Santa Cruz, CA, United States | Member Since 2012
This is one of Rachel Kramer Bussel’s landmark erotic anthologies that gave her the reputation she so richly desersves today. She's gathered writers that cover all the bases of women's sexual imaginings, straight, gay, bi, dom, sub, sweet and antagonistic. You name it. Not everything may be your cup of tea, but it's fascinating to listen to the variety and creativity in our fantasies.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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