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Stephanie

ALBUQUERQUE, NM, United States | Member Since 2011

ratings
85
REVIEWS
12
FOLLOWING
1
FOLLOWERS
4
HELPFUL VOTES
4

  • A Separate Peace

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By John Knowles
    • Narrated By Scott Snively
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (153)
    Performance
    (91)
    Story
    (95)

    Now a modern classic, this story of two boys' friendship at an exclusive New Hampshire prep school as it parallels the inescapable and escalating atmosphere of World War II, is intense and engaging to the last word.

    Teddy says: "How can one fault a Classic like this?"
    "Pick a different narrator"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    I am reading the books assigned to my high-schooler, partly so we can discuss them. So in that sense, yes: time well spent. I appreciate having a glimpse of my grandparents' generation as well. In retrospect, I'd have chosen to read a paper copy rather than listen.


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

    I was not exactly surprised by it. The denouement was a little bit flat, though ... in fact, the narrator's emotional reaction to all the key events seemed flat. This may have been partly due to Snively's performance, however.


    What didn’t you like about Scott Snively’s performance?

    He has a nice voice but does dialog terribly. He sounds like he's reading a book for children. What could be emotional scenes are rendered almost comical: not good.


    Was A Separate Peace worth the listening time?

    Six hours? Sure. There's some lovely language contained in the story, even if the story itself didn't really move me. If it was longer, probably not.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Americanah

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
    • Narrated By Adjoa Andoh
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (199)
    Performance
    (184)
    Story
    (185)

    As teenagers, Ifemelu and Obinze fall in love in a Nigeria under military dictatorship. The self-assured Ifemelu departs for America, where Obinze hopes to join her, but post-9/11 America will not let him in, and he plunges into a dangerous, undocumented life in London. Fifteen years later, after so long apart and so many changes, will they find the courage to meet again, face to face?

    Lorraine says: "The best book bar none!"
    "Fantastic Book, Uneven Narration"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to Americanah the most enjoyable?

    Adjoa Andoh's Nigerian accent (presumably accurate, though how would I know?). I loved hearing the Igbo spoken aloud.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Ifemelu, of course. She is spirited, judgmental, warm, impulsive, and real.


    What aspect of Adjoa Andoh’s performance would you have changed?

    I'd recommend she work on her American accent. We don't all sound like Fran Drescher nursing a head cold. (And "Maryland" is not pronounced "Merry-land.")


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

    Almost. I did have to take a break from the audiobook during long sections of dialogue because of the American accent thing. Luckily I had the paper book on hand, so I could read some of those portions rather than listen to them.


    Any additional comments?

    A wonderful book about race, class, Nigeria, America, academia, immigration, and hair.

    0 of 0 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
    (1275)
    Performance
    (1135)
    Story
    (1142)

    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.."
    "Best narrator ever"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about Life After Life?

    Kate Atkinson's brilliant writing, though it ties with Fenella Woolgar's equally brilliant narration.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The way the character-building is deepened, not cheapened, by the repeated lives.


    Which character – as performed by Fenella Woolgar – was your favorite?

    Ursula, the protagonist; though she performs them all well.


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

    The scenes of the abusive marriage were difficult to listen to. I was glad when that life was over.


    Any additional comments?

    Woolgar's is the best audiobook performance I've come across to date.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P.: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Adelle Waldman
    • Narrated By Nick Podehl
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (109)
    Performance
    (94)
    Story
    (91)

    Nate Piven is a rising star in Brooklyn’s literary scene. After several lean and striving years, he has his pick of both magazine assignments and women: Juliet, the hotshot business reporter; Elisa, his gorgeous ex-girlfriend, now friend; and Hannah, "almost universally regarded as nice and smart, or smart and nice" and who holds her own in conversation with his friends. But when one relationship grows more serious, Nate is forced to consider what it is he really wants.

    Christina says: "The Memoirs of a Self-Indulgent Intellectual Jerk"
    "Nate's Dates"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    Any time spent reading/listening to something thought-provoking is time well spent. I did find I preferred to read my hard copy than listen, though. (See comment on Nick's performance.)


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    I don't think "enjoyable" was what Waldman was going for. She wrote a book that was meant to be uncomfortable, and it succeeded.


    What aspect of Nick Podehl’s performance would you have changed?

    The way he does women's voices: most of them sounded like Miss Piggy. I am not kidding. Luckily most of the narrative is in Nate's head, and Podehl is fine when he's doing the male voice.


