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Sylvia

Armchair traveler

CULLMAN, AL, United States | Member Since 2012

85
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 32 reviews
  • 149 ratings
  • 281 titles in library
  • 22 purchased in 2015
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7

  • The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can't Stand Positive Thinking

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Oliver Burkeman
    • Narrated By Oliver Burkeman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (394)
    Performance
    (348)
    Story
    (347)

    The Antidote is a series of journeys among people who share a single, surprising way of thinking about life. What they have in common is a hunch about human psychology: that it’s our constant effort to eliminate the negative that causes us to feel so anxious, insecure, and unhappy. And that there is an alternative "negative path" to happiness and success that involves embracing the things we spend our lives trying to avoid.

    Brett says: "Self help for the real world"
    "We chronically undervalue negativity!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    This book, very well-narrated by its author, helped me to reduce the stress in my life. Through its overview of many philosophies of life ranging from the ancient Greeks and Romans on up through today, I came to understand that I was always looking for things to be okay, secure, positive. By this thinking, I was also always aware of how much things were not, in fact, okay, secure, positive. This generated a good deal of anxiety for me. I came to realize that many things happened in life and it was not so much what happened, but my judgment of it that had the power to make me feel good or badly about it. Basically, I learned that it is okay to take life moment by moment and take the bad with the good. When I write this, it sounds so insipid. You just have to listen to this book.

    Let me tell you that one major thing I enjoyed about it is that the author is not trying to convince you of anything. He is presenting what he has learned, so you can make your own choices and decisions. I think any individual hearing this book will be struck by totally different things than another individual. The information in the book was very enlightening. The only fault I found with it is that a great deal of emphasis was put on current popularized evangelical Christian philosophy and very little upon Catholic philosophy which today, as for the past 2000 years, has remained constant. Catholic philosophy actually melds well with many of the premises in this book (about accepting the negative in life and allowing life to remain a mystery and to appreciate that). But the author pretty much ignored it. Nonetheless, the book is definitely worthwhile for anyone with stress or anxiety, uncertainty or insecurity in his/her life. I think those of us who were teens or in our 20s during the 1960s would particularly enjoy it.

    10 of 11 people found this review helpful
  • Mark Twain's Helpful Hints for Good Living: A Handbook for the Damned Human Race

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Lin Salamo (editor), Victor Fischer (editor), Michael B. Frank (editor), and others
    • Narrated By Grover Gardner
    Overall
    (496)
    Performance
    (434)
    Story
    (432)

    Irreverent, charming, and eminently quotable, this handbook - an eccentric etiquette guide for the human race - contains 69 aphorisms, anecdotes, whimsical suggestions, maxims, and cautionary tales from Mark Twain’s private and published writings. It dispenses advice and reflections on family life and public manners; opinions on topics such as dress, health, food, and childrearing and safety; and more specialized tips, such as those for dealing with annoying salesmen and burglars.

    A. Yoshida says: "Silly and funny"
    "Some of Twain's funniest advice/opinions!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you like best about this story?

    I have read almost all of Twain's books over the years. What I so liked about this one is that some of the best snippets are taken from his many and varied writings and presented under the tongue-in-cheek title of "Helpful Hints for Good Living". Much of the book is amusing in the very least and outrageously funny at times!


    What about Grover Gardner’s performance did you like?

    Gardner's reading is a bit quick at times. It is not what I would call restful. But then, it is fitting for the subject matter. I feel as though Twain might have narrated that way too.


    Any additional comments?

    If you like Mark Twain, you will like this collection. If you are unfamiliar with Twain, this may give you some idea of what his various books are like as you hear selections from them.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Dorothy Gilman
    • Narrated By Barbara Rosenblat
    Overall
    (1280)
    Performance
    (1120)
    Story
    (1124)

    Mrs. Virgil (Emily) Pollifax of New Brunswick, New Jersey, was a widow with grown children. She was tired of attending her Garden Club meetings. She wanted to do something good for her country. This first in the series sends Emily on her first case after she successfully persuades a skeptical CIA recruitment officer that she is the best person for the job.

    Barbara says: "Barbara Rosenblatt: THE Voice!"
    "Humor and exciting suspense!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax to be better than the print version?

    I actually read part of the print version and then acquired the audio. I preferred the audio. The voice of the skilled narrator brought to life each character and helped me keep better track of what was going on in the sometimes-complicated story. The narrator is excellent!


    What other book might you compare The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax to and why?

    I love cozy mysteries, but these stand alone!


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The way Mrs. Pollifax ends up becoming a spy is a hoot! It would make a marvelous movie, or scene in a movie, even just the beginning, when she gets "recruited". No spoilers here! But she is, in many ways, UNEXPECTED!


    Any additional comments?

    I have written reviews on the second and third books in the series so I will not repeat myself here. But I DO want to add that I have realized that the author presents strong male role models in her books. They are men one hopes exist in reality too. I think that more current fiction does not do this so much. This is one of the reasons I like this series so much. The characters have character! Now, some have bad characters, but some have good ones. None are just wishy washy. If I want reality and, often, sadness, I can watch the news. If I want excitement but also to know it WILL somehow turn out okay in the end, Mrs. Pollifax is my choice.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Elusive Mrs. Pollifax

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By Dorothy Gilman
    • Narrated By Barbara Rosenblat
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (453)
    Performance
    (389)
    Story
    (395)

    Mrs. Pollifax has a new hat, and only she and Mr. Carstairs know it conceals eight false passports which she must smuggle into Bulgaria.

    Nancy J says: "Another Delightful Adventure"
    "These are the coziest of cozy mysteries!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to The Elusive Mrs. Pollifax again? Why?

    This is the third Mrs. Pollifax book I have listened to. I can't imagine, after each one, how I could like any one better...until I hear the NEXT one! And I like it sooo much, but in a different way. It's like having children. You love them all so much, but each one in a different way. This one had such an exciting and then touching ending that I almost cried (for happiness). Mrs. Pollifax is the little old lady we all wish was real! She has her standards. She has an open mind on many things. She is willing to learn to see things in a way different from how she has seen them in the past. She is genuine. She faces her fears and prejudices. She is honest and compassionate. And she is also practical and because of all her other qualities, she can be tough.She is pretty fit and knows karate. She relates to people as individuals, not as "types". I LOVE these books! I can hardly put them down! I started this one yesterday and finished it this morning only because I knew I couldn't stay awake long enough to appreciate the exciting, suspenseful final chapters last night. So I WOULD listen again, but seeing as there are so many more in the series, I will listen to a new one next! Somehow, through all the chaos and intensity and danger, one feels nice and cozy knowing that Mrs. Pollifax is around, even if it is only in the world of fiction!


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Sanko (spelling-?) is my favorite character because (as you realize in the end of the story) he is very honest and humble, courageous and dedicated. How wonderful if there were really (and there may be) people like him!


    Who was the most memorable character of The Elusive Mrs. Pollifax and why?

    I want to mention that I have read part of the first book and then listened to the entire first book. I have found that I prefer listening. When I just read, I am apt to become distracted, even if momentarily, and that takes away from the story. But when a good narrator like Barbara Rosenblat reads to me, I find her voice keeps me totally immersed and gives proper importance and emphasis to everything. Silent reading has the downside of sometimes failing to do this. I still imagine what everything and everyone looks like, just like when I read to myself. The only complaint I have, Ms. Rosenblat, is that often Mrs. Pollifax is described as replying "tartly". You do not use a tart voice and I think it would be easy for you to do. Otherwise, I commend you on your vocal characterizations and keeping them all straight! Thank you!

    So my most memorable character is all of the characters thanks to the marvelous narrator!


    Any additional comments?

    If you were born in the 40s or 50s, I think you would enjoy the Mrs. Pollifax series. They deal with the Cold War period when Russian Communism was such a threat to the West and there was a lot of spy activity going on. These stories (at least the first 3 in the series) show real people with real lives and real feelings versus stereotypes. I know these books are fiction, but the way the characters are developed, one can imagine, perhaps, how it might have been to live in occupied countries during those years. I suppose the fact that the characters are so well-fleshed out is the reason these books achieve such a high level of excitement for the reader/listener. One becomes very invested in what will happen to each character, most of all, what will happen to Mrs. Pollifax.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • What Christians Believe

    • UNABRIDGED (49 mins)
    • By C. S. Lewis
    • Narrated By Ralph Cosham
    Overall
    (70)
    Performance
    (52)
    Story
    (53)

    In these classic essays, which began as talks on the BBC during World War II, Lewis creatively and simply explains the basic tenets of Christianity. Taken from the core section of Mere Christianity, this book provides an accessible way for people to discover these timeless truths. For those looking to remind themselves of what they hold true, or those looking for a snapshot of Christianity, this book is a wonderful introduction to the faith.

