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  • gilwilson 5:32 PM on February 27, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: bram stoker, , ,   

    Dracula By: Bram Stoker 

    Dracula512DRQBCNTL._SL500_ (1)
    By: Bram Stoker
    Narrated by: John Lee
    Length: 15 hrs and 15 mins
    Release date: 12-23-08
    Publisher: Tantor Audio

    Time to revisit a classic. I think I could read/listen to Bram Stoker’s “Dracula” 2 or 3 times a year. While Dracula is not the first vampire story, that honor goes to “The Vampyre” by John Polidori, it is definitely the one that set the standard. Then when those stupid sparkly vampires came along those became the ones you compared to when deciding the worst vampire story. Anyway, everything from the way the story is told to the language used makes this story one that will never die, yes it will remain undead.

    Told through letters, journal entries and diary jottings, much like the latest trend in horror films. Dracula is the 19th century’s version of found footage. This creates an atmosphere while reading/listening to that makes it hard to put this book down. In this case I listened to the audiobook read by John Lee. I have to admit I was looking for the version with an all star cast including Tim Curry, but settled for this. I was not let down. John Lee delivered the story as if it still were an all star cast. He was able to convey through his vocalizations the different people involved in the telling of this story.

    I’m sure most of you reading this are familiar with the original story, so I will let the publisher recap the story in the Publisher’s Summary below. One thing I wanted to cover in this review is a new concept or moment of understanding for me this time around. It struck me this time that Bram Stoker developed Jonathan Harker as a very rational person. He’s very organized, meticulous and is a lawyer. So being a rational person thrown in a completely horrifying irrational story the breakdown of his mental state seems to take place where by the end of the book he is a broken man. So it could be about a man slowly losing his mind. I don’t know why but that aspect of the story stuck out for me this time.

    Next time you read “Dracula,” keep that in mind. If you have never read this book, do yourself a favor and get a classic into your system.

    Publisher’s Summary

    First published in 1897, Dracula by Bram Stoker has become the inspiration for countless film and stage adaptations. Indeed, the name “Dracula” has been synonymous with the undead for at least a century, and the original novel still has the power to chill.

    Come then to Castle Dracula, hidden in the forbidding peaks of the Carpathian Mountains, where an undying creature of evil casts his sights on unsuspecting England. Voyage on the doomed ship Demeter as it carries a monster out of ancient superstition in search of new life and new blood. Tremble as first one woman, then another succumbs to the unholy thirst of the nosferatu, and as a small band of men and women, horrified by the supernatural forces arrayed against them, risk their lives and their very souls to oppose the evil known only as…Dracula.

    (P)2008 Tantor

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  • gilwilson 5:31 PM on February 22, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , wizard, wizrd   

    Skin Game: A Novel of the Dresden Files, Book 15 By: Jim Butcher 

    19486421Skin Game: A Novel of the Dresden Files, Book 15 By: Jim Butcher
    Narrated by: James Marsters
    Length: 15 hrs and 49 mins
    Release date: 05-27-14
    Publisher: Penguin Audio

    First and foremost I have to say, I miss Harry Dresden. Ever since I read the first book in the Dresden Files Series, “Storm Watch,” I’ve been hooked. What really got me hooked was listening to the audiobooks read by James Marsters. Marsters uses his voice to completely embody Harry Dresden, the Wizard of the White Council, and Chicago’s only Wizard. I really hope they try another series, this time with Marsters as the lead. The SyFy series “The Dresden Files” was ok, Paul Blackthorn was awesome as Harry, but the writers got it wrong. So try again and since Blackthorn is busy with “Arrow,” cast James Marsters as Harry and you’ll have a hit. Really, he is that good.

    Even if they don’t bring it back as a series, Jim Butcher, I know you’re reading this, get back to writing, who let you out?

    As we join Harry in this 15th entry to the series he is living on the island of Demonreach, unable to reach his allies. Queen Mab decides to sublet Harry and his services. Harry is to help Nicodemus steal something from the vault of Hades. Harry enlists the aid of Karrin Murphy to watch his back.

