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  • gilwilson 10:32 AM on March 30, 2019 Permalink | Reply  

    “End of Watch” (Book 3 of the Bill Hodges Trilogy) By Stephen King 

    27221987“End of Watch”
    (Book 3 of the Bill Hodges Trilogy)
    By Stephen King
    Narrated by: Will Patton
    Length: 12 hrs and 53 mins
    Published 2016 by Simon & Schuster

    Finally, I got around to the final book in the Bill Hodges Trilogy by Stephen King.  I loved this series in that the first 2 books were a little different from a normal Stephen King book.  (Normal Stephen King Book?) The series follows retired detective Bill Hodges as he tries to solve the mystery of who murdered innocent job seekers by running a Mercedes through the crowd lined up for a job fair.   The second book continues with Hodges forming somewhat of a private investigator service, and helps a young man evade a murderer looking for the stash he buried before going to prison.  This third book wraps it all up and revisits the villain from the first book.

    Brady Hartsfield the man behind the wheel of the Mercedes and whose brain injury kept him from serving his prison sentence.  Instead Brady is given some experimental medication which may have given him psychic powers.  This is where the real Stephen King shines.  The previous books were great detective driven mysteries and thrillers.  This third book ties them all together with that Stephen King twist.

    Detective Kermit William Hodges has been diagnosed with aggressive pancreatic cancer.  But before his time is up he has to wrap up the one big case that keeps haunting him.  After a string of suicides linked to the city center Mercedes killer case sparks up.  Bill and his “Finders Keepers” detective agency is on full alert.

    In what becomes a supernatural thriller, “End of Watch” ties all loose ends by creating a psychic powered brain injured evil computer genius, who uses the internet and portable gaming devices to encourage suicide and to be able to take over the bodies of other people.  Taking over the neurological specialist and the hospital volunteer gets Brady Hartsfield out of the hospital to wreak havoc.

    While the end of the book is bittersweet it does wrap up the trilogy with a perfect little bow.  Will Patton delivers the voice of the book tapping all of his excellent acting talents, his vocal embodiment of Bill Hodges alone is worth the listen.

    Publisher’s Summary

    The spectacular finale to the New York Times best-selling trilogy that began with Mr. Mercedes (winner of the Edgar Award) and Finders Keepers

    In End of Watch, the diabolical “Mercedes Killer” drives his enemies to suicide, and if Bill Hodges and Holly Gibney don’t figure out a way to stop him, they’ll be victims themselves.

    In Room 217 of the Lakes Region Traumatic Brain Injury Clinic, something has awakened. Something evil. Brady Hartsfield, perpetrator of the Mercedes Massacre, where eight people were killed and many more were badly injured, has been in the clinic for five years, in a vegetative state. According to his doctors, anything approaching a complete recovery is unlikely. But behind the drool and stare, Brady is awake and in possession of deadly new powers that allow him to wreak unimaginable havoc without ever leaving his hospital room.

    Retired police detective Bill Hodges, the unlikely hero of Mr. Mercedes and Finders Keepers, now runs an investigation agency with his partner, Holly Gibney – the woman who delivered the blow to Hartsfield’s head that put him in the brain injury ward. When Bill and Holly are called to a suicide scene with ties to the Mercedes Massacre, they find themselves pulled into their most dangerous case yet, one that will put their lives at risk as well as those of Bill’s heroic young friend, Jerome Robinson, and his teenage sister, Barbara. Brady Hartsfield is back and planning revenge not just on Hodges and his friends but on an entire city.

    In End of Watch, Stephen King brings the Hodges trilogy to a sublimely terrifying conclusion, combining the detective fiction of Mr. Mercedes and Finders Keepers with the heart-pounding supernatural suspense that has been his best-selling trademark. The result is an unnerving look at human vulnerability and chilling suspense. No one does it better than King.

    ©2016 Stephen King (P)2016 Simon & Schuster
  • gilwilson 3:00 PM on March 22, 2019 Permalink | Reply  

    “How to Fight Presidents: Defending Yourself Against the Badasses Who Ran This Country” By Daniel O’Brien 

    21558602“How to Fight Presidents:
    Defending Yourself Against the Badasses Who Ran This Country”
    By Daniel O’Brien
    Narrated by: Richard McGonagle
    Length: 5 hrs and 58 mins
    Published 2014 Random House Audio

    If you were to ever find yourself going up against any of our former presidents in a bout of fisticuffs, this book will give you all the reasons why you shouldn’t.  But again, if you should find yourself in that situation make damn sure that of all the ex-presidents it’s not Teddy Roosevelt.  That guy was way more badass than you’d expect any president to be.

