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Simi Valley, CA, United States | Member Since 2008

  • 6 reviews
  • 14 ratings
  • 192 titles in library
  • 3 purchased in 2015

  • The Grapes of Wrath

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By John Steinbeck
    • Narrated By Dylan Baker
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    At once naturalistic epic, captivity narrative, road novel, and transcendental gospel, Steinbeck’s, The Grapes of Wrath is perhaps the most American of American classics. Although it follows the movement of thousands of men and women and the transformation of an entire nation during the Dust Bowl migration of the 1930s, The Grapes of Wrath is also the story of one Oklahoma farm family, the Joads, who are forced to travel west to the promised land of California.

    J. H. Monaco says: "Wonderful Tale Punctuated with Loud Harmonic Licks"
    "Beautiful and Brilliant"

    There are certain novels and works of art that one simply must engage and come to terms with. Grapes of Wrath is among these works. Moving through the story certainly is a strain of political commitment that will be unpopular to some, eye-opening to others, and surprisingly lacking in our current political debates. Both the tale, and the facts of history recounted by the tale, are parts of American history. To be more deeply American, you could do worse than to become familiar with this novel.

    AND, I can highly recommend the reading of Dylan Baker. He is a virtuoso of American dialects and timbres. His creativity in voicing the (many) characters deserves a special award. BRAVO, captivating. Keeping Tom Joad's voice close to Henry Fonda's was wise as it strengthens the resonance of the character.

    Some here have criticized the harmonica, and they have a point. It is a bit high in the mix and sometimes jarring. But then, Steinbeck references and described the harmonica in the book, and it seems not so alien. It captures a different flavor. Imagine setting on the running board of your broke-down jalopy and the guy in the next tent slides 'er out of his pocket. And he puffs his cheeks like a son of a bitch and damn near wakes up the whole camp. You can almost smell the gasoline and woodsmoke. Like a lot of things, once you make your peace with it, you would miss it if it were gone.

    Great work. Thanks to the producers, narrator, and author.

    7 of 10 people found this review helpful
  • Folks, This Ain't Normal: A Farmer's Advice for Happier Hens, Healthier People, and a Better World

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Joel Salatin
    • Narrated By Joel Salatin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    From farmer Joel Salatin's point of view, life in the 21st century just ain't normal. In Folks, This Ain't Normal, he discusses how far removed we are from the simple, sustainable joy that comes from living close to the land and the people we love.

    Erin says: "Sometimes preachy, but informative"
    "Refreshingly witty and informative"
    What made the experience of listening to Folks, This Ain't Normal the most enjoyable?

    Joel Salatin is a hoot. And he's right about more than is comfortable to admit. I picked this up because of Michael Pollan's books. I am glad I did. MORE, Joel, MORE.

    What about Joel Salatin’s performance did you like?

    Joel's voice is warm and given to bubble over in laughter at the humor of creation.

    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Couldn't listen to it in one sitting: too long and varied.

    Any additional comments?

    One has to be tolerant of other people's crazy ideas in order to really enjoy this book. You are not likely to agree with him about everything. If you did, you probably wouldn't be listening to audio books during your commute. If you are into organic food, it is a great read. He explains how the farm works. If you are into character building, he explains how his version of that works. If you are into healthy families, alternative lifestyles, prairies, agriculture, folklore, insightful social commentary, living off the grid, canning pickles, libertarianism, American history. . . the list goes on and on. Oh, just listen to it. Thanks Joel.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Cleopatra: A Life

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Stacy Schiff
    • Narrated By Robin Miles
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Her palace shimmered with onyx, garnets, and gold, but was richer still in political and sexual intrigue. Above all else, Cleopatra was a shrewd strategist and an ingenious negotiator. Though her life spanned fewer than 40 years, it reshaped the contours of the ancient world. Cleopatra appears to have had sex with only two men. They happen, however, to have been Julius Caesar and Mark Antony.

    Shaun says: "A pretty good listen."
    "A poorly written book about a fascinating person"
    Any additional comments?

    It seems as though this manuscript never left the first draft stage. One can easily imagine that sentences hastily written on index cards were simply arranged loosely by topic. Robin Miles is a fine reader, but when one is reading what are essentially flash-cards, a good voice only goes so far. The edifice of a scholarly work is completely absent, and the narrative drive of a popular history is missing as well. The result is a work that presents dubious facts (on what evidence do we know that Cleopatra read poetry more than fiction?), without actually creating a memorable character. I do appreciate the cultural history approach of creating a context for character, but don't imagine you will avoid cliches here; they flow like an endless river. . . like the Nile really. Read Stacy Schiff's other work, this one isn't her best prose

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Imperium: A Novel of Ancient Rome

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Robert Harris
    • Narrated By Simon Jones
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    When Tiro, the confidential secretary (and slave) of a Roman senator, opens the door to a terrified stranger on a cold November morning, he sets in motion a chain of events that will eventually propel his master into one of the most suspenseful courtroom dramas in history.

    Karen says: "Great Naration, Great Book"

    I did not want this tale to end. Thank goodness it is part of a trilogy. The story brings history alive and renders Cicero a man any of us could understand and some of us could know. The wonderful intrigues and twists are infused with insights into the character of the man, into the human condition, into the political dynamics of a republic that seemed incapable of living up to its challenges.

    Simon Jones could read the phonebook and I would want to listen. Outstanding voice, Shakespearean, rounded, solid, reliable, and able to bring the characters emotions to life.

    Wonderful experience. I look forward to more.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Michael Pollan
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    "What should we have for dinner?" To one degree or another, this simple question assails any creature faced with a wide choice of things to eat. Anthropologists call it the omnivore's dilemma. Choosing from among the countless potential foods nature offers, humans have had to learn what is safe, and what isn't. Today, as America confronts what can only be described as a national eating disorder, the omnivore's dilemma has returned with an atavistic vengeance.

    MCRedding says: "Great presentation of a moral dilemma"
    "Informative book, very well read"

    This is the kind of book that can really change your life. . . and you don't have to become a convert to anything for this to happen. As you listen to the book, you simply will become more broadly aware of the world of food and how it is produced. Michael points out that it is odd that we live in a society wherein an investigative journalist is required to find out where our food comes from. And the stories of the different meals he presents here are simply fascinating. By the end of the book, I found myself wondering how the fennel plants growing on the side of the road would taste, and how could I harvest them. Thank you Michael and thank you Scott. Well done. . . and very rare at the same time.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • German I, Second Revised Edition: Lessons 1 to 5: Learn to Speak and Understand German

    • ABRIDGED (2 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Pimsleur

    An introduction to the complete program. Includes two-and-a-half hours of spoken language practice in five 30-minute lessons. Contains lessons 1-5 from the Pimsleur Comprehensive Level I program. Also includes a User's Guide to introduce you to the Pimsleur Method.

    Joseph says: "Excellent Product"
    "Excellent Product"

    I am very pleased with my Pimsleur German lessons. During my long daily hour commute I listen to the lessons on my ipod. I am up to lesson 20, and it has been relatively easy and enjoyable. My German speaking friends have been surprised at the quality of my pronunciation and at the ease with which I can ask if they want to eat at the restaurant on Goethe Strasse. I highly recommend this series.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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