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Karla

Member Since 2010

ratings
43
REVIEWS
2
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
1
HELPFUL VOTES
12

  • The Woman Upstairs

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Claire Messud
    • Narrated By Cassandra Campbell
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (317)
    Performance
    (278)
    Story
    (282)

    Nora Eldridge, a 37-year-old elementary school teacher in Cambridge, Massachusetts, who long ago abandoned her ambition to be a successful artist, has become the "woman upstairs", a reliable friend and tidy neighbor always on the fringe of others' achievements. Then into her classroom walks Reza Shahid, a child who enchants as if from a fairy tale. He and his parents - dashing Skandar, a Lebanese scholar and professor at the École Normale Supérleure; and Sirena, an effortlessly glamorous Italian artist - have come to Boston for Skandar to take up a fellowship at Harvard.

    Beth Anne says: "Disturbing, Frustrating, Messed Up and AWESOME!"
    "Two-Page Sample is great, and then it's downhill!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What would have made The Woman Upstairs better?

    This novel, like the main male character in the work, needs to be less a talker. Lots of meaningless, seemingly endless chatter, or so it seems. A few lovely sentences but not enough to sustain all the noise.


    Has The Woman Upstairs turned you off from other books in this genre?

    I loved Messud's THE EMPEROR'S CHILDREN and would still recommend that.


    What about Cassandra Campbell’s performance did you like?

    She captures most of the characters really well and performs a range of accents and age groups. She does least well with the main character, who is from New England--a slight Southern accent peeks through.


    Any additional comments?

    Skip this book and read the first one if you haven't.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Spanish Phase 1, Unit 26-30: Learn to Speak and Understand Spanish with Pimsleur Language Programs

    • ORIGINAL (3 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Pimsleur
    • Narrated By uncredited
    Overall
    (62)
    Performance
    (39)
    Story
    (33)

    Spanish Phase 1, Units 26-30 build on material taught in prior units. Each lesson provides 30 minutes of spoken language practice, with an introductory conversation, and new vocabulary and structures. Detailed instructions enable you to understand and participate in the conversation.

    Yuankai says: "No reading booklet in PDF?"
    "Good but not great"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    Of course, most of Audible's questions apply to a more traditional fiction or nonfiction work, but I hope I can provide some comments that are helpful. The lessons will provide some basic vocabulary and grammar that someone who wishes to learn Spanish will find helpful. The first third of each new lesson reviews what has been learned previously. However, after a while, words learned early on are almost completely dropped, so some people are going to forget them, and they need to be re-introduced from time to time. There are two speakers, a man and a woman, and their diction is generally clear and easy to follow. They break down long or difficult-to-pronounce words into parts. They could have done this with a few more words. The weakest part of Pimsleur is that it is a cookie-cutter model. They use the same words and grammar for each language. The choices of words can seem odd. For instance,the first drink one learns is "beer." Hm. Also, one has to wonder about the politics of the people who developed a system that teaches people the words for "man" and "woman." "People" comes last, and the words for "boy" and "girl" are not included in Phase 1 at all. Adults only, please! I am studying Spanish because I plan to visit Latin America, and later on, I hope to visit Spain. In the long run, I have found this system unsatisfactory for someone like myself, who is primarily a traveler. In the 1990s, after having taken one semester of Italian over twenty years earlier, I picked up a cassette about an hour long that was on conversational Italian for business and pleasure travel. I learned more from that one cassette than I did from 30 Pimsleur lessons, in part because that cassette had a practical sense of organization: at the airport, at the hotel, in the restaurant. At the end of these Spanish 1 lessons, you will be able to count, understand simple directions, and know how to ask for a doctor. But the other words I already knew from films like "Dirty Harry." The only food items you will know are coffee, tea, and beer! You won't know the words for a bus, plane or train. You won't know the names of any types of stores, like supermarkets, pharmacies, or department stores (though you'll know the word for "buy"--you just can't get to the store). I wouldn't recommend this system, and I know a lot about teaching languages. I have taught French, English, and English as a Second Language at the university level. I have edited ESL textbooks. I have traveled widely. I speak several languages, and I have lived abroad. I know what it takes to get around in another country. Pimsleur isn't your ticket to fluency.


    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    9


    10 of 13 people found this review helpful

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