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joyce

Greedy, voracious reader since age five. After a number of eye injuries & surgeries, reading is hard. So now, I listen.

ratings
87
REVIEWS
54
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
4
HELPFUL VOTES
70

  • The Residence: Inside the Private World of the White House

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Kate Andersen Brower
    • Narrated By Karen White
    Overall
    (132)
    Performance
    (117)
    Story
    (118)

    America's first families are unknowable in many ways. No one has insight into their true character like the people who serve their meals and make their beds every day. Full of stories and details by turns dramatic, humorous, and heartwarming, The Residence reveals daily life in the White House as it is really lived through the voices of the maids, butlers, cooks, florists, doormen, engineers, and others who tend to the needs of the president and first family.

    Sara says: "The White House Explored & Exposed"
    "Interesting"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is an interesting collection of memories and backstage White House vignettes. It's all very proper, nothing salacious or shocking. Actually, with the exception of the racism and the haughty, class-conscious behavior of certain occupants, there's nothing shocking here.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Fine Romance

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Candice Bergen
    • Narrated By Candice Bergen
    Overall
    (59)
    Performance
    (52)
    Story
    (53)

    A Fine Romance begins with Bergen's charming first husband, French director Louis Malle, whose huge appetite for life broadened her horizons and whose occasional darkness never diminished their love for each other. But her real romance begins when she discovers overpowering love for her daughter after years of ambivalence about motherhood.

    HailtoTheVictors says: "Interesting story; the reading not as expected"
    "Disillusioned by Ms Bergen. Skip this! boring boor."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I have loved and admired Candace Bergen for the feminist and the survivor of strange parenting that she appeared (in interviews) to be. I remember a '60 Minutes' interview after her husband Louis Malle died, as she walked their French estate and explained that he had had a mistress during their marriage, 'it was just the French way', and altho it took her awhile to accept it, that she and the woman were now friends. wow! She seemed superhuman!
    I guess time has erased that episode, because although Bergen's marriage to Malle is half the book, the mistress does not exist. Bergen confesses times of stress, doubt, 'distance'; but every time Malle's charming protests of undying love convince her that all is well, and she quotes his flowery missives to her in their entirety. We are expected to believe that he could never leave Candy for another woman, that she was all to him, that their love was awesome, unlike any other, transcendent.
    OK, whatever. What really rankled me was the description of Malle's long, slow death from a rare degenerative brain disease. How she bitches and moans!! she is so exhausted, so stressed, how could Louis dump this on her, she is angry! These feelings can be justified. People in my family have nursed terminally ill spouses, and I know that it is a desperately sad, never-ending, soul-crushing task. But also, my family does not have Bergen's wealth, her live-in assistant, nanny, nursing staff, vacations to NY or Hawaii to ease the 'caregivers syndrome', many wealthy friends traveling from all over to visit Malle, bring gifts, food, succor. She says Malle never complained. That is a gift in itself. She comes off like a selfish, self-centered, whining *!?*#*!! And she's the one writing this!
    The section about the Murphy Brown years was interesting. And her love for her daughter, her Fine Romance, is very touching. But she is just not the regular old gal she wants people to see. When forced to fly commercial from Hawaii, she actually refers to the people in coach, those 'loud' and 'big hair' people as: the 'other'. Are you kidding me?!?!
    I am sooooooo over Candace Bergen. And I'm really sorry I spent money on this mess.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Frank: A Life in Politics from the Great Society to Same-Sex Marriage

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs)
    • By Barney Frank
    • Narrated By Barney Frank
    Overall
    (42)
    Performance
    (38)
    Story
    (37)

    How did a disheveled, intellectually combative gay Jew with a thick New Jersey-Massachusetts accent become one of the most effective politicians of his time? In this candid and witty political memoir, Barney Frank relates his journey from the outskirts of New York City to Boston's City Hall and the Massachusetts legislature, and then to the US Congress, where he played a vital role in the struggle for personal freedom and economic fairness over four decades.

