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Cynthia

Audible listener who's grateful for a long commute!

Monrovia, California, United States | Member Since 2012

6163
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 233 reviews
  • 233 ratings
  • 527 titles in library
  • 50 purchased in 2015
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  • Joyland

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Stephen King
    • Narrated By Michael Kelly
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3715)
    Performance
    (3423)
    Story
    (3422)

    Set in a small-town North Carolina amusement park in 1973, Joyland tells the story of the summer in which college student Devin Jones comes to work as a carny and confronts the legacy of a vicious murder, the fate of a dying child, and the ways both will change his life forever. Joyland is a brand-new novel and has never previously been published.

    Cozy Reader says: "The sweest and creepiest coming of age story!"
    "King in his Summer Finest"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I read Ray Bradbury's "Something Wicked This Way Comes" (1962) years ago and never forgot it. I've reread it several times, and always find something new in the story of a traveling carnival lead by Mr. Dark, whose followers are marked by tattoos.

    I felt the same way when I listened to Stephen King's "Joyland" (2013), even though the plots of the books are quite different. The atmosphere is the same, and so is the sense of evil. The carnival rides play a key part in both.

    "Joyland" is a regional 'Six Flags' type of amusement park, not an international destination like Disneyland. I loved the new 'carny' language I learned. Guess that makes me a 'greenie', but at least I'm not a 'rube' if I know the lingo. That makes this the perfect book for a patient parent to listen to/read if she's been drafted as chaperone on one of those long, hot summer days of not-quite-cutting edge rides, junk food, and sunburned children excited enough to throw up on her shoes.

    "Joyland" is a true mystery. Solving the mystery does not rely on the supernatural elements in "Joyland", so mystery fans won't be disappointed by vague clues from beyond being the key to figuring out 'who dunnit'. Finding the killer was no easy task for Devin Jones, the protagonist (aptly narrated by Michael Kelly) and it isn't easy for the listener/reader either.

    "Joyland" is also a sweet coming of age story of love lost and love found, set against the backdrop of the most powerful love of all.

    This book has some mild, not explicit sex. There is some violence, but it doesn't come near the violence in J.K. Rowling's "Harry Potter" series. It's good for 'young adult' readers. For Stephen King fans, there are plenty of references to his other works - and it's fun to find them. However, the book stands on its own - you don't need to get the inside joke from King's "The Dead Zone" (1979) to love the story.

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    77 of 93 people found this review helpful
  • Death on the Nile

    • ORIGINAL (2 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Agatha Christie
    • Narrated By John Moffatt
    Overall
    (573)
    Performance
    (489)
    Story
    (488)

    John Moffatt stars as the famous Belgian detective in this BBC Radio 4 full-cast dramatisation of one of Christie's most popular novels. Linnet Ridgeway has led a charmed life. Blessed with beauty, enormous wealth, and a devoted husband, she has everything anyone could wish for. But as the happy couple set out on an idyllic honeymoon cruise on the Nile, storm clouds are gathering. Linnet's former friend, Jacqueline de Bellefort, follows her and Simon wherever they go and Linnet senses she is in danger.

    Lady M says: "Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot"
    "A Memory of Murder"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Late one hot, humid summer growing up in Minneapolis, I read all of Agatha Christie's Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot mysteries. The Hennepin County Library sent a Bookmobile to our South Minneapolis neighborhood. It was walking distance close to a lovely lake, but no where near a brick and mortar library. On Tuesday evenings, I'd check out a stack of Christie paperbacks, and exchange them a week later for new books.

    This performance of "Death on the Nile" (1937) was a nice reminder of that long ago time. It's a radio play, rather than a narration of the 288 page novel. The book had a host of characters - and suspects - that are edited and combined for this adaptation. It was a good decision, but there are still enough potential culprits to make the listen good. I knew the "who dunnit" going in, but with the notable exception of Christie's "Mousetrap" (1947, radio play, 1952 - present, West End Play), it's hard for any classic mystery fan not to know the ending to a Christie mystery. The enjoyment is in the telling and the listen.

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    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • The End of Rational Economics (Harvard Business Review)

    • UNABRIDGED (18 mins)
    • By Dan Ariely
    • Narrated By Todd Mundt
    Overall
    (22)
    Performance
    (13)
    Story
    (13)

    Dan Ariely, a professor of Behavioral Economics at Duke University, writes about how it's time for companies to abandon the assumption that customers, employees and managers make logical decisions.

