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Elaine

I'm a country potter, gardener, flute player and tin tinker living with my husband, an electrical engineer & cabinet maker.

ratings
67
REVIEWS
49
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
4
HELPFUL VOTES
42

  • Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By David Sedaris
    • Narrated By David Sedaris
    Overall
    (3125)
    Performance
    (2853)
    Story
    (2836)

    From the unique perspective of David Sedaris comes a new collection of essays taking his listeners on a bizarre and stimulating world tour. From the perils of French dentistry to the eating habits of the Australian kookaburra, from the squat-style toilets of Beijing to the particular wilderness of a North Carolina Costco, we learn about the absurdity and delight of a curious traveler's experiences.

    FanB14 says: "Devout Fan Disappointed"
    "Let's explore dark humor with David Sedaris"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I find many of his stories engaging but others push me into the abyss. The passport story is pretty amazing. I'd have written that if it happened to me.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Mr. Midshipman Hornblower

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By C. S. Forester
    • Narrated By Christian Rodska
    Overall
    (656)
    Performance
    (574)
    Story
    (574)

    The year is 1793, the eve of the Napoleonic Wars, and Horatio Hornblower, a 17-year-old boy unschooled in seafaring and the ways of seamen, is ordered to board a French merchant ship and take command of crew and cargo for the glory of England. Though not an unqualified success, this first naval adventure teaches the young midshipman enough to launch him on a series of increasingly glorious exploits.

    Emrys says: "Superb narration of a great story"
    "just can't get into this book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Maybe it's because I know nothing of the big sailing ships but I find this more of an account of sailing than a story. I don't hear the story. The segments are disjointed episodes to me.

    The performance by Chrsitian Rodska is wonderful. The variety and suitability of voices, and the rapid interchange that sounds like a conversation among several characters is admirable.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • One Summer: America, 1927

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Bill Bryson
    • Narrated By Bill Bryson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1292)
    Performance
    (1171)
    Story
    (1155)

    One of the most admired nonfiction writers of our time retells the story of one truly fabulous year in the life of his native country - a fascinating and gripping narrative featuring such outsized American heroes as Charles Lindbergh, Babe Ruth, and yes Herbert Hoover, and a gallery of criminals (Al Capone), eccentrics (Shipwreck Kelly), and close-mouthed politicians (Calvin Coolidge). It was the year Americans attempted and accomplished outsized things and came of age in a big, brawling manner. What a country. What a summer. And what a writer to bring it all so vividly alive.

    Mark says: "Why 1927?"
    "I didn't know that either!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    That's what I kept saying. I didn't know that. I didn't realize that. I don't remember hearing that. I never connected those events or people or times.

    It is entirely possible that any year looks extraordinary when one considers all that happens in society, culture, economics, sports, invention and more but I do believe that 1927 was one heck of a year.

    I am a Bill Bryson fan. His humor appeals to me. It is not uncommon for me to be working in the garden and burst out laughing. If this frightens a rabbit or two, better still.

    I did enjoy the book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By Katherine Boo
    • Narrated By Sunil Malhotra
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (670)
    Performance
    (575)
    Story
    (584)

    Annawadi is a makeshift settlement in the shadow of luxury hotels near the Mumbai airport, and as India starts to prosper, Annawadians are electric with hope. Abdul, a reflective and enterprising Muslim teenager, sees “a fortune beyond counting” in the recyclable garbage that richer people throw away. Asha, a woman of formidable wit and deep scars from a childhood in rural poverty, has identified an alternate route to the middle class: political corruption.

    Dr. says: "An Antidote for Shantaram"
    "Hard to think about, painful to have in the world"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I've spent some time in India, China, Peru, Cambodia where pockets of poverty are more than a few blocks long. Poor areas are as different from one another as wealthy areas might be but they all have roots of corruption that intertwine and feed the systems, perpetuating the problems and delaying the solutions. This book is difficult to listen to when one engages the mind in a what if this was me situation.
    It is well written and well performed. The situations are ones we should all be aware of.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Gone Girl: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Gillian Flynn
    • Narrated By Julia Whelan, Kirby Heyborne
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (16989)
    Performance
    (15114)
    Story
    (15157)

    It is Nick and Amy Dunne's fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick's clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn't doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media - as well as Amy's fiercely doting parents - the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he's definitely bitter - but is he really a killer?

    Teddy says: "Demented, twisted, sick and I loved it!"
    "Not one character to like"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Warning: Spoilers beyond this point.

    The ending left me unsatisfied. I would have had some investigation of where Desi was on the day of the "kidnapping" since that was something Amy could not have planned for or controlled in any way. How likely is it that Desi didn't "dine" with his mother for "luncheon" that day and not have any local credit card purchases or cell phone use to give his location. His mother was wealthy and devastated (not that I liked either of them) and it seems she would have investigated something and demanded more.

    I would have let Nick keep the book he wrote and put it out there as a battling story line ir at least keep it intact with someone to publish should he die.

    I don't mind pretending but how did they deal with all those credit card purchases? Why would Nick make all those purchases and then toss them in a wood shed? For what reason? If he planned to kill his wife, and organized all the rest of it, he would have waiting to purchase anything - planning for the insurance money maybe? and how did he get that much credit approved? Was the bard doing that well and did he ever, ever work there? Deep flaw in the story in my mind. Little things like that annoy me.

    Also, I wanted Nick to start dating the police detective and hated the part where he needed Amy to make him not be his father? Gave me flashback to Frank McCorts Angela's Ashes. Knowing that he became his father, in the alcoholic sense, ruined the whole book for me.

    Did Amy know something about why Nick's parents married? It seemed so for a moment.

    If Amy went to a clinic for fertility treatments, that shows her state of mind and also seemed like usable evidence of character but it wasn't approached at all.

    Speaking of little things, they had a hot water tank that gave a hot shower for an hour???? On demand systems would go on as long as the demand and hot water heaters run out in less than an hour. Fiction is fine but it has to make sense if placed in the real world.

    The book was full of surprises but in terms of enjoying it and wanting to talk with someone about it to make it last longer, my vote is for Life After Life.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Life After Life: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Kate Atkinson
    • Narrated By Fenella Woolgar
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1323)
    Performance
    (1175)
    Story
    (1184)

    On a cold and snowy night in 1910, Ursula Todd is born to an English banker and his wife. She dies before she can draw her first breath. On that same cold and snowy night, Ursula Todd is born, lets out a lusty wail, and embarks upon a life that will be, to say the least, unusual. For as she grows, she also dies, repeatedly, in a variety of ways, while the young century marches on towards its second cataclysmic world war.

    Diane says: "Life after life after life after life after life.."
    "Leaves a hole in your heart"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is one of those books that presents itself as people in such a way that when it's over, one feels lonely and it takes a micro second every now and then to remember that the loneliness is for an imaginary person, not someone once touched and talked with. Maybe that is in part because some real people left me at the time I read this book but it is alsom and muchm due to the skillful writing.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Voyager

    • UNABRIDGED (43 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Diana Gabaldon
    • Narrated By Davina Porter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (7980)
    Performance
    (5160)
    Story
    (5135)

    Set in the intriguing Scotland of 200 years ago, the third installment in the romantic adventures of Jamie and Claire is as compelling as the first. Now that Claire knows Jamie survived the slaughter at Culloden, she is faced with the most difficult decision of her life. She aches to travel back through time again to find the love of her life, but, in order to do that, she must leave their daughter behind.

    Kathy says: "Hurry up! I want them all!"
    "I love this world"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'm sure that Davina Porter is a huge part of the reason why I so love this book. Porter's collection of voices are marvelous. How does she do it? Her Scottish ting is gorgeous. Her variety and suitability of voices for the characters is just so comfortable to listen to. I've heard this book before but want to listen again just to hear Davina Porter.

    Diana Gabaldon is no small contributor. Her characters are fun and reasonable. Of course nobody can move across time but she well considers the issues that one might encounter in doing so with a logic, if logic is the word.

