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Sara

ratings
67
REVIEWS
7
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
0
HELPFUL VOTES
9

  • God, No!: Signs You May Already Be an Atheist and Other Magical Tales

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Penn Jillette
    • Narrated By Penn Jillette
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1583)
    Performance
    (1433)
    Story
    (1433)

    From the larger, louder half of the world-famous magic duo Penn & Teller comes a scathingly funny reinterpretation of The Ten Commandments. They are The Penn Commandments, and they reveal one outrageous and opinionated atheist’s experience in the world.

    Paul says: "More memoir than theology"
    "Funny, Original Atheist Book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I saw an ad for the print version of this book and came straight to Audible-- I was thrilled to find it unabridged and performed by Penn Jillette. I love the show BS and I enjoy Jillette's comedy and showmanship as much as his free-thinking skepticism. If you're learning about atheism, go to Dawkins or Hitchens for the great modern atheist manifestos. But for a hilarious read about a great atheist, and a book that defends atheism without repeating any of the traditional academic arguments more seasoned atheists and readers are already familiar with, listen to "God, No!" The anecdotes and essays are mostly auto-biographical, and I really laughed out loud, as well as giggled and snorted out loud, through most of the book. Jillette mentions that he rambles in the book, and he does. Every rambling word is utterly fascinating, and I couldn't put it down-- I listened to the entire book yesterday.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Pride and Prejudice

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Jane Austen
    • Narrated By Flo Gibson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (109)
    Performance
    (58)
    Story
    (58)

    Many consider this rich social commentary to be Jane Austen's finest novel. It is certainly among her more famous ones. Austen sets her entertaining study of manners and misconceptions against the backdrop of a class-conscious society in 18th century England.

    Tad Davis says: "Practically perfect in every way"
    "Flo Gibson is a Classic"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I don't think I need to review P&P, but I wanted to give a boost for Flo Gibson's narration. Some don't enjoy it-- you should always listen to a sample. But for me, Flo Gibson is THE narrator for British Fiction from this era and the following century. She may not be for everyone, and I wonder, based on the length of this performance, if the narration may have been sped up, although I don't find this when I listen. However, as a linguist, I find Flo Gibson's accent and delivery to be highly suitable to the books and time periods she narrates. Again, I completely understand that narration can be a matter of taste. She may not be for you. But she is worth a try if you want an authentic, witty, dry, humorous British delivery-- and she deserves enormous respect for her many amazing performances.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Plain Truth

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By Jodi Picoult
    • Narrated By Christina Moore, Suzanne Toren
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1176)
    Performance
    (418)
    Story
    (419)

    The discovery of a dead infant in an Amish barn shakes Lancaster County to its core. But the police investigation leads to a more shocking disclosure: circumstantial evidence suggests that 18-year-old Katie Fisher, an unmarried Amish woman believed to be the newborn's mother, took the child's life.

    Susan says: "Plain good!"
    "Unrealistic, uncritical, misleading"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I have read a few Jody Picoult novels, such as "My Sister's Keeper" and expected her to write in a challenging way about difficult topics. I didn't find that in this book. The main character is a big-city lawyer, who ends up legally obligated to live with a 'plain' family in order to help a distant family member.

    With that opening, one expects an examination of critical issues between various kinds of beliefs and communities, perhaps some consideration of the tension between valuable traditions and valuable innovations in modern times.

    Instead, we follow a main character who talks about, but shows no signs of having been a modern woman, (just bad writing in my opinion), and who is way too dumb to be a lawyer, if one is to judge by some mistaken assumptions she has to make in order to keep the plot moving.

    Instead, she falls in with the 'plain' lifestyle without a hitch, does chores as ordered, (yes, ordered), on top of all her supposed legal duties, and never stops rhapsodizing about how wonderful it all is, how healthy she is, etc.

    The Plain people in the story are represented as having things like dishwashers, "just like us" and there is no serious attention given to the fact that it is a community that excommunicates any young person who wishes to attend college, and forbids him all contact with his family. I.e., a community that denies their children education. This is one of the main points of the story, but the author offers little in the way of opinion of this practice. It's mentioned with little comment that the women have to fasten all their dresses with pins, but no mention or questioning of such real-world issues like men being permitted to use buttons, while women are not, or the 'plain' people's refusal to install smoke detectors in their homes, preferring that their children burn up in their beds if it is God's will. I assume this particular set of plain people did use smoke detectors, unlike the ones in the region where I grew up, who fight legal battles to avoid it, or that the main character is happy to take her chances with death by housefire.

    That is one set of issues with this story. There's a whole other area of problem. Picoult misrepresents occult 'research' as if it is a legitimate academic subject. It is not. If she had characters arguing that it should be, fine. But she simply has characters matter-of-factly stating that they received degrees in occult studies from colleges that DO exist, but have never had such courses. I don't know if this is just ignorance, or an actual agenda to make occult interests seem more legitimate, but regardless, it simply misrepresents the state of affairs. You cannot study occult matters in a legitimate academic setting in the United States. Even in fiction, if a story is taking place in the real world, one expects the author to use accurate facts about the world. You can't believe everything you read, but you can learn a lot about the world from a well-written setting, and a good author strives to make her setting as accurate as possible. I have no problem with the introduction of an occult element into a book, but in this book there are many mentions of the occult as a scientific pursuit in an American college that are just silly and innacurate, and the author appears to be either very credulous or deliberately misleading.

    Overall, I get the impression that the author seems terribly afraid of insulting the Amish, which is bizarre because if she did, they would forgive her, in the unlikely instance that they read the book. So I assume she is merely afraid of drawing wrath from all of those people out there who romanticize these lifestyles, without having to live them, and in spite of knowing about the social issues they embody, particularly for women. The book reads as one big excuse/rationalization.

    As mentioned by others, the narration is appalling. I wish I had never read this, because I can't unread it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Fever Dream

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Lincoln Child, Douglas Preston
    • Narrated By Rene Auberjonois
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3011)
    Performance
    (1616)
    Story
    (1626)

    At the old family manse in Louisiana, Special Agent Pendergast is putting to rest long-ignored possessions reminiscent of his wife Helen's tragic death, only to make a stunning - and dreadful - discovery. Helen had been mauled by an unusually large and vicious lion while they were big game hunting in Africa. But now, Pendergast learns that her rifle-her only protection from the beast-had been deliberately loaded with blanks. Who could have wanted Helen dead...and why?

    Snoodely says: "Intelligent, spooky thriller"
    "First I Read-- Colorful and Entertaining"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I got this book in a sale, not realizing it was late in a series. I enjoyed it thoroughly, and I found it engaging, suspenseful, and satisfying, which is a lot to say for an eleventh in a series, and the first I read.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Modern Scholar: Visions of Utopia: Philosophy and the Perfect Society

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Fred E. Baumann
    Overall
    (31)
    Performance
    (15)
    Story
    (15)

    Professor Fred E. Baumann looks at what some philosophers have had to say on this subject, mostly in the form of stories about utopias. Five are written by great philosophers and the last by a challenging, nearly contemporary American scholar. All have exerted great influence on the history of thought or have expressed influential currents of thought. Professor Baumann's lectures not only examine these texts, but also address the results of attempting to put these utopias into practice.

    Len says: "Provocative and stimulating, albeit conservative"
    "Excellent Coverage of an Ever-Relevant Topic"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Whether or not most people are consciously aware, the idea of perfectibility or lack thereof in human life is a moving force in most politics and philosophical study. It also affects most of us in our daily lives.

    These lectures are an excellent overview of the history of Utopian philosophies and societies, with the lecturer offering a good survey of the relevant materials, recommendations about further reading, and interesting discussion and conclusions.

    The lecturer is extremely conscientious about presenting his own opinions separately from the facts, and he is very careful to point out when his scholarly opinions are less widespread than other scholars' views. This is all as it should be.

    Based on the criticism of some reviews, I must conclude the reviewers may lack experience with the structure of actual college courses. Professor Baumann does a superb job presenting a broad overview of the material, which is extremely difficult to do in an introductory survey course. Naturally, he discusses many other relevant materials that the reader may choose to study-- but he does not assume the reader has done or will do so. In addition to an excellent basic introductory course, Professor Baumann presents a certain amount of his own scholarly view; exactly that which is expected and valued in a college course, which this series hopes to replicate.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Matched: Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Ally Condie
    • Narrated By Kate Simses
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1495)
    Performance
    (1185)
    Story
    (1205)

    Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her: what to read, what to watch, what to believe. So when Xander's face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is her ideal mate... until she sees Ky Markham's face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black.

    FanB14 says: "Giver Goes Green"
    "Dystopic Novel-- Excellent for YA and Adult"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    I enjoyed this novel throughout. It kept me interested in the story and the narration. The narrator sounds young while being pleasant to listen to. Other voices are also well-done. The main comparison between this novel and The Giver that I would make is that both are novels of futuristic dystopia. Otherwise the stories are not much the same. Both The Giver and this series are excellent and people who enjoy one will also enjoy the other. This novel has a less lyrical and more realistic quality, with hints of 1984, while at the same time having a more hopeful tone. The story is a little more complex, but very accessible to younger readers, and enough to satisfy adults. This might be an interesting listen on a car trip for about 10 and up. It might be boring for kids younger than that. I enjoyed it enough that I'm downloading the second book in the series right away.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Infidel

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Ayaan Hirsi Ali
    • Narrated By Ayaan Hirsi Ali
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1129)
    Performance
    (484)
    Story
    (488)

    This New York Times best-seller is the astonishing life story of award-winning humanitarian Ayaan Hirsi Ali. A deeply respected advocate for free speech and women's rights, Hirsi Ali also lives under armed protection because of her outspoken criticism of the Islamic faith in which she was raised.

    Teddy says: "A Story that Needed to be Told"
    "Great Work of Literature"
    Overall

    This is one of the finest books I have read in my lifetime. I used to read accounts of life in Afghanistan in the late 90s, when few but feminists were concerned about the Taliban's activities, but that was always an outside view. In Infidel, we are able to see an intimate portrait of life in Somalia, Ethiopia, Saudi Arabia, etc, from the point of view of one remarkable woman who saw through and rose above the abuses and limitions of her human rights.

    In this book, the reader is able to to feel a deep connection to the humanity of the individuals, while at the same time understanding the entrenched problems with the social systems they have been born into.

    Not only is this an education about social life in Western Africa, but also presents a great deal of information about the history and politics of the region in recent decades.

    The story is told in clear, luminous prose, and I think the experience is greatly enhanced by hearing the author's own voice. I hung on every single word.

    The author relates experiences of true horror in a way that is bearable, and even leaves the reader with a genuine sense of hope, and, if you are like me, renewed vigor to embrace life and fight for justice.

    This is an absolute must-read. I saw a newspaper review that named Infidel as a "great work of literature" and I must agree. The book is compelling, and the author is clear-thinking, compassionate, frank, and committed to sharing her truth.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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