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Jennifer

Jenners

Sicklerville, NJ, United States

79
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 39 reviews
  • 39 ratings
  • 0 titles in library
  • 10 purchased in 2014
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5

  • Heft

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Liz Moore
    • Narrated By Kirby Heyborne, Keith Szarabajka
    Overall
    (1480)
    Performance
    (1335)
    Story
    (1338)

    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.

    Deborah says: "Mesmerizing Performance"
    "Quiet and Heartbreaking and Hopeful"
    Overall
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    Story

    \Arthur Opp is a morbidly obese ex-professor who hasn’t left his Brooklyn brownstone for years. Kel Keller is a 17-year-old baseball prodigy whose education at a posh private school is at odds with his poverty-stricken home life. The connection between these two strangers becomes clear during the course of the book,with the narration alternating between Arthur and Kel. (I listened to this on audiobook, and, in a stroke of genius, they had two separate narrators for Arthur and Kel.) The book tiptoes up to the point where our two protagonists are on the cusp of a new relationship and then quietly shuts the door. This is a quiet book about loneliness, taking chances on other people, and moving out of your comfort zone. It is definitely worth checking out.

    27 of 27 people found this review helpful
  • The Psychopath Test: A Journey Through the Madness Industry

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Jon Ronson
    • Narrated By Jon Ronson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2176)
    Performance
    (1729)
    Story
    (1730)

    The Psychopath Test is a fascinating journey through the minds of madness. Jon Ronson's exploration of a potential hoax being played on the world's top neurologists takes him, unexpectedly, into the heart of the madness industry. An influential psychologist who is convinced that many important CEOs and politicians are, in fact, psychopaths teaches Ronson how to spot these high-flying individuals by looking out for little telltale verbal and nonverbal clues.

    Robert says: "Interesting but wandering"
    "Interesting and Often Amusing"
    Overall
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    Warning: This book will have you diagnosing your friends, family and acquaintances as psychopaths. Proceed with caution!

    This is my second Jon Ronson book, and it was a kick to visit with him again. This time out, he explores the madness industry, which seems a perfect fit as he is drawn to the bizarre and odd. Exploring topics such as the development and influence of the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) and psychopathy in the corporate world, Ronson makes a case that we are all a little bit mad … but some of us are the “right kind of mad,” others are insane (but harmless) and there are those who are almost another species altogether (the psychopath). Fascinating, rambling, informative and often very funny, The Psychopath Test is both entertaining and educational. The audiobook is narrated by Ronson himself, and his voice is a perfect fit for a book written in the first-person.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Secret Keeper

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Kate Morton
    • Narrated By Caroline Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3017)
    Performance
    (2594)
    Story
    (2606)

    England, 1959: Laurel Nicolson is 16 years old, dreaming alone in her childhood tree house during a family celebration at their home, Green Acres Farm. She spies a stranger coming up the long road to the farm and then observes her mother, Dorothy, speaking to him. And then she witnesses a crime.

    Maria says: "Kate Morton (and Caroline Lee) does it again!"
    "Engrossing and Surprising"
    Overall
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    Although only my second Kate Morton book, it is obvious she has a formula … but what a wonderful, involving formula it is!!

    I enjoyed The Secret Keeper even better than The Forgotten Garden, though the intergenerational mystery and the going back and forth in time felt familiar. This story focuses on the secrets kept by a mother and one of her daughter’s attempts to unravel these secrets. What kind of person was her mother when she was young? Why did she react the way she did when a mysterious stranger visited the family home one day in the 1960s? The answers to these questions are quite interesting, and Morton keeps a few surprises tucked up her sleeve to reveal at the end—surprises that I found very gratifying and realized I had unconsciously hoped for. If you’re looking for an engrossing, sprawling big fat novel, you’d can’t go wrong with this one. I listened to it on audio, and the narrator (Caroline Lee) was superb. I’ve heard she narrates all of Morton’s books so I’ll be sticking to audio for all my future Morton books.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Dog Stars

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Peter Heller
    • Narrated By Mark Deakins
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1044)
    Performance
    (927)
    Story
    (930)

    Hig survived the flu that killed everyone he knows. His wife is gone, his friends are dead, he lives in the hangar of a small abandoned airport with his dog, his only neighbor a gun-toting misanthrope. In his 1956 Cessna, Hig flies the perimeter of the airfield or sneaks off to the mountains to fish and to pretend that things are the way they used to be. But when a random transmission somehow beams through his radio, the voice ignites a hope deep inside him that a better life exists beyond the airport.

