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  • gilwilson 3:44 PM on August 21, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: alladin, arabian nights, , , audiobooks, , classics, , , sharhzad, sinbad, tales,   

    “Tales from the Arabian Nights” Abridged Compiled by Andrew Lang 

    Tales_from_the_Arabian_Nights_Naxos

    “Tales from the Arabian Nights” Abridged

    Compiled by Andrew Lang

    Read by Toby Stephens

    Published by Naxos AudioBooks

    Length: 2 hours and 14 minutes

     

    Once in a while, as you probably know from reading my posts, I have to go back and visit the classics, especially when they appear in audiobook form.  I ran across this version a year ago and planned on giving it a listen during my vacation but that didn’t work out and it sat in my iPod for a year.  I was looking for a short audiobook to fill time between some major novels and decided, it was time.

     

    This abridged version is a sanitized childrens version of the classic collection. So you won’t be getting the adult-themed aspect of why the stories are being told; the woman telling erotic and exotic stories to the king to entertain him and entice him with wanting to hear more so she may live. Without this element, this merely becomes is a nice collection of fables. While they are cleaned up a bit, by no means are these dumbed-down, sanitized disney versions. The language used is age appropriate for young listeners, but, there is a body count, and there is a scene where somebody dumps boiling oil in the jars with the murdering thieves. This makes the stories digestible for ages nine and up, in my opinion.

     

    This version also features some really nice music as segues between some of the scenes.  The music and the nice delivery from the narrator make for an entertaining two hours of classic story-telling.

     

    The premise of the story is that Shahrazad is promised to a King, Shahryar.  Shahryar is notorious for killing his wives on their wedding night.  Shahrazad comes up with the plan that will make Shahryar intrigued enough to keep her alive until the next day.  She does this by telling stories with cliff-hanger endings and has to rest until the next telling.

     

    The stories themselves are actually a collection of stories collected over thousands of years by various authors, translators and scholars. They are an amalgam of mythology and folk tales from the Indian sub-continent, Persia, and Arabia. Some of the stories date back to around the year 800-900 C.E. Many tales that have become independently famous come from the Book, among them Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, Alladin and the lamp and the voyages of Sinbad the Sailor.

     

    For the most part I remember the old Popeye meets Sinbad cartoons that actually placed some of these tales in the world of Popeye the Sailor.  This made for a nice reminiscing moment for me.

     

     

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  • gilwilson 4:41 PM on July 9, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , audiobooks, , , , , , , peter macon, rastafarianism, , , timothy white   

    Audiobook Review: “Catch A Fire: The Life of Bob Marley” By Timothy White 

    Catch-a-Fire-2811773

    “Catch A Fire: The Life of Bob Marley”

    By Timothy White

    Read by Peter Macon

    Published by Blackstone Audio, Inc.

    Length 17.0 hrs

     

     

    All my life I’ve been fascinated with music, I’ve never been able to play an instrument but have loved listening to music.  I listen, enjoy and appreciate all genres of music, some genres I just appreciate for what they are trying to do, but I get it.   I never had the patience to learn an instrument but I could play a record, 8-track, cassette or CD so I went into a broadcasting career.

     

    One thing I have noticed is that not only does it take a lot of patience but there is something else that makes a star a star.  I read a lot of musician biographies and many times that something is passed down from generations of musicians.  So with great genes comes great talent.  Well not always.  This biography of Bob Marley demonstrates that while Marley had the talent for music, he also had a very unique spiritual background that led to his music breaking boundaries and pushing a new form of music, Reggae, into the mainstream.

     

    I was actually surprised by the content of this audiobook in that it offered much more than just a history of Bob Marley and his music.  Timothy White created a whole feel for the whys and wherefores of Marley, Jamaica and Reggae music.  In this book the listener gets a bit of a rounded education in religion with the history of Rastafarianism.  While I had heard of Rastafarianism (what Bob Marley fan hasn’t?) I had never heard of it’s origins until this book.  White covers the history of this religion all the way back to King Solomon.  I was intrigued by all the rich history this religion absorbs.

     

    Continuing the education created by Timothy White, the listener gets a lesson in the history of Jamaica and the development of the island’s politics and scandals.  Along with this history the history of the music scene of Jamaica is covered in depth and how Reggae came about.  Of course, the meat of this book is the life of Bob Marley but all these histories explain in detail how Marley was influenced not only musically but spiritually and politically as well.  This explains how Marley is able to influence many generations of music fans for years to come.