    Cynthia says: "Easing the Cost of Retribution"
    "Easing the Cost of Retribution"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Dan Ariely is a professor of Behavioral Economics at Duke University. Ariely's a lively writer, and "The End of Rational Economics" is a quick but informative piece from 'The Harvard Business Review' (2008).

    The piece has several good ideas. The one I liked best was a discussion about angry customers who might exact revenge with a bad review, and how to defuse them. That alone was worth the download and the listen time.

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    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Jon Krakauer
    • Narrated By Mozhan Marno, Scott Brick
    Overall
    (211)
    Performance
    (180)
    Story
    (178)

    From best-selling author Jon Krakauer, a stark, powerful, meticulously reported narrative about a series of sexual assaults at the University of Montana - stories that illuminate the human drama behind the national plague of campus rape.

    Keith says: "Tough info but good read"
    "Without Consent"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    "Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town" (2015) is a meticulously researched, carefully written, engaging listen. It's also relentlessly horrifying and enraging.

    Jon Krakauer is an outstanding investigative journalist and sometimes literally puts himself into the story, as he did in his 1997 book, "Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster." Although Krakauer must have been present for part of the judicial proceedings he described in the book, he isn't part of "Missoula." That seems to have allowed him an objectivity that's often missing in college acquaintance rape reporting.

    Krakauer tells the story of several young women who reported rapes by university football players to the University of Montana and to the Missoula Police Department. The Missoula County Attorneys' Office was tasked with prosecuting those cases. At the same time these young women filed complaints, the United States Department of Justice was secretly investigating handling of sexual violence cases in Missoula.

    Even though Krakauer's writing has been pretty even handed in the past, I expected a smear of UM, its football team, and its athletic department. I was surprised to find a lot to admire in how the school administration handled the situation, especially former Dean of Students Charles Couture. University students and the town in general were sometimes rabidly on the side of the accused, but Couture followed national standard guidelines and procedures in handling the complaints. The Missoula PD missed the mark from time to time, but seemed to try.

    The Missoula County Attorney's Office - well, that's another story entirely. Kirsten Pabst, an attorney who likes to boast of her 99% success rate, was in charge of the unit that prosecuted sex crimes. Well, if you only prosecute the 12% of the cases that are sure winners, you'll get a good ratio. That's not the worst of it. Pabst left the MCAO in 2012 and worked as a criminal defense attorney for a year and a half. Her only major trial was defending one of the accused rapists. After that, she was elected to head the MCAO, where she's back in charge of prosecuting sex crimes.

    No, I am not kidding.

    When I was fact checking to write this review (writing Audible reviews is just a hobby, but it's a serious hobby), I found an article in The Missoulian, called "Pabst made last-ditch effort to delay publication of 'Missoula'" (April 15, 2015). The Missoulian said that Pabst tried to convince the publisher, Doubleday, that the book was libelous. She wasn't successful, and a week letter, she published a rebuttal letter on the Montana Public Radio website, mtpr dot org, "Missoula County Prosecutor Kirsten Pabst's Statement on Jon Krakauer's Book" (April 22, 2015). One quote? "The author wrote on the assumption that a prosecutor’s job is to blindly seek convictions." Krakauer's discussion of the duties and responsibilities of criminal prosecutors and criminal defense attorneys was thorough, nuanced and worthy of a law school class in Ethics.

    Past's rebuttal mentions, "100% of the time defendants who can be convicted at trial will either plead guilty or be taken to trial" demonstrates that Pabst makes herself judge and jury, both of victims and of the press. Krakauer and his publishers ignored the MCAO's threats and published anyway, and that's good.

    The book is extremely graphic at times. One of my teenagers inadvertently overheard a few lines and was very disturbed. Mozhan Marno narrates, and I do think a woman reader was a good choice.

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    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Dan Ariely on Understanding the Logic Behind Illogical Decisions

    • ORIGINAL (16 mins)
    • By Dan Ariely
    • Narrated By Dave Summers
    Overall
    (2)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (2)

    Irrational behavior is a part of human nature, but as MIT professor Dan Ariely has discovered in 20 years of researching behavioral economics, people tend to behave irrationally in a predictable fashion. Drawing on psychology and economics, behavioral economics can show us why cautious people make poor decisions about sex when aroused, why patients get greater relief from a more expensive drug over its cheaper counterpart and why honest people may steal office supplies or communal food, but not money.

    Cynthia says: "Ariely is a Kick"
    "Ariely is a Kick"
    Overall
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    I finished listening to "Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions" (2008) a couple of weeks ago, and I really enjoyed it. Ariely explains complex studies on Behavioral Economics in a way that's easy to understand and apply.

    "Dan Ariely on Understanding the Logic Behind Illogical Decisions" (2014) is a quick introduction to the concepts explored in "Predictably Irrational". I listened to this AMA (American Management Association) second, and it was a complement to the much longer book.

    Ariely himself was actually interviewed for the podcast, and he's a lively speaker.

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    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Ashley's War: The Untold Story of a Team of Women Soldiers on the Special Ops Battlefield

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Gayle Tzemach Lemmon
    • Narrated By Kathe Mazur
    Overall
    (16)
    Performance
    (15)
    Story
    (15)

    From the author of the New York Times best seller The Dressmaker of Khair Khana comes the poignant and gripping story of a groundbreaking team of female American warriors who served alongside Special Operations soldiers on the battlefield in Afghanistan - including Ashley White, a beloved soldier who died serving her country's cause.

    Cynthia says: "A Diamond Among Diamonds"
    "A Diamond Among Diamonds"
    Overall
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    I haven't slept much since I downloaded Gayle Tzemach Lemmon's "Ashley's War: The Untold Story of a Team of Women Soldiers on the Special Ops Battlefield" (2015) three days ago. It's no more disturbing than 'Mark Owen' and Kevin Maurer's "No Easy Day: The Firsthand Account of the Mission that Killed Osama bin Laden" (2012), and it's definitely less disturbing than Helen Thorpe's "Soldier Girls: The Battles of Three Women at Home and at War" (2014). The reason I haven't slept so well is that the writing and narration of "Ashley's War" is so good I didn't want to turn it off. It's the Audible equivalent of "I couldn't put it down."

    There's a rough balance between Afghan women and American female soldiers. The majority of Afghan women are illiterate, married by age 16, have an average of 5 children, and live in family compounds carefully screened from the world (source: United Nations). In a world so small, they are the observers and family preservers.

    In contrast, American women are more educated than their husbands, if they choose to marry; average fewer than 2 children each (source: Pew Research, UN); and are free to travel wherever their talents and money can take them. American women have been informally serving as soldiers since 1775, and formally a part of the Army since World War I.

    The Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) - the Army Rangers and Navy SEALS of legend -badly needed the intelligence that Afghani women had. Tribal mores meant that those women would not speak to men. They would, however, talk to female soldiers. General Stanley McChrystal, who graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1976 - the same year women were first admitted - encouraged development of what became CSTs - Cultural Support Teams.

    CSTs are teams of women "enablers" attached to Army Rangers or Green Berets to facilitate questioning AfghanI women and children. Female soldiers volunteer and then are selected for modified Ranger training because they are physically capable of matching those elite soldiers, and they are chosen for assignments because they are mentally capable of doing the job.

    "Ashley's War" is the story of the first of the CSTs. "Ashley" is Lt Ashley White (Stumpf) one of the best of the best. Lt. White and the other female soldiers who became CSTs didn't ask for special treatment - all they asked was for the chance to prove they could do the job. And they did. Lemmon's writing was so vivid, it was like being set in a ruck march at Ft. Bliss.

    The U.S. Armed Services didn't officially allow women in combat MOS's (Military Occupational Skills) until 2013. The CSTs were and are there ahead of time. Personally, I was surprised to find myself with a bitter taste of jealousy underlying the pride I feel in those soldiers . I served from 1982 to 1986, and I would have loved to have the same opportunity. I doubt even at my fittest I could have made the cut, but I had friends that surely could have. And oh, just to have had the chance . . .

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    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Ann Brashares
    • Narrated By Angela Goethals
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (524)
    Performance
    (109)
    Story
    (114)

    Carmen got the jeans at a thrift shop. They didn't look all that great; they were worn, dirty, and speckled with bleach. On the night before she and her friends part for the summer, Carmen decides to toss them. But Tibby says they're great. She'd love to have them. Lena and Bridget also think they're fabulous. Lena decides they should all try them on. Whoever they fit best will get them. Nobody knows why, but the pants fit everyone perfectly.