    Gino says: "WOW"
    "I could run after Barney like that kid after Shane"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    He's hilarious! Often it's his rapier wit, sometimes it's his speaking, which sounds like a bulldog gargling marbles. The Congressman I admired for many years-- intelligent, funny, a fantastic debater, a totally dedicated voice for the disenfranchised-- is fully exposed in this book, his missteps and insecurities as well as his triumphs. I miss seeing him give interviews on the daily Washington mess and I wonder sadly if he is the last such character we will have in the Congress. They all seem to go there now to get rich.
    This book is a great piece of history, especially on the 2008 financial meltdown. Frank was chairman of the Financial Services committee, so he was in the thick of it and the insider's view here is excellent. Also very instructive on the day-to-day biz of getting legislation passed. I highly recommend this book! May you have a long and happy retirement, Congressman Frank!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Earth Moved: On the Remarkable Achievements of Earthworms

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Amy Stewart
    • Narrated By Heather Henderson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (38)
    Performance
    (34)
    Story
    (34)

    They destroy plant diseases. They break down toxins. They plough the earth. They transform forests. They’ve survived two mass extinctions, including the one that wiped out the dinosaur. Not bad for a creature that’s deaf, blind, and spineless. Who knew that earthworms were one of our planet’s most important caretakers? Or that Charles Darwin devoted his last years to studying their remarkable achievements?

    D. Littman says: "very interesting, very peculiar popular science"
    "wow, worms! don't hide your light under a bushel!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I never knew just how ecologically important earthworms are. Never knew they were a special favorite of Darwin's. Did not know they are becoming an important tool in research and in biohazard cleanup. All hail these lowly worms! they are really pretty cool and interesting. The author also gives all the advice you would need to start ypur own wormy compost box.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Elegance of the Hedgehog

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Muriel Barbery
    • Narrated By Barbara Rosenblat, Cassandra Morris
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2344)
    Performance
    (1296)
    Story
    (1318)

    An enchanting New York Times and international best seller and award-winner about life, art, literature, philosophy, culture, class, privilege, and power, seen through the eyes of a 54-year-old French concierge and a precocious but troubled 12-year-old girl.

    Pyles says: "It surprised me"
    "less philosophy! more plot! (great characters!)"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A great performance by Barbara Rosenblat, oozing French snottiness, and another by Cassandra Morris as a know-it-all 12 year old who has had just about enough of this world. Both are interesting and funny characters, but both also spend more than half the book musing philosophically on subjects ranging from passing thoughts (What is a table? does 'tableness' exist?) to questions about class and identity and self-determination. I think some of it would have interested me as a freshman in Phil 101, but it all got very tiresome after listening to a few hours from these characters. More of the very sketched-in storyline would have made this book a lot more fun. I did like the ending (sad!), but still, not worth the time invested.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Johnstown Flood

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By David McCullough
    • Narrated By Edward Herrmann
    Overall
    (1157)
    Performance
    (632)
    Story
    (630)

    At the end of the last century, Johnstown, Pennsylvania, was a booming coal-and-steel town filled with hardworking families striving for a piece of the nation's burgeoning industrial prosperity. In the mountains above Johnstown, an old earth dam had been hastily rebuilt to create a lake for an exclusive summer resort patronized by the tycoons of that same industrial prosperity, among them Andrew Carnegie, Henry Clay Frick, and Andrew Mellon.

    Susan K Donley says: "A page-turner! HIstory that reads like a novel"
    "interesting bit of history"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is the second book by McCullough that I have read. It is a very interesting account of events surrounding the Johnstown flood, which I had been taught was just the result of a 100-year storm. But still, I think McCullough can't hold a candle to Timothy Egan, who makes American history stories leap off the page like Indiana Jones, or something!
    I do like listening to Edward Herrmann's voice.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Working Stiff: Two Years, 262 Bodies, and the Making of a Medical Examiner

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Judy Melinek, MD, T. J. Mitchell
    • Narrated By Tanya Eby
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (692)
    Performance
    (621)
    Story
    (615)

    Just two months before the September 11 terrorist attacks, Dr. Judy Melinek began her training as a New York City forensic pathologist. With her husband and their toddler holding down the home front, Judy threw herself into the fascinating world of death investigation-performing autopsies, investigating death scenes, and counseling grieving relatives. Working Stiff chronicles Judy's two years of training, taking listeners behind the police tape of some of the most harrowing deaths in the Big Apple.

