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Janet S. Bessemer

Reno, Nevada | Member Since 2004

44
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 10 reviews
  • 44 ratings
  • 1 titles in library
  • 36 purchased in 2014
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  • The Last Block in Harlem

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Christopher Herz
    • Narrated By Peter Berkrot
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4)
    Performance
    (3)
    Story
    (3)

    All fire escapes lead back to the same block in Sugar Hill, Harlem - where kids run through hydrants and music blares from stereos plugged into lampposts. When a new resident (the story’s unnamed narrator) notices the trash polluting the picturesque streets and tainting his block’s beauty, he is spurred to action. However, his best intentions go awry when the cleanup brings media coverage that, in turn, sets off a rash of evictions and an influx of affluent tenants.

    Mema says: "Something is missing"
    "Wrong narrator for this book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you try another book from Christopher Herz and/or Peter Berkrot?

    I see the narrator has considerable and well rated experience under his belt but this book is beyond his range. To be believable this book requires a range of accents and dialects and narrator just sounds like a white boy. Japanese tourists are made to sound like the Frito Bandito, to name one. This is very distracting. Overall the book is nothing to write home about and where excellent narration would help, this detracts. I would give this book a pass. Can't decide if I will struggle through and finish it.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Rebecca Skloot
    • Narrated By Cassandra Campbell, Bahni Turpin
    Overall
    (3878)
    Performance
    (2447)
    Story
    (2473)

    Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor Southern tobacco farmer who worked the same land as her slave ancestors, yet her cells, taken without her knowledge, became one of the most important tools in medicine. The first immortal human cells grown in culture, they are still alive today, though she has been dead for more than 60 years.

    Prisca says: "Amazing Story"
    "painful"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Painful to listen to, excruciatingly drawn out. The "life of Henrietta Lacks" would have made a good magazine article. I am within an hour and a half of finishing this and have managed to get through it by listening to a chapter a day. I keep hoping for it to get better. It is "the story of Henrietta Lacks's children." I don't see how the story of these children who do not even remember their mother is at all relevant to (a) Henrietta's life or (b) the science of the cells. I don't care about Deborah's hives or whether her son is in jail for robbery. Most of these children most of time are caught up in their belief that they have a right to be compensated for the modern day use of Henrietta's cells. Deborah, the central family figure portrayed, is a drama queen plain and simple and it is painful to listen to "the Book of Deborah."
    I can't understand all of the high ratings. When this many people differ from what I think I have to give weight to the opinion of the others in considering that I may be wrong about this book but in any case this is my opinion.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • A Million Little Pieces

    • ABRIDGED (10 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By James Frey
    • Narrated By Oliver Wyman
    Overall
    (719)
    Performance
    (138)
    Story
    (143)

    By the time James Frey enters a drug and alcohol treatment facility, he has so thoroughly ravaged his body that the doctors are shocked he is still alive. Inside the clinic, he is surrounded by patients as troubled as he: a judge, a mobster, a former world-champion boxer, and a fragile former prostitute. To James, their friendship and advice seem stronger and truer than the clinic's droning dogma of How to Recover.

    Robert in Denver says: "Waste of time"
    "disappointing"
    Overall

    Even prior to recent bad publicity (isn't all publicity good publicity?) I found this book to be a major disappointment. The text is a series of improbabilities stacked upon improbabilities in a repetitive "rant". I was frequently distracted by the "over dramatized" narration. I have been sober for over 18 years and I didn't see any "recovery" in this book at all. Even if the book is viewed in its entirety as a work of fiction it remains a complete disappointment to me: it is some of the worst fiction I have ever read. Every now and then a book of which much is made turns out to be "Emperor's New Clothes" and this clearly is such a book. Certainly it was a waste of my time and my money and I truly hope that others will save their time and money. How sad that yet another so-called 90-day wonder has reaped even a nickel from cashing in on the new Sobriety Chiq - if you are looking for a true view of addiction try attending some AA or Alanon meetings, something this author likely never did.

    10 of 11 people found this review helpful
  • Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Steven D. Levitt, Stephen J. Dubner
    • Narrated By Stephen J. Dubner
    Overall
    (5954)
    Performance
    (535)
    Story
    (536)

    Which is more dangerous, a gun or a swimming pool? What do schoolteachers and sumo wrestlers have in common? Why do drug dealers still live with their moms? How much do parents really matter? What kind of impact did Roe v. Wade have on violent crime?