     

    The reader of this book was outstanding.  Peter Macon was able to bring this biography to full-color audio life with his vocal skills.  Talking in Jamaican, British or African accents Macon made this book come to life and with his rich deep voice for the normal narration made this book an easy listen.

     
  • gilwilson 4:25 PM on June 17, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , audiobooks, crime stories, criminales, drug lords, federales, gold, , , , , , prey series   

    Audiobook Review: “Stolen Prey” (#22 in the Lucas Davenport Series) By John Sandford 

    stolenprey

    Audiobook Review: “Stolen Prey” (#22 in the Lucas Davenport Series)

    By John Sandford

    Read by Richard Ferrone

    Published by Penguin audio

    Approx.  11.5 hours

     

    I’m off exploring some cop stories and I happen to receive this audiobook last year from Penguin Audio and it has been sitting on my “not-sure-whether-or-not-it-is-my-cup-of-tea” shelf.  This is a shelf of audiobooks that sound intriguing but I’m not yet familiar with the author or whether I will like the story.  I go to this shelf when I’m no sure what I want to hear.  Many times I have started a book from this shelf and have been let down and not able to finish the book.  This time around I was not let down and was intrigued throughout the entire book.

     

    The reader of this audiobook, Richard Ferrone, has a unique “gravelly” voice that is at first tough to hear, but after a while he grows on you and his ability to create characters within his vocal limits is surprising.  His voice threw me off and I wasn’t sure whether I could continue listening, but as the story sucked me in, I got used to his voice and even to appreciate the qualities carried in the sound.

     

    As for the story itself, that’s what makes this book.  This novel has one main story running through it but it seems as if the main character of the book, Lucas Davenport of the Minnesota BCA (Bureau of Criminal Apprehension), has several cases going on at one time.  The book opens with Davenport being mugged after his morning jog.  The muggers seem like a couple of meth-heads, but they have done the muggings before and when all is said and done they make off with $500 (which was just pulled from an ATM) from Davenport and breaking his wrist as they knock him down.  He then begins his personal investigation to catch these two low-lifes.

     

    Seeking the help of another cop, another case is receiving the help of Davenport, this one is one of a stolen statue where the priceless statue is believed to be already chopped up and sold for brass scrap.  This is not yet the main case but in helping on this one Davenport gets help to find his muggers.

     

    But wait, that still is not the main plot of this book.  The main plot of this book is revealed when Davenport arrives at a murder scene where a family of four and their two dogs are found brutally murdered.  One of the victims has his fingers chopped off and the digits are used to write a message on the wall in blood, that message; “Were Coming” (no apostrophe).

     

    As it turns out, one or both of the parents are involved in a crime where they are stealing money from a bank account and through many wire transfers laundering the money into gold coins with the help of several techies from a local bank.  This group of nerds have found a way to turn twenty million dollars from a “dirty” account into gold and able to make themselves rich.  The problem is, the account they are stealing from belongs to Los Criminales del Norte, drug lords from Mexico.  The money is drug money and the drug lords do not like someone else holding their money.  The Criminales send hired murderers to Minnesota to retrieve their stolen money.

     

    Davenport begins working this case trying to track down the thieves before the Criminales do and at the same time trying to track down the Criminales thugs.  All this time he is tracking down his muggers and helping track down the statue thieves.

     

    Lots of action and lots of suspense in this novel.  Honestly, I’m thinking Lucas Davenport is way too busy of a man and needs a vacation after this novel alone.  I think I will be checking more of these novels and probably some others from John Sandford.

     
  • gilwilson 11:06 PM on March 19, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , audiobooks, , , , , , , , , , , , ,   

    “Civil War” (Marvel Comics) by Stuart Moore 

    marvelcw

    “Civil War” (Marvel Comics)
    by Stuart Moore
    Multi-cast production
    Produced by Graphic Audio
    Approx 6 hours

    Okay I have to start this review out with a confession. That confession is that I just experienced a six hour nerdgasm. Holy freakin’ cow, this audiobook just rocked my world.

    Now that that is out of the way let explain a few things. I’m a huge Marvel Comics fan and have been for years. What makes me a fan is that all of Marvel’s heroes are realistic. Yes I know super powers aren’t real, but Marvel makes it so that the heroes have everyday problems and how they cope with those problems and fight for what is right is what gives them the everyman experience to which the average reader can relate. Iron Man/Tony Stark struggles with his own alcoholism, Spider-man/Peter Parker has to contend with high school (in the early years) and bullies, the Fantastic Four have family problems and Ben Grimm has to contend with being made of rock, never able to be normal. Being able to relate to the average comic book reader makes Marvel, in my opinion, the most enjoyable comic book publisher around.