    M.W. says: "A good read for older children"
    "Unexpectedly Nostalgic"
    Overall
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    Story

    First of all, a disclaimer: I am more than 3 times the age of the target audience for Ann Brashares' "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" (2001). I haven't seen either of the two movies based on the book either. Looking back on when the first movie was released, I know I spent what little movie time I had that year taking my kids to see JK Rowlings' "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" and the remake of Roald Dahl's "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory."

    "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" is a loving portrait of teenage American girls, forever friends, right as everything changes for them. It's their first summer apart. There's Bridget, the reckless athlete who goes to soccer camp in Mexico; Carmen, whose divorced father suddenly acquires a brand new family: Lena, who visits her grandparents in Greece; and Tibby at home, working her first job at 'Walmans', donning a double layered polyester smock and an nose-ring-wearing attitude. I was a little disappointed in the stereotyped four best friends: did Carmen really have to be a 'hot blooded' Latina? And is every athlete driven to win at any cost?

    Brashares inadvertently sketched an entirely different time, the last summer before the United States lost its ersatz innocence. Teenagers could travel at will, without ID, without parents' permission, and without the careful planning national security requires now. Cell phones existed, but that's all they were: actual phones. Local calls were expensive, and making a long distance call? Landline was really the only option, and there was no guarantee that the person on the other end would even have a phone.

    Before 2001, it was possible to actually be an alone, unwatched kid with some real autonomy. The 20th Century wasn't a more innocent time by any means - but it was a more private time for teens and adults alike. "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" has some sex, although its implied and not explicit. It is described in pretty clichéd terms, though, and I found myself cringing at the mental imagery words like 'hungry' created for me. All of the sudden, I was thinking of pot roast.

    The book was a good listen, and the vocabulary wasn't overly pretentious. It is worth 9 Accelerated Reader (AR) points. Here's a helpful parenting 'hack' (rapidly becoming its own trite term): if you've got a kid with reading issues, have them listen to the Audible and follow along with the written text.

    I do think I will enjoy the movie, so I'll watch out for it. America Ferrera plays Carmen, and she's always good. The Audible narration was okay, but I did occasionally have trouble realizing when a new character was talking.

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    8 of 10 people found this review helpful
  • The Burning Room

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Michael Connelly
    • Narrated By Titus Welliver
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2760)
    Performance
    (2459)
    Story
    (2449)

    In the LAPD's Open-Unsolved Unit, not many murder victims die almost a decade after the crime. So when a man succumbs to complications from being shot by a stray bullet nine years earlier, Bosch catches a case in which the body is still fresh, but all other evidence is virtually nonexistent. Now Bosch and rookie Detective Lucia Soto, are tasked with solving what turns out to be a highly charged, politically sensitive case.

    Barbara N. says: "Great story, narration a disappointment"
    "La Linea de Oro"
    Overall
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    Story


    I've listened to Michael Connelly's entire, but much shorter, "Lincoln Lawyer" series on Audible. Mickey Haller, the eponymous attorney of that series, is Hieronymus "Harry" P. Bosch's much younger half brother. I didn't avoid listening to Connelly's Bosch series - I just didn't need to. I'd already read them all, on honest to goodness real paper bound between actual covers. They're still on my bookshelf, an honor I reserve for books I know I'll read again someday.

    "The Burning Room" (2014) is my first Bosch book on Audible, and it's a treat. It's narrated by Titus Welliver, who plays the LAPD detective on Amazon's Prime Instant Video Service series "Bosch". I hadn't even realized there was a Bosch television series until I looked up Welliver to write this review. The reason I looked up Welliver? His voice is so much like the prolific Mike Rowe (The Dealiest Catch, American Hot Rod, Dirty Jobs & etc.) I wanted to see if they were the same person. They aren't, but I did discover I wasn't the only one who'd noticed the Rowe-Welliver sound similarity.

    Connelly, as always, writes Los Angeles like an old lover. "The Burning Room" is centered on Mariachi Plaza, an 80 year old Boyle Heights fixture. It's now a gentrified stop on the 2009 expansion of the Metro Gold Line. (Yes, Los Angeles actually has a fast, clean, transportation system that runs so on time it could be a Snopes legend, all hidden in plain sight.)

    Bosch is working cold cases. Connelly moves back and forth between the late 20th Century desperation of Mariachis living in flop houses and traveling in old vans to play Quinceañeras, to the arid but energy efficient, culturally diverse and sometimes culturally divided Los Angeles of the 21st Century.

