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David S. Mathew

  • 138
  • reviews
  • 450
  • helpful votes
  • 147
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  • The Utterly Uninteresting and Unadventurous Tales of Fred, the Vampire Accountant

  • By: Drew Hayes
  • Narrated by: Kirby Heyborne
  • Length: 7 hrs and 2 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 6,157
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,758
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 5,758

Timid, socially awkward, and plagued by self-esteem issues, Fred has never been the adventurous sort. One fateful night - different from the night he died, which was more inconvenient than fateful - Fred reconnects with an old friend at his high school reunion. This rekindled relationship sets off a chain of events thrusting him right into the chaos of the parahuman world.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Stories are great, not crazy about the format

  • By Sugarpucker on 08-10-15

Nothing Funnier than Death and Taxes

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

Reviewed: 10-08-18

This is the first novel in the saga of Fred, the vampire accountant. I won’t say more about the plot for fear of spoilers, but I will say that this is one of the funniest novels I’ve come across in recent years. I’d compare a lot of this to Buffy the Vampire Slayer; moments of high stakes supernatural drama, but mostly just hanging out with a bunch of goofballs with powers. If that sounds like a good time to you, check this series out. I had enough fun to finish this book in two days!

Also, Kirby Heyborne is exceptionally well suited to this material. He’s perfect for capturing Fred’s mild mannered, milquetoast, yet surprisingly crafty demeanor. Heyborne really turns in an absolutely stellar performance. Very highly recommended!

  • Out of the Silent Planet

  • Ransom Trilogy, Book 1
  • By: C.S. Lewis
  • Narrated by: Geoffrey Howard
  • Length: 5 hrs and 26 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,140
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,435
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,451

Out of the Silent Planet is the first novel of the Cosmic Trilogy, considered to be C.S. Lewis' chief contribution to the science fiction genre.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Original, complex, not middle of the road

  • By David on 05-27-05

Silent Stars

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

Reviewed: 09-27-18

This story is actually the result of a writing challenge between C.S. Lewis and J.R. Tolkien. The two friends decided to try their hands at science fiction; Lewis would write a space based story and Tolkien would write a time travel based story. Unfortunately, Tolkien never finished his assignment, but Lewis’ story turned out great! This reads like a cross between Voyage of the Dawn Treader and a more meditative H.G. Wells novel. I won’t spoil anything, but if all you know C.S. Lewis for is the Narnia novels you are in for a treat. This is a true hidden gem of the genre.

As for the narration, it’s good. Nothing special, but perfectly clear and engaging. Overall, I had a terrific time with this novel. Very highly recommended!

  • A People's History of the United States

  • 1492 to Present
  • By: Howard Zinn
  • Narrated by: Jeff Zinn
  • Length: 34 hrs and 8 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,423
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 3,718
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,728

A classic since its original landmark publication in 1980, Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States is the first scholarly work to tell America's story from the bottom up - from the point of view of, and in the words of, America's women, factory workers, African-Americans, Native Americans, the working poor, and immigrant laborers.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Amateur hour in the production booth

  • By Thomas on 11-09-10

The Invisible Hand in American Politics

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

Reviewed: 09-18-18

Howard Zinn lived from 1922 till 2010, meaning that his life encompassed nearly a quarter of all American history. In short, this history is Zinn’s attempt to explain the economic forces that have influenced American politics since before the founding of this country and that still exist today in more subtle forms. The book’s central thesis is that most (if not all) American wars were fought not in the name of democracy, but in order to achieve American economic dominance abroad and at home. Zinn’s history is unapologetically socialist, but his research and arguments are strong enough to survive any discrediting claims of bias on his part. Agree or disagree with Zinn, the ideas in this book are well worth the thought and consideration asked for.

As for the narration, this audiobook is read by Howard Zinn’s son, Jeff Zinn. Jeff is very clear, but also a bit dry at times. Still, the respect and passion he has for his father’s legacy shines through. Highly recommended.

  • Rendezvous with Rama

  • By: Sir Arthur C. Clarke
  • Narrated by: Peter Ganim, Robert J. Sawyer - introduction
  • Length: 9 hrs and 4 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,941
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 5,801
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,817

At first, only a few things are known about the celestial object that astronomers dub Rama. It is huge, weighing more than ten trillion tons. And it is hurtling through the solar system at inconceivable speed. Then a space probe confirms the unthinkable: Rama is no natural object. It is, incredibly, an interstellar spacecraft. Space explorers and planet-bound scientists alike prepare for mankind's first encounter with alien intelligence.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Disappointed in the narrator

  • By Brent on 06-01-12

Visiting with the Gods

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

Reviewed: 09-18-18

This book is often considered one of Arthur C. Clarke’s best works, if not the best. It’s also one of the few science fiction novels to have won the Hugo, Gernsback, and Nebula awards, so you know you’re in for something special.