    Over a decade ago It was announced that a live-action Spider-man movie was going to be released and when this theatrical magic that was thrust upon us by Sam Raimi hit the theatres I was one of the first in line. Spider-man is my all time favorite, by the way. When the opening movie credits started I wept tears of excitement. Finally, my hero is on the big screen. By the end of the movie I was emotionally drained and pumped up at the same time. Not long after the release of the Spider-man movie I was forced to stop my weekly visits to the comic book store due to an economic downfall on my part and later moving to an area that had no comic book stores. I wasn’t able to go back to reading comics until just about a year ago.

    During my comics hiatus I missed some exciting events in the Marvel universe. One of which was the mega-crossover event that is covered by this novel. The “Civil War” created a major schism between the heroes in the Marvel Universe. This schism is a lot like the events that happened after 9/11 and the following P.A.T.R.I.O.T. A.C.T. in the United States. Where people (heroes in this case) were forced to give up freedom for the nation’s security. After a major accident that occurs with some heroes and leaves a town in New England decimated and over 900 dead, the government decides that superheroes must become registered and screened before they can use their powers. Captain America does not believe that freedom should be surrendered, and Iron Man (who stands to make lots of money selling weapons to Homeland Security in the deal) thinks that this is what must be done to protect innocents. the superheroes are split on this and thus begins the “Civil War.” Those that do not register are hunted down and imprisoned.

    In a curious note, this story can also be related to today’s issue of gun control. Where some events that have taken American lives lead to gun legislation arguments.

    During my comics hiatus I had heard about this crossover and was extremely curious. I can’t say I was too excited because I hate those stories that pit hero vs. hero. But with the political aspect involved I was intrigued to see how each hero would react. I then decided when the chance came up I would find the trade paperbacks of this crossover and read them, this turned out not to be so easy for me. Then I heard a novelization of the event was coming out and I knew I’d be reading that, but just when I heard about the release of the novel I heard that GraphicAudio was going to do an audiobook version of the novel. I was psyched at this point and knew right away I was going to wait for that release. After nearly a year of constantly checking the GraphicAudio website, it was released and to make it even more exciting was offered a review copy. Pure excitement ran through me. Finally, I will hear some of the world’s greatest heroes as portrayed by the excellent productions of GraphicAudio.

    I was first introduced to GraphicAudio about five years ago through a DC comics audiobook. That production blew me away. The fights were all realistic, and the otherworldly sounds that can only happen in sci-fi or comics were so original that It seemed as though they had actually gone to a rift in space and recorded a superhero battle. I then started listening to every comic book audiobook created by GraphicAudio. At the time all they did were DC comics and even though I was a marvel fan I took them all in and just let the “Movie in your Mind” aspect of GraphicAudio wash over me. In fact because of GraphicAudio, when I did start purchasing comics again I picked up some DC comics and gave them a chance where I would have not done before.

    GraphicAudio’s tagline is, “A Movie in your Mind,” and with every single audiobook they produce they deliver. With surreal sound effects and exciting music the illustrated artistry that is the main punch of comic books comes to life with sound. Once you experience this from GraphicAudio you will not be able to listen to an audiobook the same again.

    On top of the excellent ambient sound, GraphicAudio has some of the best voice actors I’ve ever heard. Each actor portraying the heroes in “Civil War” captured every essence of the characters and the plethora of emotions, which really pulled out the basis which makes Marvel my favorite. The actors all related to the characters and made them sound like heroes with the nuance of everyday problems. I was ready to nit pick this aspect, being the big Marvel fan, but there was nothing done wrong. Every hero sounded exactly like I imagined, no wait, strike that, they sounded better than I imagined.

    Once again I was so psyched about this marriage of Marvel and GraphicAudio that, again, I wept with excitement at the opening credits of this audiobook, and even doubly so when Spider-man fought his battles. I’m sure the other drivers in traffic would have thought me crazy if they happened to look over while I was cheering Spidey on in his battle.

    All I can say is, no matter what your preference in comics, audiobooks or escapism, you must go out and get this audiobook and be ready to be blown away.  When this book was over I was physically and emotionally drained, yet pumped up.  Pumped and ready for more.

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  • gilwilson 2:03 PM on February 23, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , audiobooks, , daniel h. pink, , , sales,   

    “To Sell is Human: The Surprising Truth about Moving Others” written and read by Daniel H. Pink 

    Sell-Is-Human-Daniel-H-Pink

    “To Sell is Human: The Surprising Truth about Moving Others”

    written and read by Daniel H. Pink

    Published by Penguin Audio

    Approx. 6 hours

     

    Sales, just the thought of the word always gave me the heebie-jeebies. My long career in radio has allowed me to work alongside pretty much all types of what we lovingly refer to as sales-weasels. I’ve always thought that they were a completely different species (homo salesians?). I’ve worked with the best and the worst, the one who is your friend and confidant until the sale is done, and ones who are none stop sales pitch in every aspect of their speech. The sales force is necessary in all aspects of business, but definitely not for me, right? Well according to the latest book by Daniel H. Pink, one in nine Americans work in sales, and so do the other eight.

     

    In today’s age of information, the sales person’s method has changed. The example of car salesmen is the best proof. There was a day when a consumer would go onto a car lot and basically be at the mercy of the sales force. The salesman had all the information and the consumer had to rely on them for the truth. Today any consumer can go online shop for prices look for similar models available at other dealerships and go in fully armed. The consumer now guides the sales process.

     

    Whether you are pitching and idea to a colleague, enticing funders to invest in your project or teachers convincing children to study, we are all in sales now. Daniel Pink teaches in his latest book the science and art of selling. He shows how the old salesman stereotype is outdated and that the extroverted pushy sales person today will not make the sales, rather, what makes the sale is one who is able to be empathetic, and a good combination of the extrovert and introvert.

     

    Throughout the book (which is formed in the style of a textbook, with the concepts through the chapters and practice exercises at the end of each chapter) Pink demonstrates through examples in real life and through the social sciences how you can become a better modern day salesperson. The “ABCs” of sales is no long “Always Be Closing,” but rather “Attuned, buoyant and Clear.” Each concept is explained through the book.

     

    Pink even offers new sales pitch formats in this enlightening book. Some of the pitches he pitches are; the Rhyming Pitch, The Question Pitch and others.

     

    All the information about selling yourself or a product in today’s information age can be found in this book. This book is not just for sales people, I would recommend this book to parents, teachers, bloggers, well actually to everyone. I was just curious about the book and requested to review it from Penguin because of my job’s close dealings with sales people, but by the end of the book I found several ways to improve my own daily functions in my job and home life.

     

    The author, Daniel H. Pink, also reads the audiobook and from hearing this one book from him, I would say he is a great lecturer and teacher. His delivery kept the information interesting and at times entertaining. His sincerity and enthusiasm for the subject is clearly heard through his delivery and actually becomes contagious. I don’t think I’m going to go out and join my radio station’s sales team, but I will be able to offer ideas and even help my career move along.

     

     
  • gilwilson 8:49 PM on February 8, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , audiobooks, , , , , , , , , , , ,   

    “The Walking Dead: The Road to Woodbury” by Robert Kirkman and Jay Bonansinga 

    roadtowoodbury

    “The Walking Dead: The Road to Woodbury”
    by Robert Kirkman and Jay Bonansinga
    read by Fred Berman
    Published by MacMillan Audio
    Running time: 10 hours

    For the year 2013, I’m declaring February Zombie month. This is the month when the phenomenal TV series, “The Walking Dead” starts back up to finish up season 3 this month, I have just caught up to issue #106 of the comic book series and I have just finished listening to the second audiobook written as a companion to the series. I am ready for more zombies.

    The two novels written in this series coincide with the comic books and not the TV series. The first novel was “Rise of the Governor” and the sequel to that novel is this one “The Road to Woodbury.” Both novels follow the stories of two characters that were introduced early in the comic book series. The first one covered the Governor and how he became leader of the settlement called Woodbury. In the comics the Governor is much more brutal than the one portrayed in the TV series, at least so far. This time around we are told the backstory of Lilly and in part, that of a lesser characters, Bob and Martinez. In the comics Lilly is the one that puts a bullet into the head of the Governor after the attack on the prison. At first those only knowing “The Walking Dead” through the TV series may see this as a spoiler, but anyone that has read the comics knows, the TV series has branched off in directions that stray a bit from the comic book storyline enough that the TV series can go anywhere and it’s anyone’s guess as to what will happen.

