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Catherine S. Read

A digital media consultant and business strategist. I'm a lifelong lover of books in all forms.

Fairfax, VA USA | Member Since 2010

8
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 12 reviews
  • 57 ratings
  • 187 titles in library
  • 25 purchased in 2014
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  • The Great Reset: How New Ways of Living and Working Drive Post-Crash Prosperity

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Richard Florida
    • Narrated By Eric Conger
    Overall
    (59)
    Performance
    (20)
    Story
    (20)

    We tend to view prolonged economic downturns, such as the Great Depression of the 1930s and the Long Depression of the late 19th century, in terms of the crisis and pain they cause. But history teaches us that these great crises also represent opportunities to remake our economy and society and to generate whole new eras of economic growth and prosperity.

    Roy says: "A General Look at the Financial Crisis"
    "Another Winner from Richard Florida"
    Overall

    I'm familiar with the writings of Richard Florida and often recommend his book "The Rise of the Creative Class." The hallmark of his work is thorough research and an interpretation of the data that makes sense to a non-academic. Statistics are interwoven with personal stories, recent examples, the writings, research and reporting of others, and chapters that move in a logical progression. I thought this recording was well done by Eric Conger and would highly recommend this to anyone who wants to understand more clearly where we are now and what we need to consider as we look toward a future of great change.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Overwhelmed: Work, Love, and Play When No One Has the Time

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Brigid Schulte
    • Narrated By Tavia Gilbert
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (32)
    Performance
    (27)
    Story
    (27)

    According to the Leisure Studies Department at the University of Iowa, true leisure is “that place in which we realize our humanity.” If that’s true, argues Brigid Schulte, then we're doing dangerously little realizing of our humanity. In Overwhelmed, Schulte, a staff writer for The Washington Post, asks: Are our brains, our partners, our culture, and our bosses making it impossible for us to experience anything but “contaminated time”?

    Toby says: "An intelligent look at modern Us culture"
    "Essential Reading for Creating a Better Future"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about Overwhelmed?

    It spoke to my own struggles over the last 50 years of being a woman in America: as a person who understood gender inequality in kindergarten, as a wife, mother, employee, entrepreneur and political activist. Unless you've been living under a rock, this book - Brigid Schulte's reporting - touches on your own life and those around you.


    What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

    How intensely real her experiences are. I could feel her frustration, anger and sense of being overwhelmed because I have lived that experience. We accept as immutable the culture we live in and assume it's "the best" because Americans see our lifestyle and our country as "exceptional." In many of quality of life factors, we lag well behind other countries. We don't look around seeking ways to improve how we live. At this point in my life, it's about improving it for my 3 twenty-something children. I want to leave a different legacy behind - one where my son and daughters have more choices and options to live the lives they want to live.


    Which character – as performed by Tavia Gilbert – was your favorite?

    She brings a believable voice to that of the author. By the end of the book, you feel you have bonded with Brigid - you have shared her journey and what it means to try and having a meaningful life off the hamster wheel people enjoy complaining about.


    If you could give Overwhelmed a new subtitle, what would it be?

    Life doesn't have to be this way.


    Any additional comments?

    This is one of the most important books you can read this year. Things will not change or improve for our children and grandchildren if those of us at the top of the Boomer foodchain don't recognize we have a responsibility to change the dynamics of the workplace, our schools, our social structures and our communities. We do not have to be OVERWHELMED to prove we are productive and have value to the world.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Factory Man: How One Furniture Maker Battled Offshoring, Stayed Local - and Helped Save an American Town

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Beth Macy
    • Narrated By Kristin Kalbli
    Overall
    (31)
    Performance
    (28)
    Story
    (28)

    With over $500 million a year in sales, the Bassett Furniture Company was once the world's biggest wood furniture manufacturer. But beginning in the 1980s, the Bassett company suffered from an influx of cheap Chinese furniture as the first waves of Asian competition hit, and ultimately was forced to send its production offshore to Asia. Only one man fought back. That man is John Bassett III, a descendant of the Bassetts who is now chairman of Vaughan-Bassett Furniture Co, which employs more than 700 Virginians and has sales of over $90 million.

    Catherine S. Read says: "It's the Community, not just the Economy"
    "It's the Community, not just the Economy"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Where does Factory Man rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    One of the best audiobooks I've listened to. It's written by a journalist, and while it's a non-fiction account of the collapse of the domestic furniture industry, but it reads like a novel. It's riveting.


