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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
65
REVIEWS
35
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
3
HELPFUL VOTES
59

  • Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Sheri Fink
    • Narrated By Kirsten Potter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (655)
    Performance
    (576)
    Story
    (582)

    In the tradition of the best writing on medicine, physician and reporter Sheri Fink reconstructs five days at Memorial Medical Center and draws the listener into the lives of those who struggled mightily to survive and to maintain life amidst chaos. After Katrina struck and the floodwaters rose, the power failed, and the heat climbed, exhausted caregivers chose to designate certain patients last for rescue. Months later, several health professionals faced criminal allegations that they deliberately injected numerous patients with drugs to hasten their deaths. Five Days at Memorial, the culmination of six years of reporting, unspools the mystery of what happened in those days.

    Cynthia says: "Five Days in Hell/Years in Purgatory"
    "You expect Drs. to care for you? care ABOUT you?!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Horrifying story about a big city hospital suffering in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Flooding, no power, no sanitation, almost no help from the outside; that was an awful situation. But it seems to me that the most devastating problem this hospital had was a confused chain of command and a really mystifying lack of common sense among the staff. The facility's 'Disaster Plan' was incomplete, so staff didn't know who had authority to lead; the guy from corporate HQ? Chief of Ops? Chief of Staff? Disaster Coordinator? the patients' doctors, the head nurses, the security guys? Everyone's either barking orders or pointing fingers at other people, and the stupidity of it is almost unbelievable. Amidst the suffering, of which the descriptions are truly heart-rending, no one lower on the food chain, meaning the docs and nurses, dares to make a move without orders from someone else. No common sense is employed. Toilets are not working, but continue to be used until they overflow with waste. What?!? No one thought to line wastebaskets with biohazard bags and replace them as necessary? how simple is that?!?! as the building filled with the aroma of feces in the 100-degree heat, no one could even decide to do that?!?
    When the story of this horror, and the euthanizing of weak patients, was publicized, I sympathized with the doctors and nurses and bought their whole story about 'trying their best to care for' the patients. Now I think they should have been charged with murder; the ones who injected the fatal doses, the pharmacists who abetted them, and all the staff who had failed to start hydrating IVs and give regular medicines because someone who wasn't even on the floor had issued an order not to do so. They were 'just following orders'.
    This is a sickening, infuriating story. The narration was awful, sounding for much of the book like a monotone NPR newsreader.

    2 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Big Little Lies

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs)
    • By Liane Moriarty
    • Narrated By Caroline Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3038)
    Performance
    (2784)
    Story
    (2784)

    Pirriwee Public's annual school Trivia Night has ended in a shocking riot. One parent is dead. The school principal is horrified. As police investigate what appears to have been a tragic accident, signs begin to indicate that this devastating death might have been cold-blooded murder. In this thought-provoking novel, number-one New York Times best-selling author Liane Moriarty deftly explores the reality of parenting and playground politics, ex-husbands and ex-wives, and fractured families.

    Joanne M. McGowan says: "I didn't want to press the stop button!"
    "The author totally NAILS those little PTA Napoleons!!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The voices are pitch-perfect and the dialog is as true and natural as anything you overheard at Starbucks this morning. It's a long book, with many characters and interwoven stories, but the energy does not flag for a moment. The longer I listened to this, the more impressed I was by the author's talent! I am not a fan of 'romance' novels, and I was afraid this might turn out to belong in the genre, but it definitely does not. It is a sharp-eyed and funny look at conspicuous consumption, step-families, date rape, domestic violence, helicopter parents, PTA Nazis, and the crazy way little lies can come back and bite you. Very enjoyable book; the strong Aussie accent of the reader did get a little tiring to listen to over time, for my ears, anyway.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Not My Father's Son: A Memoir

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Alan Cumming
    • Narrated By Alan Cumming
    Overall
    (225)
    Performance
    (215)
    Story
    (215)

    With ribald humor, wit, and incredible insight, Alan seamlessly moves back and forth in time, integrating stories from his childhood in Scotland and his experiences today as the celebrated actor of film, television, and stage. At times suspenseful, at times deeply moving, but always incredibly brave and honest, Not My Father's Son is a powerful story of embracing the best aspects of the past and triumphantly pushing the darkness aside.

    BG853 says: "A Memoir For Mystery Lovers"
    "O I love this man!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    His soft brogue purrs like a cat curled up on your lap. Yet he tells a gruesome story, and some may wonder why; why relive that, why broadcast it? I write this review to thank him, because that was my father, too, and that was me, and when I heard Alan Cumming voicing exactly the same thoughts and fears that I had as a child, I suddenly felt---weirdly---understood, or at least, not alone. And I admire him tremendously for confronting his father as an adult, and, ultimately, forgiving him. I've thought Mr. Cumming a fine actor, and now I think he is a fine person, and a fine storyteller, too. I recommend this book for its beautiful narration, and a story of familial dysfunction and abuse that is surmounted without bitterness.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • We Were Liars

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By E. Lockhart
    • Narrated By Ariadne Meyers
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (312)
    Performance
    (285)
    Story
    (288)

    A beautiful and distinguished family. A private island. A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy. A group of four friends - the Liars - whose friendship turns destructive. A revolution. An accident. A secret. Lies upon lies. True love. The truth. We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from National Book Award finalist and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart.