In short, this is the story of an alien spacecraft that unexpectedly barrels into Earth’s solar system. I won’t go any further for fear of spoiling an incredible story, but Clarke dives deep into the scientific, societal, and political implications of such a finding for humankind. This story is not one to be missed.

Finally, the narration is absolutely fantastic. I’ve enjoyed many of the Audible originals, but this is a particularly good one. What are you waiting for?! Beyond highly recommended!

  • Active Liberty

  • Interpreting Our Democratic Constitution
  • By: Stephen Breyer
  • Narrated by: Stephen Breyer
  • Length: 3 hrs and 35 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 64
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 30
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 30

First published in September 2005 and based on a series of lectures delivered at Harvard, Active Liberty is a tight, extremely readable, almost memoir-like guide to interpreting the Constitution. Written by a justice of the Supreme Court, it focuses on a pragmatic approach to this great document that may become crucial as the Supreme Court faces deeply divisive decisions.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Engaging, If Somewhat Dense

  • By Maki on 09-04-07

Propose, not Prose

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

Reviewed: 09-17-18

This is an examination of Justice Steven Breyer’s theory of Constitutional interpretation. In short, Breyer stresses the importance of legal analysis focusing on the drafter’s intent and practical goals, rather than an overemphasis on the plain text alone. He does this bearing in mind the importance of “active liberty,” an ancient concept meant to encourage civic participation by the public at large.

A word of warning: This is book was written for an audience already comfortable with more advanced aspects of legal theory, not the general public. Because of that, I would certainly recommend it for attorneys or for someone interested in advanced Constitutional Law. If that sounds like you, there is a wealth of knowledge contained in here. Go for it!

  • The World as It Is

  • A Memoir of the Obama White House
  • By: Ben Rhodes
  • Narrated by: Ben Rhodes, Mark Deakins
  • Length: 15 hrs and 45 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,294
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,177
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 1,172

For nearly 10 years, Ben Rhodes saw almost everything that happened at the center of the Obama administration - first as a speechwriter, then as deputy national security advisor, and finally as a multipurpose aide and close collaborator. He started every morning in the Oval Office with the President’s Daily Brief, traveled the world with Obama, and was at the center of some of the most consequential and controversial moments of the presidency. Now, he tells the full story of his partnership with a man who also happened to be a historic president of the United States.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A work for posterity, not tomorrow's talking points

  • By Josh on 06-14-18

The World as it Ought to Be

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

Reviewed: 09-17-18

Ben Rhodes was a speechwriter for President Obama as well as a long time friend and advisor. His book follows Rhodes’ service, beginning before Obama’s campaign against Hillary Clinton and lasting throughout all eight years of the Obama Presidency. If you want a true insider’s perspective of the Obama White House, you’ll be hard pressed to find a better resource than this. Rhodes’ analysis of the major events of that time, including the Arab Spring, the Benghazi attacks, and the election of Trump left me spellbound. Sometimes hopeful, sometimes exhausting, but always fascinating, this is a remarkable journey.

Also, Rhodes himself narrates the introduction: a sobering last flight aboard Air Force One. The rest of the book is narrated by Mark Deakins, who in all honestly turns in a more polished performance. Still, this is not one to be missed. Beyond highly recommended!

  • The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress

  • By: Robert A. Heinlein
  • Narrated by: Lloyd James
  • Length: 14 hrs and 12 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7,055
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,549
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,574

In what is considered one of Heinlein's most hair-raising, thought-provoking, and outrageous adventures, the master of modern science fiction tells the strange story of an even stranger world. It is 21st-century Luna, a harsh penal colony where a revolt is plotted between a bashful computer and a ragtag collection of maverick humans, a revolt that goes beautifully until the inevitable happens. But that's the problem with the inevitable: it always happens.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Very Good Interpretation

  • By Gerald on 10-25-08

Revolution is always an Amateur Endeavor

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

Reviewed: 08-25-18

This book came near the end of Robert Heinlein’s life, but it’s definitely one of his best. In short, this is a sci-fi story about a worker’s revolution on the moon assisted by a supercomputer. In terms of broader themes, this book is the ultimate crystallization of Heinlein’s Libertarian philosophy presented in the form of a functioning state. It’s hard to do this book justice in a simple review, but it’s well worth your time.

As for the narration, that is one of the best parts of this audiobook. Heinlein creates a very intricate culture for the inhabitants of Luna (Loonies) which includes a dialect made up of several languages. It’s a strange mix of Australian and Russian, but Lloyd James nails it. Manny comes alive through this rading and that is not an exaggeration. What are you waiting for, comrade? Beyond highly recommended!

