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E. Pearson

Occasional Thinker

Idaho | Member Since 2008

115
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 65 reviews
  • 129 ratings
  • 336 titles in library
  • 19 purchased in 2014
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
7

  • Invisible Man: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 36 mins)
    • By Ralph Ellison
    • Narrated By Joe Morton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (324)
    Performance
    (260)
    Story
    (255)

    Ralph Elllison's Invisible Man is a monumental novel, one that can well be called an epic of 20th-century African-American life. It is a strange story, in which many extraordinary things happen, some of them shocking and brutal, some of them pitiful and touching - yet always with elements of comedy and irony and burlesque that appear in unexpected places.

    Robert says: "You've been waiting, buy it, you won't be sorry..."
    "How Did This Escape Me?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I've never been one to deplore my lack of quality education in public school. I figured that whatever I missed was likely due to inattentiveness and lack of inquisitiveness on my part; but after reading INVISIBLE MAN, I finally come away insensed! Angry and insensed that this book was not assigned to me as part of my upbringing. Even if I can forgive my public schools, then I must blame my private / public university and well-heeled graduate educations for not at least trying to make me aware that this great literature exploring MY American background exists. While I was raised in the most caucasion of caucasion communities, I feel I should still have been made aware--by somebody!--that I needed to read INVISIBLE MAN!

    Well . .. now that I've raved a bit, I must admit that even in grad school I wasn't always the most attentive of students. I was deeply involved in whatever topics were discussed at hand, and I wrote stellar essays, I suppose . . . but I might have been daydreaming the day(s) that Ellison's profound influence on modern literature and social and racial issues was discussed . . . perhaps. What a masterpiece. I will read and study it again, and do all I can to influence persons whose education I hope for to read it and read it well.

    By the way, if a reader orders this after reading my rant here, please make sure you listen to the introduction. It helps. The book is exquisitely performed and masterfully written. Not only does it provide an essential piece in one's education, but it's also a great, entertaining, riveting, and even humorous in many ways, read.

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • The Things They Carried

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Tim O'Brien
    • Narrated By Bryan Cranston
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1007)
    Performance
    (931)
    Story
    (924)

    Hailed by The New York Times as "a marvel of storytelling", The Things They Carried’s portrayal of the boots-on-the-ground experience of soldiers in the Vietnam War is a landmark in war writing. Now, three-time Emmy Award winner-Bryan Cranston, star of the hit TV series Breaking Bad, delivers an electrifying performance that walks the book’s hallucinatory line between reality and fiction and highlights the emotional power of the spoken word.

    Melinda says: "Heavy Load"
    "Masterful"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'd heard that this book was important and even life-changing, and it proved true. I'm struggling right now with whether I should get the older ladies in my book club to read it too; but they're a bit squeamish and the book is--well, very true to the late 60s and Vietnam years. That was their time, but I think they missed it overall. Hmmmm, maybe that's the best reason to get us all to read it and see it again, from the true side.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Bartender's Tale

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Ivan Doig
    • Narrated By David Aaron Baker
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (364)
    Performance
    (323)
    Story
    (326)

    The Bartender' s Tale stars Tom Harry and his 12-year-old son, Rusty, who live alone and run a bar in a small Montana town in the early 1960s. Their lives are upended when Proxy, a woman from Tom's past, and her beatnik daughter, Francine, breeze into town. Is Francine, as Proxy claims, the unsuspected legacy of her and Tom’s past? Without a doubt she is an unsettling gust of the future, upending every certainty in Rusty’s life and generating a mist of passion and pretense that seems to obscure everyone’s vision but his own.

    B.J. says: "If you love a good story ..."
    "Resilience"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A compelling read that encourages personal and social contemplation. Ivan Doig writes with accurate and compelling description, especially of great Montana. The characters don't play all their cards at once: attention must be given and judgement reserved. I would read this again and recommend it to others. In the end I felt like I knew a place and its people as though I had lived there myself.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Morality For Beautiful Girls: More from the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Alexander McCall Smith
    • Narrated By Lisette Lecat
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (712)
    Performance
    (296)
    Story
    (296)

    Between intriguing new cases and troubling personal developments, Precious' hands are full. The four Miss Beauty and Integrity pageant finalists may have questionable moral fiber, and the brother of an important government worker has allegedly been poisoned. On top of all that, Precious' reliable fianci might be hiding something.

    Janet says: "Refreshing view of life in a small country"
    "Perfection in a Series"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Occasionally I get a bit tired of No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency books, though after a break I soon return. Morality For Beauitful Girls exceeds any caution I may have held. I believe it presents the maturation of McCall Smith's approach in this series at his best: well-timed and well-tuned wit, character self-analysis in just the right balance with the unfolding narrative, and the presentation of all to admire in Botswanan culture and world outlook. This is the one novel I would recommend to a somewhat reluctant newcomer: "Read this one first and you'll revel and wish to emulate surprising characteristics of Mme Ramatswe, her associates, and one nation's realism mingled with hope."

