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portland, OR, United States | Member Since 2015

  • 6 reviews
  • 84 ratings
  • 293 titles in library
  • 0 purchased in 2015

  • The Odyssey

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Homer (translated by Robert Fagles)
    • Narrated By Ian McKellen
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    McGrath-Muniz says: "Beautiful recording marred by audio problems!"

    Fagles' is an excellent translation, and the reader is outstanding. One of the best contemporary translations. However, despite the "unabridged" label, this version appears to be subtly edited or cut down.

    10 of 10 people found this review helpful
  • Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Gary Taubes
    • Narrated By Mike Chamberlain

    Building upon this critical work in Good Calories, Bad Calories and presenting fresh evidence for his claim, Taubes now revisits the urgent question of what’s making us fat—and how we can change—in this exciting new book. Persuasive, straightforward, and practical, Why We Get Fat makes Taubes’s crucial argument newly accessible to a wider audience.

    Marsha says: "Eye opening, life changing book!"
    "One-note polemic undermines basic argument"

    Taubes makes interesting and useful points in this book. However, he has the zeal of a believer, and this makes me suspicious. For example, not all of the studies he cites seem to be of the same caliber. And his criticism of the medical establishment seems suspect without a more sophisticated explanation as to the reasons why public health officials might have supported the low-fat diet.
    Most importantly, his casual dismissal of the importance of exercise and leafy green vegetables is rather bizarre. To lay out the evidence, as Taubes did in a recent New York Times essay, for the claim that sugar and refined carbohydrates are toxic is an important public service. However, to suggest that we all should give up all carbohydrates is bizarre. Such massive restrictions are essential for some epileptics, and perhaps some others who suffer from certain genetic predispositions yet to be studied; it is certainly not appropriate for us all. Giving up sugar and refined carbohydrates is more than enough for most people, if followed with reasonable strictness.
    Finally, Taubes claims that he cares about society, not about making moral judgements against individuals. Yet he fails to address three essential points: 1) our society is not set up for us--particularly the poor and the busy--to avoid carbohydrates, and so Taubes ends up championing a model of will-power not that different from the low-calorie diets he critiques.
    2) Taubes, it seems, could not care less about the social and environmental consequences of a high meat diet, and seems entirely uninterested in suggesting versions of a high-protein diet for vegetarians.
    3) It is not at all clear that hunter-gatherer societies in the 20th century eat/ate in the same ways as societies in earlier times. The blatant and suspect primitivist logic of the Paleo and other such diets makes them culturally rebarbative.

    8 of 13 people found this review helpful
  • Cryoburn: A Miles Vorkosigan Adventure

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Lois McMaster Bujold
    • Narrated By Grover Gardner

    Kibou-daini is a planet obsessed with cheating death. Barrayaran Imperial Auditor Miles Vorkosigan can hardly disapprove—he’s been cheating death his whole life, on the theory that turnabout is fair play. But when a Kibou-daini cryocorp—an immortal company whose job it is to shepherd its all-too-mortal frozen patrons into an unknown future—attempts to expand its franchise into the Barrayaran Empire, Emperor Gregor dispatches his top troubleshooter, Miles, to check it out

    Kevin says: "Its nice to come Home!"
    "Light and entertaining"

    I'm a long-time fan of Bujold, and in this story she doesn't disappoint, delivering her characteristic wit and adventure, with many of your favorite characters but none of the darkness of her earliest work.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family

    • UNABRIDGED (30 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Annette Gordon-Reed
    • Narrated By Karen White
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    This epic work tells the story of the Hemingses, whose close blood ties to our third president had been systematically expunged from American history until very recently. Now, historian and legal scholar Annette Gordon-Reed traces the Hemings family from its origins in Virginia in the 1700s to the family's dispersal after Jefferson's death in 1826. It brings to life not only Sally Hemings and Thomas Jefferson but also their children and Hemings's siblings, who shared a father with Jefferson's wife, Martha.

    Dianne says: "Fascinating"
    "Outstanding research, well-framed argument"

    Gordon-Reed richly deserves the academic and popular acclaim she has achieved. As an audiobook, it drags sometimes. Gordon-Reed's careful analyses do not always make for a sense of forward-driving plot, yet they ultimately reward with insights that a less thorough scholar would have overlooked.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Flowers

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Dagoberto Gilb
    • Narrated By Ramon De Ocampo
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Dagoberto Gilb has won the PEN/Hemingway Award and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Sonny Bravo is a young Mexican American struggling to become a man while living with his mom and step-father in a small urban community known as the Flowers. There the assorted residents teach Sonny life lessons, even as racial tensions simmer in the city around them.

    Gabriele says: "Homophobia is so pass?"
    "Homophobia is so pass?"

    Homophobia is a great way to spoil a decent book. Dagoberto Gilb doesn't seem to have gotten the memo: masculinity is not constituted by rejecting and/or beating up gay men. That tired scene is so five minutes ago. I don't care if Gilb supposedly is a great fan of John Rechy. If so, he clearly didn't learn the lesson Rechy's books have to offer.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Fledgling

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Octavia E. Butler
    • Narrated By Tracey Leigh

    Fledgling, Octavia E. Butler's final novel, is the story of a young amnesiac girl whose inhuman needs and abilities lead her to a startling conclusion: she is in fact a genetically modified 53-year-old vampire. Forced to discover what she can about her stolen former life, she must learn who wanted to destroy her and those she cares for and how she can save herself.

    Gabriele says: "Octavia Butler is a genius"
    "Octavia Butler is a genius"

    Octavia Butler's insights into power, slavery, intimacy, and the role of sexuality in unequal relationships are unparalleled. And her insights are matched only by the narrative and erotic power of her writing. There's a reason that she's beloved by SciFi nerds, academics, and black power folks alike: she's the real deal.
    The reader is also excellent--she does accents differently yet subtly.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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