    Melinda says: "Absolutely Stellar!"
    "Literary and Lyrical Dystopia"
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    I would not have thought that there was such a thing as a literary dystopia, but Peter Heller has managed to write one. At times lovely and poetic, at other times crude and violent, The Dog Stars is one of the most realistic and lovely postapocalyptic tales I've read. (It reminded me a bit of Laura Kasischke's In A Perfect World and, as Ti and Alyce both said, a lighter and gentler version of Cormac McCarthy's The Road.) The writing is often lyrical and gorgeous. The passages on grief and loss were some of the best I've ever read. In addition, the descriptions of outdoor pursuits like fishing and hunting made me think of Norman McLean's writing in A River Runs Through It. Yet for all the lovely parts, there are equal measures of stream-of-consciousness fragments that take some getting used to. There are also moments of brute violence that contrast sharply with the more lyrical parts. It is an interesting book, and I enjoyed it once I got used to its odd rhythms and pace.

    As in many dystopias, The Dog Stars takes place in a world where almost the entire human (and animal) population has been wiped out by a virulent flu. Our narrator, Hig (an outdoorsman, pilot and poet), is eking out a living at a small airfield in Colorado with only his dog Jasper for company. His closest neighbor and ally is Bangley, a taciturn weapons expert who lets his guns do the talking for him. Together, Hig and Bangley have carved out a life and routine for themselves. Hig patrols their "territory" from the air in his 1950s Cessna, while Bangley provides firepower and tactics for dealing with the less than friendly strangers who sometimes visit their lonely outpost. This is a world where you shoot first and ask questions later--an approach that doesn't naturally fit Hig and his lack of commitment to Bangley's methods often get him into trouble. With Bangley being such a closed down person, Hig's best friend and constant companion is Jasper, with whom Hig talks to as if he was a person. After life-changing events shake up Hig's world, he decides to leave the relative safety of the airfield and go past his "point of no return" to chase after a long-ago radio transmission he heard years earlier.

    The things I liked most about this book was how grounded and realistic it felt. Heller really seems to have considered what might work and not work given the situation he created for his characters (how long gas would last, what kind of food would be available). It felt like Hig and Bangley were the type of people who could survive in such a world. In addition, I liked how Hig and Bangley form a kind of symbiotic relationship that becomes richer and deeper over the course of the book. But what makes the book work most of all is Hig's voice--his confusion, ambivalence, practicality, optimism and poeticism made him a deeply likable character. You want things to turn out for him. Although it takes awhile to get into his head and the rhythms of his thoughts, you'll like what you find there. If you're looking for a dystopia written for grown-ups, this would be an excellent choice.

    About the Narration: Narrator Mark Deakins had quite a challenge as sentences were often choppy and fragmented. There were also times when I was a bit confused about whether something was a conversation or just Hig thinking. But Deakins did an excellent job and created a voice for Hig that felt authentic. His voices for the other characters (particularly Bangley and Pops) were terrific, and it was easy to tell when they were talking. Although this might be a book where reading it in print might be easier than listening on audio, it was a worthy listen.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Game Change: Obama and the Clintons, McCain and Palin, and the Race of a Lifetime

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By John Heilemann, Mark Halperin
    • Narrated By Dennis Boutsikaris
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1907)
    Performance
    (760)
    Story
    (763)

    Based on hundreds of interviews with the people who lived the story, Game Change is a reportorial tour de force that reads like a fast-paced novel. Character driven and dialogue rich, replete with extravagantly detailed scenes, this is the occasion-ally shocking, often hilarious, ultimately definitive account of the campaign of a lifetime.

    Joe says: "Best Audiobook of 2010!"
    "I'm Not Into Politics But I Was Riveted"
    Overall
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    This is a book about the ins and outs of the 2008 campaign (you know … the one where a young upstart named Barack Obama beat out Hilary Clinton for the Democratic nomination and went on to defeat John McCain and his running mate Sarah Palin). I’m not into politics AT ALL but I found this book utterly fascinating (which makes me wonder if I’m more interested in politics than I think or if it was just such an interesting campaign). I mistakenly thought it dealt more with Sarah Palin than it does (her part is only the last third of the book), but it didn’t matter—the battle between Obama and Clinton provided more than enough drama and intrigue. (And the whole John Edwards disaster was like watching a car accident in slow motion.) However, I did get the payoff I was looking for as the book provides a rather damning look into the selection of Palin and the realities of her candidacy. (If you didn’t guess by that last sentence, I’m not a big Palin fan.) Trust me … you don’t need to be a political junkie to enjoy this book. It was gripping from the start and, even though I knew how things turned out in the end, I was still on the edge of my seat as all the various aspects of the race unfolded. I listened to this book on audio, and Dennis Boutsikaris was the perfect choice of narrator. I’m hoping that the authors chronicled the 2012 campaign as I’d LOVE to read about it and find out the details and behind-the-scenes stuff that we don’t really get in regular news coverage. This will definitely be on my “best of the year” lists.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Girl in Translation

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Jean Kwok
    • Narrated By Grayce Wey
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (468)
    Performance
    (191)
    Story
    (189)

    When Kimberly Chang and her mother emigrate from Hong Kong to Brooklyn squalor, she quickly begins a secret double life: exceptional schoolgirl during the day, Chinatown sweatshop worker in the evenings. Disguising the more difficult truths of her life-like the staggering degree of her poverty, the weight of her family's future resting on her shoulders, or her secret love for a factory boy who shares none of her talent or ambition-Kimberly learns to constantly translate not just her language but herself back and forth between the worlds she straddles.

    Susan B. Johnson says: "This is a keeper"
    "Just Didn't Do Much For Me"
    Overall
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    This is an immigrant coming of age story about a young girl named Kimberly Chang who emigrates to America from Hong Kong with her mother and lives a dual life of brilliant student and exploited factory girl living in horrible conditions in Brooklyn. I’m not completely sure why I didn’t bond with this book, but I suspect it has something to do with the fact that many of the problems in Kimberly’s life could have been avoided had she just talked to someone! This drives me nuts in characters, and it annoyed me to no end in this book. However, if you enjoy immigrant stories, this might right up your alley. I read that the author immigrated to America as a young girl so I suspect much of book is based on her own experiences.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat: and Other Clinical Tales

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 36 mins)
    • By Oliver Sacks
    • Narrated By Jonathan Davis, Oliver Sacks
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (965)
    Performance
    (797)
    Story
    (801)

    Oliver Sacks' The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat tells the stories of individuals afflicted with fantastic perceptual and intellectual aberrations: patients who have lost their memories and with them the greater part of their pasts; who are no longer able to recognize people and common objects; who are stricken with violent tics and grimaces or who shout involuntary obscenities; whose limbs have become alien; who have been dismissed as retarded yet are gifted with uncanny artistic or mathematical talents.

    Darwin8u says: "A Clinician's eYe, but a Poet's HEART"
    "Interesting But Left Me Wanting"
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    You’ve probably heard of Dr. Oliver Sacks—the neurologist whose collections of patient case studies have been the subject of various books and movies (including Awakenings). I’d been familiar with Oliver Sacks for years (my dad had many of his books) but never actually read any of his books. Despite the fascinating case studies described in the book (idiot savants, Left Neglect, memory loss), I found the writing off-putting and never really engaged with the book. I think it was a combination of Sack’s writing style (which might be too clinical despite being accessible) and my need for more personal details and depth than Sacks was able to offer.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Devil in the White City

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Erik Larson
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4428)
    Performance
    (2123)
    Story
    (2148)

    In a thrilling narrative showcasing his gifts as storyteller and researcher, Erik Larson recounts the spellbinding tale of the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition. Also available abridged.

    D says: "A Rich Read!"
    "Fascinating Mix of History and Horror"
    Overall
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    Larson found two fascinating but disparate stories that happened concurrently (the creation of the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago and a serial killer who was murdering women just blocks from the fair site) and wove them together without letting one overshadow the other. This is how I like my history (weird, accessible, contextual), and I see why everyone raved about this book. Scott Brick was a brilliant narrator, but since I listened on audio, I had to Google photos of the fair and the killer to get the visuals that Larson so eloquently described. You know when the building of a fair and the building of a killing room are equally riveting that you’re in the hands of a good writer.

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

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Don Winslow
    • Narrated By Michael Kramer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (431)
    Performance
    (327)
    Story
    (322)

    Part-time environmentalist and philanthropist Ben and his ex-mercenary buddy Chon run an independent Laguna Beach–based marijuana operation, reaping significant profits from an established clientele. But they may have come up against something that they can't handle---the Mexican Baja Cartel wants in, and saying no is unacceptable. When they refuse to back down, the cartel kidnaps Ophelia, the boys' playmate and confidante.

    Theodore says: "I loved it"
    "Hard-Core ... Not For Everyone But Really Good!"
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    First things first, this is not a book for the faint-hearted or the easily offended. I listened to it on audio when I was walking my dogs and there were times when I felt myself blushing from what I was listening to … ON MY HEADPHONES! I kept thinking “If people only knew what I was listening to now, they’d be shocked.” This is some hard-core, graphic writing … and hearing it read out loud makes it seem even more so. (By the way, Michael Kramer has the perfect voice for the material … with a kind of WTF/seen it all, done it all attitude.) The basic story deals with a love triangle between two pot dealers and their girl and what happens when they run awry of a Mexican drug cartel and the girl gets kidnapped. The writing—despite its bluntness and graphic descriptions—was good and often very funny. But this is by no means a “feel good” book. And if people in SoCal are really like the characters in this book, then I’m staying the hell away.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • State of Wonder: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Ann Patchett
    • Narrated By Hope Davis
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4261)
    Performance
    (3081)
    Story
    (3080)

    Research scientist Dr. Marina Singh is sent to Brazil to track down her former mentor, Dr. Annick Swenson, who seems to have disappeared in the Amazon while working on an extremely valuable new drug. The last person who was sent to find her died before he could complete his mission. Plagued by trepidation, Marina embarks on an odyssey into the insect-infested jungle in hopes of finding answers to the questions about her friend's death, her company's future, and her own past.

    F. B. Herron says: "Do yourself a favor and listen to this book!"
    "Strangely Hypnotic and Interesting"
    Overall
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    Story

    Bel Canto was my first Ann Patchett book, and I loved it. I then read a few more and didn’t love them. I’d written her off as “not for me” when everyone started raving about this book. Being easily influenced and because Hope Davis was the narrator, I gave it a listen. The book has an almost dream-like quality, and I found it quite involving. The basic plot it this: Researcher Dr. Marina Singh ventures deep into the Amazon to find her former mentor Dr. Annick Swenson—who has been isolated in the Amazon researching a potentially lucrative new drug for their mutual employer—to get some answers about the fate of Marina’s office mate, who preceded her into the Amazon but never returned. Patchett manages to spin a fantastical tale that also feels grounded in reality. Part of me could imagine such a world existing, and I fell under the same enchantment as Marina. The characters were always surprising me (particularly Dr. Swenson), and I’m glad I took the chance on Ann Patchett again.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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