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MrTallyMane

I hear it's fun to stay at the YMCA
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  • 24
  • helpful votes
  • 39
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  • The Refugee

  • or The Narratives of Fugitive Slaves in Canada
  • By: Benjamin Drew
  • Narrated by: Ian Eugene Ryan
  • Length: 12 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars 6
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7

In the early 1850s, white American abolitionist Benjamin Drew was commissioned to travel to Canada West (now Ontario) to interview escaped slaves from the United States. At the time the population of Canada West was just short of a million and about 30,000 black people lived in the colony, most of whom were escaped slaves from south of the border.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Great collection. Bad narration

  • By MrTallyMane on 11-07-18

Great collection. Bad narration

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

Reviewed: 11-07-18

The book is very enlightening just by virtue of the fact that it is the first hand accounts of actual slaves. But the narrator's "slave" dialect is very difficult to hear. I feel that he missed the spirit of several anecdotes written by former slaves because he tried too hard to make them all sound equally inarticulate and slow. In places it sounds like Forest Gump doing his worst Forest Gump impression. Several of the passages are quite well written and would have been quite a pleasure to hear but for the narrator's insistence on over expressing his assumed lack of eloquence on the part of the subject. It would be best re recorded and read exactly as it is written, even if in broken English, minus the added stereotypical slave affectations, as they do a disservice to the literate slave, rare as he or she may be given the circumstance, who managed to become at least relatively articulate.

There were passages clearly written in a jovial tone of times when the slave felt as though he or she outwitted or otherwise got the better of the slave owner or overseer. They were read with the same slow, sad monotone and the spirit in which it was written was lost.

That being said, if you can look past the messenger, the information itself is fascinating.

  • When I Was a Slave

  • Memoirs from the Slave Narrative Collection
  • By: Charles S. Johnson
  • Narrated by: Chris Matthews
  • Length: 5 hrs and 53 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 5
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars 4
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4

When I Was a Slave is a collection of the expression of former slaves. Having described the slavery from which they were emancipated, they then speak of a new slavery of exclusion and hatred. 

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Excellent Resource. Mediocre Narration

  • By MrTallyMane on 11-06-18

Excellent Resource. Mediocre Narration

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

Reviewed: 11-06-18

It is a great privilege to be able to learn of the experiences of the African and African American slaves from the victims' (first-person) perspective. However, as with many (most?) accountings of slave tales, in the telling, the narrator assumes a singular, stereotypical "slave" dialect that is so over dramatized that it distracts from delivery of the writer's intended message. Such information would be best delivered with as little dialect and accent, as introduced by the narrator, as possible, even when the text which he reads is written in broken English, lest he take away from the accuracy of the information being related or corrupt the message of the writer. It would be best read exactly as it was written and without added affectations. The grammar alone would suffice to convey the extent of the subject's literacy which is only one part of the extremely complicated slave's story.

In addition to the slave owner's cruel sadism and the slave's lack of eloquence due to denial of education by slave owners, arguably the two most widely known, accepted, told and retold aspects of the slave plight, it is important to also focus on the humanity of those who were in bondage in order to properly empathize and come to a fuller understanding of this part of US history. No matter what anyone says about the darker or tougher skin of the African, they were no better equipped for and no more deserving of the abuses they suffered or the labor they were forced to perform than are the readers of the book. They were regular human beings with the same capacity for complex emotion and deep thought, pride, fear, individuality, love, hate, joy, grief, dread, humiliation, physical pain, natural aversion to captivity, and mental anguish from prolonged torture as all other human beings. The narrator's telling of the story in slave speak is a distraction from that fact and an unnecessary oversimplification of the experience.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass

  • By: Frederick Douglass
  • Narrated by: Charles Turner
  • Length: 4 hrs and 39 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 148
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 84
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 84

Frederick Douglass was born a slave, and it seemed likely that he would live and die a slave since he was uncertain of his date of birth or the identity of his father. But young Douglass promised himself a different future - he would teach himself to read and write, and one day he would be free from slavery. When he was sent to work as a field hand on a plantation in St. Michael's in 1832, his life was so dispiriting and exhausting that he nearly forgot his dreams of freedom.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Excellent Read...Highly Recommended!

  • By Willie on 10-16-04

Excellent book.

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

Reviewed: 11-05-18

Frederick Douglass was a brilliant man with an inconquerable spirit and unshakeable conviction of his humanity, the very thing that so many people in his life went to great lengths to take away from him, with full support of the law, though unsuccessfully. I recommend this book and his others to everyone wishing to gain a better understanding of the plight and true nature of the slaves and the shaping of the United States of today.

