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Beth Anne

i like to read. i like to listen.

Philadelphia, PA, United States | Member Since 2012

110
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 96 reviews
  • 137 ratings
  • 408 titles in library
  • 109 purchased in 2014
FOLLOWING
1
FOLLOWERS
27

  • Telegraph Avenue: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Michael Chabon
    • Narrated By Clarke Peters
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (322)
    Performance
    (265)
    Story
    (267)

    As the summer of 2004 draws to a close, Archy Stallings and Nat Jaffe are still hanging in there - longtime friends, bandmates, and co-regents of Brokeland Records, a kingdom of used vinyl located in the borderlands of Berkeley and Oakland. Their wives, Gwen Shanks and Aviva Roth-Jaffe, are the Berkeley Birth Partners, a pair of semi-legendary midwives who have welcomed, between them, more than a thousand newly minted citizens into the dented utopia at whose heart - half tavern, half temple - stands Brokeland Records.

    Darwin8u says: "26,784 sq in (and 4.5 miles) surrounded by REALITY"
    "Stay with it. Interesting Story Race & Family"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to Telegraph Avenue the most enjoyable?

    The story itself.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Telegraph Avenue?

    The final scenes with Julius and Gwen in the hospital as she delivered her baby, and then when he left and went looking for Titus...I found Julius to become a great hero of this novel and really liked it.


    What aspect of Clarke Peters’s performance would you have changed?

    I think the way he performed all the women and children sounded the same...and sometimes I that annoyed me. His encapsulation of the 70's vibe of Nat and Archy were on point, though.


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

    No, but it was a good, solid story.


    Any additional comments?

    this book really took me by surprise. i listened to the first chapter and honestly thought -- i'm not going to make it through. it seemed...er...do i want to say pretentious? maybe? or...perhaps i'll just say, it seemed like it was going to be too much for me. just too much.

    but something kept me listening. and i'm super glad i did.

    i found the lives of archy and gwen, nat and aviva, julius and titus, so enthralling....i ached for more of each of their stories. yeh, i totally just said that.

    it's funny, because i know that this book was intended to be about the two men -- archy and nat -- but i found myself more riveted with the other characters' stories. i mean, i loved those guys. archy was a particularly intriguing character. i wanted him to do the right things. i rooted for him to be the good guy.

    but overall, gwen was my favorite character in this book. she was tender but serious. a no nonsense woman who was raised to never sit by and let her situation get out of control. yet, all the lives around her were out of control....and she struggled to take charge and be the woman she was intended to be. her sensibility was right on.

    i also loved julius. he was such a sorry little boy. my heart went out to him every time he looked at or thought about titus. i think he was one of the true heroes of this novel. as i said, his scenes at the end of the book when gwen was in labor were truly special.

    this is another book where all the ancillary characters were so strong and well developed. 'chan the man,' gibson goode, 'the king of bling', luther...every single one of them had depth and purpose. i enjoyed each and every story that intertwined with our main protagonists.

    i think the most interesting part of this book was the underlying (and at times overlying) element of race that was the theme of the novel. the world views that are so different between nat and archy, aviva and gwen, titus and julius. the ability they have to coexist, as best friends, business partners, lovers...yet the inability to absolutely understand the other's point of view...never able to grasp the uniqueness of the other's race. and the wedges that formed between them all because of race.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Bird Box: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Josh Malerman
    • Narrated By Cassandra Campbell
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (135)
    Performance
    (125)
    Story
    (125)

    Something terrifying that must not be seen. One glimpse and a person is driven to deadly violence. No one knows what it is or where it came from.Five years after it began, a handful of scattered survivors remain, including Malorie and her two young children. Living in an abandoned house near the river, Malorie has long dreamed of fleeing to a place where her family might be safe. But the journey ahead will be terrifying: 20 miles downriver in a rowboat blindfolded with nothing to rely on but Malorie's wits and the children's trained ears. One wrong choice and they will die. And something is following them....

