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Karen

Philadelphia, PA, United States | Member Since 2011

93
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 26 reviews
  • 75 ratings
  • 91 titles in library
  • 3 purchased in 2018
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5

  • Ghostwritten

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By David Mitchell
    • Narrated By William Rycroft
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (402)
    Performance
    (359)
    Story
    (358)

    Oblivious to the bizarre ways in which their lives intersect, nine characters - a terrorist in Okinawa, a record-shop clerk in Tokyo, a money-laundering British financier in Hong Kong, an old woman running a tea shack in China, a transmigrating "noncorpum" entity seeking a human host in Mongolia, a gallery-attendant-cum-art-thief in Petersburg, a drummer in London, a female physicist in Ireland, and a radio deejay in New York - hurtle toward a shared destiny of astonishing impact.

    Ryan says: "Journeys of connectedness"
    "Awesome, but not for the casual reader"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    As other reviewers have said, this is kaleidoscopic in that it has several loosely (and sometimes surprisingly) linked stories - incredibly imaginative, very deep, unpredictable, fascinating and beautifully written.

    Do not read/listen to this expecting anything like a straightforward story or even, necessarily, a point. You immerse yourself in the experience, and just try to take it all in, while your jaw drops periodically b/c of an amazing bit of writing or way of exploring an idea. Being inside this book (like with Cloud Atlas) creates a kind of awe, and amazement that someone's mind works this way.

    If you like Mitchell's writing, you will love this. If you are looking for lighter entertainment, a neat story or anything like closure at the end, this may not be your cup of tea.

    The performance is remarkable, with the reader taking on and giving voice to a wide range of characters with precision and grace.

    8 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • LaRose: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Louise Erdrich
    • Narrated By Louise Erdrich
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (976)
    Performance
    (898)
    Story
    (885)

    North Dakota, late summer, 1999. Landreaux Iron stalks a deer along the edge of the property bordering his own. He shoots with easy confidence - but when the buck springs away, Landreaux realizes he's hit something else, a blur he saw as he squeezed the trigger. When he staggers closer, he realizes he has killed his neighbor's five-year-old son, Dusty Ravich.

    sgonk says: "Great story; wonderful narration by the author."
    "good story and writing, dull narration"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I love Louise Erdrich's writing and have listened to other books of hers. I often like it when authors read their own stories, but this would have benefited from a good voice actor to give more depth to the characters.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Norse Mythology

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Neil Gaiman
    • Narrated By Neil Gaiman
    Overall
    (25982)
    Performance
    (23825)
    Story
    (23711)

    Neil Gaiman has long been inspired by ancient mythology in creating the fantastical realms of his fiction. Now he turns his attention back to the source, presenting a bravura rendition of the great northern tales. In Norse Mythology, Gaiman fashions primeval stories into a novelistic arc that begins with the genesis of the legendary nine worlds; delves into the exploits of the deities, dwarves, and giants; and culminates in Ragnarok, the twilight of the gods and the rebirth of a new time and people.

    David S. Mathew says: "Welcome to Valhalla"
    "disappointing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    As I have loved all of Gaiman's novels, I had high expectations for this. To me, it lacks the creativity of his original work. he is still a wonderful reader, but I found it disappointing overall.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Neil Gaiman
    • Narrated By Neil Gaiman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3052)
    Performance
    (2820)
    Story
    (2806)

    In this new anthology, Neil Gaiman pierces the veil of reality to reveal the enigmatic, shadowy world that lies beneath. Trigger Warning includes previously published pieces of short fiction--stories, verse, and a very special Doctor Who story that was written for the fiftieth anniversary of the beloved series in 2013--as well as "Black Dog", a new tale that revisits the world of American Gods, exclusive to this collection.

    Jan says: "It Triggered Me to Stay Up Late and Listen"
    "classic Gaiman...but..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I like his novels better than his short stories. that said, his writing is gorgeous as always and he is an amazing reader.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Armada: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Ernest Cline
    • Narrated By Wil Wheaton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (28807)
    Performance
    (27033)
    Story
    (26980)

    It's just another day of high school for Zack Lightman. He's daydreaming through another boring math class, with just one more month to go until graduation and freedom - if he can make it that long without getting suspended again. Then he glances out his classroom window and spots the flying saucer.

    Chad says: "Lacked the freshness of Ready Player One"
    "Not as good as RPO, but Enjoyable anyway"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I've seen a lot of reviews trash this book - largely b/c it doesn't live up to the degree of creative innovation as the author's first book Ready Player One. I can't argue with that. I wasn't as great.

    But for me, it was still good. First of all - hats off to Wil Wheaton, whose performance is marvelous. Once again (and perhaps even more than in RPO) he proves himself a very talented voice actor. And did anyone notice that there was a character whose voice sounded just like George Takei's? Extra points for that, Mr. Wheaton!

    As for the writing - it was a little uneven and maybe rushed. There's so much technospeak in here - it's necessary to explain what's going on, but more careful writing would allow more of that to happen by inference rather than explanation. There are a LOT of references. I enjoyed most of them, but would agree with other reviewers that it was overkill. The book could have been plenty nostalgic with about half the number of references - listening, I started to feel like the guy was just showing off after a while.

    It would have benefited from a few more drafts, imho. Some things just didn't make sense - like how most of the action supposedly happens in one day - how is that possible? And don't these people ever sleep? It wasn't necessary to set it that way, and made it less believable. The deus ex machina quality of the hacker friend - again - a little too pat. And too bad to reduce such a great character to a plot device.

    I liked the story. I found it engaging and fun - very cinematic - in fact, I wouldn't be surprised if both of his books end up as movies. Not perfect... but good summer reading fun. There is some very entertaining dialogue in here, and have to mention again that I think Wil Wheaton deserves a heaping ton of credit for making the audiobook work. Without his talents, I think the flaws in the book would have been much more damaging.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs)
    • By Louise Erdrich
    • Narrated By Anna Fields
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (375)
    Performance
    (216)
    Story
    (214)

    For more than a half century, Father Damien Modeste has served his beloved people, the Ojibwe, on the remote reservation of Little No Horse. Now, nearing the end of his life, Father Damien dreads the discovery of his physical identity, for he is a woman who has lived as a man. To complicate his fears, his quiet life changes when a troubled colleague comes to the reservation to investigate the life of the perplexing, difficult, possibly false saint Sister Leopolda.

    Carol T. Carr says: "Remarkable and Challenging"
    "gorgeous"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    a stunning and intriguing story. magnificently performed. it has been a long time since I read Erdrich and I expect I'll be visiting other works of hers! beautiful storytelling

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Ready Player One

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Ernest Cline
    • Narrated By Wil Wheaton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (167135)
    Performance
    (156264)
    Story
    (155940)

    At once wildly original and stuffed with irresistible nostalgia, Ready Player One is a spectacularly genre-busting, ambitious, and charming debut—part quest novel, part love story, and part virtual space opera set in a universe where spell-slinging mages battle giant Japanese robots, entire planets are inspired by Blade Runner, and flying DeLoreans achieve light speed.

    Julie W. Capell says: "I’m sorry I waited so long to read this book."
    "Loved it - and hadn't expected to..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This was just a really FUN book - great story, likeable characters, very imaginative world. It was just a blast. As someone who has never been that much into video games, I was worried that too much of this would go over my head for me to really engage with the story. I was totally wrong. There were plenty of movie and TV and music and cultural references - and it turns out that I knew more about video games than I thought I did - or at least enough to "get it" enough that I felt thoroughly included. MANY laugh out loud moments. Wil Wheaton was THE perfect narrator for this and did an excellent job.

    I usually most enjoy books that would be considered "literature" as I love beautiful language. That was not the strength of this book - but the story was so compelling and engaging! Thoroughly enjoyable.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Dear Life: Stories

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By Alice Munro
    • Narrated By Kimberly Farr, Arthur Morey
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (266)
    Performance
    (225)
    Story
    (218)

    A brilliant new collection of stories from one of the most acclaimed and beloved writers of our time. Alice Munro’s peerless ability to give us the essence of a life in often brief but always spacious and timeless stories is once again everywhere apparent in this brilliant new collection. In story after story, she illumines the moment a life is forever altered by a chance encounter or an action not taken, or by a simple twist of fate that turns a person out of his or her accustomed path and into a new way of being or thinking.

    Elizabeth M. Koehler says: "Poor narration CAN ruin an audiobook..."
    "so so"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is my first experience with Alice Munro, which I chose b/c I figured someone who won the Nobel Prize is probably worth looking into. This collection did not knock my socks off. I'm encouraged by some comments here that suggest that there are other collections that do. I was also not thrilled with either narrator. I didn't feel their performances enhanced the stories, simply conveyed them.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail (Oprah's Book Club 2.0)

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Cheryl Strayed
    • Narrated By Bernadette Dunne
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (16733)
    Performance
    (14637)
    Story
    (14683)

    At 22, Cheryl Strayed thought she had lost everything. In the wake of her mother's death, her family scattered and her own marriage was soon destroyed. Four years later, with nothing more to lose, she made the most impulsive decision of her life: to hike the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State - and to do it alone. She had no experience as a long-distance hiker, and the trail was little more than “an idea, vague and outlandish and full of promise.” But it was a promise of piecing back together a life that had come undone.

    FanB14 says: "Glad I Took the Trip"
    "Good, not great"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Cheryl Strayed is a capable writer with an interesting story to tell. I liked how she wove her personal life / transformations in with the story of the trail time itself. From that perspective, the story was neatly constructed. This was assigned by my book group, and it was enjoyable enough... but a little fluffy for my reading tastes in general.

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • A Tale for the Time Being

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Ruth Ozeki
    • Narrated By Ruth Ozeki
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1710)
    Performance
    (1559)
    Story
    (1553)

    In Tokyo, 16-year-old Nao has decided there's only one escape from her aching loneliness and her classmates' bullying. But before she ends it all, Nao first plans to document the life of her great grandmother, a Buddhist nun who's lived more than a century. A diary is Nao's only solace - and will touch lives in ways she can scarcely imagine. Across the Pacific, we meet Ruth, a novelist living on a remote island who discovers a collection of artifacts washed ashore in a Hello Kitty lunchbox - possibly debris from the devastating 2011 tsunami.

    Karen says: "Engaging story beautifully read"
    "Engaging story beautifully read"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I loved this book- Not all authors are good readers, but Ruth Ozeki does a marvelous job with this one. Interesting cultural and philosophical and generational contrasts. The story was very engaging in that I found myself glued to it wanting to know what would happen. I cared about the characters and how they fared. I appreciate the moments of magical realism, the mysteries that are left mysteries, the author's allowing the girl narrator to be both wise and shallow, as young people often are. The characters are more real for their flaws. The language is beautiful, the story well-constructed.

    One word of caution - there is a lot of discussion of, and exploration of suicide in this book. At times it is uncomfortable - and I imagine that for someone with close experience or unprocessed hurt around this issue, it may be intolerably so. But it is integral to the book and the story, and involves Japanese history and perspectives on this issue. The tension of Japanese and American ways of understanding suicide is part of the story. That the author elicits this in (American) readers is also part of it. So choose accordingly.

    For me it was well worth the read.

    30 of 31 people found this review helpful

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