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Ellen

Petersham, MA, United States | Member Since 2002

65
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 14 reviews
  • 95 ratings
  • 1240 titles in library
  • 33 purchased in 2014
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FOLLOWERS
4

  • The Darling

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Russell Banks
    • Narrated By Mary Beth Hurt
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (311)
    Performance
    (73)
    Story
    (76)

    The Darling is Hannah Musgrave's story, told emotionally and convincingly years later by Hannah herself. A political radical and member of the Weather Underground, Hannah has fled America to West Africa, where she and her Liberian husband become friends and colleagues of Charles Taylor, the notorious warlord and now ex-president of Liberia. When Taylor leaves for the United States in an effort to escape embezzlement charges, he's immediately placed in prison.

    Ellen says: "Complex and compelling"
    "Complex and compelling"
    Overall

    I have been listening to Audiobooks for years and this has been one of my favorite books. First of all, even though I know better, I could not believe that the author was not a woman. The constant shifting of focus from social behavior - both human and animal - to the individual conscience, was stunning. This book will appeal to readers who love politics, stories about different cultures, mysteries and wonderful character development. I am going to buy the book and read it again, something I seldom do. This book is really a masterpiece.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Kill Decision

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Daniel Suarez
    • Narrated By Jeff Gurner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2926)
    Performance
    (2611)
    Story
    (2621)

    Linda McKinney is a myrmecologist, a scientist who studies the social structure of ants. Her academic career has left her entirely unprepared for the day her sophisticated research is conscripted by unknown forces to help run an unmanned - and thanks to her research, automated - drone army. Odin is the secretive Special Ops soldier with a unique insight into the faceless enemy who has begun to attack the American homeland with drones programmed to seek, identify, and execute targets.

    Madeleine says: "What's that droning sound?"
    "As Good as Daemon?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I do think that this book was almost as good as Daemon - in fact, maybe just as good. And Daemon is one of my all time favorites. The story is especially timely as we hear about all of the snooping and spying that is going on around the world.

    The protagonist this time is a woman and she is portrayed as a person. There are not endless descriptions of her appearance with the man drooling over her. In fact, I think there is more discussion of the lead man's appearance than of hers.

    The weaving of interesting science into the action is as well done as it was in Daemon. I am interested in insects so I found that part to be a lot of fun.

    The ending was fine but leads me to believe there will be a sequel.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Alchemy of Air: A Jewish Genius, a Doomed Tycoon, and the Scientific Discovery That Fed the World but Fueled the Rise of Hitler

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Thomas Hager
    • Narrated By Adam Verner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (638)
    Performance
    (520)
    Story
    (517)

    At the dawn of the 20th century, humanity was facing global disaster. Mass starvation, long predicted for the fast-growing population, was about to become a reality. A call went out to the worlds scientists to find a solution. This is the story of the two enormously gifted, fatally flawed men who found it: the brilliant, self-important Fritz Haber and the reclusive, alcoholic Carl Bosch. Together they discovered a way to make bread out of air, built city-sized factories, controlled world markets, and saved millions of lives.

    sarah says: "Riveting"
    "Even Better than The Demon Under the Microscope"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book has changed my life because it has finally made me understand the perils that lie ahead of us as we try to feed ourselves after oil gets harder to produce. Hager is just a genius.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Lost Memory of Skin

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Russell Banks
    • Narrated By Scott Shepherd
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (151)
    Performance
    (122)
    Story
    (124)

    Suspended in a strangely modern-day version of limbo, the young man at the center of Russell Banks’s uncompromising and morally complex new novel must create a life for himself in the wake of incarceration. Known in his new identity only as the Kid, and on probation after doing time for a liaison with an underage girl, he is shackled to a GPS monitoring device and forbidden to live within 2,500 feet of anywhere children might gather. With nowhere else to go, the Kid takes up residence under a south Florida causeway, in a makeshift encampment with other convicted sex offenders.