  • Paradise

  • By: Toni Morrison
  • Narrated by: Toni Morrison
  • Length: 6 hrs and 26 mins
  • Abridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 104
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 82
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 84

As the book begins deep in Oklahoma early one morning in 1976, nine men from Ruby (pop. 360), in defense of "the one all-black town worth the pain", assault the nearby Convent and the women in it. From the town's ancestral origins in 1890 to the fateful day of the assault, Paradise tells the story of a people ever mindful of the relationship between their spectacular history and a void "Out There...where random and organized evil erupted when and where it chose."

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Interestingly Bizarre

  • By janice Criss on 05-02-16

Should not have been abridged

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

Reviewed: 09-20-18

This story is very complex and therefore not a great candidate for abridgement. I read it multiple times in attempts to understand certain parts. There are numerous references in this version that go completely ungrounded since portions of the original which explained them are omitted. One example is the mention of the eye color of a lion cub that bit one of the characters in a dream. It's totally meaningless in this version of the book because the reader is not informed that it was part of a series of vivid dreams the character had been experiencing. It seems unnecessarily random without context. Toni Morrison is not an author that can be easily abridged effectively.

Recommendation: If you're in a hurry to finish the book then maybe she's not the author for you.

That said, I do not regret reading this version and do not suggest others avoid it. But I will warn that there will be concepts in the book that, no matter how many times a person reads (or listens to) this version of the book, are not possible to fully understand without referring to the unabridged version--a particularly troubling notion for me, personally, since I tend to seek full understanding of what I read, or as full as possible. Reading the full version after the abridged gave me an entirely new appreciation for the story.

  • The Assault on Intelligence

  • American National Security in an Age of Lies
  • By: Michael V. Hayden
  • Narrated by: Michael V. Hayden
  • Length: 8 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 839
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 779
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 773

In the face of a president who lobs accusations without facts, evidence, or logic, truth tellers are under attack. Meanwhile, the world order is teetering on the brink. North Korea is on the verge of having a nuclear weapon that could reach all of the United States, Russians have mastered a new form of information warfare that undercuts democracy, and the role of China in the global community remains unclear. There will always be value to experience and expertise, devotion to facts, humility in the face of complexity, and a respect for ideas, but in this moment they seem more important, and more endangered, than they've ever been.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Edifying

  • By Jean on 07-13-18

Must read for all Americans

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

Reviewed: 05-24-18

Objective, articulate, detailed telling and critical analysis of events surrounding the 2016 US election involving interactions between Trump and his own intelligence community. The author is refreshingly virtuous, duty driven, and a model of patriotism. The book is neither pro HRC, BHO, nor anti DJT--neither republican nor democrat. Mr. Hayden's objectivity appears to be second nature. In this book he lays out hard truths and reasons to be both gravely concerned and genuinely hopeful.

  • Trump Is F*cking Crazy

  • (This Is Not a Joke)
  • By: Keith Olbermann
  • Narrated by: Keith Olbermann
  • Length: 16 hrs and 6 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 337
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 303
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 300

Since Donald Trump's presidential nomination, Keith Olbermann has emerged as one of the web's most popular anti-Trump screedists - each installment of his GQ web series The Resistance receives nearly four million views, and his fiercely progressive monologues have garnered a new generation of fans and followers. In Trump Is F*cking Crazy, Olbermann takes our commander in chief and his politics apart with journalistic acuity and his classic in-your-face humor.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Wherein KO Proceeds To Talk My Ear Off About Trump

  • By Philip on 04-24-18

Brilliant timely remarkably coherent/well-written

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

Reviewed: 10-26-17

This book will in the foreseeable future be required post graduate level political science reading. What a fantastic snapshot of the unprecedented political circumstances we find ourselves in right now. It will hopefully go down in history as part of the story of Trump's long overdue impeachment.

18 of 23 people found this review helpful

  • Return to the Mountain

  • By: P. D. Singer
  • Narrated by: Finn Sterling
  • Length: 6 hrs and 17 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 11
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 11
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 11

Caddy Gary Richardson hungers for the lush life of the wealthy golfers he escorts around the course at Wapiti Creek. The contrast between his tiny trailer at the edge of a mountain town and the luxurious ski and golf resort is something he's learned to live with but not like. Gary wants the fancy condo and late-model car not just for himself but for his childhood friend turned lover, Seth Morgan. He'd settle for security for the two of them, but even that seems out of reach.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Sometimes you can go back home

  • By Tams (TTC Books and more) on 07-14-18

Eh...not totally horrible

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

Reviewed: 03-04-15

What did you like best about Return to the Mountain? What did you like least?

I really liked the writing style of the author. But I failed to connect to the main character. Just wanting to be rich is hardship enough to do that? Lol I didn't find sympathy for the character. This also had very little to do with previous books in the Mountain series.

