Monday, November 16, 2015

To Kill a Mockingbird

By: Harper Lee


I listened to this audiobook years after reading it in High School. It is unfortunate that schools require this book because it ruins it for kids who hate homework and only skim in order to write the required paper. This book is outstanding, even though this book was written in 1960, it still stands out in the 2010s. If you are sensitive to use of the N word more recent audiobook editions have eliminated the majority of the word. This was a partially true story written by Harper Lee, who won a Pulitzer. The story is largely about Scout Finch, daughter to Atticus Finch and sister to Jem Finch. The two children are growing up and learning to see the world through the eyes of an adult and in the shoes of other people, as they see how poorly African Americans were treated, as they continually and innocently spy on mysterious neighbor Boo Radley, Run from dangerous local men, and learn from the random interesting people who live in their town.I recommend this book very much. It is funny at times and ultra serious at times. It’s a good little historical piece as well as a terrific piece of American literature

★★ 4/5 Stars
Runtime Approximately 12 hours
For ages 10-100
Genre: Fiction, Bildungsroman, Thriller, Southern Gothic


Friday, September 25, 2015

Holes


By Lois Sachar


Holes is a win. It’s a short book that holds your interest from beginning to end. The basic plot is Stanley Yelnats gets falsely inprisoned at Camp Green Lake where he and other troubled boys are forced to dig holes all day to build character. He makes friends along the way that he is more deeply connected to that he first realizes. All along the story of Stanley, there is a back story to his “No-good-pig-stealing-uncle” , a gipsey curse, and an outlaw named Kissin' Kate Barlow. This audiobook is really easy to follow, and very easy to listen to awhile you’re trying to get other things done. It is geared towards a younger crowd, but is a fun story for any age. I recommend that you add this story to your “to-listen” list.

★★ 4/5 Stars

Run time 4 hours 23 minutes

Genre: Humor, Fiction, Suspense


Book to Movie Rating: A


Monday, September 14, 2015

Orange is the New Black

By Piper Kerman

The story of a girl who falls for another girl, the second girl being a drug mule who convinces the first girl to occasionally mule too. Ten years pass; prison, while engaged to a nice understanding young man. OITNB is the story of the adventures and misadventures of the author Piper Kerman, in and out of a womens prison.

I enjoyed the tv show, while feeling it was pretty sensationalized and unbelievable. I decided to try out the audiobook just for fun and found it to be pretty entertaining. It’s very similar the the television series but gives you the feeling that it could actually be plausible.


It was an interesting audiobook and I would recommend it to you especially if you like true stories about yuppie women going to prison and the kindly people you meet within. 

★★★ 3/5 Stars

Approximate Length:  11 hours and 14 minutes

Suited for ages 17 and up.

Genre: Biography, Memoir, True-Story



Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Gone Girl

By Gillian Flynn

Gone Girl was about a three day listen for me, the first day it was long but not terrible, the second day I started loving the audiobook, then the third day I was hooked all the way up to the end. The end of the audiobook felt really rushed. The first half of the book was really drawn out then the end was too quick, a lot developed in way too short a time. The actual ending of the book was very unsatisifying. I read a couple of blogs about the ending to see where other people were at, and it seemed that no one really liked the ending, but someone liked it enough to make an Affleck movie out of it. 


Now, what’s the book about? Basically a murder mystery, Nick the main character’s wife disappears and the entire world is looking at him as the main suspect. Did he do it? Is he innocent? You’ll have to listen and see. There is blood, a destroyed living room, a secret lover, a treasure hunt, rapists, stalkers! There are some cool parts where there are kind of puzzles to figure out, and there are some twisted scenarios. Give Gone Girl a try, but put the audiobook towards the middle or bottom of your list.

★★ 2/5 Stars 

Length 18 hours 11 minutes.

Audience: Ages 17 & up.

