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Cora Judd

Member Since 2007

  • 38 reviews
  • 261 ratings
  • 950 titles in library
  • 25 purchased in 2015

  • Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Susan Cain
    • Narrated By Kathe Mazur
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    At least one-third of the people we know are introverts. They are the ones who prefer listening to speaking, reading to partying; who innovate and create but dislike self-promotion; who favor working on their own over brainstorming in teams. Although they are often labeled "quiet," it is to introverts that we owe many of the great contributions to society--from van Gogh’s sunflowers to the invention of the personal computer.

    Teddy says: "Thought provoking and Uplifting.... A++++++++!!!!!"
    "Wrongs kids in the resource room?"

    For those who dread, rather than anticipate, parties, crowds and other social events, "Quiet" will take you from "What's wrong with me?" to recognizing the complex social roles that the "shy" or "quiet" personalities play. Like me, you might end the book wondering why the hyper-social, extroverted kids aren't the ones sent to the Resource Room; perhaps their behavior could be modified to be less loud, more aware...?

    Susan Cain's premise is that introverts have always gotten the message that there's something about them that needs fixing - or they're failing to meet certain social performance standards. But "Quiet" suggests that while Americans (and the world) enjoy outstanding benefits from quiet people, we also pay a high price for under-valuing them. (From the book-- how different Bill Clinton would be if he'd been pressured to conform to a "Bill Gates" personality or Bill Gates had been required to be more like Bill Clinton!) One of the best aspects of this book is how Cain zings in on introvert-specific traits (the ones even introverts view as quirky or fringy or even disordered) and demonstrates how absolutely critical they are to our progress in the arts and sciences.

    "Quiet" is an especially timely book with the diagnosis of Asperger's and debilitating shyness and other spectrum "disorders" on the rise (and being behaviorally modified). It's naturally written and authoritative but there's no need (much) to buzz over scientific jargon. Cain makes a solid, entertaining argument that the introverted personality that we've all been conditioned to be concerned about, would be better off celebrated and cultivated. As an audio book, another 5 stars.

    72 of 76 people found this review helpful
  • We Live in Water: Stories

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Jess Walter
    • Narrated By Edoardo Ballerini, Jess Walter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    We Live in Water, the first collection of short fiction from New York Times best-selling author Jess Walter, is a suite of diverse, often comic stories about personal struggle and diminished dreams, all of them marked by the wry wit and generosity of spirit that has made him one of our most talked-about writers.

    Suzn F says: "Interesting Collection of Short Stories"
    "Too short."

    A collection of smart, funny stories. I was completely carried away by them and surprised when it ended. I felt like a kid being called in from playing; soon?

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • To the Best of Our Knowledge

    • Abridged/Unabridged (3 hrs)
    • By Jim Fleming

    Satisfy your hunger for new ideas with this Peabody Award-winning interview show that explores the cutting edge of contemporary thinking in politics, religion, economics, science, the arts, and popular culture. Host Jim Fleming, along with interviewers Steve Paulson and Anne Strainchamps, talks to some of the greatest thinkers, figures, and artists of our time. It's a radio salon where a playwright and a scientist, a theologian and a rock critic might all offer their views on, say, revenge.

    Cora Judd says: "Kicking known science over a cliff"
    "Kicking known science over a cliff"

    This appeared on the surface to be a thoughtful exchange of the best ideas on evolution. It's actually a small-town parade of the worst of creationist junk-science.

    Daniel Dennett's and Richard Dawkins' words are artfully manipulated so that anyone unfamiliar with their highly respected works will presume that "evolution vs. creation" is hotly debated among scientists and philosophers. Additionally, Dawkins' and Dennett's professional caution is made to appear to be a lack of self-confidence in, (even a bit mocking of), science.

    The creationists in this production are supposedly respected thinkers who don't want to embrace either side but are "forced" in the end, to give credence to creator-friendly scenarios. To succeed at this, they each kick the most basic concepts of science over a cliff.

    I couldn't even recommend this to religious people, as reliance on so much misinformation will almost certainly make them an object of ridicule in any intelligent discussion.

    I enjoy this topic but I resent the deception used here, beginning with the title. I've been a member of Audible since early days and I have a large library.This will be the first time I request a refund.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Baptized Atheist

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By David Smalley, David Eller
    • Narrated By David C. Smalley

    "As a firm believer, I began having doubts. Doubts about faith, and doubts about believers not asking questions. I embarked on a journey to get closer to God. Perhaps I became too close. What I saw changed my life forever."

    Cora Judd says: "A book for when the question is fresh..."
    "A book for when the question is fresh..."

    If a reader is familiar and comfortable with Ehrman, Dawkins, Onfray, Harris, Shermer, etc., "Baptized Atheist' would be a step backward.

    It seems most appropriate for the reader for whom the validity of religion is a new, and still somewhat threatening, question. The author examines the truth of religion in general (and Christianity specifically) through the lens of his personal experience of becoming atheist. That his experience seems very similar to what most people endure makes this a potentially useful book for someone ready to explore the idea that his or her church is not a perfect source of truth and morality. There are a few inconsistencies, mispronunciations, and just a little hubris (at 19, the author claims to have stumped a veteran theology professor with his insights).

    Overall, it's a good first exposure to the manufactured nature of Christianity.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Great French and Russian Short Stories, Volume 1 (Unabridged Selections)

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By various
    • Narrated By Walter Zimmerman, Jim Killavey

    No one plumbs deeper depths of the psyche than French and Russian authors. This wide-ranging collection of 19th-century literary masterworks, presented in their entirety, not only entertains, but provides insight into 19th-century mores and the mysteries of human nature.

    Dutton says: "Good listen"
    What did you love best about Great French and Russian Short Stories, Volume 1 (Unabridged Selections)?

    The recording seems to be a little dated and tinny which may account for previous reviewers withholding stars. But the readers are skilled and they don't over-dramatize the prose.

    It's a good collection and encompasses a variety of themes - most are dryly funny or ironic, a few are tragic, one is hopelessly sentimental. The stories are all entertaining and are a wonderful exposure to French and Russian authors without committing 20 hours at a time. I'll be looking for more like this.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Arguably: Essays by Christopher Hitchens

    • UNABRIDGED (28 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Christopher Hitchens
    • Narrated By Simon Prebble
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    The first new collection of essays by Christopher Hitchens since 2004, Arguably offers an indispensable key to understanding the passionate and skeptical spirit of one of our most dazzling writers, widely admired for the clarity of his style, a result of his disciplined and candid thinking. Topics range from ruminations on why Charles Dickens was among the best of writers and the worst of men to the enduring legacies of Thomas Jefferson and George Orwell.

    Kristopher says: "Written with skill and style"
    "The book to have while stranded on a desert island"

    ???Arguably??? is great but it is not of the ???god is Not Great??? genre; it's a choice selection of Christopher Hitchens??? own essays, and of a vaster scope than the global-fallout-from-religion that the 'god' title focuses on. It is riveting in just the same way, however, and the temptation to adopt Hitchens' lucid opinions as my own is also similar.

    ???Arguably??? covers a wild variety of topics. Some I may not have typically sought out but all are worth reading and for me, re-reading. It has introduced many intriguing new titles, authors and subjects for my to-read stack. I???ve kept the globe spinning and Wikipedia fired-up throughout; memorized a little of the Rubayat and seen Animal Farm acted out in many times and places. The political essays are more than a few ranks above my typical American understanding but my perceptions are a bit sharper for having read them anyway (and my position on torture is validated). His graphic, sumi-style images from his experiences in Viet Nam, Cuba, Pakistan, Iran and many more, are intense. While reading, (I also bought the print version for proper mulling over), I???ve lost my optimism for humankind a few times, and re-found it almost the same number.

    If I had a complaint, it???s that, at 749 pages, it???s still too short. Thankfully, everything Hitchens has written is archived "somewhere". In all, ???Arguably??? is brilliant and it???s the perfect book for a reader who wants to level up a few.

    33 of 35 people found this review helpful
  • Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By Amy Chua
    • Narrated By Amy Chua
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    All decent parents want to do what's best for their children. What Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother reveals is that the Chinese just have a totally different idea of how to do that. Western parents try to respect their children's individuality, encouraging them to pursue their true passions and providing a nurturing environment. The Chinese believe that the best way to protect your children is by preparing them for the future and arming them with skills, strong work habits, and inner confidence.

    Diana - Audible says: "Surprisingly touching (and well-read)"
    "ALL dogs descend from wolves..."

    'Battle Hymn...' is the reminiscence of a successful, wealthy Chinese-American woman married to an equally successful Jewish man. She is determined to raise their two daughters using traditional Chinese parenting principles while enjoying the privileged East Coast culture.

    The concept is intriguing and there are moments of great wit and frankness. (Chua's rejection of her child's thoughtlessly scrawled birthday card is the sort of honesty I wish I felt free to use). But the author reliably veers away from points in the narrative that are ripe for deeper cultural introspection. Many promises of an expanded world-view are met with the usual stereotypes. Most of the points where cultures clash -- where interesting questions can be explored -- are indicated and then passed by.

    There are many attempts at even-handedness, but Chua has clear biases against American parenting styles (using the euphemism "Western"). I would have enjoyed the book more, and perhaps even embraced her biases, if she had abandoned trying to sound fair and, instead, validated them with specific trends and data. There's an absolute wealth of it available.

    This is not an Amy Tan style of prose. However, a reader who enjoys a "personal journal" approach to storytelling will be entertained and perhaps even inspired. If you're a parent who is dramatically more committed than the average "Westerner" to raising excellent children, you may find a kindred spirit in Amy Chua.

    8 of 15 people found this review helpful
  • The Irresistible Henry House: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Lisa Grunwald
    • Narrated By Oliver Wyman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    It is the middle of the 20th century, and in a home economics program at a prominent university, real babies are being used to teach mothering skills to young women. For a young man raised in these unlikely circumstances, finding real love and learning to trust will prove to be the work of a lifetime. In this captivating novel, bestselling author Lisa Grunwald gives us the sweeping tale of an irresistible hero and the many women who love him.

    Jennifer says: "Well worth your time and credit"

    The premise of The Irresistible Henry House is a good one; an orphaned infant is raised in a "Practice House" of a college Home Ec. program in the 40's. Unfortunately, my anticipation for a good yarn was extinguished after hours of the story meandering forward in time, with Henry House crossing paths with the cultural touchstones of the 40's, 50's and 60's. It was like Forrest Gump but without the whimsy and poignancy.
    A goal of the story is to show how dispassionately Henry involves himself with the women in his life, indifferent to how destructive his detachment is. But Henry doesn't treat his conquests half as harshly as the author handles his main female characters. They are, for the most part, unattractive, distasteful, friendless women whose sin of aging is regularly pointed out.
    The dialogue is not as revealing as it could be and if I was reading the text, I think I would have scanned the quotes to save time.
    I would only recommend this if, for some reason, you specifically want a story with an obvious conclusion and that won't make many demands on your imagination. To be a bit misogynistic will help as well.

    34 of 40 people found this review helpful
  • The Final Reckoning

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Sam Bourne
    • Narrated By Adam Sims

    Tom Byrne has fallen from grace since his days as an idealistic young lawyer. So when the UN call him in to do their dirty work, he accepts without hesitation. A suspected bomber shot by UN security staff has turned out to be a harmless old man and Tom must placate the family. In London, Tom meets the dead man's alluring daughter, and learns that her father was not as innocent as he seemed.

    Cora Judd says: "Final reckoning..."
    "Final reckoning..."

    I hadn't read Bourne prior to this book but I took a chance and have enjoyed it. The story of a police-style investigation entwines itself around the Holocaust era history of it targets.

    The WW2 threads of the book are a more fascinating, more authentic, read than the contemporary detective work. It's what kept me listening.

    Minus a star for having the predictably gorgeous semi-heroine (who evidently abandons her child patients for the ensuing drama) and for having what has become the de rigeur rape scene (which easily hits a level more consistent with a sadistic older man than a 14 year old virgin/brute). The Tom/Rebecca relationship borders on silliness but the historical aspects come along and save the story every time.

    The narration by Adam Sims was excellent in every way.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Ghosts of Belfast

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Stuart Neville
    • Narrated By Gerard Doyle
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Fegan has been a "hard man" - an IRA killer in Northern Ireland. Now that peace has come, he is being haunted day and night by 12 ghosts: a mother and infant, a schoolboy, a butcher, an RUC constable, and seven other of his innocent victims. In order to appease them, he's going to have to kill the men who gave him orders. As he's working his way down the list, he encounters a woman who may offer him redemption; she has borne a child to an RUC officer and is an outsider too.

    David P. McGivern says: "What an unexpected good read!"
    "Original and gripping..."

    I've been looking for a story that's original and gripping and will give me the escape I crave. 'The Ghosts of Belfast' scores big time!
    Neville kept my curiosity both piqued and satisfied throughout. If I were to sketch the plot it would sound ludicrous and a maybe a bit implausible but every word rings true from the first paragraph. It can't really be classified as a ghost story lest one think of Stephen King. Neville's ghosts are more real and more motivated.
    As a bonus, I inadvertently learned quite a bit about the true politics and culture of Ireland, especially during the turmoil in the 70's.

    32 of 35 people found this review helpful

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