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L'Ara

Laurie S. Sherman

Member Since 2010

ratings
411
REVIEWS
13
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
6
HELPFUL VOTES
20

  • My Lucky Life In and Out of Show Business: A Memoir

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Dick Van Dyke
    • Narrated By Dick Van Dyke
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (300)
    Performance
    (246)
    Story
    (246)

    Dick Van Dyke, indisputably one of the greats of the golden age of television, is admired and beloved by audiences the world over for his beaming smile, his physical dexterity, his impeccable comic timing, his ridiculous stunts, and his unforgettable screen roles.

    Richard says: "Still Inspires Me and Funny."
    "A Spoonful of Sugar in Biography Form"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    If you are like me, you will feel very lucky if you decide to listen to this fine book and performance.With its refreshing lack of cynicism and the wonderful story of the lucky life of a man who has been well known to children, parents, ... pretty much every American.To me, Dick Van Dyke is both "Bert" from Mary Poppins and the great, loving Dad in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Of course I saw his iconic television shows often as a child and later as a young adult. But in both Mary Poppins and Chitty, Van Dyke story is an important part of my own reality at that time.His courageous "family-friendly" decisions about the parts and films he would perform are similar to the decisions that my father and uncle made for the same reasons during the same timeline (60s and onward). I well remember being embarrassed at school where I was teased because my Dad made kid's films. My friends' parents made "grown up" movies, while like Van Dyke, mine only did "kid's stuff." I find in hindsight, now as a mother with three kids and three step-kids, that my embarrassment was very misplaced and Van Dyke's decision to be a "family movie" actor, like the Sherman Brothers' decisions, were courageous (My father is one of the Sherman Brothers who Walt Disney introduced Dick Van Dyke to my Father and Uncle as the culmination of his initial introduction to the movie-in-progress to hear many of the Mary Poppins songs. This meeting and Dick's reaction to the whole project, especially the music, is beautifully described in My Lucky Life's Chapter called A Jolly Holiday. I was a pre-teen during that time. My Dad, Robert, the brother than Dick describes as the "quiet" one and Van Dyke were friendly.) Like Van Dyke, my father wasn't into the party scene, and as I listened to this autobiography, I found myself learning why these two naturally imaginative but not perfect men, both incredible creatives, were friends. I was often on the Disney lot during the filming of Mary Poppins as I was a professional singer from age 5 - 18.
    I found that the author's description of Walt Disney was very similar to the way that I understood him. I was lucky enough to see Disney, Van Dyke and other actors, directors, animators, and more at work together.On my breaks from singing, I would visit my Dad and Uncle whose office was three doors down from Walt's in the old Animation Building.
    Watching the intensive and interactive type of creativity that was pervasive on the Disney lot until Walt passed away taught me how to believe in myself as a creative person and also as a manager of creative people doing creative work, no matter the topic or
    The book is read by Dick Van Dyke, which is an essential aspect of the book's excellence.His friendly, casual writing is augmented by his friendly, casual vocal work, combined with his perfect timing makes listening to this book a delight. He is not trying to be funny, and it is not a joke book. It covers serious subjects with a lightness. I tend to think that some of it is understated, or perhaps remembered more kindly than it was at the time, but that is part of the charm of the book and it's author.
    This is an ideal "first read" because for most of us, Van Dyke is a "known quantity" and someone with whom we are comfortable. If Van Dyke is "in touch" with the threads and stories of his life as much as it seems in this book, he is blessed.
    I think that this is the case, that Van Dyke is indeed lucky and also blessed.It also seems that he is aware of this. His story allows us into his life, his decisions and the lucky breaks that have made his life a lucky one. In my opinion, the author understates the problems he has had and the solutions which he has chosen. Audiences may feel that the "family G-rated observations" of experiences like substance abuse does bring down the reality of his telling a few points.
    But how could he really help but to be Lucky? He was (and IS for each generation of children whose parents show them the Mary Poppins video or on line) a Chimney Sweep, and as we all well know "a sweep is as luck as lucky can be."

    9 of 10 people found this review helpful
  • Dark Eden: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Chris Beckett
    • Narrated By Matthew Frow, Jayne Entwistle, Ione Butler, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (221)
    Performance
    (205)
    Story
    (204)

    On the alien, sunless planet they call Eden, the 532 members of the Family shelter beneath the light and warmth of the Forest's lantern trees. Beyond the Forest lie the mountains of the Snowy Dark and a cold so bitter and a night so profound that no man has ever crossed it. The Oldest among the Family recount legends of a world where light came from the sky, where men and women made boats that could cross the stars. These ships brought us here, the Oldest say - and the Family must only wait for the travelers to return.