Genre: Thriller, Drama, Mystery



Friday, August 28, 2015

World War Z

By Max Brooks

WWZ was a good short little listen. It kind of starts towards the beginning of the epidemic and kind of ends towards the end of it. The book is a series of people’s stories as they are interviewed by a reporter (of sorts). There’s some interesting originality in some of the very basic plot line. The plot being that there is an out break of, well the dead becoming reanimated. The stories are of survival for the most part. The book is fairly fast paced and easy to listen to, even if you are at work and keep getting interrupted by client emails. There's not a lot more to say about this audiobook. If you like zombie stories, this one is pretty entertaining for about the day and a half that it lasts. I enjoyed it, my two work days went a little fast with World War Z.

Length: 14 hours 3 minutes.

 4/5 Stars

Audience: 17 and up

Genre: Action, Horror, Drama, Thriller, Science Fiction, Adventure


Book to Movie Rating: A

Thursday, August 27, 2015

The Count of Monte Cristo

By Alexandre Dumas


Ok so after three weeks of trying my hardest to listen to this adventure, I am only on chapter 66 of 117. This is a brutal listen. I just can’t do it anymore, sorry to disappoint you. There were some parts that were really good and interesting, but a lot of blah bla. This book came highly recommended from several avid book readers and listeners. Two important things, I learned about audiobook listening; First the reader is most important, and a bad reader can really ruin a book for a listener. I started out with a Librivox collaborative reading. It was mainly read by Ana Simao, who Librivox tells me is no longer a reader and for very good reason. The switching back and forth was very hard to get used to as well. Simao barely spoke English, and I found myself spacing out and thinking about sandwiches quite often. I then switched to a much better single reader named David Clark. Clark did good accent imitations, but they got annoying really fast. I would like to readd this book to my “To Listen” list, but I want to get an abridged version from a company like Audible. Alexandre Dumas is way too wordy, I hate listening to scenes where its tons of sitting in a room catching characters up on back stories. There is tons of that. The other major downfall is that the main character Dontes, goes by a lot of aliases. It gets really confusing and I often felt like I was listening to a different story. I had to do online research to translate what I was listening to. I will chalk this one up to: “Not good for the work place listen” because you really have to focus. Big thanks to Cliff at http://www.cliffsnotes.com/literature/c/the-count-of-monte-cristo/book-summary The Count of Monte Cristo is an amazing movie, I was sorry that the audiobook didn’t connect with me more, as I said I heard it’s a great adventure book, maybe just a little, way too wordy. Let me know what you think. 


Rating: Unrated.

Length: Abridged Aprx 17.5 hours / Unabridged Aprx 50 hours

Genre: Adventure, Historical, Fiction




Book to Movie Rating: A+

Friday, August 7, 2015

Holy Sh*t

A Brief History on Swearing
By: Melissa Mohr

A perfect audiobook for someone who wanted to be well informed on their immaturity! I choose to believe that this book was well researched and that most of the information is close to true. The author takes you from the beginning of swearing in cursing in Biblical times, through to the 1550’s, then up to 2015. I really enjoyed this audiobook with all it’s little tidbits on where words and phrases come from, or are thought to have come from. It took me a little bit to get used to the reader on this one, but after an hour or so I began to like him. This audiobook is a a fun listen, it’s history with enough funny and interesting historical fact to keep your attention. When listening at work, if you miss a fact or two while a co-worker is asking you for an update on your PTS Reports, it won’t take too much away from the rest of the story.
I would recommend this book, especially when you are ready for a break from a great Fantasy Adventure book, or you just want to make yourself feel like you are doing your part to be a well rounded and informed audio booking human. Put it on your list.

Aprx Time: 10 Hours 45 minutes

Genre: Non-fiction, History, Humanities, Language, Humor, Culture, Sociology, Religion


