LISTENER

Sam D.

Burbank, CA USA
  • 10
  • reviews
  • 46
  • helpful votes
  • 30
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  • The Radium Girls

  • The Dark Story of America’s Shining Women
  • By: Kate Moore
  • Narrated by: Angela Brazil
  • Length: 15 hrs and 52 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,837
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 1,692
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,689

The year was 1917. As a war raged across the world, young American women flocked to work, painting watches, clocks, and military dials with a special luminous substance made from radium. It was a fun job, lucrative and glamorous - the girls themselves shone brightly in the dark, covered head to toe in the dust from the paint. They were the radium girls. As the years passed, the women began to suffer from mysterious and crippling illnesses.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A simple way to improve the robotic narration

  • By B. C. French on 06-07-17

Hire an editor, then re-record this.

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

Reviewed: 03-01-18

What would have made The Radium Girls better?

I anticipated the release of this book, and had really hoped to like it. The true story of these women is fascinating and tragic, but Moore cannot decide whether she is a reporter or a dime store Jane Austen. The writing is at times prosaic, and at others, incongruously romantic. Too often, sentences simply go off the rails (see below).

What could Kate Moore have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

Edit! Here are some examples of Moore's sentence structure, as interpreted by Brazil's reading:"As a mechanic, Theo Cuzer was not wealthy and nor was his family.""It was perhaps, then, when they tried to think of Hazel and put her first, the biggest blessing of all, when, on Tuesday December 9th, 1924, she finally passed away."

How could the performance have been better?

Angela Brazil OV-er-pro-NOUN-CeSS e-VER-y-thingGG. For me, this reader ruins the storytelling with her bizarre emphasis and inflections with that seem to counter the text. By making every consonant so very criSPP, the delivery is anything but conversational.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Johnny Carson

  • By: Henry Bushkin
  • Narrated by: Dick Hill
  • Length: 10 hrs and 51 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,133
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 1,009
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,008

From 1962 until 1992, Johnny Carson hosted The Tonight Show and permeated the American consciousness. In the ’70s and ’80s he was the country’s highest-paid entertainer and its most enigmatic. He was notoriously inscrutable, as mercurial (and sometimes cruel) off-camera as he was charming and hilarious onstage. During the apex of his reign, Carson’s longtime lawyer and best friend was Henry Bushkin, who now shows us Johnny Carson with a breathtaking clarity and depth that nobody else could.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Should be called Johnny and me

  • By Metaphorical 1 on 11-16-13

Mean-spirited takedown of an American icon.

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

Reviewed: 03-28-17

What would have made Johnny Carson better?

This should not be marketed as a biography. It's more of an expose' designed to destroy a legend. Henry Bushkin has some SERIOUS issues with his once-friend Johnny Carson, and he's going to try to get even for eleven long hours. It's tedious, humorless, and sad as he paints Carson as a cold, vindictive manipulator.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

Yes, Dick Hill was obnoxiously bombastic, which might be a reasonable match for Bushkin's braggadocio, but Hill's characterization made this a less than enjoyable listen.

Any additional comments?

I did learn a lot about the power structure of the American television industry of the 1970-1990s, but always from Bushkin's extremely negative point of view.

  • Moon Shot

  • The Inside Story of Man's Greatest Adventure
  • By: Dan Parry
  • Narrated by: John Chancer
  • Length: 10 hrs and 56 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 194
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 169
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 168

‘It didn’t matter that they were now three miles beyond their target site, that communications were dropping out and that they were running low on fuel. All that mattered to Neil as he searched for a safe spot to land was that boulders littered the surface below. “Thirty seconds,” called mission control. In truth, the flight controllers were now no more than spectators, just like everybody else. No more needed to be said. It was down to Armstrong

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Wow.

  • By Shellbin on 02-04-12

A compact and dramatic history of Apollo 11.

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

Reviewed: 03-28-17

Any additional comments?

Not nearly as complete as Andrew Chaikin's A Man on the Moon, but this is a fine primer, in story form, about how astronauts landed on the moon in 1969. If you are already well-versed into the history of the American space program, you won't find anything new here.