    Ellen says: "Amazing "Must Read" Tale of (In)Justice in America"
    "Amazing "Must Read" Tale of (In)Justice in America"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    There will come a time when we look back at the sex registry as a shameful period in American history similar to the Salem Witch Trials and the Puritanism of the 'Scarlet Letter.'
    I have been waiting for someone to write this book and Russell Banks has done it.

    It is the story of the 21st century's Huck Finn - tortured by a system he can't understand and sentenced to a lifetime of excommunication from society. The really terrific thing about this book is that it is not didactic or preachy. It is lyrical and funny and a wonderful yarn.

    Everyone who has had anything to do with someone on a sex registry will want to read this. This includes perpetrators and victims. If you haven't and you want to know what it is like, read this book. If you just want to hear a great story read this book!

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • The Lacuna

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Barbara Kingsolver
    • Narrated By Barbara Kingsolver
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (832)
    Performance
    (321)
    Story
    (317)

    Born in the United States, but reared in Mexico, Harrison Shepherd finds precarious shelter but no sense of home on his thrilling odyssey. Life is whatever he learns from housekeepers and, one fateful day, by mixing plaster for famed muralist Diego Rivera. When he goes to work for Rivera, his wife, exotic artist Kahlo, and exiled leader Lev Trotsky, Shepherd inadvertently casts his lot with art and revolution.

    Tricia Stevens says: "Great story!"
    "Another Disappointing Narration"
    Overall

    Before writing this review I looked over what others have written. I concur with the numerous negative comments on Ms Kingsolver's narration of this story. The only reason I am writing this review is to point out that she has always narrated her own books. In the past her gentle, new-age voice has been appropriate. It was perfect for Prodigal Summer and was part of that book's charm for me. In this case is was just dreadful. I think that the book was good enough that someone should re-record it.
    The only other negative comment I have is that it was a bit didactic. Sometimes it stopped being a story and turned into a straight-up history lecture. I happen to be very familiar with the events of this era having lived through them in a conscious state. Otherwise I might have found them as shocking as did Ms Kingsolver. The three stars I have given this book is for its content. The narration is -1.

    4 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Up from Orchard Street

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Eleanor Widmer
    • Narrated By Lorna Raver
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (342)
    Performance
    (116)
    Story
    (117)

    Three generations of Roths live together in a crowded tenement flat. Long-widowed Manya is the family's head and its heart. But Manya is no soft touch, except, perhaps, where her granddaughter Elka is concerned. Precocious Elka is her closest companion and confidante. Through Elka's eyes we come to know the fascinating characters who move in and out of the Roths' lives.

    Sara says: "Tenement Life From a Child's Point of View"
    "More than a Memoir"
    Overall

    I bought this book, started it and then put it aside for more than a year. Why? I guess it started out to be one of those "heartwarming" coming-of-age books and I wasn't in the mood. I came back to it by accident and was drawn in by the horrors and wonders of life in New York's Lower East Side just before WWII. The dialogue is convincing, the narration is wonderful and the emergence of the character of the mother, Lil, is astonishing.
    The author died at the age of 80 just after finishing the final revisions of this book - her first novel. It is a shame that there won't be a second.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Paris Vendetta: A Cotton Malone Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Steve Berry
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (703)
    Performance
    (266)
    Story
    (261)

    When Napoleon Bonaparte died in exile in 1821, he took to the grave a powerful secret. As general and emperor, he had stolen immeasurable riches from palaces, national treasuries, and even the Knights of Malta and the Vatican. In his final days, his British captors hoped to learn where the loot lay hidden. But he told them nothing, and in his will he made no mention of the treasure. Or did he?

    Paul says: "Excellent novel"
    "Dreadful Narration, Just Dreadful"
    Overall

    It has never occurred to me to try to get my money back but this narration is intolerable. I am going to delete the book from my library and write to audible to ask for a refund. I am going to be so careful from now on not to listen to anything read by Scott Brick. Anyone considering this book should listen to a preview. He can't do accents, he can't do women, it is impossible to keep the characters straight. It is like listening to a really bad preacher, that sort of whiny tone. .

