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James

Love the book as a window. Shocked by the number of definitions for the word "turn". Widowed and sad, but thankful. Trying hard to be useful. Have 28 years as a step-father to a fantastic grand-daughter and a not so fantastic drug addicted, step-daughter. Oddly focused on the fun of preparing to die well, and help those left behind, while eating, hot springing, and reading for pleasure.

CRESCENT CITY, CALIFORNIA, United States | Member Since 2006

ratings
80
REVIEWS
9
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
1
HELPFUL VOTES
54

  • The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Siddhartha Mukherjee
    • Narrated By Stephen Hoye
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2370)
    Performance
    (1543)
    Story
    (1541)

    Written by cancer physician, researcher, and award-winning science writer Siddhartha Mukherjee, The Emperor of All Maladies is a stunning combination of medical history, cutting-edge science, and narrative journalism that transforms our understanding of cancer and much of the world around us. Mukherjee examines cancer with a cellular biologist's precision, a novelist's richness of detail, a historian's range, and a biographer's passion.

    Paul Krasner says: "Spectacular!"
    "LET THE GUILT BE GONE"
    Overall

    My wife is in the fight of her life. We both felt like she brought cancer, ugly life ruining cancer, to our home. The guilt was almost as bad as the disease. Thanks to this fantastic page turner of a book, we now know and understand at least 131 reasons why cancer kills (a slight attempt at humor, there are thousands of reasons), and none of them were chosen by us. We also know the fight is doable and many people, with lots of help, win the cancer battle. Not only is this book important, it is actually a pleasure to read. I listened to the audio version, then bought a hard copy and am halfway back through it. In my mind this is a GREAT BOOK.

    34 of 38 people found this review helpful
  • The Passage: The Passage Trilogy, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (36 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Justin Cronin
    • Narrated By Scott Brick, Adenrele Ojo, Abby Craden
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (6965)
    Performance
    (3328)
    Story
    (3332)

    First, the unthinkable: a security breach at a secret U.S. government facility unleashes the monstrous product of a chilling military experiment. Then, the unspeakable: a night of chaos and carnage gives way to sunrise on a nation, and ultimately a world, forever altered. All that remains for the stunned survivors is the long fight ahead and a future ruled by fear—of darkness, of death, of a fate far worse.

    Nicole says: "You love it or you hate it..."
    "Good, but way to long."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you like best about The Passage? What did you like least?

    If one waxes quixotic, this is interesting cultural commentary. But it is way too long, and most will not ask themselves about what dreams or delusions they are locked in. I only just barely stayed with this read, but I may read what I think is the newly released sequel. At 36 hours, this read is long.


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths Among Us

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Robert D. Hare
    • Narrated By Paul Boehmer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (457)
    Performance
    (399)
    Story
    (402)

    Most people are both repelled and intrigued by the images of cold-blooded, conscienceless murderers that increasingly populate our movies, television programs, and newspaper headlines. With their flagrant criminal violation of society's rules, serial killers like Ted Bundy and John Wayne Gacy are among the most dramatic examples of the psychopath. Individuals with this personality disorder are fully aware of the consequences of their actions and know the difference between right and wrong....

    Douglas says: "When I gave up on books that supposedly would..."
    "Not Crazy, Corrosive."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    I highly value this book for personal reasons. I have been suffering from a psychopath for years and never understood what was happening. Now the blindness has been penetrated and relief found in the increased clarity.One of the most important discoveries in the book is that psychoses are disorders of the mind and are treatable, while psychopathy is a disorder of the personality and not yet treatable. A clear cause was not put forth, nor was a set definition. Rather, psychopathy is said to be a matter of degree, with its primary characteristic being apathy towards others.The author made the claim that most psychopaths are not convicted criminals. They are members of society that find niches to pursue their own ends at the expense of others. He says 2% of the population measures high on the psychopathic scale, while they cause 20% of society's problems. Even with known mass murderers, only 47% measured high on the scale.I think this book is a must read for anyone who deals with people, especially if you are trusting by nature.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • How to Steal a Dog

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Barbara O’Connor
    • Narrated By Suzy Jackson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (11)
    Performance
    (10)
    Story
    (11)

    Barbara O’Connor’s How to Steal a Dog blew critics away and quickly became a fan-favorite. After being abandoned by her father, Georgina Hayes is forced to spend much of her time watching her younger brother, while their mother works two jobs to make ends meet. When she sees a missing-dog poster offering a $500 reward, Georgina cooks up a scheme to steal a look-a-like dog and claim the reward. But things don’t quite go as planned.

    Rebekah says: "Amazing book!!!"
    "Sensitizing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to How to Steal a Dog the most enjoyable?

    In reading "How To Steal A Dog" I was looking for a fun, escape type, read that might also help me think about a family member of mine that is not successful in life. The book was light hearted and fun, while reflecting a view of homelessness that I had never thought of, namely an adolescent view. Teenagers have enough to deal with in our culture with out adding homelessness to the mix. I enjoyed the basic ideas put forth by the daughter, because they sensitized me, somewhat, to both the presence and problems of homeless teens.


    What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

    I enjoyed the ending, because it revitalized old maxims of hard work, faith in goodness, and honesty. These are shmultzy ideas, but I think our world has lost faith in them. We might have even lost sight of them. Does anyone value "hard work"?


    Which scene was your favorite?

    My favorite scene was the discovery of a repaired car. Again it is shmultzy, but actually true enough in real life. I have personally benefited from the ravings of a homeless man once in my life. I found that odd.


    Any additional comments?

