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Sarah

Harpers Ferry, WV USA | Member Since 2011

13
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 10 reviews
  • 12 ratings
  • 1 titles in library
  • 14 purchased in 2014
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  • A Hologram for the King

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Dave Eggers
    • Narrated By Dion Graham
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (189)
    Performance
    (169)
    Story
    (170)

    In a rising Saudi Arabian city, far from weary, recession-scarred America, a struggling businessman pursues a last-ditch attempt to stave off foreclosure, pay his daughter’s college tuition, and finally do something great. In A Hologram for the King, Dave Eggers takes us around the world to show how one man fights to hold himself and his splintering family together in the face of the global economy’s gale-force winds. This richly layered novel is a powerful evocation of our contemporary moment.

    Dean says: "A deeply enjoyable man vs world story"
    "A Story for a Middle-Aged Man"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I love Dave Eggars, but this book disappointed me. The main character is a sad, unfeeling middle-aged guy, who seems to relate to people inwardly but can't make connections. His work is essentially empty and meaningless, his personal and financial life is in a shambles, and he seems to fail at just about everything. So he finds himself, appropriately enough, in the middle of a desert, where nothing really ever happens. He gets momentarily exhilarated by things like strong liquor and guns, and has brief sensations of being alive when he looks at the sea or a woman's breasts, but it never goes anywhere from there. His only real lifeline seems to be to his daughter, whom he has let down. So all in all, the book is a downer. The narrator is very good, although he reads almost every sentence with the same inflection.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Me Before You: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Jojo Moyes
    • Narrated By Susan Lyons, Anna Bentink, Steven Crossley, and others
    Overall
    (2591)
    Performance
    (2362)
    Story
    (2370)

    Louisa Clark is an ordinary girl living an exceedingly ordinary life - steady boyfriend, close family - who has never been farther afield than her tiny village. She takes a badly needed job working for ex-Master of the Universe Will Traynor, who is wheelchair bound after an accident. Will has always lived a huge life - big deals, extreme sports, worldwide travel - and now he's pretty sure he cannot live the way he is. Will is acerbic, moody, bossy - but Lou refuses to treat him with kid gloves, and soon his happiness means more to her than she expected.

    Bonny says: "Will & Louisa - each has what the other one needs"
    "Heart-wrenching and real"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I finished this book about a week ago, but I feel like I'm still living in it. What was most interesting to me was the true-to-life nature of the characters' responses to the situation and its ever-changing nature. Each is affected differently by Wil Trainer's condition -- and each deals with it in his or her own way, some more bravely than others. Then there is the growth of the two main characters -- Louisa and Wil -- and the deep bond that they form that inevitably must give way to their own private needs. Beautifully written and performed -- ultimately a very positive story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Still Life with Bread Crumbs: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By Anna Quindlen
    • Narrated By Carrington MacDuffie
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (394)
    Performance
    (342)
    Story
    (341)

    Still Life with Bread Crumbs begins with an imagined gunshot and ends with a new tin roof. Between the two is a wry and knowing portrait of Rebecca Winter, a photographer whose work made her an unlikely heroine for many women. Her career is now descendent, her bank balance shaky, and she has fled the city for the middle of nowhere. There she discovers, in a tree stand with a roofer named Jim Bates, that what she sees through a camera lens is not all there is to life.

    Jen says: "Exceeded My High Expectations"
    "Thin and a bit sappy"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    If you're looking for something a cut above a romance novel that will keep you mildly entertained, fine. But if you want a book with substance, polished prose, original characters, and an interesting conclusion, forget it. This is like comfort food, but not very good comfort food, and, not to give away the ending, but everything is wrapped up in too neat a package. There's no message here at all. Just a story about an older woman who gets a bit lost and then finds a new, seemingly perfect life.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Society's Child: My Autobiography

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Janis Ian
    • Narrated By Janis Ian
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (434)
    Performance
    (401)
    Story
    (401)

    Janis Ian was catapulted into the spotlight in 1966 at the age of 15, when her soul-wrenching song "Society's Child" became a hit. But this was only the beginning of a long and illustrious career. In Society's Child, Janis Ian provides a relentlessly honest account of the successes and failures - and the hopes and dreams - of an extraordinary life.

    Pamela says: "I know why this won the grammy"
    "She won me over!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I started listening to this book based on the great reviews. At first, I was somewhat disappointed. The writing seemed a bit cliched, and Janis Ian's voice was a bit cloying. But I got curious to find out more about how her career developed, so I kept listening. By the time I finished Part 1, I was completely hooked and rooting her on. I always liked her music, but never knew anything about what happened to her after her initial early success. What a phenomenal life! Or, to be more accurate, lives (plural). The way she kept coming back from hardship, never letting go of her dreams or losing her sense of irony and humor, always believing in her talent, and even forgiving those who tried to do her in offers lessons for everyone. By the end of the book, I felt that I knew her and wished that I really did. I also went back and listened to her music again with new appreciation.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Heft

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Liz Moore
    • Narrated By Kirby Heyborne, Keith Szarabajka
    Overall
    (1025)
    Performance
    (928)
    Story
    (932)

    Forrmer academic Arthur Opp weighs 550 pounds and hasn’t left his rambling Brooklyn home in a decade. Twenty miles away in Yonkers, seventeen-year-old Kel Keller navigates life as the poor kid in a rich school and pins his hopes on what seems like a promising baseball career - if he can untangle himself from his family drama.

    Melinda says: "Intriguing--Captivating--Altering"
    "My new favorite"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The most enthralling thing about this book is the narration by Keith Szarabajka, which is superb. And the Arthur Opp character is one of the most appealing ever. I could so easily envision him lumbering around in his chic old brownstone, checking his mailbox, peering out the window, hauling mounds of food out of his well-stocked refrigerator. The voice of the teenage boy, the other main character, disappointed me a little, as I thought he sounded too old and mature (the only reason I gave the performance four instead of five stars). But the story is mesmerizing -- profoundly sad at times but ultimately satisfying. I loved the ending, which I had to listen to twice. At first it sounded a bit forlorn, but then I realized it was all about human connections and the truth that comes from that. A beautiful book.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Chaperone

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Laura Moriarty
    • Narrated By Elizabeth McGovern
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2118)
    Performance
    (1867)
    Story
    (1854)

    >The Chaperone is a captivating novel about the woman who chaperoned an irreverent Louise Brooks to New York City in 1922, and the summer that would change them both. Only a few years before becoming a famous actress and an icon for her generation, a 15-year-old Louise Brooks leaves Wichita to make it big in New York. Much to her annoyance, she is accompanied by a thirty-six-year-old chaperone who is neither mother nor friend. Cora Carlisle is a complicated but traditional woman with her own reasons for making the trip.

    Amanda says: "Perfection."
    "Fluid writing, satisfying story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book immediately sweeps you back in time to an era of emerging freedoms and stubborn resistance. The main character, Cora, evolves at her own pace, which sometimes lags behind and sometimes eclipses that of the world around her. The surprising twists and resolutions make this a book about growth, tolerance, and the meaning of a full life. I enjoyed it tremendously but would have preferred an ending that was not so tidy and complete. Overall, a great listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Beautiful Ruins

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Jess Walter
    • Narrated By Edoardo Ballerini
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (5703)
    Performance
    (4934)
    Story
    (4928)

    The story begins in 1962. On a rocky patch of the sun-drenched Italian coastline, a young innkeeper, chest-deep in daydreams, looks out over the incandescent waters of the Ligurian Sea and spies an apparition: a tall, thin woman, a vision in white, approaching him on a boat. She is an actress, he soon learns, an American starlet, and she is dying. And the story begins again today, half a world away, when an elderly Italian man shows up on a movie studio's back lot - searching for the mysterious woman he last saw at his hotel decades earlier.

