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Oakland, CA | Member Since 2012

  • 8 reviews
  • 83 ratings
  • 300 titles in library
  • 3 purchased in 2015

  • The Painted Veil

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By W. Somerset Maugham
    • Narrated By Sophie Ward

    This is the story of Kitty Fane, the adulterous wife of a bacteriologist stationed in Hong Kong. When her husband discovers her deception, he exacts a terrible vengeance: Kitty must accompany him to the heart of a cholera epidemic in China.

    Karen says: "Better than the movie"
    "Amazing story"

    This story really took me by surprise. I thought it might be a dated and quaint journey into another time. While parts of it are quaint, its substance is timeless. It has all the major ingredients of a great story: lust, love, betrayal, adventure, pathos, and an anti-hero(ine) central character who transforms in a plausible way. The woman reading it is a little wooden, but her posh accent is actually quite enjoyable and works well with the story.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The English American

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Alison Larkin
    • Narrated By Alison Larkin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    When Pippa Dunn, adopted as an infant and raised terribly British, discovers that her birth parents are from the American South, she finds that "culture clash" has layers of meaning she'd never imagined. Meet The English American, a fabulously funny, deeply poignant debut novel that sprang from Alison Larkin's autobiographical one-woman show of the same name.

    Michael says: "Outstanding"
    "Less hilarious than expected, but still okay"

    After reading the description of the book I thought it would be one of those laugh-out-loud type stories full of comic misunderstandings, as I've always loved wacky, dry British humour. This is more of an autobiographical story of someone who has really had it pretty good, and is mostly aware of that, but has hit a rough spot that leads (somewhat predictably) to a voyage of self-discovery. There is the obligatory bad boyfriend choice (dashing, etc.) and Mr. Nice Guy. *yawn* She does have a very nice accent and reads her book well. It's said that every author worth his/her salt has to first tell his/her own story before going on to tell more interesting ones. I think this author has potential, and look forward to seeing if she will develop it further.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Shantaram

    • UNABRIDGED (43 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Gregory David Roberts
    • Narrated By Humphrey Bower

    This mesmerizing first novel tells the epic journey of Lin, an escaped convict who flees maximum security prison in Australia to disappear into the underworld of contemporary Bombay. Accompanied by his guide and faithful friend, Prabaker, Lin searches for love and meaning while running a clinic in one of the city's poorest slums and serving his apprenticeship in the dark arts of the Bombay mafia. The keys to unlock the mysteries that bind Lin are held by two people: his mentor Khader Khan, mafia godfather and criminal-philosopher; and the beautiful, elusive Karla, whose passions are driven by dangerous secrets.

    Jamie says: "Do Not Miss This"
    "Epic adventure story told with heart and humor!!"

    I thoroughly enjoyed this tale of one man's flight from prison in Australia and subsequent adventures abroad. He describes a life of love, crime, and passion in Bombay working for the mafia and having some pretty gruesome experiences that I won't go into so as not to spoil anyone's fun. The story is told first person, and I was a little surprised to learn that much of it was written from his own personal experiences. In fact, he wrote it in jail over a 13 year period. It's amazing that one could survive all the crazy sh*t he did, much less look back at it fondly and recount spiritual lessons gleaned from it all.

    As a side note, the book is slated to be turned into a film. Sadly, the leading man is going to be Johnny Depp. WHY??!! If you "read" the book you will agree that they could not have found a worse match for the role of Lin. Ugh, it's so irritating. Why not cast some Aussie stud muffin, or better still someone with character? I would be so excited to see a film of this book, if it were at all possible to do so without having to see any more of Johnny Depp than I have already been subjected to throughout the past decade. He belongs to Tim Burton and the rest of the overdone crowd, not something new & fresh like this.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • American Gods

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By Neil Gaiman
    • Narrated By George Guidall
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    For the three years Shadow spent in prison, all he wanted was to get back to the loving arms of his wife and stay out of trouble for the rest of his life. But days before his release, he learns that his wife has been killed in an accident, and his world becomes a colder place.

