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J. M. Walker

Harrisburg, PA | Member Since 2014

  • 13 reviews
  • 68 ratings
  • 355 titles in library
  • 4 purchased in 2015

  • The Stuff of Thought: Language as a Window into Human Nature

    • ABRIDGED (9 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Steven Pinker
    • Narrated By Dean Olsher

    In The Stuff of Thought, Steven Pinker marries two of the subjects he knows best: language and human nature. The result is a fascinating look at how our words explain our nature. What does swearing reveal about our emotions? Why does innuendo disclose something about relationships? Pinker reveals how our use of prepositions and tenses taps into peculiarly human concepts of space and time, and how our nouns and verbs speak to our notions of matter.

    Miroslaw says: "Escaping the Cave"
    "Brilliant, practical, engaging"

    Steven Pinker blends remarkably astute observations that seem obvious once made, clear summaries of different theories and researches, and persuasive speculations into a great narrative.
    I certainly do intend to listen to it again, but that is testimony to its richness of thought, not to any failing of the recording.
    I don't believe that reading the hard copy would be as much fun or any more productive.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight: An African Childhood

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Alexandra Fuller
    • Narrated By Lisette Lecat
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Alexandra Fuller tells the idiosyncratic story of her life growing up white in rural Rhodesia as it was becoming Zimbabwe. The daughter of hardworking, yet strikingly unconventional English-bred immigrants, Alexandra arrives in Africa at the tender age of two. She moves through life with a hardy resilience, even as a bloody war approaches. Narrator Lisette Lecat reads this remarkable memoir of a family clinging to a harsh landscape and the dying tenets of colonialism.

    Cynthia says: "Captivating"
    "Living, breathing, fun"
    Where does Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Among the best.

    What did you like best about this story?

    It takes you all the way into a completely different world.
    It is filled with unique, simpatico characters.
    And it is deeply, wildly funny.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By Jon Meacham
    • Narrated By Edward Herrmann, Jon Meacham
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    In this magnificent biography, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of American Lion and Franklin and Winston brings vividly to life an extraordinary man and his remarkable times. Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power gives us Jefferson the politician and president, a great and complex human being forever engaged in the wars of his era. Philosophers think; politicians maneuver. Jefferson’s genius was that he was both and could do both, often simultaneously. Such is the art of power.

    Darwin8u says: "A Man and Biography Relevant to Our Day"
    "Not so much about the art of power"
    What did you like best about Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power? What did you like least?

    This is a pretty good biography of Jefferson, but while the author assures us repeatedly that Jefferson was a shrewd politician, he doesn't show us what he means.
    Given his successes, it makes sense that Jefferson was a shrewd politician, but either he hid his machinations or it will take another author to reveal them.

    Did the narration match the pace of the story?

    Herrmann wasn't given much to work with. The writing is not compelling or memorable.

    Was Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power worth the listening time?

    No. I gave up about a third of the way through.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Cry, the Beloved Country

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Alan Paton
    • Narrated By Michael York
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    This is the most distinguished novel that has come out of South Africa in the 20th century, and it is one of the most important novels of the modern era. Cry, the Beloved Country is in some ways a sad book; it is an indictment of a social system that drives native races into resentment and crime; it is a story of Fate, as inevitable, as relentless, as anything of Thomas Hardy's. Beautifully wrought with high poetic compassion, Cry, the Beloved Country is more than just a story, it is a profound experience of the human spirit.

    Penny says: "Two Words"
    "Classic story, perfectly read"
    Would you listen to Cry, the Beloved Country again? Why?

    This is one of the two or three best books I have ever read. It takes you into the selves of several, very different, persons (all male, unfortunately).
    I can only compare the story's psychological penetration to Middlemarch and Shakespeare's plays.

    Which character – as performed by Michael York – was your favorite?

    York breathes life into the story--giving at least six of the central characters compelling, recognizable voices.
    And giving the repeated phrases almost incantatory power.

    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    I didn't want to stop and I wanted it to go on forever.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Don Quixote

    • UNABRIDGED (36 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Miguel de Cervantes, Tobias Smollett (translator)
    • Narrated By Robert Whitfield

    Don Quixote, the world's first novel and by far the best-known book in Spanish literature, was originally intended by Cervantes as a satire on traditional popular ballads, yet he also parodied the romances of chivalry. By happy coincidence he produced one of the most entertaining adventure stories of all time and, in Don Quixote and his faithful squire, Sancho Panza, two of the greatest characters in fiction.

    James says: "Excellent"
    "The First Sit-Com"
    Would you try another book from Miguel de Cervantes and Tobias Smollett (translator) and/or Robert Whitfield?