    Harry and Karrin meet Nicodemus and his crew, which includes Binder and a female warlock, Hanna Ascher, and Anna Valmont, the only surviving member of the group of thieves who had stolen the Shroud of Turin in Death Masks. In what turns out to be a heist to steal the Holy Grail, Harry & Karrin experience all sorts of backstabbing and double crossing. It really wouldn’t be a Dresden book without all that fun anyway.

    Publisher’s Summary

    Harry Dresden, Chicago’s only professional wizard, is about to have a very bad day.…

    Because as Winter Knight to the Queen of Air and Darkness, Harry never knows what the scheming Mab might want him to do. Usually, it’s something awful.

    He doesn’t know the half of it.…

    Mab has just traded Harry’s skills to pay off one of her debts. And now he must help a group of supernatural villains – led by one of Harry’s most dreaded and despised enemies, Nicodemus Archleone – to break into the highest-security vault in town, so that they can then access the highest-security vault in the Nevernever.

    It’s a smash-and-grab job to recover the literal Holy Grail from the vaults of the greatest treasure hoard in the supernatural world – which belongs to the one and only Hades, Lord of the freaking Underworld and generally unpleasant character. Worse, Dresden suspects that there is another game afoot that no one is talking about. And he’s dead certain that Nicodemus has no intention of allowing any of his crew to survive the experience. Especially Harry.

    Dresden’s always been tricky, but he’s going to have to up his backstabbing game to survive this mess – assuming his own allies don’t end up killing him before his enemies get the chance.…

    ©2014 Jim Butcher (P)2014 Penguin Audio

     
  • gilwilson 6:00 PM on February 5, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , economics, free   

    FREE: The Future of a Radical Price By: Chris Anderson 

    FREE: The Future of a Radical Pricefree
    By: Chris Anderson
    Narrated by: Chris Anderson
    Length: 7 hrs and 2 mins
    Release date: 07-02-09
    Publisher: Hyperion

    If everything was free, how would anyone make money? While not everything would be free but this book shows the incredible business strategy that will surprise you, in that it works. Chris Anderson points out that free is not just a gimmick but is a real business plan that will succeed. By the way, on Audible.com Anderson’s book is FREE, so he put his money where his mouth is, or maybe

    Speaking of the author, Chris Anderson, he also narrates this book and while I’m a bit wary of authors that narrate their own audiobooks, this guy can tell a good story. Anderson’s voice and delivery keeps the listener glued to the book, thus making this audiobook one of those rare business concept books that will entertain while teaching, or even teach while entertaining.

    In this day and age where nearly everything is free via the internet, (podcasts, TED talks, even music) how can an individual or business take advantage of this trend? Chris Anderson points out how some have succeeded already using this concept and even gives some ideas on how anyone can adopt this plan.

    So how do Google, Yahoo, Facebook and others in the digital realm survive by just giving away their products? We all have the general idea of ads keeping a site running. I work in the longest free business, radio. In radio we give the audience free music, entertainment etc. But you have to put up with ads. However not all Free business plans rely on advertising. Give this book a try to find out more.

    I will say that I’m not so sure the Free model works for everyone, but Chris Anderson will try to convince you otherwise. Maybe that’s because I’m one of the older folks in his audience. Us older folk are a bit concerned and suspicious about free things. (What’s the catch.) But the younger folk, Millennials and others are used to everything being free. So it looks like free may be the future.

    Publisher’s Summary:

    The New York Times best-selling author heralds the future of business in Free. In his revolutionary best seller, The Long Tail, Chris Anderson demonstrated how the online marketplace creates niche markets, allowing products and consumers to connect in a way that has never been possible before. Now, in Free, he makes the compelling case that, in many instances, businesses can profit more from giving things away than they can by charging for them.

    Far more than a promotional gimmick, Free is a business strategy that may well be essential to a company’s survival. The costs associated with the growing online economy are trending toward zero at an incredible rate. Never in the course of human history have the primary inputs to an industrial economy fallen in price so fast and for so long.

