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  • 5
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  • 16
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  • How to Murder Your Life

  • By: Cat Marnell
  • Narrated by: Cat Marnell
  • Length: 11 hrs and 58 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 43
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 34
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 33

At the age of 15, Cat Marnell unknowingly set out to murder her life. After a privileged yet emotionally-starved childhood in Washington, she became hooked on ADHD medication. This led to a dependence on Xanax at boarding school, and she experimented with cocaine, ecstasy - whatever came her way. By 26 her life had become a twisted merry-go-round of parties and pills at night and trying to hold down a high-profile job at Condé Nast during the day.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Addictive Listening (bad pun I know!)

  • By winky81 on 21-03-2017

A not-bad drug trainwreck wrecked by the narrator

Overall
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 10-11-2017

In the well-trodden genre of drug writeoff stories, this isn't bad. Our protagonist has a hugely dysfunctional family, hits the drugs super-hard, goes from high -flying to gutter dwelling, and has some reasonable anecdotes. Unfortunately, the narration is done in a voice that is this sing-song, spoilt kid voice that still seems quietly proud of the level of damage and manipulation she is speaking of. Over time, you start to feel like another person in the lone who she is trying to charm into forgiving her for being a pretty blonde woman with huge privilege who managed to use this to survive, and even gain infamy, from an addictive streak that would have killed less rich, white people in half the time.

  • Closet Full of Coke: A Diary of a Teenage Drug Queen

  • By: Indra Sena
  • Narrated by: Hillary Hawkins
  • Length: 8 hrs and 13 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 14
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 13
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 13

Narrated by the teenage girl who lived it, Closet Full of Coke tells the true story of how a New York suburban fifteen-year-old girl's savvy and wit helps turn the small-time drug business of Armando, a Colombian drug dealer, into a multi-million-dollar cocaine operation that puts them on the DEA's Wanted List. This intimate diary gives readers a fast-paced glimpse of the couple’s speedy rise to riches, and their inevitable descent.

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • Deeply flawed and hard to listen to.

  • By Amazon Customer on 16-06-2017

Deeply flawed and hard to listen to.

Overall
1 out of 5 stars
Performance
1 out of 5 stars
Story
1 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 16-06-2017

If this book wasn’t for you, who do you think might enjoy it more?

If you dream of a version of Scarface (minus the intrigue, politics, character arcs or explosive violence) as recounted by one of the girls from Clueless (minus the self-aware humor), this may interest you

Would you ever listen to anything by Indra Sena again?

No.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

The story opens with the inevitable disclaimer 'this story isn't about glamorizing the lifestyle, I wish I'd never done it, blah blah' then the narrator just emphasizes the depthlessness of the central character with her inflections. 'OMG i gave everyone free cocaine and they liked me! LOL!'// 'OMG I like totally gave cocaine to every guy i met and flirted with them all and like, they all tried to sleep with me OMG how did THAT happen!'// (NB the 'OMG's aren't literally vocalised, they are implied by the delivery.

You didn’t love this book--but did it have any redeeming qualities?

It shows that you may live a wild life, but it isn't fodder to write a book without some sort of transformation.

Any additional comments?

The author comes across as the same teenage girl she was when all of this happened. The level of glee she gets in retelling stories of how everyone liked her when she gave out free cocaine is galling. She'll be halfway through a story about her excruciatingly chauvinistic boyfriend , and throw in a reference to how expensive her toilet seat was. If you tell a story of the violent ups and downs of a cocaine dealing lifestyle, you want a character arc, some drama, a narrative through-line, and a narrator who doesn't get the words wrong (you don't PURSUE a menu, you PERUSE it).

  • The Partly Cloudy Patriot

  • By: Sarah Vowell
  • Narrated by: Sarah Vowell, Conan O'Brien, Seth Green, and others
  • Length: 5 hrs and 16 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 3
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3

Sarah Vowell travels through the American past and investigates the dusty, bumpy roads of her own life. Her essays confront a wide range of subjects, icons, and historical moments: Ike, Teddy Roosevelt, and Bill Clinton; Canadian Mounties and German Filmmakers; Tom Cruise and Buffy the Vampire Slayer; twins and nerds; the Gettysburg Address, the State of the Union, and George W. Bush's inauguration. The result is an engrossing audiobook, capturing Vowell's memorable wit and her keen social commentary.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A mix of earnest sincerity and sly irony

  • By Amazon Customer on 07-03-2017

A mix of earnest sincerity and sly irony

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-03-2017

Would you consider the audio edition of The Partly Cloudy Patriot to be better than the print version?

Yes. Some people dont like Sarah Vowells very characteristic voice, but I'm not one of them. I could listen to her deadpan lilting voice all day - without her intonations, some of this material wouldnt be quite as funny.

What other book might you compare The Partly Cloudy Patriot to, and why?

This is a good example of her more general essays. If you like this, get David Rakoffs Fraud, which takes this sort of writing to the next level, in my opinion.

What does the narrators bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

As mentioned, I'm in love with Sarah's voice (and perhaps Sarah too?). You want the audio of her work, as she can be in quick succession heartbreakingly sincere subtly mocking, and her delivery amplifies this.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The stories where she speaks of AMerican politics and history are moving for her sincerity and genuine concern, and her takes on more throwaway pop culture (pop-a-shot, Tom Cruise, the Arthouse theatre scene) are playful and surprisingly insightful.

Any additional comments?

This is well worth a listen - check the audio demo first - she has a love/ hate voice. That said, if you want a more focused and polished work (and arent averse to some US history) seek out her Assassination Vacation, which i think is her best balance of personality/ humor/ cultural analysis and politics.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Dry

  • A Memoir
  • By: Augusten Burroughs
  • Narrated by: Augusten Burroughs
  • Length: 8 hrs and 42 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 26
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 22
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 22

At the request (well, it wasn't really a request) of his employers, Augusten lands in rehab, where his dreams of group therapy with Robert Downey Jr. are immediately dashed by grim reality of fluorescent lighting and paper hospital slippers. When Augusten is forced to examine himself, he finds himself in the worst trouble of all. Because when his thirty days are up, he has to return to his same drunken Manhattan life - and live it sober. Dry is the story of love, loss, and Starbucks as a Higher Power

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • superior and moving 'i used to be drunk' story

  • By Amazon Customer on 07-03-2017

superior and moving 'i used to be drunk' story

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-03-2017

Where does Dry rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

This book sits in the top 25% of the audiobooks i have. There is a danger in the 'i used to be drunk' genre that it turns into an empty shopping list of benders, but Burroughs manages to weave a compelling story from his, and the end left me in tears.

Who was your favorite character and why?

In such a personal story, it has to be Augusten. He doesnt shy away from the damage he did to himself at others, nor pretend that he wasn't blissfully unaware either. He makes reference to his famously hard upbringing, but never milks it for pity. Overall, I walked away with an admiration of the balance with which he told the story and an admiration for a man regardless of him having spent the last few hours explaining the many times he'd screwed up.

Which scene did you most enjoy?

The end is great - i wont wreck it, but it spoke to me on a few levels, and avoided the non-descript ending to most books that focus on substance abuse.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

As mentioned, the end is particularly good, and some of his recollections of the goings-on in rehabs ad the characters he met were particularly well rendered.

Any additional comments?

As mentioned, the level of narrative and insight in this boook is far superior to the average drunken memoir book. It is deeply personal without becoming a navel gazing excercise and a shopping list of benders - it actually feels intimate and vivid.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Psychopath Test

  • By: Jon Ronson
  • Narrated by: Jon Ronson
  • Length: 7 hrs and 33 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 342
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 302
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 300

This is a story about madness. It all starts when journalist Jon Ronson is contacted by a leading neurologist. She and several colleagues have recently received a cryptically puzzling book in the mail, and Jon is challenged to solve the mystery behind it. As he searches for the answer, Jon soon finds himself, unexpectedly, on an utterly compelling and often unbelievable adventure into the world of madness.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Amazing!

  • By Bec Booton on 10-11-2015

Good, but perhaps slightly overstays its welcome?

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-03-2017

Is there anything you would change about this book?

This is a decent book, and one of Ronsons most famous works. That said, for my moeny it is one of the less entertaining ones. The central focus of the work leads to less levity, less breadth of scope, and overall less fun than (for instance) Men Who Stare At Goats, his compendiums of random stories, or even the online shaming book (can't recall the title).

What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

This is, much like Louis Theroux, ego-journalism. As such, the only character you walk away with any real sense of is Ronson, as he involves himself deeply in the story rather than standing back and trying to be transparent. This isnt a bad thing per se, he has a likeable style and persona.

What three words best describe Jon Ronson’s performance?

playful, neurotic, curious.

Did The Psychopath Test inspire you to do anything?

It inspired me to avoid ending up in a mental hospital, and certainly not to travel back to the past and be hospitalised (although this was never high on my bucket list, i must admit)

Any additional comments?

Ronson is a gifted writer and likeable journalist-nerd-author, and while this book is full of interesting observations on mentla health and humanity, i missed the sense of fun and breadth of subject matter contained in his other books. For my money, his more general collections of essays are the best listens purely for the variety and episodic nature (that lends itself better to listening over multiple sittings without losing track of complex narrative arcs).

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Actual One

  • How I Tried, and Failed, to Remain Twenty-Something for Ever
  • By: Isy Suttie
  • Narrated by: Isy Suttie
  • Length: 6 hrs and 52 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 4
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 4

Isy woke up one day in her late 20s to discover that the invisible deal she'd done with her best mates - that they'd prolong growing up for as long as possible - had all been in her head. Everyone around her is suddenly into mortgages, farmers' markets and nappies rather than the idea of running naked into the sea or getting hammered in Plymouth with 80-year-old men.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • bittersweet tales of no longer being young

  • By Amazon Customer on 07-03-2017

bittersweet tales of no longer being young

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-03-2017

What made the experience of listening to The Actual One the most enjoyable?

Isy's delivery and sense of humour keeps a good deal of observational humour and energy in a book that, without this, may have been a real downer.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Actual One?

If you are on the wrong side of thirty, you will recognise those moments where it becomes apparent that share houses and parties are giving way to married friends dinner parties and mortgages, for better or worse.

What about Isy Suttie’s performance did you like?

Isy is genuinely likeable - I recognised her from the TV comedy Peep Show, and it seems like she shares a few characteristics with her onscreen persona - cheeky, upbeat, slightly nerdy and thoughtful.

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

In middle-age, no one can hear you scream.

Any additional comments?

There are some really nice moments in this book, and it's hard not to like the author and her sense of humour. I dont know if this would resonate with under-30's who are yet to live through this time of their life, but for everyone else its a well-written and performed take on the head games that come with the realisation that you are no longer young and cool.

  • Breakfast of Champions

  • By: Kurt Vonnegut
  • Narrated by: John Malkovich
  • Length: 6 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 58
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 48
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 49

Breakfast of Champions (1973) provides frantic, scattershot satire and a collage of Vonnegut's obsessions. His recurring cast of characters and American landscape was perhaps the most controversial of his canon; it was felt by many at the time to be a disappointing successor to Slaughterhouse-Five, which had made Vonnegut's literary reputation.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • awesome

  • By Adam M. Burnett on 20-01-2018

Malkovich reads one of Vonneguts (almost) greats.

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 28-02-2017

What made the experience of listening to Breakfast of Champions the most enjoyable?

I'd read this book many times myself, but its been years. As an older, and more disappointing person I appreciated its themes of nostalgia and lost opportunities far more, and the astounding reading of Malkovich ratcheted the experience up many notches.

Who was your favorite character and why?

You have to love Kilgore Trout - the pseudo-profound almost-was that is a very thinly veiled personification of Vonneguts own fearful self-projection.

What about John Malkovich’s performance did you like?

His voice, my god - there is a thoughtful, learned, refined edge to his voice that makes it one of the best voices in existence in my estimation.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The opening of the book, with it's dedication to a lost friend and lost cultural values is playful, deeply mournful, and has wonderful impact despite being very self deprecating.

Any additional comments?

If you appreciate Vonnegut (and no, this isnt Cats Cradle, or Slaughterhouse 5, his masterpieces) and love the voice of Malkovich, this audiobook will push all your buttons. Vonneguts often unadorned prose doesnt always lend itself to reading aloud, but Malkovich rings every last drop from this one with his inflection and style.

  • So You've Been Publicly Shamed

  • By: Jon Ronson
  • Narrated by: Jon Ronson
  • Length: 8 hrs and 16 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 410
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 376
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 373

From the Sunday Times top ten best-selling author of The Psychopath Test, a captivating and brilliant exploration of one of our world's most underappreciated forces: shame. "It's about the terror, isn't it?" "The terror of what?" I said. "The terror of being found out." For the past three years, Jon Ronson has travelled the world, meeting recipients of high-profile public shamings. The shamed are people like us - people who, say, made jokes on social media that came out badly or made mistakes at work.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Quite the experience

  • By K. Ryan on 10-12-2015

the dark side of the culture of outrage

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 29-01-2017

If you could sum up So You've Been Publicly Shamed in three words, what would they be?

Disproportionate public revenges

Who was your favorite character and why?

THe woman who made the bad taste AIDS joke and went viral - she said one stupid thing and went viral and all hell broke loose - its a side of the story that no one knows, as by the time the damage became apparent, the media cycle had moved on.

What does Jon Ronson bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

Im ambivalent on Jon Ronsons speaking voice. I love his writing but his voice is an aquired taste at best - think of a fragile english schoolboy tearfully begging his mother for another slice of black pudding and you are halfway there.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

It was more subtle than laugh/ cry. There are a few gags and funny moments, but the takeaway impression for me was the reality of how much you can damage a person through social media.

Any additional comments?

If you like pop culture/ social media analysis/ personal journalism, then this is well worth a listen. It will allow you to fill in the missing parts to stories that have to some degree become media folklore.

  • Alan Partridge: Nomad

  • By: Alan Partridge
  • Narrated by: Alan Partridge
  • Length: 6 hrs and 2 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 145
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 136
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 133

In Alan Partridge: Nomad, Alan dons his boots, windcheater and scarf and embarks on an odyssey through a place he once knew - it's called Britain - intent on completing a journey of immense personal significance. Diarising his ramble in the form of a 'journey journal', Alan details the people and places he encounters, ruminates on matters large and small and, on a final leg fraught with danger, becomes not a man (because he was one to start off with) but a better, more inspiring example of a man.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Hilarious!

  • By cathryn on 16-12-2016

Coogan/ Patridge is one of the premier wordsmiths.

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 29-01-2017

What made the experience of listening to Alan Partridge: Nomad the most enjoyable?

The mental dexterity of Coogan is amazing - he can find a comic twist or interpretation on the most innocent comment. Lots of very clever and subtle gags throughout.

What did you like best about this story?

Its a great listen if you take it in sections - it unfolds across a journey on foot, so it feels a little like an 'epic' - a wandering anti-hero talking you through memories and observations as he goes. This is where Coogan is best - forget heavily plotted pieces, just sit him down and get him talking and he will come up with gold every time.

Which character – as performed by Alan Partridge – was your favourite?

This question does my head in. Suffice to say, Partridge/ Coogan/ etc is a hilarious and nuanced character.

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

My legs are the heroes of walking.

Any additional comments?

If you are a fan of Alan Partridge, this is hours of his best work and worth a listen. Coogan is criminally underrated as a truly remarkable wordsmith.

  • David Mitchell: Back Story

  • By: David Mitchell
  • Narrated by: David Mitchell
  • Length: 9 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 303
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 282
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 281

David Mitchell, who you may know for his inappropriate anger on every TV panel show except Never Mind the Buzzcocks, his look of permanent discomfort on C4 sex comedy Peep Show, his online commenter-baiting in The Observer or just for wearing a stick-on moustache in That Mitchell and Webb Look, has written a book about his life.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Funny, engaging and thoroughly enjoyable

  • By Tristan Butler on 20-06-2018

If you like David Michell, you want this.

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 29-01-2017

What made the experience of listening to David Mitchell: Back Story the most enjoyable?

This is a more enjoyable read/listen than his prior book. It is more personal, flows better, and talks about Peep Show and life as a now famous tv personality.

Who was your favorite character and why?

David Mitchell is the obvious choice here.

Have you listened to any of David Mitchell’s other performances? How does this one compare?

I read (rather than listened to) his prior book. This book, and also hearing him deliver it, made this book the far more enjoyable of the two.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

It's funny, often light, and fairly episodic, so is a book you could take in long sessions.

Any additional comments?

Some great one-liners and observations in this - if you like his tightly-wound self hating neuroticism there are some good laughs here and an interesting insight into the persona that lies beneath the (slightly) exaggerated version of himself he portrays on TV.