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Richard

San Luis Obispo, CA, United States
  • 42
  • reviews
  • 112
  • helpful votes
  • 187
  • ratings
  • The Silk Roads

  • A New History of the World
  • By: Peter Frankopan
  • Narrated by: Laurence Kennedy
  • Length: 24 hrs and 13 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,790
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,600
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,599

It was on the Silk Roads that East and West first encountered each other through trade and conquest, leading to the spread of ideas, cultures, and religions, and it was the appetites for foreign goods that drove economies and the growth of nations. From the first cities in Mesopotamia to the emergence of Greece and Rome to the depredations by the Mongols, the transmission of the Black Death, the struggles of the Great Game, and the fall of Communism - the fate of the West has always been inextricably linked to the East.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • What Really Makes the World Go Round

  • By Mom in Santa Fe on 07-29-16

Stellar Explanation

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

Reviewed: 10-15-18

This was a fascinating listen. It took me on a journey spanning millennia, giving insight into the cultures, geography, and politics associated with this serpentine route. While the book was enjoyable, I must say that the narrator disrupted the tale many times over every time he attempted to mimic the supposed accents of the historical figures quoted in this wonderful text. These disconnects were, to me, painful to listen to. But if you're willing to suffer these amateurish narrative diversions in order to nail down some great history right up to the present day, give it a try.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Art of the Wasted Day

  • By: Patricia Hampl
  • Narrated by: Patricia Hampl
  • Length: 9 hrs and 9 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 26
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 22
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 23

The Art of the Wasted Day is a picaresque travelogue of leisure written from a lifelong enchantment with solitude. Patricia Hampl visits the homes of historic exemplars of ease who made repose a goal, even an art form. She begins with two celebrated 18th-century Irish ladies who ran off to live a life of "retirement" in rural Wales. Her search then leads to Moravia to consider the monk-geneticist, Gregor Mendel, and finally to Bordeaux for Michel Montaigne who retreated from court life to sit in his chateau tower and write about whatever passed through his mind.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Perfect Flow of Consciousness Piece

  • By Richard on 04-30-18

Perfect Flow of Consciousness Piece

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

Reviewed: 04-30-18

More often than not, it's my impression that author-narrations are a letdown, but in this case not only is Patricia Hampl a superb writer but also a perfect narrator. The entire book streams out fluidly like poetry as well. Her facility with words is astonishing. It's difficult to explain how this memoir/philosophical/flow of consciousness epic went straight to my heart, but it did. Usually, I'm more interested in the Sciences, but in this case, delving into her thought process was well worth the expenditure. I highly recommend it.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • The Crossing

  • By: Michael Connelly
  • Narrated by: Titus Welliver
  • Length: 9 hrs and 24 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 13,343
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 12,157
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 12,108

Detective Harry Bosch has retired from the LAPD, but his half-brother, defense attorney Mickey Haller, needs his help. The murder rap against his client seems ironclad, but Mickey is sure it's a setup. Though it goes against all his instincts, Bosch takes the case. With the secret help of his former LAPD partner, Lucia Soto, he turns the investigation inside the police department. But as Bosch gets closer to discovering the truth, he makes himself a target.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • I just loved this book; every last bit of it

  • By Michele B on 11-10-15

Connelly Just Keeps Getiing Better

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

Reviewed: 01-03-18

It's amazing how Michael Connelly's craft just keeps improving. With a facile sense of character development that never relents, he also generates amazing plot lines with a deep intertwining of events. The Crossing is no exception. In fact, I think it's the best of Connelly's works that I've listened to. For me at least, it's crucial that Titus Welliver narrates these books too since my first bonding with the genre was via streaming video, and Welliver played his role elegantly. Welliver adds a sense of authenticity to an already elegant novel.

  • House of Suns

  • By: Alastair Reynolds
  • Narrated by: John Lee
  • Length: 18 hrs and 17 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,670
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,230
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,237

Six million years ago, at the very dawn of the starfaring era, Abigail Gentian fractured herself into a thousand male and female clones: the shatterlings. Sent out into the galaxy, these shatterlings have stood aloof as they document the rise and fall of countless human empires. They meet every 200,000 years to exchange news and memories of their travels with their siblings.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Extraordinary Sci-Fi

