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Susie

I'm Audible's first Editor-at-Large, the host of In Bed with Susie Bright -- and a longtime author, editor, journo, and bookworm. I listen to audio when I'm cooking, playing cards, knitting, going to bed, waking up, driving, and putting other people's kids to bed! My favorite audiobooks, ever, are: "True Grit" and "The Dog of the South."

Santa Cruz, CA, United States | Member Since 2012

670
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 242 reviews
  • 744 ratings
  • 0 titles in library
  • 48 purchased in 2015
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239

  • You Can’t Catch Death: A Daughter’s Memoir

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Ianthe Brautigan
    • Narrated By Ianthe Brautigan
    Overall
    (2)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (2)

    In all of the obituaries and writing about Richard Brautigan that appeared after his suicide, none revealed to Ianthe Brautigan the father she knew. Though it took all of her courage, she delved into her memories, good and bad, to retrieve him, and began to write. You Can't Catch Death is a frank, courageous, heartbreaking reflection on both a remarkable man and the child he left behind.

    Susie says: "Astute, Bright, and Sorrowful"
    "Astute, Bright, and Sorrowful"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Richard Brautigan was one of my first literary loves. His novels and poetry inspired me, as a teenager, to become a poet and writer myself. His daughter, Ianthe Brautigan, has her own rich, poetic style and her memoir stands on its own merit.

    Ianthe was close to her father, and like many children of alcoholics and divorce, she was put in the role of nurturer at an early age. She speaks from the beginning of being lost at parties and her father's "kid in a candy store" glee when stocking up on alcohol. Even so, her love for and appreciation of her father are clear from the first lines. The grief she feels when he pulls away and ends communication and for his suicide is heartbreaking.

    Brautigan relates the oddness and elation of being brought up rootless in the sixties counter-culture, from San Francisco's old-world North Beach, Idaho, Japan, and Hawaii, Ianthe has a crisp memory for detail, and brings the viewpoint of the child she was along with the perspective of time.

    This memoir is an exploration of the fault lines in her family going back generations and a navigation of the grief caused by her ailing father. Suicide and alcoholism run right through the audiobook, but somehow, they don't bring it down. Ianthe finds the brightness in all the dark places.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Sky Above, Great Wind: The Life and Poetry of Zen Master Ryokan

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Kazuaki Tanahashi
    • Narrated By Brian Nishii
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (15)
    Performance
    (12)
    Story
    (13)

    Ryokan (1758–1831) is, along with Dogen and Hakuin, one of the three giants of Zen in Japan. But unlike his two renowned colleagues, Ryokan was a societal dropout, living mostly as a hermit and a beggar. He was never head of a monastery or temple. He liked playing with children. He had no dharma heir. Even so, people recognized the depth of his realization, and he was sought out by people of all walks of life for the teaching to be experienced in just being around him.

    Susie says: "The Great Fool"
    "The Great Fool"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Ryokan, "The Great Fool," is, perhaps, the scruffiest of the great Zen Master poets. His writings, and in particular, Kazuaki Tanahashi's translation, convey the experiences of a breathing person, irreverent and humorous while holding deep sorrow, loneliness, and wisdom. He portrays a universe playing tricks on us all.

    Brian Nishii is a fantastic narrator. He is clear, has a good sense of timing and his enthusiasm for the reading is evident.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Scarlet

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By A. C. Gaughen
    • Narrated By Helen Stern
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (50)
    Performance
    (46)
    Story
    (46)

    Posing as one of Robin Hood's thieves to avoid the evil Lord Gisbourne, Scarlet has kept her identity secret from all of Nottinghamshire. Only Big John and Robin Hood know the truth - that the agile thief posing as a whip of a boy is actually a fearless young woman with a secret past. It's getting harder to hide as Gisbourne's camp seeks to find Scarlet and drive Robin Hood out of Nottinghamshire. But Scarlet's instinct for self-preservation is at war with a strong sense of responsibility to the people who took her in when she was on the run, and she finds it's not so easy to turn her back on her band and townspeople.

    Sash & Em: A Tale of Two Bookies says: "One of my favorite reads of the year!"
    "Gender Bending in Sherwood Forrest"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Action, romance, and gender-bending in medieval England; Scarlet is satisfying in every way.

    When my daughter was three, she was swept up in the legend of Robin Hood. She dressed up in green and shot imaginary arrows all through the house. She thought nothing of playing a “boy” character. By the time she was four, she’d learned enough at pre-school to know that the only place in the Robin Hood story for girls, was as Maid Marion: waiting.

    But Scarlet is waiting for no one. She's on the run from the malevolent Lord Gisbourne and has joined Robin Hood's Merry Men as a boy. Nobody but Robin and Big John knows her secret.

    Scarlet can take care of herself. “Rob and John shot daggers at each other. With their eyes, leastways. I’m the only one who shoots real daggers.”