    Amazon Customer says: "Hope to see a sequel soon"
    "A Masterpiece in Science Fiction and Fiction"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I have just finished this wonderful book. The characters are so well delineated and described, and the tour de force is the special language so well performed by the numerous narrators/actors. It is easy to believe and shows in a simple yet very complex way so many things that we think about in profound moods: the role that gender plays in our decision making and the course of history, the "telephone game" way that oral history is passed forward through time, the ways that major incidents can be changed through lies and prejudices, biology and inbreeding, and more. The language that is created is infectious, both easy and hard to understand. I highly recommend this novel because it is thought provoking, and the journey it takes you on is both obvious and convoluted. It helped me to understand my life in some ways, and it took me into the "Family" and offshoots who brave a dark world in different ways through fear, pride, eloquence and deep character development. The narrators are spectacular compared to many books I've listened to. No one in the book is perfect, no one is too hard to understand either, and the interactions between the inhabitants of this Dark Eden are understandable, unpredictable and fascinating. The ending is a bit confusing, honestly, but perhaps opens us for a second book from Dark Eden?? A+++ book! Great read! I hope this is helpful to other readers. I couldn't put the book down. Was up all night listening! Enjoy:) and learn in a different way than most books are configured.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The History of Ancient Egypt

    • ORIGINAL (24 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Bob Brier
    Overall
    (290)
    Performance
    (273)
    Story
    (274)

    Ancient Egyptian civilization is so grand our minds sometimes have difficulty adjusting to it. It lasted 3,000 years, longer than any other on the planet. Its Great Pyramid of Cheops was the tallest building in the world until well into the 19th century and remains the only Ancient Wonder still standing. And it was the most technologically advanced of the ancient civilizations, with the medical knowledge that made Egyptian physicians the most famous in the world.

    Nassir says: "Incomprehensibly complete"
    "This Lecturer is not worth time/credit!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I love listening to the great courses. We expected the Ancient Egypt course to be great, as the history is so rich.
    However this lecturer was very disappointing. My husband and I, both ardent listeners to the various courses, and we love to learn more deeply about many subjects from linguistics to history to ... well, see the Course list! We listen with great interest to many of the various lectures... we got hooked when some of them were offered in a BOGO sale. The best for us was the History of Language, what an engaging speaker. However the lecturer ron Egypt, though an expert in his field, repeats almost everything he says, and truly does not seem to have a high regard for his audience. I must say that he has a great love of his subject that shines through, but he loses his audience, or at least he did at my house, with too many self-important opinions that seemed to us to come off as some sort of inside snide statements. He is bothersome to listen to for all those hours, which we have not minded at all in most of the other Courses. We couldn't actually finish it because it was just too much of an ego trip for him, perhaps, and some of the lectures were not substantitive or interesting. We don't suggest at all that you give up on the Great Courses series. There are very many we have listened to with joy and discovery. We don't recommend the Medical Myths one, scary bad) but many others that we recommend, with the best being the History of Language course due to the lecturer.. So far, of the many that we have so enjoyed,the faults of those two have very much more to do with the lecturer than his subject. Good luck! Hope this helps. L'Ara & John

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Vanishing Acts

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Jodi Picoult
    • Narrated By Full Cast
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (683)
    Performance
    (233)
    Story
    (234)

    Jodi Picoult, the New York Times best-selling author of Second Glance and My Sister's Keeper, is a master at crafting powerful stories that are filled with suspense. In Vanishing Acts this acclaimed author delivers the gripping tale of a woman caught between her forgotten past and her uncertain future.

