LISTENER

Robert W. Drues

Pinole, CA USA
  • 18
  • reviews
  • 126
  • helpful votes
  • 35
  • ratings
  • Chinese (Mandarin) Level 1 Lessons 1-5

  • Learn to Speak and Understand Mandarin Chinese with Pimsleur Language Programs
  • By: Pimsleur
  • Narrated by: Pimsleur
  • Length: 2 hrs and 48 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 353
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 282
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 254

Each lesson in lessons 1 to 5 provides 30 minutes of spoken language practice, with an introductory conversation and new vocabulary and structures. Detailed instructions enable you to understand and participate in the conversation. Each lesson contains practice for vocabulary introduced in previous lessons. The emphasis is on pronunciation and comprehension and on learning to speak Mandarin Chinese.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Very useful!

  • By Sandy on 01-22-13

Too inconsistent

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

Reviewed: 08-11-15

What disappointed you about Chinese (Man) Phase 1, Unit 01-05?

sometimes simple words were repeated multiple times with admonitions to pronounce them correctly, while other times, complicated and difficult multi-word phrases were not broken down so that they could be repeated correctly

What was one of the most memorable moments of Chinese (Man) Phase 1, Unit 01-05?

Realizing How difficult the Mandarin language is for an English speaking person to learn.

What didn’t you like about the narrator’s performance?

The phrases were frequently said rapidly by the chinese speaker without breaking them into simpler words. It is good to hear these words as a native speaker would say them, but without the breakdown, it becomes impossible to repeat them

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

A bit of anger at the fact that each lesson also contains the copyright statement. Since each section has 5 or 30 half hour lessons, which usually must be repeated at least 2 or 3 times each, this means listening to the copyright statement perhaps 100 times or more. Is this really necessary.

Any additional comments?

These lessons seem rather high priced compared to usual Audible content. It costs a credit for 5 lessons (2 and a half hours). Compare this to a best seller book which may be 40 hours long, also costing a credit. And the book usually has a rather short time during which it is popular.
Still, using the Pimsleur system on an MP3 player is an efficient way to learn a language, and I will continue pimsleur language courses.
I think, however, that the Mandarin course, from my limited experience with it, is below the standards that I have seen in other Pimsleur courses.

59 of 64 people found this review helpful

  • Agent Storm

  • By: Morten Storm, Paul Cruickshank, Tim Lister
  • Narrated by: Neil Shah
  • Length: 12 hrs and 38 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 848
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 751
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 757

Morten Storm was an unlikely Jihadi. A six-foot-one red-haired Dane, Storm spent his teens in and out of trouble. A book about the Prophet Mohammed prompted his conversion to Islam, and Storm sought purpose in a community of believers. He attended a militant madrasah in Yemen, named his son Osama, and became close friends with Anwar al-Awlaki, the American-born terrorist cleric. But after a decade of Jihadi life, he not only repudiated extremism but, in a quest for atonement, became a double agent for the CIA and British and Danish intelligence.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Extremely interesting and revealing

  • By Michalis Petrou on 11-14-14

excellent peek at what really happens in al qaeda

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

Reviewed: 05-08-15

What did you love best about Agent Storm?

This was an informative look at the workings of Al Qaeda, and of the intelligence world told simply and apparently honestly by someone who was there and lived the life. I trust these words more than those of Fox Or CNN.

Who was your favorite character and why?

I am not sure this question applies, since Mr. Storm was the only major character.

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

He did a good job of narrating the book, but since this is a real story, not a novel, I don't think that a reading of it is a performance, such as it would be if this were a fiction book.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Although it was not a surprise, I found it a bit chilling that the attitude in Al Qaeda was that civilian casualties, even in their own countries were simply not a concern.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Glass Cage

  • Automation and Us
  • By: Nicholas Carr
  • Narrated by: Jeff Cummings
  • Length: 8 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 334
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 300
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 298

In The Glass Cage, bestselling author Nicholas Carr digs behind the headlines about factory robots and self-driving cars, wearable computers and digitized medicine, as he explores the hidden costs of granting software dominion over our work and our leisure. Even as they bring ease to our lives, these programs are stealing something essential from us.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • A MODERN LUDDITE

  • By CHET YARBROUGH on 01-17-15

could have been said in a much shorter book

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

Reviewed: 05-08-15

What disappointed you about The Glass Cage?

The author seemed to go on endlessly restating the same points. This made the book rather slow and plodding for me.

If you’ve listened to books by Nicholas Carr before, how does this one compare?

have not listened to any others by Nicholas Carr

Did Jeff Cummings do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

There were no characters

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

I purchased this book to better understand how computerization advances may be negatively affecting people. I did gain a better understanding of this topic as a result of listening to it.

Any additional comments?

The book had the feel more of the author's opinion rather than a balanced analysis.