    In this book by Daniel O’Brien you’re going to find yourself having a blast and laughing out loud while learning history.  Keep in mind that this book tends to be a bit crude, but if your skin is thick enough to take in a few foul words and phrases you’re going to love this book.  I hope every history teacher in America reads this book and once in a while throws in some of the material while molding the young minds about history.

    Had I been armed with this information back when I was forced to learn history, I might have paid more attention.  There are even some great pop-culture references that make this book even more enjoyable.  Ronald Reagan is Wolverine and Washington is the love child of Professor X and Mr. Fantastic.   Sure there’s tough language, but bad words be damned, this book is awesome.

    The narrator, Richard McGonagle, does a superb job of keep the pace of this book tolerable.  You may have to pause a few times to stop for laughter, but it’s worth it.


    Publisher’s Summary
    Make no mistake: Our founding fathers were more bandanas-and-muscles than powdered-wigs-and-tea.

    As a prisoner of war, Andrew Jackson walked several miles barefoot across state lines while suffering from smallpox and a serious head wound received when he refused to polish the boots of the soldiers who had taken him captive. He was thirteen years old. A few decades later, he became the first popularly elected president and served the nation, pausing briefly only to beat a would-be assassin with a cane to within an inch of his life. Theodore Roosevelt had asthma, was blind in one eye, survived multiple gunshot wounds, had only one regret (that there were no wars to fight under his presidency), and was the first U.S. president to win the Medal of Honor, which he did after he died. Faced with the choice, George Washington actually preferred the sound of bullets whizzing by his head in battle over the sound of silence.

    And now these men – these hallowed leaders of the free world – want to kick your ass.

    Plenty of historians can tell you which president had the most effective economic strategies, and which president helped shape our current political parties, but can any of them tell you what to do if you encounter Chester A. Arthur in a bare-knuckled boxing fight? This book will teach you how to be better, stronger, faster, and more deadly than the most powerful (and craziest) men in history. You’re welcome.

    ©2014 Daniel O’Brien (P)2014 Random House Audio

  • gilwilson 5:12 PM on March 21, 2019 Permalink | Reply

    “The Mockingbird Next Door: Life with Harper Lee” By Marja Mills 

    61NyC5h-puL._SL500_“The Mockingbird Next Door: Life with Harper Lee”
    By Marja Mills
    Narrated by: Amy Lynn Stewart
    Length: 8 hrs and 11 mins
    Published 2014 by Penguin Audio

    Published under a bit of controversy and then reviewers not liking the writer’s style, made me hesitate on putting this on my reading list.  But I was curious, besides, who doesn’t like “To Kill a Mockingbird”?

    Some of the controversy is that Harper Lee claims she did not approve of this book.  Harper Lee has lived her quiet life pretty much avoiding reporters and the public spotlight for quite a while.  Living with her older sister, Alice, she spent her last days of her life between New York and her hometown of Monroeville, Alabama,  the setting for Mockingbird.

    In this book Marja Mills writes of her time spent with the Lee sisters over a few years as the only journalist the Lee’s have befriended.  Mills’ book is basically the memoirs of her time spent in Monroeville.  Many reviewers complaints were that there is no new information on Harper Lee or the famous novel.  After listening to this audiobook, I would argue that point because maybe you don’t get the new information, you do get the ambiance and feeling of what that area of the country is like and what the Lee family did that led to the writing of the book.  Now keep in mind that this is written from a newspaper writer’s point of view, so it’s not the nice clean story a novel would produce.  Instead you get bits and pieces of the life of the Lee sisters.

    Amy Lynn Stewart does a great job narrating the book and makes it more fun throwing in the accents where needed.

    If you are a huge fan of “To Kill a Mockingbird” you will find some interest in this.


