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Elizabeth

A school administrator and avid reader and listener of books. At least an hour of every day is spent in the car, and that's where the bulk of my listening is done. I tend to listen to books on "faster" mode so I can get through more books!

Bellevue, WA, United States | Member Since 2015

138
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 182 reviews
  • 510 ratings
  • 687 titles in library
  • 20 purchased in 2015
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FOLLOWERS
8

  • Still Foolin' 'Em: Where I've Been, Where I'm Going, and Where the Hell Are My Keys

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Billy Crystal
    • Narrated By Billy Crystal
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2277)
    Performance
    (2075)
    Story
    (2071)

    Billy Crystal is 65, and he's not happy about it. With his trademark wit and heart, he outlines the absurdities and challenges that come with growing old, from insomnia to memory loss to leaving dinners with half your meal on your shirt. In humorous chapters like ""Buying the Plot"" and ""Nodding Off,"" Crystal not only catalogues his physical gripes, but offers a road map to his 77 million fellow baby boomers who are arriving at this milestone age with him. He also looks back at the most powerful and memorable moments of his long and storied life, from entertaining his relatives as a kid in Long Beach, Long Island, and his years doing stand-up in the Village, up through his legendary stint at Saturday Night Live, When Harry Met Sally, and his long run as host of the Academy Awards. Listeners get a front-row seat to his one-day career with the New York Yankees (he was the first player to ever ""test positive for Maalox""), his love affair with Sophia Loren, and his enduring friendships with several of his idols, including Mickey Mantle and Muhammad Ali. He lends a light touch to more serious topics like religion (""the aging friends I know have turned to the Holy Trinity: Advil, bourbon, and Prozac""); grandparenting; and, of course, dentistry. As wise and poignant as they are funny, Crystal's reflections are an unforgettable look at an extraordinary life well lived.

    Pamela J says: "Growing up with Billy Crystal"
    "Perfect Crystal"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Just like any book, this book isn't for everyone. If you don't love Billy Crystal, then don't bother. If you don't love learning about the amusing and most likely embellished reflections of an aging comedian, then don't bother. If you don't enjoy a good guy talking about his positive relationships with his family, friends and other celebrities, then don't bother.

    If you do enjoy Billy Crystal's work, then spend time with this book, which is even better on the audio version because Crystal narrates it and his impersonations and voices only enhance the experience.

    Crystal's reflections of his 65 years are both touching (I cried at times) and hysterical (a big belly laugh at the gym had people looking at me). As he describes his relationships, he is respectful of most everyone, and you can tell how important his family and friends are to him.

    His life, for the rest of us, is fairly surreal. Who gets to throw themselves massive birthday parties that involve celebrities, playing for your favorite baseball team, etc.? The answer is: almost no one. But Crystal can, and has, and his stories of them are enjoyable and heart-felt.

    I look forward to his next book.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Secret History of Wonder Woman

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Jill Lepore
    • Narrated By Jill Lepore
    Overall
    (96)
    Performance
    (87)
    Story
    (87)

    Like every other superhero, Wonder Woman has a secret identity. Unlike every other superhero, she has also has a secret history. Harvard historian and New Yorker staff writer Jill Lepore has uncovered an astonishing trove of documents, including the never-before-seen private papers of William Moulton Marston, Wonder Woman's creator.

    Julia says: "Narration ruined it for me"
    "Interesting, but flat"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I had no idea how much story there was behind Wonder Woman and I enjoyed learning about it. There were topics and stories that were repeated, and I found that frustration. The narration of the audio version is fair, at best.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Stuff Matters: Exploring the Marvelous Materials That Shape Our Man-Made World

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Mark Miodownik
    • Narrated By Michael Page
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (675)
    Performance
    (597)
    Story
    (595)

    Why is glass see-through? What makes elastic stretchy? Why does a paper clip bend? These are the sorts of questions that Mark Miodownik is constantly asking himself. A globally renowned materials scientist, Miodownik has spent his life exploring objects as ordinary as an envelope and as unexpected as concrete cloth, uncovering the fascinating secrets that hold together our physical world.

    Peter says: "Engaging, fun, and educational"
    "Other books in this genre are better"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I have read several other books in this vain, such as Stiff: the curious life of human cadavers by Mary Roach and At Home: a short history of private life by Bill Bryson. Both were more engaging and interesting than Miodownik's detailed description of the history of items found in a photograph of his from decades ago. While I learned from Miodownik's descriptions, it was like sitting through a lecture from your most boring college professor. I say skip this book and try another.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Gemini

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Carol Wiley Cassella
    • Narrated By Mozhan Marno
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (39)
    Performance
    (34)
    Story
    (35)

    An ICU doctor in one of Seattle's most respected hospitals, Dr. Charlotte Reese is used to listening for the chop of the Medvac helicopter and preparing for the worst. But when a Jane hurtles through the doors of Beacon Hospital with tubes keeping her alive, Charlotte's stoic resolve begins to fail her and she becomes obsessed with unraveling the mystery of her patient's identity to solve what is looking more and more like an attempted murder.

    Pam says: "One of the most boring books I have ever read!"
    "Enjoyable, some mistakes in narration"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I very much enjoyed this intertwining tale of a doctor with a Jane Doe under her care and Reni, an orphan girl raised by her grandfather. It is clear from early on that Reni is the Jane Doe and as the book unfolds the storylines of Jane Doe and her doctor get closer and closer to the story of Reni. My only complaint is with the audio version of the book and the incorrect pronunciation of some of our Washington State locations.
    Sequim = skwim, not se-kweem
    Alki = Alk-eye not alkee

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Cry, the Beloved Country

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Alan Paton
    • Narrated By Michael York
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (638)
    Performance
    (301)
    Story
    (301)

    This is the most distinguished novel that has come out of South Africa in the 20th century, and it is one of the most important novels of the modern era. Cry, the Beloved Country is in some ways a sad book; it is an indictment of a social system that drives native races into resentment and crime; it is a story of Fate, as inevitable, as relentless, as anything of Thomas Hardy's. Beautifully wrought with high poetic compassion, Cry, the Beloved Country is more than just a story, it is a profound experience of the human spirit.

    Penny says: "Two Words"
    "Sad to be disappointed"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I really wanted to enjoy this book. It is an important piece of literature that opened a window into a world little understood at the time. But I just couldn't find myself drawn to it. I did listen to the book and while the narrator was good, I wonder if this is one of those examples where the beauty and power of a book is lost through this medium. In the end, it was a disappointing use of my time, and that makes me sad.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Into the Wild

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Jon Krakauer
    • Narrated By Philip Franklin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1759)
    Performance
    (914)
    Story
    (922)

    In April 1992 a young man from a well-to-do family hitchhiked to Alaska and walked alone into the wilderness north of Mt. McKinley. His name was Christopher Johnson McCandless. He had given $25,000 in savings to charity, abandoned his car and most of his possessions, burned all the cash in his wallet, and invented a new life for himself.

    Craig Mitchell says: "A Book that Never Left Me"
    "fascinating story well researched"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I liked Krakaur's book about the ill-prepared and self centered Chris McCandless who died of starvation in remote Alaska. There is nothing in McCandless' life that appeals to me personally; however, Krakaur's research and commentary brings perspective and analysis to McCandless' poor decisions that led to his untimely demise. There are a few chapters about Krakaur's pursuit of an Alaskan peak that were not pertinent to the book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The First Phone Call from Heaven: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Mitch Albom
    • Narrated By Mitch Albom
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (572)
    Performance
    (505)
    Story
    (514)

    The First Phone Call from Heaven tells the story of a small town on Lake Michigan that gets worldwide attention when its citizens start receiving phone calls from the afterlife. Is it the greatest miracle ever or a massive hoax? Sully Harding, a grief-stricken single father, is determined to find out. An allegory about the power of belief - and a page-turner that will touch your soul - Albom's masterful storytelling has never been so moving and unexpected.

    Marci says: "Every Character is Great"
    "Good to the end"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book did not end how I thought it would, and I am completely ok with that. It's an interesting part of life: dealing with the death of a loved one, and this book explores that and the lost desires and wishes of those who remain and the relationship they still long for with their departed loved one. What happens if that person just calls one day? Albom's writing is compelling and he knows how to weave a story that draws you in and holds you until the last word.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Leaving Time

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Jodi Picoult
    • Narrated By Rebecca Lowman, Abigail Revasch, Kathe Mazur, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3698)
    Performance
    (3282)
    Story
    (3276)

    Refusing to believe that she would be abandoned as a young child, Jenna searches for her mother regularly online and pores over the pages of Alice's old journals. A scientist who studied grief among elephants, Alice wrote mostly of her research among the animals she loved, yet Jenna hopes the entries will provide a clue to her mother’s whereabouts. Desperate to find the truth, Jenna enlists two unlikely allies in her quest.

    Jan says: "Pickiest Reader Would Be Willing to Give 6 Stars"
    "typical Picoult"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    To me, classic Picoult: well told, emotionally manipulative book. That said, I did enjoy it. Picoult does have a great way of weaving a tale, and this one of 13 year-old Jenna trying to locate her missing mom is sweet and surprising. I thoroughly enjoyed the elephant details (they are my favorite animal) and the few twists that show up along the way. Great relaxing read, but not exceptional literature.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Golem and the Jinni: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Helene Wecker
    • Narrated By George Guidall
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4522)
    Performance
    (4145)
    Story
    (4138)

    Helene Wecker's dazzling debut novel tells the story of two supernatural creatures who appear mysteriously in 1899 New York. Chava is a golem, a creature made of clay, brought to life by a strange man who dabbles in dark Kabbalistic magic. When her master dies at sea on the voyage from Poland, she is unmoored and adrift as the ship arrives in New York Harbor. Ahmad is a jinni, a being of fire, born in the ancient Syrian Desert. Trapped in an old copper flask by a Bedouin wizard centuries ago, he is released accidentally by a tinsmith in a Lower Manhattan shop.

    Janice says: "What does it mean to be human?"
    "Too many characters"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I liked, but didn't love, this story of a golem (clay creature created to be human-like and serve a master) and jinni whose lives cross paths in early 1900s New York City. It took a bit too long to get to the crux of the story and while one reader might think the additional details added to the story, I felt they took away from it as too many characters were introduced that had small parts throughout the book, but not enough to hold onto who that person was and their significance. There could have been some simplification to strengthen the final story. Despite that frustration of mine, I was interested through the end and curious as to where the story would lead.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Main Street

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Sinclair Lewis
    • Narrated By Brian Emerson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (78)
    Performance
    (47)
    Story
    (47)

    The lonely predicament of Carol Kennicott, caught between her desires for social reform and individual happiness, reflects the position in which America's turn-of-the-century "emancipated woman" found herself.

    Maureen says: "Time for a classic"
    "I tried to like it..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This came recommended so I was looking forward to the listen, but finally have it up about one-third of the way through. I'm not sure if it was the uninspired narration or the story that went no where fast that caused me to give up. I felt bad about quitting, but within 5 minutes of my next book I was glad I did.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • A Knock at Midnight: Original Recordings of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.

    • Abridged/Unabridged (8 hrs)
    • By Martin Luther King
    • Narrated By Martin Luther King
    Overall
    (94)
    Performance
    (18)
    Story
    (20)

    Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a leader and visionary of the civil rights movement, was first and foremost a preacher. This unique collection features a selection of Dr. King's best sermons - some not heard since he first delivered them!

    J. A. McCarron says: "Best audible book yet"
    "Outstanding message, poor quality audio"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    First comment on the audio: of course they are poor quality. They were recorded with old equipment in the 60s. I get that. I just mention the poor quality because it does make it hard to listen to when there are other noises--like road noise when driving, or environment noise when out for a walk.

    Two things make this worth the listen: hearing MLK's voice and message and the introductions for each sermon, each intro by a different person. I so appreciated understanding the context of the sermon or the person MLK prior to hearing his message, and does he give a good message! I also appreciate that MLK's message was consistent. This has been worth my time and reflection.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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