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Shawn

OAKLAND, CA, United States | Member Since 2010

13
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 12 reviews
  • 17 ratings
  • 1 titles in library
  • 12 purchased in 2014
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FOLLOWERS
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  • Between Man and Beast: An Unlikely Explorer, the Evolution Debates, and the African Adventure that Took the Victorian World By Storm

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Monte Reel
    • Narrated By Bob Walter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (52)
    Performance
    (46)
    Story
    (45)

    In 1856 Paul Du Chaillu marched into the equatorial wilderness of West Africa determined to bag an animal that, according to legend, was nothing short of a monster. When he emerged three years later, the summation of his efforts only hinted at what he'd experienced in one of the most dangerous regions on earth. Armed with an astonishing collection of zoological specimens, Du Chaillu leapt from the physical challenges of the jungle straight into the center of the biggest issues of the time.

    Benoibe says: "Extraordinary book! Masterpiece."
    "Fascinating!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Granted, there are a few times at which this story seems to drag a little. But overall, it's one hell of a story. Darwin, Christians, and the Royal Geographical Society all battle it out to determine who is worth listening to and what is worth believing. Are we descended from apes?? Impossible, man! Amid the hoopla, Paul Du Chaillu doesn't stand much of a chance. He's a sitting duck for groomed academics who can spot a man who hasn't studied the proper prerequisites a mile off. But his lack of pedigree and education make him the perfect "everyman" to stumble into this hotbed of intellectual, social, and spiritual chaos. If this sounds like a novel -- you're right. It "reads" like a novel, but it's non-fiction. Great stuff. Although I am a female, middle-aged listener, I had a great time listening and recommended this book to my spouse who also loved it. The Reader is excellent; the story is unbelievable, true, and relevant even today.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Shaman

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Kim Stanley Robinson
    • Narrated By Graeme Malcolm
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (83)
    Performance
    (75)
    Story
    (75)

    There is Thorn, a shaman himself. He lives to pass down his wisdom and his stories - to teach those who would follow in his footsteps. There is Heather, the healer who, in many ways, holds the clan together. There is Elga, an outsider and the bringer of change. And then there is Loon, the next shaman, who is determined to find his own path. But in a world so treacherous, that journey is never simple - and where it may lead is never certain.

    Shellbin says: "His Best Since the Mars Trilogy"
    "Could not get into it"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A long, long time ago I enjoyed reading the book Clan of the Cave Bear, which was in hindsight probably not such a great book. Don't get me wrong: it's a great book for young readers; it just probably won't hold water with readers after a certain age. When Shaman first came out, I remember reading reviews that said this book was intelligent and yada, yada, yada; people like me who enjoyed Clan would love this book. Well, I listened to it halfway through, and I gave up. I hate giving up on a book midway through it, but this one just wasn't for me. The reader does a wonderful job. It is sometimes a little strange, this British accent talking about making blood paint and killing elks, etc. But overall, I can't criticize the reader. I'm not even sure I can criticize the book. I didn't go on to read a bunch of early cave man survival book after Clan, so maybe this genre just isn't for me.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Pictures of You

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Caroline Leavitt
    • Narrated By Robin Miles
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (36)
    Performance
    (20)
    Story
    (20)

    A tragic accident: One woman is left dead after she and another woman, both running away from their marriages, collide in the fog on a highway. The survivor, Isabelle, is left to pick up the pieces, not only of her own life but of the lives of the devastated husband and fragile son that the other woman, April, has left behind. Together, they try to solve the mystery of where April was running to, and why.

    Shawn says: "Anguish and self-recriminations galore!"
    "Anguish and self-recriminations galore!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    An emotionally immature woman is in anguish over her marriage and her son's illness. A man is in anguish when his wife dies in a terrible car accident on a day she appears to be leaving him. Another woman is in anguish over infertility and her two-timing husband. Everyone is in anguish! Everyone blames themselves for causing the accident and the boy's illness. Everyone is stuck in anguish for the majority of the book. When one of the characters finally does move on, viola!-- she finds true love. I found this book tedious and sophomoric.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Goldfinch

    • UNABRIDGED (32 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Donna Tartt
    • Narrated By David Pittu
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (6928)
    Performance
    (6341)
    Story
    (6346)

    The Goldfinch is a haunted odyssey through present-day America and a drama of enthralling force and acuity. It begins with a boy. Theo Decker, a 13-year-old New Yorker, miraculously survives an accident that kills his mother. Abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. Bewildered by his strange new home on Park Avenue, disturbed by schoolmates who don't know how to talk to him, and tormented above all by his unbearable longing for his mother, he clings to one thing that reminds him of her: a small, mysteriously captivating painting that ultimately draws Theo into the underworld of art.

    B.J. says: "A stunning achievement - for author and narrator"
    "Worth all the raves"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Don't rely on any synopsis of this book. It is about a boy who is 13 or 14 when the book begins, but it's about so much more. It's a big juicy book that hits the all the right notes -- it has amazing plotting, unforgettable characters, beautiful writing, and lots to say about love, family, randomness and destiny. It's going to be talked about at dinner parties and around the water cooler, so you might as well jump in and experience it for yourself. If you're looking for a good listener, seek no further.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Life After Life: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Kate Atkinson
    • Narrated By Fenella Woolgar
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1187)
    Performance
    (1058)
    Story
    (1063)

    On a cold and snowy night in 1910, Ursula Todd is born to an English banker and his wife. She dies before she can draw her first breath. On that same cold and snowy night, Ursula Todd is born, lets out a lusty wail, and embarks upon a life that will be, to say the least, unusual. For as she grows, she also dies, repeatedly, in a variety of ways, while the young century marches on towards its second cataclysmic world war.

    Diane says: "Life after life after life after life after life.."
    "Underwhelmed"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This one just didn't work for me. The "Groundhog Day" plot mechanism where she keeps dying and being reborn serves a purpose, but it's just not worth it. I'm glad I was listening to this because I would have never made it past page 100 if I tried to read it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Cuckoo's Calling

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Robert Galbraith
    • Narrated By Robert Glenister
    Overall
    (5576)
    Performance
    (5069)
    Story
    (5081)

    After losing his leg to a land mine in Afghanistan, Cormoran Strike is barely scraping by as a private investigator. Then John Bristow walks through his door with an amazing story: his sister, the legendary supermodel Lula Landry, famously fell to her death a few months earlier. The police ruled it a suicide, but John refuses to believe that. The case plunges Strike into the world of multimillionaire beauties, rock-star boyfriends, and desperate designers, and it introduces him to every variety of pleasure, enticement, seduction, and delusion known to man.

    Tracey says: "Unbelievable debut mystery set in London"
    "Great plot, great characters, great writing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Great plot, interesting characters that are well drawn and realistic, and great writing by Galbraith, aka JK Rowling. Let's face it: this woman can write with the best of them. She is not just a children's author. This book reminded me a little bit of Elizabeth George. The plot has modern elements that you see in the news; the crime seems impenetrable. Loved Cormaran Strike, the detective, and his temp, Robin. I hope this is only the beginning for these two. Sign me up if there's another one coming.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Given Day

    • UNABRIDGED (23 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Dennis Lehane
    • Narrated By Michael Boatman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (394)
    Performance
    (162)
    Story
    (160)

    The Given Day explores the crippling violence and irrepressible exuberance of a country at war with, and in the thrall of, itself. As Danny, Luther, and those around them struggle to define themselves in increasingly turbulent times, they gradually find family in one another and, together, ride a rising storm of hardship, deprivation, and hope that will change all their lives.

    D Jay says: "As Good As It Gets"
    "Great story & performance"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I really enjoy books with interesting plot lines and an historical element. This book has both. You go back in time to 1917 (I think). All the little details are there - the daily habits of the people, the sights, sounds and smells. Plus race relations, politics, labor history, and baseball. I recommend.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Beautiful Ruins

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Jess Walter
    • Narrated By Edoardo Ballerini
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (5698)
    Performance
    (4930)
    Story
    (4924)

    The story begins in 1962. On a rocky patch of the sun-drenched Italian coastline, a young innkeeper, chest-deep in daydreams, looks out over the incandescent waters of the Ligurian Sea and spies an apparition: a tall, thin woman, a vision in white, approaching him on a boat. She is an actress, he soon learns, an American starlet, and she is dying. And the story begins again today, half a world away, when an elderly Italian man shows up on a movie studio's back lot - searching for the mysterious woman he last saw at his hotel decades earlier.

    Ella says: "My mind wandered"
    "Excellent!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is the kind of book that for me is perfect to listen to than to read. It's multi-layered in characters, plot lines, and time. But listening to it was easy and very enjoyable. I thought the narration was also excellent. There was one plot line that was a little dull for me, but it was very minor. In general I really liked the Hollywood people making a movie in 1962 and revisiting some of them in the current time. I would recommend this one to others.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • 11-22-63: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (30 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Stephen King
    • Narrated By Craig Wasson
    Overall
    (17067)
    Performance
    (15151)
    Story
    (15108)

    On November 22, 1963, three shots rang out in Dallas, President Kennedy died, and the world changed. What if you could change it back? In this brilliantly conceived tour de force, Stephen King - who has absorbed the social, political, and popular culture of his generation more imaginatively and thoroughly than any other writer - takes listeners on an incredible journey into the past and the possibility of altering it.

    Kelly says: "I Owe Stephen King An Apology"
    "Fantastic. Thought provoking and mesmerizing."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'm not a horror fiction fan at all. So it's a good thing that this book isn't horror or scary monsters in a cornfield. Sure, there is a leap of faith involved in this story. Time travel. But it's a leap worth making. King's writing is so direct and precise. He doesn't waste any time. He builds characters you can care about and draws a picture of American life and towns in New England and Texas that ring true. This was so much fun to listen to. I would absolutely recommend it to friends.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Life of Pi

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Yann Martel
    • Narrated By Jeff Woodman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (10323)
    Performance
    (5596)
    Story
    (5627)

    Pi Patel has been raised in a zoo in India. When his father decides to move the family to Canada and sell the animals to American zoos, everyone boards a Japanese cargo ship. The ship sinks, and 16-year-old Pi finds himself alone on a lifeboat with a hyena, an orangutan, a zebra with a broken leg, and a 450-pound Bengal tiger. Soon it's just Pi, the tiger, and the vast Pacific Ocean - for 227 days. Pi's fear, knowledge, and cunning keep him alive until they reach the coast of Mexico, where the tiger disappears into the jungle.

    Theresa says: "Best audio of the year for me"
    "Over-rated"
    Overall

    This book has its moments of charm, but I don't know why so many people have given it five stars and said things like "it changed my life." This would not make my top 10 books list. I found quite a bit of it tedious, and in the end, a let down.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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