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Jay Cook

Nashville, TN, United States
  • 8
  • reviews
  • 31
  • helpful votes
  • 20
  • ratings
  • Carrion Comfort

  • By: Dan Simmons
  • Narrated by: Mel Foster, Laural Merlington
  • Length: 39 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,896
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,752
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,750

Caught behind the lines of Hitler's Final Solution, Saul Laski is one of the multitudes destined to die in the notorious Chelmno extermination camp. Until he rises to meet his fate and finds himself face to face with an evil far older, and far greater, than the Nazis themselves. Compelled by the encounter to survive at all costs, so begins a journey that for Saul will span decades and cross continents, plunging into the darkest corners of 20th century history to reveal a secret society of beings who may often exist behind the world's most horrible and violent events.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Long, sure...but GREAT story!

  • By LillyO on 01-02-12

Creep-fest!

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

Reviewed: 04-16-13

This is a great read about a small group of malevolent friends who use their psychic abilities to control others in an annual contest to see who can create the most spectacular murders. The combination of blue-blood gentility and sociopathic vigor make "Miss Melanie" a great villain.

The narrators also did a great job, especially the first-person narrative of Melanie.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Walking Dead: Rise of The Governor

  • By: Robert Kirkman, Jay Bonansinga
  • Narrated by: Fred Berman
  • Length: 10 hrs and 46 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,701
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,558
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,558

Following in the footsteps of the New York Times best-selling graphic novels and the record-breaking new television show, this debut novel in a trilogy of original Walking Dead books chronicles the back story of the comic book series greatest villain, The Governor.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Well....okay...I guess

  • By David on 11-13-11

It'll Help Get You By Until the Series Resumes

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

Reviewed: 04-16-13

Okay, so this isn't Tolstoy by any means, or even Stephen King. But it was a diverting read and allows me to cryptically make comments to other Walking Dead fans indicating I know more than they do about The Governor. I had meant this as a temporary break from what I consider more worthwhile reading, but downloaded the second book in the series as soon as I finished the first. I'm trying to space it out since the TV series does not resume til October (would that I had I their work schedule), but I keep hitting the second book like it's a crack pipe.
In summary, if you aren't a fan of the show OR the genre, steer clear. If you like the genre but have never seen the show, (once you come out of your cave) give this book a try. If you like the genre and the show, I think you'll love the book.

  • The Master and Margarita

  • By: Mikhail Bulgakov
  • Narrated by: Julian Rhind-Tutt
  • Length: 16 hrs and 52 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,427
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,224
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,229

The Devil comes to Moscow, but he isn't all bad; Pontius Pilate sentences a charismatic leader to his death, but yearns for redemption; and a writer tries to destroy his greatest tale, but discovers that manuscripts don't burn. Multi-layered and entrancing, blending sharp satire with glorious fantasy, The Master and Margarita is ceaselessly inventive and profoundly moving. In its imaginative freedom and raising of eternal human concerns, it is one of the world's great novels.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Satisfying Satanic Satire

  • By Jacob on 12-06-11

No Wonder Stalin Suppressed Bulgakov's Works

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

Reviewed: 04-16-13

The Master and Margarita consists of two different story tracks: one involves Satan and his companions arriving in 1930's Moscow, the other involving the crucifixion from Pontius Pilate’s point of view. These two narrative threads are intertwined throughout the novel.

The adventures of the Devil and his retainers in Moscow are delightfully absurd. Their brief sojourn in the city is a direct affront to the Stalinist order as they confront corrupt bureaucrats at every turn. This is (I believe) the only classic of Russian literature in which a huge black cat attacks the NKVD with a machine gun. In retrospect, it is a great example of Stalin's caprice (especially when it came to artists) that Bulgakov was allowed to continue breathing, much less working. Not surprisingly, this work was not allowed to be published after well after the deaths of both men.

The passages dealing with Pilate are beautiful. One almost feels sympathy for the Procurator and the sticky situation he finds himself in, trapped between his desire to administer Roman justice and his need to keep the local population mollified. The part concerning the initial trial of Christ is particularly well written.

Even though this is generally regarded as one of the best novels of the twentieth century by many intellectual types, it was a satisfying read and did not feel like "culture". It is depressing to think what other great works might have come out of Russia during the last century if the Soviets had not suppressed all art that did not support their concept of Socialist Realism.