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Cold Sassy Tree

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Olive Ann Burns
    • Narrated By Tom Parker
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (223)
    Performance
    (121)
    Story
    (120)

    The one thing you can depend on in Cold Sassy, Georgia, is that word gets around fast. If the preacher's wife's petticoat shows, the ladies will make the talk last a week. But on July 5, 1906, things take a scandalous turn. That is the day E. Rucker Blakeslee, proprietor of the general store and barely three weeks a widower, elopes with Miss Love Simpson, a woman half his age and, worse yet, a Yankee!

    D says: "EXCELLENT"
    "Narration Ruins Everything"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I read this marvelous book at least twice several years ago, and bought the audible version to get me up to speed for delivering a review. The narration was done years ago (though that's not the problem)--the reader massacres an otherwise superb book. His voice is high and he reads so quickly that for a while I thought perhaps the speed of the original tape had been sped up (I'm still not sure it wasn't). The result is slightly chipmunk-style narration, and in addition, the narrator places the wrong sort of emphasis on the wrong selection of irony, witticism, drama and otherwise marvelous insight. I had so looked forward to hearing one of my all-time favorite books, having mistakingly thought that destroying it wasn't possible. I'm disappointed that no one has noticed this most disappointing delivery and undertaken a more appropriate production. I'm certain that with a quality narrator, COLD SASSY TREE would reembark as an Audible best-seller.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • That Distant Land: 23 Short Stories

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Wendell Berry
    • Narrated By Michael Kramer
    Overall
    (48)
    Performance
    (29)
    Story
    (33)

    That Distant Land collects 23 stories, interlinked with each other and with the other published "Port William" novels. The stories, arranged in their fictional chronology (from 1888 to almost the present day), become one sustained work, a new novel that spans the entire life and time involved. The range of this book is extraordinary - it offers rest for the weary, hope for the beleaguered, and strength for everyone else.

    M says: "A National Treasure"
    "A Life-Changer"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I could probably read this book repeatedly for the rest of my life and end up greatly enriched each time. I suppose I could read anything by Wendell Berry with the same benefit, though it seems I relish his collections of related short stories even more than the novels. They cause healthy reflection about the stories of my own life, and the lives of my fore-fathers, and they cause me to realize (as I suspect Berry intends) that the chronological placement of the various characters and events is not all that important: what matters is the characters and their interrelationships with the land, their community, and the development of understanding.

    I noticed that two of the stories in Distant Land were very similar (if not identical) to stories in Fidelity: but I enjoyed them equally in this volume. There is no sentimentality in Berry's writing, though it appears there must be! How does one record stories of a rural homeland with wonderful relationships and even the occasional resolved problem without becoming maudlin? I don't know how this great writer does it, but I'd love to learn: so I continue to order and read (or listen to) his books. As an earlier reviewer states: Berry is a National Treasure.

    In addition, Michael Kramer is the most effective narrator possible--I'll likely listen to all the Berry books narrated by him first, and then move on to the others, most of which I admit are also good.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders

    • UNABRIDGED (26 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Vincent Bugliosi, Curt Gentry
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    Overall
    (1450)
    Performance
    (1268)
    Story
    (1270)

    Prosecuting attorney in the Manson trial Vincent Bugliosi held a unique insider's position in one of the most baffling and horrifying cases of the 20th century: the cold-blooded Tate-LaBianca murders carried out by Charles Manson and four of his followers. What motivated Manson in his seemingly mindless selection of victims, and what was his hold over the young women who obeyed his orders? Now available for the first time in unabridged audio, the gripping story of this famous and haunting crime is brought to life by acclaimed narrator Scott Brick.

    Larry says: "What a great book."
    "Sobering"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I chose this book on the recommendation of a friend. I didn't think it would amount to much besides blood-curdling description of a crime I've been aware of most of my life. However I learned a great deal in this interesting retelling of the crimes, mindset, and legal processing of the Manson killings. I'm glad I listened to it. I was also pleased that while the necessary details were blood curdling enough, there was no attitude of gratuitous depiction. The only mild complaint I have is that the narrator sounded rather like a newsreel announcer from the early '40s. He was so abrupt, self-assured, and "manly" that I felt I couldn't stand the attorney in charge of this case; in reality, I believe the lawyer/author must have been a bit less pronouncement-minded and more thoughtful.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Pickwick Papers

    • UNABRIDGED (32 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Charles Dickens
    • Narrated By David Timson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (56)
    Performance
    (50)
    Story
    (51)

    The Pickwick Papers, Dickens’s first novel, is a delightful romp through the pre-Reform Bill England of 1827. Samuel Pickwick and the rest of the Pickwickians are some of the most memorable of all Dickens’s creations, and it is a joy to hear of their adventures in search of "interesting scenes and characters", and the repeated efforts of the quick-witted Sam Weller to rescue them all from disaster.

    Darwin8u says: "Watch Dickens Emerge from a Literary Chrysalis"
    "The Narrator Alone is Worth it"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Though I always enjoy Dicken's novels, The Pickwick Papers was not an all-time favorite. For the first while I was confused and thought the tale was somewhat pointless. However, David Timson's marvelous narration made every minute of listening worth while. I don't believe I've ever heard a reader so adept at capturing a variety of Dickension characters and moods with precise accuracy and no overdone dramatics. Thanks to Timson, I was able to forgive the first hour or so of confusion and get on with really enjoying this collection of tales that comprise a somewhat plotless novel. Highly entertaining, laugh-out-loud humor, beautiful description, and profound insights that sill apply today.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog: And Other Stories from a Child Psychiatrist's Notebook

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Bruce D. Perry, Maia Szalavitz
    • Narrated By Danny Campbell
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (407)
    Performance
    (355)
    Story
    (357)

    What happens when a young child is traumatized? How does terror affect a child's mind---and how can that mind recover? Child psychiatrist Bruce Perry has treated children faced with unimaginable horror: genocide survivors, witnesses to their own parents' murders, children raised in closets and cages, the Branch Davidian children, and victims of family violence. In The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog, he tells their stories of trauma and transformation.

    Marilyn says: "Changed a Sixth-Grade Teacher's Life"
    "A Life-Changer"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I know the title is greatly over-applied to all kinds of books, but this one really is . . . a life-changer, I mean . . . potential "civilization changer" even ! I'm already sympathetic to the lessons recent progress in medical science and psychiatric studies offer, and I lean to supporting social changes that build upon such lessons; even so, this book of clinical case studies educated me better, and opened my eyes, quite a bit more than any reading has in some time. Don't dismiss my comments as meaning that the author preaches or reveals any sort of social agenda--if there is any, it's very subtle. Even so, I find myself wishing that everyone in the country--or world--could read and seriously consider this book's implications. Some deeply serious thought is needed towards recognizing and dealing with social problems. Even if you're not in the mood to think too seriously right now, you'll find that this book is also very entertaining and the more serious issues are very well-explained for laypersons, educators, parents, whomever might read. In the process--whatever you present state of mind--the questions and reconsiderations that rise in your mind will last a long time.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Alan Bradley
    • Narrated By Jayne Entwistle
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1534)
    Performance
    (1000)
    Story
    (1001)

    It is the summer of 1950 and a series of inexplicable events has struck Buckshaw, the decaying English mansion that Flavia's family calls home. A dead bird is found on the doorstep, a postage stamp bizarrely pinned to its beak. Hours later, Flavia finds a man lying in the cucumber patch and watches him as he takes his dying breath. For Flavia, who is both appalled and delighted, life begins in earnest when murder comes to Buckshaw.

    Midi says: "Terrific story...spot-on narration"
    "Entertaining Book Matched with the Perfect Reader"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I enjoyed this: it felt light-- but had enough mystery to keep me thoroughly engaged. The best part was the reader / narrator. I shared it with my mother who had given up on reading the book herself; it made everything come to life for her.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Babbitt

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Sinclair Lewis
    • Narrated By David Colacci
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (12)
    Performance
    (8)
    Story
    (8)

    In this sardonic portrait of the up-and-coming middle class during the prosperous 1920s, Sinclair Lewis perfectly captures the sound, the feel, and the attitudes of the generation that created the cult of consumerism. With a sharp eye for detail and keen powers of observation, Lewis tracks successful realtor George Babbitt's daily struggles to rise to the top of his profession while maintaining his reputation as an upstanding family man.

    E. Pearson says: "Makes You Think"
    "Makes You Think"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I went into school teacher--or rather high school student--mode while I listed to this. I knew--partly from experience--that Lewis is a great writer; I also knew that satire is an amazing--and even entertaining--rhetorical style. I also knew that Babbitt is considered a classic. So, I listened and listened, and listened some more. Then I plodded along a little longer until at last I staggered to the end. I worked the whole time through: I analyzed, wondered, recognized moments of literary flair, eagerly chuckled at stylized and marvelous absurdites from characters and events. I even presented a book discussion to a small group af eager women, who seemed to have appreciated the book and author, too.

    But . . it was a long, correctly executed journey. I didn't hate it--not at all: I could recognize its worth and even its very modern applications. . . . But why didn't I enjoy it? It had a story line that worked . . .yet it went on endlessly.

    It's just me, but I'm wondering if perhaps satires are most successful as short stories. I think most people either "get it" (the satire and wisdom) quite soon . . . or not at all. Alas, no amount of beating us over the head will often change our opinions one way or the other. And I guess that's the novel's one flaw: it goes on and on long after the reader should have gotten the point and learned the lessons. Lewis keeps beating us with satirical joy and despair long after we've had our fill of chuckling and internalizing.

    Still . . . I strongly recommend reading Babbitt--it will do you good! (that's me as a teacher teacher speaking)

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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