    The bulk of this novel is the development of the character of Lilly. When I read the comics I didn’t think too much about her character. In fact, I considered her pretty much a lesser character, but with a major role. Someone had to kill the Governor, really he had to die, so she was chosen. Apparently she was enough of a character for Robert Kirkman and Jay Bonansinga to tell her story, and I’m glad she was. This book is a great survival story like all of the stories from all forms of “The Walking Dead” multimedia experience, but what made this novel even better for me was zombie clowns and circus performers. More on the zombie clowns later.

    Before I summarize the meat of this book, I’ve got to first talk about the reader, Fred Berman. Mr. Berman does an outstanding job of bringing this book to life. Not only does he provide each character a voice, but he is able to make all the emotions and actions of the characters come out in their voices. At times it nearly seems like this is a multi-cast performance. This book is a full audio experience thanks to the voice talents of Fred Berman.

    “The Road to Woodbury” starts out with a group of survivors setting up a tent village putting together all their efforts to stave off the zombie apocalypse. The center of this makeshift survivor campground is a circus big top tent, left behind when the plague hit. Now, if you are like me, then you probably see the problem with this from the start. I had to wonder what was going on, why on Earth would anyone think a tent village would be safe in a zombie apocalypse? The flaw is soon discovered when a herd of zombies attack and some children, which were under the care of Lilly are under attack, while most of the others in the group are out scavenging for food and supplies. Lilly manages to save three of the four, but when the oldest of the kids gets spooked and runs away, she soon meets her demise under the chomping teeth of zombies.

    The father of the children becomes distraught and begins beating on Lilly, breaking some ribs and fracturing her jaw, seeing this, a man who is somewhat of a love interest, Josh Lee Hamilton, comes to her rescue and beats up the man. The problem is that all of Josh’s pent up frustrations come out and he kills the man. The people in the tent village discuss this and decide to exile Josh. Lilly is furious with this and while in no condition to do anything, she decides to leave with Josh. Possibly seeing what is to come, Lilly’s high school friend and her boyfriend, a stoner couple who spend the apocalypse getting high, decide to go with them. Also deciding to leave is former Marine medic, now never sober, Bob Stookey.

    The group of 5 leave the tent village and find an abandoned gas station. Josh and Lilly head out scavenging for food, actually Josh has in mind to hunt down one of the many deer in the area, when a herd of deer are spooked their direction, fleeing from something the deer run right past the two humans, soon Josh and Lilly discover the horror that has the deer spooked. It is at this moment that the creepiest scene in any zombie story ever occurs. The zombified members of the circus which the members of the village were using the big top tent, is leading a herd of undead heading straight for Josh. The authors describe in detail the characters that are now flesh eating zombies from this circus. There are clown zombies, the fat lady zombie, acrobat and contortionist zombies and many more. Just take a circus and freak show from the early days of touring circuses and turn all its members into zombies and have them travelling in a herd toward the survivors. Yes it gets creepy.

    Later, while regrouping and trying to decide what to do next, the tent village seems to come under attack. Not knowing what is going on but seeing the flames and hearing the noise from the tent village it can’t be good. A couple of vehicles approach the gas station as they are fleeing from the village, but do not stop and ram into the station destroying the outcasts’ shelter.

    This sends the outcasts on the road again and after walking dead encounters they come across an abandoned Wal-Mart superstore. Gathering what is left of the looted store for survival supplies the group is confronted by a group of men. The leader of the men, Martinez, tells the group of a town that is full of survivors working together to ensure they all survive. Thinking this too good to be true, but tired of being on the road the group follows the men to Woodbury and meet the Governor.

    The group discovers that Woodbury is not all it seems to be. An evil is lurking beneath the town and at the cost of lives the Governor is becoming more and more brutal.

    Along with the book “Rise of the Governor,” “The Road to Woodbury,” is a great addition in the world of “The Walking Dead.” Whether you are a fan of the comics, the TV series or both these books should be added to your must read now list.

