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E. Pearson

Occasional Thinker

Idaho | Member Since 2008

107
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 62 reviews
  • 114 ratings
  • 316 titles in library
  • 9 purchased in 2014
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FOLLOWERS
7

  • 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
    (365)
    Performance
    (317)
    Story
    (319)

    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
  • Cold Sassy Tree

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Olive Ann Burns
    • Narrated By Tom Parker
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (197)
    Performance
    (97)
    Story
    (98)

    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
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (41)
    Performance
    (24)
    Story
    (28)

    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
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    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
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1199)
    Performance
    (1042)
    Story
    (1046)

    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
    (47)
    Performance
    (41)
    Story
    (42)

    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
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    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.

    4 of 4 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
    (1372)
    Performance
    (856)
    Story
    (854)

    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
    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
  • The Importance of Being Seven

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Alexander McCall Smith
    • Narrated By Robert Ian Mackenzie
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (198)
    Performance
    (176)
    Story
    (175)

    Perhaps best known for his No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series, #1 New York Times best-selling author Alexander McCall Smith delights fans around the world with his warmhearted 44 Scotland Street novels. In the series’ sixth entry, the residents of 44 Scotland Street grapple with problems both trivial and severe, but none so great as when six-year-old Bertie Pollock - who longs to be seven - mislays his mum and learns a valuable lesson about wish fulfillment.

    Benedict says: "Beyond touching"
    "I Never Get Tired of these Books!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The Scotland Street series just gets better with each new addition. The only very slight criticism I can come up with is that most issues get a little too easily addressed by the end; still, there is the unsolved--as yet--worry I carry about Bertie and his very odd mother, and the somewhat benign concern that Bruce will never truly reform, so the series never becomes tiresome. I am so spoiled by Alex. Smith's storytelling that--even though I have a fairly full library of as yet unread books--I keep coming back and checking to see if there's another Scotland Street sequel for me to try. I laughed out loud many times as I listened to this one, and could hardly wait for a new opportunity to keep going.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The Journey of Crazy Horse: A Lakota History

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Joseph M. Marshall III
    • Narrated By Joseph M. Marshall III
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (428)
    Performance
    (179)
    Story
    (182)

    Most of the world remembers Crazy Horse as a peerless warrior who brought the U.S. Army to its knees at the Battle of Little Bighorn. But to his fellow Lakota Indians, he was a dutiful son and humble fighting man who, with valor, spirit, respect, and unparalleled leadership, fought for his people's land, livelihood, and honor. In this fascinating biography, Joseph Marshall, himself a Lakota Indian, creates a vibrant portrait of the man, his times, and his legacy.

    Brian says: "The Journey of Crazy Horse"
    "Highly Educational, Interesting, and Provoative"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Joseph Marshall is an excellent writer, storyteller and intellectual. I've read him before--I believe it was a collection of Lakota stories that had been passed to him by relatives--so I expected this to be good as well. I wasn't disappointed, but I was somewhat astonished at just how much there was for me to learn. Like many non-Indians interested in Native America, I guess I must have assumed I already knew most of what there is to know about the Lakota struggles to preserve their land and way of life. But while I knew the gist of the Crazy Horse story, I certainly did not know him as a "real" person--a son, brother, husband, humble man, and somewhat reluctant leader. I also did not realize how close his legacy and character still are to modern, living people.

    I say Marshall is intellectual--and he is--but much of his understanding comes from his upbringing and closeness to loving family members who were, of course, older and closer in time to Crazy Horse. It's apparent when I think about it that Marshall is also well educated in more formal, book-and-classroom sort of ways, but these sources are not distinguished by him. He appears to feel that there need be no distinction between highly formalized and more informal learning because knowledge and understanding, whatever their source, are good.

    I'm grateful for the lessons learned here. Even though I'm not of Lakota heritage, I feel that Marshall shares what he knows in the hope that any reader can both enjoy and learn from what he tells. I come away from this book entertained, sobered, more respectful, and desiring to keep learning. I'm pretty sure that anyone who listens to this book will come away greatly enriched.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Timothy Egan
    • Narrated By Patrick Lawlor, Ken Burns
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1195)
    Performance
    (632)
    Story
    (639)

    The dust storms that terrorized America's High Plains in the darkest years of the Depression were like nothing ever seen before or since, and the stories of the people that held on have never been fully told. Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times journalist and author Timothy Egan follows a half-dozen families and their communities through the rise and fall of the region.

    Laurie says: "more than grapes of wrath"
    "My Most Rewarding Read . . . Ever!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I knew about the great Dust Bowl, of course . . . but it turns out I knew very little. I'm so glad I listened to this book, and it's likely that I will read it again . . . and again. It's not that it's so riveting in every aspect, nor that the characters breathe and live as in a novel, but the story relates in as interesting a way as I believe nonfiction can. Egan alternates between stories of one character or set of characters and another so that it feels that the reader is moving through time as a surveyor of a distinct world filled with hopeful, naive, all-American characters who inhabit a pivotal time and place in America's history.

    The sequence of events begins with an excellent background explaining the settlement and farming of the heretofore untouched (by plows) grasslands. While lack of understanding within the American Government and its Land Settlement beneficiaries dulls their guilt to some degree, the consequential rape of the land with no effort for understanding leads the reader to reflect on a myriad of horrified realizations and judgements that eventually brings on, at least, a determination to help prevent this sort of appalling foolhardiness from being repeated.


    The style of the narrative itself, however, is not one of disdain or anger, and I'm grateful to the author for his self-control: it's after finishing the book and reflecting on it that the tragedy of the whole event became really apparent to me. While reading, I felt for the inhabitants and wished that their endeavors to settle, farm and make good lives for their families would all turn out. ( I wish too that the former inhabiters of the area could have had all things they hoped for turn out well, but that's another story.)

    Reading this book has provided me with an education that feels almost palpably empowering. I can't stop talking about it--in purposely tiny snippets--to family and friends. I've resisted any lecturing--partly because I so admire the author for also resisting that tiresome urge. But I do feel that this is among the top 10 most important books I have ever read.


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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