What does Finn Sterling bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

He's an amazing actor and honestly makes me forget that I'm hearing the same person through the entire story.

Was Return to the Mountain worth the listening time?

Yes because it is part of a series I was already quite fond of.

  • Bolt-Hole

  • By: Amy Lane
  • Narrated by: Nick J. Russo
  • Length: 8 hrs and 1 min
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 72
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 72
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 72

Terrell Washington's childhood was a trifecta of suck: being black, gay, and poor in America has no upside. Terrell climbed his way out of the hood only to hit a glass ceiling and stop, frozen, a chain restaurant bartender with a journalism degree. His one bright spot is Colby Meyers, a coworker who has no fear, no inhibitions, and sees no boundaries. Terrell and Colby spend their summers at the river and their breaks on the back dock of Papiano's.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Another Amy Lane winner

  • By Kindle Customer on 09-02-14

Half ass, lazy, irresponsible

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

Reviewed: 03-03-15

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

Helen Keller, as she is today.

What could Amy Lane have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

She could have made an effort to meet a black person before attempting to create a realistic impression of one in this story.

Would you be willing to try another one of Nick J. Russo’s performances?

Maybe, and by 'maybe' I mean not a chance. His rendition of the stereotypical "black dude" was ridiculous the say the least, but in his defense, the garbage he was tasked to read left him very few options, "white boy."

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Anger, disappointment, nausea, diarrhea.

Any additional comments?

Note to the author: Do your homework next time before attempting to create an effective impression of an ethnicity you are not familiar with. This cannot be accomplished by simply collecting all the stereotypes in your limited repertoire and expecting free thinking, intelligent people to buy it. Not every black man is named Terrell Williams or Tyrone Washington or Marcus Jenkins, or Willie Johnson. Despite what you saw on TV in the 70s, they don't often address their Caucasian mates as "white boy," and most of them love and prefer being black, find it beautiful, and would not choose to be anything else, even if given the opportunity. They also certainly do not all secretly pine for the charity and pity of "white boy" with the chocolate fetish. This book was a miserably lazy, outright ignorant, offensive failure--the worst of all 40+ I have finished in the past several months. Read at your own risk. Can't say you have not been warned.Enjoy!!!

3 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Snow on the Mountain

  • By: P. D. Singer
  • Narrated by: Finn Sterling
  • Length: 6 hrs and 43 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 42
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 40
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 40

All summer, Jake and Kurt were alone in the wilderness. If Jake wanted to stay in the closet, it didn't matter. Now they have to navigate a relationship in public, where the five-year-old twins who've adopted Jake as their ski buddy are as big a nuisance as the ski patroller who has a crush on him. Would-be friends, vicious coworkers, and the perils of the mountain could mean the end for Kurt and Jake, but their biggest danger comes from each other.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A fast, fun, thrill ride.

  • By Tams (TTC Books and more) on 12-27-14

Brilliant writing and excellent narration

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

Reviewed: 01-17-15

Finally, LGBT fiction that is more than just a collection of San Francisco stereotypes bound by written pornography. This series is big screen worthy and I am a new fan of both Singer and Sterling.

  • Love

  • By: Toni Morrison
  • Narrated by: Toni Morrison
  • Length: 7 hrs and 45 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 139
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 105
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 104

May, Christine, Heed, Junior, Vida, even L: all women obsessed by Bill Cosey. More than the wealthy owner of the famous Cosey Hotel and Resort, he shapes their yearnings for father, husband, lover, guardian, and friend, yearnings that dominate the lives of these women long after his death. Yet while he is both the void in, and the center of, their stories, he himself is driven by secret forces: a troubled past and a spellbinding woman named Celestial.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Wonderful

  • By Steve on 05-22-10

Brilliant

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

Reviewed: 10-09-14

Where does Love rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

This is the best book I have read so far. It is a very close tie to Beloved.

What did you like best about this story?

Morrison's ability to steadily build a concept, both from the beginning of a story to the end, as well as from the end back to earlier places in the story is excellent. It has taken me a few tries to become accustomed to her writing style. It is definitely a labor of love. But this book as well as the others of hers that I have read, manage to hold my interest.

What does Toni Morrison bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

The author's extremely fluid use of language make it, in my opinion, virtually impossible for anyone else to accurately narrate her writing. Often the true meaning of a phrase lies in the inflection with which it is read. And since the ability to express inflection in what the narrator reads aloud is so very limited, the only way to know Toni Morrison's true intention in saying one thing or another is to hear her read it.

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

There were a few light chuckles, but no tears. I was however extremely excited to get back in the car to hear another 45 minutes of the juicy story on my way to or from work every day.

Any additional comments?

It will probably take me a 3rd or 4th read through this book to fully understand all the symbolism and subtlety. However, it is very much worth the effort.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful