LISTENER

Danny M.

  • 11
  • reviews
  • 414
  • helpful votes
  • 100
  • ratings
  • Dahlia Season

  • Stories and a Novella
  • By: Myriam Gurba
  • Narrated by: Marisol Ramirez
  • Length: 6 hrs and 6 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 19
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 18
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 18

Chicana. Goth. Dykling. Desiree Garcia knows she’s weird and a weirdo magnet. To extinguish her strangeness, her parents ship her to Saint Michael’s Catholic High School, then to Mexico, but neurology can’t be snuffed out so easily: Screwy brain chemistry holds the key to Desiree’s madness. As fellow crazies sense a kinship with her, Desiree attracts a coterie of both wanted and unwanted admirers, including a pair of racist deathrock sisters, a pretty Hispanic girl who did time in California’s most infamous mental asylum, and a transnational stalker with a pronounced limp.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A Goth Lesbian's Adventures in Catholic School

  • By Susie on 01-28-13

Str8 Outta Santa Bonita

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

Reviewed: 01-08-17

Gurba's storytelling is concise, freakishly blunt and refreshing. Twisty, in that comedy stories end up horror. She mixes sex, blood, religion and race in a thrilling way that provokes, offends, and draws laughs out loud. At least, that was the effect on this WASPy hetero- cis- male. Her characters' struggles with OCD are hysterically funny, exciting, kinda sad and depressing.

As a high school teacher myself, I judge her descriptions of a diverse urban California public school campus to be spot-on. I felt deepening empathy with my own Latino and LGBT students as she developed her characters . I'm from the same home town as the author, and found myself giddily decoding her pseudonyms ("Babcock College"- jajajaja!), and swelling with pride simply because I knew about the cliffs, the dunes, and the trashy Speedway that serve as settings for her awkward and pushy characters who end up saying and doing exactly what I thought they might and hoped they wouldn't. Her descriptions are uncanny. Also, "Santa Bonita" isn't a big city; what if her characters are based on people I know? They were so well written, I just decided that they are, and I assigned them accordingly in my head. It made the book extra fun.

Gurba has a broad linguistic foundation that comes out here in sharp, street-ish code switching and authentic California Spanglish. I appreciate her brisk, potent style. She fuses subcultures, settings and scenes (Gay, Goth, Latino, Catholic High School) in a snazzy synthesis that puts a cherry right on top of the Revised Bloom's Taxonomy. I hit the "back 30 seconds" button over and over to see what other meanings I could extract from a phrase or passage.

And speaking of the audible version, Marisol Ramirez's narration was a perfect fit. She nailed numerous nuanced accents, from New Yorker to Chola to St. Mike's white girl to Mexican Mom. Specifically, I remember one scene early in the book, when someone's little sister said "Shut Uuuuuuuup!", rising slowly from a low pitch and then falling at the second syllable, a clear warning to butt out of the conversation. I know that "Shut up" well, because over the decades many Chicanas have told me exactly that.

Well done, homie.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • How Music Works

  • By: David Byrne
  • Narrated by: Andrew Garman
  • Length: 13 hrs and 11 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 845
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 754
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 749

Best known as a founding member and principal songwriter of the iconic band Talking Heads, David Byrne has received Grammy, Oscar, and Golden Globe awards and has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In the insightful How Music Works, Byrne offers his unique perspective on music - including how music is shaped by time, how recording technologies transform the listening experience, the evolution of the industry, and much more.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Art Eats Itself

  • By Audio Gra Gra on 05-04-16

Smart, dry, and wise

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

Reviewed: 10-21-16

Byrne is one of the cleverest, most creative, and reliable songwriters and bandleaders of his generation. This book mixes autobiography, music history, theory, criticism, science and technology, business, and ethnomusicology into one fun story. It's insightful, well-referenced, humorous in a very subdued way, and revealing.

