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Debra B

Member Since 2009

17
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 36 reviews
  • 104 ratings
  • 1 titles in library
  • 41 purchased in 2014
FOLLOWING
23
FOLLOWERS
1

  • The Man in the Rockefeller Suit: The Astonishing Rise and Spectacular Fall of a Serial Imposter

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Mark Seal
    • Narrated By Erik Singer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (153)
    Performance
    (113)
    Story
    (112)

    A real-life Talented Mr. Ripley, the unbelievable 30-year run of a shape-shifting con man. The story of Clark Rockefeller is a stranger-than-fiction twist on the classic American success story of the self-made man-because Clark Rockefeller was totally made up. The career con man who convincingly passed himself off as Rockefeller was born in a small village in Germany.

    Diane says: "Extreme Fraud"
    "If you think it couldn't happen to you..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    I listened to this one a while ago - I think about a year - but it still sticks out in my mind for the exceptional story, the flow of the tale, and the unobtrusive narrator. The book deftly leads you to the point where you can see how someone would end up as one of his victims, or at least it provides some rational explanations. Good book.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • American Gods

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By Neil Gaiman
    • Narrated By George Guidall
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (5109)
    Performance
    (1996)
    Story
    (2008)

    For the three years Shadow spent in prison, all he wanted was to get back to the loving arms of his wife and stay out of trouble for the rest of his life. But days before his release, he learns that his wife has been killed in an accident, and his world becomes a colder place.

    Joseph says: "Amazing, powerful book about America."
    "These gods can try your patience"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I liked the free listen, Click Clack the Rattlebag by Neil Gaiman, so I thought I would try one of his books. American Gods is entertaining, with all the trouble-making gods running amuck and being petulant. They could be a little one-dimensional like that, and it made them tiresome at times.

    Overall, American Gods was somewhere between 3 and 4 stars for me, with due appreciation for how the threads of the story were intertwined, and for bringing to life the gods and plunking them down in culture-shock America. A salute to Neil Gaiman for bringing in the House on the Rock in Wisconsin,and capturing the strange vibe of this tourist trap. He did a credible job of the region, in general.

    The narration was fine, although Guidall sounded a little old for Shadow, the main character. He did a masterly job, though, with the many other characters. Guidall has a naturally craggy voice, but he somehow managed to make Laura sound feminine and compelling, and the other female voices weren't bad, either.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Society's Child: My Autobiography

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Janis Ian
    • Narrated By Janis Ian
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (434)
    Performance
    (401)
    Story
    (401)

    Janis Ian was catapulted into the spotlight in 1966 at the age of 15, when her soul-wrenching song "Society's Child" became a hit. But this was only the beginning of a long and illustrious career. In Society's Child, Janis Ian provides a relentlessly honest account of the successes and failures - and the hopes and dreams - of an extraordinary life.

    Pamela says: "I know why this won the grammy"
    "Grabs and pulls you in"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book was a revelation to me. I knew some of her songs, but I had no idea about all the things going on with her. In the first hour of listening, I heard hints that this might be a bit of a self-serving tale told from a predictable perspective, but after listening more (and I couldn't put it down), I changed my mind about that. Her voice (written and spoken) comes across as honest and nothing-to-hide, and all of her experiences alone make this worth a listen. She has scaled the heights, and been laid low. Sometimes, though, I wondered how her friends or acquaintances might have weighed in on the situation of the moment - I fear that sometimes she may have been the last to know.

    Even if you didn't know her music, you still might find this book interesting. Besides a biography-worthy life, there is also music history in it, and as a nice bonus, she sings some of her songs.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • What Makes Olga Run?: The Mystery of the 90-Something Track Star and What She Can Teach Us about Living Longer, Happier Lives

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Bruce Grierson
    • Narrated By Sean Pratt
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (2)

    In What Makes Olga Run? Bruce Grierson explores what the wild success of a 94-year-old track star can tell us about how our bodies and minds age. Olga Kotelko is not your average 94-year-old. She not only looks and acts like a much younger woman, she holds over 23 world records in track and field, 17 in her current 90 to 95 category. Convinced that this remarkable woman could help unlock many of the mysteries of aging, Grierson set out to uncover what it is that's driving Olga.

    Marci says: "I can't stop talking about this book"
    "You're not trapped in an aging body"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Olga is in her nineties, and has the body and athletic abilities of someone much younger. With hundreds of medals in her closet, no one is disputing that she is a super athlete - the only question is, why? Olga wants to know, too, and she and the author set about to find the answers, looking at everything from muscle fibers to diet to psychology. The importance of exercise comes up again and again,and this book is the very embodiment of the carrot-instead-of-a-stick approach to get us all moving. Like Born to Run and the ultra marathoners, Olga made me realize humans do not necessarily have the physical limitations we may think we do. The book has a lot to say about how to get a better quality of life, too. Olga is an inspiring person, and this is an inspiring, helpful book.

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

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Michael Hastings
    • Narrated By Ramiz Monsef
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (11)
    Performance
    (11)
    Story
    (10)

    The year is 2002. Weekly news magazines dominate the political agenda in New York and Washington. A young journalist named Michael M. Hastings is an intern at The Magazine, wet behind the ears, the only one in the office who has actually read his coworkers' books. He will stop at nothing to turn his internship into a full-time position and has figured out just who to impress: Nishant Patel, the international editor, and Sanders Berman, managing editor - both vying for the job of editor-in-chief.

    Darwin8u says: "CURRENT and ENERGY that is hard to contain"
    "A journalist skewers journalism"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This was blistering. It's a parody of a news magazine and the personalities involved, and Michael Hastings was, in real life, employed at just such a place. Maybe that was why his characters all popped off the page (or off my iPod), fully drawn. There is a kind of humor or wry observation that reminded me of A Confederacy of Dunces. Knowing that the author died before he had finished this book, I went into it expecting an uneven finish. But for me, the end was a perfect landing.

    The narrator is one of those gifted individuals who can make all the characters distinct and memorable through subtle means.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Victory

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Joseph Conrad
    • Narrated By George Guidall
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (27)
    Performance
    (21)
    Story
    (21)

    From one of the greatest modern writers in world literature comes a magnificent story of love, adventure, and rescue played out against the shimmering South Seas. Alone on a tropical island, a Swedish baron and a beautiful violinist discover the long-lost joys of love. But when two treasure hunters arrive on the beach, the lovers know that evil has invaded their romantic paradise—an evil they are powerless to stop.

    Darwin8u says: "Beautiful, sad and powerful"
    "Uneven tale of good and evil"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book takes place in the tropics. Conrad is a wonderful writer, and he sailed the tropical seas in real life. Heart of Darkness is one of my favorite books.

    So, I wish I liked this one more. It seemed like Conrad kept trying to beat home his points about his characters and about good vs. evil. Sometimes he would go on and on about something, and even though I thought I knew what he was trying to get at when he started, by the time he was done I'd be only confused. He kept bringing up what it means to be a gentleman, but I honestly am not sure what he was trying to say on that particular subject. But, it was still a good story, and it was uncanny how it kept pulling me back in. Also, I was glad I'd been alerted to the fact that the narrator point of view shifts through the story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Faithful Spy

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By Alex Berenson
    • Narrated By Robertson Dean
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2195)
    Performance
    (836)
    Story
    (830)

    John Wells is the only American CIA agent ever to penetrate al Qaeda. Since before the attacks in 2001, Wells has been hiding in the mountains of Pakistan, biding his time, building his cover.

    Margaret says: "Faithful Spy"
    "Believable premise, and often gripping"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a modern day terrorist suspense story, and was more like 3.5 stars.I don't read a lot of spy novels, but other people seemed to like this one, so I thought I would give it a try. I was glad I did. The plot itself is gripping, and is the real draw here. It seemed plausible, and as a side note, all the references to NSA were interesting. The book seemed to lag at the parts about the love story, and at some of the parts about the character's interior lives. Most characters came off as a little cardboard. But still, the author tried to make them at least somewhat human, and he avoided outright caricatures. The narration was fine, but it's hard for macho-sounding guys to have to suddenly do female voices.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Antiquarian

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Gustavo Faveron Patriau, Joseph Mulligan (translator)
    • Narrated By Joel Richards
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (6)
    Performance
    (6)
    Story
    (6)

    Three years have passed since Gustavo, a renowned psycholinguist, last spoke to his closest friend, Daniel, who's been interned in a psychiatric ward for murdering his fiancée. When Daniel unexpectedly calls to confess the truth behind the crime, Gustavo's long-buried loyalty resurfaces and draws him into the center of a quixotic, unconventional investigation. While Daniel reveals his unsettling story through fragments of fables, novels, and historical allusions, Gustavo begins to retrace the past for clues.

    Laura says: "Amazing story- Great read"
    "Too meandering for me"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book was always going off on a macabre tangent. The tangents - the allegories - are meant to help tell the story, but it got tiresome after a while. This is a book I wanted to like. It brought in a different culture, and had elements of a gothic suspense tale. And, I sensed the sincerity of the author's efforts to make sense of a war torn land (and perhaps his frustration with it?). But as far as a straight-up story goes, it wasn't that suspenseful or engaging.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Noble Hustle: Poker, Beef Jerky, and Death

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Colson Whitehead
    • Narrated By Colson Whitehead
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (14)
    Performance
    (13)
    Story
    (14)

    “I have a good poker face because I am half dead inside.” So begins the hilarious and unexpectedly moving adventures of an amateur player who lucked into a seat at the biggest card game in town - the World Series of Poker.

    Michelle says: "I don't like to pan books, but this is awful"
    "Colson Whitehead, note-taker of our culture"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    First a word about the narration. Definitely listen to the preview first, because Whitehead has a distinctive way of talking, and it might not be for you. When I first listened to him, I thought it might not be for me, either, but, funny thing, his voice grew on me, and I started to like it. I've read two other books by Whitehead, and I liked them both for the deft way he mixes cultural observations with his stories, and his fresh, clear writing. He is wry, but not overbearing about it - at least that's how it comes across to me. I really liked Zone One. For me, all his books (including The Noble Hustle) come down to one thing - Our Culture. It's worth reading The Noble Hustle just to hear him explain the different hands in poker. A pair of queens (I think it was) would be like a pair of SUV's in your neighbor's driveway, whereas your hand with only one queen is like having only one SUV in your driveway. The person with the better stuff wins. He talks a lot about his anhedonia, his feeling of being dead inside, but he has such a lock on humor and observations that he manages to be good company. It's like sitting down him next to him at casino bar, and staying longer than you'd thought, just to hear him talk.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Good Soldier

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Ford Madox Ford
    • Narrated By Frank Muller
    Overall
    (80)
    Performance
    (39)
    Story
    (40)

    On the face of it Captain Edward Ashburnham's life was unimpeachable. But behind the mask where passion seethes, the captain's "good" life was rotting away.

    A User says: "The saddest story"
    "Convincing characters, a web of deceit"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a book about a man trying to explain how his marriage turned out to be different from what he'd thought it would be. It's intriguing to listen to how he gradually comes to piece things together, and how he comes to understand another married couple that he and his wife are friends with. He is insightful and clueless at the same time, but you, the listener, will have no trouble sorting things out. The characters come across so clearly, that I could easily believe they are based on real life people. I'm not sure why, but the first half of the book seemed written in a very modern way (clear and frank), and the second half seemed more old-fashioned (more drenched in woe and hand-wringing, and dealing with matters of religion in the front-and-center way they used to). I liked the first half a little better, but it was all good. The narrator kept saying what a sad story it was - and it was sad - but I found it more intriguing than gloomy. It was far from sending me into an unsettled funk. In fact, a lot of people might find it useful information.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Lost for Words: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Edward St. Aubyn
    • Narrated By Alex Jennings
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (33)
    Performance
    (30)
    Story
    (29)

    Edward St. Aubyn’s Patrick Melrose novels were some of the most celebrated works of fiction of the past decade. Now St. Aubyn returns with a hilariously smart send-up of a certain major British literary award. The judges on the panel of the Elysian Prize for Literature must get through hundreds of submissions to find the best book of the year. Meanwhile, a host of writers are desperate for Elysian attention: the brilliant writer and serial heartbreaker Katherine Burns; the lovelorn debut novelist Sam Black; and Bunjee, convinced that his magnum opus, The Mulberry Elephant, will take the literary world by storm.

    Debra B says: "Witty, and the narrator is perfect"
    "Witty, and the narrator is perfect"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is one of the wittiest books I've read in a long time. I am not an insider to the world the author describes, but it didn't prevent me from feeling like I knew the various characters, and thinking the whole thing was terrifically funny. Except for a few spots, it wasn't burst out loud funny; it was more all of the little interjections from the author and the perfect little plot twists that made it so enjoyable. The various characters are perfect: they weren't too over the top, as they sometimes are in parody. I know there was a start, middle and end to the book, but I admit I was so caught up in the character portrayals that the plot seemed secondary. I may listen to this again, because the wit comes at you fast and furious, and I probably missed some good stuff. The narrator's voice was absolutely drenched with highbrow sentiment, and he was great. It was almost like he was the one who wrote this book.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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