  • Finding Me

  • A Decade of Darkness, a Life Reclaimed
  • By: Michelle Knight, Michelle Burford
  • Narrated by: Maria Cabezas
  • Length: 7 hrs and 13 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,313
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,163
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,171

Michelle was a young single mother when she was kidnapped by a local school bus driver named Ariel Castro. For more than a decade afterward, she endured unimaginable torture at the hand of her abductor. In 2003 Amanda Berry joined her in captivity, followed by Gina DeJesus in 2004. Their escape on May 6, 2013, made headlines around the world.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Heartbreaking..

  • By Karen on 12-11-14

A chilling story

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

Reviewed: 12-08-14

Would you listen to Finding Me again? Why?

Yes. This is a well told account of a true horror story that most of us will never have to face. Even though I have never encountered anything like this, through her telling of the story, I felt that I could understand a little the horror of what the author encountered.

Who was your favorite character and why?

my favorite character was the author Michelle Knight. It seemed that up until her release from the house of horrors, she had never had a break in life. But despite what happened, she emerged from the ordeal to become a successful author of the story. I wish her only good luck in the future.

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

She did a good job of reading the book with the right amount of emotion. The story seemed to flow from the mouth of Michelle Knight. I dont like it when readers over-emote, and this book probably had that potential, but Maria did not succumb to that.

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

Yes, my extreme reaction was of horror at what happened, and greater sensitivity to the women who have suffered similar (though usually much less severe) abuse.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • The Girls of Atomic City

  • The Untold Story of the Women Who Helped Win World War II
  • By: Denise Kiernan
  • Narrated by: Cassandra Campbell
  • Length: 12 hrs and 51 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,930
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,756
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,756

At the height of World War II, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, was home to 75,000 residents, consuming more electricity than New York City. But to most of the world, the town did not exist. Thousands of civilians - many of them young women from small towns across the South - were recruited to this secret city, enticed by solid wages and the promise of war-ending work. Kept very much in the dark, few would ever guess the true nature of the tasks they performed each day in the hulking factories in the middle of the Appalachian Mountains.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • More than Just the Girls

  • By Jane Mcdowell on 01-14-14

story could have been told better

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

Reviewed: 12-08-14

What disappointed you about The Girls of Atomic City?

This book combined two stories. The first was a rather incomplete chronology of the events leading up to the first a-bomb. The second was a rather plodding description of the lives of several ordinary women who led rather ordinary lives.
I think that documenting this story while the people are still alive is a good thing, but that it was not crafted into a very good book.

If you’ve listened to books by Denise Kiernan before, how does this one compare?

I have not listened to any other of her books

Would you be willing to try another one of Cassandra Campbell’s performances?

Probably not.

What character would you cut from The Girls of Atomic City?

I would not necessarily cut any of the characters.
I think that there was a mix of character types that is appropriate to this kind of description, but that the describing of them was not so good. For example, a lot of time was spent describing the boyfriends of each of the women, and how their relationships were conducted. This is the same as such relationships any time and anywhere. Why is it part of this book?

  • The Rithmatist

  • By: Brandon Sanderson
  • Narrated by: Michael Kramer
  • Length: 10 hrs and 23 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7,073
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 6,477
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,482

More than anything, Joel wants to be a Rithmatist. Chosen by the Master in a mysterious inception ceremony, Rithmatists have the power to infuse life into two-dimensional figures known as Chalklings. Rithmatists are humanity’s only defense against the Wild Chalklings - merciless creatures that leave mangled corpses in their wake. Having nearly overrun the territory of Nebrask, the Wild Chalklings now threaten all of the American Isles.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Beware of the chalk!

  • By Brandon on 05-17-13

Another great original fantasy by Sanderson

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

Reviewed: 12-02-14

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I would recommend it because it is not copycat fantasy, but a well written and performed original.

What other book might you compare The Rithmatist to and why?

not sure

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

As with all good readers, he gives the characters personality. He adds just the right amount of emotion when appropriate. This is critical to a good performance of the book, as some readers over-emote, and some readers under-emote.

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

I did not have an extreme reaction. It did not make me laugh or cry, but made me feel good.

Any additional comments?

This book is typical of Brandon Sanderson's books. It is not a wild ride type of fantasy, but rather a well written story based on a world that is similar to ours, but with a little extra in the form of what we usually call magic.

  • The China Price

  • The True Cost of Chinese Competitive Advantage
  • By: Alexandra Harney
  • Narrated by: Karen White
  • Length: 10 hrs and 30 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 66
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 28
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 28

To write The China Price, Alexandra Harney has penetrated further and deeper into China's enormous ecosystem of export-oriented industry than any outsider before her. She uncover the disturbing truth about how China is able to offer such amazingly low prices to the rest of the world.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Thoroughly Research, Balanced Account

  • By Alexandra on 02-07-09

many mistakes in china's success

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

Reviewed: 12-02-14

Would you consider the audio edition of The China Price to be better than the print version?

I have not read the print version

What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

That there are many human stories behind China's rise in the world. Like elsewhere, China's success was and continues to be built on the backs of the poor.

