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  • gilwilson 3:34 PM on March 28, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , book lovers, books, gabrielle zevin, , ,   

    Audiobook Review: “The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry” by Gabrielle Zevin 

    fickry

    Audiobook Review: “The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry”
    by Gabrielle Zevin
    Read by Scott Brick
    Published by Highbridge Audio
    approx 7 hours

    I have always loved books. I used to look forward to the “Weekly Reader” news back in grade school so I could beg my mom to order more books. I would constantly scout yard sales in search of a book that would strike my fancy. For the most part my tastes ran in the Sci-fi and Horror genres. I hated the books that I was made to read (at least until I was older and could actually appreciate them). I once attended a high school in Oregon that each semester the student chose the classes and one semester there was a reading class. This class was unique in that it wasn’t assigned reading, but rather books the students chose. We’d spend that hour of the day reading, we kept track of the daily pages read to show progress, and as we finished each book we would discuss with the teacher on a one-on-one basis the book and what our next book choice would be. I loved those discussions, the teacher seemed to have read almost everything and each session the teacher would always steer me toward another book in that area, but I would still choose my own. During that semester I read, “Night of the Living Dead” (I was testing the limits with this), “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” “On the Road,” “Flowers for Algernon” and a couple of Stephen King novels.

    This freedom allowed me to branch out from my horror and sci-fi novels and find other fun books. The problem was I was only at that school for one semester and soon moved on to being assigned, “Moby Dick,” “Catcher in the Rye” and the rest that everyone “must” read. While in the Navy I was constantly reading every chance I could, which there were many chances when out to sea. What this all boils down to is that reading is a major part of my life and has become even more so in my later adult years, now I can again read whatever I want, and with the addition of audiobooks into my selections, I absorb books at an even higher pace. This book by Gabrielle Zevin is written just for me. Okay, maybe not specifically for me but people like me. In “The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry,” Zevin has shown how books are not only a major part of peoples lives but how each person’s life is like a collection of books and makes it fun to connect people with books. Even better is that this book not only shows why we read but why people come and go in our lives and why we love them and love in general. The book is full of literary references that are just as fun to discover as the listening to the audiobook itself.

    I chose the audiobook version of this book for several reasons, but the main reason was that it was read by Scott Brick. Scott Brick is one of my favorite audiobook narrators. I’ve always enjoyed his readings because he is able to capture all the emotions and characters of every book he reads. This book, however, had even more of a pull, in that the press release had a quote from Brick stating that this book is one that made him cry. Knowing that Scott Brick has read thousands of books for the audiobook market, one would think he would be immune to those sad moments while reading. Without giving any spoilers, I would say that I could hear the moment that hit him hardest. Brick was perfect in the reading of this book and along with him, I found myself tearing up through out.

    A.J. Fickry is a grumpy old bookstore owner. He has recently lost his wife to an auto accident, which he blames himself for. Her loss has made A.J. even grumpier. A.J. has a rare copy of “Tamerlane” by Edgar Allen Poe, and plans on selling that at auction and moving off of Alice Island. One morning after waking up hungover, A.J. discovers the book missing. After months of investigation the book is never recovered and A.J. must continue running the bookstore.

    What happens next turns A.J.’s life around and he discovers the answers to several of life’s mysterys. A young woman leaves her baby in the children’s books section of the bookstore and tells A.J. through a note attached that she wants her daughter to grow up well read. The woman’s body later washes up onshore leaving more of a mystery. At first A.J. is confused and annoyed, after all what is he going to do with a baby? A.J. soon grows fond of the two year-old with a surprising vocabulary, and works to get her adopted.

    The rest of the book is about learning about life and love through A.J. and his living through his daughter, Mia Tamerlane Fickry. The many lessons learned involve the differences of race and how people perceive that, how love comes to you when you least expect it, and the meaning of life. If you are ready for a book that runs the entire emotional gamut that is life. At the end of the book you can’t help but feel satisfied with just having read / listened to a great story and peek into someone’s life. All told through the shared experiences of books, book discussions, book clubs and A.J. Fickry pick out the books for his shelf.

    If you have ever made friends with a book this one will easily become your new best friend.