    Publisher’s Summary
    To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee, is one of the best-loved novels of the 20th century. But for the last 50 years, the novel’s celebrated author, Harper Lee, has said almost nothing on the record. Journalists have trekked to her hometown of Monroeville, Alabama, where Harper Lee, known to her friends as Nelle, has lived with her sister, Alice, for decades, trying and failing to get an interview with the author. But in 2001, the Lee sisters opened their door to Chicago Tribune journalist Marja Mills. It was the beginning of a long conversation – and a great friendship.

    In 2004, with the Lees’ blessing, Mills moved into the house next door to the sisters. She spent the next 18 months there, sharing coffee at McDonalds and trips to the Laundromat with Nelle, feeding the ducks and going out for catfish supper with the sisters, and exploring all over lower Alabama with the Lees’ inner circle of friends.

    Nelle shared her love of history, literature, and the Southern way of life with Mills, as well as her keen sense of how journalism should be practiced. As the sisters decided to let Mills tell their story, Nelle helped make sure she was getting the story – and the South – right. Alice, the keeper of the Lee family history, shared the stories of their family.

    The Mockingbird Next Door is the story of Mills’s friendship with the Lee sisters. It is a testament to the great intelligence, sharp wit, and tremendous storytelling power of these two women, especially that of Nelle.

    Mills was given a rare opportunity to know Nelle Harper Lee, to be part of the Lees’ life in Alabama, and to hear them reflect on their upbringing, their corner of the Deep South, how To Kill a Mockingbird affected their lives, and why Nelle Harper Lee chose to never write another novel.

    ©2014 Marja Mills (P)2014 Penguin Audio

  • gilwilson 4:33 PM on March 20, 2019 Permalink | Reply
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    “The Seagull” By Anton Chekhov 

    Seagull-The-Digital-Cover-325x325-R1V1“The Seagull”
    By Anton Chekhov
    Published April 2013 by L.A. Theatre Works
    Classic Drama
    Directed by Rosalind Ayres
    Calista Flockhart as Irina Nikolayevna Arkadina
    T.R. Knight as Konstantin Treplev
    Stephen Collins as Yevgeny Dorn
    Gordon Clapp as Ilya Shamrayev
    Logan Fahey as Semyon Medvedenko
    Cindy Katz as Polina Andreyevna
    Dakin Matthews as Pyotr Sorin
    Bess Rous as Masha
    Josh Stamberg as Boris Alexeyevich Trigorin
    Kira Sternbach as Nina

    This play is a great representation of art for the sake of art itself.  When first performed the play received jeers and heckles from the audience.  I can actually understand that.  For the most part this play is just a bunch of actors that talk about how they love what they do.  Sure there is more to it, but the whole play is pretty much full of itself to the point that the average reader/listener/play goer would not quite get it or really care enough to try.

    I can easily say that this performance is outstanding performance wise, the cast did make me want to try to look for a deeper meaning.  But the material as a whole left me wishing I would have listened to another LATW performance.

    Don’t let this keep you from looking for other performances from L.A. Theatre Works.  They do an outstanding job of putting you directly in the audience in these audio productions.

    Publisher’s Summary

    Here translated by Christopher Hampton, Anton Chekhov’s The Seagull is considered one of his most haunting and atmospheric character studies. A would-be playwright is at war with his egoistic mother while the town has become intoxicated by a sensational author. And as the alluring newcomer steals away Kosta’s only love, their new romance could have devastating consequences.

    Recorded in Los Angeles before a live audience at The James Bridges Theater, UCLA in September of 2012.

  • gilwilson 1:53 PM on March 12, 2019 Permalink | Reply  

    “Major Barbara” By George Bernard Shaw 

    51yxvM-m6TL._SL500_Major Barbara
    By: George Bernard Shaw
    Narrated by: Kate Burton, Roger Rees, J. B. Blanc, Matt Gaydos, Brian George, Hamish Linklater, Henri Lubatti
    Length: 1 hr and 53 mins
    Produced 2008 L.A. Theatre Works

    It’s time once again, for me anyhow, to revisit some of the outstanding productions by L.A. Theatre Works.  If you’ve never heard any of these productions, do yourself a favor and check them out at:  LATW.org.  L.A. Theatre Works records the audio of their performances to release as audiobook forms of great plays.  Their library online seems endless, and every performance features major celebrities performing live on stage.