    Just think that in 1961 a single transistor cost $10; now Intel’s latest chip has two billion transistors and sells for $300 (or 0.000015 cents per transistor – effectively too cheap to price). The traditional economics of scarcity just don’t apply to bandwidth, processing power, and hard-drive storage. Yet this is just one engine behind the new Free, a reality that goes beyond a marketing gimmick or a cross-subsidy.

    Anderson also points to the growth of the reputation economy; explains different models for unleashing the power of Free; and shows how to compete when your competitors are giving away what you’re trying to sell.

    In Free, Chris Anderson explores this radical idea for the new global economy and demonstrates how this revolutionary price can be harnessed for the benefit of consumers and businesses alike.

    ©2009 Chris Anderson; (P)2009 Hyperion

     
  • gilwilson 5:30 PM on February 1, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , ,   

    She Stoops to Conquer By: Oliver Goldsmith (L.A. Theater Works) 

    She Stoops to Conquer9170561
    By: Oliver Goldsmith
    Performed by: Rosalind Ayres, Adam Godley, Julian Holloway, James Marsters, Ian Ogilvy, Joanne Whalley, Matthew Wolf
    Length: 1 hr and 51 mins
    Release date: 08-25-11
    Publisher: L.A. Theatre Works

    I just can’t get enough of these productions by L.A. Theatre works. They can take a live performance record the audio and release as audiobook without losing anything. Sure it’s nice to be able to watch the performers in action, especially this production’s star, James Marsters. I’ve enjoyed Marsters since back in the Buffy days, but more recently I’ve been enjoying his voice on James Butcher’s Harry Dresden novels he really brings those to life. So while looking at the L.A. Theatre works catalog I see him acting in a couple of the performances and I am eager to give them a listen.

    Back when I was in college getting one of my degrees in Theatre, we saw the play “She Stoops to Conquer.” I thought it was mildly funny at the time. I mean come on this takes the mistaken identity genre to a whole new level. Where the main characters Hastings and Marlow are tricked into believing the home of Mr. Hardcastle is an inn. Both behave badly and hilarity ensues. Okay like I said it was mildly funny.

    This performance is more than mildly funny, I actually laughed out loud several times during the nearly 2 hour performance. L.A. Theatre Works definitely knows the right cast to put into all of their recordings, but something about this one completely surprised me. I think the best part about this was that the actors weren’t necessarily known for comedy, making the “accidental” comedic occurrences even funnier. No one tried for the laugh, just let it happen. It worked. Have some fun and then let people know you listened to a stuffy play from the year 1773. It’ll make you appear more scholarly.

    While the mistaken identity part of the comedy is fun, this play teaches us a little something about class, greed and behavior versus appearance. Just enjoy.

    Publisher’s Summary:

    Starring James Marsters, this classic comedy of manners from 1773 is still widely performed and studied. Love, lies, and dysfunctional families. Sound like your last family gathering? Try this one on for laughs. Two randy young gents, Charles and George, set out to woo the alluring and upper-crust Kate and Constance. But inexperienced Charles is shy and clumsy around upper-class ladies, so it’s the barmaid who catches his eye. But is she really who she seems? Bawdy high-jinx, popped pretensions, and good dirty fun are the hallmarks of this romping frolic that’s kept audiences laughing for over two centuries.

    An L.A. Theatre Works full cast performance featuring (in alphabetical order): Rosalind Ayres as Mrs. Hardcastle; Adam Godley as Tony Lumpkin; Julian Holloway as Elder Marlow/Stingo; James Marsters as Charles Marlow; Christopher Neame as Roger; Paula Jane Newman as Bet Bouncer/Pimple; Ian Ogilvy as Mr. Hardcastle; Moira Quirk as Constance Neville; Darren Richardson as Diggory/Jeremy; Joanne Whalley as Kate Hardcastle; and Matthew Wolf as George Hastings. Directed by Martin Jarvis. Recorded before a live audience at the Skirball Cultural Center, Los Angeles, in June 2010.

    Public Domain (P)2011 L.A. Theatre Works

     
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