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Jean

Reston, Virginia | Member Since 2008

156
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 41 reviews
  • 160 ratings
  • 0 titles in library
  • 17 purchased in 2014
FOLLOWING
10
FOLLOWERS
43

  • Life

    • UNABRIDGED (23 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Keith Richards, James Fox
    • Narrated By Johnny Depp, Joe Hurley
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2355)
    Performance
    (1208)
    Story
    (1203)

    Now at last Keith Richards pauses to tell his story in the most anticipated autobiography in decades. And what a story! Listening obsessively to Chuck Berry and Muddy Waters records in a coldwater flat with Mick Jagger and Brian Jones, building a sound and a band out of music they loved. Finding fame and success as a bad-boy band, only to find themselves challenged by authorities everywhere....

    Jesse says: "Ins and outs"
    "So glad I stayed with this book"
    Overall

    I absolutely loved this book, and was sad to say goodbye to Keith. He reveals himself, despite all the flaws, to be a really nice man, very generous with praise for fellow musicians and others who populated his life along the way. Their is no doubt that it is his voice we hear, no matter who is narrating (though I do admit that the change of narrators did detract somewhat from my enjoyment.) In the first few hours, the amount of technical detail about music and guitar playing was hard to slog through for a non-musician, but it made me appreciate how skilled and knowledgeable he is - not just a good guitar player. Nice job, Keith. Live long and prosper.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The Death of Santini: The Story of a Father and His Son

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Pat Conroy
    • Narrated By Dick Hill
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (119)
    Performance
    (109)
    Story
    (105)

    Pat Conroy's father, Donald Patrick Conroy, was a towering figure in his son's life. The Marine Corps fighter pilot was often brutal, cruel, and violent; as Pat says, "I hated my father long before I knew there was an English word for 'hate.'" As the oldest of seven children who were dragged from military base to military base across the South, Pat bore witness to the toll his father's behavior took on his siblings, and especially on his mother, Peg. She was Pat's lifeline to a better world - that of books and culture.

    Sandra says: "Santini should have stayed dead"
    "Bad book, VERY bad narration"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This was possibly the poorest narration job I've experienced in many years of listening to books. It was overwrought, melodramatic, and made Conroy sound like a whining, self-absorbed humorless scold. I kept trying to imagine how a line of narrative would read in book form, without the narrator getting in the way. Reading this book would have been better. But not by much. Horrible childhood, I get it. It's an ugly tale of self-aggrandizement and score settling and trashing family members and others for a variety of sins against Pat Conroy. It sort of damages my opinion of him and his books. I wish I could get my credit back.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Graves Are Walking: The Great Famine and the Saga of the Irish People

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By John Kelly
    • Narrated By Gerard Doyle
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (201)
    Performance
    (178)
    Story
    (178)

    It started in 1845 and lasted six years. Before it was over, more than one million men, women, and children starved to death and another million fled the country. Measured in terms of mortality, the Great Irish Potato Famine was one of the worst disasters in the 19th century-it claimed twice as many lives as the American Civil War. A perfect storm of bacterial infection, political greed, and religious intolerance sparked this catastrophe.

    C. Telfair says: "Unforgettable, Haunting, and a Compelling Warning"
    "Every Irish American should read this book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    As one who dislikes throwing around superlatives, I must call this book an astounding revelation. As an Irish American on my mother's side whose great-grandparents emigrated to New Orleans during the Great Famine, I now realize how profoundly uninformed I was about this tragic period in Irish history. If I thought about it at all, I just assumed it was caused by crop failures for a few years. Now I understand that it was greed, indifference, political expediency, British prejudice against the Irish for their perceived "laziness" and "unwillingness to help themselves" that caused a serious problem to become a catastrophe.

    My sweet and gentle Irish grandmother, who was born in New Orleans in 1876, could not be riled by much, but we learned to dare not mention the English to her. I always thought that was quaint and amusing. I'd give anything if she were here today so that I could learn what she knew.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Barbara Kingsolver
    • Narrated By Barbara Kingsolver, Steven L. Hopp, Camille Kingsolver
    Overall
    (1008)
    Performance
    (311)
    Story
    (316)

    When Barbara Kingsolver and her family move from suburban Arizona to rural Appalachia, they take on a new challenge: to spend a year on a locally-produced diet, paying close attention to the provenance of all they consume. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle follows the family through the first year of their experiment.

    Sydney says: "Eye opening"
    "Transformative"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I had just finished reading "Cooked" by Michael Pollan, so I downloaded this book which had been on my wish list for a while. I also recently listened to "Flight Bahavior" and really liked Barbara Kingsolver as the narrator. I was immediately pulled in to the narrative of their year of eating deliberately. I felt really inspired, and realized I was ready for this book.

    Some people found its tone a bit preachy, but it appealed to me because it just made so much sense, as did "Cooked." I started buying nearly all my meat, dairy and produce from our Saturday morning farmers market, and whole wheat bread from a local bakery, as Pollan suggested. I just finally got that Big Agribusiness doesn't much care how healthy and environmentally responsible the products they produce are.

    A supermarket tomato sold in February is inedible and buying it is just dumb. I'm trying not to bore my friends and family; my daughter gives me the eye-roll. I've started to really enjoy meal planning and cooking, and for those of you who are ready for this message, read this book!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Relic: Pendergast, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Douglas Preston, Lincoln Child
    • Narrated By David Colacci
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3754)
    Performance
    (2241)
    Story
    (2268)

    Just days before a massive exhibition opens at the popular New York Museum of Natural History, visitors are being savagely murdered in the museum's dark hallways and secret rooms. Autopsies indicate that the killer cannot be human. But the museum's directors plan to go ahead with a big bash to celebrate the new exhibition, in spite of the murders. Museum researcher Margo Green must find out who - or what - is doing the killing.

    Snoodely says: "Non-Perishable"
    "Just awful"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    So much is wrong with this book; where to start? With the cardboard, cartoon characters, I guess. The museum honchos - prissy, silly, clueless. Seriously, they're more concerned about the bad publicity of having to postpone the exhibition opening than the fact that three grisly murders have occurred there the day before, and the unknown person/thing who did the killing is STILL THERE? The hot shot, pompous head of the FBI in NY who snidely dismisses southern FBI agent Pendergast, he of the honey-dripping accent that everyone thinks makes him dim-witted? We immediately know that these folks are in for serious humilation when the sainted Pendergast shows them for fools.

    Then there's the narration. The reader is adequate when speaking in a normal voice, but his accents (an Austrian and a Scot sound like Col. Klink and the Gorton Fisherman, respectively) are laughable.

    But maybe the worst part is the loud and annoying special effects - tunnel, walkie-talkie, etc. - that had me grabbing the volume control button repeatedly to avoid ear damage.

    There was never the slightest sense of tension or threat as the plot progressed. I did get this book on sale, but it was still a waste of time and money.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Into the Darkest Corner

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Elizabeth Haynes
    • Narrated By David Thorpe, Karen Cass
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (985)
    Performance
    (824)
    Story
    (828)

    Catherine has been enjoying the single life for long enough to know a good catch when she sees one. Gorgeous, charismatic, spontaneous – Lee seems almost too perfect to be true. And her friends clearly agree, as each in turn falls under his spell. But there is a darker side to Lee. His erratic, controlling and sometimes frightening behaviour means that Catherine is increasingly isolated. Driven into the darkest corner of her world, and trusting no one, she plans a meticulous escape.

    Betty says: "AN OCD IS STALKED BY A PSYCHOPATH"
    "Missing thrills and chills"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book kept my interest because I believed I was listening to a well-crafted psychological thriller. The problem: it was all setup and no payoff. It needed clever twists, feints to keep you off-balance. Maybe that maturity will come to this author with time. The plot premise had good potential, but it didn't deliver in the end.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Survivor

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By Gregg Hurwitz
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (883)
    Performance
    (785)
    Story
    (776)

    Nate Overbay, a former soldier suffering from PTSD and ALS, goes to an 11th-floor bank and climbs out the bathroom window onto the ledge, ready to end it all. But as he’s steeling himself to jump, a crew of gunmen bursts into the bank and begins viciously shooting employees and customers. With nothing to lose, Nate climbs back inside, confronts the robbers, and with his military training, starts taking them out, one by one. The last man standing leaves Nate with a cryptic warning: “He will make you pay in ways you can’t imagine.” Soon enough, Nate learns what this means.

    Theodore says: "Shakes you to your very core."
    "This book grabs you by the throat"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    On the first page and doesn't let go. We are drawn in from the moment our hero climbs on the ledge to jump, and suddenly we're hip-deep in Ukranian bad guys who sound like a chorus of Boris Badenovs and enough plot twists to make us dizzy. You could bring your critical eye here and find many Oh Please moments, but it's much more fun to just go with it and enjoy the ride.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Heft

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Liz Moore
    • Narrated By Kirby Heyborne, Keith Szarabajka
    Overall
    (870)
    Performance
    (787)
    Story
    (785)

    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"
    "Masterful character development"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I realized nearing the end of this book that I was saying a silent prayer: Please don't end please don't end... I want to follow these people's lives forever. Arthur and Kel's characters were so deftly rendered that there was never a hint of self-pity or melodrama about them. I haven't felt such empathy for fictional characters in a long time. This wonderful book deserves more than five stars.

    21 of 21 people found this review helpful
  • Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln

    • UNABRIDGED (41 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Doris Kearns Goodwin
    • Narrated By Suzanne Toren
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1192)
    Performance
    (997)
    Story
    (1022)

    On May 18, 1860, William H. Seward, Salmon P. Chase, Edward Bates, and Abraham Lincoln waited in their hometowns for the results from the Republican National Convention in Chicago. When Lincoln emerged as the victor, his rivals were dismayed and angry. Throughout the turbulent 1850s, each had energetically sought the presidency as the conflict over slavery was leading inexorably to secession and civil war.

    Jeremiah Duncan says: "Beautiful, Heartbreaking, and Informative"
    "Beautifully written, narration inadequate"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a great book, beautifully researched and written. I wish, however, that I had bought the hard copy. The narrator's style was cold and uninvolving, although at the beginning I was hoping to get used to it. After 40 hours, unfortunately, I did not; she lacked all passion for her subject. Doris Kearns Goodwin would have been a much better choice as reader. It didn't matter to me that Toren was a woman, and she has a beautiful speaking voice. This brilliant book deserved better.

    11 of 12 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
    (1987)
    Performance
    (1753)
    Story
    (1739)

    >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."
    "A Perfect Story, flawlessly read"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This was a beautiful book, many-layered and satisfying. I know that good fiction can and often does end leaving open questions about the lives of the characters. I hadn't appreciated how warmly satisfying it is to follow a story like this one to its fully realized conclusion.

    And who but Elizabeth McGovern could have rendered the story with more grace, empathy and warmth? Moriarty and McGovern combined to create a flawless listening experience.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Drama: An Actor's Education

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By John Lithgow
    • Narrated By John Lithgow
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (262)
    Performance
    (236)
    Story
    (234)

    In this riveting and surprising personal history, John Lithgow shares a backstage view of his own struggle, crisis, and discovery, revealing the early life and career that took place out of the public eye. Above all Lithgow’s memoir is a tribute to his most important influence: his father, Arthur Lithgow, who, as an actor, director, producer, and great lover of Shakespeare, brought theater to John’s boyhood. From bedtime stories to Arthur’s illustrious productions, performance and storytelling were constant and cherished parts of family life.

    Diane Havens says: "Superb"
    "I've always liked John Lithgow..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Now I absolutely love him! This book was honest, inspiring, fascinating. He was unsparing about his flaws and mistakes, had no false modesty about his many achievements, and generous to his colleagues. When there was criticism, he gentlemanly changed the names of the characters involved. Although I was moved to do a little research to discover the identity of "Mr. Pleasant" in one story. His is a life well lived and well told.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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