    R. Milam says: "Great story - but not for the faint of heart!"
    "A brand new, enthusiastic, NYC M.E. tells all"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Well-written and really interesting, but maybe not for the squeamish. However, the reader is completely ridiculous. Yes, it's a 'memoir', but come on, lady, you are reading graphic descriptions of accidental deaths and clinical dissections, it's not StoryTime at pre-school! The golly-gee-whiz inflection used for the author and her dopey male voices nearly ruin this fascinating book with continual irritation.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Into That Forest

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By Louis Nowra
    • Narrated By Lisbeth Kennelly
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (218)
    Performance
    (194)
    Story
    (193)

    Two girls survive a terrible flood in the Tasmanian bush and are rescued by a pair of Tasmanian tigers who raise them in the wild. Their story of survival is remarkable, as they adapt to the life of the tiger, learning to hunt and to communicate without the use of human language. When they are discovered and returned to civilization, neither can adapt to being fully human after their extraordinary experience. Totally believable, their story will both shock and captivate listeners as it explores the animal instincts that lie beneath our civilized veneer.

    Gillian says: "Excellent Narration of a Dramatic Story"
    "a kids' book that had me gripped me by the throat"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The perfect narration of this story of an elderly Aussie woman, in her quavery voice and old regional speech patterns, as she recalls incidents of her childhood, is what raises this simple adventure story to a book with a lasting presence. For young adults, it will start discussions about what makes us civilized, what is a family, the nature of love, interspecies communication, and our responsibility to other species on the planet. As an adult, I was mesmerized by the performance of the reader. Her depiction of a child's experience of loss, and fighting fiercely to keep hold of the next thing, and lifelong regret and sadness, is so real and wrenching. A slow start, but then exciting and haunting.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Blood on the Moon: The Assassination of Abraham Lincoln

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Edward Steers
    • Narrated By William Coon
    Overall
    (45)
    Performance
    (40)
    Story
    (39)

    The assassination of Abraham Lincoln is usually told as a tale of a lone deranged actor who struck from a twisted lust for revenge. This is not only too simple an explanation; Blood on the Moon reveals that it is completely wrong. John Wilkes Booth was neither mad nor alone in his act of murder. He received the help of many, not the least of whom was Dr. Samuel Alexander Mudd, the Charles County physician who has been portrayed as the innocent victim of a vengeful government.

    Alan says: "Terrific listen."
    "Fascinating! so much we never learned in school"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I am full of admiration for the author, as the amount of research behind this book and the thoroughness of it are mind-boggling. I would not recommend this book to anyone who is not very interested in learning about the assassination of President Lincoln. It is extremely detailed, with virtually every fact being supported by quotes from printed media, private letters, police files, court documents, government sources, or photographs. Very rarely, when that last shred of proof cannot be found, the author presents his opinion (rather confidently), and moves on.
    All in all, this is an amazing achievement. I learned an immense amount of my own country's history, was enthralled by the man (Lincoln) himself, and now I understand why he is beloved, and such an icon. The description of his funeral, and then the huge crowds meeting the funereal train carrying his body back to Indiana was vividly brought to life, and was very moving.
    It's not historical fiction, it's not Bill O'Reilly, so save your credit there.
    If you are a history buff, or a Lincoln buff, or a civil war buff....this is fascinating. This is the one to read.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Doc: The Rape of the Town of Lovell

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Jack Olsen
    • Narrated By Kevin Pierce
    Overall
    (115)
    Performance
    (101)
    Story
    (102)

    For twenty-five years, the trusted family doctor in a small Wyoming town had been raping and molesting the women and children who most relied on him. Mostly Mormons, the naive victims sometimes realized on their wedding nights the truth about what had happened in Dr. Story's office.

    Douglas says: "Just Beginning To Read Jack Olsen..."
    "This story is so, so disturbing; how can this be?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The doctor was a sociopath, rapist and sadist who couldn't have stumbled into a better position; replacing the only doctor in a small, rural, heavily Mormon town. The sexual innocence of the Mormon women and their total obeisance to men gave him 25 years to indulge his sick urges with Mormon women, girls, and babies.
    Jack Olsen's account is detailed and spellbinding from beginning to end. When, finally, a legal investigation is begun, the problems seem insurmountable. Sex is a taboo subject for Mormon women. Doc the sociopath has charmed many in the town.
    There is another disturbing dimension, that the doctor is not Mormon, and heads his own Christian church in town. An ugly anti-Mormon tone starts to dominate the case, and the victims are shunned and blamed as Doc faces the justice system.
    The spectre of religious hatreds tearing a community apart, while abused women are blamed for causing all the trouble and the littlest victims of a truly evil child molester are ignored, is so confusing, so upsetting...and this happened in the 1980's! It sounds like another century, but it's not! It's just hard to believe, and the recording is hard to turn off. Excellent investigative reporting, and excellent, unemotional 'just-the-facts-ma'am' narration that suits this True Crime story.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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