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Two Rabbits

New York, NY USA | Member Since 2006

20
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 15 reviews
  • 15 ratings
  • 118 titles in library
  • 12 purchased in 2014
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FOLLOWERS
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  • Hard-boiled Wonderland and the End of the World

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs)
    • By Haruki Murakami
    • Narrated By Adam Sims, Ian Porter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (574)
    Performance
    (448)
    Story
    (455)

    Information is everything in Hard-boiled Wonderland. A specialist encrypter is attacked by thugs with orders from an unknown source, is chased by invisible predators, and dates an insatiably hungry librarian who never puts on weight. In the End of the World a new arrival is learning his role as dream-reader. But there is something eerily disquieting about the changeless nature of the town and its fable-like inhabitants.

    Daniel says: "Classic Murakami, No Ultraviolence"
    "Well, that's 38 bucks down the drain..."
    Overall

    I rarely give up on a book -- some strange sense of obligation drives me to finish it, even if I'm not enjoying it. For this book, I made an exception. After five hours, I just couldn't justify throwing more good time after bad, so I deleted the book from my iPod.

    I suspect it was mainly a genre problem. Not that I could tell you, exactly, what genre this book falls in, but whatever metaphysical problems he was setting up, I just couldn't begin to be interested in them. This book was just relentlessly tedious to me. I gave it two stars because I'm willing to consider the possibility that the book isn't badly written, it's just a bad fit for me. Let me suggest that if you listen to the audio clip and think, "I have no idea why anyone would care about what he's describing," trust your instincts and move on!

    4 of 10 people found this review helpful
  • The Signature of All Things: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Elizabeth Gilbert
    • Narrated By Juliet Stevenson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1414)
    Performance
    (1285)
    Story
    (1296)

    In The Signature of All Things, Elizabeth Gilbert returns to fiction, inserting her inimitable voice into an enthralling story of love, adventure and discovery. Spanning much of the 18th and 19th centuries, the novel follows the fortunes of the extraordinary Whittaker family as led by the enterprising Henry Whittaker - a poor-born Englishman who makes a great fortune in the South American quinine trade, eventually becoming the richest man in Philadelphia.

    Molly-o says: "Don't miss this one"
    "Swept up!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I loved going on the journey of this book. For me, it was an intellectually and emotionally satisfying experience. Could it have been shorter? Without question. But the occasional repetitive sections did little to dim my enthusiasm. It is an ambitious work, full of period and scientific detail, and I applaud the effort.

    On the whole, Juliet Stevenson did a lovely job, but I do wish she had asked for some input before butchering all those Dutch names. Sheesh.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Orphan Train: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Christina Baker Kline
    • Narrated By Jessica Almasy, Suzanne Toren
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4820)
    Performance
    (4301)
    Story
    (4310)

    Penobscot Indian Molly Ayer is close to "aging out" out of the foster care system. A community-service position helping an elderly woman clean out her home is the only thing keeping Molly out of juvie and worse.... As she helps Vivian sort through her possessions and memories, Molly learns that she and Vivian aren’t as different as they seem to be. A young Irish immigrant orphaned in New York City, Vivian was put on a train to the Midwest with hundreds of other children whose destinies would be determined by luck and chance.

    Kathi says: "Moving story of sharing and transformation."
    "Lovely and Engrossing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I found this book thoroughly engaging, although I confess to being more interested in the historical events than in the contemporary plot. The characters were vivid, the situation poignant, and the pace of the storytelling brisk. The major quibble I have with the audiobook is that the narrator read much of it at such breakneck speed that it felt like she glanced off of the emotional content rather than allowing it to settle in to the listener. Her accent was somewhat iffy as well. But overall, a very enjoyable listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • No Land's Man: A Perilous Journey through Romance, Islam, and Brunch

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Aasif Mandvi
    • Narrated By Aasif Mandvi
    Overall
    (22)
    Performance
    (22)
    Story
    (21)

    If you're an Indo-Muslim-British-American actor who has spent more time in bars than mosques over the past few decades, turns out it's a little tough to explain who you are or where you are from. In No Land's Man Aasif Mandvi explores this and other conundrums through stories about his family, ambition, desire, and culture that range from dealing with his brunch-obsessed father, to being a high-school-age Michael Jackson impersonator, to joining a Bible study group in order to seduce a nice Christian girl, to improbably becoming America's favorite Muslim/Indian/Arab/Brown/Doctor correspondent on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

    The Reading Date says: "Witty and Thoughtful"
    "Not enough life experience to justify a memoir"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    While the sections relating to his New York career were reasonably interesting, the first half of the book, in which he talks at length about his childhood, was really dull. The stories he's telling are not particularly extraordinary, so he would need to tell them with extraordinary wit and insight in order to hold my attention. Unfortunately, the storytelling was also pretty flat. Nearly all the early stories led up to a kind of anticlimactic non-ending, and then he just went on to the next pointless story. The amount of truly interesting material in this book might have yielded a good magazine article, but is insufficient for a five-hour book.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Eleanor & Park

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Rainbow Rowell
    • Narrated By Rebecca Lowman, Sunil Malhotra
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1071)
    Performance
    (991)
    Story
    (1000)

    Set over the course of one school year, in 1986, this is the story of two star-crossed misfits - smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. When Eleanor meets Park, you’ll remember your own first love - and just how hard it pulled you under.

    FanB14 says: "E + P 4-ever!"
    "Sweeps you away"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    This is one of those books that leaves you feeling heartbroken at the end -- not because the ending is heartbreaking, but because you can't bear to leave it behind. I seriously considered starting over at the beginning just so I could stay in its spell a little longer. The writing is simply wonderful - characters so vivid and believable that you feel like they are old, dear friends. I was a teenager in the 80s, and I'm amazed at how persuasively Rowell was able to evoke all the feelings, the sights and sounds of that period. It's been a long time since I fell in love, but she brought it all back to me, in all its breathless, stomach-flipping glory. What a joy!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Mary Ann Shaffer, Annie Barrows
    • Narrated By Paul Baymer, Susan Duerden, Roselyn Landor, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3340)
    Performance
    (1506)
    Story
    (1508)

    Why we think it’s a great listen: The best book club you’ve never heard of – but will be eager to join, courtesy of a full cast of true characters. January 1946: London is emerging from the shadow of the Second World War, and writer Juliet Ashton is looking for her next book subject. Who could imagine that she would find it in a letter from a man she's never met, a native of the island of Guernsey, who has come across her name written inside a book by Charles Lamb....

    Kent says: "MUCH better than I ever expected! Give it a try!"
    "Really enjoyable"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    Beautifully performed by multiple narrators, and a fun, compelling, and even somewhat moving story. I really liked learning about the experience of the war in these two different settings, and the characters all brought those experiences to life in a very human way. Occasionally the constraint of having to tell all these stories through letters led to some slightly heavy-handed moments, but on the whole I thought it was a very fine book, and thoroughly enjoyed the time I spent with it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail (Oprah's Book Club 2.0)

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Cheryl Strayed
    • Narrated By Bernadette Dunne
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3669)
    Performance
    (3234)
    Story
    (3248)

    At 22, Cheryl Strayed thought she had lost everything. In the wake of her mother's death, her family scattered and her own marriage was soon destroyed. Four years later, with nothing more to lose, she made the most impulsive decision of her life: to hike the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State - and to do it alone. She had no experience as a long-distance hiker, and the trail was little more than “an idea, vague and outlandish and full of promise.” But it was a promise of piecing back together a life that had come undone.

    FanB14 says: "Glad I Took the Trip"
    "Frequently Aggravating, Occasionally Fascinating"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A HUGE chunk of this book is about the author's family and her mother's death -- it takes her a surprisingly long time to even reach the trail. So if you're expecting a wilderness adventure along the lines of a Jon Krakauer book, this probably isn't what you're looking for.

    For me, it was hard to forgive Cheryl Strayed for how blindly and naively she approached this dangerous journey. She really had no business getting on that trail in the first place, and having to listen to her fumbling around trying to get her footing for hour after hour sometimes made me want to shake her. But ultimately, there were some interesting moments and insights that partly made up for it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Stephen Chbosky
    • Narrated By Noah Galvin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2273)
    Performance
    (2068)
    Story
    (2087)

    Most people think 15-year-old Charlie is a freak. But then seniors Patrick and his beautiful stepsister Sam take Charlie under their wings and introduce him to their eclectic, open-minded, hard-partying friends. It is from these older kids that Charlie learns to live and love.

    FanB14 says: "Intelligent, Absorbing Coming of Age Story"
    "Good performance, decent book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I largely enjoyed the book, mostly because I liked the main character's voice -- his way of seeing and describing things. My main issue with the book is that it started to seem like a checklist of everything that can go wrong in adolescence. But for the most part, it was a pleasant ride, and the narrator was very good. By the way, I strongly discourage you from renting the movie after reading the book. It feels very thin by comparison.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Erik Larson
    • Narrated By Stephen Hoye
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2445)
    Performance
    (1807)
    Story
    (1810)

    The time is 1933, the place, Berlin, when William E. Dodd becomes America’s first ambassador to Hitler’s Germany in a year that proved to be a turning point in history. A mild-mannered professor from Chicago, Dodd brings along his wife, son, and flamboyant daughter, Martha. At first Martha is entranced by the parties and pomp, and the handsome young men of the Third Reich with their infectious enthusiasm for restoring Germany to a position of world prominence. Enamored of the “New Germany,” she has one affair after another....