    What other book might you compare Factory Man to and why?

    Very much like The House of Mondavi. A multi-generational account of a family owned business with all the intrigue that wealthy powerful families have.


    Which character – as performed by Kristin Kalbli – was your favorite?

    JB III of course. He is the force behind the story. Reviewers have almost universally forecast that the book will become a movie. It's easy to see the appeal after listening to this audiobook.


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

    The whole world turned against John D. Bassett, III. Even his extended family. He faced the criticism and shunning by lifelong friends and colleagues in the furniture business. But he never backed down. He feels a responsibility to the 700 people who rely on their jobs at Vaughan-Bassett to feed their families. He stands for something.


    Any additional comments?

    It's a portrait of a time and place that are largely forgotten now in our information driven global economy. As a lifelong resident of Virginia who was born in Galax, I have a great deal of pride in the history of the furniture industry and the Virginia families who created an engine of economy that employed workers for three generations. It's not easy being the last man standing, but John D. Bassett, III has rare grit and determination. Beth Macy has written a rare and wonderful story.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Deer Hunting with Jesus: Dispatches from America's Class War

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Joe Bageant
    • Narrated By Fred Stella
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (79)
    Performance
    (74)
    Story
    (72)

    After 30 years spent scratching together a middle-class life out of a “dirt poor” childhood, Joe Bageant moved back to his hometown of Winchester, Virginia, where he realized that his family and neighbors were the very people who carried George W. Bush to victory. That was ironic, because Winchester, like countless American small towns, is fast becoming the bedrock of a permanent underclass.

    Jim says: "Wake Up!"
    "A Deeper Understanding of America"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to Deer Hunting with Jesus: Dispatches from America's Class War again? Why?

    As a Virginian who was born and raised in the rural southern part of the state, I need to understand more clearly why it's so difficult to reach rural conservative voters. I've lived in the more densely populated area of Northern Virginia for over 30 years and I'm a political activist who cannot figure out how to reach the people I grew up with. Joe Bageant's story is my story too.


    What other book might you compare Deer Hunting with Jesus: Dispatches from America's Class War to and why?

    It's a bit like "Detroit: An American Autopsy." It's new journalism at its best. Both of these writers go back to the hometowns of their youth, after many years away, to try and sort out the people who shaped who they are - their family and childhood friends. Journalists are perhaps some of the best people to tackle such a complex examination of culture and make it readable, interesting and engaging for the rest of us.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    His conversations with locals ring true. It's a lens through which to view the world as they see it. Poverty is a lot of work. Only people who have been poor understand that. I understand that.


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

    There were a number of "aha" moments in this book. Often a writer's greatest gift is to clearly articulate a concept we know is true but we didn't have a way to talk about. We need a better way to talk about issues like poverty, guns and religious fundamentalism.


    Any additional comments?

    This book is extremely helpful in clarifying why our fellow Americans view the world as they do. I didn't agree with all of Joe's conclusions, but the insight and reporting he brings to these subjects is invaluable. Most of us don't step out of our comfort zone to be with other people in a place where we are the odd man out - even in our own country. Understanding and empathy is the key to finding common ground.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Mockingbird Next Door: Life with Harper Lee

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Marja Mills
    • Narrated By Amy Lynn Stewart
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (48)
    Performance
    (44)
    Story
    (46)

    To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee, is one of the best-loved novels of the 20th century. But for the last 50 years, the novel's celebrated author, Harper Lee, has said almost nothing on the record. Journalists have trekked to her hometown of Monroeville, Alabama, where Harper Lee, known to her friends as Nelle, has lived with her sister, Alice, for decades, trying and failing to get an interview with the author. But in 2001, the Lee sisters opened their door to Chicago Tribune journalist Marja Mills.

    Richard says: "Story has nothing new to say about Harper Lee"
    "This Memoir Stands on its Own Merits"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    If you could sum up The Mockingbird Next Door in three words, what would they be?

    Warm affectionate storytelling.


    What other book might you compare The Mockingbird Next Door to and why?

    I think this book is unique. It's in the style of "new journalism" which means it's journalistic non-fiction reporting but the journalist is also part of the story. It really works here.


    What about Amy Lynn Stewart’s performance did you like?

