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Susan

Durham, CT, United States | Member Since 2008

70
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 2 reviews
  • 2 ratings
  • 273 titles in library
  • 19 purchased in 2014
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  • Tenth of December: Stories

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By George Saunders
    • Narrated By George Saunders
    Overall
    (477)
    Performance
    (422)
    Story
    (431)

    One of the most important and blazingly original writers of his generation, George Saunders is an undisputed master of the short story, and Tenth of December is his most honest, accessible, and moving collection yet. In the taut opener, "Victory Lap", a boy witnesses the attempted abduction of the girl next door and is faced with a harrowing choice: Does he ignore what he sees, or override years of smothering advice from his parents and act? In "Home", a combat-damaged soldier moves back in with his mother and struggles to reconcile the world he left with the one to which he has returned.

    Molly-o says: "I could never have known"
    "Dare to Inhabit a Different Kind of Character"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    If you could sum up Tenth of December in three words, what would they be?

    Funny, Insightful, Heartbreaking


    What did you like best about this story?

    These characters are so flawed and make such terrible decisions that they are sort of a parody of the dark side of human nature, and yet, they are so funny and sweet and rendered in such an interesting way that you can't help but love them in spite of their exasperating mistakes and misunderstandings.


    What does George Saunders bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    I have read all of Saunders' previous story collections and essays on paper and loved them, but to hear them read in his own voice, with his local-guy Midwestern accent was really a treat. The stories are really suited to oral story-telling. I would love to see Saunders read Civilwarland, Pastoralia and In Persuasion Nation for Audible, as well.


    If you could rename Tenth of December, what would you call it?

    Some of the story titles are works of art in themselves. I particularly liked, "My Chivalric Fiasco".


    Any additional comments?

    If you have ever wondered why people seem to act against their own best interests, if you have ever wondered how people get into debt, or why people sometimes seem to treat one another cruelly, George Saunders characters are beautiful portals into the lives of people whom you might not otherwise understand. You understand what it is like to be a moody teenager, a sensitive child, soldier home from a war zone, a guy stuck in a soul-sucking job, or a parent who just wants his or her kids to have a childhood a little less painful than his or her own. If the intent of a literary work is get you to willingly inhabit the life of another and look at the world through his or her eyes, this collection is a literary accomplishment.

    12 of 15 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
    (4653)
    Performance
    (4108)
    Story
    (4134)

    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"
    "Listen with a Critical Ear"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you try another book from Malcolm Gladwell and/or Malcolm Gladwell?

    Malcolm Gladwell always finds interesting anecdotes and back stories to entertain the reader and provoke thought. I don't always agree with his conclusions, but the least of his writings are still pretty good.


    If you’ve listened to books by Malcolm Gladwell before, how does this one compare?

    Outliers is a 5 of 5 and many of the examples in this book (the 10,000 hour rule, the Matthew Effect) have become essential concepts of cultural literacy. I would recommend that readers new to Gladwell begin with this book.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    As a parent with high school and college aged children, I found the big fish in a small pond chapter to be the most interesting.


    Do you think David and Goliath needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    I would read anything that Gladwell writes. He always has a fresh perspective. This is just not quite as good as some of his other work.


    Any additional comments?

    Malcolm Gladwell is clearly very talented at presenting complex ideas in a simple way, but sometimes he seems to over-simplify, draw facile conclusions, or cherry pick his data to support his conclusions. I agree with many of his conclusions, but I would advise readers to bring their own critical thinking skills to one of his books.

    I do want to say that with the chapter on Dr. Freirich was pretty disturbing and I felt Gladwell seemed to feel that the end justified the means, which I considered to be debatable.

    58 of 61 people found this review helpful

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