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Vanessa

West Covina, CA, United States | Member Since 2011

5
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 3 reviews
  • 5 ratings
  • 58 titles in library
  • 0 purchased in 2014
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  • The Aquariums of Pyongyang: Ten Years in the North Korean Gulag

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Kang Chol-Hwan, Pierre Rigoulot
    • Narrated By Stephen Park
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (99)
    Performance
    (82)
    Story
    (83)

    North Korea is today one of the last bastions of hard-line Communism. Its leaders have kept a tight grasp on their one-party regime, quashing any nascent opposition movements and sending all suspected dissidents to its brutal concentration camps for "re-education." Kang Chol-hwan is the first survivor of one of these camps to escape and tell his story to the world, documenting the extreme conditions in these gulags and providing a personal insight into life in North Korea.

    Vanessa says: "Unique and Engaging"
    "Unique and Engaging"
    Overall

    This is a remarkable story of how one man survived the Gulags (aka concentration camps) of North Korea. Whether it be talking about swallowing live salamanders, hunting rats to eat, or attempting to steal an officer's rabbit, this book is full of bizarre, entertaining, horrifying, yet undeniably engrossing accounts of what life is like under the "Dear Leader" and the North Korean regime and how one man could bravely escape his fate.

    The narration was done my Stephen Park who did a fantastic job.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Bound Feet and Western Dress: A Memoir

    • ABRIDGED (2 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By Pang-Mei Natasha Chang
    • Narrated By Pang-Mei Natasha Chang
    Overall
    (13)
    Performance
    (7)
    Story
    (7)

    Caitlin says: "Only 4 chapters"
    "Goes by quick!"
    Overall

    Was great to hear the author's voice even though the production quality wasn't all that great.

    I have been a fan of Xu Zhimo ever since I read his most famous poem "Saying Good-bye to Cambridge Again." It's a beautiful poem and even more beautiful in Chinese. My favorite stanza:
    "Very quietly I take my leave,
    As quietly as I came here;
    Gently I flick my sleeves,
    Not even a wisp of cloud will I bring away."

    His poetry is so enchanting, beautiful, fluid.

    Well, you can imagine that I was surprised to find out that he's actually kind of a jerk and an irresponsible father.

    This book is about the first wife of the famous Xu Zhimo as told by her grand niece, Natasha Chang. It followed Zhang YouYi's hardships and how she dealt with betrayal, loss, and the ever-changing time period that she lived in.

    The narrative is very well crafted and her grand niece does an excellent job in putting her own reflections without taking away from the main objective of the story. There was just enough of her voice but not too much to distract. She's a good story-teller.

    This is a good read for those who are interested in the history and development of modern China and the thought process of those living in that period.

    The amazing thing about family histories are that they follow one story and so you learn about history through a very focused lens, enough to interest a variety of readers. Stories are the most powerful tools of retelling history.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • It's All Too Much: An Easy Plan for Living a Richer Life with Less Stuff

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Peter Walsh
    • Narrated By Peter Walsh
    Overall
    (532)
    Performance
    (210)
    Story
    (204)

    When you think of what it will take to clean your house, are you so overwhelmed you throw up your hands and cry, "It's all too much"? If somewhere along the way you've simply lost the ability to keep your home organized and clutter-free, then It's All Too Much has the solution you've been searching for.

    Ro says: "Most Life-Changing Book I've Read in Years"
    "Read before it's too late!"
    Overall

    This is a great audio book to listen to while you're cleaning. I've learned so many organization and de-clutter principles from this book. A lot of people may think that you need to read this book after there is a problem, but I think this is a book everyone should read BEFORE there is a problem. I don't particularly think I currently have hoarding tendencies and I live in a 1 bedroom apartment, but I know the tendencies run in my genes and I definitely could see myself doing some of the horrendous things mentioned in this book. So I'm glad I listened to this audio book as a way of pre-intervention. My favorite principle was: "one toy in, one toy out" or "1 new pair of shoes in, one pair of old shoes out" etc... I got so inspired that I went on massive spring cleaning mode and finally battled the war under my bed. This is a book that you can re-read every few years for inspiration. I think this is one of those books every one needs to read at least once.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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