    Ida Wilder says: "Fell flat for me"
    "spoiled brat tries to teach elders a lesson. Meh."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I kept waiting for this book to get as wonderful as its published reviews promised, but it just got increasingly less interesting, not more. Rich family, jealousy, in-fighting, snotty teenagers, all spending summers on their private island....and that's pretty much where it stays. The bombshell was more like a 'so what' by the time it came.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Good Nurse: A True Story of Medicine, Madness, and Murder

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Charles Graeber
    • Narrated By Will Collyer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (439)
    Performance
    (394)
    Story
    (391)

    After his December 2003 arrest, registered nurse Charlie Cullen was quickly dubbed "The Angel of Death" by the media. But Cullen was no mercy killer, nor was he a simple monster. He was a favorite son, husband, beloved father, best friend, and celebrated caregiver. Implicated in the deaths of as many as 300 patients, he was also perhaps the most prolific serial killer in American history.

    FanB14 says: "More Chilling than Murder?"
    "There is NO defense for medicine-for-profit. None."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Excellent writing, excellent research, excellent narration, and a terrifying story about a lunatic nurse who spends more than a decade killing HUNDREDS of (healthy) patients in several hospitals in a tri-state area. And although there are signs that point to him as being somehow responsible, negligent, or downright murderous in many of these cases, ALL of the hospital administrators involved simply send him off to work somewhere else, and with good references, so that their own hospitals and reputations will suffer no damage or recriminations, or God forbid, actual liability. Can't afford to lose patient referrals over a few extra dead people.
    There is, finally, one woman working in this cesspool of ever-rising profit who manages to locate her conscience, and she turns in the 'good nurse' to the police. He makes confessions, but can't remember all his victims. The estimate is more than 400. And he is the only one is jail. NONE of those hospital administrators who, by letting him continue working, allowed the killing to continue, was charged with anything. I think that's a crime.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Asleep: The Forgotten Epidemic That Became Medicine’s Greatest Mystery

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Molly Caldwell Crosby
    • Narrated By Christian Rummel
    Overall
    (74)
    Performance
    (68)
    Story
    (70)

    In 1918, a world war raged, and a lethal strain of influenza circled the globe. In the midst of all this death, a bizarre disease appeared in Europe. Eventually known as encephalitis lethargica, or sleeping sickness, it spread worldwide, leaving millions dead or locked in institutions. Then, in 1927, it disappeared as suddenly as it had arrived. Asleep, set in 1920s and '30s New York, follows a group of neurologists through hospitals and asylums as they try to solve this epidemic and treat its victims - who learned the worst fate was not dying of it, but surviving it.

    Susie says: "Anatomy of an Epidemic"
    "Scary, and still unsolved, medical mystery"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book about encephalitis lethargica is well researched and well written by a woman whose grandmother survived this disease, but mentally damaged. The book examines several case histories, including hers, in detail, to show the wide range of physical and behavioral symptoms that made this disease so baffling for doctors and difficult for families. Its victims, mostly young people, sickened suddenly and fell asleep, for weeks for months. Some woke eventually, some died. Some could function normally again; many suffered degrees of mental/emotional impairment; some displayed uncontrollable anger or became psychotic, suicidal, homicidal (this included small children), others remained 'frozen' like the ones Dr. Oliver Sacks found in a hospital decades after the last outbreak and wrote about in "Awakenings". During two early 20th century pandemic waves of this disease, medical researchers tried to figure out agent was causing it, how it was transmitted, how it might be cured. No luck. Was it linked to pandemic flu?
    Rare, sporadic cases still occur. The author makes the point that we may be in terrible trouble if there is another pandemic flu, and another pandemic of encephalitis lethargica.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Short Stay in Hell

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Steven L. Peck
    • Narrated By Sergei Burbank
    Overall
    (186)
    Performance
    (172)
    Story
    (174)

    An ordinary family man, geologist, and Mormon, Soren Johansson has always believed he'll be reunited with his loved ones after death in an eternal hereafter. Then, he dies. Soren wakes to find himself cast by a God he has never heard of into a Hell whose dimensions he can barely grasp: a vast library he can only escape from by finding the book that contains the story of his life. In this haunting existential novella, author, philosopher, and ecologist Steven L. Peck explores a subversive vision of eternity.

    Janice says: "I'll be thinking about this one for a while."
    "I'd be looking around for Rod Serling!"
    Overall
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    It's that old idea; Hell will be specific to each sinner. And you are sent there because you have fervently worshipped the 'wrong' God. But when you arrive-Thank God!-Satan's minion tells you that it's not forever, don't be silly. You must only perform one task, and then you can leave. How long will it take you to realize the immensity of your task? How long before you lose all hope? before you give up completely on God, if you haven't already? How long can you hold on to a sense of purpose, or assign meaning to your actions? What does it feel like when you can't?
    Hell?
    This is such a funny, unique, fascinating, thought-provoking and enlightening story (I had never heard of the Library of Babel before), I absolutely LOVED, LOVED it!! Hell as a nearly-infinite library, with comfortable living quarters and food kiosks dispensing your
    every wish, and all you have to do to be excused is find your own bio on the shelves.
    Easy-peasy. No?

