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Susan

I've become an avid "reader" since I discovered audiobooks a few years ago. Also a cat lover - at left is Prince Harold

Marietta, GA, United States | Member Since 2010

62
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 78 reviews
  • 194 ratings
  • 0 titles in library
  • 34 purchased in 2014
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  • City of Thieves

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By David Benioff
    • Narrated By Ron Perlman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1364)
    Performance
    (642)
    Story
    (638)

    A writer visits his retired grandparents in Florida to document their experience during the infamous siege of Leningrad. His grandmother won't talk about it, but his grandfather reluctantly consents. The result is the captivating odyssey of two young men trying to survive against desperate odds. Lev Beniov considers himself "built for deprivation." He's small, smart, and insecure, a Jewish virgin too young for the army, who spends his nights working as a volunteer firefighter with friends from his building.

    Paul says: "Stunning Tale. Great Narration."
    "Disappointing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Lots of glowing reviews - but to me, a very difficult unrewarding read. I'd expected, based on the synopsis that I'd read, that this would be about a boy forced to use his wits to round up a dozen eggs - and save his life. This is the back story, but what he and his companion had to endure to accomplish this is utterly depressing and difficult to wade through. The period of time involved is only several days, but the main characters must endure hunger, forced by the German Siege of Leningrad, the brutal cold of the Russian winter and dodging, or sometimes failing to, the Nazi guns. I'd expected something a bit more uplifting, along the lines of the movie, Life is Beautiful. Granted, this was a horrendous time in history and many people suffered greatly, but ultimately, I felt that this telling lacked humanity.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Hominids: The Neanderthal Parallax, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Robert J. Sawyer
    • Narrated By Jonathan Davis, Robert J. Sawyer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1082)
    Performance
    (443)
    Story
    (449)

    Neanderthals have developed a radically different civilization on a parallel Earth. A Neanderthal physicist, Ponter Boddit, accidentally passes from his universe into a Canadian underground research facility. Fortunately, a team of human scientists, including expert paleo-anthropologist Mary Vaughan, promptly identifies and warmly receives Ponter. Solving the language problem and much else is a mini-computer, called a Companion, implanted in the brain of every Neanderthal. But it can't help his fellow scientist back in his world, Adikor Huld, when the authorities charge Adikor with his murder.

    Scott says: "Scicen Fiction Can Be Literature"
    "Sophomoric"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I did finish listening - the story was not boring. But the dialog was rather clunky and awkward to listen to, especially between Mary and Ponter. Lines from Gone With The Wind, ET, and The Wizard of Oz were shamelessly borrowed. The ending, even for SciFI, stretches credibility to the breaking point and I'm happy to leave the story at its end, though there is a sequel, which is previewed and advertised at the end of this recording.

    The narrators were good, though my usual criticism of males affecting female voices applies here - the females sound pretty much like, well, men trying to sound like women.

    The names of the Neanderthals didn't seem to have any rhyme or reason - did they all have surnames and if so, how were they derived? I didn't look up the characters to see their names in writing, but I enjoyed hearing them as I imagined them - Ponter's daughters, Jasmine, Jazz-bo, Jazmo or Jazno, and Meg-a-Meg, and many whose names I just couldn't figure out at all.

    I was annoyed at the continued put-down of human history/society and the elevation of the noble (and brilliant!) Neanderthal society. Of course there are things in human history that merit our shame, but I don't understand the purpose of the comparison in this book and its creation of a fictional "perfect" sentient species.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Dinner: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Herman Koch, Sam Garrett (translator)
    • Narrated By Clive Mantle
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (688)
    Performance
    (609)
    Story
    (612)

    It's a summer's evening in Amsterdam, and two couples meet at a fashionable restaurant for dinner. Between mouthfuls of food and over the polite scrapings of cutlery, the conversation remains a gentle hum of polite discourse - the banality of work, the triviality of the holidays. But behind the empty words, terrible things need to be said, and with every forced smile and every new course, the knives are being sharpened. Each couple has a 15-year-old son. The two boys are united by their accountability for a single horrific act; an act that has triggered a police investigation and shattered the comfortable, insulated worlds of their families.

