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Saman

sam_perera

Houston, TX, United States | Member Since 2010

111
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 50 reviews
  • 67 ratings
  • 199 titles in library
  • 9 purchased in 2015
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FOLLOWERS
2

  • Sole Survivor: The True Account of 133 Days Adrift

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Ruthanne Lum McCunn
    • Narrated By Johanna Ward
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (123)
    Performance
    (30)
    Story
    (29)

    On November 23, 1942, German U-Boats torpedoed the British ship Benlomond, and it sank in the Atlantic in two minutes. The sole survivor was a second steward named Poon Lim, who, with no knowledge of the sea, managed to stay alive for 133 days on a small wooden raft.

    Michael says: "Suspensfully Calm"
    "Remarkable yet underwhelming."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I really wanted to read this book after some recommendations from readers who enjoyed books like Unbroken, Lost in Shangri-La, Long Walk and We Die Alone. It is no doubt a remarkable story of resilience against the harsh sea. A man surviving for 130+ days at sea on rain water, fish and occasional birds seems unbelievable but it is a true story that solely belongs to a remarkable human being - Poon Lim. Unfortunately, the book does little credit to this man’s incredible journey through lackluster writing and the vocal performance on the audiobook is less than stellar. Yet, it is still an engrossing listen and I recommend it because of its remarkable subject matter.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The Seamstress

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Sara Tuvel Bernstein, Louise Loots Thornton, Marlene Bernstein Samuels
    • Narrated By Wanda McCaddon
    Overall
    (668)
    Performance
    (613)
    Story
    (606)

    Told with the same old-fashioned narrative power as the novels of Herman Wouk, The Seamstress is the true story of Seren (Sara) Tuvel Bernstein and her survival during wartime. This powerful eyewitness account of survival, told with power and grace, will stay with listeners for years to come.

    Meryl H. Ruth says: "Overcome with Emotion"
    "Harrowing survival story …"
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    Performance
    Story

    I really love to read these memoirs from Jewish survivors who endured the Holocaust and survived. Millions of others did not have this privilege. By telling her story, Seren Tuval Bernstein brings glory to her compatriots who suffered under the yoke of Nazism.

    Atleast for me, this was a different type of Holocaust survival story. It begins with the birth of Seren in Romania and journeys to Hungary where she eventually falls into the trap of mass arrest and deportation. Her capture and train ride is painstakingly explained and includes the harrowing and utter tragic death of her sister, Zipporah. There is much detail of life in Ravensbruck and the simple will to survive the harshest of conditions. The story is intriguing because it details life before the war and during its initial and final phases.

    There is something more graphic in this memoir that is somewhat unique to this book in particular. It shows that antisemitism was not only in Germany but existed and thrived in most European countries. The inhuman effect it had upon the Jewish population can be well understood when reading this book. Some ignored its affect until the final solution whilst others fled its evil tentacles. It is impossible to fathom the hatred within such groups as Romania’s Iron Guard and Hungary’s Arrow Cross Party.

    This is a must read for those interested in these times. Narration is also extremely well done.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Bolter

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Frances Osborne
    • Narrated By Susan Duerden
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (9)
    Performance
    (8)
    Story
    (8)

    In an age of bolters - women who broke the rules and fled their marriages - Idina Sackville was the most celebrated of them all. Her relentless affairs, wild sex parties, and brazen flaunting of convention shocked high society and inspired countless writers and artists, from Nancy Mitford to Greta Garbo. But Idina’s compelling charm masked the pain of betrayal and heartbreak.

    Saman says: "A woman like no other …"
    "A woman like no other …"
    Overall
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    Sadly my first review of this fascinating book was rejected. I had no idea you could not link to an external site. Sadly it was just some external pictures of the memorable ‘Clouds’ house on Flicker. Lesson learned.

    What is there to say about a great granddaughter finding out about the immoral and yet ever-so vivacious relative from the turn of the 20th century? Quite a lot based on this great book. It is a well written and absorbing book that details Idina Sackville and her associates of the “Happy Valley Set” in the Aberdare Hills of Kenya.