★★★★ 4/5 Stars 


Tuesday, August 4, 2015

The Once and Future King

By: T.H. White

In a time when everyone is obsessed with Game of Thrones and the like, The Once and Future King should be in development for a television series. It is however in development for a “live-action” movie. Never heard of TOAFK? Yes you have. Remember Disney’s finest: The Sword in the Stone? TSITS Is only the first of 5 books. You can continue the adventure of “Wart” aka King Arthur as he learns more about the natural world from Merlin, till he becomes and wizened old king on his death bed. You can experience of all the adventures and misadventures throughout his life time. You can learn how the Knights of the Round Table was formed, and the story of Guinevere, and her two loves. It’s a really great story. T.H. White is a very under appreciated author. This series kind of fades out at the last, and I would advise skipping The Book of Merlin. It’s a lot of reminiscing, and exploring human nature. It’s a lot of animals sitting in a den contemplating. T.H. thought it was genius but I say; not so much, especially for the year 2015. Everyone in his time thought they had to include the Russians and Communism. I suppose in the year 2070 we will wonder why everyone of the early 2000s wrote about Isis and Zombies.
I totally recommend this book. I love the old Disney cartoon, and didn’t realize how much of the Lore was invented by White. This series was started in the 30’s and finished late 40’s into the early 50’s, with very little lost in translation. It’s amazing how he writes with comparisons to the time he was living in and the time Arthur was living in, and yet it is still current today for the most part.

Book Listing:
 4/5 Stars 

Audiobooks Length: Aprx 25 hours.

Genre: Fantasy, Literature, Heroic, Epic, Satire

Book to Movie Grade: A+



Monday, July 27, 2015

Breakfast of Champions

By Kurt Vonnegut

Breakfast of Champions was suggested to me by a friend who really liked the book, so I gave it a try so that I could pass the recommendation on to you. Admittedly I did not pay as close attention to this audiobook as I have others in the past so I had to Wiki reference afterwards to summarize what I listened to and it brought it all into prospective.

So the book is basically about some authors, one auther writes Syfy. He writes a book about humans being programmed like robots. One of this readers gets ahold of his book and takes it for truth. This takes them on a journey in which they meet and the author has to find a way to correct and set straight the misinformed reader. That is as vague as possible so to not spoil it as little as possible.

The thing that I enjoyed most about this book was just random rid bits about people and places. They are odd and a little humorous. What I did not enjoy so much as the use of the N word, which in this day in age shocks me like using the name Voldemort. It was written in the 70's and the story was placed shortly after the time of slavery.

I would recommend Vonnegut if you too have heard good things, and are able to pay attention to adult fiction. I had a hard time with it at work because I do best with a fast pasted audiobooks more geared for young adults, or a non-fiction self-help type. This book received 4-5 stars on most audio book sales websites such as Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

 3/5 Stars 

Runtime: 5 hours 40 minutes.

Genre: Fiction, Science Fiction, Humor, American Literature, Classics




Wednesday, June 17, 2015

The Casual Vacancy

By JK Rowling

Quite the opposite of Harry Potter, Casual Vacancy is not very fun to listen to. The book is basically a Wes Anderson, dysfunctional family story without a character or two you learn to love regardless. The story is of a small town in England. There seems to be a vacancy around a town hall position that has opened up, though I could be wrong. The audiobook consisted of mini stories of several families. There isn't really a focal point of this story, Fats Wall is kind of the anti-hero. He smokes does the horizontal polka, and acts as "authentic" as possible. I've read that they are making a TV series out of this, I promise it won't be worth watching. This is my first bad book review, sorry to bring you down. Rowling must have wrote this book pre-soul-sell.

 1/5 Stars 

Ages 16 & Up

Runtime: Aprx 18 hours

  1. GenresFiction, Fantasy, Black comedy, Tragicomedy


Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Hannibal Lectar Series

By Thomas Harris

Starting with Red Dragon, followed by Silence of the Lambs, and ending with Hannibal as was suggested to me, I enjoyed this series quite a bit. I was a pretty big fan of the movies, so I decided to give the books a try to see if there was any more to be had from the chronicles of Clarice and Hannibal. I was surprised at how accurate the movies were. There was also one other really big surprise that actually very much contradicted the movies, and I liked it. Let’s just say, it has a really good alternative ending. You may be wondering why I did not add Hannibal Rising to this review. I made a conscious decision to do this review before listening to the Pre-ist-quel because I’ve only heard and read really bad things about it. I liked the movie so we will see, I will start Hannibal Rising today and get back with you. 