    Ella says: "My mind wandered"
    "Ho Hum"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I can't relate to the reviewers who were so enraptured with this book. Although it held my attention through to the end, I never felt any sympathy for the characters, and the storyline seemed implausible. I did very much enjoy the narration, however. Ballerini is one the best. Overall, an easy read, but not compelling.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Citizens of London: The Americans Who Stood with Britain in Its Darkest, Finest Hour

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Lynne Olson
    • Narrated By Arthur Morey
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (551)
    Performance
    (292)
    Story
    (308)

    Here is the behind-the-scenes story of how the United States forged its wartime alliance with Britain, told from the perspective of three key American players in London: Edward R. Murrow, Averell Harriman, and John Gilbert Winant. Drawing from a variety of primary sources, Olson skillfully depicts the dramatic personal journeys of these men who, determined to save Britain from Hitler, helped convince a cautious Franklin Roosevelt and a reluctant American public to support the British at a critical time.

    Susan says: "If we are together nothing is impossible"
    "Wonderful and Inspiring"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Listening to this book will make you envy the Americans who made London their home during World War II. It brings to life the constant awareness of danger, the live-for-now attitude, the sense of common purpose, the adrenaline rush of being part in a great cause, and most of all the leading characters of that era. Most interesting was Ambassador John Gilbert Winant, about whom I knew next to nothing before listening to this book. He seemed to be a man who could have been a truly great American president; yet he has been a historical footnote next to Churchill, Roosevelt, and the other personalities focused on in the book -- Edward R. Murrow and Averell Harriman. Citizens of London restores Winant to his rightful place. I found the narration somewhat dull, but the content more than made up for it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • City of Women

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By David R. Gillham
    • Narrated By Suzanne Bertish
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (276)
    Performance
    (241)
    Story
    (241)

    It is 1943 - the height of the Second World War. With the men taken by the army, Berlin has become a city of women. And while her husband fights on the Eastern Front, Sigrid Schröder is, for all intents and purposes, the model soldier's wife: She goes to work every day, does as much with her rations as she can, and dutifully cares for her meddling mother-in-law, all the while ignoring the horrific immoralities of the regime. But behind this façade is an entirely different Sigrid, a woman who dreams of her former Jewish lover.

    Susianna says: "Just Fine But My High Expectations? Foiled Again!"
    "Grim but worth it"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    If you want to listen to a book that's full of passion and despair, then this will fit the bill. The most interesting aspect is the main character's evolution from a naiive, lonely housewife into a hardened and courageous woman with a strong sense of morality as well as irony. The narrator is perfect, but her evocation of dismal daily life in wartime Berlin made me want to turn to something more lighthearted and escapist for my next selection.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Rules of Civility: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 36 mins)
    • By Amor Towles
    • Narrated By Rebecca Lowman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1720)
    Performance
    (1367)
    Story
    (1352)

    Set in New York City in 1938, Rules of Civility tells the story of a watershed year in the life of an uncompromising 25-year-old named Katey Kontent. Armed with little more than a formidable intellect, a bracing wit, and her own brand of cool nerve, Katey embarks on a journey from a Wall Street secretarial pool through the upper echelons of New York society in search of a brighter future.

    Emily - Audible says: "Like a Country Pastoral for City Rats"
    "Yawn ... don't read this while driving"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What disappointed you about Rules of Civility?

    I love reading books about New York, my home town, especially those set in another era, but this one almost put me to sleep. I can't help wondering whether the author just compiled a list of restaurants, landmarks, and fashion trends from 1930s New York and the devised a plot to loosely string them together. There was virtually no character development, but none of the characters had much substance or potential to begin with. The word that comes to mind to describe this novel is "thin." It was also kind of show-offy and superficial.


    What could Amor Towles have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    Make the characters more compelling. Create a real story with a clear conflict instead of just describing a series of boring escapades around town.


    What didn’t you like about Rebecca Lowman’s performance?

    Her performance matched the insipid nature of the book. In that sense, she did a good job.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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