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  • The Orchardist

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Amanda Coplin
    • Narrated By Mark Bramhall
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    At the turn of the 20th century, in a rural stretch of the Pacific Northwest, a reclusive orchardist, William Talmadge, tends to apples and apricots as if they were loved ones. A gentle man, he's found solace in the sweetness of the fruit he grows and the quiet, beating heart of the land he cultivates. One day, two teenage girls appear and steal his fruit from the market; they later return to the outskirts of his orchard to see the man who gave them no chase. Feral, scared, and very pregnant, the girls take up on Talmadge's land and indulge in his deep reservoir of compassion.

    Marcia says: "Beautiful, rich, sweeping tale, not a fairy tale."
    ""Somebody tell a joke!""
    Any additional comments?

    Spoiler alert - my favorite movie of all time was "Moonstruck." And it was so because of lines like this told by a crotchety old man in a very awkward moment. I'm a shmuck for characters and stories like this. No apologies. But I also tread fearlessly into the darker narratives in life (Hell, I'm a military psychologist!) and this book was almost unbearable towards the end. I kept hoping for some denouement; some event or epiphany that would make the suffering and plodding despair worth the hours of listening. Didn't happen. Give us something to ponder, to hold in our hearts, to be rocked off course by. Don't just keep putting heavier rocks in the backpack. OK, Ok, OK. The setting was starkly gorgeous; the storyline complex and compelling. But the lives of almost every single character in this too long saga were about human ugliness, loss, disconnection, alienation, failures, and final yielding to the detached hopelessness of it all. For crying out loud, the only poignancy we were offerred was in the form of a final trite image of whatever life lies beyond because we sure weren't getting any in this life from Ms. Coplin. NOBODY who isn't John Irving (actually my favorite author) should write a book with this depth of unrelieved despair.

    64 of 70 people found this review helpful
  • The Life We Bury

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Allen Eskens
    • Narrated By Zach Villa
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    College student Joe Talbert has the modest goal of completing a writing assignment for an English class. His task is to interview a stranger and write a brief biography of the person. With deadlines looming, Joe heads to a nearby nursing home to find a willing subject. There he meets Carl Iverson, and soon nothing in Joe's life is ever the same. Carl is a dying Vietnam veteran-and a convicted murderer. With only a few months to live, he has been medically paroled to a nursing home after spending thirty years in prison for the crimes of rape and murder.

    Lori says: "Good listen!"
    "Just what I needed!"

    Could NOT put it down!
    Narrator was fabulous.
    While there were some decisions by the protagonist that seemed a bit incredulous, I found myself making excuses for him just so I could continue traveling along towards a predictable but completely satisfying denouement. Loved ir!

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Time Traveler's Wife

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Audrey Niffenegger
    • Narrated By Fred Berman, Phoebe Strole

    Clare and Henry have known each other since Clare was six and Henry was 36. They were married when Clare was 23 and Henry was 31. Impossible but true, because Henry is one of the first people diagnosed with Chrono-Displacement Disorder: periodically his genetic clock resets and he finds himself misplaced in time, pulled to moments of emotional gravity from his life, past and future. His disappearances are spontaneous, his experiences unpredictable, alternately harrowing and amusing.

    Joey says: "One of my favorite books"
    "Did we listen to the same book?????"

    "Fun" "dreamy" "well read"!?.... This book was painful in so many ways. The concept was intriguing and the collection of characters was great. BUT... the author could have done so much more to create tension between the contrasting intimacy of Clare/Henry and his disconnect with so much of life trapped in linear time. Also - Henry's nudity problem in time travel was so tedious and repetitive and distracting I could hardly stand it. Added NOTHING to the story.

    The author's descriptions of the relationship between Clare and Henry alternated between sublime,poetic at some points, and utterly crude at others. One of the terms Clare used in describing her own body is so viscerally pejorative that I stopped liking her then and there. And what was up with the "love scene" in the kitchen with Gomez and Clare? I actually really liked Gomez until this jarringly ugly scene.

    As for the readers - Clare was tone deaf; Henry was gratingly nasal and too often sounded bored and condescending. The biggest problem I had with them though was the amazing frequency of mispronounced words. Where were the editors???? In one chapter, Henry pronounces a word incorrectly the first go-round, then corrects it later on.... Huh? Go back and edit the damned first mispronunciation! It seemed so lazy.

    70 of 86 people found this review helpful

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