    Connelly introduces "Lucky Lucy" Soto, a young detective who, after a heroic gun battle, made the "Cold Case" unit her choice assignment. Lucia is a strong female character, in the tough-as-nails-but-secretly-scarred Kiz Rider mold. Soto vies with Bosch to see who's in the office the earliest, who puts in the most hours, and who is the most intuitive detective. Bosch is a proud mentor to Soto, and to his own daughter, Maddie, a Police Explorer.

    Bosch is a good detective, and "The Burning Room" is a good listen.

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    12 of 14 people found this review helpful
  • Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Dan Ariely
    • Narrated By Simon Jones
    Overall
    (4203)
    Performance
    (1634)
    Story
    (1637)

    In a series of illuminating, often surprising experiments, MIT behavioral economist Dan Ariely refutes the common assumption that we behave in fundamentally rational ways. Blending everyday experience with groundbreaking research, Ariely explains how expectations, emotions, social norms, and other invisible, seemingly illogical forces skew our reasoning abilities.

    Stephen says: "Well researched, well written, & well read"
    "Amusing MicroEconomics"
    Overall
    Performance
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    One of my favorite not-available-on-Audible writers is Nicholas P. Money, PhD, a mycologist at Miami University of Ohio. He's written some laugh out loud books about fungi. Yes, I mean the stuff that grows in the corner of the shower and on old bread. "Carpet Monsters and Killer Spores: A Natural History of Toxic Mold" (2004) was great.

    Dan Ariely, PhD joins my short list of "University Professors that make Somewhat Obscure Topics Interesting, Understandable and Fun." Ariely is a well known and often downloaded TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) speaker, a professor of psychology and behavioral economics at Duke. Yes, that Duke, the home of the NCAA basketball champions.

    One of the studies Ariely conducted and discusses in "Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions" (2008) was of students who camped out for a week, waiting to participate in a lottery to buy playoff tickets. How did the winners and losers value those tickets? The losers, just at slightly over face value; and the winners, at 10 or 20 times the face value. "Predictably Irrational" explains the experiment and the psychological factors that caused the mental increase in value.

    Ariely's actual academic research papers have daunting titles such as "Procrastination, deadlines, and performance: self-control by precommitment." Ariely D, et al. Psychol Sci. 2002, or an article he was a co-author on called "Ego depletion decreases trust in economic decision making" Ainsworth SE, Baumeister RF, Voha KD and Ariely D., J Exp Soc Psychol. 2014. Just reading the abstracts is daunting, and well - purchasing the articles? I'm willing to pay the cost of an Audible listen that's amusing and intriguing, but at thirty five bucks an article, I'm not that interested in Behavioral Economics.

    Ariely and several colleagues were awarded the 2008 Ig Nobel Prize in Medicine for research published as "Commercial Features of Placebo and Therapeutic Efficacy". Ariely, Rebecca Waver, Ziv Carmon, Baba Shiv discovered that when people know the price, expensive medicine works better than less expensive medicine, even if they're exactly the same. That study is discussed thoroughly in "Predictably Irrational." It makes behavioral or emotional sense and only seems irrational from a purely economic analysis.

    This was a fun and informative listen. I'm definitely planning on listening to more of Ariely's books.

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    6 of 10 people found this review helpful
  • Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By David Sedaris
    • Narrated By David Sedaris
    Overall
    (4153)
    Performance
    (3769)
    Story
    (3747)

    From the unique perspective of David Sedaris comes a new collection of essays taking his listeners on a bizarre and stimulating world tour. From the perils of French dentistry to the eating habits of the Australian kookaburra, from the squat-style toilets of Beijing to the particular wilderness of a North Carolina Costco, we learn about the absurdity and delight of a curious traveler's experiences.

    FanB14 says: "Devout Fan Disappointed"
    "Good for the Bleak Hours"
    Overall
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    I'm a habitual insomniac. Every weekday, I wake up about 2:30 am, obsessing about things that happened earlier in the week, the month, the year, or even the decade. I can usually fall back asleep in 10 or 15 minutes, but not always. Those are my bleak hours, and David Sedaris has eased some of them.

    It's not that "Let's Explore Diabetes With Owls" (2013) helped me fall back to sleep. It didn't. For the last six months, every time I listened to something with the idea that it would be the Audible equivalent of Ambien, I put Willkie Collins "The Woman in White" (1859) on sleep timer. In the grand tradition of Victorian writers, Collins relies heavily on intricate descriptions, lengthy foreshadowing, and post-drama discussions amongst friends and neighbors. It's totally possible to drift off after a few minutes of listening and not miss a thing.