    Some would that Idina Sackville was simply a “tart” of her age. But that would be inaccurate! She was a liberator of all women with an appetite for the opposite sex. She lived her life as she willed it – sometimes in utter exuberance and sometimes in utter sadness. She lived in a romantic age of strict morals and etiquette but she chose to break most of those along the way. She showed her liberating manner by bolting from a number of her five marriages whilst throwing partner swapping soirees. Most of these are well explained throughout the book.

    Sadly, she never achieved lifelong happiness. But she dies in her country of love, Kenya. I loved her life and her adventurous life. Great book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Cutting for Stone: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (23 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Abraham Verghese
    • Narrated By Sunil Malhotra
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (5231)
    Performance
    (2596)
    Story
    (2613)

    Marion and Shiva Stone are twin brothers born of a secret union between a beautiful Indian nun and a brash British surgeon at a mission hospital in Addis Ababa. Orphaned by their mother's death in childbirth and their father's disappearance, bound together by a preternatural connection and a shared fascination with medicine, the twins come of age as Ethiopia hovers on the brink of revolution. Yet it will be love, not politics - their passion for the same woman - that will tear them apart.

    Mary Lynn Richardson says: "Brilliant story, pitch perfect narration"
    "A coming of age story with a twist ..."
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    So many people have raved and recommend this book on so many lists and publications. I certainly will be another promoter for the author and this amazing piece of work. This is a remarkable story from a remarkable story teller. The book has a wonderful exotic theme that permeates each page and you eventually loose yourself in the dust and poverty that is Addis.

    I loved the story of the twin boys, Marion and Shiva, growing up in Ethiopia with their slightly quirky adopted Indian parents. Their love for these two young geniuses is never ending and their maternal guidance is a torch light that never dies. To me, the family’s life with their inner circle of friends and family, all centered around a charitable hospital is pure magic. There is adventure, political chaos, religion, heartache, young love, fear, forgiveness, and many other human traits throughout the book.

    The story of these two young men fulfilling their dream of becoming respected doctors in Addis Ababa, all the whilst trying to be good citizens in their parent’s eyes is the real story. As most have found, either you will love the extensive medical explanations in the book or you will skip the pages. I loved each page. At the end, through tragedies of life, the final mysteries of the twin’s lives are finally revealed. This was an incredible read.

    Note to author: Please write the same book thru Shiva’s eyes.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • West with the Night

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By Beryl Markham
    • Narrated By Julie Harris
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (598)
    Performance
    (393)
    Story
    (392)

    West with the Night is the story of a remarkable woman molded and shaped by many things: the African jungle, a certain dog, horses, airplanes, friendships with white men and black. There is no life, no story quite like it.

    Michael Moore says: "Top Notch Writing; Riveting Stories"
    "A pioneer, an adventurer, a woman!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    As my upcoming trip to Kenya looms, I have been searching for those people who lived and thrived in Kenya in the early part of the 20th century. There are many historical figures including that of Karen Blixen, Finch Hatton and Lord Delamere. As I started to read about the various individuals, a certain name caught my eye. She was a beautiful and tall woman who was an avid aviator and a different sort of adventurer. She ofcourse was Beryl Markham.

    This is a fascinating book that she penned in the early 40s after her departure from Kenya with Bror Blixen, ex-husband of Karen Blixen. Note that in those early days of flying, aircraft were rather flimsy machines and had rudimentary instruments. Many had no radios. What is amazing is that she flew from Kenya to Europe and back numerous times and on occasion solo. Her life in these wild and charming days are beautifully laid out in these riveting chapters. I was awed by her recollection of the times and the words she chose to summarize them within the book.

    Eventually she returned to Africa and died in the 1980s. Her fame however will live on and as a next step, I would love to read her autobiography, ‘Straight on till Morning’, by Mary S Lovell.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Night

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By Elie Wiesel
    • Narrated By George Guidall
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2538)
    Performance
    (1262)
    Story
    (1281)

    Awarded the Nobel Peace Prize and the Congressional Gold Medal, Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel offers an unforgettable account of Hitler's horrific reign of terror in Night. This definitive edition features a new translation from the original French by Wiesel's wife and frequent translator, Marion Wiesel.

