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P. Bergh

There's always time for reading

NH | Member Since 2004

95
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 20 reviews
  • 226 ratings
  • 472 titles in library
  • 24 purchased in 2014
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  • River Town: Two Years on the Yangtze

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 36 mins)
    • By Peter Hessler
    • Narrated By Peter Berkrot
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (164)
    Performance
    (95)
    Story
    (97)

    In the heart of China's Sichuan province, amid the terraced hills of the Yangtze River valley, lies the remote town of Fuling. Like many other small cities in this ever-evolving country, Fuling is heading down a new path of change and growth, which came into remarkably sharp focus when Peter Hessler arrived as a Peace Corps volunteer, marking the first time in more than half a century that the city had an American resident.

    Ravenmaster says: "Peter Berkrot Again?"
    "Interesting but outdated"
    Overall

    I thought this was a good book--well written, well read--but it was written back in the 90s. So much has changed in China in that time, as well as world politics, that I found it very outdated. Also, there's really very little about the Yangtze itself.

    If I were doing over, I'd skip it and look for something more current.

    5 of 11 people found this review helpful
  • The Luminaries

    • UNABRIDGED (29 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Eleanor Catton
    • Narrated By Mark Meadows
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1040)
    Performance
    (897)
    Story
    (914)

    It is 1866 and Walter Moody has come to make his fortune upon the New Zealand goldfields. On arrival, he stumbles across a tense gathering of 12 local men, who have met in secret to discuss a series of unsolved crimes. A wealthy man has vanished, a whore has tried to end her life, and an enormous fortune has been discovered in the home of a luckless drunk. Moody is soon drawn into the mystery: a network of fates and fortunes that is as complex and exquisitely patterned as the night sky.

    Melinda says: "Not So Luminous"
    "Well read, twisty plot, great history, but l-o-n-g"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I enjoyed the Luminaries: a fascinating account of gold fields of New Zealand. The characters are all colorful, very Dickens-like, and the book is very well read. The biggest challenge is that there are many characters and it is very long. Even listening regularly, it is easy to get a bit confused, particularly as the book jumps around date-wise a bit. That being said, it is a really good book and deserved of its awards and accolades.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Timothy Egan
    • Narrated By Patrick Lawlor, Ken Burns
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1338)
    Performance
    (756)
    Story
    (768)

    The dust storms that terrorized America's High Plains in the darkest years of the Depression were like nothing ever seen before or since, and the stories of the people that held on have never been fully told. Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times journalist and author Timothy Egan follows a half-dozen families and their communities through the rise and fall of the region.

    Laurie says: "more than grapes of wrath"
    "Not his best work, interesting but too long"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I think Timothy Egan is a great writer and have enjoyed a number of his other books -- particularly Short Nights. Like his other books, I found this one covered a fascinating, little known era of American history, the dust bowl drama of the 1930s, but found it covered the same ground way too long (think 100 pages of listening about dust storms) without the same drama or depth of his more recent works. It's an interesting book, but I was glad to be finished with it.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Son

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Philipp Meyer
    • Narrated By Will Patton, Kate Mulgrew, Scott Shepherd, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1358)
    Performance
    (1209)
    Story
    (1231)

    Part epic of Texas, part classic coming-of-age story, part unflinching portrait of the bloody price of power, The Son is an utterly transporting novel that maps the legacy of violence in the American West through the lives of the McCulloughs, an ambitious family as resilient and dangerous as the land they claim. Spring, 1849: Eli McCullough is 13 years old when a marauding band of Comanches takes him captive. Brave and clever, Eli quickly adapts to life among the Comanches, learning their ways and waging war against their enemies, including white men - which complicates his sense of loyalty and understanding of who he is.

    Melinda says: "Five Stars for the Lone Star, The Son, & Meyer"
    "Historical western fiction worthy of McCarthy"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The Son provides an entertaining, long-arc view of Texas; it is a family drama that covers 150+ years in a fast paced, well researched way. The family's generations takes a bit of figuring out (wonder if there's a family tree printed in book?), but becomes clearer as book progresses.