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Disgrace

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 1 min)
    • By J. M. Coetzee
    • Narrated By Michael Cumpsty
    Overall
    (90)
    Performance
    (26)
    Story
    (27)

    Written with the austere clarity that has made J. M. Coetzee the winner of two Booker Prizes, Disgrace explores the downfall of one man and dramatizes, with unforgettable, at times almost unbearable, vividness the plight of a country caught in the chaotic aftermath of centuries of racial oppression.

    JOHN says: "Great book - aptly named"
    "Disgraceful"
    Overall

    IMHO here should be a warning alert for books that feature whining rapists and the death of dogs. I don't care how beautifully this story is written I don't want to hear it. If you don't mind, then this book is for you! I am going to explore other books by this author because it is stunningly well written. It relies for its impact upon subjects that I do not wish to consider.

    5 of 16 people found this review helpful
  • Daemon

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Daniel Suarez
    • Narrated By Jeff Gurner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (7317)
    Performance
    (4329)
    Story
    (4362)

    Thousands of autonomous computer programs, or daemons, make our networked world possible, running constantly in the background of our lives, trafficking e-mail, transferring money, and monitoring power grids. For the most part, daemons are benign, but the same can't always be said for the people who design them.

    Charles Atkinson says: "Really Fast Paced Sci Fi!"
    "More Than Just a Great Story"
    Overall

    Daemon is a very political tale in the tradition of 1984. All of the reviews I have read miss this point. The ending is extremely appropriate viewed in this light and the story is particularly relevant in the light of our current social/political/economic turmoil. I can see this as a Hollywood movie that would be filled with gratuitous violence and miss the true message. This is a really really good book and lots of fun as well.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • A Fine Balance

    • UNABRIDGED (24 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Rohinton Mistry
    • Narrated By John Lee
    Overall
    (609)
    Performance
    (303)
    Story
    (301)

    In the India of the mid-1970s, Indira Gandhi's government has just come to power. It institutionalizes corruption and arbitrary force, most oppressive to the poorest and weakest people under its sway. Against this backdrop, in an unnamed city by the sea, four people struggle to survive. Dina, Maneck, and two tailors, the Untouchables Om and Ishvar, who are sewing in Dina's service, undergo a series of reversals.

    JOHN says: "Nearly a perfect book"
    "State of Emergency"
    Overall

    This is a stunning novel. Had I read it a few years ago I would still have thought so. But, since it deals with a very specific time in the political history of India, I might have felt more detached than I now do.
    Americans would do well to read this book, not only for its intrinsic merits but because it should warn us about the consequences of allowing our own political system to grant itself emergency powers. To me, this is no longer the sort of thing that happens only in "third world" countries.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • I Am Charlotte Simmons

    • ABRIDGED (9 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Tom Wolfe
    • Narrated By Dylan Baker
    Overall
    (37)
    Performance
    (1)
    Story
    (1)

    Dupont University: the Olympian halls of learning housing the cream of America's youth, the roseate Gothic spires and manicured lawns suffused with tradition....Or so it appears to beautiful, brilliant Charlotte Simmons, a sheltered freshman from North Carolina, who has come here on full scholarship. But Charlotte soon learns, to her mounting dismay, that for the upper-crust coeds of Dupont, sex, Cool, and kegs trump academic achievement every time.

    Leslie says: "I Am Charlotte Simmons"
    "Classic Tom Wolfe"
    Overall

    As Tom Wolfe says in an interview following the book, this is the first novel where his main character is a female. I was perplexed by the other customer reviewer who called this a book about jocks and geeks. I enjoyed the story, but found it to be a disturbing tale about what higher education has become and what it can do to women. This is the story of how Charlotte Simmons becomes someone else. To say who she becomes would give away the very clever ending of the book.
    Tom Wolfe remains a shrewd critic of American social mannerisms. I laughed and cringed. Don't miss it, but don't plan to play it on the car radio with those who might be offended by what Wolfe calls the f__ patois.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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