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Jan

Eclectic, avid listener, favorite book is the one currently in ear.

Member Since 2011

945
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 196 reviews
  • 429 ratings
  • 1309 titles in library
  • 35 purchased in 2015
FOLLOWING
3
FOLLOWERS
104

  • Long Walk to Freedom: The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela

    • UNABRIDGED (27 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Nelson Mandela
    • Narrated By Michael Boatman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (450)
    Performance
    (413)
    Story
    (407)

    Nelson Mandela is one of the great moral and political leaders of our time: an international hero whose lifelong dedication to the fight against racial oppression in South Africa won him the Nobel Peace Prize and the presidency of his country. Since his triumphant release in 1990 from more than a quarter-century of imprisonment, Mandela has been at the center of the most compelling and inspiring political drama in the world.

    History says: "Surprisingly honest autobiography."
    "Long read, much shorter than his walk..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I knew so little about Nelson Mandela, it seemed only right to read his autobiography at the time of his death. The book is not a polished literary masterpiece and there are sections where you can space out as lists, abbreviations, repeated thoughts and the machinations of politics mire the story... a good edit would help. There is very little about his childhood, not much of anchoring South African history and it was written prior to his presidency... so left me wanting a more, as well as a little less. That said, it was a fascinating read and I enjoyed stepping into his mind and prison cell. He is very frank, admitting his own errors and those of his people, along with the many offenses of the apartheid government. Well worth the credit and time for me to better understand the South African fight for freedom though his eyes and experiences..

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Ordinary Grace

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By William Kent Krueger
    • Narrated By Rich Orlow
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1186)
    Performance
    (1064)
    Story
    (1057)

    Award-winning author William Kent Krueger has gained an immense fan base for his Cork O’Connor series. In Ordinary Grace, Krueger looks back to 1961 to tell the story of Frank Drum, a boy on the cusp of manhood. A typical 13-year-old with a strong, loving family, Frank is devastated when a tragedy forces him to face the unthinkable - and to take on a maturity beyond his years.

    Jen says: "Wonderful Wonderful - In Every Way"
    "Not ordinary at all - -"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Missed this book when it first came out, so glad I found it. It's told in the voice of Frank Drum...an adult looking back at 1961, the summer he was 13... a small town preacher's son figuring out who he is and what he believes... as the town reels from multiple deaths.

    This book has the feel of Enger's "Peace Like a River," Grisham's "A Painted House," Burns' "Cold Sassy Tree" and"Doig's "The Whistling Season" ... all books I loved. It's rich with people I have met, dealing with the imperfections of their own and others... of families falling apart and growing stronger.

    There is real life and hard topics addressed as seen through Franks young mind. My kids wouldn't have been ready for this at 13 at all... more like 16 up... bit of sexual content, bit of swearing, lots of loss and complicated relationships... but so uplifting. I'll be back to listen again.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • On the Beach

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Nevil Shute
    • Narrated By Simon Prebble
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (179)
    Performance
    (161)
    Story
    (162)

    A war no one fully understands has devastated the planet with radioactive fallout from massive cobalt bombing. Melbourne, Australia, is the only area whose citizens have not yet succumbed to the contamination. But there isn’t much time left, a few months, maybe more—and the citizens of Melbourne must decide how they will live the remaining weeks of their lives, and how they will face a hopeless future.

    Julie says: "The most emotionally moving story I have ever read"
    "1950's view of end of the world... via atomic bomb"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Most of the Nevil Shutes books, I have read, demonstrate the courage of an average person facing of overwhelming odds. "A Town Like Alice", "Pied Piper" and "Trustee from the Toolroom" have been favorites. He has a very laid back, slow way of telling a story that requires listening and patience but leaves me satisfied in the end. Without carefully reading reviews... I thought this book would combine my enjoyment of Nevil's writing with an end of the world scenario, it is supposed to be his best known work.

    That said, I endured the slow buildup and waited patiently to know where the small group of survivors would go to outlast the radiation. I won't read it again as it is just too difficult of a listen... I persevered and heard what Nevil was trying to say to the world of the 50's. It is a classic in it own way, and I am left thinking... but not enjoying.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Atul Gawande
    • Narrated By Robert Petkoff
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (728)
    Performance
    (615)
    Story
    (608)

    In Being Mortal, bestselling author Atul Gawande tackles the hardest challenge of his profession: how medicine can not only improve life but also the process of its ending. Medicine has triumphed in modern times, transforming birth, injury, and infectious disease from harrowing to manageable. But in the inevitable condition of aging and death, the goals of medicine seem too frequently to run counter to the interest of the human spirit.

    George K. says: "A Walk through the Valley of the Shadow"
    "Definative book regarding end of life choices..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    What an interesting and clear overview of aging and end of life issues. Gawande covers the process of aging and end of life, what fragile elderly means, history and trends of their care, how other cultures do it, case studies, his own choices with his father and... the best discussion of these issues I have ever read. My MD son enjoyed the information as well.

    Rather than provide what he thinks is the "right" way to face EOL issues, Gawande gives us questions to ask the individual to help them determine their "right" way. He encourages us to have the hard conversations in advance so that an individual's wishes can be respected. Excellent book for healthcare personnel, families and aging adults.

    I adored "One doctor" by Brendan Reilly and some of the content is similar... even if you have read Reilly, I still feel this book is well worth reading.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Days of Noah: Book One: Conspiracy

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Mark Goodwin
    • Narrated By Kevin Pierce
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (98)
    Performance
    (94)
    Story
    (93)

    Could we be living in a time of which there is more prophetic writings than of any period in history? Noah Parker, like many in the United States, has been asleep at the wheel. During his complacency, the founding precepts of America have been slowly, systematically destroyed by a conspiracy that dates back hundreds of years. The signs can no longer be ignored and Noah is forced to pull his head out of the sand and see things for what they really are.

    kyle says: "Took a risk and was pleasantly surprised"
    "1/2 of a book - but potential is here"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I agree with one reviewer, if you can get past the first over the top conspiracy part it does improve. The authors views and mine are way different, but I found some of his premises worth the listen. He uses quotes at the beginning of each chapter, often from the Bible or political leaders... some were actually quite good thoughts, but it did chop up the flow of the novel.

    Like Glen Tate, Mark Goodwin is also a conservative, Christian prepper podcaster with a following. I am not really finding planted reviews here, except perhaps from the Glen Tate followers bad mouthing it. This book is much more readable (not literature but OK for prepper book). The purpose of this first book seems to parallel what the 1st book of 299 Days attempted to do. There is no actual crisis in this book... just the set up for it, introduction of the main characters situations and some gold/gun/food buying. Language is clean, no violence in this part...

    There is enough potential here that I will purchase the next book when it comes out supposedly this spring and give it a chance, although it feels like this might be another ongoing segmented series like A. American's "Going Home."

    I guess I am old fashioned, but I still love books like "Alas Babylon," "One Second After," "Jakarta Pandemic," "5 Days at Memorial," "77 Days," "Equipping Modern Patriots," "The Road,'" "The Postman," "Cyberstorm," and even "Swan Song" or "Disaster Diaries..." EOTWAWKI books that are complete in one reading.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Pied Piper

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Nevil Shute
    • Narrated By David Rintoul
    Overall
    (140)
    Performance
    (124)
    Story
    (126)

    John Howard is determined to brighten up his old age by taking a fishing trip to France, but during his stay the Nazis invade. Howard must try to escape back to England with the two small children of some friends who are forced to stay behind in order to help the Allied war effort. As the conflict grows closer, the roads become impassable and Howard also comes across five more children who need his help. He ends up leading this motley group of youngsters through the French countryside, constantly beset by danger yet heroically protecting his charges.

    Susan says: "One of My All Time Favorires"
    "A little gentle gem..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I love Nevil Shute! I so enjoyed "A Town Like Alice" and "Trustee from the Toolroom," but I think in its own understated way I like this little gem even better. Like "Trustee.." the hero is a gentle, older man who steps up to do what needs done. Set in the early stages of the French occupation during WWII, it opened that history to me in a way I had never understood. It is not woven or thrilling like "Code Name Verity," more along the lines of "Major Pettigrews Last Stand" if set during the war with a goal of great importance. I have already recommended to several friends and will read again.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • An Irish Country Doctor: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Patrick Taylor
    • Narrated By John Keating
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1038)
    Performance
    (807)
    Story
    (809)

    Barry Laverty, M.B., can barely find the village of Ballybucklebo on a map when he first sets out to seek gainful employment there, but already he knows that there is nowhere he would rather live than in the emerald hills and dales of Northern Ireland. The proud owner of a spanking-new medical degree and little else in the way of worldly possessions, Barry jumps at the chance to secure a position as an assistant in a small rural practice.

    Sara says: "Fun Book"
    "Cheap James Herriot Imitation"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Thought I would really enjoy this based on the reviews, ratings and topic... not so. The writing was just so poorly done, I couldn't enjoy the story. As always, I tried hard to push though this book so I don't rank something down that gets better... I'm only an hour from the end, and just can't handle the cheese anymore... I give up. Any of the "Call the Midwife" or "James Herriot" books will bring tons more satisfaction. Lots of colorful Irish jargon is the best I can say for it... but way too much profanity for target audience.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Babylon's Ark: The Incredible Wartime Rescue of the Baghdad Zoo

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Lawrence Anthony, Graham Spence
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    Overall
    (23)
    Performance
    (22)
    Story
    (22)

    When the Iraq war began, conservationist Lawrence Anthony could think of only one thing: the fate of the Baghdad Zoo, caught in the crossfire at the heart of the city. Once Anthony entered Iraq, he discovered that hostilities and uncontrolled looting had devastated the zoo and its animals. Working with members of the zoo staff and a few compassionate U.S. soldiers, Anthony defended the zoo, bartered for food on war-torn streets, and scoured bombed palaces for desperately needed supplies.

    Jan says: "Listened in one day... and wanted more..."
    "Listened in one day... and wanted more..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I stumbled onto "The Elephant Whisperer," Lawrence Anthony's first book on an Audible special... and loved it. Snatched this up the instant I knew it was available and couldn't put it down. Although not quite as well written as "The Elephant Whisperer," this stand alone book follows Lawrence's experiences holding the Baghdad Zoo together with string and "whatever it takes." Baghdad during the early days post occupation by coalition troops was a dangerous place... with shooting, looting and unexploded ordinance all around. The zoo had been at the center of the fight and was devastated. The stories he shares made me laugh, cringe and applaud his determination, as he fought to get a permit to enter, was the first civilian to do so and then began by hauling water. There wouldn't have been an animal alive without his intervention.
    Lawrence is a conservationist who created the Thula Thula game reserve in South Africa. Simon Vance did a terrific job with the narration. Great read.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Princess Academy: Princess Academy, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Shannon Hale
    • Narrated By Laura Credidio
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (98)
    Performance
    (85)
    Story
    (84)

    Miri lives on a mountain where, for generations, her ancestors have quarried stone and lived a simple life. Then word comes that the king's priests have divined her small village the home of the future princess. In a year's time, the prince himself will come and choose his bride from among the girls of the village. The king's ministers set up an academy on the mountain, and every teenage girl must attend and learn how to become a princess.

    Desarae says: "Finished in One Night."
    "Great for the right younger teen reader..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I liked this book when I read it, not so sure about listening to it though. The book itself would appeal to the 9-13 year old female reader who dreams of being a princess... and is mellow enough to really listen to the acted out reading and musical interludes... it's a little slow. The messages of self empowerment, accepting your own differences, thoughts that govern behavior, family dynamics and being a friend to everyone are well done. I liked it better in book form though.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Murder, She Wrote: A Question of Murder

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Jessica Fletcher, Donald Bain
    • Narrated By Cynthia Darlow
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (226)
    Performance
    (199)
    Story
    (198)

    Jessica is invited to join other crime writers at an interactive murder mystery weekend in a historic mansion turned resort. A theatrical troupe presents a play for the paying guests, but a young actor's death during the actual performance isn't part of the script. The local sheriff has never investigated a murder before and enlists Jessica's help and expertise. As she begins to put the pieces together in her folksy fashion, Jessica recognizes that this could well be her last performance.

    Pamela says: "If you loved the show..you will enjoy the book"
    "Not Angela Lansbury"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Picked this up on a daily special, thinking to share with my grandmother as we had run out of Mrs Pollifax stories. My grandmother enjoyed, but I could hardly keep listening. The series is churned out by Donald Bain at the rate of 2 a year so there are a lot of "Murder She Wrote" books. The actual plot was similar to an extended Murder She Wrote episode... clean, cozy and through Jessica Fletcher's eyes.
    Angela Lansbury's picture appears on the cover... but, she is not the narrator. Cynthia does an over the top impression of Angela Lansbury's voice and your mind is constantly getting jarred out of the story by the narration. I think I would have enjoyed a completely different voice rather than a phony Angela.
    Not going to pick up any more of these... even on sale.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Deep Down Dark: The Untold Stories of 33 Men Buried in a Chilean Mine, and the Miracle That Set Them Free

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Héctor Tobar
    • Narrated By Henry Leyva
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (323)
    Performance
    (279)
    Story
    (280)

    The exclusive, official story of the survival, faith, and family of Chile’s 33 trapped miners. When the San José mine collapsed outside of Copiapó, Chile, in August 2010, it trapped 33 miners beneath thousands of feet of rock for a record-breaking 69 days. Across the globe, we sat riveted to television and computer screens as journalists flocked to the Atacama desert. While we saw what transpired above ground during the grueling and protracted rescue, the story of the miners’ experiences below the Earth’s surface - and the lives that led them there.

    Deborah says: "Profound"
    "Deep, down... hard to review"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I followed the trapped Chilean miners on the news during their entrapment and remember fearing the mine would be sealed, as one had recently been in Mexico. I also remember the joy and excitement as they all, unbelievably, came out alive months later. I looked for interviews of what happened on the news and they didn't come. When NPR recommended this book last week I was listening hours later.

    The miners agreed before coming out that none of them would relate what had happened, thus making the story more valuable and all would profit together... rather than one or two individuals profiting from what happened. It was a wise choice, however, it probably caused the weakness in the book.

    Hector has done a fine job meshing the experiences, thoughts and events that were experienced by 33 miners, their families, mine management and rescue workers... much like a historical documentary. It is readable, interesting and I am glad I listened, but you are always at an arms length from what is happening and hear many different views of the same event. I didn't bond to any of the miners and not being Hispanic... the names were unfamiliar and it took a good while to keep their stories straight. I personally would have enjoyed it more if told through the eyes of one miner and one of his family members on the topside.

    The dynamics of 33 men trapped together, the utter failure of mine management, the politics of rescue, the details of sustaining them once found, the complications of the family camp and the chaos of freedom was interesting and I even learned about the country of Chile.
    The credit wasn't wasted and I think book clubs would enjoy discussing it... but, it won't be one I go back and read again.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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