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P. Giorgio

TheWriter

Illinois | Member Since 2001

412
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 87 reviews
  • 301 ratings
  • 940 titles in library
  • 6 purchased in 2014
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FOLLOWERS
83

  • The Grapes of Wrath

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By John Steinbeck
    • Narrated By Dylan Baker
    Overall
    (1290)
    Performance
    (1120)
    Story
    (1127)

    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.

    Dan Harlow says: "Almost more relevant now than when it was written"
    "Foresight and Wisdom"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It is a rare book that pinpoints culture in every era. We all read this as children, and I hope today's students are taken through it step by step, but reading it as an adult is a reminder that things, no matter what we think, always stay the same.

    The book should be required reading in grade school, high school and college. It goes to Economics, History, Social Justice, sociology, etc. I wish I hadn't waited so long to take it up again.

    Wonderful language, superb plotting, pacing, characterization -- all wonderful. Unfortunately, the subject offers no satisfying ending. The closing scene, however, is so startling it will resonate differently with me at my advanced age than it did the first time through.

    The narrator was wonderful.

    Worth reading again.

    5 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • Sycamore Row

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By John Grisham
    • Narrated By Michael Beck
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (5839)
    Performance
    (5284)
    Story
    (5279)

    Seth Hubbard is a wealthy man dying of lung cancer. He trusts no one. Before he hangs himself from a sycamore tree, Hubbard leaves a new, handwritten, will. It is an act that drags his adult children, his black maid, and Jake into a conflict as riveting and dramatic as the murder trial that made Brigance one of Ford County's most notorious citizens, just three years earlier. The second will raises far more questions than it answers. Why would Hubbard leave nearly all of his fortune to his maid? Had chemotherapy and painkillers affected his ability to think clearly?

    Brock says: "Grisham at his best (again)"
    "Excellent, well researched and engaging."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Not one complaint except an unanswered question... Who was Burt and what was the secret that Sylvester had promised to never reveal? Or did I miss it?

    Beyond that, it was a very, satisfying, educational and rich in character and setting. Very well worth reading.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Spoils of Poynton

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Henry James
    • Narrated By Maureen O'Brien
    Overall
    (47)
    Performance
    (18)
    Story
    (18)

    Mrs Gereth is convinced that Fleda Vetch would make the perfect daughter-in-law. Only the dreamy, highly-strung young woman can genuinely appreciate, and perhaps eventually share, Mrs Gereth's passion for her 'things' - the antique treasures she has amassed at Poynton Park in the south of England. Owen Gereth, however, has inconveniently become engaged to the uncultured Mona Brigstock.

    Linda says: "Outstanding"
    "A classic but longer than necessary"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I read this for a class in Brit Lit. Simply because it's Henry James, it's not the worst of the bunch. It is rather long winded for the outcome. The psychological portraits seem apt. The legal stuff a tad unbelievable, but probably true. To me it all rests in one idea. Mrs. Gareth's son does not have the kind of adoration a son should have for his mother, so she is being ousted by the despicable woman he wants to marry. The woman Mrs.Gareth wants him to marry is too morally sound to do what must be done to displace the fiance, so much chaos ensues.

    The ending is troubling for an absence of explanation. I like a cliffhanger, but I feel there was not enough information in the characters to give me even a guess at the perpetrator of the final act. It's almost as if James threw up his hands in disgust at his characters and took action with his pen to free them from a final decision.

    Anyway, it's worth the credit; though it lacks humor, sustained tension and, except for a final action by Owen and a last page event, it also lacks surprise.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Arrowsmith

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Sinclair Lewis
    • Narrated By John McDonough
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (53)
    Performance
    (43)
    Story
    (44)

    Martin Arrowsmith is fascinated by science and medicine. As a boy, he immerses himself in Gray’s Anatomy. In medical school, he soaks up knowledge from his mentor, a renowned bacteriologist. But soon he is urged to focus on politics and promotions rather than his research. Even as Martin progresses from doctor to public health official and noted pathologist, he still yearns to devote his time to pure science.

    Stephen says: "Arrowsmith - The Classic Book, Not the Band"
    "Boring but readable"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    So this kid from the hinterlands decides to become a doctor. He goes through the trials and tribs of youth, early love, rejection. He hitches his academic wagon to the wrong stars on occasion. He finds the right woman who supports him and his quest for a medical degree and a position to work in science. He fails miserably more than once. He capitulates to corporate greed, the woman's parents, the expectations of society all before he wakes up --too late-- and has to start all over again.

