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Van Nuys, CA, United States | Member Since 2014

  • 2 reviews
  • 15 ratings
  • 0 titles in library
  • 11 purchased in 2015

  • The Casual Vacancy

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By J. K. Rowling
    • Narrated By Tom Hollander
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    When Barry Fairweather dies unexpectedly in his early 40s, the little town of Pagford is left in shock. Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty façade is a town at war. Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils.... Pagford is not what it at first seems. And the empty seat left by Barry on the town's council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen.

    cristina says: "I was surprised by how much I liked it"
    "Big World in a Small Town"

    J.K. Rowling’s follow-up novel to the Harry Potter series doesn't have a witch, wizard, house elf or centaur in sight. The setting for this book is completely earth-bound. The only garden gnomes you’ll find are of the ceramic variety, sitting on the (mostly) well-manicured lawns in the tiny fictional West Country parish of Pagford. This is where Rowling sets her latest book, which chronicles the pandemonium that ensues when one of its well-placed citizens, Barry Fairbrother, dies suddenly, leaving his parish council seat vacant in the midst of a polarizing boundary dispute that has the townsfolk warring amongst themselves.

    The ensuing scramble for Barry’s empty council seat becomes as dirty a campaign as any sprawling metropolis can proffer. Pagford’s citizens have plenty of secrets and dark sides, indiscretions (past and present), family feuds, class warfare, high school bullying and dire domestic circumstances which, thanks to some computer hacking and an ever-present small-town gossip brigade, don’t stay hidden for long.

    Rowling’s deft ability to draw complete, multidimensional characters, who are neither wholly good nor wholly evil, is legendary from the Potter books (was there ever a more flawed, occasionally feckless hero than Harry Potter?). She continues that tradition here. Every character is perched on the brink of destruction and/or redemption, and the story moves quickly through the events that seem designed to test them all to capacity. She cleverly uses the mundanity of very small town life to set off real problems that real people have every day, that when you’re seeing them from the inside, seem bigger than one life can hold. The voices of her characters are true and believable, especially among the teenagers. She doesn’t get overly cute with her descriptions of their world (she is most certainly personally acquainted with the experience of raising a teen), and she manages in the end to avoid an ending that’s pat and definitive. The book begins in media res and ends pretty much the same way, presumably because that’s how life begins and ends.

    Tom Hollander's narration is seamless and consistent, and his character voices are well acted and easy to listen to.

    A satisfying, face-paced novel with humor and intelligence, Rowling has proven she can write outside of Hogwarts, with an eye for an older audience.

    1 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Rachel Maddow
    • Narrated By Rachel Maddow
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Rachel Maddow's Drift argues that we've drifted away from America's original ideals and become a nation weirdly at peace with perpetual war, with all the financial and human costs that entails. Sensible yet provocative, dead serious yet seriously funny, Drift will reinvigorate a "loud and jangly" political debate about how, when, and where to apply America's strength and power - and who gets to make those decisions.

    Dolf says: "Half the National Debt?"
    "A First-Class Account of the Business of War"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Drift to be better than the print version?

    Yes. Maddow reads well, and tells her story with a passion that enhances her text.

    What did you like best about this story?

    Maddow finds details in the history that we lived that we never heard about at the time. It brings our recent past into perspective.

    Which character – as performed by Rachel Maddow – was your favorite?


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    I couldn't. It made me too angry not to turn off and cool down.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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