    Jacobus says: "A quality production of a gripping tradegy"
    "Words are inadequate in a story such as this ..."
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    This is one of the most harrowing of stories that I have ever read. It’s a short book, concise in nature and very much to the point. There is no grandiose explanation of the time or of how and why, but an experience of a child who lost his family and faith.

    In a few chapters, the horror of the Holocaust is explained in very intimate terms. From the beginnings of disbelief to the painful reality of chimneys and smoke, the horror is unveiled to the masses of the starving, diseased, and helpless souls of the camps. It is the terrifying truth of an abhorrent ideology against basic human goodness.

    We have to be thankful for Elie Wiesel and the countless others who survived to tell such stories so we may never forget such evil.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Hiding Place

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Corrie ten Boom, John Sherrill, Elizabeth Sherrill
    • Narrated By Wanda McCaddon
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (498)
    Performance
    (451)
    Story
    (457)

    At one time, Corrie ten Boom would have laughed at the idea that she had a story to tell. For the first 50 years of her life, nothing out of the ordinary ever happened to her. She was a spinster watchmaker living contentedly with her sister and their elderly father in the tiny house over their shop in Haarlem. Their uneventful days, as regulated as their own watches, revolved around their abiding love for one another. But with the Nazi invasion and occupation of Holland, everything changed....

    Sara says: "Inspiring"
    "Another wonderful WWII Dutch story …"
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    After reading Miep Gies’s “Anne Frank Remembered”, I realized that many other gentiles saved the lives of Jews during WWII. They worked tirelessly and in great fear to save as many of the oppressed from the Nazis. This is another such remarkable story from occupied Holland based on the family of Corrie ten Boom, a watchmaker in Haarlem.

    Through their courage, and the Dutch underground, many people’s lives were saved using the ‘Hiding Place’ – a small closed room within a wall of Corrie’s home. As the world continued to bleed in war, these saviors through their gift of incredible faith continued to forage for food and other items to help the residents being hidden.

    Eventually they were caught and sent onto infamous death camps where her beloved father and sister both perished. Yet, this is a story of both hope and faith that transcends the calamitous times of war. It is a fascinating story.

    Sadly, the narration of this story is very poor. But that is only a small nuisance.

    Even though I have visited the Anne Frank museum, I have yet to visit the museum of Corrie ten Boom. I hope to very much do so now.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Japanese Destroyer Captain: Pearl Harbor, Guadalcanal, Midway - The Great Naval Battles Seen Through Japanese Eyes

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Captain Tameichi Hara
    • Narrated By Brian Nishii
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (83)
    Performance
    (77)
    Story
    (77)

    This highly regarded war memoir was a best seller in both Japan and the United States during the 1960s and has long been treasured by historians for its insights into the Japanese side of the surface war in the Pacific. The author was a survivor of more than one hundred sorties against the Allies and was known throughout Japan as the Unsinkable Captain.

    Jean says: "Rousing tale of fear overcome"
    "Combat, Fear, Survival!"
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    If you want a page tuner – this is it!

    The author, Captain Tameichi Hara is a brave, resilient and a lucky individual. He himself states that his survival in WWII is owed to luck rather than any strategic brilliance. But throughout his surface campaigns, he shows that he is a brilliant commander to his loyal men and a tough and experienced naval fighter. He pulls no punches on his superiors for their ineptitude in battle, the suicidal and piece-meal deployments, and utter chaotic command strategy. Even the famed Admiral Yamamoto does not escape his criticism. Yet, he himself is self-deprecating in more than one occasion.

    This is the first book I read about the Japanese view point in WWII. It is a fascinating history of the men who fought this war against a far superior opponent who eventually annhilated the IJN. Even to the end, knowing fully that the war was lost, these men fought on. The final IJN sortie, Operation Ten-Go, is harrowing in its description.

    This is the finest WWII book I have ever read.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Alfred Lansing
    • Narrated By Simon Prebble
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3185)
    Performance
    (2423)
    Story
    (2430)

    In August of 1914, the British ship Endurance set sail for the South Atlantic. In October, 1915, still half a continent away from its intended base, the ship was trapped, then crushed in the ice. For five months, Sir Ernest Shackleton and his men, drifting on ice packs, were castaways in one of the most savage regions of the world.