  • By Amazon Customer on 07-20-15

Grand Space Opera Singing Contralto

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

Reviewed: 12-28-17

Alastair Reynolds is the master of the grand space opera, and this book did not disappoint (much). I came away with a keener sense of deep-deep time and also a concept about the unimaginable distances involved between objects in our universe. The plot was good, though tedious. For example, one could easily do away with about half the verbiage in the multiple discourses on various command bridges on the ships about choosing this battle option or that, or the endless back-and-forth hunches about whether the facts as presented were, in fact, truth or deceit. Mr. Reynolds might have better pared down a lot of this mind-numbing jabber to make this a smoother listen (read). But I loved his ability to use modern cosmological physics and create the 'future -possible'. He also left me with a sense of wonder concerning the coming conflict between AI and the human palaeolithic brain. Now there's a subject we can explore forever, and he did it well by romanticising a quasi-human robot in a delightful manner.
My main obstacle was the narrator. I've trudged through John Lee's narration once before, and admit he has a finely pompous Shakespearean theatrical vocal style. But is that appropriate for this slick Sci-fi epic? He also can't seem to refrain from swallowing many of the ending syllables in pivotally important words. There's no room for sough in stating important concepts, but he does this all through the book. Result: Stop-reverse-relisten. His overly-emphatic rolled Rrrrrs in nearly every third word were distractive too, at least to the N. American ear. He also seems to forget to raise the timbre of his voice when narrating a female dialogue. It's weird to hear a female character come forth as a basso profundo, but eventually, you figure it out and get used to it. As fine a stage actor and presenter he may be, in my opinion, he is not a good choice as a versatile narrator for this fine piece of literary work.
I still highly recommend this book if you want a lengthy, entertaining book with a convoluted plot spanning deep time and multi-faceted imaginary warring worlds. Just brace up and bear with the odd, egocentric narration.

  • Daemon

  • By: Daniel Suarez
  • Narrated by: Jeff Gurner
  • Length: 15 hrs and 55 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 14,318
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 10,910
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 10,953

When the obituary of legendary computer game architect Matthew Sobol appears online, a previously dormant daemon activates, initiating a chain of events that begins to unravel our interconnected world. This daemon reads news headlines, recruits human followers, and orders assassinations. With Sobol’s secrets buried with him, and as new layers of his daemon are unleashed, it’s up to Detective Peter Sebeck to stop a self-replicating virtual killer before it achieves its ultimate purpose - one that goes far beyond anything Sebeck could have imagined.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Possibly The Best Techno-thriller Ever

  • By Erica on 01-22-09

Ready. Aim. Flop.

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

Reviewed: 12-19-17

The storyline launched perfectly, flew a course towards a perfect trajectory and crashed at about the halfway point. Numerous plot-worthy characters were introduced and then just disappeared. The tech stuff was fun, and the author certainly has a solid grasp of AI conceptualizations. The problem is, so many threads were spun I just wondered how the author could integrate them all. Well, he didn't. This is a book filled with cardboard characters and an overall nihilistic, depressing theme. It wasn't worth the time spent suffering through it.

  • All the Light We Cannot See

  • A Novel
  • By: Anthony Doerr
  • Narrated by: Zach Appelman
  • Length: 16 hrs and 2 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 45,312
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 40,506
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 40,510

Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where he works as the master of its thousands of locks. When she is six, Marie-Laure goes blind and her father builds a perfect miniature of their neighborhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home. When she is 12, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great-uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Good story, good narrator, not so great production

  • By j phillips on 08-08-17

Reads Like an Enticing Narrative Poem

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

Reviewed: 08-20-17

Would you consider the audio edition of All the Light We Cannot See to be better than the print version?

Not really. The author's facility in wordcraft is so impressive that it compels me to buy a print version for back up just so I can dip into a paragraph now and then as if reading poetry. The print version would provide a lifetime of inspiration, in that sense. His work reminds me of Antione de St. Exupery, an author who lived, fought and then perished during that horrific war. I believe that Doerr's words will live on and on in the same manner.

What did you like best about this story?

Anthony Doerr beautifully recreated a time long past, a dark time on the shores of Brittany during the Nazi occupation of France. His ability to take a reader there, through time and space, is a solid form of telepathy. Secondarily, I've never seen an author present what it must be like to have lost one's vision at an early age and have to cope with such strife, to attune one's remaining senses to a world of hearing, and touch, olfaction and-yes-even extrasensory perception, that most of us who have the gift of sight cannot comprehend.

Have you listened to any of Zach Appelman’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

This is my first listen to Appleman. It certainly will not be my last. His sense of pace is only outmatched by his exquisite enunciation and use of inflection.

If you could take any character from All the Light We Cannot See out to dinner, who would it be and why?

It would, of course, be the ethereal girl who is sightless amidst unimaginable turmoil, the central character. Why? I would want to observe her utter joy even though sightless.

Any additional comments?

I refrained from a perfect five-star rating all the way around because, for me at least, there were long minutes during which the author dragged on with poetic descriptions as if in freeze-frame. Great poetics here to be sure ( he's surely capable of writing long narratives poems like Robinson Jeffers without a hitch) but the overall plot was intricate and convoluted enough that I often longed to see the story line get rolling along again between the still-life imagery magic sessions that he so finely crafted and inserted everywhere. Maybe I was a bit impatient- a malady of our modern world. The plot was alluring, always surprises around every corner.

  • Stuff Matters

  • Exploring the Marvelous Materials That Shape Our Man-Made World
  • By: Mark Miodownik
  • Narrated by: Michael Page
  • Length: 6 hrs and 34 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,780
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,413
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,402

Why is glass see-through? What makes elastic stretchy? Why does a paper clip bend? These are the sorts of questions that Mark Miodownik is constantly asking himself. A globally renowned materials scientist, Miodownik has spent his life exploring objects as ordinary as an envelope and as unexpected as concrete cloth, uncovering the fascinating secrets that hold together our physical world.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Surprisingly good

  • By D. MacLeod on 01-29-15

A Box of Samplers, But No Buffet

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

Reviewed: 06-25-17

Would you consider the audio edition of Stuff Matters to be better than the print version?

