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Molly-o

English major. Love to read

Seattle | Member Since 2007

272
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 59 reviews
  • 77 ratings
  • 505 titles in library
  • 11 purchased in 2014
FOLLOWING
13
FOLLOWERS
72

  • Tenth of December: Stories

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By George Saunders
    • Narrated By George Saunders
    Overall
    (366)
    Performance
    (327)
    Story
    (330)

    One of the most important and blazingly original writers of his generation, George Saunders is an undisputed master of the short story, and Tenth of December is his most honest, accessible, and moving collection yet. In the taut opener, "Victory Lap", a boy witnesses the attempted abduction of the girl next door and is faced with a harrowing choice: Does he ignore what he sees, or override years of smothering advice from his parents and act? In "Home", a combat-damaged soldier moves back in with his mother and struggles to reconcile the world he left with the one to which he has returned.

    Molly-o says: "I could never have known"
    "I could never have known"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I suppose for some, these kind of edgy stories might be commonplace, but, honestly, I have never read anything like this book. I am used to going from point A to point B with all of the numerous offshoots that an author can muster but I just had to hold on with this journey. The stories are complex, strange and wonderfully buoyant. They are beautifully written so I never let go of where Saunders chose to take me - I loved this read. One needs to be pushed off one's assumptions every once in a while.

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • The Burglary: The Discovery of J. Edgar Hoover's Secret FBI

    • UNABRIDGED (24 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Betty Medsger
    • Narrated By Bronson Pinchot
    Overall
    (47)
    Performance
    (45)
    Story
    (47)

    The never-before-told full story of the history-changing break-in at the FBI office in Media, Pennsylvania, by a group of unlikely activists - quiet, ordinary, hardworking Americans - that made clear the shocking truth and confirmed what some had long suspected, that J. Edgar Hoover had created and was operating, in violation of the U.S. Constitution, his own shadow Bureau of Investigation.

    Susie says: "Forget Ocean's 11"
    "Important book for us all - despite its flaws"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I was completely enthralled with the beginning half of this book - the author wove a good story and kept me entranced with true events about a disturbing time. I found myself suggesting this to many other "boomers" who might, like I, have protested the Vietnam War in the 60s, didn't know the clear response to people like us from the FBI and have been intrigued by the despotism of J. Edgar Hoover.

    It is a good read but not all the way through. I got bogged down with the level of detail that Betty Medsger used and found that her story telling ability didn't continue through the second half of the book.

    Like a former reader, I also found it puzzling why a man read the book when it is written by a woman. I also found the editorializing he did through the way he read the book to be annoying.

    Despite all of this, I didn't stop reading the book because I do think those at the heart of the book - the men and women who carried out the burglary -- need to be honored and praised for their courage. Each of us needs to know what despicable acts were perpetrated in the name of democracy and learn from the knowledge.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Goldfinch

    • UNABRIDGED (32 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Donna Tartt
    • Narrated By David Pittu
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4406)
    Performance
    (4031)
    Story
    (4031)

    The Goldfinch is a haunted odyssey through present-day America and a drama of enthralling force and acuity. It begins with a boy. Theo Decker, a 13-year-old New Yorker, miraculously survives an accident that kills his mother. Abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. Bewildered by his strange new home on Park Avenue, disturbed by schoolmates who don't know how to talk to him, and tormented above all by his unbearable longing for his mother, he clings to one thing that reminds him of her: a small, mysteriously captivating painting that ultimately draws Theo into the underworld of art.

    B.J. says: "A stunning achievement - for author and narrator"
    "This is SUCH a good book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is not an easy read - the length and the story definitely require a commitment to the story's end and the characters' journey. But what a ride! Donna Tartt's style is riveting - she writes and you are there, caught in the web of her exquisite descriptions. Her characters are so solid, so endearing, at times so frustrating, but ultimately unforgettable. I generally stay away from "dark" books and this one is dark but it isn't ponderous or without hope. It is SO worth the ups and downs because it is such a fine piece of literature.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Americanah

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
    • Narrated By Adjoa Andoh
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (148)
    Performance
    (137)
    Story
    (138)

    As teenagers, Ifemelu and Obinze fall in love in a Nigeria under military dictatorship. The self-assured Ifemelu departs for America, where Obinze hopes to join her, but post-9/11 America will not let him in, and he plunges into a dangerous, undocumented life in London. Fifteen years later, after so long apart and so many changes, will they find the courage to meet again, face to face?

    Bruce Whitehouse says: "Provocative and occasionally maddening"
    "So, so good"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A particularly telling standard I have for if a book is good is if I listen to it as I am walking the 5 minutes -- not half hour, but 5 minutes -- to my office from where I park which I did throughout my read of this one. It definitely interrupted my life - the two strands of the love story and the commentary on race in America and in Nigeria kept me glued to the book in many unusual situations. I walked more as I read this book and I listened whenever I could and still be responsible. It is beautifully written, the characters are plucky and memorable and the story is very clever. Perhaps most important, it will shake your beliefs around a bit - and when is that not a good thing? The New York Times was right in naming this one of the year's ten best!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Signature of All Things: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Elizabeth Gilbert
    • Narrated By Juliet Stevenson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (617)
    Performance
    (566)
    Story
    (575)

    In The Signature of All Things, Elizabeth Gilbert returns to fiction, inserting her inimitable voice into an enthralling story of love, adventure and discovery. Spanning much of the 18th and 19th centuries, the novel follows the fortunes of the extraordinary Whittaker family as led by the enterprising Henry Whittaker - a poor-born Englishman who makes a great fortune in the South American quinine trade, eventually becoming the richest man in Philadelphia.

    Dina says: "An Educational and Epic Oddity"
    "Don't miss this one"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Once again, for the past week, I have been in the enviable position of loving a book so much that I didn't want it to end. I have found Elizabeth Gilbert's name, unfortunately for her, will more often than not pull a rolling of the eyes from someone when I mention it. I have had to convince my friends and family that Gilbert is a fine writer - even if you didn't want to go with her on her self-reflective journey which I found more of a romp than a great work of non-fiction. Nonetheless, if you have this prejudice, don't let it stop you from listening to this excellent book.

    Gilbert can tell a good story and this one is a dandy! It spans 80 years but I never lost interest and found myself plugging in to the story in the oddest of places just to hear what came next: the equivalent of a page turner. The characters are vibrant and riveting and the tale is full of life. Juliet Stevenson is one of Audible's very best narrators,truly; if you have never heard her read a book, it is your loss - she is nimble and talented with the change of character. Great story, fabulous narrator - it doesn't get much better than that.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • Amy and Isabelle: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Elizabeth Strout
    • Narrated By Stephanie Roberts
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (33)
    Performance
    (32)
    Story
    (32)

    With compassion, humor, and striking insight, Amy and Isabelle explores the secrets of sexuality that jeopardize the love between a mother and her daughter. Amy Goodrow, a shy high school student in a small mill town, falls in love with her math teacher, and together they cross the line between understandable fantasy and disturbing reality. When discovered, this emotional and physical trespass brings disgrace to Amy's mother, Isabelle, and intensifies the shame she feels about her own past.

    Molly-o says: "This book grows on you and stays!"
    "This book grows on you and stays!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Elizabeth Strout is a talented writer and brings people into my life whom I would probably never otherwise meet. These are simple, genuinely kind people who, like all of us, are trying to navigate life's difficulties - in this case, a mother and 17 year old daughter who don't really start communicating until they are faced with major obstacles. The characters are beautifully drawn and the changes they come into are authentically depicted. I loved it.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Bartender's Tale

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Ivan Doig
    • Narrated By David Aaron Baker
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (301)
    Performance
    (266)
    Story
    (269)

    The Bartender' s Tale stars Tom Harry and his 12-year-old son, Rusty, who live alone and run a bar in a small Montana town in the early 1960s. Their lives are upended when Proxy, a woman from Tom's past, and her beatnik daughter, Francine, breeze into town. Is Francine, as Proxy claims, the unsuspected legacy of her and Tom’s past? Without a doubt she is an unsettling gust of the future, upending every certainty in Rusty’s life and generating a mist of passion and pretense that seems to obscure everyone’s vision but his own.

    B.J. says: "If you love a good story ..."
    "Why do good books have to end?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I have read many of Ivan Doig's books because I love Montana and the way Doig tells a story with characters that I feel like I have met sometime in my life. Some of his books are more successful than others; The Bartender's Tale is one of his best. Once again, Doig spins a tale of a simple life with complex flavors and, again, I didn't want this book to stop. David Baker is excellent in catching the sounds and pauses of the characters so well that I was immersed in that life and how the story unfolded. This is a sweet story, a story about a wonderful young man and his Dad, his best girl friend and all the other gems and crazies that one might come across in a bar in Montana. Ivan Doig, thank you for this gift.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Inferno: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Dan Brown
    • Narrated By Paul Michael
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (8537)
    Performance
    (7763)
    Story
    (7822)

    In the heart of Italy, Harvard professor of symbology, Robert Langdon, is drawn into a harrowing world centered on one of history’s most enduring and mysterious literary masterpieces: Dante’s Inferno. Against this backdrop, Langdon battles a chilling adversary and grapples with an ingenious riddle that pulls him into a landscape of classic art, secret passageways, and futuristic science. Drawing from Dante’s dark epic poem, Langdon races to find answers and decide whom to trust...before the world is irrevocably altered.

    Livia says: "Formulaic and Hard to Finish...."
    "It's okay but..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I downloaded this book to listen to while I was driving to Wyoming with the purpose of keeping me interested in being in the car for hours. It worked because Dan Brown can tell a story but it's still not great or even good literature. There is a place for this but don't expect to remember much about it a week later.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Daniel James Brown
    • Narrated By Edward Herrmann
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (642)
    Performance
    (584)
    Story
    (593)

    Daniel James Brown's robust book tells the story of the University of Washington's 1936 eight-oar crew and their epic quest for an Olympic gold medal, a team that transformed the sport and grabbed the attention of millions of Americans. The sons of loggers, shipyard workers, and farmers, the boys defeated elite rivals first from eastern and British universities and finally the German crew rowing for Adolf Hitler in the Olympic games in Berlin, 1936.

    Benoibe says: "Best book of the year!"
    "Wish I could read this for the first time again!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is such a treat to read. Yes, I live in the northwest so I am already greeting the story with open arms, but it wouldn't matter, truly. Daniel Brown knows how to tell a story which is the essential component for me to veer into the non-fiction realm. He takes a compelling story, humanizes it by closely following one of the participants and creates a momentum that is very hard to resist. I found myself wanting to stop people on the Seattle streets to suggest they read the book. That's a pretty good measure.

    1 of 1 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
    (683)
    Performance
    (604)
    Story
    (607)

    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!"
    "Substantive Nail Biter"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    There are so many levels in this book and Koch is masterful at slowly ridding us of our assumptions so that, in the end, we are left startled and wonderfully surprised as to what just happened to us. The story is not only hard to put down as a kind of thriller, but it leaves us with important lingering questions about our own platforms we are so sure are solid. It is not a long book, it is beautifully written, wonderfully narrated and left me shaking my head with both awe and delight. I wanted to read it again - and I will -- but for the first time!

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

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Elizabeth Strout
    • Narrated By Cassandra Campbell
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (453)
    Performance
    (389)
    Story
    (391)

    Haunted by the freak accident that killed their father when they were children, Jim and Bob Burgess escaped from their Maine hometown of Shirley Falls for New York City as soon as they possibly could. Jim, a sleek, successful corporate lawyer, has belittled his bighearted brother their whole lives, and Bob, a Legal Aid attorney who idolizes Jim, has always taken it in stride. But their long-standing dynamic is upended when their sister, Susan - the Burgess sibling who stayed behind - urgently calls them home.

    Susianna says: "Some Secrets Shouldn't be Kept"
    "Loved, loved, loved it!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I wish I could read about Olive again for the first time and I am not sure there will ever be a book like that one,but Elizabeth Strout is a great storyteller and the Burgess Boys is another great example of her artistry. She has an affectionate way of drawing her characters that gives you an understanding and appreciation for them that is slowly woven into the story line. Se is a master and I was sorry when this story ended but look forward to her expertise in whatever she sets out to do in the future.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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