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Sabrina

Mililani, HI, United States | Member Since 2005

ratings
71
REVIEWS
8
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
1
HELPFUL VOTES
23

  • Winston Churchill

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By John Keegan
    • Narrated By Richard Matthews
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (82)
    Performance
    (18)
    Story
    (18)

    The eminent historian John Keegan charts Churchill's career, following his steadfast leadership during the catastrophic events of World War II while England was dangerously poised on the brink of collapse. With wonderful eloquence, Keegan illuminates Churchill's incredible strength during this crucial moment in history and his unshakable belief that democracy would always prevail.

    Sabrina says: "A good intro/summary"
    "A good intro/summary"
    Overall

    I didn't know much about Winston Churchill's life, and wanted to learn more, but didn't want to sink myself into a long, detailed tome. This book was the right choice for me. It was informative, but not intimidating or boring. The story flows smoothly, chronologically, from Churchill's youth to old age, just like a proper biography should. After listening to the book twice, I now feel like I have a reasonable understanding of who Winston Churchill was and why his role in history is considered so significant. I thought the narrator was great, although I can imagine some people might not like his Churchill impression.

    10 of 10 people found this review helpful
  • Some Girls: My Life in a Harem

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Jillian Lauren
    • Narrated By Tavia Gilbert
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (148)
    Performance
    (86)
    Story
    (89)

    A jaw-dropping story of how a girl from the suburbs ends up in a prince's harem and emerges from the secret Xanadu both richer and wiser. At 18, Jillian Lauren was an NYU theater school dropout with a tip about an upcoming audition. The "casting director" told her that a rich businessman would pay pretty girls $20,000 if they stayed for two weeks to spice up his parties. Soon, Jillian was on a plane to Borneo, where she would spend the next 18 months in the harem of Prince Jefri Bolkiah....

    Sabrina says: "Eat, Pray, Love for "naughty" girls"
    "Eat, Pray, Love for "naughty" girls"
    Overall

    Intriguing story, well told. My favorite kind of book is nonfiction that reads like a novel, and this fits that bill beautifully. I compare Jillian Lauren's memoir to Elizabeth Gilbert's because in both cases there is a lot of introspection and what you might call excessive navel-gazing (to some extent this is what good memoirs are supposed to do). Both are about gutsy, adventurous women, and both women are exceptionally good writers. Personally, I can relate to the Some Girls story of a young woman's foray into the world of high-class sex trade than Gilbert's story of a year of celibate meditation. Kudos to Lauren for her courage. She presents the complexities of her experience both in the sex trade in New York and in a Harem in Brunei in a way that makes the gray areas stand out - the temptation for many people would be to either glamorize this experience or render it all 100% evil.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Water for Elephants

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Sara Gruen
    • Narrated By David LeDoux, John Randolph Jones
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (13371)
    Performance
    (5789)
    Story
    (5861)

    Why we think it’s a great listen: Some books are meant to be read; others are meant to be heard – Water for Elephants falls into the second group, and is one of the best examples we have of how a powerful performance enhances a great story. Nonagenarian Jacob Jankowski reflects back on his wild and wondrous days with a circus. It's the Depression Era and Jacob, finding himself parentless and penniless, joins the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth.

    Kindle Customer says: "Great Narration!!"
    "A great story and a great listen"
    Overall

    This is a fun story, with richly developed characters. The narrators are talented, particularly the actor who narrates the elderly version of the main character.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Satanic Verses

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Salman Rushdie
    • Narrated By Sam Dastor
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (278)
    Performance
    (84)
    Story
    (87)

    No book in modern times has matched the uproar sparked by The Satanic Verses. Furore aside, it is a marvellously erudite study of good and evil. The book begins with two Indians plummeting from the sky after the explosion of their airliner, and proceeds through a series of metamorphoses, dreams and revelations. Rushdie's powers of invention are astonishing in this Whitbread Prize winner.

    BoulderPhysicist says: "Superb reading."
    "To complicated for audio"
    Overall

    I wanted to listen to this book because it's so famous for having earned Salman Rushdie a fatwa on his head and I never knew why. I still don't know why and it will stay that way forevermore because I decided to give up on it. It's clear that Rushdie is a talented author/storyteller, but he also has a very distinctive style - he jumps around a lot, for one thing - and combined with the (unfamiliar to me) Indian names I found myself completely lost much of the time. I suspect it would be a good book to actually, no kidding read, so I could physically flip back pages.

    1 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Fight Terrorism and Build Nations

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Greg Mortenson, David Oliver Relin
    • Narrated By Patrick Lawlor
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2270)
    Performance
    (512)
    Story
    (530)

    In 1993 Greg Mortenson was the exhausted survivor of a failed attempt to ascend K2, an American climbing bum wandering emaciated and lost through Pakistan's Karakoram Himalaya. After he was taken in and nursed back to health by the people of an impoverished Pakistani village, Mortenson promised to return one day and build them a school. From that rash, earnest promise grew one of the most incredible humanitarian campaigns of our time: Greg Mortenson's one-man mission to counteract extremism by building schools, especially for girls, throughout the breeding ground of the Taliban.

