LISTENER

Peregrine

Los Angeles, CA, United States
  • 52
  • reviews
  • 398
  • helpful votes
  • 239
  • ratings
  • The Years of Rice and Salt

  • By: Kim Stanley Robinson
  • Narrated by: Bronson Pinchot
  • Length: 25 hrs and 56 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 550
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 507
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 507

It is the 14th century, and one of the most apocalyptic events in human history is set to occur - the coming of the Black Death. History teaches us that a third of Europe's population was destroyed. But what if the plague had killed 99 percent of the population instead? How would the world have changed? This is a look at the history that could have been - a history that stretches across centuries, a history that sees dynasties and nations rise and crumble, a history that spans horrible famine and magnificent innovation.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Wonderful

  • By dm on 09-07-15

Fascinating what-if history

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

Reviewed: 02-22-18

I've long been an admirer of Robinson's science fiction, and particularly recommend the Mars trilogy, but this is something altogether different: what if white people hadn't conquered the world? Mixed in are some mystical-religious elements, but KSR handles them better than I would have expected. Give it a whirl!

  • Masters of Atlantis

  • By: Charles Portis
  • Narrated by: Brian Emerson
  • Length: 8 hrs and 37 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 52
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 34
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 35

Stationed in France in 1917, Lamar Jimmerson comes across a little book crammed with Atlantean puzzles, Egyptian riddles, and extended alchemical metaphors. It's the Codex Pappus - the sacred Gnomon text. Soon he is basking in the lore of lost Atlantis, convinced that his mission on earth is to extend the ranks of this noble brotherhood. He forms the Gnomon Society, an international fraternal order dedicated to preserving that lost city's arcane wisdom.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • like nothing I've ever read

  • By Ted on 01-06-16

Funny but rambling

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

Reviewed: 09-18-16

Portis does have a way with description. The blurb on the cover (from Entertainment Weekly!) says "a glimpse of how a 20th-century Mark Twain might write" and that's exactly right. Absurd details about and around its outlandish characters make it funny throughout.
Storywise, it's aimless and just peters out at the end. But if you want a good laugh, it's definitely for you.
Brian Emerson doe a great job conveying the prose's tone.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Flood of Fire

  • Ibis Trilogy, Book 3
  • By: Amitav Ghosh
  • Narrated by: Raj Ghatak
  • Length: 23 hrs and 3 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 179
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 152
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 154

It is 1839 and China has embargoed the trade of opium, yet too much is at stake in the lucrative business and the British Foreign Secretary has ordered the colonial government in India to assemble an expeditionary force for an attack to reinstate the trade. Among those consigned is Kesri Singh, a soldier in the army of the East India Company. He makes his way eastward on the Hind, a transport ship that will carry him from Bengal to Hong Kong.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Good novel, would be better read by a different performer

  • By Preethy on 11-11-15

Many storylines converge

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

Reviewed: 11-01-15

This is Ghosh's last entry in the Ibis trilogy, but he hints in the epilogue that the story may continue, since it's based on an historical archive that goes on after the conclusion of the first Opium War.
In addition to well-described passages on life in India and the soldier's experience in the early days of Hong Kong, it's a great war story. It's series of interlocking narratives and at times it's difficult to keep up with the many threads. Several of the pieces are continuations of stories begun the first 2 volumes, of course, and while he does include a certain amount of backstory, I had to rack my brains to come up with several of the events referred to. Eventually it all works out.
The narrator is terrific, handling several Indian and English accents with ease.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Nexus

  • Nexus, Book 1
  • By: Ramez Naam
  • Narrated by: Luke Daniels
  • Length: 13 hrs and 12 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 2,141
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,944
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,961

In the near future, the nano-drug Nexus can link mind to mind. There are some who want to improve it. There are some who want to eradicate it. And there are others who just want to exploit it. When a young scientist is caught improving Nexus, he’s thrust over his head into a world of danger and international espionage, with far more at stake than anyone realizes.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • This guy might be great one day

  • By Daniel on 05-14-14

Fun exploration of ideas, stock thriller narrative

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

Reviewed: 09-07-15

Nexus is engaging when Naam is exploring his vision of a world learning to use collective consciousness; but as a storyteller he relies too heavily on stock thriller characters: the naive genius at the center; an anguished G-man; a resentful ex-Marine. However there are hints at complexity in the Sam character which I hope will be played out more in the sequel.

Then at the denouement it's just one bloody fight scene after another. Sheesh. But I'll be reaching for the sequel soon.

As narrator, Luke Daniels shouts his way through as if this were a Tom Clancy airport tome. He doesn't need to--he does good character voices. The director should have had him dial it back most of the way and given it the more thoughtful air Naam is clearly intending (outside of the dumb fight scenes.)

  • Literary Modernism: The Struggle for Modern History

  • By: Jeffrey Perl, The Great Courses
  • Narrated by: Jeffrey Perl
  • Length: 6 hrs and 13 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 71
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 62
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 57

Professor Perl invites you in these eight lectures to abandon your preconceptions and consider some of the most controversial authors of the 20th century: the Modernists.Who were they? How did "classical" Modernists like Ezra Pound, T.S. Eliot, and James Joyce differ from "neo-Modernists" like Gertrude Stein and William Carlos Williams? What made them believe and write as they did? Why were political extremism, war, and self-destructive behavior such defining forces in their writing (and their personal demons)? What do they have to say to us today in the 21st century?These lectures place literary Modernism within the wide-ranging context of the philosophy, literature, politics, and morality of its time. In doing so, they allow you to look more clearly at the writers and works who have contributed to the definition of human culture. You'll see Eliot, Joyce, Pound, Yeats, James, Lawrence, and others spring to life with their radical beliefs about art and their unforgettable novels and stories. These lectures do not shrink from the challenges imposed by exploring Modernism, or from challenging the answers that scholars have routinely accepted. Nor do they shy away from the difficulties of literary Modernism itself; a literary genre that intimidates many. But despite all this, these lectures are brilliantly organized, crystal clear, and an invaluable tool for finally wrapping your brain around a dramatic roster of authors and an enduring canon of literature.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Astounding!

  • By Daniel on 10-04-15

Fine record of Perl's thinking

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

Reviewed: 02-21-15

Jeffrey Perl was my advisor as an English major back in college. He was a spellbinding lecturer, brilliant and cocksure. My friends and I would leave his lectures dazzled, the whole universe making sense for a few minutes afterwards.
This course, recorded in the late 90's, is a distillation of the Modern British Literature class I took in the mid-80's. That class took a whole semester and we spent two weeks on Ulysses alone. Here, the good Prof. is forced to disgorge his theories about Joyce in less than an hour; similarly, his very interesting unit on Samuel Beckett is squeezed into half an hour! Since I remember these lectures very well I was able to follow his line of reasoning, but when Perl was presenting his new research on TS Eliot, based on work he'd done in the intervening time, I almost got lost.
I'm sure Prof. Perl got a couple of bills (and I hope some residuals) to compact his basic class into six and a half hours over two days. He's a great thinker and I can recommend this course if you're familiar with the works discussed (Eliot, Yeats, Pound, Joyce, Waugh, Beckett), but I would hesitate to get it if not.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Lush Life

  • A Novel
  • By: Richard Price
  • Narrated by: Bobby Cannavale
  • Length: 13 hrs and 1 min
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 824
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 321
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 316

What do you do? Whenever people asked him, Eric Cash used to have a dozen answers. Artist, actor, screenwriter...But now he's 35 years old and he's still living downtown, still in the restaurant business, working night shifts and serving the people he always wanted to be. What does Eric do? He manages.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Brilliant

  • By Leo X Cox on 08-10-08

Starts off great, loses steam

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

Reviewed: 05-26-14

For the first 100 pp. I was enraptured. Richard Price is a master who paints a vivid picture of a New York neighborhood and its characters. Aided by a great performance by Bobby Cannavale, whose NYC stuffy-nosed accent is just right, you can really see and hear the scenes and conversations he creates.

For all that I felt my interest flagging a bit by p. 300 or so. The story is very episodic, so after a while you're just ready for it to wrap up.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Rabbit Redux

  • By: John Updike
  • Narrated by: Arthur Morey 
  • Length: 15 hrs and 57 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 212
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 142
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 141

The assumptions and obsessions that control our daily lives are explored in tantalizing detail by master novelist John Updike in this wise, witty, sexy story. Harry Angstrom - known to all as Rabbit, one of America's most famous literary characters - finds his dreary life shattered by the infidelity of his wife. How he resolves - or further complicates - his problems makes a compelling read.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Bring on more Rabbit!

  • By L. Berlyne-Kovler on 02-16-09

A let-down after Rabbit Run

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

Reviewed: 04-23-14

I loved, loved, loved Rabbit Run but I have to disagree with the other reviewers about Redux--this book is mostly interesting as an historical artifact, as Updike goes for a working-class take on the late 60's. I imagine Updike in 1970 trying to recreate how the Vietnam war, black power, hippies and the sexual revolution would look to him if he'd never gotten out of his small Pennsylvania town, and this is the result. The events of the book just seem random; the black character actually has some nuance, but when he forces Rabbit to take lessons in black history it just seems like a white liberal's paranoid fantasy.
I've been told that Rabbit is Rich is similarly a let-down, but the last of the bunch, Rabbit at Rest, is a masterpiece worthy of Rabbit Run. I'll have to see.

The reader does a very poor job, I must say. He may have been chosen for the weary working-class quality of his voice, but he doesn't seem to be listening to the story as he reads.

  • The Last Policeman

  • By: Ben H. Winters
  • Narrated by: Peter Berkrot
  • Length: 8 hrs and 20 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,335
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 1,215
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,214

What’s the point in solving murders if we’re all going to die soon, anyway? Detective Hank Palace has faced this question ever since asteroid 2011GV1 hovered into view. There’s no chance left. No hope. Just six precious months until impact. The Last Policeman presents a fascinating portrait of a pre-apocalyptic United States. The economy spirals downward while crops rot in the fields. Churches and synagogues are packed. People all over the world are walking off the job - but not Hank Palace. He’s investigating a death by hanging.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • There was trepidation ...

  • By Amazon Customer on 07-11-12

Pretty good mash up of whodunit & apocalyptic

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

Reviewed: 04-23-14

This is an entertaining story of a young detective trying to solve a murder in a time when no one cares because the world is about to end. It's well-written, but not very deep. It's a good read but more of a time-filler than an occasion for reflection.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • The Luminaries

  • By: Eleanor Catton
  • Narrated by: Mark Meadows
  • Length: 29 hrs and 15 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 1,947
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 1,686
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 1,717

It is 1866 and Walter Moody has come to make his fortune upon the New Zealand goldfields. On arrival, he stumbles across a tense gathering of 12 local men, who have met in secret to discuss a series of unsolved crimes. A wealthy man has vanished, a whore has tried to end her life, and an enormous fortune has been discovered in the home of a luckless drunk. Moody is soon drawn into the mystery: a network of fates and fortunes that is as complex and exquisitely patterned as the night sky.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Not So Luminous

  • By Mel on 11-10-13

A great read, but falls apart at the end

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

Reviewed: 03-15-14

The Luminaries is a great read for anyone who enjoys 19th-century British novels. Catton's prose is of a decidedly Victorian bent, beautiful descriptions spilling out as a Wilkie Collins-type plot unfolds. Now, I read the Woman in White recently and ended up angry at its cheap coincidences, but The Luminaries doesn't have any of those. For most of the book it's very funny and a real page turner, even with its formal prose style. There's also a fascinating portrayal of early New Zealand society, which indeed was the author's aim.

What it does have is a weird structure in which little pieces of the whole plot drip out for 800pp., followed by a rush to the finish that doesn't even answer all the reader's questions. Upon finishing I went online and was both relieved and annoyed to find that the unexplained pieces of the plot are just that. There's also an astrological theme throughout that I confess I couldn't follow (even looking at the charts at the head of each section in the print book, which the audiobook of course omits).

Mark Meadows may be the very best narrator I've ever listened to, as he switches effortlessly through a variety of British, Scottish and Irish accents.

  • Boxer, Beetle

  • By: Ned Beauman
  • Narrated by: Robert Sams
  • Length: 8 hrs and 15 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 5
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars 5
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 5

Kevin "Fishy" Broom has his nickname for a reason - a rare genetic condition that makes his sweat and other bodily excretions smell markedly like rotting fish. Consequently, he rarely ventures out of the London apartment where he deals online in Nazi memorabilia. But when Fishy stumbles upon a crime scene, he finds himself on the long-cold trail of a pair of small-time players in interwar British history.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Great book--with a *terrible* narrator

  • By Peregrine on 11-21-13

Great book--with a *terrible* narrator

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

Reviewed: 11-21-13

Robert Sams reads this book sounding almost like a computer-generated voice--with little variation of tone and clearly NO idea what he's saying. Since I'm whispersyncing with a Kindle copy, I can tell you that this novel is filled with hilarious characters and biting social commentary, but he misses the point entirely! I had to stop sometimes and think through the words to get the joke or even just to get the meaning. Sams has no interest in this book and should really be replaced with a reader who will deign to make it comprehensible. BOO!

The characters are almost all British--why didn't they get an English actor to read it?

1 of 1 people found this review helpful