So if you have no idea what the Hannibal series is, let me start by saying in my opinion Hannibal is one of the most well developed characters in literary history. Hannibal is a world renowned psychologist and also likes to eat rude people. It’s hard to talk about him because the books never let you think that you are smarter than he is, or that you can ever really get to know him because of his unpredictability. He has no problem going after whom could be called his equal Will Graham, then chooses to help and protect Clarice Starling develop as a person and an FBI investigator, because he sees something in her that he likes. Clarice was one of the only people Hannibal cannot predict.


These books are basically three individual mystery-thrillers linked together by Hannibal, who is in and out of a maximum security psych ward. I will have to recommend these books if you enjoy mysteries and psychological thrillers. I’m not even sure which is my favorite because they were each so individually good. You can listen to them in just about any order you choose, but I was really happy with the order that I chose.

***
Update: I listened to the Hannibal Rising audiobook, wanted to keep it separate from the first three because I heard how bad it was. To me it wasn't bad at all, it was just very different. I felt like this writing style kind of changes over time, but that is to be expected as an author grows and their interests change. Hannibal Rising is about the "coming-up" of Hannibal and how he because "Hannibal the Cannibal" There is/was a lot of mystery shrouding the character, and some of that is revealed in Rising. The time lines don't totally make sense to me, with the wars up to modern day, but I just accepted it. I would recommend Hannibal Rising as a decent fourth and final option to a really mind grabbing series. Like most things, go into it accepting it's probably not the best, and you'll come out pleasantly surprised.

☆ 4/5 Stars 

Ages 18 & Up

Approximately 50 hours.

Genre: Horror, Thriller, Psychological Thriller


Thursday, May 14, 2015

A Short History of Nearly Everything

By Bill Bryson

This audiobook was awesome! It took me a little bit to get into, but it quickly grew on me to where I didn’t want to quit listening and go home. The title basically says it all. It starts from zero and goes to 100. This book is very scientific but on a dummies’ level. It is from an evolutionist point of view, so if you are a human of science, great. If you are a creationist, then you just have to laugh and move on. The audiobook starts out on how a universe is made and held together, then the same for earth itself, then everything on earth. This includes humans, it goes through a short history of the world’s most brilliant people, what they created, and how it go you to where you are sitting today. It’s very well written, and ready by the author. While being very scientific and factual, there is quite a bit of humor sprinkled throughout. In relation to listening in the work place, its a lot of mini stories into one greater story so if you miss some parts you';; be okay, but when work distracted me I was quick to pause it. This audiobook made me feel very smart and I love all the interesting facts and short stories about strange people and animals. I definitely recommend you listen to this!!

Approximately 18.3 hours

Ages 12 & up

☆ 4/5 Stars 

Genre: Non-fiction, Science, Evolution, Creation, History


Thursday, April 30, 2015

The Chronicles of Narnia

By: C.S. Lewis

   As a kid I’m sure I heard these books several times, and I’m fairly sure I listened to the audiobooks a few years ago while on a job. When I listened to the entire series this week it was like I had never heard them before. This time I listened to a Focus on the Family dramatized version of the series, and it was really good.
Of course I remembered The Lion, the witch, and the wardrobe quite well, but the details of the other books were only vague at best. I found that I liked the other books as much or more than The Lion- - - The Magicians Nephew which is the first in Chronological order was one of the best, the Silver Chair was really good,as was The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, and A Horse and His Boy. This was an incredibly well written series from the early to late 1950’s. Little do most people know, that this series is closely paralleled to the Holy Bible. It takes some great deal of explanation but the story line is very similar.
   What I also found very interesting (somewhat unrelated) is that C.S. “Jack” Lewis and our boy JRR Tolkien were very close friends. There was a group of three scholars that met regularly to discuss books, fantasy, life, religion, and whatever else came to mind. This trio included; Lewis, Tolkien, and a guy named Charles Williams. (Check out the book “The Inklings”) They thought that three was the perfect number for a meeting of the minds such as this, because it offered one-on-one discussion while a third could observe, the interactions of the other two, two understand them better. This would allow each person an added level of intimacy because they could see them as they know them, and as they are with another person. They could get to know each other on another level by seeing who they were with another person.This was very important to them, then Williams had a very early death and destroyed the perfect system the three had. 