    Cindy Carson says: "One of the Best!"
    "Does Truth Exist? Is Right Action situational?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Exploring an extended family of characters as different as the US can offer, exploring good home, dysfunctional homes with broken parents, prison morals, the effects of alcoholism on the structure of friendship, family and children, and more from the perspective of living a moral life, doing the "right" thing, Jodi Picolt once again looks at current issues in a kaleidoscope of people and situations. Her characters each ask themselves and each other many questions: What is Right? Wrong? Does truth exist or exist within situations?Their interwoven lives and the decisions they make, as well as the ones we must guess at, help us to look within at our own responses, to find our own questions and perhaps even answers.
    The plot presents the Reader with moral dilemmas without answering them, but it does give us clues that push our thinking into unexpected and new directions.
    Following the emotional earthquake that shakes the lives of Delia, Eric, Andrew and other characters, the Reader is asked, as are the characters, to think about how truly different from prisoners, from alcoholics, from anyone ... and the answers don't fit together easily, they are not "black and white."
    Picolt is a master at developing full, believable characters and she does anything but disappoint in this book. Her novel is exceptional, even for this modern master. Three dimensional characters are put into moral dilemmas that are unenviable, but very real. We are shown (and often given just enough information so that we can be left to surmise) the way these people "present themselves" to the outside world and their inner thoughts and self-esteem, weaknesses, the places where they "tore" and either healed or did not in the past, and the places they find that they are weak and strong in their present life. They ask human questions -- what is right? What is right in this situation? What must we do to survive? When and where must we change our moral code to survive and is that OK? What is our bottom line and whom do we trust? Are "broken" people able to mend? Is affection/love more important than ethics or the other way around or must both work, can both work? When are lies acceptable or are they ever "worth it"? If lies eventually cause pain, but in the short run. they protect people we love, then are they bad/wrong or right/good? What is abuse? What constitutes betrayal? What constitutes love? Is it mostly selfish? Where do we cross the line -- betraying our souls for our own survival? Or that of a friend, our child, our mate? What is the bottom line behavior that we cannot accept from our friends, our loved ones, our parents?
    This is a novel that Readers will find themselves thinking about for a long time. This is a book that will affect people's judgements, self-concepts and situational realities. It will help Reader's to ask the hard questions at the most difficult times. That is more than this avid reader can say for many nonfiction books. Picolt once again works with fiction to help us explore our own experiences and intelligences. Engaging the Reader's mind and heart in this way is an accomplishment worth gold, uncommon in any genre.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • In My Dreams

    • UNABRIDGED (1 hr and 47 mins)
    • By Sarah Addison Allen
    • Narrated By Deborah Smith
    Overall
    (48)
    Performance
    (31)
    Story
    (32)

    Grace. Charm. The everyday magic of everyday life. Welcome to Clementine, North Carolina, where the mysteries of love, loss and friendship bloom with quiet wisdom. Sarah Addison Allen, the New York Times best-selling author of Garden Spells and Sugar Queen, brings her wise and magical storytelling to a novellas about life in a small North Carolina town.

    L'Ara says: "Allen's books are Easy Reads with Happy Endings"
    "Allen's books are Easy Reads with Happy Endings"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Where does In My Dreams rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    In My Dreams by Allen hooked me -- I'm officially an addict now. This book isn't the most profound I have listened to, but it is among the sweetest and most thoughtful. Some people need books to be exciting roller coasters, and sometimes that includes me. But sometimes I need to have a book that has heroes or heroines who are loyal, brave, loving, considerate... and where even in adversity, things work out in the end.

    This is one of these books. After reading this book, I bought all of the other books by Allen. Read them all. It was good and I hope there will be more!


    If you could take any character from In My Dreams out to dinner, who would it be and why?

    They can all come on over for supper! Addison has a way of finding the different within the ordinary person. We all are a bit different, we all have secrets, small or large, that change us and make us look more deeply at our life purpose.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Vanessa and Virginia

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Susan Sellers
    • Narrated By Rosalyn Landor
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4)
    Performance
    (3)
    Story
    (3)

    In this lyrical, impressionistic account, written as a love letter and elegy from Vanessa to Virginia, Sellers imagines her way into the heart of the lifelong relationship between writer Virginia Woolf and painter Vanessa Bell. With sensitivity, imagination, and fidelity to what it known of both lives, Sellers has created a powerful portrait of sibling rivalry.

    L'Ara says: "Interesting, Slow going"
    "Interesting, Slow going"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you like best about Vanessa and Virginia? What did you like least?

    I certainly was intriqued by the topic, title, etc. The wording was wonderful, images clear. Roslyn is my all time favorite reader.
    I was impatient and bored some. I didn't finish the book. Unusual for me (I listen to 2-3 books/week)


    What did you like best about this story?

    I really loved getting more into the mindset and historical background of Virginia.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Then Again

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Diane Keaton
    • Narrated By Diane Keaton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (228)
    Performance
    (202)
    Story
    (196)

    “Mom loved adages, quotes, slogans. There were always little reminders pasted on the kitchen wall. For example, the word THINK. I found THINK thumbtacked on a bulletin board in her darkroom. I saw it Scotch-taped on a pencil box she’d collaged. I even found a pamphlet titled THINK on her bedside table. Mom liked to THINK.” So begins Diane Keaton’s unforgettable memoir about her mother and herself. In it you will meet the woman known to tens of millions as Annie Hall, but you will also meet, and fall in love with, her mother, the loving, complicated, always thinking Dorothy Hall.

    ronald says: "Wonderful. Sad. Hopeful."
    "Great Actress, Interesting Person, OK Book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you like best about Then Again? What did you like least?