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    Oh, I don't think so. Hollywood would do terrible, terrible things to this movie. Even if it were an indie flick, it wouldn't work: too much time in people's heads. There's not enough action to put this into film form.


    Any additional comments?

    The book is described as witty, which it is; it's also described as funny, which it isn't. (Except on occasion.) Waldman is an excellent writer and takes the subject of dating seriously, as she says through one of her characters: "I just hate the way so many men treat 'dating' as if it's a frivolous subject ... Dating is probably the most fraught human interaction there is. You're sizing people up to see if they're worth your time and attention, and they're doing the same to you." Waldman apparently does a bang-up job (according to male reviewers) of getting inside the skull of a man, which is no easy task. The positive reviews she's received from men is surprising, considering she is basically skewering them. Nate seems likable enough until the end; his choices at that point push him firmly into pathetic asshole territory. In many ways, though this book is ostensibly about love affairs, and the plot centers on one, it's the polar opposite of the romance novel.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Interestings

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Meg Wolitzer
    • Narrated By Jen Tullock
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1043)
    Performance
    (926)
    Story
    (931)

    The summer that Nixon resigns, six teenagers at a summer camp for the arts become inseparable. Decades later the bond remains powerful, but so much else has changed. In The Interestings, Wolitzer follows these characters from the height of youth through middle age, as their talents, fortunes, and degrees of satisfaction diverge. The kind of creativity that is rewarded at age 15 is not always enough to propel someone through life at age 30; not everyone can sustain, in adulthood, what seemed so special in adolescence.

    Tango says: "Needs a better title, but a good read (listen)"
    "Talented Narrator Occasionally Overdoes It"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    If you could sum up The Interestings in three words, what would they be?

    Money. NewYork. Friends.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Interestings?

    The moment where Dennis breaks down and hollers at Jules for being overly obsessed with her history at Spirit in the Woods — and observes that what she's really missing is not money or attention or talent, but her own youth. And the expansive possibility that always comes with that territory.


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

    Tullock does voices brilliantly. She's clearly a trained actor, and she brings a distinct personality to each character in the book. I found myself starting to speak like her after a few days of listening to this, with her ironic-fast patter. But all her female characters except Jules sound like total idiots.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    Pride & Prejudice: The 21st-Century New-York-City Adaptation


    Any additional comments?

    I definitely felt like Tullock brought a lot to this listening experience, and mostly that was good. I just wish she would give the same nuance to the female characters that she does to the men: Ash in particular sounded like a vapid Real Housewives Of X, when she's not really depicted that way by Wolitzer.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • American Gods: The Tenth Anniversary Edition (A Full Cast Production)

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Neil Gaiman
    • Narrated By Dennis Boutsikaris, Daniel Oreskes, Ron McLarty, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4593)
    Performance
    (4114)
    Story
    (4137)

    First published in 2001, American Gods became an instant classic, an intellectual and artistic benchmark from the multiple-award-winning master of innovative fiction, Neil Gaiman. Now discover the mystery and magic of American Gods in this 10th anniversary edition. Newly updated and expanded with the author's preferred text, this commemorative volume is a true celebration of a modern masterpiece by the one, the only, Neil Gaiman.

    Michael says: "New to Neil"
    "Little bit The Stand, little bit Star Wars"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about American Gods: The Tenth Anniversary Edition (A Full Cast Production)?

    A great premise, skillfully spun out.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Shadow is one of the most appealing male protagonists I've read in a long time.


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

    I don't usually like full-cast productions but this was well done.


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

    No, actually; it took me a while to get into this book, for whatever reason. By the last 1/3 I could not put it down, though.


    Any additional comments?

    Gaiman follows the classic Hero's Journey outline, and that's not a bad thing.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • How We Decide

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Jonah Lehrer
    • Narrated By David Colacci
    Overall
    (1713)
    Performance
    (493)
    Story
    (489)

    Jonah Lehrer arms us with the tools we need to figure out how we decide, drawing on cutting-edge research by Daniel Kahneman, Colin Camerer, and others, as well as the real-world experiences of a wide range of "deciders" - from airplane pilots and hedge fund investors to serial killers and poker players. Lehrer shows how people are taking advantage of the new science to make better television shows, win more football games, and improve military intelligence.

    Sarah says: "Summarizes information from several superior books"
    "Interesting book, in spite of the narrator"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    If you could sum up How We Decide in three words, what would they be?