    Melinda says: "Macaroni Guts vis-à-vis Fear, Itself"
    "really scary read for thriller fans"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    this book was truly scary. i mean...what a well written story. i think it's supposed to be categorized "post apocalyptic" but really i think it's a horror novel. i was scared from beginning to end and i loved every word of it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Expo 58: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Jonathan Coe
    • Narrated By Napoleon Ryan
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (2)

    A comic spy caper and international love story, set in Europe in the middle of the last century, Expo 58 is the latest sublime creation by Jonathan Coe, hailed by Nick Hornby as “probably the best English novelist of his generation.” Handsome, unassuming Thomas Foley is an employee at the Central Office of Information whose particular biography (Belgian mother, pub-owning father) makes him just the man to oversee the “authentic British pub” that will be erected at the 1958 Brussels World’s Fair. It’s the first major expo after World War II, meant to signify unity, but there’s inevitable intrigue involving the U.S. and Soviet delegations. In the shadow of an immense, imposingly modern structure called the Atomium, the married Foley becomes both agent and pawn—when he’s not falling head over heels for Anneke, his Belgian hostess. Funny, fast-paced, and genuinely moving, Expo 58 is both a perfect evocation of a moment in history and the welcome return of one of today’s finest novelists.

    Beth Anne says: "smiled my way through this book"
    "smiled my way through this book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    What a wonderful tale. this book reminded me of the old espionage movies that i so love.

    it made me laugh out loud in terrible delight. all the conversations including the enigmatic Mr. Radford and Mr. Wayne were brilliantly madcap. i absolutely loved those two...would read an entire book about them. the letters back and forth between Foley and his wife were just ripe with hidden meanings and awful subtext.

    the descriptions of the real Expo 58 were wonderful....makes me wish i could have been to one of these World's Fairs back in the day. they sounded amazing. their 50's predictions of the future (now) were just so enjoyable to read! the silly things that people used to do back then were highlighted and worked into the story to make us giggle and cringe and shake our heads (i.e. advising a pregnant woman to smoke to calm her nerves).

    i have only read one other Coe novel..but will surely be visiting his others. this novel was a pleasure to read from start to finish.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Rabbit Back Literature Society

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen
    • Narrated By Kate Rawson
    Overall
    (2)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (2)

    Only very special people are chosen by children's author Laura White to join 'The Society', an elite group of writers in the small town of Rabbit Back. Now a 10th member has been selected: Ella, literature teacher and possessor of beautifully curving lips. But soon Ella discovers that the Society is not what it seems. What is its mysterious ritual, 'The Game'? What explains the strange disappearance that occurs at Laura's winter party, in a whirlwind of snow? Why are the words inside books starting to rearrange themselves?

    Beth Anne says: "doesn't live up to the hype"
    "doesn't live up to the hype"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    this book was good, not great. interesting concept. well written, sort of. there was not a lot there for me to grab onto or care about. the mystery at the heart of the story, never solved...so disappointing there. the magical realism in the story was cool, until it wasn't....because it went nowhere and kind of just made me ask more questions that were never answered.

    i don't need all questions answered in a book. i'm not the "wrap this up and make everything happy" type of reader. but it would be nice to have SOME resolution. i felt that everything in this book just led to more questions and more and more and more. i feel like there were pieces of several different stories started in this book that weren't fleshed out, and therefor it they just lingered in my memory...with expectations of revisitation that were never fulfilled.

    the violence in it was strange. i found it somewhat jarring in such a novel, but perhaps because it's not an American author there is something lost in translation? i mean, who twists someone's nose and/or cheek and or mouth until it bleeds while playing a "truth or truth" type game? Idk it seemed out of place.

    there were a lot of interesting concepts in the story, but i'm just not 100% convinced the final execution was for me.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Station Eleven

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Emily St. John Mandel
    • Narrated By Kirsten Potter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (154)
    Performance
    (135)
    Story
    (136)

    An audacious, darkly glittering novel set in the eerie days of civilization’s collapse, Station Eleven tells the spellbinding story of a Hollywood star, his would-be savior, and a nomadic group of actors roaming the scattered outposts of the Great Lakes region, risking everything for art and humanity.

    Stacy says: "gah!"
    "awesome post apocalyptic character based novel"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    this book was really well done. jumping back and forth between a few days before and 20 days after the great flu that eliminated most of the earth's population and brought on the apocalypse. it really tells the story of a select group of people -- their history and their "present." the story is character driven, well thought out, and really very interesting. i never found myself bored or uninterested in what was going on before or after the epidemic. i never found myself doubting the characters, however flawed they were. great book.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Special Topics in Calamity Physics

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Marisha Pessl
    • Narrated By Emily Janice Card
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (612)
    Performance
    (237)
    Story
    (242)

    This is a darkly hilarious coming-of-age novel and a richly plotted suspense tale told through the distinctive voice of its heroine, Blue van Meer. After a childhood spent moving from one academic outpost to another with her father, Blue is clever and possessed of a vast lexicon of knowledge. But when a drowning and the shocking death of a teacher lead to a confluence of mysteries, Blue is left to make sense of it all with only her gimlet-eyed instincts and cultural references to guide - or misguide - her.