     
    • Tommy 8:33 PM on February 10, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Any idea when the 3rd book is coming out? I am about halfway through the second book and I am going to be sad when I can’t finish the series…

      Like

      • gilwilson 12:15 AM on February 11, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        Haven’t heard much about when…but did hear it was going to be a side story not a “prequel”

        Like

  • gilwilson 1:43 PM on February 2, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , audiobooks, , , , , , , ,   

    “The Devil — With Wings” by L. Ron Hubbard 

    devil with wings

    “The Devil — With Wings”
    by L. Ron Hubbard
    Full cast production
    produced by Galaxy Audio
    Approx 2 hours

     
    Originally published in the pulp magazine, “Five Novels Monthly” in November of 1937. This story is one of the reasons that pulp fiction magazines were the father to comic books. In actuality I would relate this story to many of the heroes created in the Marvel Comics universe. Marvel Comics is responsible for many superheroes that have ordinary problems but extraordinary powers. Take Peter Parker for example, high school nerd picked on by bullies and just trying to make it through life, when he gets bitten by a radio-active spider his new super powers are great for fighting crime, but he can’t let anyone know his secret so the bullies continue to dish it out and he continues to take it. In this story we have a hero who can’t cut a break. He is feared by the Japanese as he has waged his own personal war on behalf of the Chinese.

    The setting is 1930s China and the Chinese have launched attacks against the Japanese. Many of these attacks are attributed to a British airman named, Forsyth, “The Devil with Wings.” Some of the stories my be propaganda and hype but some are true and Forsythe doesn’t do any thing to stop the rumors, if anything he propagates the propaganda by the costume he wears, the all black costume consists of, aviator hood with oval eye lenses, black gauntlets, black high boots. If you ask me, I’d say that L. Ron Hubbard created the precursor to the modern-day vigilante superhero.

    Forsythe gets the credit for raining down terror on the Japanese, but there is one credit he doesn’t want. That is the death of an American scientist. To prove his innocence he must seek the help of the scientist’s sister. If she doesn’t kill “The Devil” first he will not only prove his innocence but deliver a blow to the Japanese that will be another notch in the belt of “The Devil with Wings.”

    As is true with all of the audiobooks I’ve heard from Galaxy Audio, this one puts the listener smack dab in the middle of the action. The great sound effects and music keeps you on the edge of your seat and the superb voice work brings these over-the-top characters to life. For the most entertaining two hours in your life grab any of these Stories from the Golden Age from the master storyteller L. Ron Hubbard and Galaxy Audio.

     
  • gilwilson 9:51 PM on January 16, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , audiobooks, , , dirk cussler, , high seas adventure, , , rare earth, , submarines   

    “Poseidon’s Arrow” Book #22 in the Dirk Pitt Series by Clive Cussler and Dirk Cussler 

    poseidonsarrow

    “Poseidon’s Arrow”
    Book #22 in the Dirk Pitt Series
    by Clive Cussler and Dirk Cussler
    Read by Scott Brick
    Published by Penguin Audio
    Approx 13 hours

    I have to start this review off by saying; I have never before read a Clive Cussler novel. Yes, this was my first Cussler novel and I now have to admit, this guy can write a thriller. If all his novels are like this, (which I’ll be finding out soon) this is the author to go to when you want a non-stop, action hero, suspense story. This book not only kept me on the edge of my seat, but while listening to the audiobook while commuting to and from work I kept having to take my foot off the accelerator pedal because I would get so caught up in the action I would find myself driving 65 or 70 mph on a rural highway marked for  55 mph.

    I have had several people tell me I would like Cussler, but I’ve never been completely sold on the idea. I saw the movie “Sahara,” which was based on the Cussler novel of the same name but was not really impressed. Maybe that is why I have never tackled one of his novels. With that in mind you may wonder what made me want to give this latest novel from Clive Cussler a listen. When Penguin Audio sent out their list of new releases I saw this novel listed and at first just skimmed over it but when I saw who was doing the reading of the book, I did a double take and put the book on my list.

    There are many audiobook readers that I really enjoy hearing and this book’s reader, Scott Brick is one. I think the main reason I like Scott Brick is that through his voice alone it can sound like a multicast performance. Brick is able to present each character vocally in such a manner that there is no question as to who is speaking and when. Brick’s vocal talent not only can let the listener know the difference between character’s voices but he is also able to bring out the emotions and intensity of the story through his voice. I’ve heard him read science-fiction, murder mystery and now an action/suspense story and I will definitely be keeping him in my top 5 audiobook readers. If nothing else, he definitely sold me on this story and made me want to seek out other books by Clive Cussler.

    If you are a fan already of Cussler then you probably know about Cussler’s way of weaving several subplots together into one big story and by the end of the book they all come together to form the story. I did not know this and just thought it was unique to this story, but after doing some research before writing this review, i realized this is his way of working. That is also another reason I am going to be reading some more from Clive Cussler. It was really interesting to hear sections introduced that didn’t seem to have anything to do with the main story but as the book came along they all fit in perfectly.

    “Poseidon’s Arrow” opens up with three events that seem unrelated; one is of a rare earth mineral mining company being blown up by what seems to be terrorists another event takes place during World War II onboard an Italian Submarine working for the German army under attack and sinking. Finally the third event is that the U.S. Navy has just unveiled an experimental submarine that even the President is just finding out about. This sub is a completely different design which uses an undetectable engine that is capable of propelling the sub underwater at a couple of hundred knots and stealth underwater technology that makes this sub a threat to any nation. These events do eventually fit into the story but before that all happens we have to be introduced to the hero of the story, Dirk Pitt.

    In this book the intro to the hero finds him and his wife enjoying some time on the ocean. As Dirk dives down for a couple of lobsters for dinner, a wayward cargo ship is on a course to collide with his boat, his wife signals him by tapping out a crude S.O.S. as he comes out of the water he sees the ship and realizes it is too late to maneuver out of its way so he and his wife dive into the water and fight to avoid being sucked into the ship’s propeller. When they surface they find their boat intact and race to keep the ship from doing further damage. Seeing that the ship is unmanned and on a collision course with a cruise ship, Dirk rams his boat into the ship’s rudder to make it change course.

    Once the ship is grounded a new mystery is uncovered. The ships rare earth minerals cargo is mostly missing and there are dead crew members onboard, and so the adventure begins.  From this point on hang on to your seat, because this thrillride doesn’t stop until the end of the book.

    When a rich mine owner wants to destroy America he does so not with bombs but by piracy on the high seas. In a series of ships gone missing, all carrying rare earth minerals, the murder of a man who has the only plans for a new design of a stealth submarine, and the destruction of an American mining site, all signs point to the mine owner and it is up to Dirk Pitt, with the help of some federal agents to solve this mystery and stop the collapse of the world’s supply of rare earth minerals and the theft of one of America’s greatest secrets in submarine technology.

    This high seas and even some land-locked adventure is a thrill-a-second ride that will keep your rooting for the good guys and on the edge of your seat for the entire book. Dirk Pitt is the action hero we’ve always wanted.

     
  • gilwilson 3:38 PM on January 5, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: asperger's syndrome, , , , audiobooks, , , , , , ,   

    “Colin Fischer” by Ashley Edward Miller & Zack Stentz 

    colin-fischer-audiobook

    “Colin Fischer”
    by Ashley Edward Miller & Zack Stentz
    Read by Jesse Eisenberg
    Published by Penguin Audio
    Running time: 4 hrs, 16 mins.

    I think that this book had “too big to fail” written all over it, it’s got an Oscar nominated actor reading the audiobook, it is written by two people who were the screenwriters for “Thor” and “X-men: First Class,” a hero with Asperger’s Syndrome and a facial expression guide on the cover of the hard copy version. What could go wrong? Well, absolutely nothing. This book is a big win and once again proves that Young Adult readers always get the best books aimed at their age group.

    Penguin Audio listed this book as one of their upcoming releases and the first thing that grabbed me was the authors listed. Being a comic book fan, this got my attention immediately then seeing that this was a an older version of Encyclopedia Brown with some Sherlock Holmes thrown in made it that much more interesting. Then throw in that the main character, Colin Fisher, has Asperger’s Syndrome, I knew it would be not only very interesting but fulfilling and I immediately requested a copy.

    Recently the BBC did two seasons of a television series version of Sherlock Holmes, “Sherlock”, which explained that the genius behind the deductive reasoning of the famous detective was due to having Asperger’s Syndrome. Asperger’s Syndrome is an autism spectrum disorder that is characterized by significant difficulties in social interaction, alongside restricted and repetitive patterns of behavior and interests. In this book many aspects of Asperger’s syndrome are observed in Colin that are humorous, those are: he has a vicious dislike for the color blue, he cannot stand to be touched, he needs index cards to recognize facial expressions and does not get humor. These all combine in Colin Fisher to create a very quirky genius detective.

    It’s Colin’s first day in High School and he feels he’s armed for the worst, with his notebook for jotting down observations, his collection of cards with various facial expressions and his intellect. But that all goes to pot (literally) within the first few minutes when his nemesis, Wayne Connelly dunks Colin’s head in the toilet. So much for High School being different.

    Some things have changed however, Colin’s nerdy female friend returns from the summer having had the full effect of puberty hit head on. In other words; she left middle school a nerd, but comes to high school as a hotty. Throughout Colin’s school life she has always been a friend to him. When her friends bring her a cake to school to celebrate her birthday, the school’s peaceful atmosphere is forever shattered when a gun is fired amid a scuffle between boys wanting to get some of the cake.