    She captures the tone of the author really well and her portrayal of Nelle Harper Lee and her sister Alice is believable.


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

    An elusive literary legend as next door neighbor.


    Any additional comments?

    The book stands on it's own merit. This is not a straight-up biography of Harper Lee. It's the author's personal memoir of the months and years she spent getting to know Nelle Harper Lee, her sister Alice, their close friends and the community of Monroeville, AL. There is important biographical information about the author of "To Kill a Mockingbird" but the book is so much more than that.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • To Kill a Mockingbird

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Harper Lee
    • Narrated By Sissy Spacek
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1012)
    Performance
    (943)
    Story
    (950)

    Harper Lee’s Pulitzer prize-winning masterwork of honor and injustice in the deep south - and the heroism of one man in the face of blind and violent hatred, available now for the first time as a digital audiobook. One of the best-loved stories of all time, To Kill a Mockingbird has been translated into more than 40 languages, sold more than 30 million copies worldwide, served as the basis for an enormously popular motion picture, and was voted one of the best novels of the 20th century by librarians across the country.

    Alan says: "Stunning"
    "Sissy Spacek is Amazing!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to To Kill a Mockingbird again? Why?

    Yes! The book is a classic and Sissy Specek captures each character so faithfully and beautifully. Her "southernness" is not overpowering but essential in re-creating this time and place.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    All the characters are beautifully developed here. She captures the tone of the children - Scout, Jem & Dill - so well.


    What about Sissy Spacek’s performance did you like?

    Sissy Specek could read anything to me and I would be happy. She's a skilled actress and that carries over to voice narration.


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

    Gregory Peck won an Academy Award for his portrayal of Atticus Finch in the movie version of this book. Many people are more familiar with the movie than the novel. This audiobook surpasses even the movie for bringing this story to life.


    Any additional comments?

    This is a treat. Don't miss it. Perfect for a family road trip in the car for kids 12 and over. It's a book everyone will enjoy.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Raising My Rainbow: Adventures in Raising a Fabulous, Gender Creative Son

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Lori Duron
    • Narrated By Lori Duron
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (44)
    Performance
    (42)
    Story
    (42)

    Raising My Rainbow is Lori Duron’s frank, heartfelt, and brutally funny account of her and her family's adventures of distress and happiness raising a gender-creative son. Whereas her older son, Chase, is a Lego-loving, sports-playing boy's boy, her younger son, C.J., would much rather twirl around in a pink sparkly tutu, with a Disney Princess in each hand while singing Lady Gaga's "Paparazzi".

    Pamela Dale Foster says: "Loving CJ"
    "Every Child Matters"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    If you could sum up Raising My Rainbow in three words, what would they be?

    A must read.


    What did you like best about this story?

    This is the reality of raising a child who has challenges you didn't expect to confront as a parent. The whole concept of "gender non-conforming children" is so new that even teachers, doctors and counselors who primarily work with children are left at a loss. As a community, people should care about how we are raising every single child. Children should be supported in who they are and professionals who work with them should recognize protecting children in their care and keeping them safe is a primary responsibility. This story also shows the limits of friendship and how crushing it can be to find out the people you believed would love you no matter what - don't.


    Which character – as performed by Lori Duron – was your favorite?

    Lori really makes her son CJ come alive. He is very real to me in her telling of how he sees and interacts with the world.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes, it was. It's a journey of discovery and I wanted to know how it would turn out for this family. I respect that Lori wanted to read her book herself because the stories of her children, husband, brother, parents and in-laws are so deeply personal. She may not be a professional narrator, but she did a great job and the authenticity comes through.


    Any additional comments?

    The bonus interview at the end of the book with Lori Duron was excellent. It made me glad I chose the audiobook instead of the hardcopy. I also appreciated knowing this was CJ's mother talking directly to me and this was all very very real.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Start: Punch Fear in the Face, Escape Average, and Do Work That Matters

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Jon Acuff
    • Narrated By Jon Acuff
    Overall
    (446)
    Performance
    (400)
    Story
    (406)

    There are only two paths in life: average and awesome. The average path is easy because all you have to do is nothing. The awesome path is more challenging, because things like fear only bother you when you do work that matters. The good news is Start gives listeners practical, actionable insights to be more awesome, more often.