    Translator and reader, yes. Cervantes, no.

    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    More psychological penetration; more invention in characters, situations, and action.

    What does Robert Whitfield bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    He makes the various characters alive and distinctive. For English (including American English) listeners, the accents make the story more vivid.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Steve Jobs

    • UNABRIDGED (25 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Walter Isaacson
    • Narrated By Dylan Baker

    Based on more than 40 interviews with Jobs conducted over two years—as well as interviews with more than a hundred family members, friends, adversaries, competitors, and colleagues—Walter Isaacson has written a riveting story of the roller-coaster life and searingly intense personality of a creative entrepreneur whose passion for perfection and ferocious drive revolutionized six industries: personal computers, animated movies, music, phones, tablet computing, and digital publishing.

    Jeanne says: "Interesting man"
    "Amazing Story"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Steve Jobs to be better than the print version?

    The audio version kept me riveted from the beginning right up to--but excluding--the redundant and ham-handed next-to-last "summary" chapter.
    The only thing I would have liked better about the print version is that I could have confirmed more quickly that that chapter was a complete waste of time.

    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Steve Jobs' for his combination of huge flaws and amazing creativity and accomplishment.

    What about Dylan Baker’s performance did you like?

    Baker's performance draws no attention to itself, and makes the story compelling and clear.

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

    The book made me realize how much Jobs had to do with creating so much of the world I love in--and enjoy.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • I Only Say This Because I Love You

    • ABRIDGED (4 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Deborah Tannen
    • Narrated By Deborah Tannen

    Fighting with your spouse? Scolding the children? Conflicting with your siblings? Linguist Deborah Tannen explains what's actually going on in family talk, including how family conversations must balance the longing for connection with the desire for control. For more on understanding communication, we recommend Difficult Conversations.

    Lisa says: "Sounded like she knew my family!"
    "Great insights, well delivered"
    What did you love best about I Only Say This Because I Love You?

    This is a reality-based exploration of how families talk to each other and how to talk in ways that produce more understanding and less pain.
    It is clearly stated with plenty of relevant examples of actual conversations.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Jack Weatherford
    • Narrated By Jonathan Davis, Jack Weatherford
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    The Mongol army led by Genghis Khan subjugated more lands and people in 25 years than the Romans did in 400. In nearly every country the Mongols conquered, they brought an unprecedented rise in cultural communication, expanded trade, and a blossoming of civilization.

    Peter says: "Brilliant, insightful, intriguing."
    "A grand story well told"

    Conveys the drama and grandeur of Genghis Khan's life as well as his profound impact on the Western and Muslim worlds clearly and compellingly.
    Excellent reader.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Elegance of the Hedgehog

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Muriel Barbery
    • Narrated By Barbara Rosenblat, Cassandra Morris

    An enchanting New York Times and international best seller and award-winner about life, art, literature, philosophy, culture, class, privilege, and power, seen through the eyes of a 54-year-old French concierge and a precocious but troubled 12-year-old girl.

    Pyles says: "It surprised me"
    "One engaging character, one silly ending"

    At times a deeply affecting story of a mature woman's fear and love and hope. More often too obviously striving for (literary) effect. The ending seems tacked on, a sort of diabolus ex machina.
    Excellent reading makes the characters seem more three-dimensional than the writing alone might.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Color Purple

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Alice Walker
    • Narrated By Alice Walker
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Celie is a poor black woman whose letters tell the story of 20 years of her life, beginning at age 14 - when she is being abused and raped by her father and attempting to protect her sister from the same fate - and continuing over the course of her marriage to "Mister", a brutal man who terrorizes her.

    Amazon Customer says: "Absolutely Wonderful"
    "Powerful start with weak second half"

    The first two "sections" took me into Seely and Netty's experiences in a way that only Middlemarch matches (in my reading). The second half of the book seemed more talky or obviously calculated and far less engaging.

    I liked the reader's pace and voice, although it is possible that a more experienced reader could have made the second half more interesting.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • True Compass: A Memoir

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Edward M. Kennedy
    • Narrated By John Bedford Lloyd
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    In this historic memoir, the late Ted Kennedy takes us inside his family, re-creating life with his parents and brothers and explaining their profound impact on him. For the first time, he describes his heartbreak and years of struggle in the wake of their deaths. Through it all, he describes his work in the Senate on the major issues of our time - civil rights, Vietnam, Watergate, the quest for peace in Northern Ireland - and the cause of his life: improved health care for all Americans

    Mark says: "A Walk through the 20th Century"
    "An illuminating glimpse at our history"

    An illuminating look at the last fifty years of our history.
    Not as insightful as it might be.
    Not great literature.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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