    If this was a jab at the education of a medical professional, it seems weak today. The writing was strong, the characters well defined, their foibles and power well explored and delineated. Poor Martin Arrowsmith, however, was drawn without much spine, and less imagination than his costars.

    Not sure why this is a "classic" except for its year, and the fact that Sinclair Lewis also wrote Elmer Gantry, but it is an adequate portrait of early 20th century, pre-WWII America. There are some attacks at militarism, at corporate medical practices, at academia, etc., but it's not a diatribe and it is also not a deep read.

    I am taking on Elmer Gantry later, but I feel I've already seen into that book through Lewis' sweep of American immorality in this book. Elmer Gantry SHOULD be preachy; Arrowsmith was as well.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Gods of Guilt

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Michael Connelly
    • Narrated By Peter Giles
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2064)
    Performance
    (1825)
    Story
    (1816)

    Mickey Haller gets the text, "Call me ASAP - 187," and the California penal code for murder immediately gets his attention. Murder cases have the highest stakes and the biggest paydays, and they always mean Haller has to be at the top of his game. When Mickey learns that the victim was his own former client, a prostitute he thought he had rescued and put on the straight and narrow path, he knows he is on the hook for this one. He soon finds out that she was back in LA and back in the life.

    Jane says: "Definitely entertaining. I had some smiles."
    "Adequate entry into the series."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I think it is about average for the series. There is much repetition, seemingly filler. There is no real "suspense" to speak of, no twists or turns. These books are getting too soft, too nicey-nicey and not enough bad behavior. Mikey Haller is despicable, he lies, cheats and pretty much bends the law to his needs, which is not only not appealing, but a little ridiculous. Connelley gives the judges much better standards of behavior, *always* belittles the prosecutors and generally makes the women characters very likeable. I think he is being a little too PC, it feels contrived. His client is claiming innocence of the murder, which is Mickey's case in this book, but the client is not someone I would root for--not because he is into bad stuff but because he's a wuss and I couldn't have cared less if he died in jail. Of all the characters, I think I liked Sly Sr. the most. He was the most authentic, but even he caved to Mickey's brilliant wheeling and dealing.

    The plot to this one took some brain mapping. I don't know why, but I had a difficult time believing the tie-in between the (at least) three separate crimes.

    Like I said, no surprises, no tears of sadness or joy, no real threats to anyone -- twice Mickey ignores the judge's admonition to quit running her courtroom and doesn't get in trouble. Mickey spends a good deal of time pinpointing his main juror, but it didn't matter anyway... why plant that seed? Bad use of red herring.

    Anyway, I'm a fan of the series and of Connelley's past performances, so I am an eternal optimist. Maybe in the next installment he should kill off Mickey, so we don't expect more of a good thing that apparently is not forthcoming?

    I have run into this syndrome in the past, favored authors' series and characters growing stale. It could be a matter of boredom by the author who may have publishing contracts to fulfill. Lee Child may be approaching this milestone, Jonathan Kellerman has gotten close too. Even Preston & Child's Pendergast series is getting a little predictable -- except that they have strong stories and AXP Pendergast is generally very much alive on the page and remains as likeable as a rock star.

    It's kind of like knowing when to leave the party. I think it's time for Mickey Haller to pack up his boring self, his bad fathering, his womanizing, his self-pity and his tricky courtroom hijinks and drink himself to death.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Winesburg, Ohio

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Sherwood Anderson
    • Narrated By Deaver Brown
    Overall
    (14)
    Performance
    (9)
    Story
    (9)

    Winesburg, Ohio has the most memorable cast of characters in 20th-century fiction. Listeners will remember at least a few stories and their characters for the rest of their lives. Each of the 23 stories stands on its own. And each is also interwoven into the fabric of the book.

    Jacob says: "Hilariously bad"
    "Had to get a different version"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The worst narrator in the world. Voice was bad, and there was an audible "click" like to a tape machine every several minutes... I am downloading another version, because I know the book is great... This should be removed from the list.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Yearling

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings
    • Narrated By Tom Stechschulte
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (22)
    Performance
    (20)
    Story
    (21)

    Young Jody lives with his ma and pa on a farm in backwoods Florida. Life is hard there: cutting wood, planting fields, hauling water from a distant sinkhole. It is dangerous: wolves and bears roam the night. It’s also lonely for a young boy. One spring day, Jody’s pa kills a deer for meat. When Jody sees her spotted fawn in the brush, he convinces his father they should bring the fawn home. Thus begins a year when deer and boy are never far from each other. But the day will come when Jody must make a terrible choice between his beloved pet and his family’s survival.

