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MarDin

sag harbor, NY
  • 10
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Lightning audiobook cover art

getting better and better

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

Reviewed: 06-29-12

ok, so Koontz always had strange stories with supernatural aspects to them akin to mr. king, but as stated in a past review, he had such an insecure need to impress the reader with his vast vocabulary that one almost had to read with a dictionary at hand. it was to this reader, highly egotistical and psychodynamically insecure. Now that is virtually gone, no... completely gone. So i don't know if this is mr. Koontz's work or that of a ghost writer. either way it is so much better at every level than any earlier book. The last two impressed me for these maturational developments. If this is a ghost writer, he has mastered the Koontz mind, and the writing is thoroughly enjoyable. This story is compelling, gripping, and if you are a reader comfortable with the suspension of reality as we know it (if not you wouldn't be reading Koontz in the first place) this is worthy read/listen that will be one of your fastest.... just because you will want to listen at every available free moment... and isn't that what escapist literature is about?!

Calico Joe audiobook cover art

Pleeeease!!!

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

Reviewed: 05-25-12

ok, a master of his craft gets bored writing about legal scenarios and takes to (drum roll)....the baseball diamonds of 1972. If you are not a baseball fanatic, don't waste your time. If you like baseball, don't waste your dime. If it is autobiographical i wish i knew. If it is fictional it is merely a sunday magazine story.

on the plus side, the father son relationship seems and is written so much like Pat Conroy's in My Losing Season, that it almost feels lifted. the upside is it is well written and anything in the Conroy class is AAA.

in short, don't expect anything you have come to love from Grisham in this book. I read/listen to authors based on what i have experienced from them in the past. This is NOT Grisham genre. It is, how do they say "in name only."

Your Brain at Work audiobook cover art
  • Your Brain at Work
  • Strategies for Overcoming Distraction, Regaining Focus, and Working Smarter All Day Long
  • By: David Rock
  • Narrated by: Bob Walter

outstanding but too reductionistic is some areas

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

Reviewed: 11-07-11

I originally rated this as a full five, but on further listening, the author's overly simplistic and reductionistic view of behaviorism then concerned me that perhaps he has done that in other areas I have less training in. Based on that concern i had to downgrade the review. nonetheless i do think it is a very good work, using somewhat simplified versions of the present state of neurobiological and neuro-psychological information to generate a more than reasonable user's brain manual. Attention, concentration, addiction etc all come under this exposition and i feel it is sufficiently well done to be quite useful to many at multiple levels of field specific information.

My red flag issues with his handling of "behaviorism": First of all Pavlov (of classical conditioning fame) is Ivan Pavlov, not Igor Pavlov. That being his first sentence I knew he did not have much knowledge about what he was about to present as fact. Far more importantly, the father of Behaviorism, is BF Skinner, and contrary to Mr. Rock's understanding, it is the study of the effects of intelligently applied, research based,consequences on past behavior as it impacts and alters future behavior (to wit... Las Vegas makes billions applying these principles, yet people can learn pro social and moral development, or the lack thereof through the same principles). For Mr. Rock to reduce behaviorism to the simplistic pairing of food powder and a bell, which is in fact what is knows as "classical conditioning" (largely physiological) is just flat out erroneous. To then say it has survived because it is stupidly simply, and people like stupid and simple, is in a word just plain stupid. Behaviorism is "operant conditioning" and the only connection to classical conditioning is simply that Pavlovian (classical) conditioning was a historical precedent (i.e., it came first therefore "classical') that led to later discoveries in the field of learning theory. My concern is that is if he made such egregious, presumptive and assumptive errors about something rather simple, has he done the same in the much more complicated fields of neurobiology and neuropsychology. This suggests faulty editorial review and undermines my faith in the ultimate accuracy of his conclusions. However, in his defense, at my level of general understanding, I did not find any other glaring errors. Perhaps someone in those fields can best address the veracity of his material. I have my doubts, though i still highly recommend the book for its functional utility.

Dead or Alive audiobook cover art

somewhere between dead and alive. in limbo

Overall
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-01-11

never really got started. quit in the middle of part two. obsessive detail with so much inside jargon akin to a textbook. too many subplots each with excruciating detail. never knew where it was going. joins a list of 3 or 4 out of hundreds that it was just not worth the effort to listen to. obviously a disappointment.

South of Broad audiobook cover art

one of the greats

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-17-10

one of the best books i have ever "read" audio or otherwise. a superlative writer, a true word artiste, a story teller of the highest caliber, and most important, it is about being human and about life. a wonderful approach to time line changes that makes it all happen! rich, and full of mind jolting awakenings. A must read. now if i only had an idea what to read after this best of the best.....

