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JoAnn

Boston, MA, United States | Member Since 2013

8
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 13 reviews
  • 14 ratings
  • 46 titles in library
  • 10 purchased in 2014
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  • The Circle

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Dave Eggers
    • Narrated By Dion Graham
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (619)
    Performance
    (567)
    Story
    (574)

    When Mae Holland is hired to work for the Circle, the world's most powerful internet company, she feels she's been given the opportunity of a lifetime. The Circle, run out of a sprawling California campus, links users' personal emails, social media, banking, and purchasing with their universal operating system, resulting in one online identity and a new age of civility and transparency. As Mae tours the open-plan office spaces, the towering glass dining facilities, the cozy dorms for those who spend nights at work, she is thrilled with the company's modernity and activity.

    Darwin8u says: "A solid, just not great social network dystopia"
    "Whoa!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book was AMAZING, but terrifying. Dave Eggers (who I have previously not loved) presents a view of America not unlike a 1984/Brave New World; however, rather than imagining some distant future dystopia, he is referring to a world we can all realistically foresee in 2-4 years, given the proliferation of social media and the digital age. In this world, we interact via "zings" and "smiles," travel by going to a live stream of a faraway beach, and can watch our neighbors, politicians, and strangers' ever moves via cameras in the environments or on their persons. As an accidental figurehead of the "full transparency" movement is Mae, the protagonist and employee of the culprit spearheading this new world, the Facebook/Google/Twitter/YouTube empire called "The Circle."

    I have completely reversed my opinion of Mr. Eggers as a novelist. The characters in this book were well thought-out, poignant, realistic, and relatable. You completely understand how his protagonist ends up in the mind-boggling situations she does. Moreover, having Mae, the narrator, be so committed to "the cause" allows Mr. Eggers to illustrate the many potential arguments FOR a society like this, while allowing his reader to draw her own conclusions regarding the many perils. In the end, it has completely revised the way I interact with the internet and questioned my own beliefs about the existence and value of my identity, privacy, and "social" interactions.

    As a narrator, Mr. Graham is terrific. This was my first audiobook in which a male voice narrated a female role; however, his delivery was spot on. He gave wonderful movement to fast-talking Annie, fully captured Mae's frustration during an especially poignant concluding scene, and brought The Circle to life.

    A MUST READ!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Smartest Kids in the World: And How They Got That Way

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Amanda Ripley
    • Narrated By Kate Reading
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (215)
    Performance
    (190)
    Story
    (194)

    How do other countries create "smarter" kids? In a handful of nations, virtually all children are learning to make complex arguments and solve problems they've never seen before. They are learning to think, in other words, and to thrive in the modern economy.What is it like to be a child in the world's new education superpowers? In a global quest to find answers for our own children, author and Time magazine journalist Amanda Ripley follows three Americans embed­ded in these countries for one year.

    Niall says: "a Wanna-be fiction writer avoids the subject"
    "Skimmed the surface"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This was an interesting listen; however, I left feeling a bit unsatisfied. Ms. Ripley investigated the 3 educational Super Powers and our own system, then followed 3 students who were studying abroad to said super powers in order to investigate their systems and ultimately answer questions about the shortfalls of the US educational system. Lofty, right?

    While the book definitely offered some conclusions, it fell short on really delving into the experiences of the children, explained a lot without offering opportunities for change, and I don't think I have a great handle on *how* to find *my* children better education (which was why I selected it).

    Some pretty cool facts were offered, which will definitely guide my decision making process in the future (READ TO YOUR KIDS! SEEK VIGOR! NEVER ENROLL YOUR KIDS IN KOREAN SCHOOLS!), but I feel as though she either needed to make the book much longer to fully flush out the components, follow only 1 country, or not try so hard to invest us in the Americans abroad b/c their stories just kind of dropped off...

    The narrator did a nice job of a difficult job, considering the accent demands. She managed to add subtle, non-offensive, inflections when necessary and maintained a nice pace.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Rosie Project: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Graeme Simsion
    • Narrated By Dan O'Grady
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (880)
    Performance
    (803)
    Story
    (802)

    Don Tillman, professor of genetics, has never been on a second date. So when an acquaintance informs him that he would make a "wonderful" husband, his first reaction is shock. Yet he must concede to the statistical probability that there is someone for everyone, and Don sets out to find the perfect partner. She will be punctual and logical - most definitely not a barmaid, a smoker, a drinker, or a late-arriver. Yet Rosie Jarman is all these things. She is also beguiling, fiery, intelligent - and on a quest of her own....

    Margaret says: "A fun listen"
    "Feel great read!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This was an amazing read- I would especially recommend it for people interested in characters with Autism/Asperger's. While Don, the protagonist, never self-identifies with ASD (in fact, in a hilarious scene, leads a group of children with ASD in chanting "kill the baby" despite no self-recognition), he provides an insightful, witty, and charming account of life with the disorder. Despite being "unable to love," it is impossible not to fall in love with Don and root him on in his quest for the perfect partner.

    Overall, this is a tale of love. Romantic, friendship, travel, novel life experiences- we have the unique experience of discovering these, together, with Don.

