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Phatgirl

Longmeadow, MA | Member Since 2012

4
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 4 reviews
  • 4 ratings
  • 113 titles in library
  • 10 purchased in 2014
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  • Slouching Towards Bethlehem

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Joan Didion
    • Narrated By Diane Keaton
    Overall
    (139)
    Performance
    (128)
    Story
    (125)

    Universally acclaimed from the time it was first published in 1968, Slouching Towards Bethlehem has been admired for decades as a stylistic masterpiece. Academy Award-winning actress Diane Keaton (Annie Hall, The Family Stone) performs these classic essays, including the title piece, which will transport the listener back to a unique time and place: the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco during the neighborhood’s heyday as a countercultural center.

    Victoria Wright says: "Didion deserves better."
    "Brilliant Writing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes. Didion's writing is unmatched in its clarity, detail and wittiness. The subject matter is sometimes mundane and dated (Joan Baez, Las Vegas weddings, etc). However, the text is still engaging due to the excellence of Didion's prose. This is an especially good read for a writer who wants to see what can be done with everyday life using exceptional prose.


    What other book might you compare Slouching Towards Bethlehem to and why?

    Any collection of essays by E.B. White, including classics such as "Once More to the Lake." Both writers are exceptional in capturing the details of everyday life and relating them to important ideas about human nature and our culture.


    Have you listened to any of Diane Keaton’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I love Diane's voice and reading style. She's great on screen or via audio.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    Flashback to the 60s--Real Life Is Crazier Than Fiction


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • To the Lighthouse

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Virginia Woolf
    • Narrated By Nicole Kidman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (76)
    Performance
    (62)
    Story
    (65)

    To the Lighthouse is Virginia Woolf’s arresting analysis of domestic family life, centering on the Ramseys and their visits to the Isle of Skye in Scotland in the early 1900s. Nicole Kidman (Moulin Rouge, Eyes Wide Shut), who won an Oscar for her portrayal of Woolf in the film adaptation of Michael Cunningham’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Hours, brings the impressionistic prose of this classic to vibrant life.

    Lady says: "I will try this again later"
    "Not My Favorite"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    I’m not a big fan of To The Lighthouse. I dislike these stories and novels that are set in a time when the middle class seems to have nothing to do but sit around and think and be artistic while servants do all the labor. The characters speak multiple languages and can play the piano and recite poetry, but for what? To keep from being bored to tears, I think. But I am bored to tears when I read about their lives and thoughts. This focus on the characters’ thoughts vs. their actions is characteristic of the modernist style, so I supposed it’s something one can read just to appreciate the style of the time, but I am not a fan. Woolf does an admirable job with character, developing a level of psychological depth that is realistic and convincing; however, like real people, most of these characters are dull, dull, dull. The most interesting part of the story to me is Mr. Ramsay’s narcissistic tendencies. He's a jerk, and it's slightly entertaining to consider why he is such a jerk and why the other characters tolerate him. It's very interesting to think about why his wife supports his boorish behavior. The novel glorifies Mrs. Ramsay the mother-wife-martyr to an extent that is mystifying considering that her greatest accomplishments are throwing memorable dinner parties and stroking her husband’s ego. I do find it interesting that this novel is reputedly somewhat autobiographical, which means that Woolf’s father was possibly narcissictic and her mother an enabler, which may have contributed to Woolf’s mental illness and eventual suicide? I find that idea MUCH more interesting than Woolf’s novel.


    If you’ve listened to books by Virginia Woolf before, how does this one compare?

    I haven't listened to any of Woolf's other books.


    What three words best describe Nicole Kidman’s voice?

    Her reading is good; it's the novel that's terrible.


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    No. I can't imagine anything more boring.


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Fire Next Time

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By James Baldwin
    • Narrated By Jesse L. Martin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (91)
    Performance
    (62)
    Story
    (61)

    At once a powerful evocation of his early life in Harlem and a disturbing examination of the consequences of racial injustice to both the individual and the body politic, James Baldwin galvanized the nation in the early days of the civil rights movement with this eloquent manifesto. The Fire Next Time stands as one of the essential works of our literature.

    J. Wigfall says: "Still as bold as ever"
    "A Classic Analysis of Race & American Culture"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Where does The Fire Next Time rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    This book is in the top 25% of audiobooks I've listened to, partially because race and ethnicity in America is a special interest of mine.


    What did you like best about this story?

    It's not really a story, more an analysis of American culture and race relations in the 1960s. Baldwin is clever, witty and entertaining even listening to him now, over 40 years later.


    Have you listened to any of Jesse L. Martin’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I don't pay much attention to the person reading. I focus more on the text itself, but I thought this was a good reading.


    What’s the most interesting tidbit you’ve picked up from this book?

    It's interesting that a lot of the problems that faced black Americans in the 1960s still face black America today. There has been a lot of progress, but race is still a significant cultural force in America today.


    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs)
    • By Laura Hillenbrand
    • Narrated By Edward Herrmann
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (12401)
    Performance
    (8315)
    Story
    (8356)

    Why we think it’s a great listen: Seabiscuit was a runaway success, and Hillenbrand’s done it again with another true-life account about beating unbelievable odds. On a May afternoon in 1943, an Army Air Forces bomber crashed into the Pacific Ocean and disappeared, leaving only a spray of debris and a slick of oil, gasoline, and blood. Then, on the ocean surface, a face appeared.....

    Annie M. says: "Hillenbrand could make even laundry fascinating!"
    "Loved it!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to Unbroken again? Why?

    Great story of the resilience of human beings.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    The protagonist was really the only character who one could follow throughout the story.


    What does Edward Herrmann bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    You an listen while you do other things.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    When the men were in a life raft starving and fighting off sharks.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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