The narration on this was PERFECT. The author's change of tones between the two tracks of the story and his different voices for the characters, especially the devil's retainers, were superb.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Iron Curtain

  • The Crushing of Eastern Europe, 1944-1956
  • By: Anne Applebaum
  • Narrated by: Cassandra Campbell
  • Length: 26 hrs and 39 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 340
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 291
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 293

At the end of World War II, the Soviet Union to its surprise and delight found itself in control of a huge swath of territory in Eastern Europe. Stalin and his secret police set out to convert a dozen radically different countries to Communism, a completely new political and moral system. In Iron Curtain, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Anne Applebaum describes how the Communist regimes of Eastern Europe were created and what daily life was like once they were complete.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Important story, imperfectly executed

  • By jackifus on 12-08-12

From Stetin in the Baltic....

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

Reviewed: 01-28-13

I had looked forward to listening to this and was a tad disappointed, but my expectations had been in the wrong direction. I had expected a much more detailed discussion of the policies crafted by Stalin and Zhdanov for the overlordship of their new satrapies. Instead this concentrated much more on the puppet governments themselves, and on the social movements that fulminated in their respective countries as the USSR felt its way through the first years of occupation, slowly strengthening its grip.

The book spends a fair amount of time on the backgrounds and policies of the "little Stalins", such as Ulbrecht in the DDR. Their local struggles in implementing the policies handed down by the Kremlin are discussed in depth, particularly in East Germany, Hungary and Poland. Their difficult positions - essentially acting as the local representatives of the USSR - might almost be pitiable were they not typically willing accomplices of the NKVD.

The narration was, to my ear, bland. It may be that I'm used to having my European History read to me by a male with a British accent, but I found the reader to be lacking.

As a companion piece to this, I would highly recommend "Revolution 1989" by Victor Sebestyen. After hearing about the establishment of these dystopias, a few hours listening to the story of their dismantlement will make you feel that some wrongs, in the end, are inevitably reversed.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

Zombie Fallout
    Zombie Fallout, Book 1
    
        By:
        












    





    





    
        
            
            
                
            
        
        Mark Tufo
    
    


    
    
        Narrated by:
        












    





    





    
        
            
            
                
            
        
        Sean Runnette
    
    


    
    Length: 10 hrs and 28 mins
    7,746 ratings
    Overall 4.3
  • Zombie Fallout

  • Zombie Fallout, Book 1
  • By: Mark Tufo
  • Narrated by: Sean Runnette
  • Length: 10 hrs and 28 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7,746
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7,231
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7,251

This is the story of Michael Talbot, his family, and his friends: a band of ordinary people trying to get by in extraordinary times. When disaster strikes, Mike, a self-proclaimed survivalist, does his best to ensure the safety and security of those he cares for. Book one of the Zombie Fallout Trilogy follows our lead character at his self-deprecating, sarcastic best. What he encounters along the way leads him down a long dark road, always skirting the edge of insanity.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Awesome! I didn't think it was slapstick at all!

  • By coreybeth on 04-22-12

Disclaimer: I DID NOT Finish this Book

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

Reviewed: 01-24-13

I just couldn't. Within the space of about an hour I came to loathe the protagonist of the story. I'm not sure if it was the narrator, who has (to my ear) a sneering, condescending voice, or the actual character himself, who I found to be an insufferable jackass. Probably a combination of both.

That said, perhaps the voice acting was spot-on (it's this possibility that made me up the performance rating from 1 to 2 stars). Perhaps he perfectly captured the tones and nuances of the first person narrator of the book, who came across as the kind of person you would jump out a window to get away from at a cocktail party. It's hard to enjoy a zombie story when you feel that. were you in the shoes of one of the other characters, you'd prefer the company of the zombies.

3 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Roots

  • The Saga of an American Family
  • By: Alex Haley
  • Narrated by: Avery Brooks
  • Length: 30 hrs and 6 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,381
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 3,294
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,318

Why we think it’s a great listen: A masterpiece like none other, Brooks’ powerful performance of Haley’s words has been known to leave listeners in tears. It begins with a birth in an African village in 1750, and ends two centuries later at a funeral in Arkansas. And in that time span, an unforgettable cast of men, women, and children come to life, many of them based on the people from Alex Haley's own family tree.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Impressive! DO NOT WIKI THIS BOOK!