Also worth noting: Byrne narrates the introduction and does a surprisingly good job. Many authors and singers can't pull off the particularly difficult job of book narration.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Girl in a Band

  • A Memoir
  • By: Kim Gordon
  • Narrated by: Kim Gordon
  • Length: 7 hrs and 14 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,465
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,300
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,293

Kim Gordon, founding member of Sonic Youth, fashion icon, and role model for a generation of women, now tells her story - a memoir of life as an artist, of music, marriage, motherhood, independence, and as one of the first women of rock and roll, written with the lyricism and haunting beauty of Patti Smith's Just Kids.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Deadpan but fascinating

  • By Mark on 03-06-15

Perspective

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

Reviewed: 10-21-16

The world of independent rock and punk bands, largely male, gets cracked open here and exposed, recounted with a freshly feminine voice. She built a massively influential institution, only to lose her place when a dude pulled a standard middle-aged pig move. Hear her side of the story, empathize, and give respect.

Having said that...some writers shouldn't narrate. She's a punk singer, not a narrator. The vocal fry is aggravating; she sounds like Henry Kissinger at times, almost unintelligible. It sounds academic, but it's hard to hear in a car with road noise. Also, as someone intimately familiar with the story, she trails off at the end of sentences, almost to the point of a whisper, seeming to forget that WE NEED TO HEAR THE WORDS! I love the unlistenability of Sonic Youth's guitar assault, but that doesn't work in biography. Hear Paul Stanley's job on Face the Music for an example of how to perform. He's no Gordon, but he understands the need to perform in an accessible way.

  • Face the Music

  • A Life Exposed
  • By: Paul Stanley
  • Narrated by: Paul Stanley
  • Length: 12 hrs and 16 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,185
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,114
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,112

In Face the Music, Paul Stanley - the co-founder and famous "Starchild" frontman of KISS - reveals for the first time the incredible highs and equally incredible lows in his life both inside and outside the band. Face the Music is the shocking, funny, smart, inspirational story of one of rock’s most enduring icons and the group he helped create, define, and immortalize. Stanley mixes compelling personal revelations and gripping, gritty war stories that will surprise even the most steadfast member of the KISS Army.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Honest, upfront reflection - well worth your time

  • By Stephanie on 04-19-14

Reflective and honest

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

Reviewed: 06-13-14

Paul's account of the KISS story and his own life is refreshing and revealing. It also reveals an unexpected complexity to the man who wrote "Put your hand in my pocket/Grab onto my rocket."

He makes a connection between the development of his showmanship (arguably the best in the business) and a congenital birth defect that affected his appearence and his hearing. He is a focused and directed guy, susceptible to some temptations of the Rock world, but able to resist the most destructive. It's inspiring, and he's a good model for rockin' and staying in control of your own life. Mostly.

He slings a little mud at his brother-in-rock Gene Simmons, but with always with some love and respect. He soberly journals the slow deterioration of Peter Criss and Ace Frehely, often with hysterical anecdotes. Paul also reveals his own development as a man, when he recounts, now as a 62 year old father of a toddler, an incident in the 80s when he scoffed at another band who brought their kids and nannies on tour.

Although I no longer listen to his music, I now consider Stanely a model bandleader, showman, and businessman.

One more crucial point: Paul's narration is excellent. Too often, authors don't know enough about performance to execute their own writings in a listenable way. But after 40+ years of performance, this guy knows his voice. It was a great listen.

  • Focus

  • The Hidden Driver of Excellence
  • By: Daniel Goleman
  • Narrated by: Daniel Goleman
  • Length: 8 hrs and 8 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 584
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 497
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 493

Combining cutting-edge research with practical findings, Focus delves into the science of attention in all its varieties, presenting a long overdue discussion of this little-noticed and under-rated mental asset. In an era of unstoppable distractions, Goleman persuasively argues that now more than ever we must learn to sharpen focus if we are to survive in a complex world.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Good subject, poor audio performance

  • By Alex Limon on 07-29-14

Don't let the authors narrate their own books!

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

Reviewed: 11-17-13

This is an important topic addressed by the Grandfather of Social and Emotional Intelligence and Learning. However, there was an important problem.