    But that doesn’t preclude some tantalizing romantic tension between her and Robin, “'I’ll keep your heart, Scar,' he whispered. 'If you keep mine.'”

    Narrated by the honey-voiced Helen Stern, a veteran romance and erotica reader, she brings just the right amount of swagger and vulnerability to our heroine.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • No Land's Man: A Perilous Journey through Romance, Islam, and Brunch

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Aasif Mandvi
    • Narrated By Aasif Mandvi
    Overall
    (66)
    Performance
    (62)
    Story
    (59)

    If you're an Indo-Muslim-British-American actor who has spent more time in bars than mosques over the past few decades, turns out it's a little tough to explain who you are or where you are from. In No Land's Man Aasif Mandvi explores this and other conundrums through stories about his family, ambition, desire, and culture that range from dealing with his brunch-obsessed father, to being a high-school-age Michael Jackson impersonator, to joining a Bible study group in order to seduce a nice Christian girl, to improbably becoming America's favorite Muslim/Indian/Arab/Brown/Doctor correspondent on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

    The Reading Date says: "Witty and Thoughtful"
    "Funny, Poignant"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Aasif Mandvi is familiar to me as a correspondent for the Daily Show, and true to expectations, this audiobook is funny all the way though. But Mandvi sneaks in a serious, vulnerable, and loving side of himself too that gets at the heart of his experiences with racism, immigration, and family relationships.

    His description of his father's schemes to get a discount at a series of IHoPs on a road trip across the South are a hilarious contrast with going from auditions for "Aladin" and snake charmer type roles to -- after September 11th, Terrorist, terrorist, terrorist.

    His performance brings out aspects in the book that I probably would have missed in print. It's a superb performance.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Ben Franklin: Unplugged: .... And Other Comic Monologues

    • ORIGINAL (5 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Josh Kornbluth
    • Narrated By Josh Kornbluth
    Overall
    (8)
    Performance
    (8)
    Story
    (8)

    Gazing into the bathroom mirror one morning while shaving, Josh Kornbluth realizes that he looks remarkably like the guy on the $100 bill. Like any good Jewish son, he immediately calls his mother. From there he becomes obsessed with what it means to be a founding father, especially when your own father/son relationship (Ben had an illegitimate son named William who was a British loyalist during the Revolutionary War) is more than a bit strained.

    Susie says: "Satirical Disembowelment"
    "Satirical Disembowelment"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Please Don’t Tickle Me, Ben Franklin, You Crazy Diamond! ​

    If you haven't peed your pants listening to Josh Kornbluth, you haven't LIVED.​ Kornbluth is a master storyteller and his comic timing is peerless.​

    After noticing a passing resemblance to Ben Franklin in the mirror, Josh Kornbluth embarks on a journey of—well not exactly ​SELF​-discovery. ​More like satrical disembowelment. ​

    I laughed til I cried.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Cinderland: A Memoir

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Amy Jo Burns
    • Narrated By Jorjeana Marie
    Overall
    (3)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (2)

    Amy Jo Burns grew up in Mercury, Pennsylvania, an industrial town humbled by the steel collapse of the 1980s. Instead of the construction booms and twelve-hour shifts her parents’ generation had known, the Mercury Amy Jo knew was marred by empty houses, old strip mines, and vacant lots. The year Burns turned ten, this sleepy town suddenly woke up. Howard Lotte, its beloved piano teacher, was accused of sexually assaulting his female students.

    Susie says: "Small Town Burning"
    "Small Town Burning"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Amy Jo Burns makes vivid the confines of small town life. That the choices involved in defining a girl's own self will have consequences in her treatment by the town—long after she should have outgrown any labels.

    When the town's piano teacher is accused of molesting his students, she's perceptive enough to know that the girls who come forward will be branded and ostracized. She says, "In a small town, innocence can never be overrated. Innocence is a small town girl's currency. It's better not to know what you don't know and to un-know what you already do."

    But her own choice of staying quiet burns her up on the inside.

    Amy Jo Burns is observant and self reflective without being self-centered. Her writing is fluid and beautiful while being as real as it gets.

    Narrator, Jorjeanna Marie gives such an unaffected performance that there is no divide between story and reader. It sounds like she's telling her own secrets.

    This book deserves to be heard.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • True Porn Clerk Stories

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Ali Davis
    • Narrated By Ali Davis
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (61)
    Performance
    (58)
    Story
    (57)

    Queue up these hilarious real-life stories from the video clerking trenches. You'll laugh. You'll cry. You'll wash your hands. No rewinding required!

    Susie says: "So. Funny."
    "So. Funny."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Ali Davis keeps a straight face and a kind heart.

    For anyone who's been in the retail trenches, or spent time in the sweat-scented aisles of an old fashioned video store, Ali Davis is your voice.

