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S. Elder

Member Since 2009

131
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 29 reviews
  • 188 ratings
  • 335 titles in library
  • 10 purchased in 2018
FOLLOWING
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FOLLOWERS
2

  • Home: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By Marilynne Robinson
    • Narrated By Maggi-Meg Reed
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (335)
    Performance
    (237)
    Story
    (235)

    Glory Boughton, aged 38, has returned to Gilead to care for her dying father. Soon her brother, Jack - the prodigal son of the family, gone for 20 years - comes home too, looking for refuge and trying to make peace with a past littered with tormenting trouble and pain.

    S. Elder says: "Wish that I had read this one"
    "Wish that I had read this one"
    Overall

    I loved Marilynne Robinson's last book, Gilead. As the mother of 3 sons and the only sister with 3 brothers, I read and reread Robinson's words in the voice of Ames, the Congregationalist minister, about the trust that parents must have before they, like Abraham, can send their sons into the wilderness. She writes beautifully, and she clearly has much theological thought and study behind her. This book, which included the same characters, shows what happens when that trust isn't enough. Jack Boughton, prodigal son of Ames' friend, Robert Boughton, comes home, bringing all his misery along with him. He seems repentant, but seems still to wallow, and perhaps even enjoy, his past transgressions. It gets rather tiresome and we lose patience with him. Robinson's beautiful theological reflections remain in this book, however, and, because I liked rereading and referring to them, I wish I had read the book instead of listening to it. Also, the reader's voice was a little too Charlton Heston for my taste. That too, got a little tedious.

    14 of 15 people found this review helpful
  • The Art of Fielding: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs)
    • By Chad Harbach
    • Narrated By Holter Graham
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1724)
    Performance
    (1471)
    Story
    (1477)

    At Westish College, a small school on the shore of Lake Michigan, baseball star Henry Skrimshander seems destined for big league stardom. But when a routine throw goes disastrously off course, the fates of five people are upended.

    S. says: "Not Quite ~"
    "I kept feeling I was missing something"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I chose this because my Book Group is reading it. It is the polar opposite of Chick Lit, so I expect the men will like it. To me it seemed to go on forever - lots of angst and people doing things that don’t make sense. Like John Irving whose writing I never much cared for either.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Hard Times

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Charles Dickens
    • Narrated By Anton Lesser
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (107)
    Performance
    (99)
    Story
    (99)

    Hard Times is Dickens's most political novel. Set in the industrial north of England, in Coketown, he examines the lives of working people, who are taught by the capitalists Gradgrind and Bounderby to think only of the facts of life and not to indulge in imagination. Gradgrind’s own children have been so educated and as a result are dysfunctional and disconnected from their feelings. Only the travelling circus company of Sleary seems to offer any hope of humanity in Coketown.

    Bonny says: "Very glad I kept going!"
    "Anton Lesser is THE BEST Narrator ever!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Lesser makes sometimes difficult to read, Dickens, lively and engaging. I will look for the rest of his narrations.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • At the Strangers' Gate: Arrivals in New York

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Adam Gopnik
    • Narrated By Adam Gopnik
    Overall
    (14)
    Performance
    (13)
    Story
    (12)

    When Adam Gopnik and his soon-to-be-wife, Martha, left the comforts of home in Montreal for New York, the city then, much like today, was a pilgrimage site for the young, the arty, and the ambitious. But it was also becoming a city of greed, where both life's consolations and its necessities were increasingly going to the highest bidder. At the Strangers' Gate builds a portrait of this particular moment in New York through the story of this couple's journey - from their excited arrival as aspiring artists to their eventual growth into a New York family.

    S. Elder says: "Brush up contemporary visual artists first"
    "Brush up contemporary visual artists first"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Adam Gopnik is an insightful and engaging writer. He took us to Paris once. This time he invites us on a trip with him and his wife Martha, through SoHo in the 1980's- From the minuscule flat, where the foam rubber bed had to be folded up during the day, where he flambed and sauted and braised his way through some favored French cookbook to the 1500 square foot loft, awash in vermin of every kind.
    He goes through a series of jobs, and ends up writing for the New Yorker. He visits and travels with his good friend photographer Richard Avedon. Along the way he was an art critic and is therefore conversant the visual art scene of the time. Those of us in the hinterlands are out of that loop, but it's ok, it's still worth the trip.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Camino Island: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By John Grisham
    • Narrated By January LaVoy
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (10519)
    Performance
    (9466)
    Story
    (9445)

    Priceless F. Scott Fitzgerald manuscripts stolen in a daring heist; a young woman recruited to recover them, and a beach-resort bookseller who gets more than he bargained for - all in one long summer on Camino Island.

    Dan says: "Grisham wrote this?"
    "Beware the Beach Book disguised as Legal Thriller"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Maybe it was because I bought this audible book outright since I'd used my subscriptions for the month. Maybe because I had a long, solitary car trip - anyhow, I suffered through till the end.
    I should have known when I first heard the female narrator that it wasn't the usual Grisham. Then sexual tension at the beach, lazy afternoons in a beach house. Sheesh. It was a predictable, chick-lit, beach book you could read before bed. Mary Kay Andrews is great, but not when you are expecting a suspenseful legal thriller to keep you on edge.

    I heard Grisham interviewed on NPR,and he said he and his wife came up with this plot on the way to Florida. It was a great idea for a plot,but I wanted suspense, not snuggling in a hammock. Next time I will be more careful.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Magpie Murders: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Anthony Horowitz
    • Narrated By Samantha Bond, Allan Corduner
    Overall
    (4839)
    Performance
    (4451)
    Story
    (4429)

    When editor Susan Ryeland is given the manuscript of Alan Conway's latest novel, she has no reason to think it will be much different from any of his others. After working with the best-selling crime writer for years, she's intimately familiar with his detective, Atticus Pünd, who solves mysteries disturbing sleepy English villages. An homage to queens of classic British crime such as Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers, Alan's traditional formula has proved hugely successful.