  • By avoidthelloyd on 09-17-14

AMAZED By How Much I Dug This Book

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

Reviewed: 01-24-13


I'm not sure what finally got me to read this. As a white southerner, I went into this with the expectation of being hit in the head again and again with the injustices of my ancestors. In this I was correct. And yet...

The story itself is first-rate. I have never read anything else by Haley (the Playboy interviews were published long before I was interested in any of the written material ), but the plot and the prose were both sufficient to keep me interested and make the endeavor feel more literary than mere popular fiction. The only part I felt dragged on a bit was the initial portion, when Kunta is in Africa and has not been captured yet. The subsequent story moves with relative speed across several hundred years of American history.

The white "masters" are not single dimensional. There are random and touching acts of kindness by them, mixed up with random acts of cruelty and the constant systemic injustice. At no point is the utter wrongness of the peculiar institution downplayed, but there are some touching scenes of basic human compassion breaking through the societal and legal norms. Perhaps most poignant is the scene where the white nabobs of Lauderdale County ask Haley's grandfather to assume ownership of the town lumber mill with their financial backing.

The narration is excellent. Avery Brooks sounds a lot like James Earl Jones and has the perfect voice for this story. I would pay to hear him read the telephone book out loud.

I was a little disappointed to read, after finishing the book, assertions that Haley had fabricated certain key elements of the story which had been presented as true. And yet even if he made the whole thing up, it is still an interesting and compelling read.

22 of 24 people found this review helpful

  • Nobody's Fool

  • By: Richard Russo
  • Narrated by: Ron McLarty
  • Length: 24 hrs and 53 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,561
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,109
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,107

Divorced from his own wife and carrying on halfheartedly with another man's, saddled with a bum knee and friends who make enemies redundant, Sully now has one new problem to cope with: a long-estranged son who is in imminent danger of following in his father's footsteps. With its sly and uproarious humor and a heart that embraces humanity's follies as well as its triumphs, Nobody's Fool is storytelling at its most generous.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Wonderful Book Fabulous Narrator

  • By Marsha on 04-27-05

Even Better Than The Movie

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

Reviewed: 01-24-13

This is one of the best books I listened to this year. I had thoroughly enjoyed the movie and was worried that Ron McLarty's Sully would not equal up to Paul Newman's. This was a needless fear. McLarty came through as he always does, offering up Sully in a voice that conveys the same witty, resigned gruffness so central to the character of John Sullivan. Another element of the movie I loved, the full tableaux of interesting characters in the town of North Bath, is (not surprisingly) more fully and deeply explored in the novel. Add to this a few key events in the novel that were either left out of the movie or drastically altered and the experience is fresh even for someone who has seen the film multiple times. Bravo!

  • 11-22-63

  • A Novel
  • By: Stephen King
  • Narrated by: Craig Wasson
  • Length: 30 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 50,787
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 46,194
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 46,102

On November 22, 1963, three shots rang out in Dallas, President Kennedy died, and the world changed. What if you could change it back? In this brilliantly conceived tour de force, Stephen King - who has absorbed the social, political, and popular culture of his generation more imaginatively and thoroughly than any other writer - takes listeners on an incredible journey into the past and the possibility of altering it.

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • I want the 20hours of my life back...

  • By Dan on 06-08-12

Back in Black

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

Reviewed: 01-24-13

I am a huge fan of Stephen King's older works but had not really kept up with anything he wrote after about 1994. Deciding to return to the ranks of "Constant Readers" this year, I began working my way through the backlog that had built up in the almost twenty years since I had read any of his works. My opinion of what I read during this catch-up exercise was that while almost all of the "newer" stuff were good reads, nothing stood up to the glory days of "The Stand" and "Salem's Lot".
"11-22-1963" is the exception. Its place in the King pantheon is not based on chill factor - there is very little of that in this book. Yet it stands with his best because of the narrative quality and - I hate to say it - the great love story between Jake and Sadie.
Another great surprise was finding myself back in Derry, Maine after an absence of some years. Fans of a certain previous work will enjoy returning and running into some old acquaintances.
Craig Wasson is perfect as the narrator. There have been some books where I really loved his performance - "The Mothman Prophecies" in particular - and others where I did not. This is definitely a win for Wasson.
Yes, this listen requires a substantial commitment and yes, “Lisey's Story” and “Cell” and certain other later works might not have been up to what constant readers expect. But take the chance on this one, it is well worth it.

0 of 2 people found this review helpful