    Karl says: "An education and inspiration"
    "This is a must read"
    Overall

    This is an amazing story and the world would be a better place if every head of state were required to read it. It's educational and informative but reads like a novel. After hearing this book I will never look at Pakistan or Afghanistan in the same way.

    I will say the book has a clear agenda. On some level it is an advertisement for Greg Mortenson and the Central Asia Institute, but that is fine with me. This is absolutely a story worth hearing.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Nurture Assumption

    • ABRIDGED (3 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Judith Rich Harris
    • Narrated By Paula Parker
    Overall
    (25)
    Performance
    (9)
    Story
    (9)

    What makes children turn out the way they do? Why is it that good parents don't always turn out good kids? Judith Rich Harris questions the assumption that nurture is the crucial factor. Using examples from folklore, literature, and scientific research, Harris puts forth the electrifying theory that children aren't socialized by their parents, they're socialized by other children. It is what happens outside the home, while kids are in the company of their peers, that matters most.

    Luc says: "Excellent book... on print."
    "Egregiously oversimplified and horribly narrated"
    Overall

    I wanted to listen to this book because it was referred to in Freakonomics (Levitt and Dubner 2005). I find the idea that peer groups have a very strong influence on enculturation throughout childhood interesting and I wanted to understand the idea in greater detail. But I was very disappointed. Harris essentially argues that parents and biology don't matter AT ALL and who we turn out to be is based ENTIRELY on peer group influence. This CAN'T be what she means to say. Perhaps the fact that this audio version is abridged is an extenuating factor. I actually buy her argument that researchers have been ignoring the important influence of peer groups and they matter more than we think, but to completely discount the affects of biology and family is silly. She uses an example of a U.S. child whose parents are Russian immigrants and points out that the child grows up to speak perfect English because that's the language of his peers. But she completely ignores the obvious observation that - in fact - the child ALSO speaks Russian because of his parents.

    Furthermore, I am an anthropologist, and I was frankly stunned by her ridiculously oversimplified caricature of your average child in your average traditional society. She goes so far as to say these kids (they're all the same) don't fight much because they have no toys to fight over. Her lack of understanding of basic anthropology in the context of her research is unforgivable to me.

    The death knell of this audiobook for me was the narrator. She reminds me of a syrupy singer in a cheap production of children's music.

    In summary - who we turn out to be is a complicated mix of factors, not this ridiculously oversimplified monocausal scenario. Read the subheading on the book "parents matter less than you think and peers matter more" - that's probably right, but don't torture yourself listening to this book because it's not going to add any insight beyond this subheading.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Candice Millard
    • Narrated By Paul Michael
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1897)
    Performance
    (865)
    Story
    (878)

    At once an incredible adventure narrative and a penetrating biographical portrait, The River of Doubt is the true story of Theodore Roosevelt's harrowing exploration of one of the most dangerous rivers on earth.

    Stephen says: "River of Doubt"
    "My all time favorite"
    Overall

    I loved this book on so many levels. It's well-researched, well-written, well-narrated, educational, and can't-put-it-down enthralling. I listened to it twice. My favorite kind of book is nonfiction that reads like fiction, and this is the best of that kind. It flows like an adventure novel - it's almost unbelievable that it's a true story.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Azar Nafisi
    • Narrated By Lisette Lecat
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (484)
    Performance
    (135)
    Story
    (143)

    For two years before she left Iran in 1997, Nafisi gathered seven young women at her house every Thursday morning to read and discuss forbidden works of Western literature. They were all former students whom she had taught at university. Some came from conservative and religious families; others were progressive and secular; several had spent time in jail.

    Jayne says: "A wonderful story"
    "Not for everyone"
    Overall

    I love memoirs, and I generally prefer non-fiction to fiction. I bought this audiobook because I wanted to learn more about Iran, and because it got some glowing customer reviews. I made it through about 8 hours and have now given up on it. My personal complaints: The narrative is not presented in a linear fashion, it jumps around in time and place; the bits about life in Iran are very interesting, but frustratingly buried between lengthy high-school-lecture type analyses of various works of fiction; and I know this is petty, but I found the narrator's voice to be very unpleasant. She does something with her Rs that grates me like nails on a chalkboard. I have read and enjoyed a number of the books Nafisi discusses, but that didn't help me enjoy this book.

    If you enjoyed your high school English classes, have a good imagination, and don't mind plots that jump around through time and place, you may well like this book, but it's not for everyone.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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