    Jeanie says: "Over 21 Hours of Bliss..."
    "surprisingly complex for a coming of age story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    i am surprised at some of the low ratings on this book. i found it really complex, well written and thoroughly enjoyable. i was, from page 1, enthralled by the characters and the story. however precocious (what is the teenage equivalent of precocious? erudite??) Blue is, she's a likable narrator with quite a unique and extremely amusing voice. and as likable as she was, the rest of the cast of characters (from Hannah to Gareth to Jade) are as unlikeable...and that lent even more interest and, i found, humor to the story. Pessl really got into the heads of teenagers and showed how horrible and embarrassing and hard to navigate that time period can be. then she added a thrilling mystery to it and, well, duh, of course i loved it.

    I am also a sucker for a book setup stylistically. i enjoyed the way Pessl broke each chapter into a mandatory read on a syllabus. i thrived on all the old film and film star references, the book quotes, the comparisons to things that only someone in the know (i happened to be in the know most of the time) would enjoy.

    i loved the ending of this book. it took me to a place i really didn't expect it to go. i don't mind being tricked by a book, in fact, i welcome it. and this book really did it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Monsters of Men: Chaos Walking, Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Patrick Ness
    • Narrated By Nick Podehl, Angela Dawe, MacLeod Andrews
    Overall
    (181)
    Performance
    (151)
    Story
    (153)

    As a world-ending war surges to life around them, Todd and Viola face monstrous decisions. The indigenous Spackle, thinking and acting as one, have mobilized to avenge their murdered people. Ruthless human leaders prepare to defend their factions, even as a convoy of new settlers approaches. And as the Noise lays all thoughts bare, the projected will of the few threatens to overwhelm the desperate desire of the many. The consequences of each action, each word, are unspeakably vast.

    Eileen says: "The Power of great writing, and great performances"
    "strong end to a fantastic trilogy. really good YA."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    nice finish to a really well written YA trilogy. enjoyed all the character development and loved the conclusion of this intense and exciting story of Todd and Viola.

    i must admit that i was both emotionally invested in these characters, and pleasantly surprised by all of their outcomes.

    my one complaint about the books (all three, but this one in particular) was there could have been some editing to make them a bit more concise. there's a lot of repeated stuff in these books (mostly internal dialogue) that i found could have moved the story on a bit quicker. this was most evident in the beginning of all three books (the first 1/3 of each installment)...seems like it took Ness a bit of time to ramp up into each book, but once he got there it was great.

    this is a solid trilogy

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Winter People: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Jennifer McMahon
    • Narrated By Cassandra Campbell, Kathe Mazur
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (425)
    Performance
    (390)
    Story
    (391)

    West Hall, Vermont, has always been a town of strange disappearances and old legends. The most mysterious is that of Sara Harrison Shea, who, in 1908, was found dead in the field behind her house just months after the tragic death of her daughter, Gertie. Now, in present day, 19-year-old Ruthie lives in Sara's farmhouse with her mother, Alice, and her younger sister, Fawn. Alice has always insisted that they live off the grid, a decision that suddenly proves perilous when Ruthie wakes up one morning to find that Alice has vanished without a trace. Searching for clues, she is startled to find a copy of Sara Harrison Shea's diary....

    D. says: "Get past the narration of the first chapter"
    "mcmahon's latest and greatest success"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    this book was a horror story and a mystery story and a story of family and love and regret and desperation all wrapped up into a wonderfully written and quite engaging novel.

    the characters of ruthy and fawn were easy to root for...easy to love. sara and gertie were both mysterious and a tragic.

    i'm a fan of jennifer mcmahon. i think she writes a tightly wound thrilling story with extremely well thought out characters. she knows how to weave in the magical element where it's not hokey or over the top...it's actually believable and really draws you in as a reader.

    i will excitedly devour anything she writes until she stops writing.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • And Then There Were None

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Agatha Christie
    • Narrated By Dan Stevens
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (187)
    Performance
    (171)
    Story
    (173)

    Ten strangers are lured to an isolated island mansion off the Devon coast by a mysterious "U.N. Owen". At dinner a recorded message accuses each of them in turn of having a guilty secret, and by the end of the night one of the guests is dead. Stranded by a violent storm, and haunted by a nursery rhyme counting down one by one...one by one they begin to die. Who among them is the killer? And will any of them survive?