The decision to have Dr. Goleman narrate his own text was not helpful. Although a journalist, he's clearly no sort of performer, and has no understanding of how to use his voice appropriately. His volume trailed off occassionally, or he rushed through sentences. I notice this often when authors narrate their own works. Perhaps it's because they are so familiar with their work, they forget that the rest of us are not. Most bothersome, though, was his tendency to whisper at the end of a sentence, as if to emphasize his point. We often do this when speaking, but it has no place in an audiobook performance. I found myself "rewinding" the book again and again to catch what seemed to be an important phase, and eventually just gave up and carried on with the book, ultimately missing what seemed to be important ideas. So, a note to Audible's producers: unless the author is an experienced performer, don't let them narrate! Also, he butchered the pronunciation of bestselling psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi's name, which he shouldn't have done if he's connected in the field.

Nonetheless, Dr. Goleman's analysis of our attention to outer, inner, and other types was very insightful. It's particularly helpful to teachers (like me) who are interested in helping kids. I'm looking forward to watching some of his supplamental videos on the topic.

53 of 59 people found this review helpful

  • The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich (Expanded and Updated)

  • By: Timothy Ferriss
  • Narrated by: Ray Porter
  • Length: 13 hrs and 1 min
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 14,059
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 11,542
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 11,465

This expanded edition includes dozens of practical tips and case studies from readers who have doubled their income, overcome common sticking points, and reinvented themselves using the original book. Also included are templates for eliminating email and negotiating with bosses and clients, how to apply lifestyle principles in unpredictable economic times, and the latest tools, tricks, and shortcuts for living like a diplomat or millionaire without being either.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • good info just not suited for audio

  • By Colin on 03-17-15

Snake oil for the Soul

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

Reviewed: 02-26-13

Tim Ferriss is clearly a rich white dude in his 20s- or at least he was when he started writing this book. Ambitious, naive, and energetic, he has all the traits necessary for success, and he makes some good points about achievement and success, and having a positive outlook on life. He gets credit for that. For example, his assertion is correct that instead of striving to earn large amounts of money, we should decide what experiences or things we want out of life, and then work backwards from that to decide how much money we need. Also, the automation of income is truly the way to financial independence, and he's right on the money there.

But his stories quickly get weird, even ridiculous. His accounts of tango contests and global sailing are quaint, but he loses credibility very quickly when he advises the reader on how to win a kickboxing contest: basically, he says game the system. And here is where his age shows. While taking advantage of technicalities in order to earn money might be legal and profitable, he misses the point on kickboxing. Isn't the point of learning to kickbox health, competition, discipline, defense? What value is a trophy if you only got it, as he basically did, though his opponents' forfeit? Did he really master kickboxing? Or did he just create the illusion of being better than his opponents? How deep is the joy one gets out of that? There are a number of assertions out there, in fact, that he never did win any national championship.

If the goal is make people think you're successful, Ferriss is on to something. I hear he made his fortune selling a nutritional supplement that was never proven effective scientifically. Legal? Yes. Profitable? Hella. Does that make him trustworthy? Uh...

Ultimately, happy people are those who enjoy the work they do, not people who spend even just four hours a week being miserable so they can sip mai tais the rest of the time. I want to read the book Tim Ferriss writes when he's 60, and has more perspective than he does now. TED should have waited as long to give him talk.

338 of 391 people found this review helpful

  • Practical Wisdom

  • The Right Way to Do the Right Thing
  • By: Barry Schwartz, Kenneth Sharpe
  • Narrated by: Barry Schwartz
  • Length: 10 hrs and 46 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 74
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 49
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 48

Most of us want to succeed. And most of us want to do the right thing. But we often forget that the way tosucceed is by doing the right thing, as Barry Schwartz and Kenneth Sharpe remind us in Practical Wisdom: The Right Way to Do the Right Thing. When the institutions that shape our society need to change, the people in them typically either make more rules or offer smarter incentives.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Professionalism

  • By Danny M. on 09-25-12

Professionalism

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

Reviewed: 09-25-12

A great synopsis of doing good, doing well, and being a great professional, with plenty of examples from not only law, medicine, and education, but custodial work as well. Schwartz induces rage by relaying stories of how strict adherence to rules blinds us to the wider, deeper knowledge of our experience and subconcious minds. An inspiring book...