  • Winning Arguments

  • What Works and Doesn't Work in Politics, the Bedroom, the Courtroom, and the Classroom
  • By: Stanley Fish
  • Narrated by: Joe Barrett
  • Length: 6 hrs
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 20
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 17
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars 17

Filled with the wit and observational prowess that shaped Stanley Fish's acclaimed best seller, How to Write a Sentence, Winning Arguments guides listeners through the "greatest hits" of rhetoric. In this clever and engaging guide, Fish offers insight and outlines the crucial keys you need to win any debate, anywhere, anytime - drawn from landmark legal cases, politics, his own career, and even popular film and television.

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • Not what I was expecting...

  • By Arthur Pendragon on 07-05-16

Raising the Level of Discourse

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

Reviewed: 08-07-18

First of all, this books is terrific. However, the other reviews are correct about the title being misleading. This isn’t a book on how to win an argument, because that is technically impossible. Rather, this is a book about what arguments actually are and how they function in human society.

This isn’t easy reading, but you will definitely walk away from this book wiser for having had the experience. Fish covers many different types of arguments including political, legal, domestic, and academic arguments. The setting, rules, and functions are all different, but Fish’s central thesis remains the same: argument is both unavoidable and necessary for human progress, so it’s best to know how to play the game. Finally, Joe Barrett is a fine narrator, albeit a bit dry. However, that may be excused given the subject matter. Overall, very highly recommended!

  • Supergods

  • What Masked Vigilantes, Miraculous Mutants, and a Sun God from Smallville Can Teach Us About Being Human
  • By: Grant Morrison
  • Narrated by: John Lee
  • Length: 16 hrs and 47 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 600
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 544
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 540

From one of the most acclaimed and profound writers in the world of comics comes a thrilling and provocative exploration of humankind's great modern myth: the superhero. In this exhilarating work of a lifetime, Grant Morrison draws on art, science, mythology, and his own astonishing journeys through this shadow universe to provide the first true history of the superhero - why they matter, why they will always be with us, and what they tell us about who we are... and what we may yet become.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Geek Gospel

  • By Amazon on 08-22-11
  • Supergods
  • What Masked Vigilantes, Miraculous Mutants, and a Sun God from Smallville Can Teach Us About Being Human
  • By: Grant Morrison
  • Narrated by: John Lee

The Gospel of Superman

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

Reviewed: 08-07-18

Grant Morrison is one of the best comic book writers to have ever held a pen, so naturally I was curious to read his history of the American comics industry. I definitely got that, but also so much more.

In addition to being a top notch writer, Grant Morrison is incredibly through with his research into the history of superheroes. If you’re interested in the funny books, this is a resource unlike any other. Furthermore, this book also serves as Morrison’s autobiography. His life story lends a more personal touch to the history and his unique perspective as a comics fanboy turned globetrotting professional writer is wild ride.

Morrison’s focus never leaves comics, but connections he is able to draw between them and related areas of human condition are mind blowing. For him, related areas include pop culture, counter culture, metaphysics, music, philosophy, and even shamanism. I know of nothing else like this book. Lastly, John Lee’s narration is excellent, especially considering that he shares the same Scottish accent as Morrison. What more can I say? Beyond highly recommended!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Bearing the Cross

  • Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference
  • By: David J. Garrow
  • Narrated by: Jeff Riggenbach
  • Length: 34 hrs and 19 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 132
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 95
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 95

Winner of the 1987 Pulitzer Prize for Biography and the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award, this is the most comprehensive book ever written about the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. David J. Garrow had unrestricted access to Martin Luther King's personal papers, to thousands of pages of newly released FBI documents and more than 700 interviews with King's closest friends and enemies.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • great but long

  • By Thomas on 04-29-10

The Life and Legacy of MLK

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

Reviewed: 07-13-18

David J. Garrow’s biography of Martin Luther King Jr. is largely considered the foundational work available on the man. That reputation is well earned. To describe Garrow’s book as detailed would be a severe understatement; this history contains near everything you could ever want to know about Dr. King. Garrow succeeds in showing both King’s heroic virtues and, more importantly, his very human flaws. Garrow doesn’t try to make King superhuman, because that manufactured image goes against what MLK really stood for. King drew on both his keenly honed intellect and a deep well spiritual faith to fight against injustice, both domestically and abroad, and King wanted us to do the same. On a personal note, while King has always been a hero to me, seeing him portrayed more as a man than as a symbol only makes me admire him more.

As for the narration it is good, albeit a bit dry. Also, it can be frustrating that Garrow has a tendency to dump a lot of information on the reader without much style or analysis. That said, it’s hard to say too much detail in a historical biography is a bad thing. If you’re still reading this review, what are you waiting for? Highly recommended!