    Sylvia says: "Christianity? Find out why in 45 minutes!"
    "Christianity? Find out why in 45 minutes!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I was blown away by the faith and reasoning, by the eloquence with which the title topic is covered and all in such a short time. I selected many bookmarks of wonderful quotes. This is something to listen to more than once for sure!
    Do you doubt your own faith or have a friend who is an atheist? This is a reassuring listen for you and a challenging listen for your friend. I think it's one of C S Lewis' best because of its brevity. It's like a mixture of fine ingredients that has been distilled down to a rich, delicious sauce. Taste and see!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By David Sedaris
    • Narrated By David Sedaris
    Overall
    (3992)
    Performance
    (3625)
    Story
    (3605)

    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"
    "Very funny but NOT if the kids are within range!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    Sedaris has a very funny take on life. He shares a few hysterical stories in this book. However, there is quite a bit of scatological humor and numerous homosexual scenarios that some people might find offensive. I know it is just "not him" to do a funny book minus his "whole life", which necessarily includes the homosexual stuff. But I felt like it was just a bit overboard in some of the stories, at least for my taste. That's why I only gave it 3 stars overall and 3 for the story. The first 2 stories are very good. After that it kind of goes downhill.


    Would you be willing to try another book from David Sedaris? Why or why not?

    Since Sedaris uses so much humor that I find somewhat obscene and gross, I probably will stay away from his other books. I wish the "cleaner" stories could be gathered into one collection. THAT I would buy and happily listen to!


    What about David Sedaris’s performance did you like?

    Sedaris is very expressive conveying a great range of emotions and situations with his voice. You can easily imagine what he, or the people he is portraying, look like, and how they feel, just from how he expresses what they say. He is very good with descriptions too. There is interesting music between stories.


    Any additional comments?

    If you DO listen to this book, be sure to listen till the very end. There is a wonderful contribution from Pimsleur just before "Audible hopes you have enjoyed..."

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Pagan Spring: A Max Tudor Novel, Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By G. M. Malliet
    • Narrated By Michael Page
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (136)
    Performance
    (117)
    Story
    (119)

    Vicar Max Tudor, reveling in his new-found personal happiness with Awena Owen, feels that life at the moment holds no greater challenge than writing his Easter sermon. With Awena away, he looks forward to a dinner that includes newcomers to the village like West End dramatist Thaddeus Bottle and his downtrodden wife Melinda. But when one of the dinner guests is found dead in the pre-dawn hours, Max knows a poisonous atmosphere has once again enveloped his perfect village of Nether Monkslip.

    Ronna says: "Great book for Agatha Christie fans!"
    "A very complex story that is totally addictive!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What was one of the most memorable moments of Pagan Spring?

    Gabby's telling of her history was shocking and spell-binding (and happens in the last hour of the book).


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

    Michael Page's narration is melodious. He keeps the voices of the characters separate, so it is clear who is saying what. This is very important in a complex murder mystery. He is able to characterize each one so that it is not just a different voice, but it sounds like that character "ought to" sound based on personality, back story, etc.


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

    You bet! In fact, the past few days, I listened to the first, second, and now this, the third book in the series. Addictive!


    Any additional comments?

    I enjoy this narrator so much, and the rhythm of the stories, that if I've found I did not fully hear or take in some of the story, I will run it back to hear it again. I do this frequently. Quite enjoyable with these stories and narrator.
    Also, the relationship between Max and Awena takes a shocking turn! I will not spoil it for you. But I CANNOT WAIT till my next month's credits so I can listen to the fourth book! (Sadly, I MUST wait...)

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • A Fatal Winter: Max Tudor, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By G. M. Malliet
    • Narrated By Michael Page
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (191)
    Performance
    (168)
    Story
    (168)

    In A Fatal Winter, Max Tudor - Anglican priest, former MI5 agent, and village heartthrob - investigates two deaths at Chedrow Castle. But his growing attraction to Awena Owen complicates his case, as does the recent arrival at Chedrow Castle of a raucous group of long-lost, greedy relatives, any one of whom has a motive for murder. With a cozy setting, intricate puzzles, and a handsome (non-celibate) priest doing the sleuthing, the books in this series are destined to become instant classics in the mystery world.