However, this is a great example of why authors generally shouldn't narrate their own works: their own familiarity with the work caused them both to be lazy in their enunciations. Numerous times they trailed off, barely voicing crucial words, and I found myself hitting the "Go Back" button repeatedly and straining to hear a word that the author was probably hearing loudly in his head. Sharpe's voice especially is pretty drab.

Nonetheless, the content and flow made up for the performance.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • The Willpower Instinct

  • How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do to Get More of It
  • By: Kelly McGonigal Ph.D.
  • Narrated by: Walter Dixon
  • Length: 8 hrs and 21 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,047
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,894
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,793

Based on Stanford University psychologist Kelly McGonigal's wildly popular course The Science of Willpower, The Willpower Instinct is the first book to explain the new science of self-control and how it can be harnessed to improve our health, happiness, and productivity. Informed by the latest research and combining cutting-edge insights from psychology, economics, neuroscience, and medicine, The Willpower Instinct explains exactly what willpower is, how it works, and why it matters.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Research based guide to improve willpower

  • By Neuron on 05-27-13

Applicable and entertaining

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

Reviewed: 08-13-12

Professor McGonigal's stories about and advice for strengthening willpower are helpful and thought provoking. Especially interesting is the idea that willpower is inborn in people, and explanations for how our environment sometimes causes it to work against our best interests.

14 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • The Sociopath Next Door

  • By: Martha Stout
  • Narrated by: Shelly Frasier
  • Length: 7 hrs and 26 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 6,525
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,097
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 5,085

We are accustomed to think of sociopaths as violent criminals, but in The Sociopath Next Door, Harvard psychologist Martha Stout reveals that a shocking 4 percent of ordinary people, one in 25, has an often undetected mental disorder, the chief symptom of which is that that person possesses no conscience. He or she has no ability whatsoever to feel shame, guilt, or remorse. One in 25 everyday Americans, therefore, is secretly a sociopath.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Enlightening

  • By Robert on 08-28-11

Eye-opening and chilling

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

Reviewed: 05-29-12

The case studies recounted here compelled me to re-evaluate some of the strange interactions I've had with associates over the years. While I've always known that some people do bad things, the concept of sociopathy as applied to successful professionals introduces a whole new dynamic into how I try to figure out what motivates people. As a public school teacher, the issue for me is quite serious: it's the challenge of working with sociopathic students, teachers, or administrators, and it is compounded by the vulnerability of the children in this industry.

Particularly interesting is the description of how sociopaths often need high levels of stimulation, take serious risks, and are often charismatic and charming. The book made me very suspicious of people with these characteristics, especially when such people are trying to persuade me or sell me something. In fact, because of Dr. Stout, I've made conscious decisions to ignore, defy, or challenge otherwise convincing and impressive people based largely on my new intuition that they might be sociopathic.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Fiery Trial

  • Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery
  • By: Eric Foner
  • Narrated by: Norman Dietz
  • Length: 18 hrs and 7 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 276
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 218
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 220

Eric Foner gives us the definitive history of Abraham Lincoln and the end of slavery in America. Foner's Lincoln emerges as a leader, one whose greatness lies in his capacity for moral and political growth through real engagement with allies and critics alike. This powerful work will transform our understanding of the nation's greatest president and the issue that mattered most.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • great book about slavery and lincoln

  • By D. Littman on 11-13-10

Candid, fair, and sympathetic

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

Reviewed: 12-19-11

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I recommend this title to history teachers, history fans, civil rights advocates and lawmakers. This is a candid account of how brilliant people with good intentions struggle to implement liberty in an imperfect world.

What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

There were some awkward pronunciations. I was distracted by the narrator's pronunciation of the

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

At 18 hours, there was no way I could listen to this in one sitting. As a high school History teacher, it was helpful to take breaks and reflect on the content.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful