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J. P. Stukel

Listener Since 2009

  • 4 reviews
  • 21 ratings
  • 49 titles in library
  • 0 purchased in 2015

  • Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By Katherine Boo
    • Narrated By Sunil Malhotra
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Annawadi is a makeshift settlement in the shadow of luxury hotels near the Mumbai airport, and as India starts to prosper, Annawadians are electric with hope. Abdul, a reflective and enterprising Muslim teenager, sees “a fortune beyond counting” in the recyclable garbage that richer people throw away. Asha, a woman of formidable wit and deep scars from a childhood in rural poverty, has identified an alternate route to the middle class: political corruption.

    Dr. says: "An Antidote for Shantaram"
    "Sad, sadder and sadder still......"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    No, the book told a truth that it's difficult for Americans to understand about the way everyday lower caste people in a world class city like Mumbai are forced to live their lives. There are no beautiful forevers there, everything falls apart and no one really gives a rat's ass. I wish I could have seen something other than mans inhumanity to man -

    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    I doubt that it could have been made enjoyable unless a positive spin were placed on some of the misery the residents of the slum had to endure everyday of their lives. The author wanted to tell it like it was, and it wasn't pleasant.

    Have you listened to any of Sunil Malhotra???s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I don't believe I've listened to any other narrations by Sunil Malhotra. He is masterful - He brought the characters to life for me.

    Was Behind the Beautiful Forevers worth the listening time?

    Yes, it was worth the listening time. I think it told me more than I wanted to know, however.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Deborah Feldman
    • Narrated By Rachel Botchan

    In this captivating memoir, Deborah Feldman takes listeners on an eye-opening journey into Orthodox Jewish culture. Raised in the suffocating world of Brooklyn’s Satmar Hasidim, Feldman was told what to read and who she was allowed to talk to. Married off at 17, she suffered from anxiety and was shamed by an inability to please her older husband. But after giving birth to a son at age 19, Feldman realized it was time to tear up her roots and make her own path in life.

    Ella says: "A one-sided glimpse into a secretive world"
    "Interesting, whiny and a bit unbelievable"

    This is a chronicle of the coming of age of a young girl growing up in the world of her Hasidic grandparents and extended family, her struggles to fit in and then finally to escape that world. Feldman does a good job of explaining the beliefs and customs of her restrictive Hasidic family and community - this was very interesting. She had a lot to overcome with her mentally retarded and alcoholic father and her absent mother, but her grandparents did love her and tried their best to give her a good life. She had some difficult times, early marriage, baby, divorce, etc... but then so do many of us. She ultimately comes off as a spoiled, whiny little brat who felt that she was owed a lot more in life than she got. She was only 24yrs old, after all. In the end, she finally comes to terms with herself and her Jewish faith, but we're left hanging: Did she maintain custody of her son? Did she finish school? Did she get a job? Did she ever get together with her mother again? Too much rhetoric on how good she looked, how strong she had to be to get what she felt she deserved. Too many unanswered questions.

    4 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • Asta's Book

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Barbara Vine
    • Narrated By Harriet Walter

    It is 1905. Asta and her husband, Rasmus, have come to East London from Denmark with their two little boys. With Rasmus constantly away on business, Asta keeps loneliness and isolation at bay by writing a diary. These diaries, published over 70 years later, reveal themselves to be more than a mere journal. For they seem to hold the key to an unsolved murder and to the mystery of a missing child. It falls to Asta's granddaughter, Ann, to unearth the buried secrets of nearly a century before.

    james d. thomas says: "Brilliant Reading of a Classic Novel"
    "Enthralling Multi-generational Mystery Story"
    Where does Asta's Book rank among all the audiobooks you???ve listened to so far?

    I loved this audiobook - definitely one of my favorites so far. Ruth Rendell/Barbara Vine is a superb mystery writer. I've listened to, or read, everything she's ever written.

    What was one of the most memorable moments of Asta's Book?

    The most memorable parts of the book for me were in the early chapters where Asta writes in her diary of her early life after immigrating from Denmark to London with her husband, the birth of their children, of Swanny's place in the family, and their rise from near poverty to a life of upper class wealth. Asta herself was a contradiction: tough and cold sometimes, and yet warm and motherly too. She was a survivor first of all and you get the feeling that she would endure anything to get what she wanted. The psychological makeup and interraction between Rendell's characters are what makes her stuff so good.

    What does Harriet Walter bring to the story that you wouldn???t experience if you just read the book?

    Harriet Walter brought life to the characters with her scandinavian accent and superb narration. There's nothing worse for an audiobook experience than a bad narrator or better than a good one.

    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I loved it - from the first word to the last. I looked forward to my long commutes so that I could listen to the book without interruption.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Year of Wonders

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Geraldine Brooks
    • Narrated By Geraldine Brooks
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    When an infected bolt of cloth carries plague from London to an isolated village, a housemaid named Anna Frith emerges as an unlikely heroine and healer. Through Anna's eyes we follow the story of the fateful year of 1666, as she and her fellow villagers confront the spread of disease and superstition. As death reaches into every household and villagers turn from prayers to murderous witch-hunting, Anna must find the strength to confront the disintegration of her community and the lure of illicit love.

    Amazon Customer says: "Great Story- Awful Narrator"
    "Great book, terrible reader!"
    If you could sum up Year of Wonders in three words, what would they be?

    Exciting, heartbreaking, uplifting

    What did you like best about this story?

    The historical aspect of the story was my favorite part - Brooks manages to get into the minds of her characters and bring them to life in a way that's relevant to today. I love anything written by Geraldine Brooks.

    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Geraldine Brooks?

    Barbara Caruso, Jennifer Ehle, there are many wonderful narrators who would do justice to this book. A reader with a British accent, or should I say a GOOD reader with a British accent would be fine.

    Who was the most memorable character of Year of Wonders and why?

    I haven't finished the book, but so far it's Anna.

    I'm reviewing early because I just had to comment on the poor choice of Geraldine Brooks as the narrator. Yikes, I hope I can last til the end - her reading is monotone, whiny and just plain bad.

    Any additional comments?

    Great book, bad reader - I'll say it again. I will never buy another audible book read by the author - I've been disappointed too many times.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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