     

     

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  • gilwilson 3:00 PM on December 22, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , bbc 4, , , books, , , , j.r.r. tolkien, , the hobbit   

    “The Hobbit” by J.R.R. Tolkien (a radio performance from AudioGo) 

    300x300

    “The Hobbit”
    by J.R.R. Tolkien
    Full Cast Performance
    Published by AudioGO Ltd
    Running Time: 4hrs

    Okay, first off the first thing that will come to many of my loyal readers’ attention is the length of this audiobook, 4 hours. 4 hours for “The Hobbit”? that’s insane. I know, I know, but this isn’t simply “The Hobbit” audiobook. This is a performance originally aired on BBC 4 radio. The audiobook runs 11 hours or so and this one I am reviewing has been abridged to fit on a radio series format and is now being released as an audio performance by AudioGo. The movie that is about to be released is just under 3 hours, so you know some abridging is being done there as well.

    This performance originally aired in 1968 and features some special effects that are very typical of BBC effects, the voices of the goblins and trolls are very similar to the voices of the Daleks from the Doctor Who TV series, and add a bit of charm to the production. The rest of the performance is very nice to hear. I will have to admit I would have preferred cutting out the music in and music out between each half hour, but that was the original intent in this weekly broadcast so to remain historically accurate it is kept in this audiobook.

    I have read “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Ring” series numerous times in my life and love the adventures and found this audiobook/performance a great addition to my readings. In fact with the movie released I found this to be the perfect refresher before going to see the movie.

    So, if you keep in mind that this is an abridged radio series performance of “The Hobbit,” you’ll be set for an adventure with Bilbo Baggins and the Dwarves to battle the Dragon, Smaug, and simply enjoy the performance. The fun part of this performance is that for the radio production the producers/writers added in what could be taken for an extra character of “The Tale Bearer” or simply put, the narrator. The fun part is that as he is telling the story Bilbo is constantly interjecting with embellishments to the story.

    The story is still the same; Bilbo Baggins a Hobbit from the Shire is unwittingly recruited as a “burglar”, a title which Bilbo is not comfortable with at first. Bilbo is needed to assist the Dwarves on a journey to reclaim their ancestral lands and treasures under a mountain. Other than the long journey, the hazardous part is that the treasure is guarded by a dragon named Smaug and many other races from Middle Earth also wish to possess that treasure. The journey, the battles and the variety of mythical creatures all combine to make this a classic fantasy, and this performance is a great addition to the story.

    So if you are looking for a refresher in the fantasy created by J.R.R. Tolkien, a brief introduction to the story, or just a fun time, give this audiobook version of the radio performance of “The Hobbit” from AudioGo a listen.

     
  • gilwilson 3:40 PM on December 8, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , books, , , , john shea, jonathan tropper, , musician, , ,   

    “One Last Thing Before I Go” by Jonathan Tropper 

    onelastthing

    “One Last Thing Before I Go”
    by Jonathan Tropper
    read by John Shea
    Published by Penguin Audio
    Approx. 8.5 hours

    I wasn’t really sure what I was getting into when I picked this audiobook to be my next to hear. Sure the synopsis on the cover tells of Drew Silver, a drummer formerly with a one hit wonder band, who is struggling to get by after a failed career and a failed marriage, is confronted with a life or death situation opts out of the life portion. I thought really I was going to hear an audiobook about a former rock star’s romp through his days as if they were his last. I couldn’t have been any more wrong. What this book turned out to be is an emotional romp through life and its many surprises.

    Let me start out by talking about the reader, John Shea, his voicing of Silver, subject of all this life affirming novel, is beautiful. Silver is pretty much a laid back person, who knows he’s screwed up a good chunk of his life and is ready to move on, but Silver has a deeper part of his psyche that John Shea is able to bring out in this performance. Shea not only brings Silver to full three-dimensional life but is also able to deliver the audiobook and all its characters to the listener in such a dynamic that pulls them into the story and won’t let them escape. All the emotions in this book, which pretty much runs the gamut of human emotions, are brought to life through the expert vocalizations of John Shea.

    The surprising part of this book is the use of wit and humor to get through some of the toughest events that are emotionally trying. While the humor is not laugh out loud funny, although, there are some of those moments, it is just the right amount to make these characters come to life and be much more real and, well, human. Jonathan Tropper is able to create the dialogue that never seems fake or contrived. All conversations are very real and when dealing with the situations the characters are put through feel very natural.

    Some examples of the emotional ups and downs are when one of Silver’s friends admits he’s been going through chemo without telling anyone for weeks and then wishing he had a relationship with his son, Silver and friends take him on a road trip to try to take amends. On the road trip they find out the reason the friend is estranged from his son is that he slept with his son’s fiance, now wife. All the twists and turns in the story come out to an ending that leaves you guessing and yet feeling fulfilled.

