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Matthew Stavros

  • 12
  • reviews
  • 57
  • helpful votes
  • 119
  • ratings
Sapiens audiobook cover art
  • Sapiens

  • A Brief History of Humankind
  • By: Yuval Noah Harari
  • Narrated by: Derek Perkins
  • Length: 15 hrs and 18 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 17,719
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 15,770
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 15,679

One hundred thousand years ago, at least six human species inhabited the Earth. Today there is just one. Us. Homo sapiens. How did our species succeed in the battle for dominance? Why did our foraging ancestors come together to create cities and kingdoms? How did we come to believe in gods, nations, and human rights; to trust money, books, and laws; and to be enslaved by bureaucracy, timetables, and consumerism?

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Sums it up nicely

  • By Mark on 05-15-15

New view on human history

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

Reviewed: 01-05-17

This is a fresh look at an old topic. The first few chapters on pre-history are slow and predictable, but the latter sections provide an enlightened perspective on modern human systems such as science, empire, and capitalism. The part on Capitalism is particularly strong. Readers can skip the first parts and not miss much. Recommended.

  • The Sudden Appearance of Hope

  • By: Claire North
  • Narrated by: Gillian Burke
  • Length: 16 hrs and 31 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 421
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 389
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 389

It started when I was 16 years old. A father forgetting to drive me to school. A mother setting the table for three, not four. A friend who looks at me and sees a stranger. No matter what I do, the words I say, the crimes I commit, you will never remember who I am.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Fantastic

  • By Anon on 05-31-18

One to dwell on

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

Reviewed: 01-05-17

Like all Clair North's work, this is one novel that will make you think: make you think of the possibility, the implications, the impact one could have with the power of the hero. Written with modern mastery and intelligence, narrated by a pro, this is one book that should not be missed.

  • Dune

  • By: Frank Herbert
  • Narrated by: Scott Brick, Orlagh Cassidy, Euan Morton, and others
  • Length: 21 hrs and 8 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 39,348
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 32,622
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 32,686

Here is the novel that will be forever considered a triumph of the imagination. Set on the desert planet Arrakis, Dune is the story of the boy Paul Atreides, who would become the mysterious man known as Maud'dib. He would avenge the traitorous plot against his noble family and would bring to fruition humankind's most ancient and unattainable dream.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Good book!

  • By Scott on 04-10-08

Jumbled narration of a masterwork

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

Reviewed: 01-02-17

Dune is a classic and a wonderful story, a must-read for any science fiction fan. But this narration was produced very poorly. Each voice actor was fine, but the producer made some terrible mistakes leading to inconsistencies that ruined the flow. Must be fixed.

  • Indonesia, Etc.

  • Exploring the Improbable Nation
  • By: Elizabeth Pisani
  • Narrated by: Jan Cramer
  • Length: 13 hrs and 3 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 117
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 98
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 98

Bewitched by Indonesia for twenty-five years, Elizabeth Pisani recently traveled 26,000 miles around the archipelago in search of the links that bind this impossibly disparate nation. Fearless and funny, Pisani shares her deck space with pigs and cows, bunks down in a sulfurous volcano, and takes tea with a corpse. Along the way, she observes Big Men with child brides, debates corruption and cannibalism, and ponders "sticky" traditions that cannot be erased.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Bill Bryson channels Margaret Mead

  • By John S. on 09-01-14

Wonderful, evocotive

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

Reviewed: 05-03-15

This is a truly inspiring travel account of Indonesia, written by an English expat who's love for the country (and profound understanding) oozes from every line. Audible needs many more books on Indonesia, but this is a very good start.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • A Perfect Spy

  • A Novel
  • By: John le Carré
  • Narrated by: Michael Jayston
  • Length: 20 hrs and 53 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 433
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 398
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 392

Over the course of his seemingly irreproachable life, Magnus Pym has been all things to all people: a devoted family man, a trusted colleague, a loyal friend - and the perfect spy. But in the wake of his estranged father's death, Magnus vanishes, and the British Secret Service is up in arms. Is it grief, or is the reason for his disappearance more sinister? And who is the mysterious man with the sad moustache who also seems to be looking for Magnus? In A Perfect Spy, John le Carré has crafted one of his crowning masterpieces.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • My favorite Le Carré story

  • By William E. Bemis on 03-30-16

Difficult but worth it

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

Reviewed: 04-28-15

It took me 3 false starts to get past the first 5 chapters of this book. Once I made it that far paying attention, however, it all began falling into place. Like all good literature, it requires your attention and patience, but this one's well worth the effort.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • The Quiet American

  • By: Graham Greene
  • Narrated by: Joseph Porter
  • Length: 6 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 364
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 291
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 290

Alden Pyle, an idealistic young American, is sent to Vietnam to promote democracy amidst the intrigue and violence of the French war with the Vietminh, while his friend, Fowler, a cynical foreign correspondent, looks on.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Terrible narrator nearly derails Greene novel.