    Patrick says: "compelling father-daughter story"
    "Interesting topic, dull book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Everyone in my book group was excited for this one, because the subject seemed so interesting. The problem is, in spite of how much was going on in the world at this time, NOTHING happens in the book. The people the author chooses to focus on are ultimately inconsequential and do nothing of consequence. So to try to make up for his protagonists' lack of importance, he includes vast amounts of detail and dozens of characters, few of whom end up being relevant or even particularly interesting. The book could have been half as long if the author had just focused on things that were actually important, instead of providing detailed descriptions of the weather, or a complete listing of every item in the ambassador's china cabinet (particularly grueling in an audiobook, where you can't skim).

    Also irritating is the author's tendency to try to create suspense by ending every chapter with a portentous cliff-hanger-y tease: "Had they known at the time what was to come, they might have felt differently about it..." You can almost here the corny "Dunh dunh DUUNNNNNHH" sound cue. Really amateurish.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Stories I Only Tell My Friends: An Autobiography

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Rob Lowe
    • Narrated By Rob Lowe
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3559)
    Performance
    (2845)
    Story
    (2836)

    A teen idol at 15, an international icon and founder of the Brat Pack at 20, and one of Hollywood's top stars to this day, Rob Lowe chronicles his experiences. Never mean-spirited or salacious, Lowe delivers unexpected glimpses into his successes, disappointments, relationships, and one-of-a-kind encounters with people who shaped our world over the last 25 years. These stories are as entertaining as they are unforgettable.

    N. Belle says: "Great Book and Great Story"
    "Highly enjoyable guilty pleasure"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Many of the stories in this book are fascinating (especially the section that deals with the casting process, rehearsals and shooting of The Outsiders). It's just a really fun, gossipy insider's look at the industry and growing up famous, and Lowe is so funny, smart and insightful about himself that you are happy to be in his company for the duration.

    And he does a surprisingly good Chris Walken impression!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Love, Life, and Elephants: An African Love Story

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Daphne Sheldrick
    • Narrated By Virginia McKenna
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (32)
    Performance
    (26)
    Story
    (27)

    Daphne Sheldrick, whose family arrived in Africa from Scotland in the 1820s, is the first person ever to have successfully hand-reared newborn elephants. Her deep empathy and understanding, her years of observing Kenya’s rich variety of wildlife, and her pioneering work in perfecting the right husbandry and milk formula have saved countless elephants, rhinos, and other baby animals from certain death.

    Prsilla says: "A LOVE STORY IN EVERY SENSE"
    "Interesting life experience, tedious book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    While Daphne Sheldrick undoubtedly led a fascinating life in Africa, this is not a fascinating book. It has the feel of a book that she started writing for her children, and then someone persuaded her to publish it for a general audience, but without eliminating the details that only a family member could find interesting. It is chock full of overly long, banal descriptions, repetitive observations and minor characters who come and go without contributing anything of significance. Every time a major life shift is going to happen, it is telegraphed so obviously that by the time it actually happens you're thinking, "just GET ON WITH IT, already!"

    Dame Sheldrick also seems to lack any sense of perspective about things like colonialism and animal welfare. Her views are, understandably, rooted in her era, but several decades on she seems not to have gained any nuance in her point of view, or any sense of the larger societal issues that were at play and which contributed to the complexity of her situation. So she's really not contributing anything new to the literature of that time and place. She isn't one for enlightening analysis, favoring instead a worldview based on sentiment. For instance, she clearly thinks of herself as the "mother" of all these orphaned animals, and she frequently talks about how attached they are to her. But she seems to act primarily with her heart rather than her head, which makes her actions often seem capricious and poorly thought out, and perhaps not in the best interests of these animals she's so interested in protecting.

    The narrator of the book contributes to the problem by reading the most sentimental lines in a tremulous whisper, which just emphasizes how amateurish and repetitive the writing is. In addition, she mispronounces words frequently. At first, I attributed this to differences between US and British pronunciation, but then she pronounced the word "geyser" first as "gazer" and then as "geezer" and I decided it was her, not me.

    I should mention that the preface to the book is riveting -- if the rest of the book were like this, I would have been far more interested in it. As it is, with three more hours to slog through before my book club meeting, I'm seriously contemplating skipping the rest of it. I'd rate this one a complete waste of time.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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