    This is a great book and I was sad when it was done. I've read most of Cormac McCarthy, including his trilogy. This is almost as well written, with its share of frontier harshness.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • 1984: New Classic Edition

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By George Orwell
    • Narrated By Simon Prebble
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4125)
    Performance
    (2667)
    Story
    (2698)

    George Orwell depicts a gray, totalitarian world dominated by Big Brother and its vast network of agents, including the Thought Police - a world in which news is manufactured according to the authorities' will and people live tepid lives by rote. Winston Smith, a hero with no heroic qualities, longs only for truth and decency. But living in a social system in which privacy does not exist and where those with unorthodox ideas are brainwashed or put to death, he knows there is no hope for him.

    Customer Bob says: "Great Book, With an Amazing Narrator"
    "Kinda dated, dragged on"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I bought this book on sale. While I'm glad I read it, it felt very dated. While the story seems relevant given today's news of cyber-spying, I don't think this book really helped shed much light on news of today. I think it does a much better job of shedding light on pre-WWII Germany/rise of Hitler/Russia communism-era. I think Orwell is a fabulous writer, but I'd take Animal Farm and Burmese Days over this hands down.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • When Women Were Birds: Fifty-four Variations on Voice

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Terry Tempest Williams
    • Narrated By Terry Tempest Williams
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (215)
    Performance
    (188)
    Story
    (191)

    Terry Tempest Williams's mother told her: "I am leaving you all my journals, but you must promise me you won't look at them until after I'm gone." Fans of Williams's iconic and unconventional memoir, Refuge, well remember that mother. She was a member of a large Mormon clan in northern Utah who developed cancer as a result of the nuclear testing in nearby Nevada. It was a shock to Williams that her mother had kept journals. But not as much of a shock as what she found when the time came to read them.

    E says: "Amazing Story, Amazing Voice"
    "A story for all daughters"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I read this as a fan of TTW, not expecting much... after all, it was a book about women and I am a guy. Within minutes, I was drawn in deeply. Ms. Williams shares what it means to be a daughter, a woman, a wife, a child of LDS upbringing, a writer, a birder in a way that is magical. Her writing, as always, is lyrical and thoughtful--improved on this audio version by her own reading. I plan to buy copies of this book for the women in my life for mothers day.

    10 of 10 people found this review helpful
  • A Land More Kind Than Home

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Wiley Cash
    • Narrated By Nick Sullivan, Lorna Raver, Mark Bramhall
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (216)
    Performance
    (194)
    Story
    (191)

    For a curious boy like Jess Hall, growing up in Marshall means trouble when your mother catches you spying on grown-ups. Adventurous and precocious, Jess is enormously protective of his older brother, Christopher, a mute whom everyone calls Stump. Though their mother has warned them not to snoop, Stump can't help sneaking a look at something he's not supposed to - an act that will have catastrophic repercussions, shattering both his world and Jess's. It's a wrenching event that thrusts Jess into an adulthood for which he's not prepared.

    Janice says: "An American Tragedy"
    "Nice story, but not great -- somewhat formulaic"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    While I enjoyed this book, it wasn't real moving for me. The plot arc was fairly conventional, even predictable. The characters somewhat typical, with none being truly lovable. The book is read by a few readers--some good, others less so.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Yellow Birds: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Kevin Powers
    • Narrated By Holter Graham
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (220)
    Performance
    (187)
    Story
    (189)

    "The war tried to kill us in the spring," begins this breathtaking account of friendship and loss. In Al Tafar, Iraq, 21-year-old Private Bartle and 18-year-old Private Murphy cling to life as their platoon launches a bloody battle for the city. In the endless days that follow, the two young soldiers do everything to protect each other from the forces that press in on every side: the insurgents, physical fatigue, and the mental stress that comes from constant danger. Bound together since basic training when their tough-as-nails sergeant ordered Bartle to watch over Murphy, the two have been dropped into a war neither is prepared for.