    The gist of the story is that Silver, former drummer for the Bent Daisies, is struggling through life. The Bent Daisies had one hit, which Silver wrote, and then the lead singer strikes out for a solo career and becomes very successful. In the meantime, Silver gets by, barely, on his royalty checks, playing in wedding bands and for bar/bat mitzvahs, and by donating sperm for scientific experiments.

    Silver also has failed at being a husband and father and after 15 years of living as a divorce in an apartment full of mopey older divorced men, he’s become pretty cynical. His wife is about to marry a man who Silver can’t seem to make himself hate, he tries, but he knows this guy, a Surgeon is good for his ex-wife and daughter. His daughter, Casey, who has never really been a part of his life, due to his own fault, comes to him in a time of need. She’s 18 and pregnant. She tells him before she tells her mother, because she cares less about letting him down. After some heartfelt discussion, he agrees to be there for her no matter what decision she makes.

    Casey decides on an abortion and Silver takes her to the clinic, just as they are filling out papers and waiting, Silver suffers a stroke. Before I talk more about the story, I have to say that Jonathan Tropper’s description and all of Silver’s inner dialogue are pure genius in giving an outsider a view of what is going on in Silver’s mind at the time. In fact all through the book Silver’s inner dialogue (which due to the stroke become accidentally spoken aloud) are beautiful descriptions of the past present and future for Silver.

    Silver wakes in the hospital with Casey worrying over him. As he awakens the doctor, who also happens to be his ex-wife’s fiance, explains that he has a tear in his aorta and that the stroke was caused by the clot from this tear loosening and hitting the brain. Silver needs an operation to repair the tear or he will die soon. Silver says that’s all fine, but he won’t be taking the surgery. This is when everything goes haywire. Silver begins voicing all his thoughts aloud, constantly stating his fears and regrets aloud. Silver decides to make the best of the rest of his short life, but the rest of his family are set to convince him to get the surgery. Silver’s father, a Rabbi, asks why does he choose death, to which Silver replies, “It’s not that I choose death, it’s just that I don’t choose life.”

    Through some strange misadventures and life affirming events Silver finds what in his life he’s been missing, and not until the very end do we find out whether or not he will take the surgery and even then it’s an insightful end. Poignant, witty, heartbreaking and uplifting all at the same time is what makes this book a great read.

     
  • gilwilson 9:26 PM on December 4, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , books, , , , , , , , , ,   

    “The Dive Bomber” by L. Ron Hubbard 

    thedivebomberaudiobook

    “The Dive Bomber”
    by L. Ron Hubbard
    Multi-cast performance
    produced by Galaxy Audio
    Approx 2 hours.

    There are so many things to love about these audio releases from Galaxy Audio. I’ll try to touch on all of them, at least all the things that make these stories from the Golden Age my favorite. But, before I do that I need to explain a bit about these stories.

    During the middle of the 20th century, America was treated to short stories by many writers in many genres in the pulp magazine publications. These magazines were nicknamed pulps due to the cheap paper used in printing where the pulp could be seen and felt in the paper. This enabled the publishers to sell them for cheap, usually around a nickel a copy. There were many titles to choose from and many genres. There was science fiction, fantasy, detective stories, westerns and adventures of all sorts. L. Ron Hubbard wrote for all the genres and was one of the most prolific pulp writers.

    Audio Press and Audio Galaxy are releasing all these Hubbard pulp stories on a regular basis and are keeping true to the pulp fiction era. With the printed books they have the pulpy feel but the covers are a sturdier stock so they will look good on the shelf and can withstand multiple readings. The audiobooks are where I fell in love with these classic stories. Each book released is also released in audiobook form and the CDs have the same artwork as the books. The artwork on all the books is a great representation of the over the top graphics from the original pulps.

    What makes the audiobooks so great is the superb production behind each one. The books are not merely read to the listener, instead Galaxy Audio has brought back that old-time radio thriller genre from the same time period as the pulps. Everything from the narration to the character acting is so well done that as a listener you will feel as though you are in the middle of the story standing next to the over the top characters created by Hubbard.

    In each production there is a full cast performance by some excellent voices that are able to capture each character perfectly. The sound effects keep the story rolling and help the listener get lost in the story and the music keeps the mood flowing as the change in chapters or stories come in.

    The books can range from novellas to several short stories which come together to make a nice pulp fiction book or a two-hour performance. This book, “The Dive Bomber” is a single story or novella and is full of some great air adventures which will keep you on the edge of your seat through the entire story.

    Originally published in the July, 1937 issue of “Five Novels Monthly,” and tells the story of daredevil pilot, Lucky Martin. Lucky has designed a new bomber plane that the Navy is interested in. The only problem is that, during each test run, the plane crashes. When a representative of a foreign nation approaches Lucky to purchase the design, Lucky turns him down. With all the crashes the Navy determines the design is flawed and that they will not be purchasing the planes. This could ruin Lucky, once again the representative approaches but this time when Lucky turns him down the foreign powers flex their might by kidnapping Lucky’s girlfriend and threatening him to finish. Lucky will never allow his design to go to a potential enemy and will do everything he can to save his girl, and his plane.

    Daring test flights, air battles and sabotage make this story an adventure to not be missed.

     
  • gilwilson 11:18 PM on November 14, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , books, , fringe, haven, , , , wreck-it ralph   

    True Hideaway Geeks #23 “Terror in the Neighborhood” 

    True Hideaway Geeks #23 “Terror in the Neighborhood”.

    This week Gil T. & Shawn discuss more nerdy stuff, such as Marvel Avengers Alliance social game, Arrow, Revolution, Fringe, Haven, Wreck-it Ralph and more nerdy stuff.

     
  • gilwilson 2:37 PM on November 10, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , books, , , , no man's land, , the joker   

    “Batman: No Man’s Land” by Greg Rucko 

    “Batman: No Man’s Land”
    by Greg Rucko
    Full Cast Performance
    Produced by Graphic Audio
    Total Running time approx. 11 hours (separated in two volumes)

    It never ceases to amaze me as to how GraphicAudio brings audiobooks alive. Their thrilling sound effects, outstanding voice actors and incidental music truly create what they call “A Movie in Your Mind.” I’m an avid comic book reader and I have read novelizations of comic books. The thing with comic books is that you have great artwork helping to push the story along and when reading a comic based novel the reader has to use that imagination to fill in the graphics. It can lead to some great adventures because the imagination has no boundaries. However, some of the best features of comic books are the beautifully drawn panels of the heroes in action. When reading one of the novels I miss those features. GraphicAudio has produced many different genres of full cast production audiobooks, but my favorites by them by far are the comic book based productions.

    Through the great acting, sound effects and music, GraphicAudio fills in the gaps left behind by not having that stunning artwork. For example, in this novel when the Joker slaps a victim with a rubber-chicken filled with a hard substance you not only get the slam of the impact that is so real you nearly feel just listening, but you also get the sound of a cracked jaw and some comical sound effects that would naturally have to occur when the Joker is involved. Very realistic sound effects are not the only thing that keeps this (and other GraphicAudio productions) aurally stunning, there are also the great actors doing the voice work. Each actor playing their part is able to fully engulf the character whether it is Commissioner Gordon, Huntress, Oracle, Nightwing, Robin or the Dark Knight himself each character is portrayed by an actor that is able to fully represent the full impact of the character through audio only. Everything is represented in the voices in this production, emotions, the back story of each character and the thoughts behind the words are all brought to life through the extremely talented voices.

    My favorite from this story has to be the actor portraying the Joker. One of the difficulties in bringing to a performance a well known character that the listener/fan already has a preconceived notion as to how that character sounds. With the Joker many great actors have brought the Joker to life through television or the movies, Ceasar Romero, Jack Nicholson, Heath Ledger and in the animations Mark Hamill a dedicated fan will probably have their favorite and will always compare that voice to any newcomers. Richard Rohan the actor who portrays the Joker in this production captures all those great Joker performances and wraps them up into one superb package that has now become my favorite Joker. To top that off Rohan also does the voice for Bruce Wayne/Batman and at no time in the performance can you tell it’s the same actor.

    So what’s this book all about? I will say it is one of the most interesting Batman storylines I’ve read. It contains a huge mix of Superhero action, loyalty, friends and family. This story mixes in some great Batman villains such as, the Joker, Harley Quinn, the Penguin and Two-face, some great heroes Batman, Robin, Nightwing, Batgirl, the Oracle and even a bit of an anti-hero in the Huntress. So yes, this book is pretty much a who’s who of Gotham City. Putting all those characters together and then throwing in an appearance of Superman’s arch-rival, Lex Luthor, and you have an awesome story of crime and community in “Batman: No Man’s Land.”