    The narrator had a lovely Australian accent, a great rhythm, and captivating volume fluctuation; however, his attempts at doing *other* accents were not great (#UnderstatementAlert) and a bit distracting.

    If you liked "The Good Luck of Right Now" by Matthew Quick, you will love "The Rosie Project" (and vice versa!)

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Not a Match: My True Tales of Online Dating Disasters

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Brian Donovan
    • Narrated By Ax Norman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (607)
    Performance
    (530)
    Story
    (534)

    Forty million people in the US have tried Internet dating, which means 40 million people have probably gone on some pretty crappy dates. Not a Match: My True Tales of Online Dating Disasters is about one guy who experienced more than his fair share. Brian Donovan, a writer and comedian whose work has appeared on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, NPR, and Chapelle's Show, has been on over 100 Internet dates in a genuine search for love and happiness.

    Erin - Audible says: "Dating in New York is a Horrible Crapshoot."
    "Hilarious, but let me wanting more!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This was a short, hilarious recap of one man's online dating adventures. Having met my future husband on my third of three stints online, I was dying at his depictions of being a man on the site, his hilarious disastrous dates, guidance (how to create the perfect form first email) and the cardinal sins of online dating (overuse of the phrase LOL). His commentary was spot-on and spoken so humorously, I found myself, er... LOL'ing.

    I was devastated when this ended. It's not great literature by any means (if you cannot stomach the f-word or references to women's breast size, DO NOT PROCEED), but it was fun, funny, and offered truthful commentary on one of the most bizarre human experiences of the modern world. I wish it were longer!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Good Luck of Right Now

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Matthew Quick
    • Narrated By Oliver Wyman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (31)
    Performance
    (29)
    Story
    (28)

    For 38 years, Bartholomew Neil has lived with his mother. When she gets sick and dies, he has no idea how to be on his own. His redheaded grief counselor, Wendy, says he needs to find his flock and leave the nest. But how does a man whose whole life has been grounded in his mom, Saturday Mass, and the library learn how to fly? Bartholomew thinks he's found a clue when he discovers a "Free Tibet" letter from Richard Gere hidden in his mother's underwear drawer. In her final days, Mom called him Richard - there must be a cosmic connection.

    JoAnn says: "AMAZING"
    "AMAZING"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This was easily the best book I've read (well, listened to) in recent memory. The words are tender, humorous, thought-provoking, quirky, and positive. Bartholomew Neil is an kind and innocent man, likely on the autism spectrum, who has lived through some unspeakably sad events. The book opens up with him in the wake of his mothers death and chronicles his healing process in series of letters to (who else?) Richard Gere. Bartholomew's pain is so beautifully tragic and is foiled through supporting characters including a physically abused grief counselor, alcoholic priest, introverted librarian, and potty-mouth who is grieving the loss of his cat. While I actively cried at multiple parts of this book, I left the reading feeling an overwhelming sense of positivity. I had previously enjoyed Silver Linings and enjoyed the similarities of these two novels (i.e., healing after loss, quirky characters, Philly grit), but feel as though this book was far superior.

    The narration was the best I've heard in my history of Audible and will become the standard by which I measure future audiobooks. I am SO happy I *listened* to this book and cannot imagine my brain would be able to bring the characters to life the way Mr. Wyman did.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Coming Clean

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Kimberly Rae Miller
    • Narrated By Kimberly Rae Miller
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (151)
    Performance
    (133)
    Story
    (134)

    Kim Miller is an immaculately put-together woman with a great career, a loving boyfriend, and a tidy apartment on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. You would never guess that Kim grew up behind the closed doors of her family’s idyllic Long Island house, navigating between teetering stacks of aging newspapers, broken computers, and boxes upon boxes of unused junk festering in every room - the product of her father’s painful and unending struggle with hoarding. In this moving coming-of-age story, Kim brings to life her rat-infested home and her childhood consumed by concealing her father’s shameful secret from friends.

    Margaret says: "Vicarious Hoarding"
    "Compelling memoir"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This was a compelling memoir of one woman's struggle being raised by hoarders. Ms. Miller does a phenomenal job honestly, painstakingly, and, at times, humorously portraying her childhood. Her readers will share her mix of anger/guilt/fear and above all, love for her parents, and follow her as she deals and eventually heals with her past.

    I believed that having Ms. Miller narrate her own story enhanced the experience- I found her voice to be quite lovely, though previous reviewers are accurate that she does have a breathy vocal quality, especially while relaying especially difficult moments. While this might turn off listeners who expect utter detached professionalism, I found it humanized the story.

    While the book was accurately described as a memoir, I was hoping for a bit more meat to the content / background of hoarding. I left this memoir feeling as though I completely understood her journey, but still do not feel as though she thoroughly explained the causes / psychology behind this illness.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • 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
    (2122)
    Performance
    (1330)
    Story
    (1327)

    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!"
    "Clinical, but accessible- Scary, but empowering"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I should start this review by acknowledging that my life has been, and currently is, deeply impacted by the ravages of cancer. I would also like to stress that I just finished this book and feel hopeful about the future of cancer treatment and research.

