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Carol

Oak Ridge, NJ, United States | Member Since 2014

29
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 54 reviews
  • 85 ratings
  • 277 titles in library
  • 14 purchased in 2015
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  • The Panic Virus: A True Story of Medicine, Science, and Fear

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Seth Mnookin
    • Narrated By Dan John Miller
    Overall
    (161)
    Performance
    (111)
    Story
    (109)

    The Panic Virus is a gripping scientific detective story about how grassroots radicals, snake-oil salesmen, and cynical journalists have perpetrated the biggest health-scare hoax of all time. It explores what happens when the media treats all viewpoints as equally valid, regardless of facts, from parents who are convinced that vaccines caused their children's autism to right-wing radicals who believe that climate change is a myth

    tara says: "FINALLY!!! The truth about the vaccine scare"
    "Entertaining and Enlightening"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I always wondered about those vague statements I heard regarding autism and vaccines. Now I know why they exist. It's almost like a cult - the human mind is a complex thing indeed.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Mrs. Astor Regrets: The Hidden Betrayals of a Family Beyond Reproach

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By Meryl Gordon
    • Narrated By Lorna Raver
    Overall
    (100)
    Performance
    (46)
    Story
    (50)

    The fate of Brooke Astor, the endearing philanthropist with the storied name, has generated worldwide headlines since her grandson Philip sued his father in 2006, alleging mistreatment of Brooke. And shortly after her death in 2007, Anthony Marshall, Mrs. Astor's only child, was indicted on charges of looting her estate. Rarely has there been a story with such an appealing heroine, conjuring up a world so nearly forgotten.

    Carol says: "Rich People Voyeurism . . ."
    "Rich People Voyeurism . . ."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It's a powerful genre, wanting to read gossip about how the rich are, deep down inside, just like us. I listened to this book thinking "good, I get to see rich people having trouble due to having so much money" but ended it feeling sad and sorry for all of them. None of them deserved what they got. I guess it's more of a curse than a gift.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Informant

    • UNABRIDGED (24 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Kurt Eichenwald
    • Narrated By Arthur Morey
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (102)
    Performance
    (55)
    Story
    (54)

    From an award-winning New York Times investigative reporter comes an outrageous story of greed, corruption, and conspiracy, which left the FBI and Justice Department counting on the cooperation of one man.

    Phil says: "Great Story"
    "Hey Guys!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The central figure of this immensely complicated tale is so cute and puppy-dog like ("Hey! Guys!") no wonder he gets away with everything! I wonder how much government dollars he cost . . . .

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Tinseltown: Murder, Morphine, and Madness at the Dawn of Hollywood

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By William J. Mann
    • Narrated By Christopher Lane
    Overall
    (398)
    Performance
    (351)
    Story
    (354)

    By 1920, the movies had suddenly become America's new favorite pastime and one of the nation's largest industries. Never before had a medium possessed such power to influence; yet Hollywood's glittering ascendancy was threatened by a string of headline-grabbing tragedies - including the murder of William Desmond Taylor, the popular president of the Motion Picture Directors Association, a legendary crime that has remained unsolved until now.

    Steven says: "Everybody's a dreamer..."
    "History Disguised as Scandal"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book was really good - it does have a murder, drugs and a few low-life criminals - but really it's a history of Hollywood at its early stages (so you can feel justified spending time listening to it). I like the way histories are now being written - from multiple viewpoints with many different characters. The social changes taking place at that time I now understand better - an old "political correctness" had to be overcome before kids could watch movies. Hollywood had to battle cultural prudishness to make room for creativity - and now it's the icon of the past against which new media must fight. The cycle of life.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Lawrence Wright
    • Narrated By Morton Sellers
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1896)
    Performance
    (1672)
    Story
    (1654)

    A clear-sighted revelation, a deep penetration into the world of Scientology by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of the The Looming Tower, the now-classic study of al-Qaeda’s 9/11 attack. Based on more than 200 personal interviews with both current and former Scientologists - both famous and less well known - and years of archival research, Lawrence Wright uses his extraordinary investigative ability to uncover for us the inner workings of the Church of Scientology.