    After an earthquake hits Gotham City, leaving thousands dead and millions more wounded, the U.S. Government decides it cannot throw away anymore money at the crime infested city. What happens is all bridges connecting Gotham to the mainland U.S. are destroyed and the city is declared No Man’s Land. Upon leaving Gotham someone at Arkham Asylum left the doors open. Now Gotham City is run by gangs led by the baddest of the bad villains. The Penguin has staked out his territory and has actually a nice black market business of bringing food and supplies into Gotham City. Poison Ivy has set up camp in Gotham’s version of Central Park and pretty much stays to herself (and her plants) while Two-face has carved out his niche. One other “gang” is in place calling themselves the Blue Boys. This “gang” is led by Commissioner Gordon and consists of the Gotham City police that were dedicated to their city. Gordon is trying to tame Gotham back into a civilized city by using some tactics that he would not have used when officially serving as the police commissioner. All this is going on while the Batman seems to have gone missing.

    Gordon manages to reclaim lots of territory just as Batman comes back, but by this time the anger toward the Dark Knight is enough for Gordon to no longer want his help. Batman finds that this “new” Gotham is a bit more to handle than planned for and having to battle his own ego, finally calls in Nightwing and Robin and enlists a new Batgirl. Just as the battle is being won Lex Luthor comes in and starts buying up parts of the no man’s land for his own purpose, but under the guise of goodwill and charity. Bruce Wayne begins his battle of paperwork to fight Lex and just when the Government looks like it will allow Gotham back into the nation the Joker begins his most hideous Joke and the fate of Gotham’s future will be battled between the Joker and Batman.

    Awesome Batman story performed in a larger than life production that every comic book fan must hear. Whether you are a Marvel or DC fan this will rock your world.

    Speaking of Marvel, in 2013 GraphicAudio will begin releasing some audiobooks based on Marvel storylines. Being a HUGE Marvel fan, I can’t wait for those releases.

     
  • gilwilson 10:42 PM on October 12, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , books, , , , , , , , ,   

    “While Bugles Blow!” by L. Ron Hubbard 

    “While Bugles Blow”
    by L. Ron Hubbard
    Multicast performance
    Produced by Galaxy Audio
    Approx 2 hours

    I never get tired of these Stories from the Golden Age releases from Galaxy Audio. Not only do they bring back the old pulp fiction stories from the mid-20th century, but they are so professionally produced that they bring the stories to life and leave the listener feeling as though they are taking part in the story as it is happening.

    I know that anytime I want to escape in a fun story I can always count on Galaxy Audio’s productions of the pulp fiction stories from L. Ron Hubbard. With superb acting, realistic sound effects and an original music score to match each story and genre, these productions put you in the middle of the story and you have no choice but to listen to the very end. Matching all that with the stories written by Hubbard guarantees a good time with a good story.

    While a good part of the publications contain two or three short stories in the two-hour audiobooks, this time around it was one story for the entire audiobook. This story, “While Bugles Blow,” was originally published in the December, 1936 issue of “Five Novels Monthly,” and is a far-flung adventure involving an American serving as a Lieutenant in the French Foreign Legion.

    In the middle of a war between the Jeppas and the Berbers, the commandant of the Legion fort is tricked into buying a slave girl. When either side captures women it is common politics for the Jeppas and Berbers to auction them off as slaves. When the commandant of the Legion fort is tricked into buying a golden red-haired female Jeppa Warrior, the local Berber leader wants her for his own and attacks the fort to get her.

    The lieutenant defends the fort with only 60 men under his command against 3,000 Berbers. The American finds himself using all his expertise in order to protect the woman and the fort. This gives the Jeppas the chance to win their side of the war. Is this all a trick to get the Legion to fight their war? The answer comes in this exciting tale from L. Ron Hubbard with the typical twists and turns and even some good humor thrown in to make this story the perfect action story.