    This book is a self-proclaimed biography of cancer. I am AMAZED that I did not completely zone out (though truth be told, I did partially zone out at times) through all of the medical information presented. Dr. Mukherjee is truly gifted at making dense biological / chemical / genetic processes seem accessible and logical. Additionally, by weaving in case studies, he can refer to a complex process or illness using a common reference (e.g., 'the drug was helpful in treating myeoloideocarcinogenescoma, the cancer that left Joe Smith unable to move his right foot'). I especially appreciated his humanizing all aspects of the book- from the doctors (at one point, he compares a duo of influential researchers as Justin Timberlake and Jesse Eisenbergs' characters in The Social Network), to his patients (e.g., a proud woman who wore elaborate necklaces to hide her tumors), to cancer, itself (sneaky, cunning, brilliant, beautiful, diabolical, lethal). Finally, Dr. Mukerjee shows reverence to all characters in this biography, even in this case, the main character, the evil Emperor, cancer. I certainly cannot say it was a page turner, but if you are interested in learning more about a slightly dry subject, I cannot imagine finding a better teacher.

    Mr. Hoye narrated this book so beautifully, I imagine I will be disappointed to listen to any doctors in the future who don't have such a velvety voice!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Skies Belong to Us: Love and Terror in the Golden Age of Hijacking

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Brendan I. Koerner
    • Narrated By Rob Shapiro
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (160)
    Performance
    (152)
    Story
    (151)

    A shattered Army veteran and a mischievous party girl, Roger Holder and Cathy Kerkow commandeered Western Airlines Flight 701 as a vague protest against the war. Through a combination of savvy and dumb luck, the couple managed to flee across an ocean with a half-million dollars in ransom, a feat that made them notorious around the globe. Koerner spent four years chronicling this madcap tale, which involves a cast of characters ranging from exiled Black Panthers, to African despots, to French movie stars.

    Scott says: "A very entertaining and engaging audiobook"
    "Love(d) it!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This story, which details a part of American history about which I had no idea, was captivating and well-paced. While I agree with some previous reviewers that the leading players were a bit underwhelming, I have to give Mr. Koerner credit for making them as dynamic as they possibly could be. I will also second that he transitioned seamlessly between this actual account, the spirit of the generation, and historical records. .

    One of the main themes of this book is that hijacking was all the rage for a brief window of our history during which it completely consumed the media, economy, and politics. Once managed, it completely vanished from thought. The book mirrored this phenomenon for me- while listening, I enjoyed it thoroughly (even purchased copies of the book as holiday presents for my in-laws and uncles); however, a month out, it feels like a distant memory.

    Mr. Shapiro did a good job reading, though given the lack of dialogue in general, I can't say he "brought the story to life."

    I should disclaim that I am not a huge nonfiction reader, nor can I say I am passionate about aviation, true crime, the 60s, etc- so for me to enjoy this book as much as I did, I must applaud the author and narrator. This would be a great book for someone trying to break into nonfiction!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Light Between Oceans: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By M. L. Stedman
    • Narrated By Noah Taylor
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (973)
    Performance
    (855)
    Story
    (840)

    In 1918, after four harrowing years on the Western Front, Tom Sherbourne returns to Australia to take a job as the lighthouse keeper on remote Janus Rock. To this isolated island, where the supply boat comes only four times a year and shore leaves are granted every other year at best, Tom brings a young, bold, and loving wife, Isabel.

    Sandra says: "Wonderful story.....terrible narrator."
    "Amazing!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book was terrific. A great story, beautifully written, and the narration.. oh the narration. Hearing a book based in Australia narrated by an Australian REALLY brought the book alive. Thanks to Mr. Taylor, I could sense the townspeople whispering, I could feel the waves crashing, and I could see a little girl standing before me.

    This is a book about choices, doing the right thing, loss, regret, and above all else, love. There are no villains... just imperfect people dealing with imperfect situations. Mr. Stedman writes in a way that constantly has you questioning, guessing, second guessing, and, at times, on the edge of your seat. I smiled, cried, ached, laughed, and at the end of the story was left feeling (to my surprise!) supremely satisfied.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Consider the Fork: A History of How We Cook and Eat

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Bee Wilson
    • Narrated By Alison Larkin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (161)
    Performance
    (142)
    Story
    (144)

    Since prehistory, humans have braved the business ends of knives, scrapers, and mashers, all in the name of creating something delicious - or at least edible. In Consider the Fork, award-winning food writer and historian Bee Wilson traces the ancient lineage of our modern culinary tools, revealing the startling history of objects we often take for granted. Charting the evolution of technologies from the knife and fork to the gas range and the sous-vide cooker, Wilson offers unprecedented insights.

    G. House Sr. says: "Great information if you play Trivail Pursuit"
    "VERY interesting, albeit a bit dry"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This was a great retrospective on food and cooking; however, I might have preferred it in the written form. Spending 2 hours a day in a car, 60 straight minutes on "forks" can make you a bit crazy. The narrator had an AMAZING British accent and I loved hearing her speak... even if it was only about forks! :)

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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