    P. Giorgio says: "Gorgeous"
    "Gorgeous"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Wonderful book, good story, some predictable elements, but the "twist" was unexpected. I expected a whole different reason for the "big decision." This was better. Warm, authentic and suitable for all ages, cultures and interests. Narrator very good. Recommended -- in fact, should be required reading for students of the human community. Tolerance, humor, survival, family, fathers and sons.... just great.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Bel Canto

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Ann Patchett
    • Narrated By Anna Fields
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1552)
    Performance
    (731)
    Story
    (737)

    Somewhere in South America at the home of the country's vice president, a lavish birthday party is being held in honor of Mr. Hosokawa, a powerful Japanese businessman. Roxanne Coss, opera's most revered soprano, has mesmerized the guests with her singing. It is a perfect evening, until a band of terrorists breaks in, taking the entire party hostage.

    Brian says: "Surprisingly engrossing"
    "Perfect except for the final pairing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Loved it on every level. Liked that there were no "hidden" messages, but outright connections and links to events and personal psychology of the hostages. Loved that so many characters could be so individually present and unique. Loved the "love" relationship of the two couples, adored the Russian's profession of adoration based on a (long) short story of the man's early years. Yes, these are archetypal characters.. we've seen them all before in one scenario or another, but the twists are subtle and sufficient enough to make it a page turner, though the pages turned gently, for it was a sweet book, a book of hope.

    Throughout the story, the narrator tells us things like "later he would think..." so that we knew certainly the future of that particular character. The suspense was in my own longing that the couples could be coupled after the takeover. Yet the tragedy and the glory of the situation grow from the impossibility of the situation.

    If the set was too comfortable, too well fed, housed in a mansion and not in a thatched roof hut in a forest, who cares? The story was about captivity, language, voice, independence and dependence. The Opera motif fit perfectly the drama of the setting, the largeness of the characters, and voice, voice was key here.

    A translator is not allowed to interpret or choose what is meant to be said, eventually the Traductor stepped out of his role. A terrorist is not supposed to waver; the generals eventually tired. Child terrorists should be obedient or they would be punished, this scruffy lot was hungry for the outside world and confined to the VP's mansion were things they would never have seen, heard or felt. It was about acceptance and letting go.

    Someone mentioned that the language came right of an MFA platter of perfect English. I agree, and that's what made it so readable. The sentences were almost invisible, unless you don't like your English well done. The language carried the story without intrusion and that is a trait of greatness.

    I have one complaint, and that complaint cost this the 4th star. The ending, a bit abrupt, was "unfair," regarding the terrorists, and it seemed rushed. But beyond that, what we learn in the Epilogue about the survivors broke the spell for me. I did not care at all for the way Roxanne and Gen ended up. It is too flimsy to say that because each lost the love of their individual lives (as formed in captivity), that they should assume the roles of the lost ones. Mr. Hosokawa and Carmen go down together by a single bullet.. ghastly and too melodramatic. Gen and Roxanne’s final pairing made no sense, and while I was ready to "sell" the book to anyone who would listen to me, it ruined the spell for me. Of course, Edith and Simon Thibault made sense together… Simon’s adoration of his wife was never questioned.


    Narrator Anna Fields was splendid...

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • O Pioneers!

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Willa Cather
    • Narrated By Barbara McCulloh
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (43)
    Performance
    (15)
    Story
    (16)

    Darwin8u says: "Lifted and carried lightly by some one very strong"
    "Well intended, but a minor effort: 2.5*"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Limited in scope, a "feel-good" story written in simple prose, with nothing of substance to support it. Rather stock characters, though some more interesting than others. Religious "lessons" in the actions/punishments of wayward people. Basically a Christian look at a hard life, about forgiveness, tolerance, and learning to be satisfied with what one has.

    If this was meant to contain any "feminist" threads, they were slim. Strong female protag who is successful in most of her endeavors, but waits till forever to marry. A few conflicts which could have proved interesting but didn't

    Narrator fine; story -- good for 10-12 year olds; older kids would find it dull and unrealistic.

    Lots of scenery, love of the land, etc. etc.

