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Jane

North Wales, PA, United States

24
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 7 reviews
  • 35 ratings
  • 109 titles in library
  • 7 purchased in 2014
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  • The Discovery of Jeanne Baret: A Story of Science, the High Seas, and the First Woman to Circumnavigate the Globe

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Glynis Ridley
    • Narrated By Gabriella Cavallero
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3)
    Performance
    (3)
    Story
    (3)

    Eminent botanist Philibert Commerson had just been appointed to a grand new expedition: the first French circumnavigation of the world. As the ships' official naturalist, Commerson would seek out resources - medicines, spices, timber, food - that could give the French an edge in the ever-accelerating race for empire. Jeanne Baret, Commerson's young mistress and collaborator, was desperate not to be left behind. She disguised herself as a teenage boy and signed on as his assistant.

    Jean says: "The lost woman of Botany"
    "fascinating discovery"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    I love true tales of adventure and exploration and this one did not disappoint. That the subject was a woman was one of the deciding factors for me to listen to this book. The story of her life, from her impoverished childhood to her relationship with the eccentric naturalist,Commerson, and her botanical discoveries (including the Bougainville) during her voyage on the Etoile is both exceptional and heart breaking. It is inspiring that Jeanne Baret managed to accomplish what she did, under the shadow of men (also disguised as a man) and tormented by the hostility and degredation of the male sailors aboard the ship. She was truly unique (if not controversial) and remarkable woman!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The People in the Trees

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Hanya Yanagihara
    • Narrated By Arthur Morey, William Roberts, Erin Yuen
    Overall
    (30)
    Performance
    (29)
    Story
    (29)

    In 1950, a young doctor, Norton Perina, signs on with the anthropologist Paul Tallent for an expedition to the remote island of Ivu'ivu in search of a rumored lost tribe. They succeed, finding not only that tribe but also a group of forest dwellers they dub "The Dreamers," who turn out to be fantastically long-lived but progressively more senile. Perina suspects the source of their longevity is a hard-to-find turtle but he soon discovers that its miraculous property comes at a terrible price.

    linda says: "Warped Perspective of an Anti-Heroic Scientist"
    "Engrossing and disturbing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you like best about this story?

    Liking seems a weak word. The story vibrated, it gnawed, it struck chords of recognition and also of dismay. There was not a single part that did not engage me.


    What about the narrators’s performance did you like?

    The two main narrators were exceptional. That the narrator who read Norton's part had a style not dissimilar to that of David Sedaris was appealing.


    Any additional comments?

    That there are disturbing parts in this book did not diminish my enthusiasm for it. To me, these parts were necessary to my understanding of both the main character and also a larger social commentary. To be be shocked would show our blindness to the sometimes misguided mindset of our own culture.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Accursed

    • UNABRIDGED (22 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Joyce Carol Oates
    • Narrated By Grover Gardner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (81)
    Performance
    (72)
    Story
    (70)

    Princeton, New Jersey, at the turn of the 20th century: a tranquil place to raise a family, a genteel town for genteel souls. But something dark and dangerous lurks at the edges of the town, corrupting and infecting its residents. Vampires and ghosts haunt the dreams of the innocent. A powerful curse besets the elite families of Princeton; their daughters begin disappearing. A young bride on the verge of the altar is seduced and abducted by a dangerously compelling man - a shape-shifting, vaguely European prince who might just be the devil.

    Jacqueline says: "Social Issues Abound in Mixed Genre--"
    "A fantastic mix of fact and fiction"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to The Accursed again? Why?

    Yes. There is is such a lot of history mixed into this book. America at the turn of the twentieth century was a time of dynamic social unrest. Many strong figures in history emerged from this time and it was interesting to view their lives from the dawn of their influence.


    Any additional comments?

    As opposed to some of the other reviewers who were hoping for a fast paced and spooky horror story, I was thrilled with the depth of research that was put into this novel and skillful unfolding of the tale. It left me curious about the real life characters that filled the pages. The fervor of Woodrow Wilson, the social struggles of Upton Sinclair, the pomposity of Jack London, to name a few, breathed life into the history of this age. This combined with the story of the curse gave real dimension and sense of place to the book. I never felt it was slow. Each part was fascinating in its own right.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Dinner: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Herman Koch, Sam Garrett (translator)
    • Narrated By Clive Mantle
    Overall
    (966)
    Performance
    (849)
    Story
    (856)

    It's a summer's evening in Amsterdam, and two couples meet at a fashionable restaurant for dinner. Between mouthfuls of food and over the polite scrapings of cutlery, the conversation remains a gentle hum of polite discourse - the banality of work, the triviality of the holidays. But behind the empty words, terrible things need to be said, and with every forced smile and every new course, the knives are being sharpened. Each couple has a 15-year-old son. The two boys are united by their accountability for a single horrific act; an act that has triggered a police investigation and shattered the comfortable, insulated worlds of their families.