    Anyway, that was a bit off topic. You’ve heard of Narnia, hopefully the movies didn’t ruin the audiobooks for you. Give them this series a listen or another listen. The dramatized version was really well done. I was able to easily listen to a book or a book and a half per day while at work. You don’t have to pay super close attention, but you could miss a few small details. I recommend Narnia to you, in whatever order you decide to listen. Each book stands fairly well on its own, and there are a lot of interesting characters and creatures to get to know. Another side note; You can see a lot of writing that both authors chose to start their series with magical rings...


Book Listing (Chronological Order:
The Magicians Nephew
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
The Horse and His Boy
Prince Caspian
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
The Silver Chair
The Last Battle

★★☆ 4/5 Stars

Genre: Fantasy, Family, Children, Adventure, Fiction


Book to movie rating: 
Original Movies: B
Newer Movie: C

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Adventures of Huck and Tom

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn & Tom Sawyer
By Mark Twain

These were two separate books, that I listened to back to back. Tom and Huck are both two young boys who love adventure. Sometimes the lines are blurred between what is reality and what is real, and this makes for a really good listen. While both boys are pretty feral, Tom Sawyer lives in a house with a kindly old lady, somewhat regularly goes to school and church, while Huck Finn lives in and out with his drunken father. Huck feel more suited to live in old barns, caves, and the such so the church people don’t tell him he can’t smoke, have a good chew, or cuss. The two boys kind of envy each other, but are unable to go all in, into the others’ lifestyle because its just a little extreme. This makes for a really good team, because they can both temporarily go all in, or a day or two at a time. Did I mention they are both rich? You’ll have to listen to learn about that.
I quite enjoyed these audiobooks. It took be about two work days to get through them. I had a bit of culture shot when listening to them because they are extremely NOT 2000’s politically correct.These books were written in the late 1880’s while slavery was still very current. While it is an interesting looking into our past, if you are sensitive to certain words that end with R, you might want to read the versions I hear speak of that have edited these books to be an easier listen for the 2015-Politically-Correct ear.

It’s nice once in awhile to take a break from current Syfy and Fantasy to go back to try out a classic. I recommend this for a 2-day listen. I tried to write you a review on The Canterbury Tales but the combo of poetry and old english got to me in about two minutes. I should research to see if anyone was rewritten them in modern English and also unpoetrized them. Yes, I invented a word just now, someone go ahead and Urban dictionize that. and also that. I was able to listen to this thanks to a contributor at www.librivox.com.

Runtime: Aprx 16.7 hours

                                                                                          ★★☆ 4/5 Stars

                                             Genre: Children's Literature, Adventure, Classic, Bildungsroman


Thursday, April 16, 2015

Millennium Trilogy

By Stieg Larsson

The Girl Who.. series, was a great series. The closest thing that I can think to compare it to was True Detective. It had a lot of similarities. The series is basically a crime/conspiracy/mystery revolving around the publication “Millennium” 

The two main characters are Mikael Blomkist and Lisbeth Salander, and the trilogy included several other characters that you get to know quite well. Mikael is a skilled reporter for Millennium, and as you may have guessed Lisbeth is a bright, dark girl with a very troubled past. They often work together to dig up facts to… well, basically expose and stop bad guys.

The first book was my favorite, the second book was good, and the third as good but just seemed a little too long. As a whole, I was impressed with the series. t was really well written, there seems to be very little if anything lost in translation, as the original books were written in Swedish. The first book was written in 1954 surprisingly, and the last was complete in 2004. Larsson has intended to write 10 books in total but died 7 books short of that mark.

I have not seen the movies that have been made in the last several years with that James Bond guy but have heard that they were very dark and not very good. I look forward to trying one out.

I definitely recommend this series if you enjoy a good, well written mystery. If you sit at a desk, like me all day and have plenty of time to kill, this might be perfect!

Book listing:
The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
The Girl Who Played With Fire
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets Nest

Runtime: Aprx 55.5 hours

                                                                                          ★★ 4/5 Stars

                                             Genre: Mystery, Crime, Suspense, Thriller, Fiction, Adult, Adventure