    L. O. Pardue says: "A Dinner To Remember!"
    "A very strange book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    When I began listening, the book was hilarious. Lots of sarcastic put-downs of pretentious people and a restaurant. I thought I was in for a funny ride. But the book does turn dark...very dark. We discover things about the characters that we didn't suspect. Many things. Getting pertinent information out of the main character and narrator is like pulling teeth - very frustrating but effective. He tells us many times of things he thought of saying in a particular situation....but then he didn't say them. We gradually learn many very relevant tidbits that we wouldn't have suspected that add to the development of the story. An interesting read, but I which Koch had stuck to funny.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Heaven Is for Real: A Little Boy's Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Todd Burpo, Lynn Vincent
    • Narrated By Dean Gallagher
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2218)
    Performance
    (1580)
    Story
    (1613)

    When Colton Burpo made it through an emergency appendectomy, his family was overjoyed at his miraculous survival. What they weren’t expecting, though, was the story that emerged in the months that followed—a story as beautiful as it was extraordinary, detailing their little boy’s trip to heaven and back.

    Jill says: "Heaven is For Real"
    "I generally love these Near Death experience books"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This one was compelling and earnest. I had thought that because the author (father) was a pastor meant that it would probably seem or be contrived. The recounting of Colton's experience when undergoing an appendectomy evolved over time. He was only 3 or 4 and didn't tell his parents at the time it happened, but gradually made statements about the experience which brought his parents to understand what had happened to him. The difficult part for me were Colton's seeing things in Heaven (monsters, Satan, Armageddon, battles, etc) that I have taken to be metaphorical at best. Colton's account pretty much sticks to Christian biblical orthodoxy, about which his father insists that Colton previously knew very little and none of the details. Most other accounts of near death experiences that I've read, like Anita Moorjani's "Dying to be Me" and Eben Alexander's "Proof of Heaven" really emphasize God's love for all of us, regardless of what we've been guilty of in earthly life. This book tries to present itself as proof that Christianity is the only "right" religion and pretty much the only way to get to heaven.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Myths, Lies, and Half-Truths of Language Usage

    • ORIGINAL (12 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor John McWhorter
    Overall
    (33)
    Performance
    (33)
    Story
    (31)

    Conventional wisdom suggests English is going to the dogs, that bad grammar, slang, and illogical constructions signal a decline in standards of usage - to say nothing of the corruption wrought by email and text messages. But English is a complicated, marvelous language. Far from being a language in decline, English is the product of surprisingly varied linguistic forces, some of which have only recently come to light. And these forces continue to push English in exciting new directions.

    Tony says: "Easy Introduction to Linguistics"
    "The "funnest" book on language ever"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Prof. McWhorter maintains that "funnest" is not a word you can use, but I'll bet he knows what I mean.

    Maybe the best thing I can say about this lecture series is that, like a very good and compelling novel, I found myself driving around the block or listening in the garage because I found it so engaging. On one hand, I didn't want it to end, but on the other, I did so that I could write a glowing review.

    So many interesting tidbits about English and other languages and how words and expressions evolved. He gives great examples - some very humorous. He explains the difference between spoken and written language; in all languages, spoken is much more casual and less rigid than written, which allows you to plan, go back and re-write and edit (as I'm dong now) what's being written. He maintains that language is always evolving and will always continue to, and that the new electronic ways of communicating - e-mail, texting, IM, are really more like speach than writing. He finds no linguistic problem with these forms nor does he feel that they will affect the written language in a bad way.

    He's very entertaining, easy to understand and skirts around socially offensive "bad" words without actually saying them, but in a very funny way.

    I'll mention the applause between lectures as I did for another of the Great Courses Lecture series. I think it should be done away with - it's distracting.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Myths of Nutrition and Fitness

    • ORIGINAL (3 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Dr. Anthony A. Goodman
    Overall
    (101)
    Performance
    (86)
    Story
    (85)

    We all want to live long, healthy, and happy lives. But the path to achieve this-fitness and nutrition-is fraught with popular yet dangerously misleading myths about personal wellness. How do you separate the fact from the fiction? How can you recognize when you're doing your body more harm than good? Scientific knowledge has greatly expanded our understanding of how the human body works, laying many previously held ideas about fitness and nutrition to rest.

    Markus P. Mayer says: "so and so"
    "Loved some of the De-bunked Myths"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    For instance, that in addition to water, other liquids including coffee and tea can be counted as hydration. According to Goodman, they are very mild diuretics - otherwise they would be used as such medically. And that the sensation of thirst does not indicate serious dehydration (as many maintain} because thirst is the first indication of the need for liquid. Also, that it doesn't matter if you eat late at night - a calorie is a calorie no matter when you eat it. He also says that you should "listen to your body" re eating and drinking and do what it dictates.

    Much of this lecture series, however, is devoted to highly technical instructions about food and drink before and after strenuous exercise, like weigh yourself nude before exercising and then again after exercising (nude again, since your post-exercise clothes may retain sweat) to determine how much water was lost and drink a specific amount based on the difference in weight. This I suspect is aimed at very serious runners and workout artists.

    This is not me....My exercise is limited to 30 or so mins on an exercise bicycle or walking around a lovely wooded 3 mile path by the river. I try to do this daily, but am known to slack off sometimes.

    All of you marathoners will probably get a lot of good information from this book.

    Goodman's lecture style is good - he speaks clearly and animatedly and obviously enjoys his subject.

    A note on the production style of all the Great Courses: To me, the applause before and after each lecture is somewhat distracting. I don't think for a minute that these lectures are actually recorded in a lecture hall - the quality is too good for that. It's sort of like the laugh-track on TV comedies.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • John Dies at the End

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By David Wong
    • Narrated By Stephen R. Thorne
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1316)
    Performance
    (1197)
    Story
    (1210)

    STOP. You should not have touched this flyer with your bare hands. NO, don't put it down. It's too late. They're watching you. My name is David Wong. My best friend is John. Those names are fake. You might want to change yours. You may not want to know about the things you'll read on these pages, about the sauce, about Korrok, about the invasion, and the future. But it's too late. You touched the book. You're in the game. You're under the eye. The only defense is knowledge. You need to read this book, to the end. Even the part with the bratwurst. Why?

    Cassandra says: "Vulgar Funny. 4.95 Sale Win."
    "Think I'm in the wrong demographic for this book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I've listened to about an hour of this and its about the weirdest thing I've ever heard. Read some reviews - some of them glowing from folks who found it hilarious. Haven't seen hilarity yet, just grossness for no apparent reason other than to be gross. This reminds me of Saturday Night Live, which I used to find outrageously funny. My husband and I have followed it for 30 years or so and still look forward to it at 11:30 on Saturday night. We're always disappointed these days - it all seems very silly. Have we changed or has humor changed? Don't know, but I feel the same about this book. How anyone could give it 5 stars I just can't comprehend.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Hold Tight

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Harlan Coben
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1272)
    Performance
    (466)
    Story
    (458)

    Tia and Mike Baye never imagined they'd become the type of overprotective parents who spy on their kids. But their 16-year-old son, Adam, has been unusually distant lately, and after the suicide of his classmate, Spencer Hill they can't help but worry. They install a sophisticated spy program on Adam's computer, and within days they are jolted by a message from an unknown correspondent addressed to their son: "Just stay quiet and all safe."

    Meanwhile, Betsy Hill is struck by a photo that appears to have been taken on the night of her son's death...and he wasn't alone.

    Ed says: "Will hold your interest till the end"
    "Not Coben's best - too many story lines"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    There were too many characters and story lines for me to keep them straight. I couldn't remember who'd done what to whom and who sent that devastating email - or one of them. I suppose all the stories were brought together in the end but by that time I was too confused to care.

    The basis of the main characters' story seemed thin to me; why so much angst over monitoring their teenager's computer? I would think it's the responsible thing to do, especially if you think he may be involved in dangerous activities.

    Another thing that made the book confusing was the one narrator. I felt that the men's voices were all the same, except for the couple of African American characters for whom he did affect a "black" accent. The women all sounded alike; very much like a man trying to sound like a woman by using a soft whispery voice. I think that there should have been 2 narrators, maybe 3. One for men, one for women and maybe one for teens and children if the other 2 couldn't handle it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Some We Love, Some We Hate, Some We Eat: Why It's So Hard to Think Straight About Animals

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Hal Herzog
    • Narrated By Mel Foster
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (123)
    Performance
    (84)
    Story
    (86)

    Some We Love, Some We Hate, Some We Eat is a highly entertaining and illuminating journey through the full spectrum of human-animal relations, based on Herzog's groundbreaking research on animal rights activists, cockfighters, professional dog show handlers, veterinary students, and biomedical researchers. Blending anthropology, history, brain science, behavioral economics, evolutionary psychology, and philosophy, Herzog carefully crafts a seamless narrative.

    Fara says: "Thorough and beautifully written"
    "Where are the cats???"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I loved the narrator, Mel Foster. His voice was calm, strong and non-judgmental while speaking about a topic that engenders lots of judgment. Of course, a lot of that credit goes to Herzog, the author. I listened to the first half of this and thought it was finished because the second volume hadn't downloaded. At the end of the first volume, I found myself wondering why he didn't make more mention of cats, the predominant type of pet in this country. There was a history of the domestication of dogs and the differences(many) between domesticated dogs and wild dogs (wolves, etc) or even cross-bred wolf-dogs, which retain much of their "wildness" and therefore are unacceptable as pets. I found all this interesting, but, being a cat person, I wanted to know the same about cats and the history of their domestication. I've heard that they domesticated themselves. When I found that there was a volume 2, I was excited to hear it and looking forward to the cat story. Well, no such luck. It was mostly about animal cruelty and what defines it and the activists who promote animal rights, though they differ greatly in their focus. Some wear leather but don't eat animals, some eat animals but eschew hunting, some go to extreme avoidance of doing anything to hurt a living thing with sentience (who decides?) which would include mosquitoes and other bugs. I loved this discussion and the way it was presented in a non-judgmental way, but I got to the end of volume 2, cats had only been mentioned in passing.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Fuzzy Nation

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By John Scalzi
    • Narrated By Wil Wheaton, John Scalzi
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3467)
    Performance
    (3033)
    Story
    (3030)

    In John Scalzi's re-imagining of H. Beam Piper's 1962 sci-fi classic Little Fuzzy, written with the full cooperation of the Piper Estate, Jack Holloway works alone for reasons he doesnt care to talk about. Hundreds of miles from ZaraCorps headquarters on planet, 178 light-years from the corporations headquarters on Earth, Jack is content as an independent contractor, prospecting and surveying at his own pace. As for his past, thats not up for discussion.

    Samuel Montgomery-Blinn says: "Short, sweet, and satisfying storytelling."
    "Enjoyable"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I had not read Little Fuzzy, so I didn't have a basis for comparison. This was a good science fiction book, especially as far as the story of the Fuzzies developed, gradually showing their real nature and abilities. I enjoyed the courtroom drama aspect of the story - something not usually found in science fiction. Like others, I thought the book continued in part 2 and, nearing the end of part 1, couldn't figure where the story would go...until I realized that part 2 was the original - Little Fuzzy. I started listening to that one and saw how great the differences were in the 2 books, so I've put that one off for later. My thought is that whichever book you've read first, the other will not fare well in comparison.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Eat Move Sleep: How Small Choices Lead to Big Changes

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 36 mins)
    • By Tom Rath
    • Narrated By Tom Rath
    Overall
    (134)
    Performance
    (120)
    Story
    (112)

    In Eat Move Sleep, Tom Rath delivers an audiobook that will improve your health for years to come. Quietly managing a serious illness for more than 20 years, Tom has assembled a wide range of information on the impact of eating, moving, and sleeping. Written in his classic conversational style, Eat Move Sleepfeatures the most proven and practical ideas from his research. This remarkably quick listen offers advice that is comprehensive yet simple and often counterintuitive but always credible.

    R. Townsend says: "Great Tips, Well Researched, but..."
    "I'm conflicted about this"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Parts of this book were a turn-off for me...some of the suggestions sounded unobtainable and beyond the reach or regular mortals, especially the parts about diet. Essentially, it seemed that if it tastes good, don't eat it - and I'm not sure that's good advice. No fat, few carbs, even "good ones," no sugars or sugar substitutes, so that leaves nuts, fruits (not too many!) and veggies, especially broccoli. I like the things he suggests eating, but I also like some of the stuff he doesn't.

    The non-sedentary lifestyle interested me - I got a pedometer to calculate how much I was walking or active daily....turns out 5000 steps is a lot for me and I feel like I'm moving all the time. But that's sedentary - Australians typically walk 8000 steps without thinking about it.

    Sleep I don't really have a problem with - I sleep well and about 8 hrs a night.

    I realized about halfway into the book Rath was battling an unusual form of cancer, apparently not immediately life-threatening, but something that must be controlled. That changed my mind about his recommendations as I realized he was fighting for his life and had done much research. For me, that added much validity to his recommendations and told me that we should all be fighting for our lives based on what we eat, how active we are and how we sleep.

    I may not be able to or want to follow his regimen completely, but I don't think I can go wrong to follow it as much as possible. With my pedometer as a gauge, I find that I am increasing my activity level, and I do think about what I put in my mouth before I eat it. I suppose that's a good start.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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