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Elgin, IL, USA | Member Since 2006

  • 4 reviews
  • 15 ratings
  • 320 titles in library
  • 4 purchased in 2015

  • This Bright River: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Patrick Somerville
    • Narrated By Erin Bennett, Scott Holst, David Colllins
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Lauren Sheehan's career in medicine came to a halt after a chain of violent events abroad. Now she's back in the safest place she knows - St. Helens, Wisconsin-cut off from career, friendship, and romance.

    Mary says: "Compelling dialogue, lifelike characters"
    "Compelling dialogue, lifelike characters"
    Would you listen to This Bright River again? Why?

    I'd definitely listen again. Puzzles and logic problems are a recurrent theme. Ben is trying to solve a mystery from the past and I think it would be very rewarding to experience the book a second time, knowing the conclusion, and pick up on important details I paid little attention to the first time.

    What other book might you compare This Bright River to and why?

    I don't think I've read anything else that quite fits into the space This Bright River occupies: an overlap between literary fiction (with complex characters and attention to writing at the sentence level) and detective story (with a page-turning plot and heart-pounding climax).

    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    For a book that explores the nature and definition of evil, I was surprised how many times I found myself stifling a laugh while I walked with my headphones in.

    Any additional comments?

    I'd recommend this to anyone looking for a good read, and in particular to anyone interested in: video games, small town midwestern life, intellectual debates on human nature, recovery (substance abuse), or family drama. Oh, and people taking trips. I think this would make great airplane reading.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Watsons Go to Birmingham: 1963

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Christopher Paul Curtis
    • Narrated By LeVar Burton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Enter the hilarious world of ten-year-old Kenny and his family, the Weird Watsons of Flint, Michigan. There's Momma, Dad, little sister Joetta, Kenny, and Byron, Kenny's older brother, who at thirteen is an "official juvenile delinquent." When Momma and Dad decide it's time for a visit to Grandma, Dad comes home with the amazing Ultra-Glide, and the Watsons set out on a trip like no other. Heading south, they're going to Birmingham, Alabama, and toward one of the darkest moments in America's history.

    Amazon Customer says: "Required reading but not too bad"
    "A story you'll want to share"

    1. Read and enjoy

    2. Give this book to:
    -smart or artistic kids who sometimes don't think they fit in; they will relate to the narrator.
    -kids who love being entertained by TV but not by books; they will look forward to each new chapter as if it were an episode of their favorite show.
    -children you wish knew a little more about America's recent history; they will learn a little about the Civil Rights Movement without feeling like they're being "taught."
    -children who are dealing with a recent trauma or death; this is full of humor and tragedy and offers advice about moving on.
    -adults who want something that's a pleasure to listen to, but will still get them thinking; this is precisely the book they're looking for.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The Secret Garden

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Frances Hodgson Burnett
    • Narrated By Flo Gibson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Mary says: "Amazing narrator"
    "Amazing narrator"

    If you had an English grandmother and she whisked you away to a little cottage and read books to you every night, this is how I imagine it would sound. Her voice has a lovely texture, one perfectly suited to this story.

    This was one of my favorite books growing up, and I had to reread it this year for a class and I'm very glad I chose this version. It is still captivating. If you're looking for a break from every day life, something different and yet not in the realm of fantasy, this will be an enjoyable journey.

    Note: there are some slightly antiquated words and phrases, so this isn't the perfect pick for younger children who want to know what every single word means but are too impatient to discover the meaning through context. If such is the case, hand them something more modern and save this for a year or two so that they will really be able to enjoy it, or find one of the illustrated copies for them now and read it with them.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Harriet the Spy

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Louise Fitzhugh
    • Narrated By Anne Bobby
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    When Harriet Welsch grows up, she wants to be an author. So, she figures it's a good way to practice for her future vocation by writing down everything she sees on her spy route in a secret notebook. You can imagine her horror when the secret notebook is confiscated by her classmates and read aloud! Now Harriet's knee-deep in trouble as the tables are turned on her.

    Catherine says: "Not just for girls"
    "Listen to the sample"

    Before purchasing, be sure you listen to a sample. The narrator is very enthusiastic, something that no doubt helps engage child listeners, but may be grating after only a few minutes for the adult reader. If you don't like her intonation in the sample, you'd do better to read the book because she never loses enthusiasm.

    The novel itself is a classic, and though Harriet can be spoiled and disagreeable, it's a must-read for any child interested in the arts, journalism, spying, or secrets (and what child isn't interested in at least the last two?). For any adult who used to be such a child, it will bring back memories, and for those who have precocious and observant children, it may bring understanding.

    This is a book people either love or hate, but even those who hate it can gain something from Harriet's observations about friendship and growing up.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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