    Joseph says: "Amazing, powerful book about America."
    "Enjoyable and thought-provoking"

    This is my favorite book of Gaiman's thus far. Many of the other things of his I've read were, though quite enjoyable, lighter and almost a bit formulaic. His character portraits are tons of fun, but often a bit cartoonish. They are usually some combination of the plucky independent woman (who is hot in a pixie/exotic way) who meets a trodden-upon man (with a secret power he has yet to uncover) and they encounter deliciously evil villany and/or gods together while being transported through various realities.

    After a few variations on that theme it was nice to get into a more complex character with surprises to reveal about himself (mostly that he was just a normal dude, even if his father was a god). It's as though Gaiman finally was able to commit his attention span for long enough to go deeper than his usual glib facile writing style. Even the ending doesn't tie up too neatly, which is refreshing. There is resolution, but like most things in the novel it leaves a lot of things lurking in the shadows.

    As for the audio recording, the narrator is a bit dry but not obnoxious. Thankfully he doesn't over-emote, so one can just enjoy the book without being too distracted by the reader.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Areas of My Expertise

    • ABRIDGED (6 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By John Hodgman
    • Narrated By John Hodgman

    In the great tradition of the American almanac, The Areas of My Expertise is a brilliant and hilarious compendium of handy reference tables, fascinating trivia, and sage wisdom on all topics large and small. Although best sellers such as Poor Richard's Almanack and The Book of Lists were certainly valuable, they also were largely true.

    Margot says: "Wow!"
    "Not funny"

    I've enjoyed him on the daily show (mostly) and other places he's turned up, but this book is boring and not funny. In good comedy there must be at least a little sincerity. All the best comedians know that the ultimate joke must be on them. John Hodgeman seems more interested in feigning arrogance than actually divulging anything interesting about himself.

    0 of 0 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

    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.

    KLBrookline says: "Beautiful story, beautifully written."

    What a fantastic title. However, I could not get through this book. That says a lot when you aren't even being asked to actually read it (it's easier to listen than read). I'm all for character development, but it drags on for ages with no sense of why you should really care about these people. The tone of it is slightly whiney, too, as if you were listening to someone complain at length. If you find yourself fascinated by the copy on the backs of cereal boxes, or enjoy a good litany of woes, this book is definitely for you.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Age of Innocence

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Edith Wharton
    • Narrated By David Horovitch
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Countess Olenska, separated from her European husband, returns to old New York society. She bears with her an independence and anawareness of life which stirs the educated sensitivity of Newland Archer, engaged to be married to May Welland.

    Ilana says: "Narrated to Perfection"
    "Fantastic story"

    The unexpected thing about this story, for me, was seeing that the "age" being referred to was not only about a certain time of life, but also about a point in history where one could look back to the previous generation and witness a huge gap in attitude and perception. It starts with horse-drawn buggies, hand-written notes, etc. and ends with telephones and automobiles. To see this sort of change in one's lifetime must have been really amazing.
    There is also a Scorsese film version of this with Daniel Day-Lewis. It's definitely worth watching but it bothered me a little that the two heroines were swapped (the raven-haired temptress in the book is played by Michelle Pheiffer).

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • Poison Study

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Maria V. Snyder
    • Narrated By Gabra Zackman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    About to be executed for murder, Yelena is offered an extraordinary reprieve. She'll eat the best meals, have rooms in the palace, and risk assassination by anyone trying to kill the Commander of Ixia. And so Yelena chooses to become a food taster.

    A says: "Fantasy, with a touch of romance."

    I would highly recommend this to any woman who has a warrior adventurer hidden inside her. The prose is somewhat stumbling at times (a breeze smelling as fresh as "expensive perfume'??) but the story is satsifying and engaging. I downloaded the 2nd book in the middle of this one, knowing I would be wanting it right away.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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