    Sara says: "A British Whodunit"
    "A Bit Too LONG"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    First, I love Anthony Horowitz's TV shows - have watched Foyle's War at least 2, sometimes 3 times, and every single series of Midsomer Murders available on Netflix.
    Magpie Murders has all the characteristics of Midsomer Murders - a couple of deaths and lots of suspects, set in the picturesque countryside of Southwest England (the tv shows were so enticing, we even took a tour and Devon and Cornwall).

    Like Midsomer Murders, it has a complicated plot, a story within a story actually - two mysteries for the price of one, but it seemed to go on forever. I found myself thinking it needed a good editor.

    Also several of the characters comment on the love of the British (and everybody else) for murder mysteries and seems to discount this type of literature. Is this Horowitz's apology?

    Doubt I would recommend this one.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Secret Servant

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Daniel Silva
    • Narrated By Phil Gigante
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1541)
    Performance
    (1055)
    Story
    (1046)

    Gabriel is summoned once more by his masters to undertake what appears to be a routine assignment: travel to Amsterdam to purge the archives of a murdered Dutch terrorism analyst who also happened to be an asset of Israeli intelligence. But once in Amsterdam, Gabriel soon discovers a conspiracy of terror festering in the city's Islamic underground.

    Dan says: "One of the very best"
    "One of Silva's Best!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It was a great story with Silva's usual plot twists and suspenseful moments. I listened to it in 2 days! Though George Guidall is THE BEST narrator, this narrator was pretty good. Gabriel Allon is a winner!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Burial Hour

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Jeffery Deaver
    • Narrated By Edoardo Ballerini
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (726)
    Performance
    (666)
    Story
    (669)

    A businessman snatched from an Upper East Side street in broad daylight. A miniature hangman's noose left at the scene. A nine-year-old girl the only witness to the crime. With a crime scene this puzzling, forensic expertise of the highest order is absolutely essential. Lincoln Rhyme and Amelia Sachs are called in to investigate. Soon the case takes a stranger turn: a recording surfaces of the victim being slowly hanged, his desperate gasps the backdrop to an eerie piece of music. The video is marked as the work of The Composer....

    Julie says: "Struggled to get through it!!!!"
    "The Best Lincoln Rhyme Novel Yet!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book contains almost all the mystery and suspense genres wrapped in one. Rhyme's trademark police detective work is supplemented with espionage and a little love story thrown in as well. We can't help but think the detectives are about to take off in another direction. The next book can't come soon enough.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Fall Guy: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By James Lasdun
    • Narrated By Charles Constant
    Overall
    (45)
    Performance
    (43)
    Story
    (42)

    It is summer 2012. Charlie, a wealthy banker with an uneasy conscience, invites his troubled cousin, Matthew, to visit him and his wife in their idyllic mountaintop house. As the days grow hotter, the friendship between the three begins to reveal its fault lines, and with the arrival of a fourth character, the household finds itself suddenly in the grip of uncontrollable passions.

    skd says: "Not well written"
    "Never Again"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    First there's the plot- needy, unreliable narrator takes on a snooze worthy stroll through his never ending angst, while bombarding us with pretentious references to the food he prepares and the wine he serves.
    Then there's the narration- at first, I thought I had mistakenly downloaded a science fiction book when the narrator launched into the robotic English accent of Miserable Matthew. It was colossally distracting. It might be better to read than to listen to, but it would take a lot of patience.
    I skipped over a few chapters, tuned back in at the last chapter, and found I hadn't missed much.
    This might have been a good plot, but the way it was presented was, to me, the book's downfall.
    I downloaded this book based on a Wall Street Journal review. When I downloaded it there were no reviews yet. I will NOT do that again.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Home: Myron Bolitar Series, Book 11

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Harlan Coben
    • Narrated By Steven Weber
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4970)
    Performance
    (4564)
    Story
    (4538)

    A decade ago, kidnappers grabbed two boys from wealthy families and demanded ransom, then went silent. No trace of the boys ever surfaced. For 10 years their families have been left with nothing but painful memories and a quiet desperation for the day that has finally, miraculously arrived: Myron Bolitar and his friend Win believe they have located one of the boys, now a teenager. Where has he been for 10 years, and what does he know about the day, more than half a life ago, when he was taken?

    Carol says: "Win comes home. So does Harlan Coben."
    "Myron I have missed you so..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    At last, Harlan Coben is doing the thing he does best! Myron returns as his old wisecracking self. Winn (or Wynn - not sure how to spell it) is with him of course and Esperanza and Big Cindy. I like that, rather than having Myron miraculously emerge as a tech savvy 40 something, he lets Mickey take care of that. Coben writes a great mystery - two boys, one of them Wynn's cousin, disappeared ten years. Using their great detective skills, the crew solves the mystery with a resolution that makes sense. I loved it. Couldn't put it down.

    More please Mr. Coben!

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Commonwealth

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Ann Patchett
    • Narrated By Hope Davis
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (5691)
    Performance
    (5176)
    Story
    (5181)

    One Sunday afternoon in Southern California, Bert Cousins shows up at Franny Keating's christening party uninvited. Before evening falls, he has kissed Franny's mother, Beverly - thus setting in motion the dissolution of their marriages and the joining of two families.

    J says: "A Must Listen for Patchett fans"
    "Keep a family tree"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Loved this book. Ann Patchett's characters are fully drawn, her writing is evocative, and the story engaging.
    It was a bit difficult to keep up with the characters but I still would highly recommend this book!

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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