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

The Tin Roof Blowdown audiobook cover art

worth every star for its genre

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-16-08

The reader is superb, his character voiceings impeccable and highly distinct from one another thereby presenting the literary skills of Mr. Burke at their highest level. This author's facility with our language is impressive and very much adds to the enjoyment of the book. Burke's phrasing, similes and metaphors paint mind images as tangible as the recollection of a personally perceived sensory experience. The timeline and place of the story, New Orleans during and post Katrina, is not only highly entertaining, but veridical and very educational as well. There is something about well researched fiction that makes learning so much more interesting than the other literary styles, perhaps because the education obtained is incidental and therefore somehow feels experienced.... as if you had actually been there. I could not recommend this book more to those who enjoy fiction for both entertainment and education. There are a few authors (Orson Scott Card and Nelson Demille in Upcountry) and James Lee Burke who should be mandatory reading for anyone wanting to be a wordsmith.

13 of 13 people found this review helpful

Ender's Game audiobook cover art

a must read for any aspiring writer

Overall
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 04-15-06

I frankly, never heard of Orson Scott Card, not being a big reader of science fiction for many
decades, but he has changed my mind.

Regardless of genre, he iss, in my mind, a writer's writer! Anyone who wants to know, hear and feel what truely good writing is and especially anyone who wants to write fiction, really needs to listen to this book. There are no efforts to impress the reader with one's extensive and exhaustive vocabulary... something which only flaunts a writers ego (and strokes a reader's sense of pseudo intelligence) and adds little or nothing to any work I have ever read or listened to. There is no author ego polluting the story. It is all about plot and character development. It is the clean and transparent creation of an alternate and temporary reality... and after all, isn't that what fiction is ultimately about! There are furthermore no distractions of unnecessary diversions and dialogue (as in mr. koontz on occassion and sadly, stephen king, recently in Cell).

And most important, most books fail with dissapointing or poor endings (Mr. King's weakest point), this ending is genius. It finishes the story and leaves open the door for anticipating sequells. Whereas other's leave me feeling like i am watching black and white reruns of "to be continued next week," one leaves this book feeling like one has just completed a grand feast... full and fully satisfied.

It was with great interest as I listened to the author at the end of the book talking about why he wanted to write and how he approaches writing. His understanding of what makes bad writing and what makes good writing closely parallels the evolutions of my own thoughts on the topic... even though I am but a mere listener. The entire anniversay edition, including the author's epilogue is worthy of a segment of any advanced writer's training program. If i could give this 10 stars i wouldn't hesitate a moment to do so. Bravo! (albeit nearly 30 years late)

Cell audiobook cover art

so so

Overall
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 02-22-06

First, though i love king, especially his history of impeccable character development, i have always found many of his endings wanting (witness three or four tries in Insomnia). either there is going to be a Cell2 (or perhaps it will be "REDIAL'), or this ending just stinks. either way it turned a good readable book into a dissapointment. Though I love dark tower, i want to know when i am going to get a 2bcontinued. I resent not being warned.
2. the audio production was rushed to production, with snippets inserted, especially toward the end, by either the reader with a bad cold, or someone else.
3. if this becomes a screen play it will be the goriest king movie ever. i have always felt that hollywood was responsible for those bloody translations, but it is as if this was written to become a gory movie. easy enough to ignore when listening, or reading (if any of us still do that!), but stay away from the cinematic version if it ever comes. Gratuitous gore. It is worth a listen, if your a King fan, but he has written better!

Life Expectancy audiobook cover art

New life for Koontz

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 09-05-05

After listening to Frankenstein and finding the writing way too narcissistic, I was very pleasantly surprised to listen to this book. I can only assume one of these books was either not written by Koontz, or this author is a man of multiply diverse styles. This book was a complete joy! It was one of those books that made me feel like I had a new friend and that the book was written for me... that is to say, i wanted to listen to it at every available moment and was sorry when it was over. It was filled with intelligent humor, witty and always captivating. Mr. Koontz, if you are out there, can you please explain to me how you can write in such an enveloping manner in one book, and lose it (IMHO) in the other. This book had none of the overt need to impress the reader with the author's grasp of the dictionary...this book was not filled with irrelevant detail like the other. For a mystery novel, this does all I expect the genre to provide. Bravo.

28 of 28 people found this review helpful

Frankenstein, Book One: Prodigal Son audiobook cover art

Entertaining but self absorbed

Overall
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-30-05

Mr. Koontz or whoever the writer may be, has a intense desire to show off his vocabulary. The book is entertaining and the idea is good... however it is chocked full of superfluous and story irrelevant detail and flowery prose... more as an opportunity to impress...a venue for the exposition of a very large vocabulary. in short a lot of story is irrelevant, unnecessary and flowery. By contrast, if you want to read a book that has no later unused detail (that is, every detail is relevant), read Dan Brown's Angels and Demons. It is clean and far more facinating. Mr. Koontz's need to impress the reader with his linguistic skills, IMHO ultimately detracts from the story. Mr. Brown's clear and story focused language enhances the book. I should have read the review more carefully: this is a "to be continued," which, alas, I now must do! Got to give him credit for keeping the revenues coming in though.

1 of 3 people found this review helpful