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Austin Fusilier

  • 19
  • reviews
  • 4
  • helpful votes
  • 121
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Narconomics cover art
  • Narconomics

  • How to Run a Drug Cartel
  • Written by: Tom Wainwright
  • Narrated by: Brian Hutchison
  • Length: 8 hrs and 57 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 43
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 41
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 41

What drug lords learned from big business. How does a budding cartel boss succeed (and survive) in the $300 billion illegal drug business? By learning from the best, of course. From creating brand value to fine-tuning customer service, the folks running cartels have been attentive students of the strategy and tactics used by corporations such as Walmart, McDonald's, and Coca-Cola.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Honest and in-depth

  • By Chicka on 2018-03-29

Insightful Application of Economics

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

Reviewed: 2019-06-28

A study of the economic drivers behind the illegal drug trade, with insights into solutions to the problem of the "war." Well analyzed with intriguing insights.

The Left Hand of Darkness cover art
  • The Left Hand of Darkness

  • Written by: Ursula K. Le Guin
  • Narrated by: George Guidall
  • Length: 9 hrs and 39 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 50
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 48
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 48

A groundbreaking work of science fiction, The Left Hand of Darkness tells the story of a lone human emissary to Winter, an alien world whose inhabitants can change their gender. His goal is to facilitate Winter's inclusion in a growing intergalactic civilization. But to do so he must bridge the gulf between his own views and those of the completely dissimilar culture that he encounters. Embracing the aspects of psychology, society, and human emotion on an alien world, The Left Hand of Darkness stands as a landmark achievement.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • A good story with the wrong voice actor.

  • By Patrick on 2018-07-03

An Alien, Alien Look at Humanity

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

Reviewed: 2019-06-28

As with many attempts by authors of science fiction to elucidate alien cultures, the risk run in communicating a too-strange vision of the future is that an author might alienate _the reader_ to too great a degree, ironically sacrificing the audience for the new ideas they wished to elaborate by the very fact of those ideas' "too-strangeness". Le Guin's exploration of a world in which sexual physicality and it's socio-political effect is so far removed from our own certainly tests the hard edges of that risk. Her great skill is that she succeeds, and masterfully so.

But ultimately, this reader is left with a two-fold response: that was beautiful, and... so what?

To be sure, the idea is a marvel, and its ramifications are well thought through. Her world-building is quite thorough and exacting, and her depiction of political manipulation and the near-insurmountable cultural barriers that can work, even unintentionally, to hinder true communication is quite striking and incisive.

Yet, none of that poli-sci machination and intrigue require the alien culture to be quite as alien as it is. There is nothing inherent in the differences of alien sexual arrangements that binds the political machine to work in the way it does. And I think that small disconnect - so that the entirety of the story is not quite as well-enveloped as perhaps it might be - is what ultimately deprives the novel of becoming a "whole-cloth" masterpiece, for me.

It is indeed magnificent, and a wonderfully executed exploration of new ideas, but it perhaps could have been a little bit more.

One Hundred Years of Solitude cover art
  • One Hundred Years of Solitude

  • Written by: Gabriel García Márquez, Gregory Rabassa - translator
  • Narrated by: John Lee
  • Length: 14 hrs and 4 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 53
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 51
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 50

One of the 20th century's enduring works, One Hundred Years of Solitude is a widely beloved and acclaimed novel known throughout the world and the ultimate achievement in a Nobel Prize-winning career. The novel tells the story of the rise and fall of the mythical town of Macondo through the history of the Buendía family. Rich and brilliant, it is a chronicle of life, death, and the tragicomedy of humankind. In the beautiful, ridiculous, and tawdry story of the Buendía family, one sees all of humanity, just as in the history, myths, growth, and decay of Macondo, one sees all of Latin America.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Astounding

  • By Phillip C. on 2019-01-25

Be Ready to Work

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

Reviewed: 2019-06-28

How to even begin? Marquez's opus is a loops-within-loops, wheels-within-wheels exploration of humanity, soaked in magic realism and buried by layers of history.

Must one do whatever one can to survive? Is family all? Does history condemn you? Are you your parents? If there _is_ more than survival, how does one reach for more when the surrounding world is so completely broken? How far is too far?

Be warned: you must work for this one. Marquez doesn't give you anything for free.

Words on the Move cover art
  • Words on the Move

  • Why English Won't - and Can't - Sit Still (Like, Literally)
  • Written by: John McWhorter
  • Narrated by: John McWhorter
  • Length: 7 hrs and 2 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 11
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 10
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 10

Words on the Move opens our eyes to the surprising backstories to the words and expressions we use every day. Did you know that silly once meant "blessed"? Or that ought was the original past tense of owe? Or that the suffix -ly in adverbs is actually a remnant of the word like? And have you ever wondered why some people from New Orleans sound as if they come from Brooklyn?

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A Great Introduction to Linguistic Change

  • By Austin Fusilier on 2019-06-28

A Great Introduction to Linguistic Change

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

Reviewed: 2019-06-28

McWhorter is in his element, explaining and exploring what exactly language is and how it does what it does. His reading and delivery are phenomenal, as always. Not quite as deep as some of his other work, but a masterful beginning and a worthy introduction to a deep field.

Devil in a Blue Dress cover art
  • Devil in a Blue Dress

  • An Easy Rawlins Mystery
  • Written by: Walter Mosley
  • Narrated by: Michael Boatman
  • Length: 5 hrs and 35 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 8
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8

Los Angeles, 1948: Easy Rawlins is a black war veteran just fired from his job at a defense plant. Easy is drinking in a friend's bar, wondering how he'll meet his mortgage, when a white man in a linen suit walks in, offering good money if Easy will simply locate Miss Daphne Money, a blonde beauty known to frequent black jazz clubs.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A Seminal Work, a Great Performance!

  • By Austin Fusilier on 2019-06-28

A Seminal Work, a Great Performance!

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

Reviewed: 2019-06-28

Mosely's introduction of Easy Rawlins spins the classic noir in a great new direction, splitting the difference between Hammett and Ellroy. Michael Boatman delivers a fantastic reading. You can _feel_ this one.

Treasure Island cover art
  • Treasure Island

  • An Audible Original Drama
  • Written by: Robert Louis Stevenson, Marty Ross - adaptation
  • Narrated by: Philip Glenister, Daniel Mays, Catherine Tate, and others
  • Length: 6 hrs and 23 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 94
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 90
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 90

Audible Originals takes to the high seas to bring to life this timeless tale of pirates, lost treasure maps and mutiny. When weathered old sailor Billy Bones arrives at the inn of young Jim Hawkins' parents, it is the start of an adventure beyond anything he could have imagined. When Bones dies mysteriously, Jim stumbles across a map of a mysterious island in his sea chest, where X marks the spot of a stash of buried pirate gold.

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • Not the real book

  • By Hannah Dudney on 2019-02-11

A wonderful rendition!

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

Reviewed: 2019-06-28

An excellent performance of the classic "boys' adventure." The audio direction builds the environment perfectly and pulls you right in. Well-adapted and well done. Bravo!

Ubik cover art
  • Ubik

  • Written by: Philip K. Dick
  • Narrated by: Luke Daniels
  • Length: 7 hrs and 56 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 34
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 30
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 31

Glen Runciter runs a lucrative business - deploying his teams of anti-psychics to corporate clients who want privacy and security from psychic spies. But when he and his top team are ambushed by a rival, he is gravely injured and placed in "half-life," a dreamlike state of suspended animation. Soon, though, the surviving members of the team begin experiencing some strange phenomena, such as Runciter's face appearing on coins and the world seeming to move backward in time.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Reality Bending

  • By Austin Fusilier on 2019-06-28

Reality Bending

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

Reviewed: 2019-06-28

Well, this one's a mindfreak. Of course, if you're familiar with Dick's _oeuvre_, you have a grip on what to expect, but Ubik is (arguably) his pinnacle. Be ready to have your perceptions challenged.

Breakfast at Tiffany's cover art
  • Breakfast at Tiffany's

  • Written by: Truman Capote
  • Narrated by: Michael C. Hall
  • Length: 2 hrs and 50 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 121
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 112
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 112

Golden Globe-winning actor Michael C. Hall (Six Feet Under) performs Truman Capote's masterstroke about a young writer's charmed fascination with his unorthodox neighbor, the "American geisha" Holly Golightly. Holly - a World War II-era society girl in her late teens - survives via socialization, attending parties and restaurants with men from the wealthy upper class who also provide her with money and expensive gifts. Over the course of the novella, the seemingly shallow Holly slowly opens up to the curious protagonist.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Perfect for a drive

  • By Maddy on 2018-08-23

Exquisite.

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

Reviewed: 2019-06-28

A wonderful delight (though darker than the film). Capote is a wordsmith _par excellence_, and is in full flight here.
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The Swerve cover art
  • The Swerve

  • How the World Became Modern
  • Written by: Stephen Greenblatt
  • Narrated by: Edoardo Ballerini
  • Length: 9 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 15
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 15
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 15

Nearly six hundred years ago, a short, genial, cannily alert man in his late 30s took a very old manuscript off a library shelf, saw with excitement what he had discovered, and ordered that it be copied. That book was the last surviving manuscript of an ancient Roman philosophical epic by Lucretius—a beautiful poem containing the most dangerous ideas: that the universe functioned without the aid of gods, that religious fear was damaging to human life, and that matter was made up of very small particles.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Poor argument and historical inaccuracy...

  • By Austin Fusilier on 2019-06-28

Poor argument and historical inaccuracy...

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

Reviewed: 2019-06-28

Well written enough to garner three stars, but deductions for poor argument and historical inaccuracy.

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction, but notably, not the Pulitzer for History. In a perhaps-related item: Greenblatt has been roundly criticized by historians for his depiction of the Middle Ages -- to put it lightly, he's exceedingly incorrect, in a way that undermines his book's central point. He posits that the rise of Christianity as state religion drove people to condemn (and therefore cease) study of "pagan" and secular ideas, driving the thought of Lucretius (and Epicurius before him) into disrepute. But when our intrepid "humanist" investigators (themselves Christians, a fact inconvenient to the book's thesis, and therefore de-emphasized) find Lucretius's work again (preserved, as it was, in Christian monasteries), they saved "modern" thought and created the modern world.

This is all problematic, of course, given that the "Dark Ages" Greenblatt obliquely invokes didn't actually happen. The book reads more like an attempt to justify Greenblatt's bleed-through-the-text disdain for Christianity (which, as a governing state ideology, certainly has a less-than-stellar track record) by substituting a non-deist moral structure for the world. He's excited about the idea that a non-Christian, non-Judeo, non-religious governing principle can exist, and overextends himself to the point of factual distortion.

Greenblatt, in his attempt to evade religious stricture, has had a "Come to Epicurius" moment. "This confirms my priors! Salvation at last!"

Lucretius's work is fascinating (though, contra the author, not ignored), and the modern mis-apprehension of Epicurian thought is lamentable; but this is not the book to correct those errors.

Invisible Man cover art
  • Invisible Man

  • A Novel
  • Written by: Ralph Ellison
  • Narrated by: Joe Morton
  • Length: 18 hrs and 36 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 32
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 28
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 28

Ralph Elllison's Invisible Man is a monumental novel, one that can well be called an epic of 20th-century African-American life. It is a strange story, in which many extraordinary things happen, some of them shocking and brutal, some of them pitiful and touching - yet always with elements of comedy and irony and burlesque that appear in unexpected places.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Joe Morton is Perfect

  • By Austin Fusilier on 2019-03-26

Joe Morton is Perfect

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

Reviewed: 2019-03-26

Masterful performance of a great work, Morton’s reading of Ellison is absolutely the best way to read Invisible Man.