    Ronna says: "Reincarnation Christie updated to 21st century!!"
    "Addictive! Charming! Wonderful narration!"
    Overall

    These murder mysteries are set in modern times but are narrated in a melodramatic fashion kind of like something from the 19th century. The narrator's voice quality and ability to play different characters is fantastic; his voice is also very melodious. Both the main storyline and the recurring cast of village characters are well developed and intriguing. This is the second Max Tudor book I have listened to and it continues to reveal, little by little, what his life was like as an agent and why he left and why he joined the priesthood. It all fits in and relates well with the things that go on in the main storyline. If you like cozy mysteries that take place in Great Britain, this is the cozier! I just hope the author can write some more and the same narrator can record them by time I finish the last book currently available! This series is one, in my opinion, that is better heard than silently read.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Death Before Wicket

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Kerry Greenwood
    • Narrated By Stephanie Daniel
    Overall
    (240)
    Performance
    (179)
    Story
    (175)

    It all sounds simple enough as Phryne sets new investigations into motion. But when greed and fear are the motivating factors, people become ruthless and Phyrne quickly finds herself enmeshed in blackmail, secrets, lies and the dangerous influences of deep magic.

    Dandylion says: "Bowled Over"
    "As usual, another delightful Miss Fisher adventure"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The narration and expression of accents and characters was at its usually excellent level.
    Phryne ventures to Sydney. Dot's sister is missing. The University has experienced a robbery and the goddess Isis may play a part in it. Phryne finds an unexpected lover in an unexpected situation. Good wine and good food. And everyone gets their just desserts! It was so good, I started in the morning and listened straight through till it was done! Highly recommended, though listening in order makes these books more enjoyable.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Amazing Mrs. Pollifax

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Dorothy Gilman
    • Narrated By Barbara Rosenblat
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (822)
    Performance
    (715)
    Story
    (716)

    Emily Pollifax is one of a precious few gray-haired female sleuths who solve their cases through unflagging determination, moral courage and wisdom that comes with age. In "The Amazing Mrs. Pollifax", Emily answers the call of that “nice Mr. Carstairs” to go to Istanbul as a courier and search for a missing agent.

    Coffee Lover says: "Wonderful story, perfect narration!"
    "One of the best mysteries I've ever heard!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The story begins rather slowly, but soon, there is sooo much action, it's hard to take a break from it. There's a little romance, and intrigue, and murder, and spies, and gypsies, and secret agents, and Englishmen, and the Amazing Mrs. Pollifax! While you worry how everything can possibly turn out well, you somehow know it will, because Mrs. Pollifax is on the job! I can't wait to listen to the next book! By the way, even if you know nothing about the 1960s and the Cold War, which is the approximate setting, the you will still enjoy this book and have no trouble following the story.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Something Borrowed, Someone Dead: An Agatha Raisin Mystery, Book 24

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By M. C. Beaton
    • Narrated By Penelope Keith
    Overall
    (103)
    Performance
    (93)
    Story
    (96)

    Gloria French was a jolly widow with dyed blonde hair, a raucous laugh, and rosy cheeks. When she first moved from London to the charming Cotswold hills, she was heartily welcomed. She seemed a do-gooder par-excellence, raising funds for the church and caring for the elderly. But she had a nasty habit of borrowing things and not giving them back. They're just small things - a teapot here, a set of silverware there - so it's quite the shock when she is found dead, murdered with a poisoned bottle of elderberry wine.

    Beatrice says: "Agatha Keeps Getting Better"
    "Possibly the BEST Agatha Raisin yet!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The story has many curious twists and turns. Will Agatha even survive this case? Will Roy and James survive? Are there really practicing witches in the countryside? Will Wilkes finally tear his hair out over Agatha's continuing involvement in his cases? Will Carsely finally reject Agatha or fete her because of all the murder and mayhem that always surround her?
    In this book, many of the characters finally "grow up". As usual, Penelope Keith's narration is top notch. I spent the entire day enjoying this wonderful audiobook from beginning to end!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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