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Vanessa

Albany, NY, United States | Member Since 2011

16
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 8 reviews
  • 9 ratings
  • 1 titles in library
  • 30 purchased in 2014
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  • Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Michael Moss
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (997)
    Performance
    (876)
    Story
    (872)

    Every year, the average American eats 33 pounds of cheese (triple what we ate in 1970) and 70 pounds of sugar (about 22 teaspoons a day). We ingest 8,500 milligrams of salt a day, double the recommended amount, and almost none of that comes from the shakers on our table. It comes from processed food. It’s no wonder, then, that one in three adults, and one in five kids, is clinically obese.

    Michael says: "This is all too real, and YOU are the victim."
    "Enough to make you loose your lunch"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    Food justice and access to nutritious food is one of my interests. This book did not disappoint as it traced the increasingly industrial process of bringing our food to market and how the processes strips our food of nutrition. It also clearly shows how food production is no longer a quest to feed people but to improve both market share and Wall Street performance.

    A challenging read and, I hope, just one more nail in the coffin of big, industrial food production. If this does not challenge us to grow our own gardens and support local food producers I do not know what will. Even more importantly it clearly shows that good, nutritious food is becoming the preserve of the rich and those on limited and no incomes are not able to access the food their bodies need.

    Loosing our lunch in its processed pre-packaged form is not only a health issue, it is a social justice issue and I hope that we can all add our voices to the increasing need to transform our food economy.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Catholic Church [Modern Library Chronicles]

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By Hans Kung
    • Narrated By Robert O'Keefe
    Overall
    (38)
    Performance
    (4)
    Story
    (5)

    In 1979 the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith withdrew Hans Kung's missio canonica. Pope Paul VI approved the censure saying, "We are obligated to declare that in his writings he fell short of integrity and the truth of the Catholic faith." Through a 1980 agreement with the Vatican, Kung is now permitted to teach, but only under secular auspices. In this acclaimed Modern Library Chronicle, Kung examines the Catholic Church through its many reformations, focusing on the people and events...

    Jack says: "Theologian's Accurate View of Church Development"
    "Reform and Tradition - call to dialogue"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you like best about this story?

    Fr Kung is currently one of the Catholic Church's most interesting and talented systematic theologians. Although this work follows the history of the Catholic Church, one is able to experience the powerful and loving intellect behind the ideas.

    Fr Kung is recognised as a reformer, and for not following Catholic teaching is such matters as Women's Ordination and Gay Rights to name but a few of the current issues. He is no longer able to teach under Catholic Authority. Despite this, this book still reflects his love for the people of God and his realisation that the Catholic Church, through its institutions, can be a powerful voice for the voiceless. He clearly articulates that the platforms that current conservatives take for granted as they rest their arguments on tradition, may be false. He challenges both Catholics and non-Catholics alike to embrace reform based on continued dialogue between history and the current tensions of the present age. Throughout the book he refers to the dictates of Christ as a guide not only for personal faith but for institutional faith.

    Interesting, clearly articulated and a challenge to the new Papacy of Francis. If nothing else, this book has helped me think of different ways to embrace the reality of the conservative Church that looks to a tradition that is not as stable as is generally articulated and a new possibility for renewal and growth.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    This book requires some thought so I found myself having to mull over some of the ideas. Thus, I did not find it a book that could be digested in one sitting.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Light in August

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By William Faulkner
    • Narrated By Will Patton
    Overall
    (50)
    Performance
    (23)
    Story
    (23)

    An Oprah's Book Club Selection regarded as one of Faulkner's greatest and most accessible novels, Light in August is a timeless and riveting story of determination, tragedy, and hope. In Faulkner's iconic Yoknapatawpha County, race, sex, and religion collide around three memorable characters searching desperately for human connection and their own identities.

    Robert Stevens says: "Superb reading of an excellent work"
    "An American Tradegy"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to Light in August the most enjoyable?

    I am not an American so, when I had the opportunity to visit the States earlier this year I thought I would read some American Literature. I came upon Faulkner quite by chance, so I bought the book to listen to on the plane. What an absolute joy. I must admit I started it thinking, "I do not like this at all", but, with the skilful weaving of the stories and the intimate, unhurried development of the characters the story and the writing began to grip me.

    The story itself is bleak and reminds me of the tone and landscape of the writings of JM Coetzee. However, the characters within the stories are so finely drawn that they become clearly and uniquely defined within the bleakness. They are not bleak, they are tragic and fascinating, they drew me into the story and they seem to have become real people rather than the characters of a novel.

    The wider themes of racism, sexism and poverty are so clearly traced that they almost seem like unique characters within the novel. What I think Faulkner does particularly well is to breathe these external cultural and economic elements into his characters so it is clear how embedded they are in their culture. The question I found myself asking was always "if it had been different, what then, how would the inner worlds of the characters and their behaviours been different if their lives had, somehow, been gentler, calmer, less stark?". I think that this is Faulkner's key strength. He insists that his reader asks these questions but leaves no opportunity for a kinder, gentler world for his characters. Poverty, lack of opportunity and narrow minded bigotry always limit choices in this novel, and these conditions are never absent.

    On a final note, the narration is superb. Once again, being a non-American, has made accessing the various elements of the book a lot easier.



    10 of 11 people found this review helpful
  • The White Tiger: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Aravind Adiga
    • Narrated By John Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1849)
    Performance
    (706)
    Story
    (700)

    Balram Halwai is a complicated man. Servant. Philosopher. Entrepreneur. Murderer. Balram tells us the terrible and transfixing story of how he came to be a success in life - having nothing but his own wits to help him along. Through Balram's eyes, we see India as we've never seen it before: the cockroaches and the call centers, the prostitutes and the worshippers, the water buffalo and, trapped in so many kinds of cages that escape is (almost) impossible, the white tiger.

    With a charisma as undeniable as it is unexpected, Balram teaches us that religion doesn't create morality and money doesn't solve every problem.

    Mark P. Furlong says: "Entertaining, thought-provoking, darkly funny"
    "A small snapshot of India"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    I have both read and listened to the White Tiger and must admit the the audio book really helped in terms of the pronunciation of Indian words. It also gave a better sense of what the author was describing. I appreciated this small slice of Indian life as previous books I have read on India have been on a more epic scale. I was disturbed by the underlying violence that is portrayed as part of the life of the Indian working class. Furthermore, the "selling" of people into what appears to be a lifetime of indentured labour is truly frightening. Adiga, by only giving a small taste of the caste system, brings home the fact that it remains an integral part of Indian life - something about which a Westerner is not really aware. The endemic nature of the corruption and how it impacts on the very vulnerable is so beautifully portrayed that the reader is emotionally drawn into the horror of the consequences.This book is beautifully and accessibly written. Adiga has expertly put his characters in the calm centre of a storm without neglecting the impact that the storm is having on the individuals. His anger is restrained but comes through clearly in the simmering anger of his main character. As far as I am concerned this is a masterful work and I look forward to more of his writing in the future.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Winnie the Pooh: Pooh Goes Visiting (Dramatised)

    • ORIGINAL (1 hr and 2 mins)
    • By A. A. Milne
    • Narrated By Stephen Fry, Jane Horrocks, Geoffrey Palmer, and others
    Overall
    (62)
    Performance
    (48)
    Story
    (48)

    A wonderful adaption of Winnie the Pooh, featuring an all-star cast including Stephen Fry and Dame Judi Dench. Story 1: In which we are introduced. Story 2: In which Pooh goes visiting and gets into a tight place. Story 3: In which Pooh and Piglet go hunting and nearly catch a Woozle. Story 4: In which Eeyore loses a tail and Pooh finds one. Story 5: In which Piglet is entirely surrounded by water. Story 6: In which Christopher Robin gives a Pooh Party, and we say good-bye.

    Vanessa says: "A truly engaging performance"
    "A truly engaging performance"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What about the narrators’s performance did you like?

    We have both the dramatised and undramatised version of this book and this one is far our favourite. My small son (5 years) loves Winnie bumping down the stairs and has taken to saying "oh bother" whenever something does not go his way. He loves listening to it before bed at night and we spend some time chatting about the stories. Although I have read all these stories to him through the years this narration is really making AA Milne part of his childhood memory and, I hope, will be passed on to his children when the time comes.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Bad Religion: How We Became a Nation of Heretics

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Ross Douthat
    • Narrated By Lloyd James
    Overall
    (92)
    Performance
    (77)
    Story
    (77)

    Ross Douthat, the youngest-ever op-ed columnist for the New York Times, has emerged as one of the most provocative and influential voices of his generation. Now he offers a masterful and hard-hitting account of how American Christianity has gone off the rails - and why it threatens to take American society with it.

    Lynn says: "Broad Stroke Analysis"
    "Food for thought"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you try another book from Ross Douthat and/or Lloyd James?

    Lloyd James is a compelling narrator as he seems to understand the material and reads the more academic sections in understandable prose. He is by far my favourite non-fiction narrator.

    I think that Mr Douthat gives huge food for thought, especially to a non-American trying to understand the political landscape. Although, I do not necessarily agree with all his conclusions he certainly made me think about how I view the institutional Catholic Church, the Pentecostal movement as it is working itself through Africa and the new religion of "self". I would have liked more systematic theological depth as I thought that this could have strengthened some of his arguments. I also would have liked him to make more connections between the history of Church development in the US with the political situation now. However this is my particular bias as Church history in general and the historical development of systematic theology is a bit of a passion.

    All in all a compelling "read" and I will definitely be following his views throughout the election period. Not necessarily in agreement but as an interesting point of clarification for my own thoughts.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Rough Weather Ahead for Walter the Farting Dog

    • UNABRIDGED (6 mins)
    • By William Kotzwinkle
    • Narrated By Mike Ferreri
    Overall
    (39)
    Performance
    (18)
    Story
    (19)

    Professor Kompressor visits Walter's family, offering a remedy for the dog's digestive disorder: special food that must be mixed in his Kompressatron. Unfortunately, the professor's cure doesn't work, so Father has to take matters into his own hands. Father's combination of ingredients has a strange effect on the pooch. Walter blows up like a balloon and floats out the window! Just when it looks as though Walter's paws may never touch earth again, he encounters a flock of butterflies in distress.

    Vanessa says: "A parent's nightmare and a little boy's dream"
    "A parent's nightmare and a little boy's dream"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    My little boy (4) giggled and giggled all through the book. I thought that for a small boy this would be a fun story. It is not too long so he is able to concentrate for the whole time and it is a nice bedtime read when I am not around. Unfortunately he has now taken to


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Jane Austen Education

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By William Deresiewicz
    • Narrated By Sean Pratt
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (225)
    Performance
    (191)
    Story
    (190)

    An eloquent memoir of a young man's life transformed by literature. In A Jane Austen Education, Austen scholar William Deresiewicz turns to the author's novels to reveal the remarkable life lessons hidden within. With humor and candor, Deresiewicz employs his own experiences to demonstrate the enduring power of Austen's teachings. Progressing from his days as an immature student to a happily married man, Deresiewicz's A Jane Austen Education is the story of one man's discovery of the world outside himself.

    Cookie says: "A real joy!"
    "Wonderful in insight, comfortable in recognition"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to A Jane Austen Education the most enjoyable?

    The author really knows his subject and interweaves his own experience of reading Austen, his life and choice quotes from her wonderful books. His depth of knowledge of the author, her books and other writings gave me a great deal to think about. Although, I do not necessarily agree with all his conclusions it was great to


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes


    1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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