    Read The Yearling if you like books about making it in the rough, about rising to overcome adversity and about growing up to be a "good" human being.

    2.5 - 3*, because it is the first of a fairly good trilogy. My Antonia (the 3rd) is far better than this one; with more grit and real emotion, perhaps because by then Cather had matured as a writer.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Never Go Back: A Jack Reacher Novel, Book 18

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Lee Child
    • Narrated By Dick Hill
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1902)
    Performance
    (1703)
    Story
    (1684)

    Former military cop Jack Reacher makes it all the way from snowbound South Dakota to his destination in northeastern Virginia, near Washington, D.C.: the headquarters of his old unit, the 110th MP. The old stone building is the closest thing to a home he ever had. Reacher is there to meet - in person - the new commanding officer, Major Susan Turner, so far just a warm, intriguing voice on the phone. But it isn’t Turner behind the CO’s desk. And Reacher is hit with two pieces of shocking news, one with serious criminal consequences, and one too personal to even think about.

    Oceana says: "My favorite Reacher story yet"
    "May be the best one yet!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    From the opening words to the final scene, the story was flawless. Not too many "silly" coincidences, but a few for good humor. Not too unlikely a scenario, but enough to make it riveting. I especially loved the first "escape" scenario -- a bit out there, but not for Reacher. As usual there is a good measure of but just enough philosophy, sociology, child psychology and scientific fact. The romancing was maybe a bit light, its power being in afterthoughts and not in present/action. Would have liked a bit more eroticism; seemed like a "task" to get done and over with the first time; the second time being described in retrospect, passively and without ardor.

    The plot: Loved, loved, loved the Claughtons, believable, funny and a little caricatured. Believable except for the 1 vs. 8 "honor among thieves" episode.

    My favorite parts were in Reacher's musings on Sam Dayton, the way phrases goaded him forward, and in his recountings of his childhood, the way phrases explained his particular kind of thinking.

    If there is a weak point, and this is probably only my problem, it is the ending. The end was good in that it tied up and explained everything. But the all-around forgiveness was hard to accept. I DID like the way Jack and Susan ended the book. Logical, predictable, and I wouldn't have had it any other way. God forbid there would be commitment.

    The book began and ended with Reacher as he is: affected but not altered by his recent episode and encounters. It was good to watch him "feel" for another person. His feelings went well beyond righting wrongs. It went to his core. If the Samantha Dayton story had worked out differently, we would have had a kinder, gentler Reacher, who might have begun building picket fences.

    Instead, I wait for the next one, and a year is entirely too long.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • No Country for Old Men

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Cormac McCarthy
    • Narrated By Tom Stechschulte
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1913)
    Performance
    (607)
    Story
    (612)

    Cormac McCarthy, best-selling author of National Book Award winner All the Pretty Horses, delivers his first new novel in seven years. Written in muscular prose, No Country for Old Men is a powerful tale of the West that moves at a blistering pace.

    Alan says: "Great story!"
    "Exceptional, engrossing, frightening."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is one of the best books I have ever read in my life. It is riveting, it is complete, it is complex, it demands much from the reader; it requires re-reading of some sections.

    Every single character is "sympathetic." You like them all. You want each of them to achieve their goals.. the good guys and the bad guys. As the murder victims added up, I felt so sad, so sorry for them. The characters are so strong that I will never forget them.

    Throughout the book, I kept asking myself "whose story is this?" It comes clear late in the book. It is in parts 7 and 8 that the whole thing begins to stick together.

    Still, the end was a little disappointing. There is at least one "missing person," one unexplained death, and it is so much meditation on very "heavy" subjects.

    I think I wish McCarthy had put some of that spiritual searching earlier in the book; following so much action, it's a little bottom heavy with stream-of-consciousness, moralizing. The questions are all apt to the story; they provoke deep thought.

    There is very little but some politicizing ... some grandstanding by the author, but it was light and it did not feel like a "big statement."

    At any rate it is among my all time favorites, right up there with the Classics, the Russians and the Moderns. It is atypical of these post-modern times. The book is old- fashioned in that it tells a real story. It is new-fashioned in that it has a strange approach to dialect -- including phonetic punctuation. It does become comfortable quickly. There are point of view switches that are not always clear until well into each new section's opening paragraphs. Sometimes you don't know whose story we are in, and then you do know because each character is so distinguishable.

    Fabulous.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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