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Margaret

San Francisco, CA USA | Member Since 2008

2033
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 113 reviews
  • 147 ratings
  • 505 titles in library
  • 7 purchased in 2018
FOLLOWING
22
FOLLOWERS
238

  • The Rosie Project: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Graeme Simsion
    • Narrated By Dan O'Grady
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (9306)
    Performance
    (8365)
    Story
    (8353)

    Don Tillman, professor of genetics, has never been on a second date. So when an acquaintance informs him that he would make a "wonderful" husband, his first reaction is shock. Yet he must concede to the statistical probability that there is someone for everyone, and Don sets out to find the perfect partner. She will be punctual and logical - most definitely not a barmaid, a smoker, a drinker, or a late-arriver. Yet Rosie Jarman is all these things. She is also beguiling, fiery, intelligent - and on a quest of her own....

    Gretchen says: "Not a typical romance - so much more"
    "Truly A Comic Novel"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    After so much chick lit, The Rosie Project took me by surprise. It's not chick lit. It reminded me of the Adrian Mole diaries, by Sue Townsend in the 80's and 90's, and is in that much rarer and much more traditional genre - the comic novel.

    The protagonist, Professor Don Tillman, has a flaw, as all great comic protagonists must, that has prevented him ever getting a second date with a woman. So he embarks on "The Wife Project" to find a compatible woman and instead meets Rosie, a completely incompatible barmaid/Ph.D candidate, on a quest to find the identity of her father.

    I laughed and winced and rooted for Don as he fell under Rosie's spell, against his own better judgment (which he analyzes in agonizing detail) and the hours flew by.

    I can't remember the last five star rating I gave a book. I usually top out at four. But I listened to this book straight through and have to say if it isn't five stars, then I don't know what is.

    Highly recommend.

    65 of 71 people found this review helpful
  • Get Well Soon: History’s Worst Plagues and the Heroes Who Fought Them

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Jennifer Wright
    • Narrated By Gabra Zackman
    Overall
    (4235)
    Performance
    (3954)
    Story
    (3936)

    In 1518, in a small town in Alsace, Frau Troffea began dancing and didn't stop. She danced until she was carried away six days later, and soon 34 more villagers joined her. Then more. In a month more than 400 people had been stricken by the mysterious dancing plague. In late-19th-century England an eccentric gentleman founded the No Nose Club in his gracious townhome - a social club for those who had lost their noses, and other body parts, to the plague of syphilis for which there was then no cure.

    Carrie Arnold says: "Didn't know syphilis could be so fascinating."
    "The Fun Continues..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I enjoyed Jennifer Wright's sense of fun in her last book, It Ended Badly. Yet, I was a bit apprehensive about downloading a book about plagues. I needn't have worried. She's funny. She's a historian. Get Well Soon is the natural result.

    I'm now a fan. What's next? I'll follow wherever she goes...

    Recommend!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • West Cork

    • ORIGINAL (7 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Sam Bungey, Jennifer Forde
    • Narrated By Sam Bungey, Jennifer Forde
    Overall
    (15574)
    Performance
    (13861)
    Story
    (13854)

    This much we do know: Sophie Toscan du Plantier was murdered days before Christmas in 1996, her broken body discovered at the edge of her property near the town of Schull in West Cork, Ireland. The rest remains a mystery. Gripping, yet ever elusive, join the real-life hunt for answers in the year’s first not-to-be-missed, true-crime series. West Cork is FREE through May 9, 2018.

    Ilia says: "EXCELLENT."
    "Podcast format: True Crime Genre"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Well, this was an impulse download--largely because I wanted to listen to Irish accents. It delivered so much more. What is absolutely known is that Sophie Toscan du Plantier was viciously murdered outside her home in Ireland in the final hours of December 23, 1996. Everything else depends on who you believe and I found myself switching sides multiple times.

    Recommend.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The History of Ancient Egypt

    • ORIGINAL (24 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By The Great Courses, Bob Brier
    • Narrated By Professor Bob Brier Ph.D. The University of North Carolina
    Overall
    (2048)
    Performance
    (1906)
    Story
    (1902)

    Ancient Egyptian civilization is so grand our minds sometimes have difficulty adjusting to it. It lasted 3,000 years, longer than any other on the planet. Its Great Pyramid of Cheops was the tallest building in the world until well into the 19th century and remains the only Ancient Wonder still standing. And it was the most technologically advanced of the ancient civilizations, with the medical knowledge that made Egyptian physicians the most famous in the world.

    Nassir says: "Incomprehensibly complete"
    "Sold me!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I admit that I wasn't fascinated with Egyptology when I downloaded this. But wow, the enthusiasm that Dr. Brier brings to his lectures hooked and held me. Well done! And now I am actually interested... totoal slam dunk.

    Highly recommend.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Saturday the Rabbi Went Hungry

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Harry Kemelman
    • Narrated By George Guidall
    Overall
    (196)
    Performance
    (182)
    Story
    (180)

    As Rabbi Small and his temple congregation solemnly prepare for Yom Kippur, a non-practicing member is found dead behind the wheel of his car - in his own garage. The police call the death an accident, and the insurance company insists that it’s suicide. But Miriam, Rabbi Small’s wife, believes the mishap could only be cold-blooded murder. With his congregants splitting over the possible cause, the young rabbi must discover the truth, or forfeit all hope for peace in the temple.

    Kathi says: "Great book and the narration is the BEST!"
    "Dated, but bearable"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I enjoyed the entire series, most of which I got from the local library, but they didn't have a copy of this one, so I downloaded it. I kept expecting the rabbi to change, but he didn't. The part I enjoyed most was learning about the various customers of Judaism and the logic of the Talmudic scholar. The one caveat I want to append to my overall positive rating is that the book is pretty dated: the language, the societal conflicts, the stereotypes are all very specific to the mid-twentieth century. If that doesn't bother you, read on; this is a clever cozy series. If it does, move on, it will drive you bonkers.

    Recommend with caveat

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Unraveling Oliver: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By Liz Nugent
    • Narrated By Sam O'Mahony
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (150)
    Performance
    (140)
    Story
    (139)

    Oliver Ryan, handsome, charismatic, and successful, has long been married to his devoted wife, Alice. Together they write and illustrate award-winning children's books; their life together is one of enviable privilege and ease - until, one evening after a delightful dinner, Oliver delivers a blow to Alice that renders her unconscious and subsequently beats her into a coma.

    felicia jones says: "Wow!!!!"
    "Like an 80's Freudian novel..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The plot was powered by insane coincidences, which I guessed early on and hoped that wasn't where the book was going, but it did -- in order to explain to us exactly why Oliver did evil. Reminded me strongly of the way novels were structured in the 1980s. But the telling was good enough to hold my attention and I kept listening to hear how the Barney/Eugene story ended.

    This struck me as a first try at writing a book. Publishers ultimately reject it, but the writing is good enough for the writer to receive some encouragement, so he or she goes back to the drawing board and the next novel ends up getting published and off to the races we go. The first manuscript ends up buried out back under the apple tree which is exactly where Unraveling Oliver belonged.

    I didn't return it because I listened all the way through--so keep my credit. But I won't download/buy another book by Liz Nugent which is exactly why it's a bad idea to publish weak material as an introduction to readers/listeners. Win the battle, lose the war.

    Skip this one.

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • The Butterfly Effect with Jon Ronson

    • ORIGINAL (3 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Jon Ronson
    • Narrated By Jon Ronson
    Overall
    (11529)
    Performance
    (10365)
    Story
    (10362)

    [Contains explicit content] Hear the story of what happened when the tech industry gave the world what it wanted: free porn. Lives were mangled. Fortunes were made. All for your pleasure. Follow writer and narrator Jon Ronson as he uncovers our web of desire.

    Jim "The Impatient" says: "Canada"
    "Thanks but no thanks..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I find Jon Ronson's delivery creepy. It bothered me listening to the Psychopath Test, a book I ended up liking, so I tried to ignore the ick and get into the Butterfly Effect. Failed. His voice evokes the same feeling I get when a perv on the train is heavy breathing into my ear from behind my shoulder and that's when Ronson's not writing about online porn. Moving on...

    7 of 11 people found this review helpful
  • People Who Eat Darkness: The True Story of a Young Woman Who Vanished from the Streets of Tokyo - and the Evil That Swallowed Her Up

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Richard Lloyd Parry
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1794)
    Performance
    (1621)
    Story
    (1626)

    Lucie Blackman - tall, blond, 21 years old - stepped out into the vastness of Tokyo in the summer of 2000 and disappeared. The following winter, her dismembered remains were found buried in a seaside cave. The seven months in between had seen a massive search for the missing girl involving Japanese policemen, British private detectives, and Lucie’s desperate but bitterly divided parents. Had Lucie been abducted by a religious cult or snatched by human traffickers? Who was the mysterious man she had gone to meet? And what did her work as a hostess in the notorious Roppongi district of Tokyo really involve?

    El_Ron says: "This is the audiobook against I rate all others."
    "Did the Trick"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Nothing has been holding my attention lately, but this absolutely did!

    Richard Parry lived the case of Lucie Blackman, a young British woman who was killed while working as a hostess in Tokyo (and no, that doesn't mean hooker, who knew..) Parry was a journalist based in Japan. He explores the exotic Rappongi district (red light district) of Tokyo and the different club cultures, the foreign girls who work there and their customers--mostly Japanese salary men, and one serial rapist and killer who ended Lucie's life. He also handles the pain and trauma of Lucie's family delicately. He doesn't pretend they're saints, but he refuses to judge when he hasn't walked a mile in their shoes.

    One of the best that I've heard in this genre. Recommend.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • The Fact of a Body: A Murder and a Memoir

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich
    • Narrated By Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (514)
    Performance
    (476)
    Story
    (475)

    Before Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich begins a summer job at a law firm in Louisiana, working to help defend men accused of murder, she thinks her position is clear. The child of two lawyers, she is staunchly anti-death penalty. But the moment convicted murderer Ricky Langley's face flashes on the screen as she reviews old tapes - the moment she hears him speak of his crimes - she is overcome with the feeling of wanting him to die. Shocked by her reaction, she digs deeper and deeper into the case.

    Margaret says: "Memoir of Molestation"
    "Memoir of Molestation"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Let me start by saying that the writing style of the author was so deliberately erudite and MFA-ish that it distracted me from the stories she had to tell. There was never a tree, but always a steady oak against the yellow palette of the autumn sky. Not a filing cabinet, a white metal filing cabinet with each dent lovingly deliniated. Exhausting to listen to after a while.

    Further, the reader is treated to a specific example of each feeling--a buzzing in my head, pressure in my chest, my limbs tingled--to such an extent--seemed like almost every page--that I started to get fed up and long for a simple declarative, "I felt," but it was not to be. I think people who like Elizabeth Gilbert's writing will find this memoir right in the sweet spot, but I found it hard to decide how I felt with all the overly descriptive, wordy explanations of the author's feelings. It read to me that authenticity was substituted for the display of a very expensive education (name drop: Harvard).

    There's another rule that someone should add to MFA curriculums that would have helped me greatly with this one: leave room for the reader.

    99 of 104 people found this review helpful
  • It Ended Badly: Thirteen of the Worst Breakups in History

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By Jennifer Wright
    • Narrated By Hillary Huber
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (237)
    Performance
    (222)
    Story
    (221)

    Spanning eras and cultures from ancient Rome to medieval England to 1950s Hollywood, Jennifer Wright's It Ended Badly guides you through the worst of the worst in historically bad breakups. In the throes of heartbreak, Emperor Nero had just about everyone he ever loved - from his old tutor to most of his friends - put to death. Oscar Wilde's lover, whom he went to jail for, abandoned him when faced with being cut off financially from his wealthy family.

    Margaret says: "Terrific Fun"
    "Terrific Fun"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    From the eunuch forced up to cross dress as the Roman empress (who'd just been executed) through Henry II jailing Eleanor of Aquitaine to the knife in the back that broke Oscar Wilde's heart--whether he ever admitted it or not--this book was great listening. Kind of "themed history" where it was easy to see, regardless of how our hearts are broken, we are certainly not alone and definitely not the worst case ever. (Porus, the eunuch gets my vote--geez!) Easy listen; ideal for a stopping and starting listen like for long commutes. Will definitely look for more by Jennifer Wright. Recommend.

    11 of 11 people found this review helpful
  • Lincoln in the Bardo: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By George Saunders
    • Narrated By Nick Offerman, David Sedaris, George Saunders, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (5347)
    Performance
    (5026)
    Story
    (5000)

    The long-awaited first novel from the author of Tenth of December: a moving and original father-son story featuring none other than Abraham Lincoln, as well as an unforgettable cast of supporting characters, living and dead, historical and invented. February 1862. The Civil War is less than one year old. The fighting has begun in earnest, and the nation has begun to realize it is in for a long, bloody struggle. Meanwhile, President Lincoln's beloved eleven-year-old son, Willie, lies upstairs in the White House, gravely ill.

    Betty Vance says: "George Saunders answer to Dante's Inferno"
    "More Performance than Story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I enjoyed listening to Lincoln in the Bardo--it's clever, but slow-going. At some points, really slow. But once I stopped thinking of this as a novel with a linear story that moves forward and more like a radio drama, it got better. The continuous "op cit" is hard to take at first, but after awhile, I found myself ignoring the repetitions. It didn't really work as a novel, unless experimental novel is a genre--more like a play. At the end, I was happy I listened. Though I very much suspect this will be one of the titles that more people will begin to read/listen, than will actually finish.

    30 of 42 people found this review helpful

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