    David says: "Superb in so many ways"
    "Life is hell in the Antarctic!"
    Overall
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    Story

    What a fascinating and unbelievable adventure. This book tells us of the remarkable story of the 28 member crew of the Endurance and their truly heroic tale to survive in the lonely, cold, windswept hell of the Antarctic.

    Amongst them is one of the greatest heroes of the early 20th century adventurers, Sir Ernest Shackleton; a fearless explorer driven by determination to seek the glory he realizes is within reach for the Empire whilst leading his varied band of seamen, scientists and fame seekers. Affectionately known by his men as the “Boss”, his sheer will leads the team to survive the doomed Endurance mission – the first land crossing of the Antarctic.

    If anyone saw the Kenneth Branagh’s 2002 TV movie, ‘Shackleton’, you must read this book. The movie is great, but this book will astound you. As with “Alone on the Ice”, the story of Douglas Mawson and his Antarctic adventure, this story captures your imagination from the first page. Long after you finish the story, you will wonder who these 28 men were and what drove them to such endeavors. True heroes!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • A Kiss Before Dying

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Ira Levin
    • Narrated By Mauro Hantman
    Overall
    (475)
    Performance
    (426)
    Story
    (429)

    Now a modern classic, as gripping in its tautly plotted action as it is penetrating in its exploration of a criminal mind, it tells the shocking tale of a young man who will stop at nothing--not even murder--to get where he wants to go. For he has dreams; plans. He also has charm, good looks, sex appeal, intelligence. And he has a problem. Her name is Dorothy; she loves him, and she's pregnant. The solution may demand desperate measures.

    karen says: "Nothing like a classic....."
    "Enjoyable ..."
    Overall
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    I had sorely missed reading a good crime novel for ages. Some list recommended this as a worthy read and I was intrigued by the Author. I had not known of Ira Levin and many of his writings that were turned into major motion pictures. Someone wrote that this novel, the first from Levin, is his Magnum opus

    Certainly the character of Bud Corliss, a certified psychopath is an intriguing invention. As you read through the pages, you can feel the drive of this individual to attain the one thing he lacks; money, fame and social standing. He will do anything to attain his goals including outright murder. He feels nothing for his victims as he calculatingly removes his obstacles.

    This is not a mystery novel but a true, fast paced, crime story. It is beautifully written and keeps you well engaged until the last page is turned. I really enjoyed this book and thoroughly recommend it.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Painted Veil

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By W. Somerset Maugham
    • Narrated By Kate Reading
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (618)
    Performance
    (266)
    Story
    (264)

    First published in 1925, The Painted Veil is an affirmation of the human capacity to grow, change, and forgive. Set in England and Hong Kong in the 1920s, it is the story of the beautiful but shallow young Kitty Fane. When her husband discovers her adulterous affair, he forces her to accompany him to a remote region of China ravaged by a cholera epidemic.

    Kevin says: "A Joyous Realm"
    "Interesting …"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I watched the 2006 film version with Ed Norton and Naomi Watts and thoroughly enjoyed the adaptation. Somewhere I read in a review that the adaptation had the familiar Hollywood gloss and the book was somewhat different. Finally, I got a deal at Audible and I dived in.

    This was my first Maugham and I enjoyed the period setting of this novel in the colonial Far East. The character of Kitty Garstin, a self-absorbed socialite is a character I despised. The story revolves around her infidelity with a dashing but unscrupulous married diplomat and the luckless husband, Walter. There are some wonderful quotes in this book that makes you read it out twice. They stick in your mind long after the story has died. As Waddington, an alcoholic diplomat says to Kitty,

    “Some of us look for the Way in opium and some in God, some of us in whiskey and some in love. It is all the same Way and it leads nowhither.”

    In summary, the words within the book are stronger than the story and there lies the strength of Maugham’s writing. There are no characters in this book other than perhaps Waddington, who captures your imagination as a progressive, cohabiting with a noble Chinese woman. The rest are thoroughly rotten in their own way. At the end, you even wonder if Kitty finally does find salvation through her experiences.

    This is a good book and I recommend it.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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