  • By Richard on 07-12-12

Slow development without the rich prose.

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

Reviewed: 06-26-14

I'm happy to wade into a slow developing story as long as the prose is rich and evocative. This one is not. And the narrator doesn't help. His reading is ropy and wooden, and much too slow in some places. Maybe Graham Greene is better in print, but so far, his "End of the Affair" read by Colin Firth is the only Audiobook I've enjoyed so far. "Our Man in Havana" is not bad either.

  • One More Thing

  • Stories and Other Stories
  • By: B. J. Novak
  • Narrated by: B. J. Novak, Rainn Wilson, Jenna Fischer, and others
  • Length: 6 hrs and 48 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 3,087
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,791
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 2,798

B.J. Novak's One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories is an endlessly entertaining, surprisingly sensitive, and startlingly original debut that signals the arrival of a brilliant new voice in American fiction. A boy wins a $100,000 prize in a box of Frosted Flakes - only to discover how claiming the winnings might unravel his family. A woman sets out to seduce motivational speaker Tony Robbins - turning for help to the famed motivator himself. A new arrival in Heaven, overwhelmed with options, procrastinates over a long-ago promise to visit his grandmother....

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • It gets better, and better, and better, and better

  • By David Shear on 02-07-14

Really?

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

Reviewed: 03-06-14

BJ Novak is great in the Office, as a writer and actor. Maybe he should stick to that kind of sound bite writing. This book is flat and not very interesting either.

7 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • The Great Gatsby

  • By: F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • Narrated by: Jake Gyllenhaal
  • Length: 4 hrs and 49 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 423
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 379
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 380

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic American novel of the Roaring Twenties is beloved by generations of readers and stands as his crowning work. This new audio edition, authorized by the Fitzgerald estate, is narrated by Oscar-nominated actor Jake Gyllenhaal ( Brokeback Mountain). Gyllenhaal's performance is a faithful delivery in the voice of Nick Carraway, the Midwesterner turned New York bond salesman, who rents a small house next door to the mysterious millionaire Jay Gatsby. There, he has a firsthand view of Gatsby’s lavish West Egg parties - and of his undying love....

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Just the right reading style

  • By Matthew Stavros on 05-09-13

Just the right reading style

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

Reviewed: 05-09-13

I was reluctant to listen to a book read by a screen actor, and one I don't particularly love. I thought the creators would be selling the name rather than a gifted reader. I was wrong. Not only did Jake Gyllenhall read the story well, he did so in an almost whispered style that I think captured the book's subtlety in supreme manor. I can highly recommend this audiobook.

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

Tai-Pan audiobook cover art
  • Tai-Pan

  • A Novel of Hong Kong
  • By: James Clavell
  • Narrated by: John Lee
  • Length: 25 hrs and 47 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 963
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 631
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 634

After the British seize Hong Kong following the first Opium War, the owners of two competing trading companies seek to destroy each other, both professionally and personally.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A great audio book

  • By Cy Judge on 09-27-07

John Lee and Dirk Struan are my heros.

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-25-10

John Lee narrates this story with a degree of supreme mastery unparalleled in the audiobook world. He deserves an award for acting, no joke. The story is, of course, good, but the way the narration beings Dirk Struan's heroism to life is great beyond words. This is the audiobook I keep on my iPod and continuously go back to whenever I'm board with another or I'm looking for a pickup. It never fails to enthrall, and I get new things from it each time.

Shogun audiobook cover art
  • Shogun

  • A Novel of Japan
  • By: James Clavell
  • Narrated by: David Case
  • Length: 48 hrs and 26 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,484
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 1,034
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,049

A bold English adventuer. An invincible Japanese warlord. A beautiful woman torn between two ways of life, two ways of love....An English captain and his crew are shipwrecked on the coast of feudal Japan. They must deal with two Japanese warlords who are struggling to attain the title of Shogun - and the ultimate power that comes with it.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A question about further Clavell books.

  • By Lorrie on 08-15-09

You have got to be kidding

Overall
1 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-25-10

I have great patience with readers and am generally very forgiving. But this is much too bad. What's up with David Case's voice? It's strained, the accents forced, and the narrator's tone is stilted. The Japanese voices sound like robots. The recording quality is poor as well, as if it were done quite a few years ago. We need John Lee to redo this one, please. John Lee's reading of other Clavell novels (especially Tai-Pan) is masterful. This one's best avoided.

23 of 24 people found this review helpful