    Peter says: "START made me STOP listening fast"
    "Very Motivating"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    The author is genuine. This is not hype. It's actually a reminder of things we know but forget, ignore or drown out with negative self talk. Here is someone who has walked the walk and shows the journey in an engaging way. He's a wonderful storyteller. I listened to the book realizing that the prize in life goes to those who can continue to press forward and re-imagine the possibilities when the path we're on turns out to be something we no longer want to be on. I gifted copies to all three of my 20-something children. Adopting Jon Acuff's worldview earlier rather than later will greatly improve the quality of their daily lives.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Sheryl Sandberg
    • Narrated By Elisa Donovan
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2603)
    Performance
    (2293)
    Story
    (2307)

    Sheryl Sandberg - Facebook COO, ranked eighth on Fortune's list of the 50 Most Powerful Women in Business - has become one of America's most galvanizing leaders, and an icon for millions of women juggling work and family. In Lean In, she urges women to take risks and seek new challenges, to find work that they love, and to remain passionately engaged with it at the highest levels throughout their lives.

    Claudia says: "Make your life count - no matter what you do"
    "A Book for Women AND Men"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Where does Lean In rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    One of the best ones I've listened to.


    What did you like best about this story?

    I liked the overall tone of what Sheryl had to say. She is realistic, optimistic, empathetic and very self effacing. She is not at all what the media has portrayed her to be. She speaks not in a critical voice, but in a way that says we can make the world a better place if we look at making choices more equal for both women and men. At the close of the book she talks of hoping that both her son and her daughter will have the opportunity to pursue what they want in both a career and at home and that they will be supported in their choices. That message is for everyone - not a particular demographic.


    What about Elisa Donovan’s performance did you like?

    Elisa did a good job reading the book. After seeing Sheryl Sandberg's TED Talk, I was familiar with how she delivered her message and I thought Elisa gave an accurate portrayal of that.


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

    I listened to this with my husband Tom while we were driving around all weekend from one city to another. At various times, he stopped the book so we could talk about something she had just said. It was very productive for us to listen to this together over the course of 3 days in the confines of our car. We had an opportunity to really focus on what she was saying and to relay to each other experiences we've had that were an example of what she is talking about. My husband is a partner in a law firm and a baby boomer, and I think he got a great deal out of this book.


    Any additional comments?

    This is a great book to listen to with someone else because it is a wonderful catalyst for meaningful conversations on really important issues we ALL need to be concerned about.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Disintegration: The Splintering of Black America

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Eugene Robinson
    • Narrated By Alan Bomar Jones
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (20)
    Performance
    (10)
    Story
    (10)

    The African American population in the United States has always been seen as a single entity: a "Black America" with unified interests and needs. In his groundbreaking book Disintegration, longtime Washington Post journalist Eugene Robinson argues that, through decades of desegregation, affirmative action, and immigration, the concept of Black America has shattered.

    Catherine S. Read says: "Written for Popular Consumption"
    "Written for Popular Consumption"
    Overall

    This is not an academic treatment of race relations in America. Eugene Robinson is a highly regarded columnist for the Washington Post. He writes in a style that is meant for the vast majority of newspaper readers. His stories are memorable, his style engaging, his research convincing and his conclusions practical. I think this is a very important work on how far African-Americans have come in the last 40 years and what it will take to move forward the "Abandoned" class of individuals in this country. As a resident of the Washington, DC area, it was also a great bonus to get a history of many of the neighborhoods and areas in DC. I thoroughly enjoyed the audio production of this book and highly recommend it.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Disturber of the Peace: The Life of H. L. Mencken

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By William Manchester
    • Narrated By Anthony Heald
    Overall
    (64)
    Performance
    (30)
    Story
    (30)

    This fine biography of H. L. Mencken tells of how he rose to his unique position as comic genius and pre-eminent critic of American culture. It is the story of a man whose massive power of invective inspired and infuriated his contemporaries and whose popularity and unpopularity mounted with the frenzied pace of the 1920s.

    Margaret Hildebrand says: "A Revelation"
    "Well Written and Well Narrated"
    Overall

    I loved this book! I'm a fan of HL Mencken but didn't know much about all the things he had done in his lifetime. William Manchester's obvious affection and his personal relationship with Mencken comes through in his prose and how he tells his story. I thought it was riveting. And the narrator did an great job with the reading. I highly recommend it - especially since the book, published in 1951, is no longer in print.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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