    Chris Reich says: "Scared the Hell Out of Me"
    "Excellent and Terrifying History"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I bought this book for what I thought would be light and entertaining reading. However, it sucked me down into a whirlpool of sadism, abuse, lying, tyranny, and mind control. L. Ron Hubbard and his successor rank with Hitler and Stalin, lacking only opportunity to take a whole country. The first courageous journalist who tried to stand up to them nearly lost her life. It's terrifying how easily this can happen - all you need to do is gain access to some key public figures who will do your recruiting for you, suggest an air of mystery and superiority, then corner and brainwash your converts. At the same time I'm reading "Crowds and Power" by Elias Canetti, and this same thing has been done countless times before and will be done again. Thank god some converts were able to leave, live and tell their tales and for the journalists who put their lives on the line.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Phantom of Fifth Avenue: The Mysterious Life and Scandalous Death of Heiress Huguette Clark

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Meryl Gordon
    • Narrated By Bernadette Dunne
    Overall
    (95)
    Performance
    (86)
    Story
    (86)

    Born in 1906, Huguette Clark grew up in her family's 121-room Beaux Arts mansion in New York and was one of the leading celebrities of her day. Her father, William Andrews Clark, was the second richest man in America. Huguette attended the coronation of King George V. And at 22, with a personal fortune of $50 million, she married a Princeton man and childhood friend. Two-years later the couple divorced. After a series of failed romances, Huguette began to withdraw from society. What happened to Huguette that turned a vivacious, young socialite into a recluse?

    Pam says: "The Rich Are Different"
    "The OTHER Huguette Clark Book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I reviewed "Empty Mansions" as well, since I read both. This book achieved something that the other did not - it brought us into Huguette's world. She takes the reader into her early unfulfilled romances and shows the connection between the dolls, dollhouses, painting lessons, photography, frame-by-frame cartoons and how, put together, they became art. Whereas the "Empty Mansions" authors see the glaring oddity of buying houses with no intention of even visiting them, Gordon sees the creative inner life of Huguette within her own walls.

    There should be a Huguette Clark art show, at the Corcoran maybe. It could finish the work Meryl Gordon started - showing the results of a lifetime of creative collecting, modifying and documenting aspects of the material world (i.e., dolls and dollhouses, Japanese design and architecture). I would love to see the photographs she took of the staged settings in the dollhouses. Architecture played a major role in her life - houses huge, empty and forbidding, houses under construction, houses built for pride, bought as buffer zones and manned like gatekeepers to a distant castle, houses that Huguette tried to keep frozen in time, her world growing smaller and smaller around her . . . and the placement of the dolls in the photographs she staged may say something about her role within this world. Huguette documented her own life via photography - that may be her real "voice."

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Empty Mansions: The Mysterious Life of Huguette Clark and the Spending of a Great American Fortune

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Bill Dedman, Paul Clark Newell
    • Narrated By Kimberly Farr
    Overall
    (417)
    Performance
    (356)
    Story
    (362)

    When Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Bill Dedman noticed in 2009 a grand home for sale, unoccupied for nearly 60 years, he stumbled through a surprising portal into American history. Empty Mansions is a rich mystery of wealth and loss, connecting the Gilded Age opulence of the 19th century with a 21st-century battle over a $300 million inheritance. At its heart is a reclusive heiress named Huguette Clark, a woman so secretive that, at the time of her death at age 104, no new photograph of her had been seen in decades.

    Bokworm says: "I still don't know much about Huguette Clark"
    "I Read Both . . ."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'm embarrassed to admit I bought and listened to both Huguette Clark books. They are different. Meryl Gordon understands things Bill and Paul do not, such as that the dolls and dollhouses, when mixed with photography, became art. But then Bill and Paul had viewpoints that Meryl missed. Also, in this audio-recording, we hear Huguette 's voice, which was wonderful.

    One reviewer says "I still don't understand Huguette Clark." I feel I DO understand her (I have relatives like her). Part of it is that's she's an ordinary fallible human being just like everyone else, only her excesses are magnified because she was so rich. Every community has Huguette Clarks, but they live behind piles of newspapers and Chinese food containers instead of Monets and Manets. There are also many, many Hadassah Peris, so this is a cautionary tale. As the bloggers Grossman and Friedman write "Big money and advanced age can be a dangerous, poisonous, explosive combination. Beware."

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Countdown to Zero Day: Stuxnet and the Launch of the World's First Digital Weapon

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Kim Zetter
    • Narrated By Joe Ochman
    Overall
    (302)
    Performance
    (258)
    Story
    (255)

    Top cybersecurity journalist Kim Zetter tells the story behind the virus that sabotaged Iran’s nuclear efforts and shows how its existence has ushered in a new age of warfare - one in which a digital attack can have the same destructive capability as a megaton bomb.