  • The 10X Rule

  • The Only Difference Between Success and Failure
  • By: Grant Cardone
  • Narrated by: Grant Cardone
  • Length: 7 hrs and 24 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 28,535
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 24,823
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 24,660

Extreme success, by definition, lies beyond the realm of normal action. If you want to achieve extreme success, you can’t operate like everybody else and settle for mediocrity. You need to remove luck and chance from your business equation, and lock in massive success. The 10X Rule shows you how!

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Not what I expected, and very happy it's not.

  • By ToddS on 09-19-13

Hours of yelling from your 9th grade P.E. teacher.

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

Reviewed: 11-15-16

What would have made The 10X Rule better?

All the concepts in this book could be reduced to some bullet points on a 3x5 index card.

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Grant Cardone?

Anyone. It's hard to take a self-help author seriously who cannot pronounce the word "author." Other mispronounced words include "variables," "prowess," and "phenomenon." What a joke.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The 10X Rule?

Oh, maybe the part where the obnoxious author/reader tells his listener not to be a "little bitch," then brags about sneaking that term into the audio version despite his editor begging otherwise.

  • The Lightkeepers

  • A Novel
  • By: Abby Geni
  • Narrated by: Xe Sands
  • Length: 8 hrs and 31 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 774
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 710
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 705

In The Lightkeepers, we follow Miranda, a nature photographer who travels to the Farallon Islands, an exotic and dangerous archipelago off the coast of California, for a one-year residency capturing the landscape. Her only companions are the scientists studying there, odd and quirky refugees from the mainland living in rustic conditions; they document the fish populations around the island, the bold trio of sharks called the Sisters that hunt the surrounding waters, and the overwhelming bird population....

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Spooky and Strange

  • By Sara on 10-20-16

Implausible plot, great reader, dreadful recording

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

Reviewed: 10-25-16

What disappointed you about The Lightkeepers?

Abby Geni's device that the text of this novel is a bunch of letters to the narrator's mother is inconsistent. While she does stay first person, she strays far in terms of style. I could not believe that she was telling the entirety of the story to her mom.

While Geni has a way with clever phrases (especially when describing the natural wonder of the location), she tends to use the same ones repetitively.

Many of the story's ancillary characters are one dimensional. I felt like we only get to know a couple of the people cloistered with at this remote location.

What was most disappointing about Abby Geni’s story?

I was right there with the narrator until one major plot point utterly defies credibility. In a novel that purports to be honest letters to a relative, this singular situation derails the entire story. This unbelievable plot construct continues for many chapters, and is followed by yet other events which also don't pass the smell test.

What aspect of Xe Sands’s performance would you have changed?

Xe Sands has a lovely reading voice, and a genuine delivery style that feels appropriate to this story. Unfortunately, this recording has horribly inconsistent volume. It sounds like the audio compressor had a very long release time, so that every time Sands starts a sentence, the sound level ducks under and makes it difficult to hear what the next few words are. The level breathes all over the place, with disastrous results. Awful.

Any additional comments?

Audible, you must insist on better audio mastering!

  • The Nerdist Way

  • How to Reach the Next Level (In Real Life)
  • By: Chris Hardwick
  • Narrated by: Chris Hardwick
  • Length: 6 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,990
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,847
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,838

Nerds: Once a tormented subrace of humans... Now captains of industry! You don’t have to be a stereotypical geekwad to appreciate the tenets of Nerdism and to make your innate talents for overanalysis and hyper-self-awareness work for you instead of against you. Join Nerd superstar Chris Hardwick as he offers his fellow “creative-obsessives” the crucial information needed to come out on top in the current Nerd uprising. Success is the most satisfying - and legal - form of vengeance there is. And you can achieve it when you follow the Nerdist Way,

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • I'm a disciple of The Nerdist Way!!

  • By Heather on 07-02-14

Chris Hardwick yells at you for six hours.

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

Reviewed: 10-14-16

What would have made The Nerdist Way better?

Calm down, dude! There are a few genuinely useful life hacks in here, but having this shrill stage-level performance in my earphones made them hard to digest. Pretty obnoxious tenor throughout. Also, web addresses, email headers, and math formulae really don't work as spoken word, like at all. Tedious.

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Chris Hardwick?