    Diane Keaton's voice is clear and honest. She shares her life with us, and some of her mother's life too. The search for self in a mother's life is a common experience for many women, and Keaton shares this search with us. However, at least in this audiobook, it was difficult to follow and in some ways, more of a personal exploration than it was of interest to the listener. The connection of her mother's diary entries to the story line seemed blurry at times. It seems like a great potential that wasn't well utilized.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Of course, in an autobiography, Diane Keaton is the best character, and she is very interesting. The real Annie Hall, an icon for that time and season, is found in Keaton's writing about herself, her life, her family. The character is much more like the actress than we might have guessed.


    Any additional comments?

    Keaton's story is definitely interesting. The convention of her mother's life through her diaries could have been better utilized. Keaton allows us into her life with generosity. All in all, it is a worthy read about an interesting actress.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Stealing Home: Sweet Magnolias Series, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Sherryl Woods
    • Narrated By Janet Metzger
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (128)
    Performance
    (82)
    Story
    (82)

    Maddie Townsend might live in a town called Serenity, but there’s been nothing calm or peaceful about her life since her marriage broke up. This stay-at-home mom has no job skills, an out-of-control 16-year-old son, a talkative 14-year-old who’s suddenly gone silent, a six-year-old daughter whose heart is broken, an ex-husband whose younger girlfriend is expecting their baby and two best friends who think she’s somehow qualified to help them open a fitness spa for women.

    L'Ara says: "Wood is good, this one was slow to start..."
    "Wood is good, this one was slow to start..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Sherryl Woods, the author, has better books than this one, in my opinion. She is a fun, good writer and I've read a number of her novels. This book is slow to start, more difficult than many of her other works for me to get through.
    Nonetheless, it is a book worth reading, complete with well defined characters and a good plot, a very good performance, too.
    I love the "series" concepts. I suppose it is something like sequential episodes of a television drama... but I often feel almost lonely when I finish a really good book, so it is great to find authors who are willing to create a whole community and introduce them to us over many hours of listening.
    I recommend this book, but you need to stick it out a bit, only a bit though, and you'll get into the book and really enjoy the gentle woven material made of characters, plot and performance...
    I really like Wood's organization where she highlights and focuses on characters we meet throughout the series that move the entire "saga" forward nicely. It is a good way to present the varied lives and the many sides of a place and time.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • My Sister's Keeper

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Jodi Picoult
    • Narrated By various
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2829)
    Performance
    (1057)
    Story
    (1058)

    New York Times best-selling author Jodi Picoult is widely acclaimed for her keen insights into the hearts and minds of real people. Now she tells the emotionally riveting story of a family torn apart by conflicting needs and a passionate love that triumphs over human weakness.

    Lisa says: "Wonderful Book, Very Emotional"
    "Current Issues explored with Characters with Heart"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Morals and Ethics. What is right, what is wrong? Who decides?
    This novel explores in the way that Picoult is famous for issues that we need to think about as our society out races our legal system. Who decides what is right for us? Is the decision of the parents faced with a pain-laced daughter who needs help, and the only answer they can figure out forces initially the parents but also their children to make extraordinarily tough choices. And who gets to decide? The legal system, the people most affected, ... who?
    This important work presents us with "real" people who are doing the best things that they can, but is that enough? All this and more, plus a great performance.
    A definite 5 star book if you are ready to deal with the serious subjects presented.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Happy Birthday

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Danielle Steel
    • Narrated By Angela Dawe
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (198)
    Performance
    (157)
    Story
    (155)

    Valerie Wyatt is the queen of gracious living and the arbiter of taste with a successful TV show. Since her long-ago divorce, she’s worked hard to reach the pinnacle of her profession and to create a camera-ready life in her Fifth Avenue penthouse. So why is she so depressed? All the hours with her personal trainer, the careful work of New York’s best hairdressers, cosmetic surgeons, and her own God-given bone structure and great looks can’t fudge the truth or her lies about it: Valerie is turning sixty.

    Jan says: "Enjoyed story narrator shocking"
    "Fun, Fast, Good Read"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Great Characters, Creative plot, Issues to Traverse... all done expertly by Steele. It is a fun book to read, what I think is often termed "a good read".
    With Points of View from women at different times in their lives, this book allows us to see some distinctly different ways that women deal with the issues of age, men, and self-esteem.
    A fun plot, people you want to meet in real life, good writing, good listening... If you are looking for a book to read that isn't going to pull you down, but bring you "up" this novel is a good candidate for you.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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