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Rachel

I am a clay sculptor and an art instructor at a community college. I mostly listen to audiobooks while I work in my home studio.

YAKIMA, WA, United States | Member Since 2009

44
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 65 reviews
  • 117 ratings
  • 1 titles in library
  • 22 purchased in 2014
FOLLOWING
4
FOLLOWERS
2

  • Silas Marner

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By George Eliot
    • Narrated By Andrew Sachs
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (74)
    Performance
    (53)
    Story
    (52)

    For 15 years the weaver Silas Marner has plied his loom near the village of Raveloe, alone and in exile, cut off from faith and human love, while amassing a hoard of golden guineas.

    Ramon says: "amazing"
    "Unusual, but good"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This isn't the sort of book I usually listen to, but I listened to Middlemarch this summer and really enjoyed it. I find Eliot to be a very interesting author. Her writing is not what I would call familiar or typical. She takes her time telling the story, taking you with her. This book was shorter than Middlemarch, but it had the same kind of leisurely pacing. With this book I didn't feel like I knew where we were headed, exactly. It wasn't predictable.

    I will probably read more by Eliot, but I will wait until I have time to spare. This is not a good book to read in breaks in between work or while distracted with chores.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Best of Connie Willis: Award-Winning Stories

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Connie Willis
    • Narrated By Eliza Foss, Jessica Almasy, Mia Barron, and others
    Overall
    (25)
    Performance
    (22)
    Story
    (22)

    Here are the greatest stories of one of the greatest writers working in any genre today. All ten of the stories gathered here are Hugo or Nebula award winners - some even have the distinction of winning both. With a new Introduction by the author and personal afterwords to each story, plus a special look at three of Willis' unique public speeches - this is unquestionably the collection of the season, an audiobook that every Connie Willis fan will treasure.

    Rachel says: "Probably the best short story collection ever"
    "Probably the best short story collection ever"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The title space doesn't allow me to write my whole title: Probably the best short story collection I've ever heard. And certainly the one I've enjoyed the most.

    I usually dislike short story collections because they seem to be all depressing and incomplete. These short stories feel just like small, complete books. Connie Willis is so talented and so good at crafting interesting, surprising situations and complex, lifelike characters. I can't get enough.

    This collection also includes short messages from the author after each story. I loved these, particularly the one that talked about how she became a successful author. Inspirational and fascinating.

    One qualm with the audiobook: My tracks were out of order for parts of two stories--the numbers were in order, but the reading jumped from the end of one story to the middle of "The Winds of Marble Arch" and then put in the afterward to the earlier story before jumping back to the start of the "Winds:. I'm still a little confused about "The first (middle) track I heard form Winds, but since everything else made sense, I didn't worry about it.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Android's Dream

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By John Scalzi
    • Narrated By Wil Wheaton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2252)
    Performance
    (1954)
    Story
    (1960)

    A human diplomat creates an interstellar incident when he kills an alien diplomat in a most unusual way. To avoid war, Earth's government must find an equally unusual object: A type of sheep ("The Android's Dream"), used in the alien race's coronation ceremony. To find the sheep, the government turns to Harry Creek, ex-cop, war hero and hacker extraordinaire.

    James says: "Philip K Dick meets Douglas Adams"
    "Just a great Sci Fi Adventure"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I've been listening to a bunch of Wheaton/Scalzi books lately. They never seem to disappoint. This one too.

    The story is absurd and odd, but somehow everything makes sense and fits together. The author is talented at creating unusual characters, particularly alien characters, who don't operate based on our logic, but somehow their decisions still make sense based on their own motivations in the story universe.

    Scalzi manages to give us enough made up backstory and "history" and cultural background to ground his characters in a "real" fictional world without bogging down the story with heavy info dumps.

    Also, Will Wheaton is excellent.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Long Mars: Long Earth, Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Terry Pratchett, Stephen Baxter
    • Narrated By Michael Fenton Stevens
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (23)
    Performance
    (22)
    Story
    (22)

    2040-2045: In the years after the cataclysmic Yellowstone eruption there is massive economic dislocation as populations flee Datum Earth to myriad Long Earth worlds. Sally, Joshua, and Lobsang are all involved in this perilous rescue work when, out of the blue, Sally is contacted by her long-vanished father and inventor of the original Stepper device, Willis Linsay. He tells her he is planning a fantastic voyage across the Long Mars and wants her to accompany him. But Sally soon learns that Willis has an ulterior motive for his request....

    Connie Chai Scholl says: "Story is okay, reader is AWFUL"
    "More good story from this team"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    If you're considering this one, you've read the other two already. No? Go read The Long Earth--now.

    The Long Mars was as enjoyable and interesting as the two books that came before it. I always feel a series of connections to my own life, starting with the setting in Madison (sort of) where I used to live. I love that the authors talk about specific locations and connect their world to mine.

    I had a little more trouble than usual following the timeline in this one, but I think I was distracted, maybe. I kept confusing which ship we were following on which trip. However, it didn't seem to matter much and I thoroughly enjoyed the book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Just One Damned Thing After Another: The Chronicles of St Mary's, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Jodi Taylor
    • Narrated By Zara Ramm
    Overall
    (183)
    Performance
    (162)
    Story
    (160)

    Behind the seemingly innocuous fa├žade of St Mary's, a different kind of historical research is taking place. They don't do 'time-travel' - they 'investigate major historical events in contemporary time'. Maintaining the appearance of harmless eccentrics is not always within their power - especially given their propensity for causing loud explosions when things get too quiet. Meet the disaster-magnets of St Mary's Institute of Historical Research as they ricochet around History.

    Carolyn says: "Book Lovers Nirvana"
    "Connie Willis mixed with Jasper Fforde"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Before listening to the book, I thought it sounded an awful lot like the time traveling series by Connie Willis. Willis' books are so good--and I've gone through them all--that I thought I'd try Taylor's. The voicing (as well as, probably the accent) and the odd sorts of things that happen remind me of Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next series. The story reminds me of Willis and, sometimes, Fforde.

    Unfortunately, both Fforde and Willis write better books than this one. Taylor's time traveling seems to be a rough copy of Willis' but with less rationality or logic. It may be silly to ask for logic when talking about science fiction, but I felt too many things in this booked happened that way because it allowed the author to easily dispatch a problem she had written in.

    A lot happens in this book and it seemed really too much to handle carefully in one book. We are introduced to the main character, her life, her introduction to St. Mary's her first mission, second, etc, on through 5 or so years of her adventures before we even get to what might be the big adventure. But because of our fast paced introduction, we never really get to know most of the supporting characters particularly well. Things happen, then we're suddenly rushed past the results and the unsatisfactory explanation and we're racing on to the next event.

    In Connie Willis' books, she gives us all the information we need to understand why things are happening in this future world and why they can't happen another way. We understand character motivation and the movement of the narrative is towards some significant events. Reading Willis I felt satisfaction in the resolution of conflicts or crises. Reading Taylor I just felt vaguely annoyed and vaguely entertained throughout. I also felt like several things that maybe were supposed to be surprises were telegraphed far ahead of time--or I'd read them before from another author. Or maybe they were just cliches.

    Oddly, though I guessed a few secrets/surprises early on, while I listened there were several times when I missed the actual revelation of the secrets. The character had a mysterious something (no spoilers), then the event finished and later the character talked about how surprised she was by the revelation of the mysterious something. But when did anyone actually reveal the mysterious something? I didn't hear it--and I was listening with full attention. It happened at least twice.

    As to the Fforde comparison, the zaniness and non-stop action seem similar (and there is a mention of bringing back the dodo). Fforde's writing is a zany, enjoyable ride. This book left me feeling uncomfortable throughout, asking three sorts of questions: How did that happen? When did they tell us that key bit of info? and Did Taylor actually steal these ideas from other authors?

    The narrator was fine, but some differentiation between character's voices would have helped me keep track of dialogue in one or two spots where, even afterwards, I couldn't tell who was speaking.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • A Visit from the Goon Squad

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Jennifer Egan
    • Narrated By Roxana Ortega
    Overall
    (1197)
    Performance
    (790)
    Story
    (794)

    Jennifer Egan brings her unique gifts as a novelist and short story writer to a compulsively listenable narrative that centers on Bennie Salazar, an aging punk rocker and record executive, and the beautiful Sasha, the passionate, troubled young woman he employs.

    Laurene says: "Excellent, subtle, moving"
    "Ugh. I can't do it"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I couldn't finish this book. I tried to get into it--a couple times--but failed. I imagine that the things that happen in the story could, in and of themselves, be interesting, but the whole tone of the book is depressing and sorta pointlessly so. I assume the author is foreshadowing awful things, in fact she mentions awful, depressing things that will happen in the characters' future, but don't really care to find out what they are.

    To be fair, I really never have been much good at enjoying self-centered characters and depressing events in fiction. (I don't particularly mind them in non-fiction).

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Silver Linings Playbook: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Matthew Quick
    • Narrated By Ray Porter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1688)
    Performance
    (1523)
    Story
    (1527)

    During his years in a neural-health facility, Pat Peoples has formulated a theory about silver linings. He believes that his life is a movie produced by God, that his mission is to become physically fit and emotionally supportive, and that if he succeeds, his happy ending will be the return of his estranged wife, Nikki. When Pat goes to live with his parents, everything seems changed: no one will talk to him about Nikki, and his new therapist seems to be recommending adultery as a form of therapy.

    FanB14 says: "Eagles Victory"
    "Not exactly my style"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I didn't want to stop listening, so I guess it wasn't that bad but I get the impression other people liked it. I found the protagonist annoying and I didn't really care what he did, which meant I didn't really care what happened in the book. If I were reading this as a physical book and I lost it, I wouldn't try to find it.
    As an audio file, however, I finished it. The writing is decent, no problems, so if you like sappy stories and immature slightly annoying by basically harmless characters, go for it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Modern Scholar: Fundamental Cases: The Twentieth-Century Courtroom Battles That Changed Our Nation

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Alan M. Dershowitz
    Overall
    (156)
    Performance
    (70)
    Story
    (69)

    It was Alexis de Tocqueville who, when he visited the new republic for the first time, said that America was a unique country when it comes to law. Every great issue eventually comes before the courts. With this in mind, esteemed professor and civil liberties lawyer Alan Dershowitz looks at history through the prism of the trial, which presents a snapshot of what's going on in a particular point in time of the nation's history.

    Amazon Customer says: "I'd rather be able to rate each section."
    "I'm a bit disappointed, I guess"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The book was interesting enough in particulars, but I guess I wasn't expecting so many of the cases to be ones with which we're all fairly familiar. It was interesting to hear some of the stuff that went on behind the scenes or after the verdict, and I suppose this information flushes out our understanding of Roe V Wade, The Scopes Monkey Trial and the Mike Tyson trial, but I didn't find the impact of most of the cases mentioned to be particularly compelling. As for the interesting cases (Roe v Wade and Scopes), the author didn't reveal much I couldn't have guessed about the impact or repercussions of these cases.
    Maybe I was expecting more of a history of the supreme court or then evolution of jurisprudence in the US.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancient World

    • ORIGINAL (24 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Robert Garland
    Overall
    (830)
    Performance
    (748)
    Story
    (741)

    Look beyond the abstract dates and figures, kings and queens, and battles and wars that make up so many historical accounts. Over the course of 48 richly detailed lectures, Professor Garland covers the breadth and depth of human history from the perspective of the so-called ordinary people, from its earliest beginnings through the Middle Ages.

    Mark says: "Tantalizing time trip"
    "Good listen, interesting topic"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I enjoyed this book, but it wasn't amazing. The focus on the nameless masses of history was interesting, though there was little that was really amazing or surprising.

    If you like Great Courses, like I do, this one is not bad. Decent. Worth it if you find the topic intriguing and want something to listen to for a while during otherwise boring tasks.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Shakespeare's Local: Six Centuries of History, One Pub

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Pete Brown
    • Narrated By Cameron Stewart
    Overall
    (14)
    Performance
    (13)
    Story
    (13)

    Welcome to the George Inn near London Bridge; a cosy, wood-panelled, galleried coaching house a few minutes' walk from the Thames. Consider this: who else has made this their local over the last 600 years? Chaucer and his fellow pilgrims almost certainly drank in the George on their way to Canterbury. Shakespeare may have popped in from the nearby Globe, and we know that Dickens definitely did. Mail carriers changed their horses here, while sailors drank here before sailing.

    Rachel says: "Read if you're going to London or just came back"
    "Read if you're going to London or just came back"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I generally like specific histories like this but this one fell flat. Two major problems: first, Shakespeare is hardly a focus of the book, he's barely mentioned; second, I haven't been to London in more than a decade, so I don't really know where he's talking about most of the time.
    The story would have worked better for me if he had connected the information to more familiar books, plays or histories that someone one this side of the pond would know. Or I'm an unlettered fool who doesn't know her Dickens well enough to care about the references Brown makes to his books. I would have been more comfortable with more connection to Shakespeare, Chaucer and Austen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Blind Watchmaker: Why the Evidence of Evolution Reveals a Universe Without Design

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Richard Dawkins
    • Narrated By Richard Dawkins, Lalla Ward
    Overall
    (822)
    Performance
    (672)
    Story
    (657)

    The Blind Watchmaker, knowledgably narrated by author Richard Dawkins, is as prescient and timely a book as ever. The watchmaker belongs to the 18th-century theologian William Paley, who argued that just as a watch is too complicated and functional to have sprung into existence by accident, so too must all living things, with their far greater complexity, be purposefully designed. Charles Darwin's brilliant discovery challenged the creationist arguments; but only Richard Dawkins could have written this elegant riposte.

    Eric says: "Challenging textbook more than an enjoyable listen"
    "A bit dated but still great"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I really enjoyed the book. All of the technology references are laughably dated, but the biology, writing and explanations seem to hold up just fine.
    The only question I have comes up late in the book. I would like to know Dawkins' thoughts on newer research that seems to support a variation of Lamarkism. Dawkins' vehemently objects to the idea and his evidence seems clear except that I've read about inheritance of acquired traits in recent periodicals and would like to know if any new information has caused Dawkins to adjust his opinions (or if they are still as strong and he finds the new research flawed).

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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