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Hoosier transplanted in Virginia Beach who is a fan of good books and travel.

Virginia Beach, Virginia USA | Member Since 2012

  • 5 reviews
  • 36 ratings
  • 127 titles in library
  • 5 purchased in 2015

  • The Casual Vacancy

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By J. K. Rowling
    • Narrated By Tom Hollander
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    When Barry Fairweather dies unexpectedly in his early 40s, the little town of Pagford is left in shock. Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty façade is a town at war. Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils.... Pagford is not what it at first seems. And the empty seat left by Barry on the town's council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen.

    cristina says: "I was surprised by how much I liked it"
    "A Sad World of Muggles"
    What did you love best about The Casual Vacancy?

    JK Rowling is an excellent writer. We know this already from her thousands of pages of Harry Potter stories. Her ability to describe minute details eloquently rivals few other contemporaries. We loved this when she described a made up magic world in Harry Potter. When she describes this sordid realistic world that we may or may not recognize, and would prefer to avoid, it may make the reader uncomfortable. This story is chocked full of characters, which is typical of British books but sometimes tries the patience of American readers (just get on with the story!) However, once the story unfolds and marches toward the inevitable ending, it becomes very "readable"and everything ties together very neatly. It is helpful to know that the working title of this novel was, "Responsibility". Are we our brothers' keepers after all?

    What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

    The ending leaves us wondering, "Was this inevitable?" Could any of these characters have behaved any differently to prevent it, or was this fate set in stone? Did the dominoes have to fall this way? Is this the world that was left behind because of the death of Barry Fairbrother?

    What does Tom Hollander bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    The narrator's many voices and accents for each character added so much to the experience, especially for an American reader.

    Who was the most memorable character of The Casual Vacancy and why?

    There were so many memorable characters, it is difficult to choose. Crystal was memorable for her tough character and impossible situation, her mother Terri was interesting for her pathetic despicability, and even though we did not know Barry, we felt like we did because of all the "Barry anecdotes".

    Any additional comments?

    This is a far cry from Harry Potter, there is a great deal of vulgarity, but the author is trying to depict a world that most of us prefer to turn our heads and not deal with. She seems to be saying that whether we deal with it or not, it is still our responsibility, and our lack of action has consequences, just like every effort pays off in some small way.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • All the Light We Cannot See: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Anthony Doerr
    • Narrated By Zach Appelman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where he works as the master of its thousands of locks. When she is six, Marie-Laure goes blind and her father builds a perfect miniature of their neighborhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home. When she is 12, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great-uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.

    Sandra says: "Be prepared to love the characters."
    "A story about growing up in the worst of times..."

    I do love beautiful writing, and I think I will purchase the printed book now so I can savor the writing some more after having listened to the audiobook. The story was engaging, heartbreaking, but still hopeful. The book focuses on two children during World War II in parallel narratives. We get to hear from both the French and the German points of view, and we are given some good insight on what it was like to be living back then. How do we adapt when regular morals are turned upside down, when doing what is right is wrong, and doing what is wrong becomes right? The ending was a bit unsatisfying, but I guess that demanding to know what happened exactly is unnecessary. It brings to mind Hazel's insistence on finding out what happens to the characters in The Fault in our Stars after the book. The author has to remind her that it's a book! And apparently the point of this book was more to build a picture of these characters growing up in such times, than to spoon feed us a narrative with a tidy ending. I still highly recommend it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Rules of Civility: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 36 mins)
    • By Amor Towles
    • Narrated By Rebecca Lowman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Set in New York City in 1938, Rules of Civility tells the story of a watershed year in the life of an uncompromising 25-year-old named Katey Kontent. Armed with little more than a formidable intellect, a bracing wit, and her own brand of cool nerve, Katey embarks on a journey from a Wall Street secretarial pool through the upper echelons of New York society in search of a brighter future.

    Emily - Audible says: "Like a Country Pastoral for City Rats"
    "Rules of Civility, subtle, wise, and literate."
    What made the experience of listening to Rules of Civility the most enjoyable?

    The narrator's voice seemed especially well suited to the main character, and she did an excellent job interpreting the other characters' personalities as well.

    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Katie was a very engaging character, and of course we saw the story unfold through her eyes. I especially liked that the other characters were painted with depth and empathy, and no one was despicable, because we grew to understand them and why they behaved the way they did.

    Have you listened to any of Rebecca Lowman’s other performances before? How does this one compare?


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Guns

    • UNABRIDGED (49 mins)
    • By Stephen King
    • Narrated By Christian Rummel
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    In a pulls-no-punches essay intended to provoke rational discussion, Stephen King sets down his thoughts about gun violence in America. Anger and grief in the wake of the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School are palpable in this urgent piece of writing, but no less remarkable are King's keen thoughtfulness and composure as he explores the contours of the gun-control issue and constructs his argument for what can and should be done.

    Daniel E. Jacobs says: "putting his voice on what people have been saying"
    "Passionate Yet Balanced Approach to the Subject"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Stephen King's assessment of this difficult subject was intelligent and balanced, in spite of his obvious passion on the subject.

    What other book might you compare Guns to and why?

    This 47 minute essay may not change minds, but does ask us to pause and consider. That is what writers do. They ask us to think.

    Have you listened to any of Christian Rummel’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    The narrator did a convincing job of reading Stephen King's words, in fact, I did not previously realize that it was not read by the author himself.

    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Although his position on gun control was evident, and it was clearly written soon after Sandy Hook, his understanding of and empathy for gun owners is obvious. He is a gun owner himself. This is a thoughtful and thought provoking essay.

    1 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Isaac's Storm

    • ABRIDGED (5 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Erik Larson
    • Narrated By Edward Herrmann

    September 8, 1900, began innocently in the seaside town of Galveston, Texas. Even Isaac Cline, resident meteorologist for the U.S. Weather Bureau, failed to grasp the true meaning of the strange deep-sea swells and peculiar winds that greeted the city that morning. Mere hours later, Galveston found itself submerged in a monster hurricane that completely destroyed the town and killed over 6,000 people in what remains the greatest natural disaster in American history.

    Greg Mefford says: "A wonderful listen"
    "A terrifying true story"
    What made the experience of listening to Isaac's Storm the most enjoyable?

    I had heard about this storm only recently, about the time of Hurricane Katrina, and really had no idea of its enormity. To hear about it from first hand experiences of those individuals who were there and survived it, was amazing. The book was well paced and read like fiction even though it was non-fiction, which is to say it was a very enjoyable story. It put a well deserved fear of the power of the weather in us!

    What did you like best about this story?

    The pace of the story was very effective. It built slowly, and then climaxed with the horrible storm.

    Have you listened to any of Edward Herrmann’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Not sure.

    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    We listened to this book on a long drive and it was effective that way, so yes.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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