I have not encountered the printed version. Nonetheless, the narrative as a whole keenly held my interest. This is a quick and often jocular scan of some of the more interesting aspects of materials science. The author makes it real by including many anecdotes from his personal story, starting with having being attacked on a tube train by a slasher. That's a great lead-in. and what does that have to do with materials, you say? Think about it: steel, of course.

What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

The ending was a succinct addition to a series of brief peeks at many different materials used in our everyday lives.

Have you listened to any of Michael Page’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No, this is my first listen involving Michael Page. He is an awesome narrator. I would rate him a perfect ten, given a little margin for the typical disconnect between American English and Southern UK English.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

The author was able to weave a fair piece of humor into what could have been viewed as a boring topic. I mean, come on...materials science? This opened my eyes up to the intricacies
of some of the more common man-made materials we use and take for granted every day: steel, concrete ( did you know that self-healing concrete has just been born?), chocolate, diamonds, the element carbon in its multifaceted forms, and then on to the exotic aerogels. This was well worth listening to.

Any additional comments?

Being a critical person at heart, I wasn't able to assign a perfect set of "fives" to this fine book. Maybe that's because it was a bit brief. Had there been more information on the grand panoply of materials that surround us, I would have gone forward with a perfect recommendation.

  • Paradise

  • Expeditionary Force, Book 3
  • By: Craig Alanson
  • Narrated by: R.C. Bray
  • Length: 15 hrs and 53 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 26,906
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 25,234
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 25,132

While the crew of the starship Flying Dutchman have been trying to assure people that hostile aliens do not have access to Earth, the UN Expeditionary Force has been stranded on the planet they nicknamed "Paradise". The Flying Dutchman is headed back out on another mission, and the UN wants the ship to find out the status of the humans on Paradise.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • running out of ideas...

  • By Amazon Customer on 06-08-17

Letdown

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

Reviewed: 06-08-17

What would have made Paradise better?

Reduce the boring back-and-forth, space filling banter between the two main characters. Work harder to reduce the cardboard characters that this book in the series seems to create.

What do you think your next listen will be?

Not the next in this series.

What do you think the narrator could have done better?

The narrator performed superbly, helping turn an unbearable book into something slightly tolerable.

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

The author has a flair for creative descriptions of future uses of Physics.

Any additional comments?

Books One and Two were marvelous; too bad the author lost momentum and finesse in Book Three.

1 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Ending Aging

  • The Rejuvenation Breakthroughs That Could Reverse Human Aging in Our Lifetime
  • By: Aubrey de Grey, Michael Rae
  • Narrated by: Stephanie Murphy
  • Length: 16 hrs and 4 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 61
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 57
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 57

A long life in a healthy, vigorous, youthful body has always been one of humanity's greatest dreams. Recent progress in genetic manipulations and calorie-restricted diets in laboratory animals hold forth the promise that someday science will enable us to exert total control over our own biological aging.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Absolutely amazing book, a biologist's wet dream.

  • By André on 06-06-17

Overly wordy

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

Reviewed: 03-10-17

With proper editing, about half of this book should be eliminated. One must listen through page after page of either the author's self-aggrandizement or repetitive self-questioning on just about every topic introduced. It took four introductory chapters to even get to the starting line. Though there is some pie-in-the-sky info introduced, the presentation is just downright boring.This is undeniably the worst Audible book I have ever suffered through.

4 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • The Ocean at the End of the Lane

  • A Novel
  • By: Neil Gaiman
  • Narrated by: Neil Gaiman
  • Length: 5 hrs and 48 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 17,444
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 16,156
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 16,136

A middle-aged man returns to his childhood home to attend a funeral. He is drawn to the farm at the end of the road, where, when he was seven, he encountered a most remarkable girl, Lettie Hempstock. Forty years earlier, a man committed suicide in a stolen car at this farm at the end of the road. Like a fuse on a firework, his death lit a touchpaper. The darkness was unleashed, something scary and thoroughly incomprehensible to a little boy. And Lettie - magical, comforting, wise beyond her years - promised to protect him, no matter what.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Gaiman delivers an intimate masterpiece

  • By Talia on 08-07-13

Grossly over-rated

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

Reviewed: 01-29-17

Would you try another book from Neil Gaiman and/or Neil Gaiman?

No thanks

Would you ever listen to anything by Neil Gaiman again?

I'm not convinced I would.

Would you listen to another book narrated by Neil Gaiman?

Yes- usually, authors are not the best narrators. In this case, however, Neil Gaiman shines.

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

Only the narration quality.

Any additional comments?

How else can I put this except to say that the storyline was blurry and non-cohesive. Plot resolution was a letdown.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful