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Paul

Bangkok, Thailand
  • 23
  • reviews
  • 196
  • helpful votes
  • 23
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  • 21 Lessons for the 21st Century

  • By: Yuval Noah Harari
  • Narrated by: Derek Perkins
  • Length: 11 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,525
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 3,996
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,966

Yuval Noah Harari's 21 Lessons for the 21st Century is a probing and visionary investigation into today's most urgent issues as we move into the uncharted territory of the future. As technology advances faster than our understanding of it, hacking becomes a tactic of war, and the world feels more polarized than ever, Harari addresses the challenge of navigating life in the face of constant and disorienting change and raises the important questions we need to ask ourselves in order to survive. 

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Good stuff, but mostly repeats

  • By Amazon Customer on 09-13-18

Should Have Stopped with Sapiens

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

Reviewed: 10-25-18

The substantive content for this series has inexorably thinned as the books keep on coming. What's left is the author's panoptic speculation thinly tethered to facts or even reality.

Seems like a money grab to capitalize on the popularity of Sapiens, which covered most of the relevant ground quite well.

Other than his pronunciation of "Junta" with a hard "J", Derek Perkins did an admirable job in reading this book and sustaining interest in an otherwise anemic work of scientific, sociological and technological speculation.

Bottom line: Spend your money on something else.

10 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • The Pharaoh Key

  • By: Douglas Preston, Lincoln Child
  • Narrated by: David W. Collins
  • Length: 9 hrs and 12 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,439
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,308
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,306

Gideon Crew - brilliant scientist, master thief, intrepid adventurer - is shocked when his former employer, Eli Glinn, vanishes without a trace, and Glinn's high-tech lab Effective Engineering Solutions shuts down seemingly overnight. Fresh off a diagnosis that gives him only months to live, Crew is contacted by one of his former coworkers at EES, Manuel Garza, who has a bead on one final treasure hinted at in EES's final case, the long-awaited translation of a centuries-old stone tablet of a previously undiscovered civilization: The Phaistos Disc.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • I wanted to love it...

  • By Steve Manke on 06-15-18

A High School English Project?

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

Reviewed: 07-16-18

I've read all of Preston and Child's novels. How astonishing it was then when this story limped into the P&C canon of work. The customary and alluring blend of deep archeological, historical, technical and scientific data found in the authors' earlier works was entirely absent. Instead, the reader is subjected to a clumsy mess of paper thin caricatures of characters enmeshed in hastily assembled and implausible plot lines thrown against the wall to see which might stick. The authors' customary tight plots and writing are replaced here with endless and pointless diversions that painfully fail to pad a work that should never have reached the authors' readers.

One can't entirely blame narrator David W. Collins for failing to resuscitate a work that arrived still born at Audible. Still, his whiny and high-pitched intonations heard during the petulant contretemps between the main characters, in the end, just made the book little more than a bad work, read badly.

Eli Glinn, Gideon Crew and Manuel Garza deserved much better than this. One can only hope Pendergast will be spared.

Yuck.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Fallen

  • By: Ace Atkins
  • Narrated by: MacLeod Andrews
  • Length: 9 hrs and 54 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 79
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 71
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 70

Mississippi sheriff Quinn Colson had to admit he admired the bank robbers. A new bank was hit almost every week, and the robbers rushed in and out with such skill and precision it reminded him of raids he'd led back in Afghanistan and Iraq when he was an Army Ranger. In fact it reminded him so much of the techniques in the Ranger Handbook that he couldn't help wondering if the outlaws were former Rangers themselves. And that was definitely going to be a problem.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Realistic Perspective

  • By Cathy on 08-21-17

An Ace In the Hole

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

Reviewed: 09-03-17

First the good news: The narrator MacLeod Andrews was terrific. He effortlessly switched roles between the disparate characters in this book, mimicking accents, attitudes and rhetorical tics. Well done.

The Bad News was everything else. The ending was atrocious, bordering on fraud in my view. It appears the Ace simply pushed back his chair, stood up and walked away before finishing his homework assignment.

The story also veered back and forth between multiple plot lines, a literary technique that, unfortunately, lies far and perhaps permanently beyond the skills of the author. The result is literary seasickness as the reader is whipsawed around improbable corners in this confusing mess.

Save your money; look for something else read by Mr. Andrews.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Nature Fix

  • Why Nature Makes Us Happier, Healthier, and More Creative
  • By: Florence Williams
  • Narrated by: Emily Woo Zeller
  • Length: 8 hrs and 54 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 624
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 567
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 560

For centuries, poets and philosophers extolled the benefits of a walk in the woods: Beethoven drew inspiration from rocks and trees; Wordsworth composed while tromping over the heath; Nikola Tesla conceived the electric motor while visiting a park. Intrigued by our storied renewal in the natural world, Florence Williams sets out to uncover the science behind nature's positive effects on the brain.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Yes!...and No!

  • By Paul on 03-18-17

Yes!...and No!

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

Reviewed: 03-18-17

The sheer breadth and depth of information presented in this well-organized work was impressive. The arguments, backed at times with a blizzard of statistics, plowed through various scientific and academic circles to present an argument that intuitively seems correct: we evolved outdoors and our increasingly indoor, screen-obsessed culture is wreaking an awful toll on us, and particularly on our children. Fair enough.

But the author, abetted by a way too chirpy, sing-song narrator, struggled to cover her lack of science street cred with cringeworthy puns and swipes clothed in condescending asides at more fringe views of our relation with nature. The result leaves the reader unsure of what to take seriously, what is a joke or what is between the two? The narrator's forced joviality and unnecessary excursions up and down the sonic scale seriously detracted from the substance of the work. I needed to take frequent breaks from listening, during which I wondered if buying the print version of Nature Fix would not have been a better choice.

Bottom line: a good work and well worth the time to read but perhaps not to listen to.

63 of 66 people found this review helpful

  • Good Morning, Midnight

  • A Novel
  • By: Lily Brooks-Dalton
  • Narrated by: John H. Mayer, Hillary Huber
  • Length: 8 hrs and 39 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 150
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 137
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 137

Augustine, a brilliant, aging astronomer, is consumed by the stars. For years he has lived in remote outposts, studying the sky for evidence of how the universe began. At his latest posting in a research center in the Arctic, news of a catastrophic event arrives. The scientists are forced to evacuate, but Augustine stubbornly refuses to abandon his work. Shortly after the others have gone, Augustine discovers a mysterious child, Iris, and realizes that the airwaves have gone silent. They are alone.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Fabulous

  • By Paul on 08-25-16

Fabulous

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

Reviewed: 08-25-16

Mind-bending and hypnotic. Giver yourself 15 minutes after you complete this book to sit quietly and think about what you have heard.

I'm inclined to be hard on authors in my occasional reviews.

Not this time.

I loved it.

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Dark Matter

  • A Novel
  • By: Blake Crouch
  • Narrated by: Jon Lindstrom
  • Length: 10 hrs and 8 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 17,241
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 15,848
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 15,849

"Are you happy with your life?" Those are the last words Jason Dessen hears before the masked abductor knocks him unconscious. Before he awakens to find himself strapped to a gurney, surrounded by strangers in hazmat suits. Before a man Jason's never met smiles down at him and says, "Welcome back, my friend."

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Schrödinger's box gets opened. Meh steps out.

  • By Darwin8u on 09-19-16

A Great Idea - Derailed

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

Reviewed: 08-09-16

I wonder if Blake Crouch is a pseudonym? I hope so.

The plot line of this story is interesting and unfolds with just enough technical detail to make it realistic to a general audience not steeped in experimental physics. But a story destined to be fast paced and exciting instead is impaled on lengthy and plangent soliloquies by the protagonist over his lost love and life. After a while, these repeated excursions into padding the length of this already borderline too- short novel serve only to irritate the listener.

One quickly gets the point and wishes the author could have devoted more time to developing the other characters in this story, who suffer from cretin-ish dialogue and hackneyed caricatures.

Give this one a pass if you are a science fiction fan. Take a look at Eric Cline's work.

10 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • Pines

  • By: Blake Crouch
  • Narrated by: Paul Michael Garcia
  • Length: 8 hrs and 33 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 10,319
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9,350
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 9,365

Wayward Pines, Idaho, is quintessential small-town America — or so it seems. Secret Service agent Ethan Burke arrives in search of two missing federal agents, yet soon is facing much more than he bargained for. After a violent accident lands him in the hospital, Ethan comes to with no ID and no cell phone. The medical staff seems friendly enough, but something feels…off. As the days pass, Ethan’s investigation into his colleagues’ disappearance turns up more questions than answers. Why can’t he make contact with his family in the outside world? Why doesn’t anyone believe he is who he says he is? And what’s the purpose of the electrified fences encircling the town? Are they keeping the residents in? Or something else out? Each step toward the truth takes Ethan further from the world he knows, until he must face the horrifying possibility that he may never leave Wayward Pines alive…

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Well done story

  • By Linda B on 08-28-12

Incredulous and Padded

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

Reviewed: 08-09-14

This was a strange work that rapidly disintegrated into a disorganized, implausible story,. It is padded with lengthy "chase" scenes that, like the story itself, go on and on with no apparent destination or purpose in mind. The characters were shallow caricatures of persons, while the plot was simplistic and sloppy. The work cried out for wholesale editing.

I tried my best to go with this book, but could not wait to cross the finish line, as it just became more annoying as time passed.

I wonder if "Crouch" is a pseudonym? If so, the actual author is fortunate not to have "Pines" tethered to his literary neck as an albatross, going forward.

Mr. Garcia did a good job reading this work. He handled different characters of different sexes and ages with aplomb. In fact, his reading carried me over several cringe-inducing passages of this book.

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • The Things They Carried

  • By: Tim O'Brien
  • Narrated by: Bryan Cranston
  • Length: 7 hrs and 47 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7,608
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7,045
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 7,015

Hailed by The New York Times as "a marvel of storytelling", The Things They Carried’s portrayal of the boots-on-the-ground experience of soldiers in the Vietnam War is a landmark in war writing. Now, three-time Emmy Award winner-Bryan Cranston, star of the hit TV series Breaking Bad, delivers an electrifying performance that walks the book’s hallucinatory line between reality and fiction and highlights the emotional power of the spoken word.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Heavy Load

  • By Mel on 10-28-13

Yuck

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

Reviewed: 04-29-14

I was stricken with a case of literary seasickness in listening to this book. The author stitched together a bunch of stories in an incoherent way that left the pitch and roll of this disorganized work most difficult to understand. Worse still, some of the stories, particularly the implausible and belabored recount of a soldier who imported his girlfriend to the front lines, strained credulity beyond the breaking point. Narcissistic diversions into what a "real war story" is or should be was another distraction that did little to help this allegedly authentic personal memoir limp across the finish line.

Save your money.

5 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Neuromancer

  • By: William Gibson
  • Narrated by: Robertson Dean
  • Length: 10 hrs and 31 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 4,984
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 4,528
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,541

Twenty years ago, it was as if someone turned on a light. The future blazed into existence with each deliberate word that William Gibson laid down. The winner of Hugo, Nebula, and Philip K. Dick Awards, Neuromancer didn't just explode onto the science fiction scene - it permeated into the collective consciousness, culture, science, and technology.Today, there is only one science fiction masterpiece to thank for the term "cyberpunk," for easing the way into the information age and Internet society.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Great book. Terrible performance.

  • By Denis on 04-08-16

Confused Scribblings

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

Reviewed: 04-06-14

Mr. Gibson wrote this work in 1984. It was hailed then and now as a an enduring classic in the sci-fi genre and a "seminal work" in the fringe category of "cyberpunk literature" - an oxymoronic phrase if ever there was one. I found it to be a jumble of hebephrenic wanderings, disorganized plot-lines, frenetic and chaotic character development and, ultimately, boring.

One wonders at the state of Mr. Gibson's neurochemical equilibrium while writing this work, hailed by hipsters in the 80's as breaking new ground.

Save your money and read Ender's Game.

2 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Dead Mountain

  • The Untold True Story of the Dyatlov Pass Incident
  • By: Donnie Eichar
  • Narrated by: Donnie Eichar
  • Length: 6 hrs and 23 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 2,566
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 2,365
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,365

In February 1959, a group of nine experienced hikers in the Russian Ural Mountains died mysteriously on an elevation known as Dead Mountain. Eerie aspects of the incident—unexplained violent injuries, signs that they cut open and fled the tent without proper clothing or shoes, a strange final photograph taken by one of the hikers, and elevated levels of radiation found on some of their clothes—have led to decades of speculation over what really happened.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Mystery & Intrigue In The Ural Mountains

  • By Sara on 06-30-15

A Great Antidote For Insomnia

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

Reviewed: 04-06-14

This story is further proof, if further proof is needed, of the rule that authors should stick to writing and leave narrations of their stories to the pros. Donnie Elchar, perhaps afflicted with a temporary spasm of narcissism, decided to read his own work.

"Monotone" is defined as "a vocal utterance or series of speech sounds in one unvaried tone." Yet, "monotone" seems to fall short as an adjective appropriate to the audible edition of this work. "Mumbling", "muttering" and "stammering" are verbs that might assist.

Tragically, Mr. Elchar's reading was so annoying and so ineffective that it completely obscured the superhuman effort he put into researching this alluring tale that persists on the fringes of conspiracy/UFO/government coverup literature.

My advice: buy the Kindle or print edition and read it, if you like this kind of story.

9 of 16 people found this review helpful