    Buzz says: "Sad and Unforgettable"
    "WOW! Should be required high school reading!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    While I don't read a lot of "war" books, I have to say that this book was one of the most compelling books I have read in a long time. It is grisly, lyrical, timely, ancient, and so moving. I practically read it in one sitting (it's not too long). It's also really well read--really almost "acted", so well read. But the writing is what counts: it is a stunning book. I will get a copy of the book out of the library, as there are parts of the book that I want to reread, just for the shear beauty of the words and wisdom of what they say. I've read many of the NYT 2012 top ten and in my opinion, this is by far the best so far.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Snow Child

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Eowyn Ivey
    • Narrated By Debra Monk
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1410)
    Performance
    (1230)
    Story
    (1218)

    Debut novelist Eowyn ivey’s experience living in the Alaskan wilderness brings a palpable authenticity to The Snow Child. Alaska in the 1920s is a difficult place for Jack and Mabel. Drifting apart, the childless couple discover Faina, a young girl living alone in the wilderness. Soon, Jack and Mabel come to love Faina as their own. But when they learn a surprising truth about the girl, their lives change in profound ways.

    Bonny says: "Magical, realistic and well worth listening to"
    "A sweet simple story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about The Snow Child?

    There's an element of mysticism, the characters are well developed, if a bit formulaic


    Have you listened to any of Debra Monk’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    She's a good reader


    Any additional comments?

    While I found the book a bit tedious at times, it moves along fairly well and ends nicely. It's a great story about the power of children, about being childless, and about a couple who believes in the power of love, despite the odds. A sweet, simple book... not a literary great, but enjoyable.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Island Apart

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Steven Raichlen
    • Narrated By Susan Boyce
    Overall
    (36)
    Performance
    (31)
    Story
    (31)

    Claire Doheney, recovering from a serious illness, agrees to house-sit an oceanfront mansion on Chappaquiddick Island in Martha's Vineyard. The New York book editor hopes to find solace, strength, and sufficient calm to finish a biography of the iconoclastic psychotherapist Wilhelm Reich. The last thing she expects to find is love. Then she meets a mysterious man the locals call the Hermit. No one knows his real name or where he lives. To their mutual surprise, they discover that they share a passion for cooking.

    Elle in the Great NorthWest says: "Wonderful writing & narration-four and a half star"
    "Great food book, but story only so-so"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I bought the book out of interest of the food and locale, being a New Englander. While it's an enjoyable book, and the food descriptions are quite nice, it's only a so-so story. It's a pretty conventional, highly predictable, love story. That being said, it's short, well-read, and pleasant--just not great literature. A good summer read, particularly if on the Cape or Martha's Vinyard.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Following Atticus: Forty-Eight High Peaks, One Little Dog, and an Extraordinary Friendship

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By Tom Ryan
    • Narrated By Tom Ryan
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (144)
    Performance
    (133)
    Story
    (133)

    A middle-aged, overweight, and acrophobic newspaper editor Tom Ryan and a little dog, Atticus M. Finch, are an unlikely pair of mountaineers, but after a close friend dies of cancer, the two pay tribute to her by attempting to climb all forty-eight of New Hampshire's four-thousand-foot peaks twice in one winter. Tom and Atticus set out on an adventure of a lifetime that takes them across hundreds of miles and deep into an enchanting but dangerous winter wonderland. Little did they know that their most difficult test would lie ahead, after they returned home. Following Atticus is ultimately a story of transformation....

    Douglas C. Bates says: "A True Story of Personal Transformation"
    "The Little Dog (and the Big Man) That Could!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    As a NH resident and hiker, I've known about this book for awhile. I decided to download it because of its local interest, though I confess I had low expectations. I was surprisingly pleased. It is a fabulous book! While the book is, in part, like most "pet books" (a genre I usually avoid), it is also a book about a lost man who finds himself though the care and caring of one amazing animal. It is also about the power of community--how people come together to help, whether it is his readers in Newburyport MA, the hiking community, or Atticus-lovers from around the country. The author also writes much of his troubled relationship with his father and how, in his quest with Atticus, he comes to grips with his dad, and realizes that so much of what is important in his life he got from his father. The book is read by the author--and generally he does a good job. There are a few places where his Boston accent comes through pretty heavy, but, in my opinion, it lends to the story. Again, as a local author, his success with his book has been a news item in NH. My understanding is that it is in the Top 10 for New England Independent Book Publishers and has been selected for the local One Book/One Valley community read. If you liked "Marlie and Me," you will love "Following Atticus."

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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