    Timothy says: "Fascinating book, despite the title."
    "An abridgement would be an improvement"
    Overall

    I generally refuse to read abridgements but this book would have been better as an abridgement. The topics addressed in the lengthy introduction are stated in sufficient detail to make subsequent discussion of them in the book redundant. Also, it was tiresome to hear the author read at the beginning of each chapter quotes and reviews lauding him as a brilliant expert. The second half of the book, at least what seemed like half the book, was a very lengthy and not too interesting diatribe on naming, the premise, I conclude, after listening to the whole thing and wondering "why" must be that the popular names of the future can be predicted by studying the names given today by affluant and educated parents. There, I said it. Enough said. The naming jag in the book pops up this way: The author suffered a very tragic death of his own child and in going to a grief support group he met parents whose children drowned in swimming pools which caused him to research the danger of swimming pools v. guns and speaking of names, . . . . This book to me is an example of an attempt to stretch an interesting magazine article into a book. Just not enough material and too much got in that is irrelevant/redundant.

    11 of 12 people found this review helpful
  • I Am Charlotte Simmons

    • ABRIDGED (9 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Tom Wolfe
    • Narrated By Dylan Baker
    Overall
    (37)
    Performance
    (1)
    Story
    (1)

    Dupont University: the Olympian halls of learning housing the cream of America's youth, the roseate Gothic spires and manicured lawns suffused with tradition....Or so it appears to beautiful, brilliant Charlotte Simmons, a sheltered freshman from North Carolina, who has come here on full scholarship. But Charlotte soon learns, to her mounting dismay, that for the upper-crust coeds of Dupont, sex, Cool, and kegs trump academic achievement every time.

    Leslie says: "I Am Charlotte Simmons"
    "What's not to love?"
    Overall

    Always strange how "one man's meat is another man's poison" - This is my favorite kind of audio book, one that follows delightful characters through a story that just goes and goes and goes. I was hooked within the first five or ten minutes. Charlotte in college brought back my own experiences and then some - not the popular Charlotte part, but the Charlotte who will stand in a line, any line, just to appear to have some purpose to be at a party when she doesn't know anyone or "what to do." For me these were the kinds of charactors that lingered in my mind long after the book was finished. For me this book was just one long great listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Bad Boy Jack

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By Josephine Cox
    • Narrated By Carole Boyd
    Overall
    (9)
    Performance
    (0)
    Story
    (0)

    Deserted by the two women in his life, Robert Sullivan is left to raise 3-year-old Nancy and her 7-year-old brother Jack. Unable to cope with his feelings of loss and the rebellious behaviour of his young son, Robert is driven to abandon his children to those who he sincerely believes can provide them with a better life. However, after a chance encounter with a stranger, he has a change of heart and decides to go back for them. But, on the way there, he is involved in a horrific accident.

    Janet S. Bessemer says: "next time I will listen to sample text"
    "next time I will listen to sample text"
    Overall

    This is a "period piece' set in turn of the 20th Century England ($). Starts in 1895, a fact I could have used in making my purchasing decision. That sais, if you read the first review of this Author's work, lovers and liars, by "Wynter' from Marina, CA, USA Date: June 06, 2005, this review pretty much sums it up. A hates B, tragically separated from C, who is hated by D and loved by Z but miraculously reunited with G, who is married to C, but in love with A, who is hated by P, and everyone is reunited and married off to one another (except for the villian who pushed A into the carriage path, the only loose string in all of this. narrated very well, just not my kind of book - trite, boring, unlikely and predictable. My mistake for not adequately investigating content beyond publisher's description.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Holy Smoke

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Anna Campion, Jane Campion
    • Narrated By Nicki Paull
    Overall
    (11)
    Performance
    (0)
    Story
    (0)

    Holy Smoke is the gripping and erotic story of Ruth, a beautiful young woman, who travels to India in search of truth, happily falling under the spell of an Indian guru and his obscure cult. Desperate to rescue her, her family lures her back to Australia, where she is forced to undergo an intense deprogramming treatment by cult specialist P.J. Waters. "Three little steps," he says, "It could be all over in 24 hours."

    Janet S. Bessemer says: "save it for the Penthouse/Playboy Forum"
    "save it for the Penthouse/Playboy Forum"
    Overall

    The point of this book, if any, is so totally lost on me it leaves me wondering what other people will think. But please don't buy this on my account; I couldn't stand the guilt. This book is two percent about the deprograming of a cult member and 98 percent 'older man acting in "theraputic role"takes advantage of vulnerable screwed up girl he is being paid thousands of of dollars be isolated with in a "hut" in the desert in order to 'help.' We certainly don't need to hear hours of sticky sex to grasp the not so subtle point ultimately spelled out eighty percent of the way in; something about an injured spider (hey, you figure it out; I am just the mesenger). If you do choose to subject yourself to this book, it should help to know in advance that each 'segment' of the 'story' is a shift from one character's point of view to the other. While I don't subscribe to the theory that a narrator is responsible to present dramatic reentactment of text to the point of using special voices for each character, the story makes very little sense till you figure out the perspective shift (as opposed to making very little sense thereafter in any light whatsover except possibly as a miserably prolonged case study in a psychologist's ethics textbook). But everybody does live happily ever after. Or they think they do, whatever. Save your time and money and pass this one by. Or buy it and explain to me the error of my thoughts - i don't claim to be a deep thinker. But this may well be the last "not yet reviewed" book that I select.