    I only rated this story with three stars, because it is ultimately a distasteful idea, namely the idea of stealing a pet. It never really overcame the horror of that. I did enjoy the book and may read it again someday, but only lightly recommend it.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Drowning Girl

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By Caitlin R. Kiernan
    • Narrated By Suzy Jackson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (224)
    Performance
    (203)
    Story
    (202)

    India Morgan Phelps - Imp to her friends - is schizophrenic. Struggling with her perceptions of reality, Imp must uncover the truth about her encounters with creatures out of myth - or from something far, far stranger....

    Diane says: "A Modern Haunting"
    "Worth The Read But Not Until The End"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    The book is too long and over clarifies its point, which is some kind of denial of necessary meaning. I would also try to build in some suspense. I was never held by the story. I love the reader and for that reason alone stayed with the book. I am glad I finished it, because the end held a key line mentioning laying one story over another and benefiting from doing so. Whether the point is worth the trouble of finishing this book is doubtful.

    I was amazed by the quotes, references, and asides in the book. The writing itself is stylistically advanced, not genius, but way up on the talent charts. Almost any part of the book would be a great study of syntax. It even uses foreign language and completely made-up words to get its point across and add texture. The narrator handles the unexpected transitions from English to something else and back brilliantly!

    Any attempted follow up to this work should be more explicit and more focused. Meaning does not vanish just because one tries to be specific about it.

    This is the second book I have listened to by this narrator, and I will be looking for a third. On that basis I recommend this book.


    7 of 11 people found this review helpful
  • Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail (Oprah's Book Club 2.0)

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Cheryl Strayed
    • Narrated By Bernadette Dunne
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3127)
    Performance
    (2748)
    Story
    (2752)

    At 22, Cheryl Strayed thought she had lost everything. In the wake of her mother's death, her family scattered and her own marriage was soon destroyed. Four years later, with nothing more to lose, she made the most impulsive decision of her life: to hike the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State - and to do it alone. She had no experience as a long-distance hiker, and the trail was little more than “an idea, vague and outlandish and full of promise.” But it was a promise of piecing back together a life that had come undone.

    FanB14 says: "Glad I Took the Trip"
    "Help, Healing, Hardship And A Bit Of Hilarity"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Fantastic! I read this while painting my house. I laughed, actually, cried, actually, and swore. I was so engrossed in the story, I missed a movie date while painting and listening. This may seem trivial in a book review, but my wife recently died and I have been suffering immensely trying to deal with the loss. Laughter has been hard to come by. Understanding of my pain even harder to find. And healing seemed impossible to ask for, yet I found some of all these in this book. There are some parts of the trip that disgusted me, like the almost rape by an archer, but the listen was an escape and inspiration. I loved the closing lines and found some healing. This book works on many levels, but I recommend it to those who are drowning in sadness. It will make you cry, but that will end with the sweetest of tears.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • A Grief Observed

    • UNABRIDGED (1 hr and 50 mins)
    • By C.S. Lewis
    • Narrated By Ralph Cosham
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (246)
    Performance
    (115)
    Story
    (116)

    Written after his wife's tragic death as a way of surviving the "mad midnight moments", A Grief Observed is C.S. Lewis's honest reflection on the fundamental issues of life, death, and faith in the midst of loss. This work contains his concise, genuine reflections on that period.

    Sam says: "A Grief Observed (Unabridged)"
    "Read This One"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    If your life burst like a balloon and you want to be dead, because you can't believe the one you love has died, this book is for you. This is no poem. This is no nice story. This is your story after death kicks the crap out of you, takes your most priced possession, and leaves you gasping for breath. This is the grief book you are looking for.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • A World Lit Only by Fire: The Medieval Mind and the Renaissance: Portrait of an Age

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 36 mins)
    • By William Manchester
    • Narrated By Barrett Whitener
    Overall
    (285)
    Performance
    (110)
    Story
    (113)

    From tales of chivalrous knights to the barbarity of trial by ordeal, no era has been a greater source of awe, horror, and wonder than the Middle Ages. In handsomely crafted prose and with the grace and authority of his extraordinary gift for narrative history, William Manchester leads us from a civilization tottering on the brink of collapse to the grandeur of its rebirth, the Renaissance.

    Wallen says: "Ruined by the narrator"
    "My Favorite After 20 Years"
    Overall

    A World Lit Only By Fire was the first audio book I listened to way back in the ninties, and it is still my favorite. I think I've read many of the best books, "Two Years Before The Mast", "Brothers Karamozov", the Sharp novels. This book is different. It makes one ask, how hungry could I get? Do I have any bravery? Have I ever really sinned? If I had the power to force people to do one thing, I would make them read the Magellan section of this book. They would be amazed at the power of human character.

    4 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • The Pillars of the Earth

    • UNABRIDGED (40 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Ken Follett
    • Narrated By John Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (12730)
    Performance
    (5102)
    Story
    (5141)

    Why we think it’s a great listen: Got 40 hours to kill? You’ll find the time when you start listening to Lee’s take on Follett’s epic – and widely celebrated – novel of 12th-century England. The Pillars of the Earth tells the story of Philip, prior of Kingsbridge, a devout and resourceful monk driven to build the greatest Gothic cathedral the world has known...of Tom, the mason who becomes his architect - a man divided in his soul...and of the beautiful, elusive Lady Aliena, haunted by a secret shame....

    CynNC says: "Captivating"
    "Amazing"
    Overall

    For an atheist to write this kaleidoscopik work that bolsters catholic theology is amazing. I feel completely alone most of the time in today's culture. This work lifts a huge weight, at least temporally, of the back.

    0 of 3 people found this review helpful

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