    Jane says: "Dining at its most distubing"
    "Dining at its most distubing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you like best about this story?

    At the very beginning is a scene where the diners are discussing a Woody Allen film. Although Paul liked it, he was annoyed that his brother, Serge also enjoyed the film. So he began thinking over the faults in the film, wanting to prove to his brother that it was not so good after all and therefore one-up him. The author is very adept at portraying the pettiness of social minutiae in a humorous way.


    What about Clive Mantle’s performance did you like?

    At first I thought his style was too intense for Paul, whom I believed was a placid narrator. When I realized the scope of the narrator's character, I found that Clive Mantle did an excellent job in projecting Paul's range of emotion.


    Any additional comments?

    I found this novel to be humorously disturbing. Paul has a twisted intelligence which inserted into the restrictive framework of society produces an internal struggle that manifests itself in ways ranging from simple contrariness to fiendishly brutal. An examination of the grotesqueness of both an abnormal psyche and modern society.

    16 of 16 people found this review helpful
  • 1Q84

    • UNABRIDGED (46 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By Haruki Murakami, Jay Rubin (translator), Philip Gabriel (translator)
    • Narrated By Allison Hiroto, Marc Vietor, Mark Boyett
    Overall
    (4072)
    Performance
    (3556)
    Story
    (3525)

    The year is 1984 and the city is Tokyo.

    A young woman named Aomame follows a taxi driver's enigmatic suggestion and begins to notice puzzling discrepancies in the world around her. She has entered, she realizes, a parallel existence, which she calls 1Q84 - "Q" is for "question mark". A world that bears a question....

    Dr. says: "Slow, Strange, and (ultimately) Satisfying"
    "after 46 hours"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you try another book from the authors and/or the narrators?

    Certainly. I have read many Murakami books and enjoyed most. I have not disliked any of his books, but some are more engaging. Top of my list would be Wild Sheep Chase.


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    Cut down on the repetetive introspection. I appreciate Murakami for the unique angle in which he approaches topics. So its not the introspection that I dislike. However in 1Q84, the same topics were explored repeatedly to the point of excess.


    Which character – as performed by the narrators – was your favorite?

    Tengo. This is the voice which I most associate with the author's own.


    Any additional comments?

    What attracts me the most to Murakami's work is that when his characters are in a bizarre situation, they consider the circumstances and if it the strangeness of it seems logical or at least not improbable, then it becomes a possibility. That this oddness is accepted is very appealing.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Island of the Day Before

    • ABRIDGED (6 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Umberto Eco
    • Narrated By Tim Curry
    Overall
    (51)
    Performance
    (16)
    Story
    (16)

    In 1643, in the still un-chartered waters of the South Seas, Roberto della Griva survives the wreck of his ship, the Amaryllis, only to find himself a castaway on another ship, the mysteriously deserted Daphne. Why is she deserted? Or is someone still on board? Get ready for a romance of navigation and science in the mid-17th century as told by the internationally acclaimed Umberto Eco.

    Gary says: "Puzzling and entrancing"
    "Eco Beach"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to The Island of the Day Before the most enjoyable?

    Tim Curry. What a yummy voice, like butter on toast.


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    My knowledge of 17th history is patchy at best, therefore following the part of the plot set during the war was a struggle. Still I managed to understand the general scheme of things and am sure I'm a much more well-rounded person for it.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The friendship between Roberto and the priest on the Daphne. Especially moving was the
    part where the priest descends into the ocean in


    If you could rename The Island of the Day Before, what would you call it?

    Perfect title. Would leave it as is.


    Any additional comments?

    Did I mention I salivate at the sound of Tim Curry's voice? Also I've developed a burning desire to learn more about the discovery of longitude.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The History of Love

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Nicole Krauss
    • Narrated By George Guidall, Barbara Caruso, Julia Gibson, and others
    Overall
    (999)
    Performance
    (346)
    Story
    (358)

    Nicole Krauss' first novel, Man Walks Into a Room, was shortlisted for the Los Angeles Times Book Award and her short fiction has been collected in Best American Short Stories. Now The History of Love proves Krauss is among our finest and freshest literary voices.

    Kathryn Lunetta says: "Beautiful story, beautifully written."
    "Loved it"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to The History of Love again? Why?

    I did not want it to end. And when it ended, I rewound it to favorite parts and listened again.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The ending. But I won't give that away. I also enjoyed the part where Leo comes back to his apartment to find his friend has baked him a cake and everywhere is covered in flour. On the floor, Leo sees where his elderly friend has laid down and made an angel in the flour. The image is sweet and funny.


    Any additional comments?

    The narrator for Leo was exceptional. He conveyed passion and humor and sadness so effectively. I rewound these parts several times, just to hear him tell them again.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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