    12 of 12 people found this review helpful
  • Babbitt

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Sinclair Lewis
    • Narrated By Wolfram Kandinsky
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (35)
    Performance
    (7)
    Story
    (7)

    The Nobel Prize-winning author's scathing portrait of a prosperous hustler, successful in his business but a failure as a father.

    bluespapa says: "Brings Sinclair Lewis to life"
    "As true today as it was in the 40's"
    Overall

    I am not positive when this book was written but I am guessing the post-WWII forties. The book is an excellent portrayal of the spic and span black and white era when the "good fellas" lived in neat rows of suberbia with white picket fences, 2.3 kids and a Maytag Washer and dryer. In the midst of this, Babbit, a 47-year old real estate broker, faces a mid life crisis and revilses his own values and judgments. As with many classics the similarity to the issues faced and the feelings expressed by this protagenist and people today are awesome; people's dissatifactions and problems from generation to generation are just not "new." I had a little trouble getting my teeth into this book, had to re-start the first disk a few times. This is often the case with classics, however, that is good to keep in mind. Definitely not a "cleaning the house book" - a good "while I drive" book for me. Unlike reviewers who found the narrator's (Wolfram Kandinsky) style distracting at first, I found it a particular pleasure as I have some trouble hearing when there are other sounds going on in the world, which is most of the time. The narrator's speack is clear, concise and while almost "clipped" I could hear each word with precision and clarity. I would view the fact that Wolfram Kandinsky narrated a book to be a "plus" on my view of any book's potential in the future. This is a book I would love to recommend to others, particularly people of my Parent's generation and age who were raising their own children in the post-war era of prosperity and the advent of nuclear families.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Double Whammy

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By Carl Hiaasen
    • Narrated By George Wilson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1270)
    Performance
    (481)
    Story
    (483)

    A twisted tale of murder in the world of big-stakes bass fishing tournaments. Filled with ex-wives, evangelists, and an armed pit-bull, this is a story that could only be concocted by Carl Hiaasen, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, New York Times best-selling author, and czar of Florida noir fiction.

    David says: "First For Me"
    "My first Hiaasen read a grand slam"
    Overall

    There are two kinds opf audio books in my universe. One is the kind I have to LISTEN to and rewind if I miss something, etc. The kind I might read for actual knowledge of a subject matter or literature. This is the other kind; the kind I don't need to catch EVERY word of, although I try to catch every word These are "books to sit still and do hobbies with." This is the kind of book that is to me "music to clean by" - my house is spotless after a weekend with this book because I couldn't "put it down." It is easy to keep track of things despite my comings and goings, turning it off and on going from room to room and so on. The story was engaging and the narrator fabulous. If the story is engaging and easy to follow I frankly don't care what it is about, and despite not being much of a detective/mystery follower I delighted in this book. Ear candy for the sweet tooth so to speak. The characters are very well developed and it would be easy to imagine some of the characters themselves being the subject of their own "series spinoffs." And much applause to the narrator, a GREAT job making a fun book even more fun. All in all a great little "read" which will serve to make me a Hiaasen fan from now on.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The Ivy Chronicles

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Karen Quinn
    • Narrated By Julia Gibson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (558)
    Performance
    (181)
    Story
    (182)

    Fans of New York Times best seller The Nanny Diaries will rejoice in this wickedly hilarious novel, which acclaimed author Katharine Weber says is "much funnier and darker". Optioned for a major motion picture starring Catherine Zeta-Jones, The Ivy Chronicles skewers the twisted priorities of America's well-heeled elite.

    Vicki says: "Probably Better as an Audiobook then in Print"
    "Purely a pleasure"
    Overall

    This is the kind of light "reading" that can keep me housecleaning to the sound of an audiobook the entire weekend. Not scholarly certainly, but a fun engaging story that left me sorry to reach the last disk. I am not the "girly book" sort of girl and bought this only because it was the 10 book for $99 sale,but I am delighted that I did. First thing I did Monday morning was to look for more by this author. The book was 50 percent of the pleasure; the narrator the other 50 percent. EXCELLENT narration, the narrator went above and beyond the call of duty with changes of voice and so on. Just all in all a delightful little "read."

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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