    This time around I was looking for some of the plays I was supposed to read in college, but found my way around not doing so.  Hey, I had limited time.

    George Bernard Shaw’s “Major Barbara” was one that was assigned for my Theatre History class and also for the directing class.  So I had to work extra hard to avoid reading the whole play.  Thanks to Cliff’s Notes I got around reading the whole play and got by with just reading certain scenes.  Now, for the whole play.  To sum up and make brief, the final decision is that sometimes you have to make a deal with the devil to save the souls of the masses.

    This play is one of what is called Shaw’s “Discussion” plays.  In which the conversation of the characters is a running conversation of good vs. evil.   While some plays are just pure entertainment, many have some sort of lesson to be learned.  That in itself is the beauty of theatre, especially when visiting the “classics.”

    Morality, religion, and social engineering are the main ideas of this play.  In the case of Barbara, a Major in the Salvation army, she is in a conundrum of whether to accept charity donations for the salvation of the souls she’s tending to from her father, Andrew Undershaft, who profits on war.  She also learns the Salvation Army is accepting money from a whiskey distiller.  So should a charity trying to convert people to Christianity, thus saving their souls, accept money from immoral sources?

    All the performances in this production are the usual top-notch performances that can be expected from all of L.A. Theatre Works’ productions.

    Publisher’s Summary
    Barbara is a major in the Salvation Army – but she’s also the daughter of Andrew Undershaft, a man who’s made millions from the sale of weapons of war. The real battle, however, rages between between the devilish father and his idealistic daughter as they answer the question: does salvation come through faith or finance? This sparkling comedy traverses family relations, religion, ethics and politics – as only Shaw, the master dramatist, can!
    ©2008 L.A. Theatre Works

  • gilwilson 2:29 PM on March 4, 2019 Permalink | Reply  

    “Trump Is F*cking Crazy (This Is Not a Joke)” By Keith Olbermann 

    38596068“Trump Is F*cking Crazy
    (This Is Not a Joke)”
    By Keith Olbermann
    Narrated by: Keith Olbermann
    Length: 16 hrs and 6 mins
    Published October 17th 2017 by Penguin Audio

    Sad but true.

    I don’t really know what I was expecting when picking out this audiobook.  I knew it was anti-Trump.  But I thought it would just be like a talk radio rant, in the same vein as a Rush Limbaugh rant or Sean Hannity rant, or any other career political broadcaster.  But what made me sad was that Olbermann simply took Donald Trump’s tweets and repeated them.

    Starting from 45’s campaign in 2016 all the way through the summer of his first year as president, Olbermann would take the tweets and relate them to news stories at the time.  The most interesting were the tweets related to Russia and the buildup of the investigation.  The tweets were nothing but denials at first, but then built up to many saying the equivalent of 45 saying, “I never said that.”  I guess technically he didn’t, he tweeted it.

    This collection combined with the Olbermann “Op-Ed” sections creates a unique view of the first two years of 45’s assault on America.  This is something that could only be done in this information age.  Gone are the days when a President could deny saying something, and hoping the world forgot.  The problem today is that with the internet fact checking is easier when you can go back at your leisure and actually watch the video of the quote or situation in question.

    Yeah, Olberman does deliver his book in a bit of a rant state of mind, but I think that made the book much more fun and a lot less depressing.  Keep in mind this book has its humorous moments, but it is not a joke.

    Lots of yelling, lots of questions, lots of facts.


    Publisher’s Summary
    Witty, acerbic, hard-hitting, and timely, Keith Olbermann’s Donald Trump commentaries come adapted from his hit GQ series The Resistance.

    Since Donald Trump’s presidential nomination, Keith Olbermann has emerged as one of the web’s most popular anti-Trump screedists – each installment of his GQ web series The Resistance receives nearly four million views, and his fiercely progressive monologues have garnered a new generation of fans and followers. In Trump Is F*cking Crazy, Olbermann takes our commander in chief and his politics apart with journalistic acuity and his classic in-your-face humor. With more than 50 individual essays adapted from his GQ commentaries, including new up-to-the-minute material, Trump Is F*cking Crazy is an essential listen for concerned citizens who – like Olbermann – refuse to normalize or accept our new political reality.

    ©2017 Keith Olbermann (P)2017 Penguin Audio

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