     
  • gilwilson 10:49 PM on September 26, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: 1%, , , , , books, democrats, economy, healthcare, james carville, middle-class, , , , stan greenberg, United States of America   

    “It’s the Middle Class, Stupid!” by James Carville and Stan Greenberg 

    “It’s the Middle Class, Stupid!”
    by James Carville and Stan Greenberg
    Read by the Authors
    Published by Penguin Audio
    Approx 7 Hours

    I’ve always been told that unless you want to start an argument, you should never start a conversation about religion or politics. In this age of social media, I have seen this statement prove to be so true. When someone tweets or posts on Facebook something immediately their “friends” will start debating the post. I find it a bit fun to post and just watch the emotions rise. Until now I have pretty much kept my blogs pretty neutral, but after listening to this audiobook, I’m siding with these die-hard democrats, James Carville and Stan Greenberg.

    James Carville, seems to be the one to come to when discussing anything democrat. He is an American political consultant, commentator, educator, attorney, media personality, prominent liberal pundit and even an actor. He was the lead strategist of the 1992 presidential campaign of Bill Clinton, that alone makes him one of the go to men when it comes to the Democratic party. He is married to Republican political consultant Mary Matalin, and I’ve always wondered what their dinner conversations sound like. As a reader of this book he is fun to hear. At times he gets pretty emotional about the subject matter and it shows, this makes his segments the good part of the book. Now, that being said, he is also from Louisiana and anyone north of Shreveport, may have a bit of a problem understanding his speech through his accent, especially when he gets really emotional about the subject matter. That may annoy some people but I wouldn’t have anyone else read the book, so if that gives you fits, bear through it, by the time it is done you will completely understand the accent and at the same time get a great political education.

    Stan Greenberg is a Democratic pollster and political strategist who has advised the campaigns of Bill Clinton, Al Gore and John Kerry and hundreds of other candidates and organizations in the United States and around the world. He’s a political scientist he has a Ph.D. from Harvard and taught at Yale. His study of Reagan Democrats became a classic progressive political strategy. His credentials are impressive and he’s yet another great representative of the Democratic party. Like Carville, he has moments where he gets caught up in the emotions of the material and speaks too fast or drops some word endings. His delivery was not due to a Louisiana accent but rather the speed of his delivery. After listening for a while I got used to it and again would not have had anyone else read the book.

    So there we got the delivery out of the way,  let’s talk about the material. Ask anyone what it would take to get this country back on track and you would probably get the number of different ideas equal to the number of people you ask. This book does present several ideas that if they were instituted sound as though they could get this country back on track, but, how do you get them instituted? My feeling is that no matter who is in office, unless you get all representatives looking to help the country rather than themselves, nothing will get done. This is especially true when it comes to legislation and policies that concern the middle class.

    As discussed in this book, the Middle Class has taken a hit for the last 30 years in this country. While productivity has increased wages for the blue-collar workers (middle class) have decreased (even more dramatically when adjusted for inflation, etc.). So with productivity increasing that means more money for the companies, but where does it go? You could say some goes back into the company for research and development, after all, the last 30 years have seen some of the most innovative products being created, but if you follow the money you will find that while middle class wages have decreased,even working longer hours with less benefits, C.E.O. wages and bonuses have increased exponentially.

    With the weight of this country being held up by the middle class; products and goods consumed or exported, tax base for the fiscal stability of the country, and our armed forces being manned by middle class families, it only stands to reason that policies that affect the country affect the middle class even more so. So as the authors of this book suggest, all our policies and legislation should only be discussed after the question, “How does this affect the middle class?” is asked.

    Topics such as healthcare, equal taxes, wages, benefits and even employment creation are all discussed in this book in very down to earth terms that make it seem as though everyone should be thinking this way. Unfortunately those making the political decisions have forgotten the middle class and as the large part of the constituency, the middle class need to remind them we are here.

    Check out this book and get a glimpse as to what could be the perfect set of ideas to get this country back on track. No matter what your political affiliation, you will find that this book makes sense.

     
  • gilwilson 10:55 PM on September 11, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , books, dennis etchison, dreadtime stories, fangoria, , m.j. elliott, malcom mcdowell, max allan collins, , scary, steve nubie   

    Fangoria: Dreadtime Stories Volume 1 (narrated by Malcom McDowell) 

    “Fangoria – Dreadtime Stories Volume 1”
    Narrated by Malcolm McDowell
    Multicast performances
    Produced by AudioGo
    4 Hours 12 Minutes

    I have always been a fan of Audio Drama, especially radio shows from back in the day and when I received this production from AudioGo, I kept wondering, how did I miss this. This series aired on satellite radio and streaming from the website, so I can see how it has passed me by. But now AudioGo presents these stories in audiobook form so finally I can enjoy them. Being a career terrestrial radio broadcaster, I have not jumped on the satellite radio bandwagon, and probably never will. I have only recently turned to podcasts (even publishing my own weekly podcast) but streaming audio I can’t see myself getting into. So once again AudioGo has brought some really great audio drama to me, and I may investigate at least the streaming audio, maybe.