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Glenn Greenwald
    • Narrated By L. J. Ganser
    Overall
    (231)
    Performance
    (205)
    Story
    (203)

    In May 2013, Glenn Greenwald set out for Hong Kong to meet an anonymous source who claimed to have astonishing evidence of pervasive government spying and insisted on communicating only through heavily encrypted channels. That source turned out to be the 29-year-old NSA contractor Edward Snowden, and his revelations about the agency’s widespread, systemic overreach proved to be some of the most explosive and consequential news in recent history, triggering a fierce debate over national security....

    Dean says: "Excellent! Engaging, thoughtful, and illuminating"
    "Fantastic! terrifying, compelling, heartrending"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The government spying programs that Edward Snowden wanted us to know about are truly terrifying. A gov't spokesperson admits that collecting every bit of electronic info generated in the world is really giving them too much material to effectively search for terrorist clues. One is left with the terrifying thought....'Then, WHY?? If not 'national security', then why??'
    Snowden and the journalists helping him publish the documents he took are heroes to me. It breaks my heart to see them treated like criminals. It breaks my heart to think that my government is lying to, spying on, cheating, and punishing its own citizens just like any cheesy banana republic would do. So much for 'my' president, Barack Obama. I will never trust another politician, not if it was my own mother.
    This book is impossible to put down. Impossible to listen to without wanting to punch something, or scream! See the documentary described in this book, "Citizen Four". Stunning, and up for an Oscar nomination.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Mister Owita's Guide to Gardening: How I Learned the Unexpected Joy of a Green Thumb and an Open Heart

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Carol Wall
    • Narrated By Cynthia Darlow
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (32)
    Performance
    (29)
    Story
    (29)

    Carol Wall, a white woman living in a lily-white neighborhood in Middle America, was at a crossroads in her life. Her children were grown; she had successfully overcome illness; her beloved parents were getting older. One day she notices a dark-skinned African man tending her neighbor's yard. His name is Giles Owita. He bags groceries at the supermarket. He comes from Kenya. And he's very good at gardening. Before long Giles is transforming not only Carol's yard, but her life....

    Mari says: "More endearing friendship than love of gardening."
    "Southern Soap Opera, no Sex"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I was hoping for a lot more gardening talk and a lot less sob story. A sheltered woman whose yard is a mess borrows a neighbor's gardener and fails to recognize his intelligence, even though he is an esteemed Ph.D in Horticulture. He is black and from Africa, which effectively denies him a suitable job in the American South, so he is gardening and being wise and amazing this silly woman, who wrote a sappy book about their friendship and their respective illnesses. I'm sorry I bothered with it.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Sleep Donation: A Novella

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Karen Russell
    • Narrated By Greta Gerwig
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (44)
    Performance
    (43)
    Story
    (43)

    A crisis has swept America. Hundreds of thousands have lost the ability to sleep. Enter the Slumber Corps, an organization that urges healthy dreamers to donate sleep to an insomniac. Under the wealthy and enigmatic Storch brothers the Corps' reach has grown, with outposts in every major US city. Trish Edgewater, whose sister Dori was one of the first victims of the lethal insomnia, has spent the past seven years recruiting for the Corps. But Trish's faith in the organization and in her own motives begins to falter.

    FanB14 says: "Clever Insomnia Epidemic Diary"
    "intriguing idea, but a disappointing execution"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Sci-fi and fantasy generally do not interest me, but being a chronic insomniac, I was immediately grabbed by the title of this novella. I wanted to love it. I did love the idea of a pandemic of insomnia that is killing millions; finally, scientists have learned how to extract the essence of pure sleep from the uninfected, and the purest comes from infants. No one knows if taking their sleep from them is damaging. That's about as far as this novella goes (sorry, spoiler!) and that just wasn't far enough to satisfy me. Nice beginning, tho.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • A Dirty Job

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Christopher Moore
    • Narrated By Fisher Stevens
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4351)
    Performance
    (1624)
    Story
    (1635)

    People start dropping dead around Charlie, giant ravens perch on his building, and it seems that everywhere he goes, a dark presence whispers to him from under the streets. Strange names start appearing on his nightstand notepad, and before he knows it, those people end up dead, too. Yup, it seems that Charlie Asher has been recruited for a new job, an unpleasant but utterly necessary one: Death.

    colleen says: "I loved it!"
    "OK, this is really hilarious"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I had not heard of Christopher Moore before listening to this book. I was hoping to be entertained, but not expecting more. Moore!! He's hilarious! and no cliches, no used jokes, no good ol' boy humor, just really funny original crazy-inventive comic writing that had me laughing out loud, which is rare. This guy must be a real kick at happy hour! Loved, loved listening to this. Fisher Stevens' narration was hysterical, too. Pure fun.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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