    The series is well worth a visit and tour.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Virgin Suicides

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Jeffrey Eugenides
    • Narrated By Nick Landrum
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (728)
    Performance
    (472)
    Story
    (476)

    This nationally best-selling novel from Pulitzer Prize-winner Jeffrey Eugenides was adapted into an acclaimed film by Academy Award-winner Sofia Coppola. A haunting yet wickedly funny tale, The Virgin Suicides has captivated countless readers with its intoxicating portrait of lost innocence. A brilliant fusion of dark humor and tragedy, it is an atmospheric, allegorical masterpiece about five oppressed, suicidal sisters and the boys who dream of rescuing them.

    Lexi Lou says: "Read this if you want to enjoy this audiobook"
    "Read the book instead of listening to it"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    First, I'm a Jeffrey Eugenides fan but clearly not a Nick Landrum fan. It seems that his voices for characters in the book have some life but his voice for the narrator is plodding, measured and dull. It's not that I could do better but that I found listening to his voice un-engaging.

    Truth be told, some of the characters were annoying also. The parents would be crushed by the loss of a child, especially the suicide of a child but with 4 other children in the house, one would have to change, to be engaged, to draw together. Difficult of course but to throw away life in the face of 4 daughters seems impossible.

    Thankfully, I've no experience with suicide in my family and it's important to consider this issue from many sides so the book is a good experience to have and it's well written, as all his stories are.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Book Thief

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Markus Zusak
    • Narrated By Allan Corduner
    Overall
    (8426)
    Performance
    (6567)
    Story
    (6597)

    It's just a small story really, about, among other things, a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak's groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can't resist: books.

    Shannon says: "Word Thief"
    "Magical word artist"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The story captures one from the start but there is this other level in the work. The words are crafted with color and texture. The similes blossom from the page asking for a pause if not a rewind.
    If anyone told me that I would see death as a caring entity with an interest in life and those who live it as well as a tenderness and joy, I'd have denied the possibility. Yet Death was one of my favorite characters.
    This is a book of value and one to listen to again and then to read on paper.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Apple Orchard

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Susan Wiggs
    • Narrated By Christina Traister
    Overall
    (224)
    Performance
    (195)
    Story
    (193)

    Tess Delaney makes a living restoring stolen treasures to their rightful owners. People like Annelise Winther, who refuses to sell her long-gone mother’s beloved necklace - despite Tess’s advice. To Annelise, the jewel’s value is in its memories. But Tess’s own history is filled with gaps: a father she never met, a mother who spent more time traveling than with her daughter. So Tess is shocked when she discovers the grandfather she never knew is in a coma. And that she has been named in his will to inherit half of Bella Vista, a 100-acre apple orchard in the magical Sonoma town called Archangel. The rest is willed to Isabel Johansen. A half-sister she’s never heard of.

    Donna A says: "Charming"
    "Trite, Silly Romance Novel, Predictable"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Perhaps this was written for a young adult audience. For junior high school readers? I just returned another book so didn't feel I could return this one but it was not worth the money and certainly not the time. I'm not saying I could write a book but honestly, this is not literature.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Cold Days: The Dresden Files, Book 14

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By Jim Butcher
    • Narrated By James Marsters
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (5561)
    Performance
    (5169)
    Story
    (5168)

    After being murdered by a mystery assailant, navigating his way through the realm between life and death, and being brought back to the mortal world, Harry realizes that maybe death wasn’t all that bad - because he is no longer Harry Dresden, Chicago’s only professional wizard. He is now Harry Dresden, Winter Knight to Mab, the Queen of Air and Darkness. After Harry had no choice but to swear his fealty, Mab wasn’t about to let something as petty as death steal away the prize she had sought for so long.

    Ethan M. says: "Thwarts Every Expectation - In a Good Way"
    "Don your duster and drive to Harry's house"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is not my kind of story at all. I can't even remember how I got started. It might have been because of James Marsters' and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. This is well written and full of similes. I love a good simile. It's not serious but it is fun and a great way to spend a summer working in the yard and traveling the underworld with Harry.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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