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AUSTIN, TX, United States | Member Since 2008

  • 5 reviews
  • 24 ratings
  • 340 titles in library
  • 8 purchased in 2015

  • How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By Paul Tough
    • Narrated By Dan John Miller
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    The story we usually tell about childhood and success is the one about intelligence: Success comes to those who score highest on tests, from preschool admissions to SATs. But in How Children Succeed, Paul Tough argues for a very different understanding of what makes a successful child. Drawing on groundbreaking research in neuroscience, economics, and psychology, Tough shows that the qualities that matter most have less to do with IQ and more to do with character: skills like grit, curiosity, conscientiousness, and optimism.

    Gregory says: "Heavy on Anecdotes, light on data"
    "Interesting but scattered"

    This book raises some key points about what attributes in children predict success in adult life, and they are not what we tend to expect (name, not IQ). But it is also a somewhat scattered and unfocused book, sort of a sampling or anecdotes on the central theme. It spends a lot of time on the personalities and situations of the specific teachers, students, and researchers in the stories rather than driving home the central idea.

    This is not really a parenting how-to book, and it tends to focus on older children, about age 10 or above. It is also not really a scientific book. It tends to feel more like journalism, maybe a very long article from a magazine.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • The Ramona Quimby Audio Collection

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs)
    • By Beverly Cleary, Tracy Dockray
    • Narrated By Stockard Channing

    Meet Ramona. She lives on Klickitat Street with her mother, father and big sister, Beezus. She’s not afraid of anything and is always up to something. And that’s just the beginning…. In this audio collection, join Ramona, one of Beverly Cleary’s most beloved characters, on all her wacky adventures!

    Christopher says: "Very entertaining and delightful listen"
    "Best kids books ever!"

    These stories are the perfect combination of funny, embarrassing, and sometimes a little scary and sad, just like childood itself. Ramona is no brat. She always has the best intentions, but her curiosity and creativity tend to land her in trouble. She is often confused and bewildered when her good intentions meet an unfriendly reception. Still, Ramona is surrounded by loving and supporting adults, and she always pulls through fine.

    My seven-year-old daughter listens to these stories every day. She emphatically agrees when Ramona says, "Being seven and half years old is not easy!"

    I love the narration. Stockard Channing takes up Ramona's voice with sympathy and great humor. She really brings the characters to life without being overly dramatic.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Outlaw Platoon: Heroes, Renegades, Infidels, and the Brotherhood of War in Afghanistan

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Sean Parnell, John Bruning
    • Narrated By Ray Porter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    At 24 years of age, U.S. Army Ranger Sean Parnell was named commander of a forty-man elite infantry platoon - a unit that came to be known as the Outlaws - and was tasked with rooting out Pakistan-based insurgents from a mountain valley along Afghanistan's eastern frontier. Parnell and his men assumed they would be facing a ragtag bunch of civilians, but in May 2006 what started out as a routine patrol through the lower mountains of the Hindu Kush became a brutal ambush.

    Chris says: "Great book...Everyone should listen to this book!!"
    "A harrowing story of what our soldiers endure"

    This story brought home the intense and constant dangers faced by a small unit (24 men) of US soldiers near the Afghanistan / Pakistan border in 2007. It is a gritty tale of the war from the rocky ground of Eastern Afghanistan. I liked the details in this book: the key personalities in the platoon, relationships with the locals, and the tactical explanations of the battles. It is a focused and well written book, so much so that I felt truly scared just hearing about these savage battles years later.

    Before this book, I really did not understand the bewildering challenges and near constant threat of attack faced by our soldiers in Afghanistan. Now I have a great appreciation for these outnumbered, exhausted soldiers who managed to thrive in such a hostile environment.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Patriotic Fire: Andrew Jackson and Jean Laffite at the Battle of New Orleans

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Winston Groom
    • Narrated By Grover Gardner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    This audio program has all the ingredients of a high-flying adventure story. Unbeknownst to the combatants, the War of 1812 has ended. But Andrew Jackson, a brave, charismatic American general, sick with dysentery and commanding a beleaguered garrison, leads a desperate struggle to hold on to New Orleans and to thwart the army that defeated Napoleon.

    Ronald E. Bowers says: "A geat way to learn history!"
    "1815 comes alive"

    This book tells the story of the British invasion of New Orleans in the winter of 1814-1815. The story reads almost like a novel, with complex, lively characters from both sides of the war, often with interesting background stories on the main characters. Andrew Jackson, especially, got into some ridiculous, funny, and sometimes horrible scrapes before the war.

    The battle itself is described in a very coherent and understandable way, switching seamlessly between British and American perspectives in a sensible chronological order. The battlefield by the Mississippi river, and the surrounding maze of swamps and lakes, are nicely visualized. One thing I especially liked was that the book explained just how difficult and complicated it was for the British to get anywhere near New Orleans in the first place, and likewise how dangerous and tedious their retreat turned out to be.

    This book did a fine job setting the context for the battle, explaining what happened in the larger national and world context before and after the battle and what was at stake for both the British and Americans, and especially the locals, in the battle.

    It is a good listen, well narrated, not too long, not too short, and makes history feel alive and important 200 years later.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Short History of Nearly Everything

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Bill Bryson
    • Narrated By Richard Matthews
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Bill Bryson has been an enormously popular author both for his travel books and for his books on the English language. Now, this beloved comic genius turns his attention to science. Although he doesn't know anything about the subject (at first), he is eager to learn, and takes information that he gets from the world's leading experts and explains it to us in a way that makes it exciting and relevant.

    Corby says: "Very informative, fun to listen to"
    "Fascinating, occasionally horrifying"

    If you want to know more (a lot more) about big questions like, "How did we get here?", "Where did the earth come from?", or "Why are humans so different than all other animals?", then this is the book for you. I surveys our scientific knowledge and its historical development, mixing well-written scientific explanations with surprising, funny, and sad stories about the scientists themselves. Some of the topics I sort of wish I did not know about, though. Stories of meteor strikes, ice ages, and mass extinctions give the very real sense that we -- that is, most forms of life on earth -- are not in as comfortable of a situation as we think, and eventually we are probably all doomed. It is a very discomforting thought, especially when explained so convincingly and in such detail, and not a good feeling to fall asleep to.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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