    The gun is found on the cafeteria floor with a smudge of frosting by Colin, to which he simply replies, “Interesting,” while all of the other student’s run out of the cafeteria in fear for their lives. The school officials immediately put the blame on Wayne Connelly, but Colin knows better and sets out to prove his nemesis’ innocence.

    Putting the powers of Asperger’s Syndrome to work, Colin is able to find the real owner of the gun and create some humorous situations that can only happen to Colin. One of the fun things about this audiobook is that whenever a situation arises that needs further explanation or just that something reminds Colin of a fact he knows, there are footnotes. In the production of this book all footnotes and Colin’s journal entries are produced with a slight reverb-type effect that gives the listener the feel that this occurs within Colin’s brain. Nice production trick that makes this book very interesting. By the way, there are several footnotes that range from in depth explanations of Asperger’s Syndrome, the doctor for whom the syndrome is named after, various logical thinkers in history and fiction and sharks.

    Speaking of the production, Jesse Eisenberg (who starred in “Zombieland” and “The Social Network”) narrates the audiobook and in my opinion has the vocal fortitude and acting talent to bring the character of Colin to life. He is able to deliver parts of the story with the proper emotional level and yet,when portraying Colin, is able to be the non-emotional Asperger’s Syndrome personality that makes Colin tick.

    All in all this is an extremely fun book for all ages, to prove that, I had the audiobook playing during one of my family’s out of town shopping adventures, and everyone in the car; my 12 year-old son, my wife and myself were quite and absorbed by the story. This was yet another audiobook which my son would not let me listen to unless he was present. We all had a blast with this story, and from the way the book ended with a hint of ongoing adventures, look forward to many more Colin Fisher stories.

     
    • Lucy 10:36 PM on January 5, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      I thought this book was really fun too, and I loved Jesse Eisenberg’s narration. That’s great that your whole family could enjoy listening to it with you!

      Like

  • gilwilson 8:24 PM on January 4, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , audiobooks, conservation, , galapagos, , , ,   

    “Tooth and Claw” by Michael Hollinger 

    toothclaw“Tooth and Claw”
    by Michael Hollinger
    Multi-cast performance
    Produced by L.A. Theatre Works
    Approx. 2 hours

    When it comes to audio entertainment I have four sources that I can go to to make sure I can find a good story. Countless times I’ve started an audiobook and just couldn’t stay interested and each time that happens I get frustrated and have to go to one of those sources so that I can be reminded that there are good audiobooks available. L.A. Theatre Works is one of those sources.

    L.A. Theatre Works produces live performances of plays that range from the classic to the modern and every time they feature a cast that is superb. With these live performances LATW also takes the time and effort to produce audio versions of these plays. The recordings are so expertly produced that while listening to the performance, as a reader, you are transported into the middle of the audience. All musical cues, sound effects and every dialogue are produced so that the attention to detail shows in that every single thing is heard clearly.

    This time around I picked out the play “Tooth and Claw,” not because I was interested in the subject matter, but simply because I knew, no matter what, I would get a great story from L.A. Theatre Works and yes I was right. This production was yet another performance where the acting and production kept me interested and entertained.
    “Tooth and Claw” is a contemporary drama based on actual events, biologist Schuyler Baines (portrayed by Cynthia Watros of “Lost”) arrives in the Galapagos Islands to run the Darwin Research Center. When she becomes aware of an exploding black market in sea cucumbers threatening to destroy the islands’ fragile ecosystem, Schuyler shuts the industry down, sparking a deadly, survival-of-the-fittest conflict with native fishermen.

    “Tooth and Claw” becomes a compelling exploration of evolution, extinction and the ever-present nature of Darwin’s “struggle for life.” In the 1990s, the indigenous fisherman (pepineros) of the Galapagos Islands were pitted against environmentalists over the issue of harvesting sea cucumbers, both the primary source of income for the pepineros and an essential part of the food chain for sea tortoises. The fisherman subsequently revolted and slaughtered the endangered tortoises in protest. Even now, the conflict continues with the fisherman in search of shark fins and sea cucumbers for Asian markets, unmindful of conservation efforts. “Tooth and Claw” looks not just at the survival of the fittest, whether human, animal or flora, but at the less obvious clash between science and conservation.

    A very intriguing story and an excellent performance both combine to make this a great way to spend two hours.

     
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