    C says: "Literally gave me chills"
    "amazing narration, classic mystery story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Dan Stevens was a perfect narrator for Agatha Christie's novel of murder and mystery. he embodied all the characters so well, it really was like a little treat.

    as for the story. i'm arriving so late to the Agatha Christie party, but i'm glad I tried her out. great story, well told, concise yet full of character development. loved every second of it!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Valley of Amazement

    • UNABRIDGED (24 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Amy Tan
    • Narrated By Nancy Wu, Joyce Bean, Amy Tan
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1166)
    Performance
    (1030)
    Story
    (1047)

    Shanghai, 1912. Violet Minturn is the privileged daughter of the American madam of the city's most exclusive courtesan house. But when the Ching dynasty is overturned, Violet is separated from her mother in a cruel act of chicanery and forced to become a "virgin courtesan." Half-Chinese and half-American, Violet grapples with her place in the worlds of East and West - until she is able to merge her two halves, empowering her to become a shrewd courtesan who excels in the business of seduction and illusion, though she still struggles to understand who she is.

    Pamela J says: "Just could NOT get past the ugliness"
    "disappointing and not worth the hype"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    honestly i expected more from amy tan. i dont know why. i've only read one other book by her (joy luck club), and i really did enjoy that one...but its been 6 years since i read it -- and 25 years since she wrote it. thats a lot of time, and a lot of other novels, that i've missed. but i guess because she's so prolific, and so popular, i figured that this novel was bound to be another amazing story. i kind of didn't feel that way.

    to be frank, i found the story to drag on and on...with all of the main characters making all of the same mistakes over and over and over again. without learning or growing.

    Violet is one of the dumbest female protagonists i have ever encountered. i kept grimacing over every choice she made, every person she trusted, every word she uttered. she kept saying 'i'm smart' 'i am clever' 'i could figure a way' -- and i wanted to scream back at here - no you aren't!!! you really really aren't! her story took way to long to unfold. leaving precious little time to get through the other two women's stories, which then felt rushed and cut short. Lulu was semi-interesting....but as i said, i felt i didn't get to really invest myself in her story because it was told so quickly and so near to the end of the novel -- i knew that it was being told only to move the story along to the ending.

    obviously i don't know anything about being a courtesan in turn of the century China...how would i. and this story did give you an interesting look into that lifestyle, whether chosen or forced upon a woman. it was extremely graphic in it's sexual encounters -- which didn't bother me -- but i also didn't find those scenes necessarily helped to move the plot along. they were a bit gratuitous.

    what frustrated me the most in this novel was the two child kidnappings that took place. the complacency of both mothers was astounding...like they lost an old silk scarf -- not a child from their own womb! there was no lamenting except a few words here and there 'i long for my daughter' 'i think about her all the time.' but that didn't seem like what was going on. it seemed, to me, that each woman was moving along with her life without looking back....without giving any effort to rescue her poor child. perhaps it was the times, or the country they were in, but i found the fact that no recourse was even attempted frustrating and bothersome. then the ending comes, everyone hugs and "we can all live happily moving forward and love each other again" -- it was just ridiculous.

    to end, this book was frustrating, and drawn out, and overall disappointing to me.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Museum of Extraordinary Things: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Alice Hoffman
    • Narrated By Judith Light, Grace Gummer, Zach Appelman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (352)
    Performance
    (309)
    Story
    (312)

    Coney Island: Coralie Sardie is the daughter of the impresario behind The Museum of Extraordinary Things, a boardwalk freak show that amazes and stimulates the crowds. An exceptional swimmer, Coralie appears as the Mermaid in her father's "museum", alongside performers like the Wolfman, the Butterfly Girl, and a 100-year-old turtle. One night Coralie stumbles upon a striking young man photographing moonlit trees in the woods off the Hudson River.

    L. Calder says: "Captivating historical fiction+Hoffman interview!"
    "riveting story with captivating characters"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    i was absolutely riveted by this story. while the historical nature of the story seemed like a bit of a departure for Hoffman, the magical quality of the story was shining with every word written. i think Hoffman always has a way with words, and when her story is so captivating and her characters are so tormented the blend becomes a perfect novel.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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