    RadioLab: the book


    What did you like best about this story?

    Big ideas supported by science and illustrated with interesting anecdotes.


    What didn’t you like about David Colacci’s performance?

    He sounds like Phil Hartman. As this is not SNL, this is not a good thing.


    Any additional comments?

    Anyone who enjoys Jonah Lehrer should listen to RadioLab, a WNYC podcast. Lehrer is a contributing editor. The episode

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Kitchen House: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Kathleen Grissom
    • Narrated By Orlagh Cassidy, Bahni Turpin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (6835)
    Performance
    (4807)
    Story
    (4795)

    Orphaned while onboard ship from Ireland, seven-year-old Lavinia arrives on the steps of a tobacco plantation where she is to live and work with the slaves of the kitchen house. Under the care of Belle, the master's illegitimate daughter, Lavinia becomes deeply bonded to her adopted family, though she is set apart from them by her white skin. Eventually, Lavinia is accepted into the world of the big house, where the master is absent and the mistress battles opium addiction.

    B.J. says: "Good, but with reservations"
    "Great characters, good story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I have recommended it to friends: any book that I tear through in three days gets recommended.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The character development. Grissom has an enormous cast of characters, and each one is distinct and memorable: not an easy feat to pull off.


    What about Orlagh Cassidy and Bahni Turpin ’s performance did you like?

    Although the chance of an Irish child retaining her accent seems slim to nil (she'd have acquired the same accent as slaves who raised her, in reality), Cassidy's soft Irish accent did give Lavinia a distinct characteristic. She brought through Lavinia's hesitant, hidden personality. Turpin's Belle always sounds cheerful and faintly amused, even when awful things are happening to her, which isn't quite right all the time; but Belle is by far the stronger character so it mostly works.


    If you could take any character from The Kitchen House out to dinner, who would it be and why?

    Uncle Jacob: I want to know his backstory.


    Any additional comments?

    The first half of the book is significantly stronger than the second half. The conclusion is not as satisfying as I had hoped, but for a first novel, it's a good effort. I look forward to her subsequent works, as her writing becomes more polished.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Delirium

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Lauren Oliver
    • Narrated By Sarah Drew
    Overall
    (1870)
    Performance
    (1586)
    Story
    (1586)

    "Ninety-five days, and then I'll be safe. I wonder whether the procedure will hurt. I want to get it over with. It's hard to be patient. It's hard not to be afraid while I'm still uncured, though so far the deliria hasn't touched me yet. Still, I worry. They say that in the old days, love drove people to madness. The deadliest of all deadly things: It kills you both when you have it and when you don't."

    Joyce E McBride says: "Wonderful"
    "Good story, breathless narrator"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to Delirium again? Why?

    I'd read it again but not listen again. The narrator wasn't horrible -- she does the teenage voice well, and her pacing is good -- but the action is already fast-paced, with prose occasionally verging on purple (expected with YA) and with the breathless, almost-shouting voice of the narrator, it becomes a bit much at times.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Hana ... almost. Disappointed with her choice in the end.


    Did the narration match the pace of the story?

    In the sense that they're both hurtling along, yes; but in this case the pacing could have withstood a slower narration.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    "In a world where love is a disease ..."


    Any additional comments?

    I read the book on my Kindle in addition to listening to the audiobook. Sometimes I prefer audio but not really in this case.

    0 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Let the Great World Spin

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Colum McCann
    • Narrated By Richard Poe, Gerard Doyle, Carol Monda, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1183)
    Performance
    (518)
    Story
    (529)

    A Pushcart Prize-winning author and contributor to the New Yorker, the Atlantic Monthly, and GQ, Colum McCann is renowned for his carefully constructed character studies. No exception, Let the Great World Spin follows the fortunes of a menagerie of New Yorkers through a day in 1974 - the day of Philippe Petit's death defying tightrope walk between the newly built Twin Towers.

    Robert says: "An essential addition to your Audible library."
    "Not Focused Enough"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I was hooked initially, the introductory characters catching my imagination and curiosity, so I was disappointed when we left the brothers and moved on to other, less interesting people. McCann is a brilliant writer, but he tries to do too much here. Entire sections could have been cut with no loss to the concept. He gives too much unnecessary backstory to ancillary characters, when his love and attention is clearly on the brothers and the prostitutes. The narrators were all excellent except the one who did the tightrope walker, who sounds like he's reading off the back of a cereal box.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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