    Ali has so much compassion for her customers, while still recognizing the shiftiness and downright unlikability of others. My favorite story is of Ali finding her moment of power, channeling her inner High School Principal and expelling a "jerker" from the porn basement—but things were not what they seemed.

    Human nature is laid bare; the politics of singles, couples, and groups; and the "drift" from vanilla to kink. Ali records the faces that people present versus what they rent.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Critical Mass: Four Decades of Essays, Reviews, Hand Grenades and Hurrahs

    • UNABRIDGED (25 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By James Wolcott
    • Narrated By Kevin T. Collins
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2)
    Performance
    (1)
    Story
    (1)

    Critical Mass is a treasure trove of sparkling, spiky prose and a fascinating portrait of our lives and cultural times over the past decades. In an age where a great deal of back scratching and softball pitching pass for criticism, James Wolcott’s fearless essays and reviews offer a bracing taste of the real critical thing.

    Susie says: "Forty Years of Astute, Opinionated Criticism"
    "Forty Years of Astute, Opinionated Criticism"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    James Wolcott's writing still packs a punch and a guffaw. It's forty years of astute, opinionated cultural criticism. There aren't many writers around who have such a wide range of interests and can keep you eating it up subject by subject.

    Here, I was introduced to the slyly subversive humor of Mort Sahl, and reminded that Rock Hudson and Doris Day have a lot more to offer than a punchline to a joke about squares.

    Critical Mass is chock-full of cultural milestones, from the infamous Norman Mailer v. Gore Vidal smack-down on the Dick Cavett Show to a fresh new band performing at CBGBs: The Talking Heads. Where else are you going to get such an immediate account of the New York art scene as it happened, as if it were happening RIGHT NOW?

    Kevin T. Collin's narration has the air of seen-it-all, intellectual superiority and braggadocio of a long-time writer and critic. Wolcott holds some strong opinions, and Collins delivers them with conviction.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • God Is Disappointed in You

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Mark Russell, Shannon Wheeler
    • Narrated By James Urbaniak
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (106)
    Performance
    (98)
    Story
    (98)

    God Is Disappointed in You is for people who would like to read the Bible...if it would just cut to the chase. Stripped of its arcane language and interminable passages, every book of the Bible is condensed down to its core message, in no more than a few pages each. Written by Mark Russell with cartoons by New Yorker cartoonist Shannon Wheeler, God Is Disappointed in You is a frequently hilarious, often shocking, but always accurate retelling of the Bible, including the parts selectively left out by Sunday School teachers.

    Susie says: "Funny as Sin"
    "Funny as Sin"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The story of God's dysfunctional relationship with his chosen people.

    "Like most marriages, it was a non-sexual affair, but unlike most marriages, it was anything but snoozy and passionless. God's marriage to the Jews was a tempestuous, rancorous affair."

    The deadpan, impeccable comedic timing of James Urbaniac had me literally laughing out loud as I listened.

    After years of research and translation to pithy modern language,
    ​the authors point out that although so many people are saturated in Bible stories, few remember the absolute zaniness that goes on inside.

    ​If you love the Bible or you love a good Bible satire, it’s just as satisfying. ​

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Submergence

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By J. M. Ledgard
    • Narrated By Julian Elfer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (7)
    Performance
    (7)
    Story
    (7)

    In a room with no windows on the coast of Africa, an Englishman, James More, is held captive by jihadist fighters. Posing as a water expert to report on al-Qaeda activity in the area, he now faces extreme privation, mock executions, and forced marches through the arid badlands of Somalia. Thousands of miles away on the Greenland Sea, Danielle Flinders, a biomathematician, half-French, half-Australian, prepares to dive in a submersible to the ocean floor. Both are drawn back to the previous Christmas, where a chance encounter on the beach led to an intense and enduring romance.

    Susie says: "Terrorism, Captivity, Love, and Going Deep"
    "Terrorism, Captivity, Love, and Going Deep"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Vividly written, with thoughtful, perfectly timed narration from Julian Elfer, "Submergence" will stick with me for a long time.

    The theme here is depth. Whether it's inward and personal, or literal oceanic depths, the characters are in a constant reckoning; the firsthand experience of global terrorism, love, marine biology, the past and the now.

    We first meet James in a windowless room in Somalia, keeping as far from his cardboard covered latrine as he can. His claustrophobic space forces him deeper into his thoughts and memories and his quest to keep a grasp on both dignity and reason.

    His great love is Danny, a multi-national Biomathematician. Confident and alone, she's singled out by her background and her intelligence.

    Their memories of their fateful meeting in a French hotel keep the book buoyant and is truly thrilling to listen to.

    J. M. Ledgard sets the scenes craftily. He conveys the sights and social nuance of place with historical accuracy to build philosophical questions brought up by the intricacies of global life.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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