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joanilla45

Member Since 2010

11
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 7 reviews
  • 55 ratings
  • 140 titles in library
  • 14 purchased in 2014
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FOLLOWERS
2

  • NW: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Zadie Smith
    • Narrated By Karen Bryson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (157)
    Performance
    (130)
    Story
    (131)

    Somewhere in Northwest London stands Caldwell housing estate, relic of 70s urban planning. Five identical blocks, deliberately named: Hobbes, Smith, Bentham, Locke, and Russell. If you grew up there, the plan was to get out and get on, to something bigger, better. Thirty years later ex-Caldwell kids Leah, Natalie, Felix, and Nathan have all made it out, with varying degrees of succes - whatever that means....

    BowedBookshelf says: "I believe this book is best listened to than read"
    "Wanders off"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    If you’ve listened to books by Zadie Smith before, how does this one compare?

    Characters & setting more compelling than On Beauty (it's hard to sustain that much dislike & contempt for all main characters), but plot much, much thinner.


    Any additional comments?

    It was really evocative, and I enjoyed the different characters' way of seeing the same place and the very different voices, but it felt like the author lost her way at the end and everyone just sort of wandered off stage left.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Just Kids

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Patti Smith
    • Narrated By Patti Smith
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (792)
    Performance
    (681)
    Story
    (674)

    Just Kids begins as a love story and ends as an elegy. It serves as a salute to New York City during the late 60s and 70s and to its rich and poor, its hustlers and hellions. A true fable, it is a portrait of two young artists' ascent, a prelude to fame.

    Rick says: "Exceptional. Deeply honest and thoughtful."
    "Does no one any favors"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What disappointed you about Just Kids?

    Really? All these years later, she seems to have no sense of how shallow they all were. It's one thing to write about an earlier self with kindness; it's another to repeat the self-involved "brilliances" as if they really were brilliant. Someone seems to have been living in a sycophantic cocoon a little too long. And jesus, someone needed an editor to tell her that it's just as nice to write "I walked quietly" as "I strolled in an ambiance of stillness" or some such purply dreck. It's just more of the same Boomer self-indulgence and utter inability to see the larger world that has sunk most of these rock-n-roll memoirs.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    At first I wanted to kind of hug her and tell her, Really, even still, you're way more into him than he ever was into you. Like it was a little sad for her to be controlling this story, given his death, and trying to frame it in favorable terms for her. But eventually it was more pathetic than sad. And it just wouldn't end!


    Any additional comments?

    Famous people's books really suffer from their ability to refuse to bow to editors.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Giver

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Lois Lowry
    • Narrated By Ron Rifkin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2537)
    Performance
    (1775)
    Story
    (1814)

    December is the time of the annual Ceremony at which each twelve-year-old receives a life assignment determined by the Elders. Jonas watches his friend Fiona named Caretaker of the Old and his cheerful pal Asher labeled the Assistant Director of Recreation. But Jonas has been chosen for something special. When his selection leads him to an unnamed man, the man called only the Giver, he begins to sense the dark secrets that underlie the fragile perfection of his world.

    far_to_go says: "Annoying music"
    "Uh..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you like best about this story?

    The way surprising details emerge effortlessly.


    How could the performance have been better?

    The reader, who I love as an actor, seemed to rebel against the text. The main character always seems to speak in a breathless, smarmy/whiny tone, even when the description of his voice is completely otherwise. Really, really annoying.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Black Water Rising

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Attica Locke
    • Narrated By Dion Graham
    Overall
    (167)
    Performance
    (77)
    Story
    (75)

    Writing in the tradition of Dennis Lehane and Greg Iles, Attica Locke, a powerful new voice in American fiction, delivers a brilliant debut thriller that readers will not soon forget. Jay Porter is hardly the lawyer he set out to be. His most promising client is a low-rent call girl and he runs his fledgling law practice out of a dingy strip mall. But he's long since made peace with not living the American Dream and carefully tucked away his darkest sins: the guns, the FBI file, the trial that nearly destroyed him.

    C. Telfair says: "Promising Young Writer"
    "Best of both social history and mystery"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you like best about this story?

    The best thing about a good mystery is how patterns start to emerge from the stew of details; the best thing about a social history is how a seemingly small and insignificant event can be shown as crucial to larger historical processes. This book delivers both.


    Any additional comments?

    And what an amazing reader!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • By Blood

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Ellen Ullman
    • Narrated By Malcolm Hillgartner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (71)
    Performance
    (63)
    Story
    (63)

    San Francisco, 1970s. Free love has given way to radical feminism, psychedelic ecstasy to hard-edged gloom. The Zodiac Killer stalks the streets. A disgraced professor takes a downtown office to plot his return. But the walls are thin, and he’s distracted by voices from next door—his neighbor is a psychologist, and one of her patients dislikes the hum of the white-noise machine. And so he begins to hear about the patient’s troubles with her female lover, her conflicts with her adoptive WASP family, and her quest to track down her birth mother.

    Pam says: "Wanted to listen in one sitting"
    "Plodding, anachronistic, and poorly read"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    What a dreadfully dull read. All the characters essentially had the same (Jane Austen era) narration style, and it made absolutely no sense at all. No "twist" in the second half (as some other reviewer suggested, and I blame that reviewer for time wasted in getting through this tripe), and no resolution. I can only assume that Ullman grew as bored with her story as the rest of us did.


    Has By Blood turned you off from other books in this genre?

    What "genre" is this? Is the genre "Too lazy to actually research how people lived in the 1970s, so basically set in the 1990s plus a few historical plot devices that require the story to be set in the 1970s"? Maybe some of these things (the N-Judah as night owl bus, the answering machine, mail taking four days within San Francisco) weren't 100% impossible, but so many anachronistic elements were highly implausible.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Malcolm Hillgartner’s performances?

    And what a terrible reader. Or terrible audio-editor. Really, did no one think to tell him that "analysand" is pronounced "anALlisand" rather than the ridiculous and incorrect "anaLIEsand"? Or the more forgivable but no less wrong pronounciation of the German school, "Gymnasium," as "jimNAHsium" (like American exercise) rather than "gimNASium"?


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Boring, boring, and unending. I will never rely on an Audible review again, particularly if the first half hour is as bad as this one.


    Any additional comments?

    I want my money back.

    5 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • We Need to Talk About Kevin: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Lionel Shriver
    • Narrated By Coleen Marlo
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (572)
    Performance
    (495)
    Story
    (497)

    Eva never really wanted to be a mother - and certainly not the mother of a boy who ends up murdering seven of his fellow high school students, a cafeteria worker, and a much-adored teacher who tried to befriend him, all two days before his 16th birthday. Now, two years later, it is time for her to come to terms with marriage, career, family, parenthood, and Kevin’s horrific rampage, in a series of startlingly direct correspondences with her estranged husband, Franklin.

    aaron says: "A smart, chilling story. Told in a very unique way"
    "One-joke short story painfully stretched out"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What would have made We Need to Talk About Kevin better?

    If only Shriver had read Doris Lessing's The Fifth Child and realized that any other version of this same story had to be kept to a short story (in The New Yorker?).


    Any additional comments?

    It might be a good movie (which is, essentially, the length of a New Yorker short story), but this was just ENDLESS. By the end, I was just disappointed Kevin didn't also kill his mom and spare us her narrative.

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • The Troubled Man: A Kurt Wallander Mystery

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Henning Mankell, Laurie Thompson (translator)
    • Narrated By Robin Sachs
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (502)
    Performance
    (260)
    Story
    (270)

    Håkan von Enke, a retired naval officer, disappears during a walk in a forest near Stockholm. Wallander is not officially involved in the investigation, but he is personally affected—von Enke is his daughter’s father-in-law—and Wallander is soon interfering in matters that are not his responsibility. He is confounded by the information he uncovers, which hints at elaborate Cold War espionage.

    Rebecca says: "I'd expect nothing less..."
    "Weak entry"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    This was diverting as I washed the dishes. That's about it.


    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    While I liked the idea of aging and crankiness being incorporated into the detective story format, the repeated deus ex machina action tested even my willingness to be disbelieving of chance meetings or gut decisions in detective fiction. I was ready for this to be the last book in the series by the time it ended, and kind of wish I hadn't wasted my time.


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Robin Sachs?

    Robin Sachs does brilliant male characters and generally conveys the tone of the narrative's moment. But--like far to many men narrators--he can't seem to differentiate between women! With one exception, all women characters seem to have been drugged into near-catatonic flutteriness. I simply don't buy Linda's passivity of speech (particularly when descriptions of her tone and actions are totally opposite). Just annoying, and I would avoid any future audiobooks that have women characters read by Sachs.


    Do you think The Troubled Man needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    This is begging for a spoiler, but I'll refrain.


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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