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Jana

Richmond, CA, United States | Member Since 2003

118
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 23 reviews
  • 132 ratings
  • 292 titles in library
  • 0 purchased in 2014
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  • Dry: A Memoir

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Augusten Burroughs
    • Narrated By Augusten Burroughs
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (636)
    Performance
    (184)
    Story
    (185)

    At the request (well, it wasn't really a request) of his employers, Augusten lands in rehab, where his dreams of group therapy with Robert Downey Jr. are immediately dashed by grim reality of fluorescent lighting and paper hospital slippers. When Augusten is forced to examine himself, he finds himself in the worst trouble of all. Because when his thirty days are up, he has to return to his same drunken Manhattan life - and live it sober. Dry is the story of love, loss, and Starbucks as a Higher Power

    Heidi says: "Sobriety with a sense of style...."
    "Fascinating, scary, touching, funny, uplifting"
    Overall

    Burroughs does a great job of narrating a hair-raising story of excess and addiction and eventually, success, at fighting addiction. I liked it better than his earlier memoir, Running with Scissors, which, while true, was a downright horrifying story of child neglect, abuse and insanity. I think his voice and style have matured since Running. I enjoyed listening to the book and was sorry when it ended.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Gone with the Wind

    • UNABRIDGED (49 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Margaret Mitchell
    • Narrated By Linda Stephens
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3066)
    Performance
    (2031)
    Story
    (2064)

    Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Literature, Margaret Mitchell's great novel of the South is one of the most popular books ever written. Within six months of its publication in 1936, Gone With the Wind had sold a million copies. To date, it has been translated into 25 languages, and more than 28 million copies have been sold. Here are the characters that have become symbols of passion and desire....

    dallas says: "not to miss audible experience"
    "49 hours well spent"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    "I just can't think about it right now. I'll think about it later." Scarlet's little mantra throughout the book is actually rather helpful to use on those worries in daily life. The book was fascinating--so much more than what was in the movie--like 100 times more. It took forever to get through the 49 hours so beautifully narrated by Linda Stephens but was well worth it.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Wolf Hall

    • UNABRIDGED (24 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Hilary Mantel
    • Narrated By Simon Slater
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1957)
    Performance
    (1226)
    Story
    (1232)

    In the ruthless arena of King Henry VIII's court, only one man dares to gamble his life to win the king's favor and ascend to the heights of political powerEngland in the 1520s is a heartbeat from disaster. If the king dies without a male heir, the country could be destroyed by civil war. Henry VIII wants to annul his marriage of twenty years, and marry Anne Boleyn.

    S. Marie says: "A unique perspective of history"
    "Impossible to follow"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I tried really hard to listen and follow along but gave up, having no idea who was speaking most of the time, and even when I was following along, I was bored. I'm very ignorant when it comes to British history so had no context and apparently little interest in the subject.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Freddy and Fredericka

    • UNABRIDGED (25 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Mark Helprin
    • Narrated By Robert Ian Mackenzie
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (367)
    Performance
    (89)
    Story
    (93)

    Best-selling, critically acclaimed author Mark Helprin's work has drawn favorable comparisons to an elite group of literary legends, including James Joyce, Franz Kafka, Edgar Allan Poe, and Thomas Mann. Helprin's sheer comic brilliance shines in this ingenious farce.

    Chris says: "God save Craig-Vyvyan! I liked it."
    "Silly farce"
    Overall

    The funniest thing about this book is that the British narrator doesn't even try to do American accents. A large portion of the book takes place in New Jersey, but everyone has upper class British accents, including a bunch of guys in a New Jersey motorcycle gang! That's a hoot but the rest is mostly silly and tiresome.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Keeping Faith

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Jodi Picoult
    • Narrated By Julia Gibson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (720)
    Performance
    (225)
    Story
    (221)

    Mariah has just discovered her husband Colin is having his second affair. During the divorce process, their seven-year-old daughter, Faith, meets an imaginary friend who may be God. Amidst much controversy, Colin sues for custody of Faith, compelling Mariah to find her inner strength.

    DMHVetSurveyor says: "Keeping Faith"
    "Ridiculous plot but still a fun read"
    Overall

    Picoult is such a good storyteller and her format of psychological/sociological study plus legal/courtroom drama is something I always enjoy. But this one was more formulaic than most, and the ending didn't make sense and one must totally suspend belief to even get through the story. Ridiculous fluff but still fun listening.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Pillars of the Earth

    • UNABRIDGED (40 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Ken Follett
    • Narrated By John Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (12718)
    Performance
    (5091)
    Story
    (5130)

    Why we think it’s a great listen: Got 40 hours to kill? You’ll find the time when you start listening to Lee’s take on Follett’s epic – and widely celebrated – novel of 12th-century England. The Pillars of the Earth tells the story of Philip, prior of Kingsbridge, a devout and resourceful monk driven to build the greatest Gothic cathedral the world has known...of Tom, the mason who becomes his architect - a man divided in his soul...and of the beautiful, elusive Lady Aliena, haunted by a secret shame....

    CynNC says: "Captivating"
    "Bodice ripper, not literary fiction"
    Overall

    I began calling this book "Rape, Pillage & Priests" because every hour or so there was another romance novel-style bodice-ripper scene. The obligatory, formulaic sex scenes, especially the ones that tried to pose a feminist perspective are just ridiculous and only interfere with the thread of the story. In the end, I listened to all 40 hours but felt that it was a waste of time. I learned next to nothing about history and way too much about this author's sexual fantasies and his inability to write convincing sex scenes. It's quite well-narrated though, for what that's worth.

    15 of 19 people found this review helpful
  • A Thousand Splendid Suns

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Khaled Hosseini
    • Narrated By Atossa Leoni
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (5093)
    Performance
    (1326)
    Story
    (1327)

    Born a generation apart and with very different ideas about love and family, Mariam and Laila are two women brought jarringly together by war, by loss, and by fate. As they endure the ever escalating dangers around them, in their home as well as in the streets of Kabul, they come to form a bond that makes them both sisters and mother-daughter to each other, and that will ultimately alter the course not just of their own lives but of the next generation.

    David says: "Somber but gripping"
    "Is it just me?"
    Overall

    I listened to the first half of the book and didn't enjoy it at all so I checked other reviews and many people said the second half was better so I kept listening. Sadly, after really enjoying the Kite Runner, I felt this book was sophomoric and pedantic, and there were many spots where the story where the characters' actions just didn't ring true or make sense to me. Writers are often admonished to show, not tell, but there was way too much telling in this book. Writers are also told to "write what you know" and I'm afraid the author really doesn't know women from the inside out--they seemed like women written by men. Overall it was disappointing. I felt lectured to, instructed, via the use of cardboard cut-out characters who I never came to care about.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • A Dirty Job

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Christopher Moore
    • Narrated By Fisher Stevens
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4226)
    Performance
    (1509)
    Story
    (1524)

    People start dropping dead around Charlie, giant ravens perch on his building, and it seems that everywhere he goes, a dark presence whispers to him from under the streets. Strange names start appearing on his nightstand notepad, and before he knows it, those people end up dead, too. Yup, it seems that Charlie Asher has been recruited for a new job, an unpleasant but utterly necessary one: Death.

    colleen says: "I loved it!"
    "Too absurd"
    Overall

    I found myself getting annoyed by this story. It was just too ridiculous and the main character was so anxious he was making me feel that way. I tried to like it to no avail and gave up before I got halfway through.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • After This

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Alice McDermott
    • Narrated By Martha Plimpton
    Overall
    (56)
    Performance
    (12)
    Story
    (12)

    Alice McDermott's masterful new novel is a vivd portrait of an American family caught at the crossroads of the tumultuous middle decades of the 20th century. Witty, compassionate, and wry, After This evokes the social, political, and spiritual upheavals of its time through the experiences of a working-class couple, John and Mary Keane, their four children, and the changes radiating through their Catholic community on Long Island.

    Jeanne says: "A Jewel of a Book"
    "Boring"
    Overall

    I got about halfway through and gave up. Like other reviewers said, nothing happens and to me, the characters never really come alive. I realized I was bored and it was like listening to my mother on the phone tell me about people I don't know. Sorry...I tried to like it but finally decided I was wasting my time.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Absurdistan

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Gary Shteyngart
    • Narrated By Arte Johnson
    Overall
    (163)
    Performance
    (26)
    Story
    (25)

    Shteyngart's second novel (The Russian Debutante's Handbook, 2002, was the first) is a wild ride that follows its protagonist and narrator, Misha Vainburg, from St. Petersburg (or St. Leninsburg as he prefers to call it) to a tiny country in the Caucasus called Absurdsvani.

    Alan says: "True Footrest Posse"
    "Gimmicky and puerile"
    Overall

    Ugh. I listened to the whole thing but by the end cared so little that I didn't even bother to replay the ending with the plot resolution that I missed when I left the room for a few minutes, just glad it's over. The subtext of the story: pathetic, grossly fat, neurotic, Russian young man obsessed with and constantly referring to his damaged cooey (sp?) (Russian slang for penis), his flabby tits, toxic hump, multiple bellies and huge flabby hands, tries vainly to return to America where he went to "Accidental College. The author seems to think this gimmick of constant referrals to his gross body parts are supposed to be amusing, but they're just gimmicky and repetitive and unappetizing. Meanwhile there are detailed descriptions of his sexual activities and, another gimmick, occasional rap songs he supposedly sings as his (another gimmick) nickname, "Snack Daddy." I really wanted to like the book--the concept sounded really funny--but I found it over the top, nothing in the story believable, and the infantile obsession with his body parts puerile.

    11 of 14 people found this review helpful
  • The Darling

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Russell Banks
    • Narrated By Mary Beth Hurt
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (308)
    Performance
    (70)
    Story
    (73)

    The Darling is Hannah Musgrave's story, told emotionally and convincingly years later by Hannah herself. A political radical and member of the Weather Underground, Hannah has fled America to West Africa, where she and her Liberian husband become friends and colleagues of Charles Taylor, the notorious warlord and now ex-president of Liberia. When Taylor leaves for the United States in an effort to escape embezzlement charges, he's immediately placed in prison.

    Ellen says: "Complex and compelling"
    "Excellent but too painful to finish"
    Overall

    I have to admit I may be overly sensitive when it comes to hearing about dogs and chimps being killed, left in cages to starve to death, or otherwise suffering unimaginably horrible lives and deaths. And that's just the animals suffering in this book--the people have such sad desperate lives too. It is extremely well written and well-narrated and I wanted to finish it. But I just reached a point where I just couldn't bear to hear any more about the suffering of the chimps, so lovingly described with all their ever so human characteristics. And from flashbacks earlier in the story I knew that things would only get worse so I stopped a little more than 3/4 through. I'm also not sure than the protagonist's behavior throughout the story is very congruent with who she supposedly is. I found myself thinking "Huh? Why would she do that...I thought she was smart and independent, strong and committed...that doesn't make sense..."

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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