    "Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls" takes the dark obsessions that come to life when the house slumbers, turns them on their side, and makes them funny. Worried about the garbage accumulating in your neighborhood? Turn yourself into a one person trash collector listening to "Rubbish". Missing your first love and wondering what if, and what could have been? Listen to "A Man Walks into a Bar Car". You just had your 50th birthday and those friendly by terribly persistent people at your HMO are insisting that it's time for a colonoscopy? "Happy Place" makes the whole procedure a hoot. It's very difficult to take obsessions seriously when you're laughing at them.

    My favorite quote from the book? "Their house had real hard-cover books in it, and you often saw them lying open on the sofa, the words still warm from being read."

    Sedaris is a raconteur, and this collection of essays is really best as a listen.

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    10 of 14 people found this review helpful
  • So You've Been Publicly Shamed

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Jon Ronson
    • Narrated By Jon Ronson
    Overall
    (681)
    Performance
    (572)
    Story
    (569)

    From the Sunday Times top ten bestselling author of The Psychopath Test, a captivating and brilliant exploration of one of our world's most underappreciated forces: shame. 'It's about the terror, isn't it?' 'The terror of what?' I said. 'The terror of being found out.' For the past three years, Jon Ronson has travelled the world meeting recipients of high-profile public shamings. The shamed are people like us - people who, say, made a joke on social media that came out badly, or made a mistake at work.

    Megan says: "You'll never look at public shaming the same way"
    "Play the (Shame) Game"
    Overall
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    Jon Ronson begins "So You've Been Publicly Shamed" (2015) with an introduction about how a spam bot hatched by supposedly ethical college professors hijacked his Twitter identity. His ethereal alter ego started living an exciting but fictitious life, going to clubs and presumably mentioning how much he'd enjoyed drinking fabulous drinks and eating scrumptious food the bot creators had been paid to promote. Ronson, a gonzo journalist and inspired researcher, was at his wits' end trying to figure out who was doing it and how to stop it.

    Dictionary dot com defines "empathy" as "the psychological identification with or vicarious experiencing of the feelings, thoughts, or attitudes of another." Ronson wasn't publicly shamed like the people he profiles, including Jonah Lehrer, a writer who made up Dylan quotes, and then lied to cover up his lies; Justine Sacco of the ill-conceived AIDS/South Africa tweet; and Lindsey Stone of the 'shouting into a cell phone while making a rude gesture at Arlington Cemetery' photo. Ronson's situation was a good way to ease those convinced that 'it can't happen to them' that it's possible to completely lose control of a digital life.

    Ronson doesn't outright ask if the shamed "asked for it" but I think in the world of bullies, the bullied and bystanders, "asking for it" is a justification that everyone except the victim uses. I remember seeing that photo of Stone the first time it went around. Since I'm a veteran, I saw it a lot. I thought it was a joke then. It's a bad joke, a tasteless joke - but no kid should have her life ruined over an inept visual stunt. Did Stone deserve to have what must have felt like all 21.8 million American veterans condemning her? No, she did not - but it must be cold comfort for her that most of us knew it for what it was and just ignored it.

    There is a portion of "So You've Been Publicly Shamed" discussing people who are aroused by being shamed. It was sexually explicit and somewhat graphic, and it might be difficult for parents to explain to kids who read or hear it. The section on shaming by four chan (not quite the organization's name, but that's close enough for an Audible review) has some pretty disturbing descriptions of fetishes. Four chan denizens are notorious for trolling, but what Ronson describes in "So You've Been Publicly Shamed" is trolling on steroids.

    Ronson's writing style for a bit of the book - using the collective "we" to examine the collective consciousness of the righteously offended - reminded me a bit of William Faulkner's short story, "A Rose for Emily" (1930). Faulkner used the collective "we" for the voice of the fictional town of Jefferson, Mississippi. In that Southern Gothic story, the town goes to great lengths to avoid shaming Emily, and "So she vanquished them . . ." Ronson's about as subtle as a mobile phone store sign spinner and I'm probably drawing parallels that were never intended, but I liked the juxtaposition in attitudes on shame between small town American South in the early 20th Century and 21st century global urban life on line.

    Ronson is Welsh, and his accent makes "So You've Been Publicly Shamed" a fun listen. I really liked that he described photos that were in the text version of the book.

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