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DAVIS, CA, United States | Member Since 2013

  • 4 reviews
  • 10 ratings
  • 51 titles in library
  • 1 purchased in 2015

  • Brief Interviews with Hideous Men

    • HIGHLIGHTS (4 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By David Foster Wallace
    • Narrated By David Foster Wallace, Bobby Cannavale, Michael Cerveris, and others

    David Foster Wallace made an art of taking readers into places no other writer even gets near. In his exuberantly acclaimed collection, Brief Interviews with Hideous Men, he combines hilarity and an escalating disquiet in stories that astonish, entertain, and expand our ideas of the pleasures that fiction can afford.

    Mark says: "This is ABRIDGED"
    "In progress - enjoying it, but narration style?"

    I've enjoyed many of these stories, but have found some of them unlistenable due to repeated utterings by the readers -- usually "cue" and sometimes "return to text." If I had the paper version in front of me, I might get a clue as to why, but right now it's annoying as hell.

    Gem of Note: Interview 71 (the one referencing Bewitched)... hilarious.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Skippy Dies

    • UNABRIDGED (23 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Paul Murray
    • Narrated By Nicola Barber, Fred Berman, Clodagh Bowyer, and others

    This touching and uproarious novel by author Paul Murray made everyone’s best fiction of 2010 lists, including The Washington Post, Financial Times, Village Voice, and others. Why Skippy dies and what happens next is the mystery that links the boys of Dublin’s Seabrook College (Ruprecht Van Doren, the overweight genius obsessed with string theory; Carl, the teenager drug dealer and borderline psychotic; Philip Kilfether, the basketball-playing midget) to their parents and teachers in ways that no one could have imagined.

    Laura says: "Funny, touching, entertaining"
    "Flawed Genius - like the best novels"

    Some complained about the length of the book, but for me that feeling only lasted through part I, which I felt dragged a bit. The performances added much to the experience of the novel, given that the various accents (Irish old men, Mario, Miss MacIntyre, etc) were well done and enriched the text. Actually, Mario's narrator made him into a rather Fez-like character from That 70s Show, which wasn't a bad thing.

    Negatives: Because of the way the author played with sequence, I didn't find myself unfulfilled by certain glitches in the plot until the end, when I was sure they would never be resolved. SPOILER ALERT (skip the rest of this paragraph if you like): I had a hard time with the following: Where did Skippy get so many of the sedatives? Wouldn't the police have traced that? Did he OD on purpose or not? The police would surely have been more involved in the story behind his death. Also, the very last portion of the book containing the redemption moments fell flat for me; Lori becomes a real person and convinces Ruprecht to live on and be fulfilled? She's going to "help" him? Carl is redeemed somewhat by trying to allow himself to die as pennance? No, really, he's just schizophrenic, right? And finally, Howard is redeemed in the eyes of the school -- no longer a coward -- for running into a burning building to save Carl? Hmm. Don't think so. Still, the lack of real closure on some of these characters didn't hurt the integrity of the novel any more than such failures ever do... I find many of my favorite books a little unsatisfying to me at the end. END SPOILER

    Good things: Some real comedy intertwined in the horrors (Greg the Automater, in particular). Excellent portrayals of the crazy world of young boys (and girls) and how they torture and love each other. Satisfying emotional content, and some historical learning material, too. I have no reference point for parochial schools and the sexual frustration borne out of single-gendered environments, but I think it was painted well here. I also think the handling of the characters who considered or perpetrated sexual abuse was nuanced and interesting. In fact, the real villains here were not the those men at all, as it turned out...

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Mindy Kaling
    • Narrated By Mindy Kaling, Michael Schur
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Mindy Kaling has lived many lives: the obedient child of immigrant professionals, a timid chubster afraid of her own bike, a Ben Affleck–impersonating Off-Broadway performer and playwright, and, finally, a comedy writer and actress prone to starting fights with her friends and coworkers with the sentence “Can I just say one last thing about this, and then I swear I’ll shut up about it?”

    Tabitha says: "Love it!"
    "Hilar. Love her."

    Mindy would be my friend if I knew her. I guess that would make me Mavis. No, wait, I'd be the Mindy and she'd have to be the Mavis!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Gary Taubes
    • Narrated By Mike Chamberlain

    Building upon this critical work in Good Calories, Bad Calories and presenting fresh evidence for his claim, Taubes now revisits the urgent question of what’s making us fat—and how we can change—in this exciting new book. Persuasive, straightforward, and practical, Why We Get Fat makes Taubes’s crucial argument newly accessible to a wider audience.

    Marsha says: "Eye opening, life changing book!"
    "I'm glad I read (heard) it"

    I began this audio book knowing roughly what to expect. I knew it wasn't a diet book per se, but that it aimed to be a thinking person's guide to the science behind carb reduction's benefits.

    I am a skeptic by nature. I was predisposed to disrespect the book because it was written by a popular science writer as opposed to a PhD or endocrinologist. The first part annoyed me because the author lays out all kinds of anecdotes before attempting to explain the physiological mechanisms.

    However, the longer the book went on, the more I could not deny its compelling argument. For myself, I decided to do an experiment on my own body and try the way of eating that Taubes espouses. I'll see for myself if I get leaner and what the diet does to my LDL/HDL numbers. But I consider it a rather long-term experiment, because I'm merely reducing sugars and simple carbs, not eliminating them.

    Here are some additional comments:

    1. The narrator pronounces "causal" wrong somewhere in the first third of the book. He repeats the error, saying "casual" instead of "causal," which is kind of funny because it has a rather opposite meaning in this context. I almost poked my eye out over the fact that no one caught this mistake. Towards the end he does it again... he says "casualty" instead of "causality"... I was on the plane listening and I think I said something out loud like, "whaaa???" causing my neighbor to look at me funny.

    2. Also towards the end, the author just nonchalantly mentions that if you use coffee, diet soda or other artificial sweetners, you may miss the benefits of carb reduction. What? You can't just throw that in there and not tell us why. I'm just sayin'.

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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