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Pamela

Sure, I'd love to hear your story....

United States | Member Since 2004

565
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 90 reviews
  • 225 ratings
  • 524 titles in library
  • 19 purchased in 2014
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97

  • Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By David Sedaris
    • Narrated By David Sedaris
    Overall
    (2431)
    Performance
    (2213)
    Story
    (2201)

    From the unique perspective of David Sedaris comes a new collection of essays taking his listeners on a bizarre and stimulating world tour. From the perils of French dentistry to the eating habits of the Australian kookaburra, from the squat-style toilets of Beijing to the particular wilderness of a North Carolina Costco, we learn about the absurdity and delight of a curious traveler's experiences.

    FanB14 says: "Devout Fan Disappointed"
    "Sedaris comes through again!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I've enjoyed David Sedaris for a long time now, and this book is no exception. It holds true to what one expects from Sedaris: it's clever, cutting, funny, and when you often least expect it, poignant. It's not quite as purely flat out funny like some of his other autobiographical experiences, but there's enough here to give his many fans a feeling of being back with their old buddy, and enough pure witty moments to gain converts. This is also one of those books that I think you can appreciate even more if you listen to each of the stories with a break in between. Too much snarky can be tiring, but it's always fun.

    1 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Lost in a Good Book: A Thursday Next Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Jasper Fforde
    • Narrated By Emily Gray
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (320)
    Performance
    (249)
    Story
    (253)

    Intrepid literary detective Thursday Next is back in the second installment of Jasper Fforde's one-of-a-kind series. The inventive, exuberant, and totally original literary fun that began with The Eyre Affair continues with Jasper Fforde’s magnificent second adventure starring the resourceful, fearless literary sleuth Thursday Next.

    Shirataki Diva says: "What happened to Landen?"
    "Very British"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The second in the Next series is good fun - - and more British than the Queens bloomers. I'm certain I'm missing some of the jokes and many of the asides because I wasn't born in London, but it really doesn't matter. There's more than enough humor left for us upstarts to still have a giggle or two. But, there are more deep concerns and less tidy plot fixes in this book than the last, but knowing you're reading a series helps quell the concerns.

    Narrator is great!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Influx

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By Daniel Suarez
    • Narrated By Jeff Gurner
    Overall
    (913)
    Performance
    (857)
    Story
    (852)

    Particle physicist Jon Grady is ecstatic when his team achieves what they've been working toward for years: A device that can reflect gravity. Their research will revolutionize the field of physics - the crowning achievement of a career. Grady expects widespread acclaim for his entire team. The Nobel Prize. Instead, his lab is locked down by a shadowy organization whose mission is to prevent at all costs the social upheaval sudden technological advances bring.

    Sterling Okura says: "Entertaining Physics SciFi"
    "Brilliant idea - - pretty good execution"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The thing I really like about Daniel Suarez is it makes me feel like all the science classes actually stuck instead of simply drifting out of my head once I graduated. I have NO CLUE if even a speck of what he calls science is true, but I don't care - - I feel scientific just listening to him.

    The good parts are that this book has a really smart premise, and the ability to make the far fetched seem plausible. The science part is brilliant. The plot is okay, again, simple but clever and executed well. The problem is that his characters are not what you would call multi-dimensional, truthfully they're rather stereotypical. But even with that the story does move along, but it isn't a page turner...it's a good yarn. And it's almost too easy to see the movie adaption of this one coming to a theater near you. Maybe I'm getting cynical, but if you've had the opportunity to read Daemon -- a great but complex book that I can't see ever being filmed -- this will seem much more straight forward almost as if to make it more easily adaptable (and yes, I hear the curmudgeon in my voice....). Even with the flaws, it's worth spending the credit if only to encourage the producers to get good actors to take on the roles.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Invention of Wings: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Sue Monk Kidd
    • Narrated By Jenna Lamia, Adepero Oduye, Sue Monk Kidd
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2391)
    Performance
    (2180)
    Story
    (2172)

    From the celebrated author of The Secret Life of Bees, a magnificent novel about two unforgettable American women. Writing at the height of her narrative and imaginative gifts, Sue Monk Kidd presents a masterpiece of hope, daring, the quest for freedom, and the desire to have a voice in the world - and it is now the newest Oprah’s Book Club 2.0 selection. Hetty “Handful” Grimke, an urban slave in early nineteenth century Charleston, yearns for life beyond the suffocating walls that enclose her within the wealthy Grimke household. The Grimke’s daughter, Sarah, has known from an early age she is meant to do something large in the world, but she is hemmed in by the limits imposed on women.

    Jan says: "Historical Fiction - beautifully quilted!"
    "Held back by history"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I didn't think I liked this book so much, until it was over. I missed it terribly! Like you would miss the day-old cake you ate that was dry around the edges or the watered down drink that was quenching your thirst. Simply, there was much to like and much I didn't quite get. The likes were the narrators, and the mothers of the two sets of sisters who were complicated yet true to their natures. Some wonderful subtleties about the nature of the time and that abolition and equality were very distant from one another. The physical and mental punishmensts heaped out were described brilliantly and made me wince more than once.

    But, I had a more difficult time with many of the sub-plots that just felt like they were thrown in for historical accuracy. The entire Denmark/Charlotte/insurrection part just didn't seem to fit, the details of the Quaker life was interesting but unimportant and the strange bond supposedly shared by Sarah and brother Thomas just didn't seem true to life.

    I'm very pleased that the author based it on historical fact, but felt like doing so interfered with the flow of the story. In any case, even with such criticisms, this book is worth the credit and serves as a reminder of how this country came to be. And as a reminder that compromising our principles for expediency is truly the coward's way out.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The Interestings

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Meg Wolitzer
    • Narrated By Jen Tullock
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (720)
    Performance
    (636)
    Story
    (642)

    The summer that Nixon resigns, six teenagers at a summer camp for the arts become inseparable. Decades later the bond remains powerful, but so much else has changed. In The Interestings, Wolitzer follows these characters from the height of youth through middle age, as their talents, fortunes, and degrees of satisfaction diverge. The kind of creativity that is rewarded at age 15 is not always enough to propel someone through life at age 30; not everyone can sustain, in adulthood, what seemed so special in adolescence.

    Tango says: "Needs a better title, but a good read (listen)"
    "Long, slow, and...well - - - interesting!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book takes a long time to finish, a long time to care about, and is slow to build. But even after all of that criticism, I must say I liked it. I confess that much of the reason was sharing a common youth and adulthood enables a shortcut for getting to relatable emotions. I remember many of the anxiety provoking things these characters go through so it felt as if we were going through it together.

    While I avoided the "artsy" people in high school almost as much as I avoided the stoners and the preppies, it was fun to see how that small group might have turned out had they actually had talent and a leader. The characters are really complete, multi-dimensional, and with a few exceptions, not stereotypes. My only real criticism was the rather thrown together ending that you knew had to come. But, nostalgia is fun, so if you're over fifty, enjoy. Much younger than that and you may want to keep on truckin' (and if you have no idea what the heck that means, you should DEFINITELY find another book!).

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Sycamore Row

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By John Grisham
    • Narrated By Michael Beck
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (5825)
    Performance
    (5270)
    Story
    (5265)

    Seth Hubbard is a wealthy man dying of lung cancer. He trusts no one. Before he hangs himself from a sycamore tree, Hubbard leaves a new, handwritten, will. It is an act that drags his adult children, his black maid, and Jake into a conflict as riveting and dramatic as the murder trial that made Brigance one of Ford County's most notorious citizens, just three years earlier. The second will raises far more questions than it answers. Why would Hubbard leave nearly all of his fortune to his maid? Had chemotherapy and painkillers affected his ability to think clearly?

    Brock says: "Grisham at his best (again)"
    "A brilliant performance!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    We all know Grisham: a definitive plot, at least one protagonist that we can relate to, and a couple of colorful sidekicks. This sequel (we're reminded again and again of the book we all read a decade ago) is elevated by an absolutely wonderful narration that is never condescending and characters that are ridiculously easy to identify. I'm not sure if it because of familiarity with the material or just plain talent, but Michael Beck is pitch perfect in delivering the over the top characters and amazingly restrained with the more shy and less flamboyant. Just really well done. Oh yeah, and the book is pretty good, too.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Valley of Amazement

    • UNABRIDGED (24 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Amy Tan
    • Narrated By Nancy Wu, Joyce Bean, Amy Tan
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (650)
    Performance
    (573)
    Story
    (584)

    Shanghai, 1912. Violet Minturn is the privileged daughter of the American madam of the city's most exclusive courtesan house. But when the Ching dynasty is overturned, Violet is separated from her mother in a cruel act of chicanery and forced to become a "virgin courtesan." Half-Chinese and half-American, Violet grapples with her place in the worlds of East and West - until she is able to merge her two halves, empowering her to become a shrewd courtesan who excels in the business of seduction and illusion, though she still struggles to understand who she is.

    Pamela says: "Just could NOT get past the ugliness"
    "Just could NOT get past the ugliness"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I don't always have to have happy endings and triumphs, but I do need to have characters I care about (whether good or bad). This was just gruesomeness from three areas: a meandering unfocused plot, really poor narration (that was probably intended to follow the dour nature of the story), and savage assaults on women and children. I am an Amy Tan fan and stuck with this far longer than I would had it been any other author, but ultimately this had very little redemption. I cannot justify recommending this to someone other than people with a strong stomach and a desperate need to say they've read all of Tan's works. Very disappointing.

    19 of 19 people found this review helpful
  • The Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon: No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, Book 14

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Alexander McCall Smith
    • Narrated By Lisette Lecat
    Overall
    (300)
    Performance
    (268)
    Story
    (267)

    Precious Ramotswe has taken on two puzzling cases. First, she is approached by the lawyer Mma Sheba, who is the executor of a deceased farmer’s estate. Mma Sheba has a feeling that the young man who has stepped forward may be falsely impersonating the farmer’s nephew in order to claim his inheritance. Mma Ramotswe agrees to visit the farm and find out what she can about the self-professed nephew. Then the proprietor of the Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon comes to Mma Ramotswe for advice.

    Pamela says: "This one is for the faithful"
    "This one is for the faithful"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Fans of the series, here is another book that will strengthen our friendship with the people we've come to know and love. This series has become that wonderful annual conversation you have with the closest of friends that you don't see often, but have strong feelings for.

    This is not a series where you can start in the middle, it requires you to put in the time to get to know the players and the rhythm of the narrator - - who is marvelous. This story is slightly less family-friendly than some of the others, so a slight note of warning if you're listening with small ones. Otherwise, just sit back and enjoy the trip back to Botswana.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The All-Girl Filling Station's Last Reunion: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Fannie Flagg
    • Narrated By Fannie Flagg
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (400)
    Performance
    (356)
    Story
    (356)

    Mrs. Sookie Poole of Point Clear, Alabama, has just married off the last of her daughters and is looking forward to relaxing and perhaps traveling with her husband, Earle. The only thing left to contend with is her mother, the formidable Lenore Simmons Krackenberry. Lenore may be a lot of fun for other people, but is, for the most part, an overbearing presence for her daughter. Then one day, quite by accident, Sookie discovers a secret about her mother's past that knocks her for a loop and suddenly calls into question everything she ever thought she knew about herself, her family, and her future.

    Susie says: "New favorite!"
    "Just makes you feel good all over"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I love when a book feels like a warm bath followed by a fluffy robe and hot chocolate. Fannie Flagg writes those kind of stories that are just grounded enough in tragedy and misfortune to make the triumph feel even more joyful at the end. This one includes a fascinating, but little known, historical context that makes it even more fulfilling. As always, patience is required for a Fannie Flagg book, the story never runs forward, it meanders as you get to know the main characters who are always Southern women through and through. So, when you're ready to slow down a bit and dedicate some time, this is the book to pick up.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs)
    • By Malcolm Gladwell
    • Narrated By Malcolm Gladwell
    Overall
    (2836)
    Performance
    (2524)
    Story
    (2525)

    In David and Goliath, Malcolm Gladwell challenges how we think about obstacles and disadvantages, offering a new interpretation of what it means to be discriminated against, or cope with a disability, or lose a parent, or attend a mediocre school, or suffer from any number of other apparent setbacks. Gladwell begins with the real story of what happened between the giant and the shepherd boy those many years ago.

    Cynthia says: "The Art of (Unconventional) War"
    "Another new perspective on life"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Malcom Gladwell makes me a smarter person. With every book there is a new explanation of what is commonly understood as a universal fact - - that he convincingly explains is just plain wrong. With this book, I've learned that being "disadvantaged" may be my strategic advantage. Very cool.

    As a narrator, Gladwell comes well armed with research and facts, but delivers it in such a cool and calm low-key way, that as he's explaining how silly you've been for believing what seems like common sense, it's not one bit insulting.

    Be prepared to revel in being "the underdog" and in discovering that giants really aren't that scary.

    42 of 43 people found this review helpful
  • 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
    (1060)
    Performance
    (969)
    Story
    (969)

    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 says: "Growing up with Billy Crystal"
    "Growing up with Billy Crystal"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I hesitated at first because I really don't need a comedian, even an excellent one like Crystal, to tell me what aging feels like. This is much, much beyond that. Truly laugh out loud funny and surprisingly poignant, the decades of Billy's life are full of colorful (and often famous) characters that will fascinate you if you're acquainted with them or not. Yes, there are the old guy jokes, and they're funny, but it's when he's playing straight man to what is happening to him and around him when this book really zings. This is a book that you should NOT read on paper (or screen), but listen to performed by a master joker. Great fun.

    21 of 21 people found this review helpful

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