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Karen

Member Since 2004

ratings
109
REVIEWS
33
FOLLOWING
4
FOLLOWERS
5
HELPFUL VOTES
70

  • Listening Is an Act of Love

    • ABRIDGED (55 mins)
    • By Dave Isay
    • Narrated By Dave Isay
    Overall
    (1564)
    Performance
    (1303)
    Story
    (1314)

    Drawn from the work of StoryCorps, the largest and most ambitious private oral history project in American history, comes this tapestry of the stories Americans have been sharing from their lives to leave behind to their loved ones.

    Debra says: "Touching"
    "Heartfelt stories"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I listen to NPR every morning during my commute to work. The 4-minute Storycorps segment is a favorite: Two people who are connected in some way (e.g., parent - child) share a heartfelt story with the other. Without exception, I enjoy the story and am touched by the listener's response. I often ponder the story long after the segment ends.

    This audiobook is a delightful collection of Storycorps stories. The stories are moving and the dialects diverse. The production values are outstanding. I recommend it highly.

    Thank you, Audible, for gifting this lovely audiobook to your listeners. It's a gem.

    10 of 12 people found this review helpful
  • Selected Articles on the Life and Career of Harry Gordon Selfridge

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Audio Books by Mike Vendetti
    • Narrated By Lee Ann Howlett
    Overall
    (2)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (2)

    These articles reflect how Selfridge was viewed by the press in the U.S. and London along with how he was seen by his fellow merchants and tradesmen during the years his store was built and thrived. There are also a number of sections in Selfridge’s own words. He loved publicity and was very interested in the ideas of his competitors, employees, and how business was done in other countries.

    Karen says: "Events that shaped modern retailing & advertising"
    "Events that shaped modern retailing & advertising"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Disclosure: I received this audiobook from the editor/narrator in return for an honest review

    This fascinating book follows H.G. Selfridge's ascent from a low-level Marshall Fields employee in Chicago, to managing partner, to owner of Selfridges Department Stores in the U.K. While the establishment of Selfridges Department Store was heralded by at least one U.K. newspaper as "The American Invasion," Selfridge sought to ensure that his store never misled customers in order to make a sale and helped lead the way for equal employment by hiring women when men were called to serve in World War I and then pronouncing that, in many cases, women performed the jobs even more effectively than their male predecessors.

    I was originally interested in this book because I find Mr. Selfridge a compelling character. However, as I listened, I realized this compilation of articles provides a unique and educational history of business in the early 1900s, and that H. G. Selfridge was as much an innovator in the world of business as Google is today. This isn't a long audiobook but is a fascinating peek into business and historical events that helped shape modern retailing and advertising. Highly recommended.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Our Future Good

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By T. J. Kirby
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    Overall
    (5)
    Performance
    (5)
    Story
    (5)

    Mary and Joe are young people just graduating from their General Lessons. It is time for them to go to their first Project Day and choose the first Project they will to join. Mary wants desperately to get her boyfriend Joe to join her in the NutriSuit Project, but Joe wants just as desperately to do a Journalist Project because a major event is happening and Joe has an opportunity to play an important role.

    Nor'easter says: "Feels Like Classic Sci-Fi"
    "Interesting futuristic sci-fi novella"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Disclosure: I received this audiobook from the publisher.

    First, a confession: I'm normally not a novella/short story fan. I like my audiobooks long and meaty ;-) But when offered an opportunity to listen to a futuristic sci-fi novella narrated by the very talented Simon Vance, I couldn't pass it up!

    This audiobook is just under three hours long. The story itself is very interesting and once I started listening, I didn't want to stop. It takes place in the not-so-distant future and focuses on protagonists Joe and Mary and their subsequent adventure. The book walks through their day to day life in detail, and describes not yet invented technologies and capabilities in a way that made me wish I was there. I felt the same kind of wonder I used to experience as a kid watching The Jetsons or Apollo launches. Kirby's story reminds one of the promise of the future and its technology.

    Simon Vance's narration is, as always, top notch. He voices the various characters in a way that made me forget there was just one narrator! He brought a light tone and the perfect cadence: Vance and this sci-fi adventure story make a great pair. Recommended.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • 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
    (1033)
    Performance
    (906)
    Story
    (901)

    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."
    "A fascinating insider view of the food industry"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    When I learned that Michael Moss wrote this book based on a food industry insider suggestion that he research how the industry uses salt, sugar, and fat, I knew I had to read it. This book lays open an insider view of the food business, and feels (in a good way) like a cross between a nutrition guide, a business book, and a marketing tips/tricks white paper. There is so much interesting detail outlined that it's impossible to do it justice in a brief review... Moss leaves no stone unturned and no "sacred cow" unexamined. He looks at how foods that are inherently unhealthy (e.g., fruit flavored yogurt, which is loaded with sugar) are marketed as health foods, and how salt, sugar, and fat are often used for their nearly addictive qualities, in addition to the more mundane task of preserving shelf life. He cites examples of when food companies attempt to make healthier versions of certain foods, they suffer because their competitors seize upon the formula change to grab market share.

    Perhaps the most interesting element of the book is how the insiders Moss interviewed generally don't eat the food their companies sell (viewing it as unhealthy). He also traces the experience of insiders who experienced a "crisis of conscience" about how their companies' products affect public health. Moss doesn't condemn the food industry insiders for the choices they make (that negatively impact public health) but rather notes they're largely trying to do what they feel is best for their company in the competitive market place and preserving the company's bottom line.

    I listened to the audio version of this book. Narrator Scott Brick struck the perfect tone throughout, making this a fun and fascinating listen. I'd rate this in the top three of any audiobook I've ever read, it's that good. Whether you're interested in nutrition, public health, business, or marketing, this is a must listen/read. Very highly recommended.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • A Three Dog Life: A Memoir

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Abigail Thomas
    • Narrated By Abigail Thomas
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (5)
    Performance
    (5)
    Story
    (5)

    When Abigail Thomas’s husband, Rich, was hit by a car, his brain shattered. Subject to rages, terrors, and hallucinations, he must live the rest of his life in an institution. He has no memory of what he did the hour, the day, the year before. This tragedy is the ground on which Abigail had to build a new life. How she built that life is a story of great courage and great change, of moving to a small country town, of a new family composed of three dogs, knitting, and friendship, of facing down guilt and discovering gratitude.

    Karen says: "A love story in the truest sense..."
    "A love story in the truest sense..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This profoundly beautiful story traces the changes in a middle-aged couple's lives after the husband sustains a traumatic brain injury... because he cannot remember his life before, his wife Abigail (author and narrator) reaches across and joins him in his new world. Following her husband's accident (he was tragically hit by a car while out walking the dog), Abigail begins to live alone with their dogs while her husband lives in an assisted living facility where she visits him frequently.

    Rather than retrace the story from the point of the accident, the book meanders across time, events, and locations in a way that feels natural and sincere. The story's progression reminded me of how one's thoughts wander during the grieving process, and how a single seemingly unrelated thought will remind one of cherished memories of an event that occurred "before." This is a love story in the truest sense in the way that Abigail's life before is irretrievably lost: She must summon the strength both to rebuild her own life and to be a source of strength to her husband.

    Although Abigail's tone is light and matter of fact during most of the book, there were passages I found so moving that I teared up. Having had a loved one who experienced traumatic brain injury, the conversations Abigail describes with her husband felt familiar, as did her kindness in not correcting her husband when he thought they were on vacation when just driving around town or any other number of ways. She showed her love by reaching across and allowing her husband to be who he'd become after the accident, rather than reminding him of what he (and she) had lost.

    I found this book intensely moving. There is no "eureka" moment of enlightenment, but rather the day-to-day experience of accepting life and loved ones for what they are rather than what could be. Highly recommended.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Imperial Life in the Emerald City

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Rajiv Chandrasekaran
    • Narrated By Ray Porter
    Overall
    (571)
    Performance
    (254)
    Story
    (256)

    The Washington Post's former Baghdad bureau chief, Rajiv Chandrasekaran, takes us into the Green Zone, headquarters for the American occupation in Iraq. In this bubble separated from wartime realities, the task of reconstructing Iraq is in the hands of 20-somethings chosen for their Republican Party loyalty. They pursue irrelevant neoconservative solutions and pie-in-the-sky policies instead of rebuilding looted buildings and restoring electricity, angering the locals and fueling the insurgency.

    Rick Grant says: "A stunning work and performance"
    "A powerful and engaging listen"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Imperial Life in the Emerald City: Inside Iraq's Green Zone is the compelling story about the U.S. occupation in Iraq and the culture of inexperience, arrogance, and cronyism within the U.S. Green Zone. My previous impression of the Iraq war was that U.S. officials were well-meaning but sometimes misguided and the U.S. media portrayed a sugar-coated view rather than the reality of life on the ground. Listening to this audiobook, I felt shocked by just how much worse the situation had been than I'd previously realized. I found Imperial Life in the Emerald City so enlightening and informative that I didn't want to take a break from listening.

    Ray Porter's narration more than does justice to Rajiv Chandrasekaran's story. This audiobook felt like listening to a fascinating novel rather than a nonfiction account by a newspaper journalist... the story and narration are powerful and engaging. I highly recommend this audiobook to anyone who wants to better understand the "story behind the story" of the U.S. in 2003-2004 Iraq.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Code Name: Johnny Walker: The Extraordinary Story of the Iraqi Who Risked Everything to Fight with the U.S. Navy SEALs

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Johnny Walker, Jim DeFelice
    • Narrated By Peter Ganim
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (69)
    Performance
    (67)
    Story
    (67)

    >In this illuminating and informative memoir, an Iraqi translator who risked his life working with American Sniper author Chris Kyle and the Navy SEALs tells his remarkable and inspiring story, offering a refreshing new perspective on the Iraq War. As the insurgency in Iraq intensified following the American invasion, U.S. Navy SEALs were called upon to root terrorists from their lairs. Unsure of the local neighborhoods and unable to speak the local languages, they came to rely on one man to guide them and watch their backs. He was a "terp" - an interpreter - with a job so dangerous they couldn't even use his real name.

    Noel C. Stanhope says: "Outstanding and real"
    "Not just an interpreter...inspirational individual"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Whenever I've seen videos of U.S. troops interviewing local residents in Iraq or Afghanistan, they're usually aided by an interpreter. And so I've wondered... what is the interpreter's perspective? Code Name: Johnny Walker answers that question from the perspective of an Iraqi man who accompanied U.S. Seal teams as they searched for targets. His role was part negotiator, part investigator, and part diplomat. I came away from this book with a deep respect for "Johnny Walker" (the author's pseudonym), his skills, and his commitment to keeping his U.S. military colleagues and Iraqi residents safe. He's clearly a very intelligent man and based on mission details recounted in the book, his contribution to these U.S. military missions was invaluable. He also shares his perspective on the possibility of emigrating from Iraq to the U.S., which I found very interesting and touching.

    Peter Ganim's narration was excellent -- this audiobook felt completely enveloping. It's one of those audiobooks where the story is paired with pitch perfect narration, and it feels more like a friend recounting an interesting story than someone simply narrating a book. I found this audiobook fascinating and recommend it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • WAR

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Sebastian Junger
    • Narrated By Sebastian Junger
    Overall
    (892)
    Performance
    (389)
    Story
    (391)

    Junger turns his brilliant and empathetic eye to the reality of combat - the fear, the honor, and the trust among men in an extreme situation whose survival depends on their absolute commitment to one another. His on-the-ground account follows a single platoon through a 15-month tour of duty in the most dangerous outpost in Afghanistan's Korengal Valley.

    Jeffrey Dame says: "Why we fight re-visited"
    "The story behind the film 'Restrepo'"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    For over a year (2007-2008), author/narrator Sebastian Junger and British photographer Tim Herrington embedded with the U.S. 173rd Airborne brigade in Afghanistan's Korengal Valley. War is based on their experience with that unit and provides the story behind the film, Restrepo. Having already seen Restrepo (which is an excellent film), I was hesitant to listen to War thinking it would feel redundant. However, while Restrepo focused more on the men of the 173rd Airborne brigade and their experiences as soldiers, War offers Junger an opportunity to share his own perspective as a journalist. I found War to be a very compelling listen. Junger's narration makes the events he describes feel immediate and one can sense the emotional attachment he formed to the brigade during the time he spent in a very dangerous area of Afghanistan, where some members of the brigade unfortunately lost their lives. I found his description of the brigade's interactions with Korengal Valley locals to be especially interesting, and how the U.S. soldiers attempted to bridge the cultural divide via translators and offering humanitarian aid. This is a fascinating audiobook and I recommend it to anyone interested in U.S. foreign affairs and Afghanistan.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Hardwiring Happiness: The New Brain Science of Contentment, Calm, and Confidence

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Rick Hanson
    • Narrated By Rick Hanson
    Overall
    (72)
    Performance
    (56)
    Story
    (55)

    Why is it easier to ruminate over hurt feelings than it is to bask in the warmth of feeling loved? Your brain was wired in such a way when it evolved, primed to learn quickly from bad experiences, but not so much from the good ones. It's an ancient survival mechanism that turned the brain into Velcro for the negative, but Teflon for the positive.

    Catherine says: "Not as scientific as it sounds"
    "Creating & savoring positive experiences"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    In "Hardwiring Happiness," Rick Hanson, Ph.D. provides an easy and actionable "recipe" for giving positive experiences greater weight to enable an ongoing sense of peace and contentment. I'd learned of Dr. Hanson's books based on my interest in meditation and his articles about the benefits of using meditation in his psychology practice. I chose to listen to this book when I realized I'd become so focused on worries about loved ones' health issues that I wasn't appreciating happy events as much as I would normally.

    Dr. Hanson's approach focuses on identifying (or creating) positive experiences and then extending and reinforcing the good feelings those experiences evoke. Wait, isn't this just taking the time to smell the roses? Absolutely, but it's all too easy to overlook stopping to savor positive experiences when one is feeling especially busy or preoccupied with day to day concerns... and not taking the time to savor positive experiences actually reduces one's ability to cope with stresses as they arise. I listened to the audio version in order to benefit from the guided meditations included within, and also picked up the kindle ebook as a handy reference. The author narrated the audio version and I found listening to his observations helpful in reinforcing the concepts he shared.

    I recommend "Hardwiring Happiness" to anyone who feels they aren't appreciating life's gifts as much as they'd like, and wants to take effective steps to more fully savor the good.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Too Far From Home: A Story of Life and Death in Space

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Chris Jones
    • Narrated By Erik Davies
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (79)
    Performance
    (18)
    Story
    (19)

    In November 2002, U.S. astronauts Donald Pettit and Kenneth Bowersox, and Russian flight engineer Nikolai Budarin, left on what was to be a routine 14-week mission to maintain the International Space Station. But then, on February 1, 2003, the Columbia space shuttle exploded beneath them. With the launch program suspended indefinitely, these astronauts had suddenly lost their ride home.

    Dan says: "Very good story"
    "An intensely compelling and suspenseful true story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Like the JFK assassination, Challenger explosion and 9/11, space shuttle Columbia's tragic end is one of those "where were you when" events that was so shocking that it made an indelible mark on Americans' collective memory. While "Too Far From Home" retraces some aspects of our history in space, this historic story (whose details were new to me) in many ways starts upon the demise of space shuttle Columbia. Perhaps it was well known at the time but I hadn't realized the seriousness of the dilemma NASA faced when the space shuttle was grounded post-Columbia, stranding three astronauts (U.S. astronauts Donald Pettit and Kenneth Bowersox, and Russian flight engineer Nikolai Budarin) in space on the International Space Station (ISS) without a ride home. I found these three astronauts' story to be very suspenseful and compelling.

    While some books about space travel are technical and explain every scientific nuance, "Too Far From Home" focuses on the human stories in the aftermath of Columbia. That focus on the human experience is what makes this audiobook so intensely compelling: The grief the three astronauts on ISS experienced upon learning about their colleagues on the Columbia, the challenges they overcame in rationing food, water and other resources while awaiting a ride home, the loss of control experienced by NASA officials when the best solution was to use an untested new Russian spacecraft to retrieve the stranded astronauts, and the very real risks these three astronauts faced during their journey home.

    Between the true story authored by Chris Jones and Erik Davies' excellent narration, this was one of the most suspenseful audiobooks I've ever listened to... I highly recommend it to those interested in space history or human drama.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth: What Going to Space Taught Me About Ingenuity, Determination, and Being Prepared for Anything

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By Chris Hadfield
    • Narrated By Chris Hadfield
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (224)
    Performance
    (210)
    Story
    (210)

    Colonel Chris Hadfield has spent decades training as an astronaut and has logged nearly 4000 hours in space. During this time he has broken into a Space Station with a Swiss army knife, disposed of a live snake while piloting a plane, and been temporarily blinded while clinging to the exterior of an orbiting spacecraft. The secret to Col. Hadfield's success - and survival - is an unconventional philosophy he learned at NASA: prepare for the worst and enjoy every moment of it.

    Ann says: "Bought this three times, worth every penny"
    "Fascinating listen about life on earth & in space"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Canadian Chris Hadfield's "An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth" is a fun, fascinating listen. Author/narrator Hadfield describes his lifelong dream to become an astronaut (tip: lots of study and hard work required), how he maintained his fitness for consideration as an astronaut (tip: if abdominal surgery is required, request the laparoscopic approach), and despite the title, life in space. He describes the demands an astronaut's family faces and his experience working as part of an international crew on board the International Space Station, led by a Russian commander. As I listened, Colonel Hadfield's book quickly became a favorite audiobook: Hadfield has an earnest, engaging narrative style and his stories about life on earth and in space are very compelling. Highly recommended.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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