    Either way I now have listened to volume 1 and thoroughly enjoyed it. This collection brings back the classic radio horror feel, much like the shows “Lights Out,” “Suspense,” or “Inner Sanctum.” Malcom McDowell’s narration between segments of each story is superb. He has that charm that invites you in but at the same time his voice has that air of eeriness and suspicion that let’s you know you are in for a ride with the story. The actors in all the stories were all excellent in their roles, making this entire collection a great horror escape.

    “Dreadtime Stories – Volume 1” consists of six unique horror stories. Each story has great twists and turns throughout the drama that as a listener you’ll never know how the story is going to end, and they probably won’t end the way you think, or hope, for that matter.

    The first story, “The Late Shift” written by Dennis Etchison was a great way to kick off this collection, especially for me. I work until midnight and the commute home from work is when I get some of my best audiobook listening. This story tells the tale of what if all those zombies working the late shift were really zombies. If you have ever been in a convenience store, gas station or fast food place in the overnight, you’ve probably run into at least one of these mindless beings that seem to not quite function at a higher brain power, and just barely get your order or transaction right. In “The Late Shift,” those brain-dead graveyard shift workers are really brain-dead and when one unlucky guy discovers the secret, he may be the next to pull an over night shift.

    “Reincarnal” by Max Allen Collins, at first sounded like it may be a sexy horror story, but turns out not to be. A young artist is hypnotized at a party, as part of the party’s entertainment, when she awakens she sees the rest of the party-goers looking at her with concern and a touch of horror. It seems that while under hypnosis she relived a past life in which she was a teenager who was the victim of a mass-murderer on prom night in the eighties. The coincidences begin when another series of murders are occurring that bear a strong resemblance to the same string of murders in which she was a part of in her “past-life.” Now though she is seeing the murders through the eyes of the female victims, and the only person that believes her is a blogger/journalist that helps her track down the killer.

    “A Fungus Among Us” by Steve Nubie, is a story that would fit perfectly with those mad scientist 1950s “B” movies. This one hit a bit of synchronicity with me, which tells me I’m listening to the right story at that moment in my life. The Synchronicity this time concerns the Ophiocordyceps fungus. This is known as the “Zombie Ant” fungus. This fungus infects an ant and causes him to stray from the normal behaviours of an ant and when fully mature the fungus explodes a node through the head of the ant and spreads the spores to infect more ants. In this story this is happening to humans. The humans are setting fires, robbing banks and then when caught their skulls explode and a node extends out of their heads. Is this man-made or is the fungal world seeking its revenge?

    “Wolf” by Max Allan Collins, is an almost typical were-wolf story. A resort lodge has had a murder occur on its grounds and the victim was mangled as if by an animal. The man under suspicion by the local authorities is a wealthy lodger who checked in on the night of the murder. The man’s name is Mr. Wolf, but remember this is a “Dreadtime Story” so it might not quite be what you expect.

    “Living Space” by M. J. Elliott is a story that brings to mind the “Saw” series of movies but a little (not by much) more tame. A young couple have found an apartment in New York that is priced too low to be true, and remember if it is too good to be true, it is. In this case once the trap has sprung there is only one way out can this young couple learn the way that no other tenant could figure out?

    The final story in this volume is yet another classic monster brought to modern life, well at least to the 1930s Chicago gangster time. “A Good Head on His Shoulders” is written by Max Allan Collins and brings back one of the top 3 classic movie monsters, this time around a rash of murders is taking place that has the police baffled. Prominent doctors are being slain by a maniac dubbed “The Mangler.” When a local mob boss learns the real namesake of his loyal Doctor Stein he finds out too late that he should have destroyed the brain of his dead rival.

    Each of these stories were a perfect companion for those midnight drives home causing me to move a little faster when arriving home and going inside. So do yourself a favor and check out this chilling collection of stories from Fangoria.

     
  • gilwilson 5:12 PM on September 9, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: books, , ,   

    True Hideaway Geeks podcast Episode 14 A Substantial Gift 

     

    True Hideaway Geeks podcast Episode 14 A Substantial Gift.

     
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