Which character – as performed by Karen White – was your favorite?

N/A

What’s the most interesting tidbit you’ve picked up from this book?

That China faces the same problems as everywhere else in the world and that and that they face them with the same political mixture of approaches as any other country.

Any additional comments?

I think that western education has given us the impression that China is a one mind totalitarian state. The book makes clear that this is not true.

  • Boston Jacky

  • Bloody Jack, Book 11
  • By: L. A. Meyer
  • Narrated by: Katherine Kellgren
  • Length: 9 hrs and 53 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 599
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 549
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 545

Jacky Faber makes waves, even when docked in her adopted city of Boston to attend to the business of Faber Shipping Worldwide. With big dreams and perhaps too much exuberance for the Puritan populace, she quickly finds herself at odds with the Women's Temperance Union and a town roiling over the arrival of hundreds of Irish laborers, brought in on Jacky's Lorelei Lee.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • How Much Farther Jacky?

  • By Aser Tolentino on 11-24-13

A very entertaining series

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

Reviewed: 03-27-14

Would you listen to Boston Jacky again? Why?

The story is fast moving and just an easy and entertaining read. Also, you cant help but feel good about Jacky who despite being persecuted by all of the bad guys, always stands up for those who need help.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Boston Jacky?

for me, the most memorable thing was just picking up a new story about our hero Jacky and being entertained for yet another 10 hours or so.

Which scene was your favorite?

I liked them all.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

Bad guys beware, Jacky is in town, and she gets even.

Any additional comments?

All of the books have been read by Katherine Kellgren. She is the best reader that I have ever experienced. Her spirited reading really makes the books come alive. Thank you Katherine!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Why Are You Atheists So Angry?

  • 99 Things That Piss Off the Godless
  • By: Greta Christina
  • Narrated by: Greta Christina
  • Length: 4 hrs and 57 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 445
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 395
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 394

Why are atheists angry? Is it because they're selfish, joyless, lacking in meaning, and alienated from God? Or is it because they have legitimate reasons to be angry - and are ready to do something about it? Armed with passionate outrage, absurdist humor, and calm intelligence, popular blogger Greta Christina makes a powerful case for outspoken atheist activism, and explains the empathy and justice that drive it. This accessible, personal, down-to-earth book speaks not only to atheists, but also to believers who want to understand the so-called new atheism.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • LOVE THIS!

  • By Amy on 09-10-12

A nice compilation of reasons to dislike religion

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

Reviewed: 03-25-13

Where does Why Are You Atheists So Angry? rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Perhaps not destined to receive any literary prizes, but a fun read for atheists. Considering the number of books that I wasn't able to finish, or had to struggle to finish, I would have to rate this book in about the 80th percentile.

What did you like best about this story?

The fact that it listed all of the diverse reasons that religion has been a bad influence in human society as well as being unsupportable as being true.

What about Greta Christina’s performance did you like?

She managed not to make it sound like a rant. Her diction was clear and appropriately paced, with just enough emotion to emphasize her points.

If you could give Why Are You Atheists So Angry? a new subtitle, what would it be?

Finally, an objective discussion of religion!

Any additional comments?

Most of the arguments and facts that she presented were already known to me, but she put them all together into a clear and compelling book.

8 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Alcatraz versus the Evil Librarians

  • By: Brandon Sanderson
  • Narrated by: Ramon De Ocampo
  • Length: 6 hrs and 55 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,214
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,945
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 2,955

The author of the Mistborn trilogy and Elantris, Brandon Sanderson is winning abundant praise for this rollicking - and unusual - tale. Alcatraz Smedry can’t exactly be described as someone who doesn’t break things. In fact, he breaks lots of things. The truth is, he’s a major klutz. Breaking things, however, might just be the ace in the hole he needs when he goes up against a cabal of nefarious (gasp!) librarians.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Highly Entertaining + Great Narration

  • By JARED on 08-19-12

not up to the level of Brandon's other works

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

Reviewed: 01-03-13

What did you like best about Alcatraz versus the Evil Librarians? What did you like least?

On the positive side, it was certainly original. On the negative side, I didn't feel that I could identify with any of the characters, therefore, I did not get "into" the story

What was most disappointing about Brandon Sanderson’s story?

I suppose that the most disappointing part was that the story was not like the outstanding other fantasy books that I have read by Brandon Sanderson. Rather than the self consistent and emotionally appealing fantasy worlds that Sanderson has created, this book was more "comic fantasy". This is fine if that is what one wants to read.

Which character – as performed by Ramon De Ocampo – was your favorite?

None of the characters was "real" enough for me to have a favorite.

Did Alcatraz versus the Evil Librarians inspire you to do anything?

nope

Any additional comments?

Brandon Sanderson is truly a gifted author of some really fine fantasy. I am probably not the best person to evaluate a book of his that is not of the type that I prefer.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful