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Barbara

Sacramento, CA, United States | Member Since 2005

ratings
11
REVIEWS
2
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HELPFUL VOTES
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  • 1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Charles C. Mann
    • Narrated By Robertson Dean
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (691)
    Performance
    (560)
    Story
    (563)

    More than 200 million years ago, geological forces split apart the continents. Isolated from each other, the two halves of the world developed totally different suites of plants and animals. Columbus’s voyages brought them back together - and marked the beginning of an extraordinary exchange of flora and fauna between Eurasia and the Americas. As Charles Mann shows, this global ecological tumult - the “Columbian Exchange” - underlies much of subsequent human history. Presenting the latest generation of research by scientists, Mann shows the creation a worldwide trade network....

    Amazon Customer says: "fasinating new perspective on history"
    "Globalization has a very long history"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about 1493?

    The information about the "Columbian Exchange" in all its complexity is presented in interesting and well-documented detail.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    n/a This is a work of historical and geographical analysis, synthesis, and interpretation.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    n/a


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

    No--although I look forward to listening each time I pick it up.


    Any additional comments?

    As non-fiction goes, this book is easy to follow and remember. There is a fair amount of repetition but that aids the listener; references to future chapters are helpful.
    I have been quoting information I have learned and have recommended this book to others since the day I began to listen to it.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Lacuna

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Barbara Kingsolver
    • Narrated By Barbara Kingsolver
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (801)
    Performance
    (295)
    Story
    (290)

    Born in the United States, but reared in Mexico, Harrison Shepherd finds precarious shelter but no sense of home on his thrilling odyssey. Life is whatever he learns from housekeepers and, one fateful day, by mixing plaster for famed muralist Diego Rivera. When he goes to work for Rivera, his wife, exotic artist Kahlo, and exiled leader Lev Trotsky, Shepherd inadvertently casts his lot with art and revolution.

    Tricia Stevens says: "Great story!"
    "A Thrice Told Tale"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about The Lacuna?

    Probably the outstanding feature of this audiobook was the narration by the author, Barbara Kingsolver. The novel is set in the first half of the 20th century, in Mexico and in the US, and includes historical events that are less often included in contemporary fiction--Trotsky's life and his sojourn in Mexico, the lives of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, and the communist witch hunts that preceded McCarthy. The narrative voice includes both a "chronicler,' the secretary of the main character; the main character; and the actual reader/narrator of the audio version. Because the author read the book, the pronunciations of the places in Mexico were accurate, and the portrayals of all the characters by the inflection of voice were vivid and believable.The use of an author's work (the main character) set in a different historical period and culture, to comment either directly or indirectly on "current affairs", and the phenomenon of projection of cultural biases and fears onto works of art, were very powerful.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Lacuna?

    The main character's interrogation by the HUAC was chilling.
    (below is the response to the question I first answered)
    I looked up the details of Trotsky's life while still listening, and the portrayal of the events of the 30s and 40s in the US, while not "new," seemed particularly relevant in our current "anti-terrorism" culture.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    (answer is to different question)
    The Lacuna was a particularly effective piece of historical fiction for me; Kingsolver presents events from the perspectives of two quite different characters (Harrison Shepherd, Violet Brown) whose differences provide a rich depth to the story.


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

    That is never an important criterion for me. I was eager to resume listening, found it easy to pick up where I had left off, and was sorry when the book ended.
    (answer below to question about the narrator--any weaknesses?)
    Nothing. Having the author--in this instance, at least, a very capable narrator--narrate assured that every word was read as the author intended!


    Any additional comments?

    There were some "musical transitions" whose correspondence in the print version (which I did not see) I could only infer.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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