    Greg says: "Amazingly detailed, sober and above all, damning"
    "Reader MAKES you Interested"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'm still in the midst of listening to this, but I want to comment on the reader. I don't know how he does it, but he infuses every sentence with excitement. This book could be slow-going for a non-programmer such as myself, with very very complex structures underlying the story that ARE the story, so they must be understood. This reader never lets your attention flag by the repressed excitement and drama in his voice. It makes understanding the complex structures easier. It's well-written too (although I could do without the minibios - but I guess that's the payoff for being in the book).

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Don Quixote: Translated by Edith Grossman

    • UNABRIDGED (39 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Miguel de Cervantes, Edith Grossman (translator)
    • Narrated By George Guidall
    Overall
    (391)
    Performance
    (369)
    Story
    (360)

    Sixteenth-century Spanish gentleman Don Quixote, fed by his own delusional fantasies, takes to the road in search of chivalrous adventures. But his quest leads to more trouble than triumph. At once humorous, romantic, and sad, Don Quixote is a literary landmark. This fresh edition, by award-winning translator Edith Grossman, brings the tale to life as never before.

    Erika says: "Best book ever written?"
    "Best Ever Written AND Read?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I read, somewhere, this book called the "best ever written." The performance by Guidall is also of that caliber - his character voices, of Don Quixote, Sanco Panza and all the others, are so individual that you soon forget this is a book. You can forget you are at home, washing dishes, believing instead that you are on a dusty plain in the burning sun, thirsty, with empty saddlebags, listening to the story of an enchanted shepherd. The voices are SO good that sometimes the dramatic pauses, sighs and perils-of-pauline-type purple-prose start in one register and fall down the scale, "Oh-h (high) - oh - oh-h oh-h (low) h-oh," in D-sharp minor. This book can't be rushed.

    At first I was slightly bored by it, thinking OK, it's a classic, it's got to be good, and if it isn't, at least I can say I read it. Then, gradually, the humor started showing through. Now I don't want it to be over (I'm not done yet), I want to enjoy every moment, and I may even listen to it again.

    Moreover (literati), this book is about books from a time when books were television, movies, YouTube, twitter, vines and all social media combined. It's also a history, capturing not only what was going on in Spain in the 16th century but referencing what had been going on in Europe from the 13th to 15th - it could be read side-by-side with Barbara Tuchman's In a Distant Mirror (the two versions of Knight Errantry fit rather well). It's the ideology of heroism about the ideology of heroism, knights saving widows and orphans (Tuchman points out that the reality was more like knights raping, then killing, widows and orphans) and the funny thing is, that same ideology is here with us today in Hollywood movies and other heroic shows. That's the mark of a classic, that it's timeless, plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose. Cervantes managed to poke fun of the 21st century from the distant mirror of the 16th.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Revenge of Geography: What the Map Tells Us About Coming Conflicts and the Battle Against Fate

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Robert D. Kaplan
    • Narrated By Michael Prichard
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (196)
    Performance
    (164)
    Story
    (163)

    In The Revenge of Geography, Robert D. Kaplan builds on the insights, discoveries, and theories of great geographers and geopolitical thinkers of the near and distant past to look back at critical pivots in history and then to look forward at the evolving global scene. Kaplan traces the history of the world's hot spots by examining their climates, topographies, and proximities to other embattled lands.

    C. Telfair says: "Why Don't They Teach This Stuff?"
    "Thought-provoking"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'm glad Kaplan's out there doing all the traveling for me. I also appreciate the historical research and analysis. It's very hard to understand what is going on in the world today, but this book helps.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Elizabeth and Mary: Cousins, Rivals, Queens

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Jane Dunn
    • Narrated By Donada Peters
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (269)
    Performance
    (74)
    Story
    (75)

    In a rich and riveting narrative, Jane Dunn reveals the extraordinary rivalry between the regal cousins. It is the story of two queens ruling on one island, each with a claim to the throne of England, each embodying dramatically opposing qualities of character, ideals of womanliness (and views of sexuality), and divinely ordained kingship.

    Catharina says: "Fantastic book"
    "More Mary than Elizabeth"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    What a life Mary had! It was an insane whirl and makes you glad you aren't a queen. This well-balanced treatment puts her life into the context of Elizabeth's life and makes inevitable the battle between them. It's good, but not as good as Mary Queen of Scotland and the Isles.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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