for 6 weeks) and I found on the whole people are nice. I think that generally the southern states are different from the more northern and central ones, that doesn't make them necessarily worse. Her criticizing strippers also makes no sense, not only does she have sex for a living, she was also a stripper herself!

Also spread throughout the book are haiku's. I enjoy poetry (took courses in it at university) but most of these haiku's are just terrible. While I don't mind graphic details there are moments when she just goes too far. One particular encounter she has with her boss at a sex dungeon is certainly TMI, along with her describing enemas, rough sex with her husband and her first STD. It's also obvious it's her first book (and it really needed some more editing), this is especially apparent in the first chapter.

Once the book moves away from her pre-teen/teenage years it does get better. I enjoyed the behind the scenes porn stuff, learning a little about her family, her husband and her diary entries. Someone reading their diary for the whole world to know does give a voyeuristic (and in this case non-guilty) thrill. You also do feel good hearing about her success in a field she loves and I certainly felt sorry for her when she describes a molestation incident she had as an adult.

The book is not too long (really it's quite short) and does display her raw talent as a writer. I think she could write some hot erotica but I'm not sure if I'd read anything else non-fiction by her. She provides insight into why she loves porn (and displays her insecurities about her body and her performances in movies) but never gets into how porn has changed her (I think would have to) or the affect it has on any of the people she has known. So I do give this a cautious recommendation. As I said be prepared for GRAPHIC language and hard core sex scenes, obviously ages 19+.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful