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Karen

Member Since 2004

ratings
112
REVIEWS
36
FOLLOWING
5
FOLLOWERS
5
HELPFUL VOTES
77

  • Listening Is an Act of Love

    • ABRIDGED (55 mins)
    • By Dave Isay
    • Narrated By Dave Isay
    Overall
    (1572)
    Performance
    (1311)
    Story
    (1322)

    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
  • What I Talk about When I Talk about Running: A Memoir

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Haruki Murakami
    • Narrated By Ray Porter
    Overall
    (493)
    Performance
    (241)
    Story
    (247)

    From the best-selling author of Kafka on the Shore comes this rich and revelatory memoir about writing and running and the integral impact both have made on his life. Equal parts training log, travelogue, and reminiscence, this revealing memoir covers Murakami's four-month preparation for the 2005 New York City Marathon. Settings range from Tokyo, where he once shared the course with an Olympian, to the Charles River in Boston, among young women who outpace him.

    Rick says: "It is what it says it is"
    "Interesting peek into Murakami's life experiences"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Until I listened to "What I Talk About When I Talk About Running," Stephen King's "On Writing" was my favorite nonfiction memoir-like book by a novelist. Both books are a rare treat, peeling back the veil on the novelist's mind to reveal something of their daily life and motivation for writing. While a significant portion of Murakami's book is indeed focused on running and his thoughts during his runs (which are usually quite philosophical), he also shares experiences from his stay in Cambridge MA, his earlier career as a tavern owner, his search for a swim coach, and how he runs in order to do his "day job" more effectively. I found this book absolutely fascinating and like King's "On Writing," it gave me a greater appreciation for Murakami as a writer. Highly recommended.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Hallways in the Night

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By R.C. O'Leary
    • Narrated By Steven Jay Cohen
    Overall
    (7)
    Performance
    (7)
    Story
    (7)

    When a veteran cop tries to arrest baseball's home run king, one of them ends up on trial and the other one ends up dead. A routine stakeout is almost over when Dave Mackno decides to pursue a speeding Porsche. It's a decision that will have deadly consequences. That's because the Porsche is being driven by Remo Centrella, baseball's home run king, who is half-drunk and at the tail-end of a steroid cycle that makes him think he's bulletproof.

    Karen says: "Just when you think you know how it will end..."
    "Just when you think you know how it will end..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Disclosure: I received this audiobook in return for an honest review

    Take one professional sports star, a cheating wife, an old school cop, an ambitious district attorney, a late night shooting and what do you get? Those characters and that scenario form the foundation of R. C. O'Leary's Hallways in the Night. Just when you think you know what happened, the story unfolds yet again and you realize everything you thought was true and certain, wasn't. What initially seems straightforward is later found to be multi-faceted and complex. I wasn't sure how the story would end and didn't want to put it down. The narration adds wonderful nuance and ambience to the story. I was impressed by the variety of accents voiced by Mr. Cohen and their authenticity. This was a very interesting listen and I recommend it anyone who enjoys crime / legal thrillers.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Mary Roach
    • Narrated By Emily Woo Zeller
    Overall
    (1300)
    Performance
    (1142)
    Story
    (1151)

    Best-selling author Mary Roach returns with a new adventure to the invisible realm we carry around inside. Roach takes us down the hatch on an unforgettable tour. The alimentary canal is classic Mary Roach terrain: The questions explored in Gulp are as taboo, in their way, as the cadavers in Stiff and every bit as surreal as the universe of zero gravity explored in Packing for Mars. Why is crunchy food so appealing? Why is it so hard to find words for flavors and smells? Why doesn’t the stomach digest itself? How much can you eat before your stomach bursts?

    Kirstin says: "Mary Roach Does Not Disappoint!"
    "A fascinating listen"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A very interesting read about that familiar yet alien place within our bodies: The alimentary canal. Mary Roach examines the alimentary canal from food intake to, well, output. Ms. Roach writes like she's sharing a story with a friend, and I found this to be a fascinating listen. One warning: You may not want to listen to this book (about what happens to your food) while eating... my reaction to some facts was a combination of wow, interesting and ew, gross! Recommended.

    0 of 0 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
    (6)
    Performance
    (6)
    Story
    (6)

    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.

    Trish says: "Such an unusual and engaging sci-fi adventure!"
    "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
    (1049)
    Performance
    (920)
    Story
    (915)

    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
    (7)
    Performance
    (7)
    Story
    (7)

    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
    (576)
    Performance
    (258)
    Story
    (261)

    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
    Overall
    (79)
    Performance
    (77)
    Story
    (77)

    >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
    (898)
    Performance
    (394)
    Story
    (396)

    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

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