A conversational version of Chris Hardwick.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

I particularly liked Chris' candor about his alcoholism and how getting sober changed his life.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Failure Is Not an Option

  • Mission Control from Mercury to Apollo 13 and Beyond
  • By: Gene Kranz
  • Narrated by: Danny Campbell
  • Length: 18 hrs and 14 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,583
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,381
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,377

Gene Kranz was present at the creation of America's manned space program and was a key player in it for three decades. As a flight director in NASA's Mission Control, Kranz witnessed firsthand the making of history. He participated in the space program from the early days of the Mercury program to the last Apollo mission, and beyond. He endured the disastrous first years when rockets blew up and the United States seemed to fall further behind the Soviet Union in the space race.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A wonderful story told beautifully.

  • By Albert Sjoberg (PA) on 06-05-15

Filled with dry facts, but thin on emotion.

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

Reviewed: 10-14-16

What disappointed you about Failure Is Not an Option?

Gene Kranz was there, and his memoir of his amazing time at NASA is rich with technical accuracy, but is painfully short on emotion and drama. Sadly, this reads more like an operations manual full of jargon and acronyms than as storytelling.

What didn’t you like about Danny Campbell’s performance?

Campbell's dreadfully monotone delivery, coupled with Kranz's dry text makes for one very long drone.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • The Winter of Our Discontent

  • By: John Steinbeck
  • Narrated by: David Aaron Baker
  • Length: 10 hrs and 22 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,049
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 938
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 943

In awarding John Steinbeck the 1962 Nobel Prize in Literature, the Nobel committee stated that with The Winter of Our Discontent, he had “[R]esumed his position as an independent expounder of the truth, with an unbiased instinct for what is genuinely American".

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Memorable characters, great narration, POOR AUDIO

  • By Sam D. on 05-18-16

Memorable characters, great narration, POOR AUDIO

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

Reviewed: 05-18-16

Is there anything you would change about this book?

John Steinbeck? Are you kidding? I just wish it were twice as long.

Which character – as performed by David Aaron Baker – was your favorite?

Baker does a great job of bringing each character to life, distinctly voiced and infused with individual emotion. Very easy to listen to.

Any additional comments?

I'm giving this audiobook three stars instead of five because of Audible's sloppy, shoddy editing. Words are clipped off at the end of chapters, and there are jump cuts where the words have been lost. This poor quality work is a gross disservice to a master writer like Steinbeck, and to the paying customer expecting a professional, unabridged product. Get your act together, Audible!

35 of 35 people found this review helpful

  • River of Time

  • By: David Brin
  • Narrated by: Stephen Mendel
  • Length: 9 hrs and 45 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 15
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 12
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 12

The River of Time brings together 12 of David Brin's stories, including "The Crystal Spheres", which won the Hugo Award for Best Science Fiction Short Story in 1985. Here are powerful tales of heroism and humanity, playful excursions into realms of fancy, and profound meditations on time, memory, and our place in the universe. Who guides our fate? And can we ever hope to wrest control for ourselves?

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Love this book

  • By Pernicious on 05-26-16

Some stories are strong, some not so much.

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

Reviewed: 04-20-16

Is there anything you would change about this book?

This is an uneven anthology of Brin's early work. While some stories like The Crystal Spheres, The River of Time, and A Stage of Memory stand out as exceptional, others didn't really hold my interest.

How could the performance have been better?

Stephen Mendel has a fine reader's voice and a good sense of pacing. However, there are mispronounced words in almost every story in this anthology, and those errors immediately take me out of the story and cause me to distrust the narrator. I blame not only Mendel. but the producer of this audiobook for allowing such mistakes.

Any additional comments?

I like the author's notes. It's nice to get some perspective on the historical context of the stories and of the author's intention.

  • The World Without Us

  • By: Alan Weisman
  • Narrated by: Adam Grupper
  • Length: 12 hrs and 4 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 693
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 293
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 298

In this far-reaching narrative, Weisman explains how our massive infrastructure would collapse and vanish without human presence; which everyday items may become immortalized as fossils; why some of our earliest buildings might be the last architecture left; and how plastic, bronze sculpture, and man-made molecules may be our lasting gifts to the universe.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • mixed feelings

  • By Chris on 08-23-07

Hard to listen to this audio quality.

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

Reviewed: 01-23-16

What didn’t you like about Adam Grupper’s performance?

Strident and unmodulated reading, coupled with over-compressed recording and low-resolution audio makes it sound like the narrator is constantly yelling at you from a close distance. His voice almost sounds computer-generated.